Accessibility and Environmental Sensitivities
The Diversity and Equity Office would like to remind you that you share the air with students, staff, and faculty with environmental or multiple chemical sensitivities. Although wearing fragrances is a personal choice, it is one that may negatively impact the health and safety of others.
While visiting, working, or studying we ask that you please avoid the use of perfume, cologne, lotions,
scented hairspray, and other scented products.
Scented products, such as perfumes, air fresheners, and lotions, can trigger serious health reactions in people with asthma, migraines, allergies, or chemical sensitivities. Scented products can create barriers, causing symptoms that range from nausea, dizziness, and throat irritation, to seizures and fainting. By creating a low-scent or scent free environment, we contribute to the elimination of barriers for our peers and colleagues with disabilities. Like adding ramps or introducing curb cuts, switching to fragrance-free products can have a profound impact on the accessibility of the environment.
Fragrances may be present in any of your cosmetics, personal care products, as well as in cleaning products such as fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and detergents. Please consider checking the labels of the products you commonly wear to school and looking for alternatives which may be labeled ‘fragrance free’, ‘scent-free’, or ‘unscented’.
For links to lists of alternative scent free products visit:
- Products for Chemically Sensitive People and Their Allies/Friends:http://www.berkeleyzencenter.org/fragrance.pdf
- Guide to Less Toxic Products: http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/print.asp?fetch=usage
If you would like to tell someone to refrain from wearing a scented product:
- Be discrete, friendly, clear & direct
- Problems with scents ≠ problems with a person; let them know it’s not personal!
- Point them in the direction of further resources
If you are approached about a scented product you're wearing:
- You may feel surprised and taken aback. Listen and ask questions. Be willing to reach a resolution in a co-operative manner. Consider an alternative unscented product; finding alternatives may be much easier and less expensive then you think. While some scent-free products found in specialty stores may cost slightly more up front, they are often functional in smaller quantities and have a lower cost-per-use.
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