Since 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had a fragrance-free policy in place in all of its offices. If you are a migraine sufferer who finds that strong smells are one of your migraine triggers this kind of policy could be of particular interest.
Usually fragrance-free policies are easy to follow and roll out across a workplace, and in doing so, could help to reduce the number of migraine attacks employees suffer from.
The policy from the CDC states that;
“The goal of the policy is to promote and protect the health and well-being of CDC personnel, contractors, and visitors; to prevent work-related injury and illness, as well as harm and pollution of the environment; and to insure compliance with all applicable state, local, and federal regulations.”
“CDC will ensure that products used in the workplace, such as soaps, cleaning products, paints, etc., are safe and odor-free or emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the fullest extent feasible. Only green cleaning products shall be specified and used with CDC facilities and leased spaces unless otherwise approved by the Office of Health and Safety.”
It’s not just the environment and migraine sufferers which fragrance-free policies can benefit though. The use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.
Typical fragrance-free policies ban the use of fragrance-emitting devices of any kind (such as potpourri, spray or plug-in air fresheners, and reed diffusers), and prohibits the application of ‘personal care products’ (colognes, perfumes, scented skin or hair products etc.) while in work. They also ask employees not to apply strongly scented products before coming to work.
A fragrance-free policy is one which, according to nationally representative population surveys conducted in the US, Australia, and the UK, 47.8% would be supportive of. This is compared to only 20.4% who said they would not.
Given this, it could be worth asking your employers if your workplace is one which could benefit from a fragrance-free policy.