I recently had a debate with some friends. Should the business group that I belong to enact a “scent-free” rule? I asked that question because I had been sitting next to a really lovely young woman who was wearing perfume. For 90 minutes I sat next to her with a headache and stuffy nose that was caused by the chemicals she was wearing.
There was resistance to the potential creation of this new rule. I received concern that some people might smell bad, like BO, and that would be worse. I answered that people should bathe. Especially if attending a business meeting! And wear clean clothes. And deodorant. Perhaps a light dabbing of essential oils if something is really necessary.
Another concern was that no other business meetings make this requirement. I guess I live in a different world. The world of health. The health team business meetings I attend have a “scent-free” rule. I understand that many people don’t know why avoiding perfumes and colognes would be a good idea. So, I informed. I sent a link about how perfumes and colognes don’t have to disclose their chemical list and many of their chemicals can be toxic (http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy). Many are hormone disrupters, messing with your thyroid and with estrogen levels. Others are allergens–triggering asthma, wheezing, and headaches.
I liken it to second hand smoke. Perhaps you like to smoke and smoking is legal, so if you want to smoke you can. But because of the health-risks associated with secondhand smoke, you can only smoke in designated areas. I do not have to be exposed to your toxins.
Now, it’s not a big deal to me if I have occasional exposure to perfumes and other chemical scents. After I left the meeting, my headache and stuffy nose resolved right away. But my point is to educate so that wrongs can be righted. Also, others might be more affected than I am.
And why do we even need chemical perfumes and colognes? Perfumes (they used to be made of natural ingredients) were made initially to cover up the fact that we stunk because we didn’t bathe regularly. Every person at my business meeting has access to a shower or bathtub, so that’s no longer a problem.
Just because other meetings have not created a “scent-free” zone isn’t a good reason for us to follow suit. My mother always told me that just because my friends were doing something didn’t mean I had to do the same if it was wrong/didn’t make sense/would be harmful/etc!
I wonder how many people suffer allergies and hormonal disruption as a result of their own use of chemical perfumes and colognes (and other chemical topical products) or as a result of regular secondhand exposure.
Think about your health the next time you spray on a scent, use Febreeze or other coverup room spray, take a deep breath of new car smell, or smell the “off-gassing” of new carpets, furniture, mattress, etc.
Some things we cannot avoid, but we don’t need to use toxic perfumes. Would you prefer a scent-free zone knowing now about the potential health impact these chemicals might have on your health? Or is the new JLo perfume just that important to you?