“This perfume makes me sick, but I like it.” Representative survey on health effects associated with fragrances

Published on 2020-02-27T05:11:06Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background Fragranced consumer products—such as cleaning supplies, laundry products, perfumes, and air fresheners—have been associated with adverse effects on personal health and with subsequent societal effects. This study investigates self-reported effects associated with exposures to fragranced consumer products in Germany. Using a nationally representative population-based sample (n = 1102), data were collected in March 2019 using an online survey of adults in Germany. Special questions allowed to differentiate the answers given by various vulnerable subgroups of the general population with the intention to better understand their specific situations. Results One out of five persons (19.9%) indicates to be fragrance-sensitive. More than half of these persons (55.3%) report respiratory problems and more than a third of them (35.6%) declare mucosal problems. Three out of four autists report to be fragrance-sensitive. Half of the general population (55.6%) think of products with natural fragrance ingredients to be healthier than products with synthetic fragrance ingredients and do not know that this is a wrong assumption. Even more people who report adverse health effects have this wrong impression. People who describe negative health effects caused by fragrances indicate to be exposed by their own use to a similar or even higher extent (up to 98.6%) compared to the general population (96.9%). Slightly more men say that they read the references to the products to get information about the fragrance ingredients compared to women. Three quarters of the population use fragrances to feel more attractive, but still 7.6% report respiratory problems when exposed to fragrances. Conclusions The high number of individuals who report to experience health problems upon exposure to fragranced products needs to be taken serious and further actions are urgent. Present risk communication measures do not seem to be sufficient to induce appropriate risk reduction behavior in affected persons.

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Klaschka, Ursula (2020): “This perfume makes me sick, but I like it.” Representative survey on health effects associated with fragrances. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4872828.v1