Pennsylvania state Rep. Marcia Hahn, is proposing legislation that could create fragrance-free school buildings if a student is known to have a severe fragrance allergy.
Hahn is seeking a co-sponsor for the bill which should lead to a hearing and is said to have the support of the educational authorities and a large number of parents.
“My hope is this at least starts a conversation on this issue, whether it ends up in a bill or some other way to address this problem,” Hahn stated about her proposal. “I’m hoping that we can come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
Proposal targets schools where students are known to have allergies
The move would not lead to a complete ban on fragrances in Pennsylvania schools, but would only be initiated in schools where students are known to have severe allergic reactions to fragrances.
Hahn's action follows an incident back in April this year involving a student at a high school in Pennsylvania who had such a strong allergic reaction, allegedly to fragrance from Axe deodorant and colognes, the boy ended up in hospital, forcing the school to ban the brand.
At the time of the incident the principle of the Freedom High School, located in the small town of Bethlehem, posted a warning on the school’s website, asking parents, staff and students to be aware of the potential medical issue arising from the fragrance contained in the Axe product.
Axe becomes the target of the ban
Since then, the student, Brandon Silk, has had to be home-schooled, taking cyber courses as means of maintaining his education while avoiding any future exposure to the fragrance.
The Freedom High School has worked on a number of initiatives to try and transition the pupil safely back into the school environment, but evidently nothing has been successful.
According the Environmental Working Group, a range of nine Axe body sprays that are currently available in the US market have a hazard score of between four and five, which puts it in the moderately hazardous category.
At the time, Axe manufacturer Unilever said that it was aware of the reported allergic incident and has continued with its own line of investigation.
Report highlights fragrance allergies
A recent report by health advocacy group ‘Women’s Voices for the Earth’ is claiming that "secret chemicals" used in fragrances in personal care products are causing allergic reactions and sensitivity to US consumers.
'Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health' features the Group stating that fragrance in personal care products is one of the most frequently identified allergens and that consumers need to know what chemicals are used in scented products “so we can make informed choices to protect our health."
According to director of science and research for Women’s Voices for the Earth, Alexandra Scranton; “Every day too many women suffer from reactions to the secret chemicals used in fragrances in their household products.”
The report estimates that because of lack of disclosure of fragrance ingredients, dermatologists face an uphill battle in identifying what is causing a patient's reactions, making it difficult for the patient to avoid the allergen in question.