Research: Synthetic Fragrances Just As Toxic As Second-Hand Smoke

By December 18, 2013November 30th, 2018News

It has long been common knowledge that synthetic fragrance solutions for odor issues, which are chemical-based and largely ineffective, pose real health threats to tenants and residents occupying buildings where they are being used.

Just as it took decades to acknowledge the dangers of smoking, we could be at a tipping point where organizations are realizing chemical-based air fresheners are actually just as dangerous as second-hand smoke.

Researchers from University of Maryland and Loyola College in Maryland released a white paper titled, “Fragrance in the Workplace is the New Second-Hand Smoke.” The study was presented at an American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences (ASBBS) conference in 2009, and outlines how both smoking and the use of synthetic fragrance can seriously inhibit indoor air quality. While this research is a few years old, this issue remains at the forefront even today.

The study highlighted the six top-selling laundry products and air fresheners, and found that “nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were emitted from the products.”

Here are some more insights from the study:

“Fragrance is a known respiratory irritant and neurological toxin, and one in five people in the U.S. experience adverse health effects from synthetic fragrance exposure. For many people, exposure to perfume can pose serious health risks such as migraines, nausea, tightening of the throat, and respiratory impairment in the asthmatic. Breathing problems such as hay fever and asthma are found in 15-20% of North Americans and synthetic fragrance exacerbates these problems for many people.”

Since fragrance is used in many hundreds of everyday cleaning and personal care products, it would seem these chemicals are literally poisoning people. But what can employers do? There are several easy ways to implement fragrance-free workplace policies.

One simple step: Fresh Wave IAQ products help eliminate odors in the workplace naturally. The products are non-toxic, effective, and engineered from a unique and simple formula based on a proprietary blend of plant oils, food-grade surfactant, and water. Fresh Wave IAQ products contain no harmful VOCs, no alcohol, and no artificial fragrances, making them safe to use in any environment.

As the evidence mounts against synthetic fragrances and its negative impact on health, our team will continue to share information and work to promote more healthful options for employers.