Fragrance Free School Policies

As most of my readers know, I completed my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at Victoria University (VU) in 2014. (I’m going back in 2017 to begin the swiss-army-knife of all degrees, An Arts Degree!) There is no Fragrance Free Policy in place at this time as far as I know. However, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before there is one protecting those of us who suffer respiratory issues with chemical irritants from fragrance, aerosols and solvents.

But for now, VU does a great job at including those of us who have allergies and sensitivities.

I’ve heard feedback from other students at VU who have said how pleasant it is to be able to learn in an environment where there is clean air; and I’ve heard from students and staff who have milder allergies to perfumes (and skin conditions that get inflamed from aerosol solvents in the air) but have not wanted to speak up, and these kind people have thanked me for doing so, which is so lovely to hear! (Whew! I was starting to feel like a troublemaker there, just for a second.) Trust me, if I didn’t suffer the symptoms that I do, I wouldn’t bother registering with Victoria University Disability Services (VUDS) and working out an ‘Access Plan [yes, I promised I would post information this, and I will as soon as I can]’ so that I can go to classes, sit tests and access my work and materials the same as other students: if I didn’t have this medical condition, I’d just go to class like everyone else. 


Below is a list of Schools, Colleges, and Universities that do have them in place. These are all in the US and Canada, which is where some staff at VU sourced information helping me get through classes. Hopefully, my learning place of choice, my beloved Victoria University in Australia, will be on this list one day. Until then, I’ll just be grateful for the accomodations they do make for students such as myself; and, totally!, be grateful for the ‘No ‘Smoking on Campus’ policies that are being implemented in all Australian Universities. 

The following list is from Dr Anne Steinemann. You can find out about other institutions who also have fragrance free polices in place here.

Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Portland State University, Portland, OR 

Minnesota Schools H.F. No. 2148, as introduced – 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008) Fragrance Free Schools Pilot, Minnesota House of Representatives 

North Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA 

Bastr University, Kenmore, WA 

Challenge Charter School, Glendale, AZ 

Arthouse Preschool, Waunakee, WI 

Cecil College, North East, MD

The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada 

Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada

New Brunswick Board of Education, School District 8, Saint John, NB, Canada

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada


Dr Anne Seinemann’s Resources

Going to School with MCS in Australia: Imagine How This Feels

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.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. Thanks Michellina, you did a fantastic job, and you continue to do so. Oh..if only the general public would be sensible…and the government. People do have sensitivities to even natural flowers…so a sensible thinking population ..anywhere should realize that chemical fragrance is a toxic irritant and causes serious respiratory issues as well as cancer and endocrine disruption. Please share on my facebook wall . This all needs publicity.

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Hi Lindy, I am sure that the Australian Government will catch onto the fact that public air spaces are shared and people can and do get sick from the chemical irritants in many fragrances, aerosols and hair products. We may not have a Disease Code for our medical condition as yet; but what we do have are Human Rights laws and Disability Rights, related to Access to Goods and Services, Hospital Guidelines, as well as Workplace Safety Policies and Procedures. It’s just a matter of time until more people speak up: it’s all relative to how sick they themselves, or their friends and loved ones, get from fragrances:

      No-one wants to be the social outcast in a group by speaking up about how a whole group of people are wearing fragrance chemicals that are impacting on a few peoples’ health. Once a few of them are on your side, the rest will follow because, again, no-one wants to be a social outcast in that same group because they are the only ones who are wearing fragrance and making others chronically ill! It’s just basic pack mentality theory, really :)

      However, we can all speed this process up by sharing information; especially the latest research, policies and news stories relating to our plight. I’m looking at Germany at the moment, and hope to share some extraordinary information soon.

      Yes, always happy to share on your FB page. Just yell out. I’m here for you xx

  2. DanielleB says:

    I applaude your determination and resilience, Michellina. And thank you for sharing useful info on scent-free school policies.
    Those of us who can go out there into the world and obtain the required accommodations to be able to lead a normal life and access much needed services must do so. We help to raise awareness of chemical sensitivities, which will eventually help change things and hopefully prevent some people fron getting sick in the first place.
    For those of us who are afraid to speak up: I used to be afraid too, I got even sicker… It got me to where I could no longer ignore the problem and now I have to fight even harder for my rights, with much less energy and strength. I can’t blame you if you fear losing your job, or ruining relationships because I know too well this can really happen. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please don’t let the same thing happen to you…

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Thank you, it’s comments like this one that soothe my doubts about going public with my struggles. xo Be well, take care. :)

  3. sabrina029 says:

    Wow. This is amazing. You are so brave. Dosnt going into a building full of aerosol fumes freak you out? Like you know you could get really sick. Like you say you go to bed for days after some exposures, so how do you manage that? I couldn’t do it. Even if the classroom was fragrance free and clean air, I couldn’t walk through a building like that. I may have a panic attack as well as the asthma I get for sure. I left year 12 early because of other students aerosols. Aresholes. I adore you.

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Well, firstly, I don’t have any fear over getting sick when I go to classes because I always visualise my day turning out without me getting sick at all. I picture all the people in my class including my teachers being fragrance free. I don’t do this because I think I can actually make that happen (as I am not a magical thinker), I do it to calm my nerves.(Many times, I have gotten sick!) And if there is fragrance in the class, because I am olfactory blinded by my 3M mask, people will tell me if there is, so I leave before getting sick, going to the ‘perfume free’ study room at the VU library.

      When I walk through the building, I walk damn fast; so fast that, due to my mask and the lack of oxygen, I am breathless when I arrive to class. Next year, when I go back, I may use an umbrella, holding it out in front to fend off the fragrance molecules… Nah, just kidding on the umbrella!

      I think some of us who are sensitive to chemicals or/and have allergies might be wired differently; meaning that for some us, the fear can be worse than the consequences, or compound them or/and make it more difficult to deal with them. If this is the case, it’s worth seeing a therapist to deal with the issue so that you can get on with facilitating the accomodations you need to be able to access the services you need. I actually am truly excited every single time I go to school because the subjects I choose are just so awesome; and the teachers just pass on so much valuable knowledge that i can’t help being excited. It usually takes about 3 weeks for a new class to ‘settle’ into the idea of a fragrance free classroom, so for those 3 weeks I may miss out on a bit of information but the teachers always pass on class notes via email anyway. (Also when I visit the doctor or the dentist, i get excited about going out even though I know I’ll get sick from chemical exposure on the way there (not from my doctor or dentist cause they make sure it’s a fragrance free environment.). I think one thing that helps me is planning what I am going to wear, as I love clothes and shoes!

      I’m sorry you had to leave school because of the chemical irritants in aerosols. It’s never too late to go back though; and we have laws now that make it so everyone gets a fair go, including those of us disabled by certain chemicals we have been tested for and deemed sensitive or allergic to–we just need to fight for our rights sometimes. (I agree, A-holes!)

      Thank you for stopping by!

    • sabrina029 says:

      From the Book of Arseholes:
      (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically;
      (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and
      (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.

      • Michellina van Loder says:

        That’s the definition of an areshole? Ok, cool, however, I need to point out that, yes, in a classroom it may feel that way if people refuse to take your medical issues with fragrance-based aerosols seriously, then, yes, they could be seen as aresholes. Group mentality is a powerful wall to come up against. I know; I’ve been there. Ergo, it’s best to work with them, not against them.

        Personally, I respect all people who chose to wear fragrance based products containing chemical irritants. It’s their choice. However, we NEED sensible education, conversation and disability-related adaptions regarding the way we use fragrances, and what we wear into, shared public air spaces.

        Have you always had respiratory issues with these products? I mean, did you ever wear them yourself? I ask this because I used to. From ever since i was a small girl-child to the age of 33 when I had an accident with Chlorine (swimming pool chlorine powder got blown in my face by the wind and I inhaled it, causing burning and a rash on the left side of my face–the same side that gets inflamed when I breath in most but not all fragrances, but always solvent based ones! ), I wore a heap of fragrances. I had my special ones that I adored; and I still miss them.

        I point this out in relation to calling people “arseholes” for wearing fragrances: no matter how sick I get from someone else’s perfume, aftershave or aerosol, i remember what it was like to innocently put on something that smells nice. If it doesn’t make you ill, it’s just a smell right? We need to be gentle with people who wear fragrance; otherwise we cannot get them to change their behaviour so as to accomodate our disability. Do you see what I mean?

        I think that “areshole” quote might be more so related to the CEO’s of the self-regulated fragrance industry associations? Or perhaps all people who repeatedly and deliberately disregard others rights to experience good health within shared airspaces! It’s the makers of these products who I can agree are aresholes… I need this blog to be inclusive of all people; including those who choose to wear fragrances. Thank you, again for sharing, Sabrina. As always, love your unique perspective. xo

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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