Claims for fragrance free university campus in California

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags University Odor Aroma compound

Students at California State University are pushing for a fragrance
free policy, responding to growing concerns of multiple chemical
sensitivity.

A small group of students at California State University, Stanislaus, are calling for a fragrance free policy on campus, as they say that for some individuals overpowering perfumes can lead to headaches and nausea, making studying more difficult.

The situation is exacerbated by overcrowded class rooms with little or no ventilation, say the students.

The move follows the recent lawsuit brought against the city of Detroit by Susan McBride, aiming to secure a fragrance free work policy for the work place.

A certain number of educational institutions have instigated fragrance free policies, including Cecil College in Maryland and Portland State University, that ask employees and students to respect and support a healthy indoor air environment.

Although the number of individual institutions going fragrance free, or interested in going fragrance free remains very small, it is obvious that there is increasing recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and the general discomfort experienced by some on contact with strong scents.

MCS is described as the severe allergic-type reactions that some individuals suffer when in contact with a wide variety of chemical substances including many of those found in deodorants, fragrances, hair sprays and similar personal care products.

Reactions can include headaches, skin rashes, muscoskeletal pains, burning sensations and severe fatigue, with some individuals having trouble with coordination and lengthy concentration.

However, the mechanism behind MCS is not known leading many, including much of the medical profession, to refer to it as a psychosomatic illness with little or no treatment offered to sufferers.

In addition, MCS is not a classic allergy - the body is not acquiring a sensitivity to a specific excitant, instead similar symptoms are being reported as a result of exposure to many and varied excitants - meaning that a fragrance free policy may not be the most effective mode of action.

Lindsey McManus, from Allergy UK, explained that the chemicals that could lead to an adverse reaction are almost infinite stating that 'sufferers may not even be able to tolerate the soap products used to wash an individual's clothes' so asking for a work environment free of all possible provoking stimulants could be 'unrealistic' .

The move comes at a time when consumer concern over chemicals in personal care products is high, adding to the popularity of natural and organic products in the market place, however whether or not concern over fragrances will impact market sales remains to be seen.

Related topics Market Trends Fragrance

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