Friday, April 11, 2008

"Fragrance Trespass"

MCS America (see link at left) publishes a monthly online newsletter. (If you go onto their site you can sign up to have the newsletter emailed to you each month.) In April they included an article about a Minnesota legislative proposal for a fragrance-free educational campaign in Minneapolis schools. They use the term "fragrance trespass" which they define as "the involuntary deposition of toxic or potentially toxic fragrance chemicals within a human body" which usually happens when airspace is shared with others who use or wear fragrances.

I really like this term, "fragrance trespass." Just like cigarette smoke, scented personal care products contaminate the clothing, hair, skin & eyes of those who don't wear them. The fragrance "trespasses" into public airspace, and since we all have to breathe, we are all contaminated by it.

The article goes on to say that fragrances are recognized as "a major source of volatile organic compounds that contain many of the same cancer-causing toxicants that are in tobacco, wood smoke and vehicle exhaust..." Included are lists of these chemicals and the specific harm they can cause, particularly phthalates, which are implicated in reproductive defects.

Children are required to attend school. It should be a safe place for them. So it makes sense to protect them from chemicals in the air they breathe. Actually, it makes sense to protect the air we all breathe, but we have to be able to explain the problem so people will understand it and want to make personal changes. Good terminology and accurate information will help.


Dana said...

Thanks so much for your blog! I'm going to link to it from

My kids don't go shopping with me often but when they do they see the cleaning aisle and grab their throats and run, ahhh it's the aisle of death!

CatherineWO said...

Thanks, Dana. That's great, "the aisle of death!" You're teaching your kids well.