Perfumes could cause asthma and migraine: report

PTI London | Updated on September 18, 2012 Published on September 18, 2012

Air fresheners, scented candles and other perfumed products can cause adverse health effects like asthma and migraine, says a new report.

The report suggests that perfumed products could affect people’s health, causing problems including allergies, asthma and migraine, and even interfere with their sexual desire.

A major problem is so-called ‘contact’ allergy — where perfumes and scented products trigger eczema and dermatitis after coming in contact with the skin, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

Nearly a third of people may suffer adverse health effects from being exposed to scents as molecules in the fragrances triggered an immune response, causing itchiness and even scaly, cracked skin, the report said.

“Allergies are on the increase, and the amount of perfumed products is also on the rise,” Dr Susannah Baron, consultant dermatologist at Kent and Canterbury hospital, and BMI Chaucer Hospital, said.

“Fragrance allergy can show up as contact dermatitis in the site a perfumed product is applied, or as a flare-up of existing eczema. It can be a real problem,” Baron said.

The report quoted two surveys conducted by Anne Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs at the University of Washington, as finding more that more than 30 per cent of the public reported adverse health effects from being exposed to scents in ordinary life.

“Fragrance suggests cleanliness — yet people smell a potentially hazardous chemical mixture. We often use them to mask one problem — as with air fresheners — but create a greater one — adding toxic chemicals to the air,” the paper quoted Steinemann, as saying.

Since then, I have received thousands of messages from people all over the world saying they get sick around fragranced products.

“They are suffering seizures, losing consciousness, can’t concentrate on work, as well as suffering rashes, migraine headaches and asthma attacks,” she added.

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Published on September 18, 2012
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