Why is fragrance an issue?
The chemicals in fragrances can worsen breathing and trigger immune system reactions in many people. Reactions can range from subtle (e.g. fatigue and IBS) to life-threatening, (e.g. anaphylaxis). Fragrance is not regulated by the FDA and often contains hazardous chemicals known to damage our bodies over time.
How many people?
A 2019 research study found 32.2% of adults suffer from fragrance sensitivity and for 9.5% of adults, the severity of health effects can be considered disabling.
What if I just wear a little bit of fragrance?
Your fragrance may smell subtle to you, but not to someone with a fragrance disability. Even light fragrances can harm someone with a fragrance disability.
What does fragrance-free accessibility mean?
Fragrance-free accessibility means creating safe environments for people with a fragrance disability. This includes removing air fresheners, providing fragrance-free soap in the bathrooms, and using fragrance-free cleaning products. It can also include enforcing a fragrance-free policy for employees and/or clients–prohibiting perfume, cologne, scented lotion, and encouraging fragrance-free deodorant and laundry products.
Why should I care about fragrance-free accessibility?
Fragrance limits many people’s ability to work, do errands, get medical care, and attend public events. In addition to the importance of disability inclusion, providing fragrance-free environments can decrease public health and economic costs related to fragrance.
Resources for people with a fragrance disability
- How to ask for a fragrance disability accommodation from a business
- How to tell someone they smell
- I am disabled: How the Americans with Disabilities Act helps me every day
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