Email #8: Perfume in waiting room

OK, this is not the exact “number eight” in the One Email a Day-project…as I’ve had some interesting and ongoing communications with Swedish fellows since “Email #7” here…but it doesn’t really matter, does it? As in, the point isn’t exactly to COUNT the emails, the point of the project is more to remind myself to actually reach out and ask about things that are on my mind (mostly as in, concerns), as described here.

So, here is a question I just sent to Kaiser Permanente – and actually not in the form of an email, since I wasn’t able to find a “Customer Service”-email address, but in the form of a message on messenger. Anyways, here it is:

“Hi Kaiser,

I visited one of your locations yesterday, and had to leave a waiting room due to the heavy perfume used in there. What is your policy on perfumes within your facilities – for your staff and in the products used like soap for visitors, cleaning products etc? I would expect all facilities in a hospital to be open to allergic and sensitive people, and a no-perfume policy would be part of that.

Thank you,

Jenny”

Let’s see what they say! I felt so bad in that room that I just wanted to flee…but as I was there to support my partner at their visit, I tried to stay, at the cost of feeling real sh*tty the rest of the afternoon. Perfumes are a pest, y’all. And not only for us sensitive/allergic people, but for all of us. Perfumes are exempt from the rules that other products in society need to follow, for “trade secret” reasons. And therefore, without specification, can contain anyone of more than 3000 chemicals – many of which has been proven to be cancerogenous and other nasty things.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (USA) describe the situation like this:

”REGULATIONS: Current laws do not provide the FDA with the authority to require disclosure or public safety of fragrance ingredients. In the U.S., companies are required to list ingredients on the label; however, this regulation excludes the individual constituents of fragrance in order to preserve fragrance trade secrets. This sustains a loophole that leads to disclosure gaps.

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) develop and set voluntary standards for chemicals in the “fragrance” component of products. The US, Canada, and Europe rely on IFRA and RIFM to identify ingredients for use in fragrance. In effect, this means the international Fragrance industry is self-regulating.

HOW TO AVOID: Read labels and avoid products when no information is given other than “fragrance”.”

“Synthetic Musk”, a common part of many “perfumes”, is described like this:

”HEALTH CONCERNS: Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, reproductive toxicity and bioaccumulation

REGULATIONS: Environmental concerns motivated Japan to ban musk xylene and other nitro-musks in the 1980s.[40] In line with the global International Fragrance Association (IFRA) standards, the European Commission banned musk xylene,[41,42] while musk ketone and tonalide are restricted.[43,44] The United States does not restrict their use.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS: All, Pregnant/lactating women, breast-feeding children, hairdressers

HOW TO AVOID: Avoid personal care and cleaning products containing synthetic fragrances (body sprays, colognes, air fresheners).”

And please note – anyone product with “Natural”, “Green” etc printed on their label might still use “fragrance” and variations thereof as part of their ingredients. The only way to avoid the potentially harmful chemicals is to completely avoid anything containing “perfume”, “fragrance” etc, and the only way to be sure to do that, is to read the ingredient list, thoroughly. You’d be surprised how many of the things labeled “natural” on the shelf at you nearest “green” super market contains all sort of nasty stuff. Read, read, and read some more. The only way to do it! And so so worth it.

Places to visit to learn more:

www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/fragrance

www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/synthetic-musks

www.scientificamerican.com/article/toxic-perfumes-and-colognes

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253742

One email a day-posts on this topic:

www.pancakesonthethird.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/email-2-natural-room-fresheners

www.pancakesonthethird.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/email-3-room-fresheners-in-public-spaces

In Swedish:

www.enkelro.com/2018/06/13/parfymerna-2/

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