Study is Sour on Sweet Smells

Sweet smells are raising quite a stink these days! According to a new study, fragrances are not only bad for your health….they’re bad for business as well.

From Science Daily:

A University of Melbourne researcher has found that over one-third of Americans report health problems — from asthma attacks to migraine headaches — when exposed to common fragranced consumer products.

The study also found that fragranced products may affect profits, with more than 20% of respondents entering a business, but leaving as quickly as possible if they smell air fresheners or some fragranced product. More than twice as many customers would choose hotels and airplanes without fragranced air than with fragranced air.

Yahoo News lists a number of the fragrances researchers referenced in their report and they include:

  • perfumes,
  • colognes,
  • air fresheners and deodorizers,
  • personal care products (soap, hand sanitizer, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen and shampoo),
  • cleaning supplies,
  • laundry products, and
  • household products (scented candles, toilet paper, trash bags and baby products).

Australia’s Associated Press quoted the study’s author,  University of Melbourne research Professor Anne Steinemann, as saying, “These are products that are supposed to be pleasing but they’re making people sick. This isn’t just someone saying they don’t happen to like the aroma,” she said, “people are reporting effects such as dizziness and cognitive problems which impacts upon workplace performance.”

Among the most common reactions to fragranced products, according to published reports:

* Respiratory problems: coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath (18.6pct)

* Mucosal symptoms: watery/ red eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing (16.2pct)

* Migraine headaches (15.7pct)

* Skin problems: rashes, hives, tingling skin, dermatitis (10.6pct)

* Asthma attacks (8 pct)

Researchers believe fragrances are often used to mask other smells. The infographic below comes from and it contains “tips” for going scent free.


What do you think about the stink surrounding sweet smells? Are fragrances really bad for our health or is it much ado about nothing? Generating conversations around the health issues making headlines will help us better understand how to improve overall health for the people of our state. And improving health is critical to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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