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Fragrance Sensitivity: Why Perfumed Products Can Cause Profound Health Problems

Monday 16 September 2019


From UK newspaper The Guardian:


Lesley Heidinger
It’s not a fun way to live’ ... Lesley Heidinger, who has MCS.

Fragrance sensitivity: why perfumed products can cause profound health problems

An intolerance to manufactured scents can lead to migraines, respiratory issues and long-term sick leave. So should they be banned in public spaces?

By Sirin Kale
Monday 16 September 2019
© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

If you flew abroad this summer, you probably passed through an airport’s duty-free perfume section. Perhaps you paused to spritz yourself with an expensive scent you had no intention of buying, before making the obligatory trip to WH Smith for overpriced crisps and bottles of water.

For most people, the wafting odours of perfume counters are not a problem. But, for some, the trip through duty free is a choking, cloying experience.

Research published this year found that one in three adults claim to have experienced health problems caused by fragranced products, whether perfumes, cosmetics, laundry detergents or soap. The study found that fragrance sensitivity caused migraines, watery eyes and respiratory issues. More than 4,300 people from the UK, the US, Australia and Sweden responded, including 1,100 from the UK. Speaking to the New Scientist, the lead researcher, Dr Anne Steinemann – a professor at the University of Melbourne – characterised fragrance sensitivity as a healthcare epidemic of which we don’t yet know the scale. She suggested that fragrances should carry clear labels about their ingredients.


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