A new survey reveals that more and more Americans are avoiding scented areas, such as hotels or stores. They are turning away from scented products, too, including candles, air fresheners, and soaps.
Roughly one-third of Americans experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and breathing difficulties as a result of exposure to scented products.
The survey of over 1,100 Americans found that 20 percent of Americans will leave a business place if they smell something scented.
Lead researcher Anne Steinemann explained, “What I found was that half the reports of adverse health effects could be considered potentially disabling. That’s astounding, since more than 99 percent of the population is exposed to these fragrances regularly.”
“I call it secondhand scent. But unlike cigarette smoke, which is one distinct product, this is much more pervasive. Fragrances are everywhere, in hundreds of different products, so it’s a huge problem that’s just exploding,” she added.
Studies have shown that many fragrant products, even those labeled organic, can emit hazardous air pollutants.
Of the survey, 35 percent reported symptoms when exposed to fragrances. The most common complaint among the respondents was breathing difficulties. Other reported symptoms included migraines, nasal congestion and sneezing, skin problems, asthma attacks, as well as difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering.
Steinemann added, “I see a trend with scent branding and more apartments, hotels, airports, and other places going toward fragrancing their air. However, as my study found, more people would prefer the opposite — no fragranced air.”
The researchers suggest that U.S. laws should mandate the listing of all ingredients in fragranced products.