A friend of mine wears a personal air filtration system around her neck. She suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities and is triggered by any number of fragrances. If someone walks in the room with heavily scented shampoo, perfume, or even lip gloss, or if someone uses smelly chemical products like dry-erase markers for the whiteboard, she can no longer function at her best. Brain fog, shortness of breath and headaches set in. Many schools and workplaces have identified fragrance as an impediment to better indoor air quality and have launched a fragrance-free or scent smart program. At EcoSmart Products we know the importance of offering non-toxic, low-odor products for classrooms, and our markers are helping schools go fragrance-free. Here are simple tips to help your school clear the air.
Tip #1: Send out a memo or newsletter about why it is important to go fragrance-free at your school or workplace. Getting people on board with the program is the best strategy for success. Give examples of products that carry a heavy scent, such as certain laundry detergents and popular grooming products like hair gel, hairspray and aftershave. Provide a list of alternative products that you know to be unscented and easily available. Ask that personal products be checked for the words ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’ listed as an ingredient.
Tip #2: Consult with the custodians or cleaning staff about cleaning products that contain harsh ingredients like ammonia and bleach. Other smelly products like air fresheners, pot pourri and the dreaded pink soap in bathroom soap dispensers can just be omitted. There are many eco certified cleaning products that are effective and better for our health.
Tip #3: Consult with staff about which products regularly used around the office and classrooms contain potentially harmful chemicals and affect ideal indoor air quality. Smelly permanent markers or dry-erase markers for the whiteboard can be replaced with non-toxic, low-odor ones (EcoSmart’s markers are based in a denatured alcohol rather than harsh solvents like xylene and toluene). Art supplies such as paints, clays and glues can create a cocktail of noxious VOC chemicals, especially in enclosed areas like a classroom.
Tip #4: Make it a fun project for everyone! Have groups of students or staff make signs that remind everyone of the fragrance-free policy, such as: “Welcome to our Scent Smart School/Office”. Create a campaign for the most creative ways to remind people to use non-toxic, fragrance-free products.
It won’t be long before your school or workplace has an established fragrance-free space, a place for everyone to breathe a breath of fresh air!