Scented products worn indoors can impact the health of others sharing the space. Some people are highly sensitive to certain chemicals as a result of past exposures and can suffer a wide range of health effects such as rashes, severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue when exposed to very low levels of chemicals in scented products. Many scented products are also respiratory irritants and are known triggers for asthma and allergies. Even people that do not have pre-existing health problems can have an irritation to their upper airways, eye symptoms and general malaise.
When scented products are worn inside, the potential impact on human health is magnified. Most people use soap, shampoo, deodorant, laundry products, hair spray, lotions, cosmetics and fragrances on a daily basis. Please be considerate of the others you share spaces with and avoid using scented products.
Frequently asked questions
What do you do when a co-worker/student is wearing a scented product that is causing you problems?
Approach your co-worker/student in a positive manner and share your concerns about the scented product being worn in your area. Express how their wearing scented products is affecting your health. Cooperation and understanding will be the solution and the problem will be resolved.
What if I am approached about a scented product I'm wearing?
It is okay to feel surprised and taken aback. Listen to your co-worker/student in a non-defensive way. Listen to how the fragrance is affecting their health. Talk openly about the scented product, ask questions. Is it the amount? Is it the type? Be willing to reach a resolution in a cooperative manner.
What if approaching a co-worker/student about not wearing a scented product in the area does not work?
Talk to your supervisor about your concerns. Explain what you have tried to do in an attempt to resolve the issue.
What will my supervisor do when I complain about the scented product problem?
Your supervisor will ask you questions about how exactly the scented product affects you. Be as specific as you can regarding your symptoms and explain what you are doing to relieve the symptoms, what works, and what it takes for your symptoms to clear up.
Your supervisor will make notes about your concerns and an Injury Report may be filed. Guidance may be obtained from the Safety Office or Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) member.
Your supervisor will then discuss your concerns in a non-threatening manner with those involved and explain the health concerns caused by the scented product in question. Your supervisor will suggest that the scented product not be worn in the area.
What happens when the scented product continues to be worn, even after the supervisor has had the discussion with the person wearing the scented product?
The department head will respond to each situation separately based on the specific circumstances involved. The department, through the supervisor of the area, will endeavour to resolve the issue in a way that is respectful of the feelings and dignity of all concerned. However, the department's response will be guided by its responsibility to provide employees and students with a safe environment, which does not compromise their health or well being. Where necessary your supervisor may direct that a scented product not be worn in the area.
Scented products poster
The poster shown below is available for your work/study area from the Safety Office at ext. 33587 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also self print the poster by clicking on the picture below.
If you have any questions, contact Linda Brogden in Occupational Health at ext. 36264.