Banning Those Wearing Perfume?

I like the idea — some of that stuff is just too sharp and smelly and, sheesh, it makes my eyes water and nose wince.

Tuttle, Okla., warns on its website and in signs that visitors to City Hall must “remain at the front of the building” if they’re wearing fragrances. “Every now and then, you get some people who think it’s stupid,” says City Manager Tim Young, but fragrance-free air is a relief for allergy sufferers.

Portland, Ore., banned fragrance use by city workers last year and asked custodians to use unscented cleaning products.

Lancaster, Pa., allergist Clark Kaufman says fragrances can trigger reactions in people with underlying allergies, asthma and other conditions and lead to respiratory infections. “I equate it with cigarette smoke,” he says.

Elena Solovyov of the International Fragrance Association says industry statistics show “a growing trend” of scent use in hospitals and hospitality businesses. The industry group believes fragrance use “should be guided by personal courtesy and common sense, not by policies or procedures,” she says.


•Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Wash., asks employees and visitors to skip scents and suggests that visitors choose “less fragrant” flowers, spokeswoman Jacquie Goodwill says.

•The parks and recreation department in Jefferson City, Mo., asks people attending meetings and programs to “remain as fragrance-free as possible,” says parks director Bill Lockwood.

•Windom Area Hospital in Windom, Minn., has been fragrance-free since 1999. “At first there was some grumbling,” human resources director Katie Slette says. “Now it’s our new normal.”

Found the picture here.


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  • Kristin

    In high school I worked as a hostess for a local restaurant. One day a lady came to put her name in. She seemed like a normal person, except she REEKED of perfume. Soon the whole waiting area smelled of it, which is impressive considering it was adjacent to the kitchen where they cooked ribs. I’ve never since that day smelled perfume that strong on a person. Maybe she spilled it on herself, I dunno.

    The name she put in? Cologne. Not kidding. I started looking for hidden cameras.

  • ReJoyce

    Most perfumes give me an awful headache. I wouldn’t be sad if all artificial scents went away. In the mean time I just have to move when it’s too strong (if I can).

  • I personally quit wearing perfume nearly 20 years ago when I had work that required a fair amount of travel and I realized how uncomfortable I was in an airplane sitting next to someone who had worn perfume. I’ve never missed it, and wish more would figure that out.

  • E.G.

    I theoretically agree. But where do you draw the line? Perfumes and colognes? Do we toss deodorant onto that list?

    How about residual scent from my morning shaving cream? Or shampoo?

    I think that a blanket “no scents” makes little sense. Might it be better stated that “the management reserves the right to ask those wearing scents that impact the comfort of others to leave the building”?

    Otherwise, we’re going to need to ban clover, roses, and peppermint patches down by the river.

    (Note: I am not a wearer of perfume, cologne, or aftershave. In fact, our family does its best to reduce scent usage. But some things – e.g. menthol-based shaving cream or mouthwash – cannot be scentless and still retain their efficacy.)

  • I am one of those people allergic to the smells. I have to be very careful on the shampoos, soaps, etc. that i buy. I have not had a headache free day in about 5 years because of it. If it is really bad, then I not only develop a headache but nausea and eventually a sinus infection from the irritation. I have a sign in my office that says “Thank you for being frangrance free.” If people don’t see it and they wear strong smells, I ask them politely. When I walk through malls I constantly am pulling my shirt over my nose. I move whenever possible. There are certain churces I do not attend due to the pervasive odor. When I give small women’s conferences, I ask them to ask their women to be fragrance free and they are happy to do so.

    I do not think people realize that what smells good to them can be very offensive and damaging to others.

  • Kell Brigan

    To E.G. et al.,
    Time for some research. American fragrances, especially those in perfumes, colognes, some laundry detergents, some “layering” hand creams, etc. contain phthalates, which are derived from benzene. These types of “scents” also contain other industral chemicals like formaldehyde that, if they were used in the same form in the same concentration in an industrial situation, would require air hoods and haz mat procedures. A loophole in the cosmetic copyrights laws, plus lots of corruption at the FDA, allow the cosmetics industry to continue to create “long-lasting” scents that make some people “benzene drunk,” and everyone at greater risk for cancer, seizures, heart disease, migraine, asthma, etc. etc. etc. Your shave cream probably is OK, unless it’s specifically designed to have time-released odors and therefore may contain the industrial toxins. Most American fragrances can’t be sold in Europe because they’re classified as controlled, industrial substances. (You can sell them in China; you can sell any poison you want in China.)

    Comparing a “patch of clover” to American fragrances is like comparing walking barefoot on a patch grass to driving over it with an 18-wheeler.

  • Kell Brigan

    Yes, “copyrights” should be “trademark.” (I do freelance writing and am used to talking about copyrights.