The negative impact on health from exposure to perfumes and fragrances is not dissimilar to that caused by second-hand smoke (passive smoking), which eventually resulted in today’s indoor smoking restrictions.
While a nationwide indoor ban on the wearing of perfume or the use of fragranced products seems a long way off, employers can still take a major step in that direction, if they choose to, by implementing their own perfume free workplace policy.
Why would they want to create a perfume free policy? I hear you ask.
Poor air quality in the workplace costs businesses billions in lost productivity due to reduced performance and work absence. Without question, a major contributor to this problem is perfumes and fragrances worn by colleagues from their aftershave, shampoo, hair conditioner, cosmetics and soap; in their clothes from laundry detergents and fabric softeners; and those present in air fresheners, scented candles and cleaning products. Clearly, improving workplace air quality would benefit all employees, as well the company’s bottom line.
Some people have severe sensitivities to such synthetic chemicals, often bringing on symptoms such as breathing difficulties, a worsening of their asthma symptoms, headaches, nausea, skin irritations and even impaired memory and concentration ability.
So, it would seem sensible to implement a perfume free workplace policy in your company that insists all staff refrain from wearing scented products while at work. If, for no other reason, than to be courteous to fellow co-workers.
A good place to start would be banning the use of plug-in and spray can air fresheners, scented candles and potpourri, and requesting that employees no longer wear perfume or cologne to work, thereby creating a healthier environment for everyone.