No Scents makes Good Sense
DRAFT School Newsletter
Many new families have moved into our school community and may not be familiar with our Scent Smart program. Our school has students and staff who experience symptoms such as headaches, asthma, and much worse, when they breathe even small amounts of fragrance chemicals. Some are unable to think clearly – something that is important to be able to do well in a school setting.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fragrances cause 30% of all allergic reactions, and 70% of all asthmatics develop respiratory symptoms when exposed to perfumes. Many schools, hospitals, and businesses are eliminating scented products and toxic chemical cleaning agents because they recognize that every day chemicals pollute indoor air – and that health problems can be caused by low exposures that were once believed to be harmless.
Chemically scented products include: perfumes, deodorant, hair spray, hair gels, skin creams, smelly markers, smelly stickers, and many more.
What we use at home can make a difference to our Scent-Smart program. Chemical odours from room deodorants, soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, and other products can linger on clothes and be carried into the school. They can cause the same health problems as can the scented personal products.
- Most fragrances are no longer made from plant/animal products. They are about 97% synthetic chemical, with as many as 400 chemicals in a single fragrance. These combine to make our neurosensors think we are smelling a particular scent. The combinations of thousands of available chemicals used in the fragrance industry can create everything from the strawberry scent of smelly markers to the lemon or pine smell of some cleaning agents – from scented garbage bags to copies of expensive French perfumes.
- Fragrance chemicals are not regulated by government. Some chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and nervous system problems are still in use even after the U.S.FDA and Health Canada requested (not legislated) that the fragrance industry stop using them. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency found 100% of perfumes contain toluene, a known mutagen and sensitizer.
- Natural is not always better. Many natural products such as citrus oils, pine terps, orris root (used in many perfumes) and many other natural substances can cause symptoms.
It only takes one person entering the building wearing a scented product to affect the air quality. This is because scented products can drift throughout an entire area wherever the air takes them. Extra effort is needed at concert time or on parent/teacher interview days.
We recognize that it takes effort to find less toxic alternative products.
To help you we have attached a brief list of suggestions. There are many more listed on www.lesstoxicguide.ca.