Share the Air: Being Fragrance Free Matters to Us All

From the March/April-2019-pnl-865

by Maddie Bohrer

If you’ve visited the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice lately you may have noticed the doors now have signs posted about our building becoming fragrance free. These signs are not to keep you out, but rather allow more people to come in! In becoming fragrance free, the Center becomes more accessible and opens its doors to all.

Almost 20% percent of today’s population suffers from some type of fragrance sensitivity or adverse reaction to scents. Strong odors can cause sneezing, severe headaches, breathing difficulty, dizziness and nausea, which for some people can make it nearly impossible to attend school or work. This is not question of comfort, but rather a serious accessibility issue that needs to be addressed. Therefore, we at the Center encourage you to consider
the chemicals in the products you use, as scents can be potentially harmful to those around you.

Although the idea of becoming scent-free may seem daunting, it need not be difficult. One simple way to ease into becoming fragrance free is to avoid cologne or perfume when at work or in enclosed spaces. This one small step can have a significant impact.

Other products that offer a scent-free alternative include personal care items such as deodorants, laundry detergents, fabric softeners and lotions. When looking for deodorant choose a natural fragrance-free version or use home remedies such as baking soda or lemon juice. Alternative brands for laundry detergents include Seventh Generation, Dr. Bronner’s, BioKleen, Planet, Sun & Earth Laundry, and Green Shield Organic. Dryer sheets made by Mrs. Meyers and Maddocks are also a good alternative. Any product with a lingering smell can be potentially harmful.

Check the labels of products and keep an eye out for words like “parfum” and “fragrance.” Keep in mind that even products that claim to be “unscented” may still have a “masking scent” to cover the smell of other ingredients.

Creating fragrance-free spaces is not only for those who suffer from intense sensitivity. Others in fragrance-free workplaces often report feeling a significant increase in clarity and a decrease
in the frequency of headaches and sinus irritations.

What is fragrant to some may be creating problems for others. So please, be conscious of others, and consider taking the necessary steps to become fragrance free.

For more information go to

Maddie is an Onondaga Community College student interning with SPC.