4/15/2019

Understanding Fragrance Free

Many workplaces are moving to have a fragrance-free environment in order to keep employees safe. However, many don’t understand the importance of this change. Take a look to learn why fragrance-free environments are better for employee health, and how to maintain one in your workplace.

Fragrance-free doesn’t necessarily mean odor-free. Instead, it means ridding the workplace of artificial or natural fragrance compounds present in everyday products including personal hygiene products, cleaning products, or cosmetics.

The compounds in these products are potentially hazardous chemicals, especially for anyone with lung problems or allergies or sensitivities to the chemicals. Avoiding chemicals that cause problems is difficult as often they are simply listed on the products as “fragrance” or “artificial fragrance”. Over 20% of the US population has issues with fragrances, yet there is no law requiring companies to disclose what is in them.

The chemicals in fragrances are often referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are one of the main factors in poor air quality in a home or workplace. When fragrance compounds are released into the air, the molecules will spread and stay in the air for long after the pleasant smell has dissipated.

Using artificial fragrances can also cover the scent of more harmful particles in the air. Mold, smoke, or natural gas smells can be hidden by fragrances. This is a short-term solution that doesn’t fix what caused the harmful odors to exist in the first place. Using these fragrances often can mean the underlying problem is exacerbated by neglect and additional VOCs in the air.

A fragrance free environment means one in which no cleaning or personal hygiene products that have added fragrances are used. This can be as simple as using fragrance free cleaning products and avoiding perfumes, but some employers choose to require employees use fragrance free personal products at all times to avoid any lingering VOCs in the workplace.

Studies show that about 20% of people in the United States have faced problems at work from fragrances. For some, this includes skipping work or losing their jobs altogether. Many people are forced to choose between risking their health or risking their career. This is a choice that can be avoided by the simple accommodation of a fragrance free workplace.

Even people without existing health problems can develop lung issues from repeated exposure to VOCs commonly found in fragrances. Researchers studying a common chemical in air fresheners and deodorizers have found that the chemical causes a modest reduction in lung function, as well as increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

You can make sure that your workplace remains fragrance-free with a quality ventilation system. Zehnder America offers ventilation systems that will ensure your employees stay healthy when they are at work. Talk to us today to learn more about how ventilation can help your indoor air quality.