Perfume bottle (File: AP Graphics)
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
Wearing perfume or after-shave? You're not allowed in here.
That's the message some government offices and hospitals are giving visitors.
Tuttle, Okla., warns on its website and in signs that visitors to City Hall must "remain at the front of the building" if they're wearing fragrances. "Every now and then, you get some people who think it's stupid," says City Manager Tim Young, but fragrance-free air is a relief for allergy sufferers.
Portland, Ore., banned fragrance use by city workers last year and asked custodians to use unscented cleaning products.
Lancaster, Pa., allergist Clark Kaufman says fragrances can trigger reactions in people with underlying allergies, asthma and other conditions and lead to respiratory infections. "I equate it with cigarette smoke," he says.
Elena Solovyov of the International Fragrance Association says industry statistics show "a growing trend" of scent use in hospitals and hospitality businesses. The industry group believes fragrance use "should be guided by personal courtesy and common sense, not by policies or procedures," she says.
•Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Wash., asks employees and visitors to skip scents and suggests that visitors choose "less fragrant" flowers, spokeswoman Jacquie Goodwill says.
•The parks and recreation department in Jefferson City, Mo., asks people attending meetings and programs to "remain as fragrance-free as possible," says parks director Bill Lockwood.
•Windom Area Hospital in Windom, Minn., has been fragrance-free since 1999. "At first there was some grumbling," human resources director Katie Slette says. "Now it's our new normal."