I’ve never really been in to cologne. I always figured that if you thought you needed some sort of fragrance, then you probably needed a bath. Why cover up a bad smell when you can eliminate it with soap? At least that’s my logic.
As I’ve gotten older, my desire to avoid perfume is no longer just a preference. It’s a medical necessity. And, I’m not alone. Studies both in the United States and in Australia, reveal that roughly 1/3 of respondents reported adverse health effects resulting from fragrances. In extreme cases the reactions can be deadly.
You may recall the story in 2013 of Brandon Silk, a high student in Pennsylvania who was rushed to the hospital after breathing the Axe Body Spray that was being worn by another student. Following this incident, Brandon was unable to return to school for quite some time due to concerns about further exposure.
While Brandon’s case made the headlines, there are millions of other less severe cases which do not. Thankfully, most of us who suffer from fragrance sensitivity, only have mild symptoms. But, regardless of the severity of the symptoms, if one third of the population is reporting having adverse reactions, maybe it’s time for manufacturers to scale way back on the amount and type of fragrances they’re adding to virtually every product we buy.
In the Australian study, respondents reported their adverse health effects as well as their preferences (see table at right). It’s interesting to note, that the number of people who preferred to be fragrance free far exceeded the number who reported adverse health reactions.