Several years ago an eminent epidemiologist sent us a dossier of research on air fresheners and dryer sheets because he thought that the health risks they posed were not getting enough attention by the general public. All scented products rely on phthalates, which are powerful endocrine disrupting chemicals, so that the scent lingers in the air, on skin, in the hair, on clothes etc.

In addition, the exact contents of the scent or perfume does not have to be disclosed to Health Canada because they are protected from disclosure regulations under the exemption known as "trade secrets." In addition to the phthalates, these ingredients can contain other known endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are hidden on the list of ingredients under the term "parfum" or "fragrance."

Scented products have become so ubiquitous that it is difficult to find products that have no scent. Our society in general has become highly scented with companies now deliberately spraying scent into the air in all manner of commercial places.

One group of people for whom perfumes pose a very serious problem are those with multiple chemical sensitivities. Research has demonstrated that almost one third of the general population can be affected by fragrances, while close to 40% of asthma and 70% of chemically sensitive patients can get literally sick when exposed to these synthetic substances.

Some people with multiple chemical sensitivities report that when they accessed health care, they got sicker, because of the chemical substances present in hospitals or clinics, especially fragrances.

That is why the Environmental Health Association of Québec (ASEQ-EHAQ) launched the project The Case for Making Health-Care in Quebec Fragrance-Free, this fall.Follow the link to read more and see how you can be involved in this critical issue.