Tag Archives: society

Perfume Obsession: What will they think of next?

For someone who gets ill from fragrances, I’m keenly aware of how scents are everywhere. Our perfume obsessed society can’t get enough. Most people wear fragrances in their shampoo & lotion & deodorant & laundry detergent & then add some perfume of choice. In the spirit of excess, here are new unconventional ways to get even smellier.

DIGESTIBLE PERFUME- Yep, you eat garlic and it seeps through your pores later giving you that lingering smell. Well, there is a company called Beneo that is working on this concept for perfumes. It’s perfumed candy is Deo and it creates the smell of roses once it is digested. It is made from beets.  Rose smells from beets might not be too bad but I can just imagine how this could evolve.

http://www.beneo-group.com/A-Sweet-Scent-sation

It sounds like this trend started in Japan. Fuwarinka in Japan has PERFUME GUM that when chewed exerts its fragrance of peaches or roses through the skin. In 2002 another Japanese company called Tsuge Pipe Company created an EDIBLE PERFUME for cigarettes. A smoker could add the drops of mint, peach, strawberry or orange to their cigarette to change the smell.

Beneo doesn’t seem to be the only ones developing the sweating fragrance method for the western world…. Lucy McRae with biologist Sheref Mansy is creating “Swallowable Perfume”.  They have a slick video ad that shows a woman popping a capsule and sweating out metallic beads that supposedly give off a unique odor. They are still in the developmental phase. While the photography is done well… I think the ad is a little creepy. See it for yourself.

http://youtu.be/X9cVAZrY_9E

http://www.lucymcrae.net/swallowable-parfum/

If you’d rather wear your perfume than sweat it perhaps Lisa Hoffman’s new FRAGRANCED JEWELRY is for you. She has created wooden bead bracelets that when exposed to air release a perfume. Each bracelet comes with a  container with extra beads so the jewelry can always transmit odor. She has five scents to choose from…. Japanese Agarwood, Tuscan Fig, French Clary Sage, Madagascar Orchid and Tunisian Neroli. These are being sold at the Home Shopping Network.

http://www.hsn.com/beauty/lisa-hoffman-perfume-jewelry-tunisian-neroli-beaded-stretch-bracelet-with-refill_p-6642912_xp.aspx

If jewelry is too subtle, you could wear PERFUMED GLOVES instead. L’Artisan Parfumeur offers gloves that will give off a floral scent for three years! According to InStyle Magazine these gloves will go on sale ($480) starting October 30 through L’artisan Perfumeur’s website.

Really? What will they think of next?

The perfume obsession continues.

Ambient Scenting Revealed: Businesses Pump Fragrances to Encourage you to Spend $$$

I recently bought a purse from a large name department store. The bag is banished to the guest bedroom because it reeks. It will air out there for a month or so. This purse has been soaking in the scents of its store for a while. Many stores are scenting their air with fragrances.

This can be done by large units in air conditioning systems or small motion controlled units hiding under a shelf on a promotional display. There are a lot of companies out there delivering a myriad of devices and smells to businesses, this marketing technique is called ambient scenting and it’s taking off.

These fragrance pumping devices are found in stores, hotels, casinos, cruise ships and even public buildings. They may be trying to mask an unpleasant odor or they may be trying to seduce you into spending more of your money. They may also be making you sick, but more on that later.

Shopping Malls: ripe with ambient scenting

The concept is to use smells to create brand recognition. A signature scent that may evoke certain emotions or memories. My friend Kelly says that Cover Girl powder has a unique scent to it and when she smells it she instantly recalls Cover Girl and the positive feelings she has towards their makeup. Companies are taking scent branding beyond their products and are using it in their stores and promotional displays.

Most people know that the popular teen clothing store, Abercrombie & Fitch keeps their stores smelling of their cologne, Abercrombie’s Fierce. If you walk into one of these stores you will be greeted by their signature scent.

Scent Air, an ambient scenting company, boasts on their website about some of their customers.

  • Sony Style Stores – a signature fragrance of  “citrus, vanilla and other secret ingredients”
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts – entrances use a white tea fragrance
  • Four Points by Sheraton Hotels – lobby and common areas smells of “Pinwheels in the Breeze”, a Yankee Candle designed signature scent
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino – Uses a HVAC system to pump “Coconut Spice” through 135,000 square feet
  • Bloomingdale’s-  Baby Department smells like baby powder, coconut in the swimsuit section, and Lilac fragrance in Lingerie. Seasonal scents like chocolate, pine and sugar cookies waft there as well.
  • Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando – Smell of “Ocean” in the lobby and “sugar cookie” and “waffle cone” near the ice cream shop.
  • Celebration Health MRI facility – smells of “ocean” and “coconut” to relax patients receiving MRI’s.

Scent air offers many ways to distribute fragrances from devices that can be hooked up to large building air conditioning systems with intensity controls to point of purchase sprayers that can be mounted on a shelf display and be triggered by motion sensors. Scent air is so high-tech they custom make units large enough for theme parks and the military to use in simulation training. They even created scent distribution devices for street billboards. Scent air is just one of many companies offering ambient scenting devices.

Another company named Prolitec created scents for a large retailer in Europe comparable to Wal-Mart. They created a “Wine Cellar” scent for the wine section and “Nature After Rain” for the checkout line. For hotels, Prolitec claims it turned a pool’s chlorine smell into fresh flowers and masked bad tobacco and moldy odor. Prolitec also supplies a major casino in the Southeast with ambient scenting to hide tobacco smells there. Prolitec suggests its products to cruise ships, malls, fitness centers, schools, health care facilities, theatres, and airports. Here are some of Prolitec’s clients they have listed on their website…

  • Bebe
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Hollister
  • Samsung
  • Diane Von Furstenberg
  • Hilton
  • InterContinental
  • Sofitel
  • The Breakers
  • Palm Beach
  • MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
  • Bellagio
  • Harrah’s
  • Bliss Spa
  • GE Healthcare
  • Lifeline Fitness
  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Henry County Health Center

Event planners may contact another scenting company called Scentevents for their parties. They have quite a list of events on their website which they provided this service.  It ranges from weddings to movie premieres to theme parks to museums. They carry a wide range of scents including crayons, rotten fish, fresh-cut grass and bubble gum.

Ambient scenting may just be an interesting marketing technique to most people but it can make some sick. Many people suffer from allergies, asthma, migraine headaches and multiple chemical sensitivities. All of these can be triggered or made worse by fragrances. When someone walks into an establishment there is no way of knowing whether fragrances are being pumped through the air.

I get headaches triggered by fragrances. Trips to certain businesses mean I will be popping Excedrin before the afternoon is over. I thought it was probably the fragrances of the other people in the store but now I suspect it has to do with the fragrances these stores are using. I am now a lot more savvy to this and avoid those stores. I wonder if these businesses even give consideration to people like me. Do they think about the customers they might be losing because their marketing technique makes them ill?

I’m not saying all scents are evil. I enjoy the vanilla wafting through the air from Ben N Jerry ice cream shops. That fragrance does not give me headaches, maybe it’s just natural vanilla?

If you are like me and suspect an establishment is using a fragrance that is making you sick, please speak up. Tell the manager. Write the corporation. That business would most likely want to know and if enough people complain perhaps it will create change.

And for those businesses using Ambient Scenting, it would be nice if you disclosed it somehow. A sticker in your storefront window perhaps or a disclaimer on your website. I would love to know before I plan a cruise or book a night at a hotel whether or not they use this kind of scenting. I know this will likely never happen but it really should.

Ambient Scenting is widespread, don’t take my word for it…. here are some links to check out and as always your comments are welcome.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_26/b4184085987358.htm

http://www.prolitec.com/ambient_scenting.htm

http://www.scentair.com/power-of-scent-case-studies/

http://www.scentevents.com/scent-systems-products.html

http://healing.about.com/cs/mcs/a/scentsense.htm

If you want to know more about how fragrances can affect your health, how prevalent scents are in our society, or how to have a fragrance free lifestyle please browse other articles on this blog “Smell Inc. The Perfuming of America”.

University examines fragrance free policy

Framingham State University in Massachusetts is considering a ban on fragrances, chemicals and tobacco. It is getting quite a buzz. Here is the link to the full story from The MetroWest Daily News.

Seems like most students dislike the idea. No one likes to be restricted especially when one’s in their 20′s. I am extremely sensitive to fragrances and get awful headaches from them. Do I think everyone should be forced to wear only fragrance free products? No, of course not, but it would be great if people were considerate enough to keep their fragrances in their personal space.  The policies are made for those people who leave “scent trails” behind, the people who fill a room with their fragrance long after they are gone. It is so inconsiderate of people to wear so much fragrance that it affects other people’s health. Many people’s health is affected negatively by fragrances from allergies and asthma to headaches and more serious issues like multiple chemical sensitivities.

I think if students and faculty members of this university would just tone the fragrances down a bit, there could be a happy compromise. I do applaud those at the University for opening up a dialogue about this topic and I hope others will take their lead.

Here is a TV story from FOX25 in Boston…. http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/framingham-state-weighs-fragrance-ban-on-campus-20110330

Perfuming of America: Fragrances made from your DNA & Chocolate cologne to honor our President?

From the depths of the perfuming of America … We now have a company selling fragrances created by your DNA. For around $80 to $140 you can have your own exclusive fragrance. A company called My DNA Fragrance will send you a swab kit. You rub the inside of your cheek and return the sample. They claim to make the fragrance by examining your genetic code and using that as a blueprint for the scent.

They offer a few different types of fragrances. There is the Exclusive Perfume with skin healing properties. Then there is a product called Reverse. Both of these scents can be tailor-made for men or women. I can’t tell the difference between the two from their website. Exclusive seems more unique and Reverse is about creating memories…hmmm… sounds like a lot of marketing dribble to me.

My vote for most the absurd product of theirs is P.O.T.U.S 1600. As in the The President of  the United States who resides at 160o Pennsylvania Avenue. “A must have collectible item”, the website states,  “a clean and refreshing blend of fragrant notes with a hint of chocolate”. P.O.T.U.S 1600 is not made separately for the sexes, it is a unisex fragrance. The disclaimer that it was not created by President Barack Obama’s DNA is the icing on the cake. The kitsch factor is almost to the level of the Obama Chia Pet for me. The sad thing is I can’t really tell whether they were aiming for kitschy or serious.

My DNA Fragrance claims their perfumes are “greener” because they contain no alcohol and have ingredients like Aloe and Jojoba oil. They also posted on their site “The Health Risks Of 20 Most Common Chemicals Found in 31 fragrance Products” written by Julia Kendall, Co-Chair, Citizens for a Toxic-Free Marin.  They say that they don’t use any of those toxic chemicals in their products. Well, I think that is noble. Since I suffer from fragrance induced migraines, I appreciate any effort made towards responsible perfuming. I have not smelled any of their products so I do not know if they would affect me or not. I generally endorse a fragrance free lifestyle although I know it’s a tough sell for most.

I ‘m not sure about the DNA part. How do you create a fragrance from a DNA sequence? Add one floral node per every G and one squirt of vanilla for every T?  I am a skeptic. It sounds like olfactory snake oil to me. I may not believe in the science but I do believe in the marketing technique of individualism and luxury. To have something made just for you based on your biology, well, that is impressive. Perhaps that idea smells good enough to separate you from your money. Perhaps My DNA Fragrance will be successful.

Sniff it out for yourself….

http://mydnafragrance.com/perfume/

A Stinky Solution: Pump Perfume Through Apt Building to Mask Trashy Smell

Tenants of a New York apartment building complained of stench from the nearby trash transfer station and sewage plant. So an idea is being purposed to pump a fragrance through a rooftop air unit that smells like grass, rain and citrus. The fragrance would be called “Green Water of the South Bronx”.

Read the full original article posted in the NY Daily News….

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/bronx/2010/04/26/2010-04-26_ooh_la_la_bx_bldgs_new_scent.html

It’s no surprise that I think this idea stinks. Considering my health issues with fragrances I can’t help but wonder if this will make a bad situation even worse.

New Study: Single Women Ditch the Perfume!

I always thought it was wise not to wear perfume because so many people are sensitive to it or may not be attracted to the scent you pick.  However, there is a study out from the psychology department at  Florida State University that suggests going au natural just may be the answer to attracting a mate.

They found that men were attracted to the natural smell of a woman on an unconscious level. When they smelled t-shirts that had been worn by women ovulating their testosterone levels increased, which can be an indication of sexual arousal.

Personally, I can’t stand the smell of colognes and fragranced deodorants on men. I love the natural smell of a clean man. I think it would be interesting to see if a similar effect could be had if the sexes were reversed. Perhaps the researchers at FSU are working on that.

Here’s the link to the original study by Saul L. Miller and Jon K. Maner from FSU…

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/21/2/276.full

And here is an article about the study  published in Discovery News…

http://news.discovery.com/human/women-perfume-natural-scent.html

Canary in a Coalmine? Air Freshners & Fragrances can harm Tweety

If you own a pet bird than you may already know that air freshners and perfumes can be harmful for your beloved tweety. I was shocked when I read many online stories about how someone accidentally killed their bird by exposing it to fragrances or so they believe. Many of these websites can’t say with 100% certainty that the fragrance was the cause of death. That is hard to prove but many owners believe it has happened. It seems that fragrances can have harmful effects on respiratory systems, nervous systems and digestive systems.

Cool it with the smelly stuff around your pet birds!

Here is a link to a blog where a couple believes they lost three of their pet birds after burning some scented candles….  http://www.quakerville.com/qic/q_glade.asp

The website called http://www.parrotparrot.com lists all sorts of dangers for pet birds, many among those are fragrances and cleaning products. They have stories about potpourri, scented tissues, air freshners, leather sprays and glue guns all believed to cause birds to die. Check this website out http://www.parrotparrot.com/birdhealth/alerts.htm

Gillian Willis, a pharmacist and toxicologist warns of many chemicals that can hurt birds, many of these items are fragrances. Check out Gillian’s help desk web page on the http://www.exoticbird.com. http://www.exoticbird.com/gillian/index.html

The ASPCA, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, advises that hairsprays and perfumes can be toxic to birds. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/small-pet-care/bird-kitchen-dangers.html

Another site that cautions owners to cool it with the smelly stuff….  http://www.realmacaw.com/pages/stinks.html

Is this a canary in the coalmine?  I’m not a scientist or a doctor, I just know that fragrances make me feel funny and not in a good way. I know they cause lots of health problems for many people. I think this is just another sign why people should start weaning themselves off so many fragrances.

Wired Mag: What’s Inside Hugo Boss Cologne?

I love WIRED magazine and the What’s Inside article, while entertaining, also makes me think twice about our consumption. The “Valium for Rats, Viagra for Mice” is a must read. Click this link to see the page from the magazine.

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/11/st_whatsinside_hugoboss/

I get headaches from fragrances and am searching for the chemical culprit to my migraines. It’s so hard to find out the ingredients in these fragrances to attempt to troubleshoot my issue. I am curious how WIRED Magazine gets the information for these articles. Do the companies willingly give it up, knowing that a free mention in a hip magazine is worth it? Even if the mention makes people think about the chemicals that are used and ponder how those chemicals could affect them.

Please share your thoughts after you read this article.

Woman Wins $100,000 Settlement Over Perfume In The Workplace

Detroit city employee, Susan McBride, sues her employer for not addressing her complaints about her work environment.  McBride has chemical sensitivities to fragrances and a co-worker’s perfume was making it difficult for her to breathe which also resulted in migraines, nausea and coughing. She was awarded $100,000.  The city of Detroit is now asking employees in the buildings where she works not to wear fragrances.

This is a link with all the details about the case…

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/149122

And the link to the article by CBS The Early Show…. there are also videos related to this story that are worth watching.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/16/earlyshow/main6303548.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

My Thoughts: I suffer from migraines that are triggered by fragrances.  I think it’s sad that she had to sue to get a coworker not to wear strong perfume. I wish our society was less obsessed with scents and was more considerate of others. I think this lawsuit will help call attention to this issue and for that I am happy.

I welcome your thoughts….

Fragrance-Free Solution: Steam Mop instead of Stinky Chemicals

If you are sensitive to chemicals like me, cleaning with a steam mop is fabulous. They heat water into steam and use that to sanitize. No more scrubbing on my hands and knees. No more buying smelly chemicals that could make me sick.

I bought my plastic steam mop at Target, it is a Shark brand. It is lightweight, easy to use, cleans great and it uses water. It did a great job cleaning my tile floors. It did not get the dirt out of the grout but the tiles look spectacular. If anyone knows of a non-stinky way to clean grout, I’d love to hear it!