Breaking News: Professor Anne Steineman’s Latest Study on the Impact of Fragrances in Australia

Breaking News

Professor Anne Steinemann from Melbourne University has published her Australian study: ‘Health and societal effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products’ on fragrance-irritant chemicals and the impact they have on people who need access to workplace, health care facilities and professionals, hotels, airplanes and schools. Her study shows why it’s so difficult for people with illnesses having chemical sensitivity as a symptom or for people with full blown MCS to be able to access public spaces (even with a recognised disability that’s further hindered by the inhalation of fragrances, cleaners (even green ones!) and other fragrance containing products); and why family and friends don’t understand or even begin to comprehend that it’s the chemical irritants here that are the problem, rather than the actual smell:

73.7% of the Australian population are not even aware that these products can and do harm others health, restricting their lives to the point, in some cases, of not being able to go out into public buildings at all.

Please download this study and show it to your employer, workplace safety representative, your course co-ordinator or Disability Officer, or that pesky family member who insists you (or other family member with MCS or CIRS, ME/CFS/SEID) have a ‘mental illness’ or childhood trauma related to an ‘aftershave’ etc.

CIRS, ME/CFS/SEID, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme, Toxic Encephalopathy, Asthma, Red Cedar Asthma (Plicatic Acid Sensitivity), IgE-mediated Triethanolamine Sensitivity, Pine Allergy (Abietic Acid Sensitivity), Formaldehyde-induced Anaphylaxis, Phthalic Anhydride Hypersensitivity, Ammonium Persulfate Sensitivity, Glutaraldehyde-induced Asthma, Phenyl Isocyanate Sensitivity, Halothane-induced Hepatitis, Sulfite-induced Anaphylaxis, Chemical Worker’s Lung, Farmer’s Lung, TDI-induced Asthma, NSAID Intolerance, sufferers of inhalant allergies, particular chemical sensitivities, and respiratory inflammation, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease, Vasomotor Rhinitis, Occupational Urticaria, Occupational Rhinosinusitis, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Photoallergic Contact Dermatitis, Airborne-irritant Contact Dermatitis, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Sick Building Syndrome (Building-related Illness) and the big one Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS): are all valid diagnostic conditions that have chemical sensitivity to chemical irritants as a symptom. And they are medical conditions that can be impacted by indoor air-quality, which is paramount to comfort, good health and quality of life for everyone.

Too many people are discriminated against in Australia by not having access to the most basic of care, employment and education. Thankfully we have dedicated organisations such as AESSRA and Emerge where we can get hard facts and concrete information on the law and Disability Discrimination and what actions we can take. Don’t take discrimination lying down. Personally, I don’t. I have, and will, go to the DDLS (Disability Discrimination Legal Service) every single time (always as a last resort!)  because I deserve medical care, an education and part time employment. In Australia, in case you’re not aware, we have the Access to Goods and Services Guidelines, which have been of great assistance to those who use them.

I’m diligently waiting for our Australian Government and mainstream media channels to step up and help educate others over this matter. Thank you to Professor Anne Steinemann for working on this important research sure to help many Australians. Thank you from our full hearts to yours. <3 And thank you to the lovely gentleman who bought this study to my attention this morning. I love my readers. We’re all in this together; and I, personally, are with you all the way. I support you and wish you all the best. Enjoy!


“Fragranced consumer products—such as air fresheners, cleaning supplies, and personal care products— pervade society. This study investigated the occurrence and types of adverse effects associated with exposure to fragranced products in Australia, and opportunities for prevention. Data were collected in June 2016 using an on-line surveywith a representative national sample (n=1098). Overall, 33% of Australians report health problems, such as migraine headaches and asthma attacks, when exposed to fragranced products. Of these health effects, more than half (17.1%) could be considered disabling under the Australian Disability Discrimination Act. Additionally, 7.7% of Australians have lost workdays or a job due to illness from fragranced product exposure in the workplace, 16.4% reported health problems when exposed to air fresheners or deodorizers, 15.3% from being in a room after it was cleaned with scented products, and 16.7% would enter but then leave a business as quickly as possible due to fragranced products. About twice as many respondents would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities and professionals, hotels, and airplanes were fragrance-free rather than fragranced. While 73.7% were not aware that fragranced products, even ones called green and organic, emitted hazardous air pollutants, 56.3% would not continue to use a product if they knew it did. This is the first study in Australia to assess the extent of adverse effects associatedwith exposure to common fragranced products. It provides compelling evidence for the importance and value of reducing fragranced product exposure in order to reduce and prevent adverse health effects and costs.”

© 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

Download (PDF, 220KB)

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Return Your Fragrance Gifts to Vendor #Returntovendor

[Language warning]

Here’s my parody of an ad for Viktor&Rolf, Spicebomb:

Viktor&Rolf launched its first headache inducing bomb: a chemically concocted profusion of imitation flower ‘essences’ created from fragrance-chemical irritants, solvents and petrochemicals magically morphed into a feminine ‘perfume’, pretending to be sensual to the point of excessive physical pain—Flowerbomb.

This Christmas, it is the turn of the masculine codes of perfumery to be used as dynamite (*purely as a metaphor only*) on women, men and children’s’ health: Spicebomb offers us the promise of a concentrated migraine with an explosive personality capable of sending you to bed, sick for days. Deliberately powerful, exaggeratedly sensual yet also sinister in its endocrine disruption of your man sperm, decidedly audacious in its criminal intent to break apart friendships, work relationships and wreck havoc on family relationships with its promise of bringing you joyfulness, sexiness and happiness. Don’t believe the spin… Go fragrance free instead?

The bottle, symbolic of violence and mayhem, a grenade for a perfume made up of explosive scents chemical irritants, is encircled by a black band that cannot contain the force of the fragrance. Sure, an olfactory explosion is ineluctable but, the histamine and/or inflammatory response is inescapable for sufferers of inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Toxic Encephalopathy, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)! (And especially those with reliable disease biomarkers characterizing and identifying electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity, these people will get hit by SpiceBomb.)

More from Victor&Rolf:

“An explosive encounter between two accords with detonating tones: the first, explosive, fuses zesty, fresh notes while the cold spices leave their icy bite. The second, addictive, combines a middle note of incandescent spices with a wholly masculine combination of leather and tobacco as well as the brute force of vetiver.

Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
Explosive. Addictive. Seductive.”

But what about the actual ingredients that these ‘notes’ are based in and dispersed with? Where are they on the bottle? Where are they Victor&Rolf? No, you won’t find them on the packaging, but you can find them on IFRA’s website. But which ones are in which fragrances? And, if you are allergic, how can your doctor tell you which ones to avoid? How do you tell others which ingredients are a problem for your health so that your loved ones can buy the right fragrance? Is that even possible? Why don’t the fragrance manufactures help us?


Image used with permission from a private MCS Facebook group

This is the actual ad here

#Returntovendor is a campaign conceived on Facebook by a group of canaries to get people to return gifts that contain fragrance irritant chemicals as ingredients. Not only do they harm immune compromised individuals’ health but it could also harm yours or your family members. When fragrance is given as a gift, as it often is, we are all exposed to more chemicals in the air, contributing to indoor air pollution. You wouldn’t want someone smoking in your home, office or school, so why would you accept fragrance chemicals in the air? Some of the same ingredients that are in fragrances are also in cigarettes.

The latest ad for a mens’ fragrance doing the rounds is this bloody Spicebomb; as much as I enjoyed creating a parody of their ad, I actually find the connotations of the packaging and the advertising threatening: the bottle is indicative of implements of terrorism and war: a hand grenade. It may be hyperbolic to suggest the link between the harm caused by shrapnel and the harm caused by fragrance irritants to be similar, but!, yeah, I see it. Sometimes I even feel it; I have friends who’s lives and livelihoods have been devastated by fragrance irritant chemicals. I don’t mean to offend people but the truth just won’t go away. (Or course it’s not Victor&Rolf’s fault; they’re just part of, IFRA, a self-regulated industry.)

I also see that the grenade, an item used to maim, inflict harm and kill others globally every single day, is designed to look appealing and sexy to the male masses. But what type of man is attracted to a shiny babble like that? (Not all men, surely?) And what does it say about men and the collective-subconscious agreement that causing harm is a masculine and powerful quality to cultivate or desire? I mean, the power to inflict harm and maim someone is not a personal quality they can get by using this fragrance, no, the hand grenade is just symbolic of it.

Men and violence; they’re not actually sexy.

But then there’s the harm the fragrance itself does: inhalant allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease and Toxic Encephalopathy are all impacted on via fragrance irritant chemicals. Even the Lung Association and the AMA have statements about the need for environmental control for people with these conditions around these agents.

Fragrance Irritants are not actually sexy.

However! The fragrance industry, a self-regulated one, continues to be allowed to produce products containing fragrance irritants that do cause harm. When someone, who is part of a family or workplace/school group or friendship circle, develops one, or several, of those above conditions, life can be made hell for them by people who insist on wearing the latest edgy or cool fragrance into shared-air spaces. And it’s their personal right to pollute a room, making it inaccessible to others, even if those people have a  medical condition classed as a disability. And if that person using this fragrance, or any other fragrance, is a misogynist who secretly harbours and enjoys inflicting harm, as some men do (but not all men), then we’re all kinda stuffed. Cause if you ask someone who has issues with women to not wear fragrance around them, what do you think is going to happen?

Fragrance can be used as a weapon, even, especially in personal relationships. Even receiving it or giving it as a gift can wreak its own havoc in many sorrowful ways in the future to come.

Fragrance is a feminist issue (sexism in ads supports gender inequality and collectively supports an unspoken agreement that the threat of violence is sexy), a human rights and disability issue (we all share the air) and an environmental issue (they test on animals, maiming them for life, too!).

PS: if you receive fragrance for xmas then you need to return that shit to the vendor. #returntovendor


Women’s Voices: Toxic Chemicals Found in Fragrances

The Sun: Christmas present perfumes may be causing you harm

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Merry Christmas xx

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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