Prevalence of Fragrance Sensitivity in the American Population
This study determined the percentages of individuals who report adverse effects from exposure to fragranced products in the U.S. population and in subpopulations of those with asthma or chemical sensitivity. Data were collected through telephone interviews from two geographically weighted, random samples of the continental U.S. in two surveys during 20022003 and 20052006 (1,057 and 1,058 cases, respectively). Respondents were asked if they find being next to someone wearing a scented product irritating or appealing; if they have headaches, breathing difficulties, or other problems when exposed to air fresheners or deodorizers; and if they are irritated by the scent from laundry products, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets that are vented outside. Results aggregated from both surveys found that 30.5% of the general population reported scented products on others irritating, 19% reported adverse health effects from air fresheners, and 10.9% reported irritation by scented laundry products vented outside. This study reveals that a considerable percentage of the U.S. population reports adverse health effects or irritation from fragranced products, with higher percentages among those with asthma and chemical sensitivity.