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War on Fragrance

I remember in 2009 when Virginia’s then-Governor, Tim Kaine , declared war on smoking in restaurants. No one thought such a law would pass, but it did. Today, you walk into a Virginia restaurant and cannot even get a whiff of smoke. Of course, I wish he would have ‘also gone after those blooming onions at Outback Steakhouse. Always ruins my appetite when I see those… but I digress.

I remember an old Dial Soap television ad where the jingle would remind, “Aren’t you glad you use dial, don’t you wish everybody did?”. Now, fragrances are coming under scrutiny, much the way that second-hand cigarette smoke was viewed.

Currently, the American Lung Association is encouraging employers to institute a fragrance-free policy for the workplace. In 2009 the Center for Disease Control instituted a policy for their workers that stated the following:

CDC will ensure that products used in the workplace, such as soaps, cleaning products, paints, etc., are safe and odor-free or emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the fullest extent feasible. Only green cleaning products shall be specified and used within CDC facilities and leased spaces unless otherwise approved by the Office of Health and Safety.”

Those workers dealing with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD… which has become known because of TV commercials), Asthma, Allergies, Autoimmune disorders and even migraines, can truly have difficulty with fragrances.

I happen to be a person who enjoys fragrance. While going on a neighborhood walk right now, the smell of honeysuckle fills the air near my house.  Walking into Saks Fifth Avenue stores, I find myself wandering to to the fragrance counter. And, I don’t even want to get started on the smell of good fixin’s in the air! For me, I don’t want to give that up.

On the flip side, I am effected by such things as new carpet smells, a lot of flowers in an enclosed space, and sitting behind women in church who are wearing real strong perfume, just to name a few.

So, I can see both sides of the fragrance world. There are many lawsuits pending or reported that involve suing for damages from allergic reactions. The American with Disabilities Act could even apply in some cases, if health is effected from a failure to accommodate.

I am getting bogged down in law here. But, I find it a very interesting topic. I never thought there would be “no-smoking” policies. I assumed that the tobacco companies were too strong. So, who knows what the future holds for fragrance.

Have a great weekend. I hope you can breathe deeply and enjoy!


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