Tag Archives: Health

Hotels offering Fragrance Free/ Hypoallergenic Rooms

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts are now catering to those with allergies by providing hypoallergenic rooms. Smellinc likes this idea, especially the part about washing the lines in fragrance free detergent and offering fragrance free bath products! I hope more hotel chains adopt this idea. Here’s the article from The New York Times.


UPDATE 6/9/11   Here is a link to a story about allergy free hotel rooms in the Orlando Florida area.









Boy Hospitalized; Mom Sues over Fragrance use at School

A mother files a federal complaint after her son is hospitalized three times with anaphylactic shock from exposure to freshly sprayed perfume at school. She demands that the school establish a policy banning the spraying of perfumes, colognes and scented body sprays within his school environment.

Her 17 year old son has allergic reactions to fragrances sprayed in his immediate proximity which can cause his respiratory passages to close resulting in difficulty breathing.  The latest episode caused her son to be rushed to the hospitalized by ambulance with temporary loss of voice for a number of days.

The mother claims the Fort Wayne Indiana school district is refusing to protect her son which violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. She says she plead with the school nurse, principal and members of the school board and was dismissed.

She says her son “would be able to function and otherwise receive the benefit of a public education at Northrop High School, and avoid unnecessary risk to health and life, if provided the reasonable accommodation requested, specifically, reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices, designed to control, limit and restrain the presence of airborne chemicals to which plaintiff suffers grave allergy.”

Read the whole story and see the lawsuit at  http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/11/17/31910.htm

MY THOUGHTS: The AXE body spray clouds are so thick at high schools you could cut it with a knife. Poor kid. I luckily did not have my issues with fragrances when I was a teenager. I can not imagine how awful it must be for him. How hard would it be for the school to ban spraying of fragrances? Why would this even be an issue? Shouldn’t a student have the right to non hostile environment? Are any students harmed because they can’t spray their perfume while at school? How many times a day must students apply fragrances anyway? I hope the lawyers she hired are good…. can’t wait to hear the outcome.

What are you breathing? Study finds fragrances contain some surprising ingredients

Researchers at the University of Washington tested 25 cosmetic and cleaning products and found that each item contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with an average of 17 per product.

The researchers claim that many of the VOC’s are classified by the federal law as hazardous or toxic and some are possible carcinogens. These VOC’s are found in the fragrances of the products.

Companies are not required to list ingredients of fragrances. They are protected by trade secret laws and are self-regulated. The products in this study did not list the VOC ingredients on their labels so consumers have no idea they are present.

The study claims that even products labeled as “green”, “natural” or “organic” also contained VOC’s.

Some of the ingredients that were found were…

Acetone- Used in nail polish remover and as paint thinner

Ethanol- Used in drinking alcohol, fuel and solvents

Formaldehyde- Embalming fluid as known as the smelly liquid from biology class

Acetaldehyde- Found in tobacco smoke and car exhaust

Methanol- used in antifreeze, to make fuel and embalming

1,4 Dioxane- EPA classifies as a probable carcinogen and known irritant

Chloromethane- was used as a refrigerant but discontinued to concerns over toxicity and flammability

Methylene Chloride- used as a paint thinner and degreaser and OSHA considers it a potential carcinogen

See University of Washington Professor Anne Steinemann’s  research page for the complete study.

On a personal note: I suffer from migraine headaches caused by fragrances. I am very grateful that the researchers from University of Washington are doing these studies. I hope some day to figure out which chemicals are causing my neurological reactions. I encourage you to support the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 so that all fragrance ingredients are listed on the labels.

Teens Get Fierce on Abercrombie & Fitch

Teens organize protests against Abercrombie & Fitch’s practices of spraying their signature scent “Fierce” inside and outside their stores.  Teens from “teens turning green” joined forces with over two dozen other health advocacy groups and sent a letter to the CEO asking him to stop. They have concerns over how their fragrance can affect people’s health.




Say NO to Air Fresheners


Because there is nothing fresh about them.

My version of hell is being locked in a room with air fresheners in the wall sockets. Even one device might do the trick. They are so strong. They often will invoke a severe headache for me within minutes.

Even if you don’t have my aversions to air fresheners you may want to consider the possible health and environmental risks they could pose.

Here is a posting on Washington Post’s website about some of the ingredients in air fresheners and the possible risks associated with them.


When I want my house smelling good I bake cookies or use a drop of vanilla. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies, yum! Do you have any all natural house scenting tricks? I’d love to hear them!

Genetic Link Found for Migraines

A new study could lead to better treatments for migraines as researchers find a genetic link to migraines.



What is a migraine and why do fragrances trigger my headaches?

When I often tell people that fragrances can give me migraine headaches, they say something about allergy issues. Most people do not understand that a migraine headache is a neurological disorder and can be triggered by fragrances.

I get migraines because my brain easily gets over stimulated. It’s this stimulation that tells my brain to increase production of certain chemicals. These chemicals can cause other reactions to happen which can result in nausea, throbbing pain, blood vessels dilating and constricting, difficulty concentrating, and a range of other unpleasant side effects.

The best way for me to manage my headaches is to avoid my triggers, keeping the stimulation under control. I think of it on a point system. It takes 100 points to get a headache. Not sleeping 7 hours is worth 25 points, eating poorly is worth 25 points, chocolate is worth 10 points, smelling strong perfume is worth 65 points, drinking 2 cups of coffee is worth 15 points, stress can be worth 35 points and so on. If I combine too many triggers in a day I’m done for. And yes, fragrances would be the trigger I assign the most points to.

With certain perfumes/ fragrances all it can take is a whiff of a passerby and my brain starts to tingle. I know I have to be extremely careful the rest of the day or I need to take Excedrin as a preemptive strike.  I am in complete control of most of my triggers except fragrances. People close to me avoid fragranced products but all the acquaintances I run into in a day, well that’s a different story. I don’t expect everyone to stop wearing fragrances but I would hope people would keep them a little more to themselves. You should not be smelling them unless you are in their personal space. When they walk past you and leave a scent trail, well that’s a bit much.

Why is my nervous system so sensitive? I suspect genetics has something to do with it but I’m not certain.

There are good resources out there that give more details about the chemicals involved in migraines, here are a few….

A short video that contains animation which shows the biological process of a migraine headache happening and explains which chemicals are involved… http://video.healthination.com/usnews/migraines.html

Magnum – Migraines awareness group detailed article about myths and facts of Migraines…  http://www.migraines.org/myth/mythreal.htm

HealthCentral- a website that has lots of good information on migraines…. http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/understanding-migraine-000097_3-145.html

Fragrance Free Solution: Facial Moisturizer & Sunscreen

Smellinc. blog places a halo over Oil of Olay for their fragrance free products

The Oil of Olay line makes many fragrance free offerings. I use this moisturizer/sunscreen daily. Olay Complete has an SPF of 30 and contains no fragrance.  I can find this Proctor & Gamble product at most major retailers. Another good facial moisturizer line for those of us with fragrance sensitivities is Aveeno. Aveeno, which is a Johnson & Johnson product, is also readily available at most stores.

If you have a favorite fragrance free moisturizer skin product please share.

Proposed Legislation to Mandate Listing Fragrance Ingredients in Products

Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are introducing legislation of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. This legislation addresses many concerns about what chemicals are in personal care products and suggests that the self-regulation of the cosmetics industry has not been enough. The bill will require that labels of products list the ingredients of fragrances. Ingredients of fragrances have been protected for trade secret purposes and personal care companies have not been required to list the numerous chemicals that can make up a “fragrance”.

It’s no surprise that Smell INC is excited about this legislation. I’ve been wondering which chemicals in certain fragrances are triggering my migraine headaches. If this bill passes and is enforced maybe I can get some answers to my health issues.  This could be a real turning point for my neurological illness.

There are many sides to this legislation…. to be fair, I will post links to many viewpoints including those of the cosmetic companies.

Rep. Markey’s website, has bullet points of the Safe Cosmetics Act  http://markey.house.gov/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=4059&Itemid=125

Cosmetic companies group responds to this bill  http://www.personalcarecouncil.org/newsroom/20100721a

Consumer advocacy group pushing for this legislation  http://storyofstuff.org/cosmetics/

Article from Bryan Walsh for Time.com regarding this issue  http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2010/07/21/cracking-down-on-toxic-makeup/

If you think this bill is a good idea I suggest you contact your congressman/congresswoman and ask for their support.

Doctor Questions Fragrance Industry Regulations and Toxic Dangers in Perfumes

Dr. Samuel S. Epstein,  Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine at The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Chairman of Cancer Prevention Coalition, wrote an interesting article about  how the perfume industry is regulated and the possible health risks associated with fragrances.