Ask the Mayo Clinic to Establish a Fragrance-Free Policy to Protect Sensitive Patients

Target: Mayo Clinic

Goal: Establish a fragrance-free policy on hospital grounds

Fragrances such as perfumes and colognes contain concentrated chemical compounds that irritate many people’s breathing, especially those with chemical sensitivities or asthma. Ask the Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected medical facilities in the nation, to respect the needs of these individuals and declare its hospital fragrance-free.

A typical perfume contains several hundred chemicals, most of which are synthetic. Individuals who are sensitive may experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, or other allergic symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose, or a sore throat. Additionally, some natural health practitioners state that these compounds may be harmful to the body. Those who use synthetic fragrances may experience skin and respiratory reactions as well. Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients in fragrances, making it difficult to determine which particular chemicals might pose a risk.

Fragrances also pose a threat to the environment because they are often derived from petroleum and eventually wash into the water supply. According to Stanford University, even low concentrations of scented bath products have been shown to damage the ability of aquatic wildlife to clear toxins from their bodies. It is possible this risk would extend to humans as well.

Numerous facilities are establishing fragrance-free policies to protect the health of sensitive individuals as well as to reduce the distraction caused by excessive use of scents. These policies require employees and encourage or sometimes require visitors to avoid wearing perfume or cologne or using scented products. Facility bathrooms are stocked with unscented soap and lotion instead of scented varieties. This is becoming increasingly common in healthcare facilities.

As the employer of over 50,000 employees and serving over 1 million patients, the Mayo Clinic is well-poised to positively affect many people. Urge the Mayo Clinic to establish a fragrance-free policy to protect sensitive individuals and reduce its environmental impact.


Dear Mayo Clinic:

Many people are sensitive to scented products such as perfumes and colognes and suffer allergic symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a runny nose, or itchy eyes when exposed to these products. Please consider the needs of sensitive patients and set a fragrance-free policy at Mayo Clinic.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, approximately 12.6% of the study population reported some chemical hypersensitivity. Perfume is a common irritant and contains potentially hazardous chemicals such as acetone, benzaldehyde, and a-terpiniol. Sensitive people report eye and respiratory irritation, nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms. Patients go to the hospital to get well and should not be exposed to unnecessary discomfort.

Reducing fragrances also benefits the environment. The vast majority of fragrances are derived from petroleum, which is a limited and polluting resource. Scented products are eventually washed into the water system, where they have been shown to harm wildlife.

Many companies have successfully introduced fragrance-free policies that require employees to avoid using perfumes, colognes, or other scented products and encourage visitors to do the same.

Please protect the needs of sensitive patients and reduce the clinic’s environmental impact by establishing a fragrance-free policy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: SEFA

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One Comment

  1. The overload of fragrance in our society will be what lead was to Rome. These compounds are toxic, not biodegradable, cause every chronic disease known to animal life and are a major contributor to global warming. If one load of laundry fumes perfumes a whole neighborhood, isn’t this overkill?

    Another example of corporate lobbying and corruption masquerading under high efficiency, green technology, where water has been replaced with harmful volatile organic compounds and petroleum distillates.

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