Australia suffering from fragrance-related illnesses “epidemic”

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 6th March 2017

A University of Melbourne study has found one-third of Australians report health problems, including migraines and asthma attacks, from exposure to commonly sold supermarket products which contain fragrance.

Problem products included air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies and personal care products. Health problems caused by these products are as far reaching as dizziness, rashes, congestion, seizures and nausea.

An “epidemic”

Lead researcher, Professor Anne Steinemann, referred to the number of people suffering from health problems caused by fragrances as a “epidemic”.

“Fragranced products are creating health problems across Australia,” Professor Steinemann said.

“The effects can be immediate, severe and potentially disabling. But they can also be subtle, and people may not realise they’re being affected,” she stated.

Days off work lost due to fragrance related illnesses

Professor Steinemann said 7.7 per cent of Australians have lost workdays or a job in the past year because of illness caused by fragrance product exposure.

“These findings have serious implications for businesses, workplaces, care facilities, schools, homes and other places – for anywhere or anyone that uses fragranced products,” Professor Steinemann said.

Smelly organic and natural products also making Australians sick

‘Organic’ and ‘all natural’ products are also problem causes for Australians suffering from fragrance related illnesses the study found.

“All types of fragranced products tested—even those with claims of ‘green,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘all-natural’—emitted hazardous air pollutants,” she said.

Professor Steinemann’s study results were based off a web-based study issued randomly to 1, 098 people.

She has also studied illnesses caused by fragrances in the United States, finding that 34.7 per cent of Americans also experience aliments from fragrances found in household products.

Professor Steinemann’s latest research is available in Preventive Medicine Reports journal, Volume 5, March 2017.


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