For the general population, exposure to scents is not always problematic; however, there is a significant population for whom the presence of perfumes and other scented products can present indoor air quality concerns that may affect a person’s comfort and ability to focus. Furthermore, for a portion of the general population, scented products present a health hazard.
For individuals with pre-existing conditions such as chemical sensitivities or sensitization, asthma, allergies or migraine headaches, exposure to some scents can cause a range of serious health effects. Some reported symptoms include headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, confusion, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, difficulty with concentration, and/or skin irritation.
Scented products more commonly include the following:
- Personal hygiene products, such as shampoo, conditioner, hair sprays, deodorants, colognes, aftershaves, fragrances, perfumes, lotions, soaps, cosmetics and creams;
- Industrial and household chemicals and cleaners;
- Air fresheners, such as deodorizers, potpourri, oils and candles; and
- Various household products