March 11th, 2008 by David E. Williams of the Health business blog
From the Associated Press (Minn. lawmaker wants scent-free schools)
Alawmaker proposed a bill Monday urging a fragrance-free educational campaign to discourage students from dousing themselves in scents that aggravate classmates with asthma and other health problems.
Odors that fill hallways come mostly from boys who douse themselves in body sprays like Axe, said Mikolai Altenberg, a senior at. He said the smell is “indescribable” and unavoidable.
“You can smell it from 10 feet away,” Altenberg said. “Mostly it’s just guys who just think that putting Axe all over them is a substitute for showering.”
Rep. Karen Clark, a Democrat, first proposed banning fragrances in Minneapolis schools, one of the state’s largest school districts. The bill she introduced Monday scales that back to an awareness campaign inand in other districts that volunteer. The campaign could include letters to parents, fact sheets, signs in schools, e-mail and Web sites.
One in eight Minneapolis students has asthma, and school nurses have treated students for wheezing and headaches brought on by the fragrances wafting from classmates, said Mary Heiman, a nursing service manager who runs the district’s asthma program.
Fragrance-triggered asthma is hardly a secret (you can read about it here), but apparently an industry spokesman hasn’t heard about it.
A trade group for toiletry makers, the Personal Care Products Council in Washington, said it doesn’t oppose fragrance policies as long as they’re voluntary.
“We really don’t think it’s a good idea to legislate personal hygiene,” said John Hurson, the group’s head of government affairs.
Personal hygiene probably shouldn’t be regulated, but since fragrances interfere with the health of a significant number of people it’s worth considering Rep. Clark’s bil..