Responding to Scent

Scent-Related Issues in the Humber Workplace

Increasing Awareness on Scent-sitivities

Fragrances are found in a wide range of products, including perfume, cologne, deodorant, soap, shampoo, hairspray, air fresheners, and cleaning agents. Although it is a personal choice to use fragrances, fragrance chemicals are by their very nature shared. Exposure to fragrance chemicals in scented products can trigger health reactions in susceptible individuals such as those with conditions such as asthma, allergies, migraines, or chemical sensitivities.

What Can You Do To Help?

It is important to understand that some of the people in the College workplace may have a sensitivity to scented products. If you use scented products, use them sparingly or consider using unscented alternatives. A general guideline is that the scent should not be detectable more than an arm’s length away from the user. Be considerate and respectful when a scent issue or concern is raised.   

If You React to Fragrance Chemicals . . .

If you experience health effects or discomfort from exposure to scented products used by a particular individual, you may wish to approach that person directly. Let them know in a cordial and respectful manner that you react to fragrances and ask for their cooperation in avoiding or minimizing the use of the fragrance. If you are uncomfortable about approaching the individual, discuss the issue with your manager. 

If You Are Approached About the Scented Product You Wear . . .

If an employee, student or supervisor informs you that the scented product that you use is a problem and asks that you reduce its use, or not use it at all, you may initially feel hurt, puzzled or annoyed. Understand that it is not about you as a person or about your choice of fragrance but it is about the effect the fragrance chemicals are having on others. Discuss the issue in an open and respectful manner, and work with cooperation and understanding towards a satisfactory resolution.