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Fragrance-Free Workplace

By brian barrick
August 23, 2012

Adult Care homes and assisted living facilities work with a unique group of individuals, our elderly population. Working this close with other individuals can be a rewarding experience.  Recently, there was a story in the news regarding the practice of fragrance-free work places and it made me think of the adult care homes and assisted living facilities we work with on a daily basis. Actually, it made me a bit concerned as well.

Recently an employee at another business was allergic to the “cherry blossom” scent and her co-workers thought it was a joke so they wore the fragrance during work and the allergic employee became ill from it. To fix the situation the employee went to her boss to see if she could work from home, which was denied, and then she asked for a fragrance-free work place, which was also denied. Now the employee (well old employee) is taking her former boss to court for this.

This is why I thought of you. Are any of your residents allergic to perfumes or scents? If they are, how are they impacted? Do they get ill or have asthma attacks? This is critical to know in order to provide a healthy living environment.  To make sure you are aware of your residents’ allergies including scent allergies, add this question to your admission process.  This will assure that you are providing a health and safe living environment for all of your residents.

One Reply to “Fragrance-Free Workplace”

  1. Hi- my best friend works in a residential facility. Her groups is made up of people with severe dementia/altzheimer’s disease. I am a person with fragrance sensitivity that affects my neurological system. Looking at me from the outside you do not “see” my reaction to the toxic fragrances in many personal and household care products because it happens in my brain! Sometimes I don’t even get pain of migraine, just brain fog, dizziness, depression, etc. So you can probably see where I’m going with this. How would my friend or anyone working with elderley dementia/altzheimers clients know whether they were experiencing a reaction to fragrances. Toxic petrochemical fragrance is found not only in perfume but in many many products, including air fresheners, hand lotion, soaps, shampoo, deodorants and so forth. It’s clearly a case for proaction not reaction. Any health or care facility should immediately institute a fragrance-free policy. Many already do here and in Canada so there are examples online. The U.S. Center for Disease Control has an excellent Indoor Air Quality policy including fragrance free. The U.S. Access board has recommendations for cleaner air rooms. Most products are already available “free and clear” and if they aren’t – consumer demand will make them so.

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