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Dear Editor:

Hmmmmm, do I detect a new definition of a "balanced" article in "Perfume no bed of roses for noses" by Robert Walker?

Six paragraphs explaining the excellent reasons for educating "... patients, staff and visitors about the hazards of using personal scented products ..."

Six paragraphs that contain the industry whine about people "... losing their rights for the sake of a few people who are sensitive."

A quick observer might point out that it is actually seven-five as the last paragraph is about schools and municipal buildings developing "some sort of scent policy." However, as it follows "'Individual freedoms are pretty quick to be removed if given half a chance by anyone who has some kind of special interest'," one feels that last paragraph is really a call to arms of the odorivectors.

I'm all for personal rights of individuals, but not at the health expense of all.

Rather than join the whine Personal Freedoms Stripped, let's see some investigative reporting on the fragrance industry.

Letter truncated here by the Herald.

You could begin your search with a couple of sites: Fragranced Products Information Network and the Environmental Health Network at

Why should synthetic chemical fragrance formulations remain protected by trade secret laws? Those laws do nothing to protect the industry from "rip-off scents." Where trade secret laws have proved invaluable to the industry is in protecting it from an informed consumership ... and astute doctors.

The industry would have you believe their products are benign. They would also have you believe their products "... meet or exceed the requirement of the Federal Public Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act." See "Some say a popular perfume is a health danger!!"

If one realizes the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the fragrance industry, that is right much of a non-statement, which sounds convincing to the uninformed.

See what the FDA says: "Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by FDA before they are sold to the public. FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing. If, however, the safety of a cosmetic product has not been substantiated, the product's label must read 'WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined.'"

The industry often falls back on the line that fragrances have been used for thousands of years. That's true. But modern formulations have not been used for thousands of years. Nor has there ever been such a proliferation of superfluously scented personal care, cleaning and maintenance products.

Personal rights are being stripped all right -- starting with everyone being forced to inhale superfluous toxins, that a few choose to load up on for work, school, seeing the doctor, enjoying the theater. Etc. "Healthy" individuals are often viewed as healthy only because they still can load up on pharmaceuticals to mask their symptoms.

The schools, municipal buildings and all other entities, which have developed scent policies, are showing overt concern for public health. Fragrances are volatile organic compounds and as such become one with the air we all breathe. Therefore, any entity serving the public should have a care for air and not only develop policies curtailing the use of scented personal care products, but also use fragrance-free cleaning and maintenance products. See NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) "Common Indoor Air Pollutants"

No one is saying anything against one's personal right to enjoy perfume ... just do so in your own home among consenting -- NOT PREGNANT -- adults. Spare the children ... from fetal stage on. See EHN's "ALERT to pregnant women" at

Barbara Wilkie
(My convention is prevention)

Abridged version of my letter appears online at Calgary Herald

Search for: "bed of roses" or "Wilkie"
"A whine's bouquet " (their title, not mine)
(00/05/25) Re "Perfume no bed of roses for noses" Calgary Herald May 14.

The Herald truncated the letter at just the right spot, as the rest of the info is mainly just that ... info for them to begin researching a fragrance industry story. Let's hope they do! -- barb

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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. Learn from the work of Julia Kendall, get The BEST of the Reactor, join EHN and receive The New Reactor. See what influence the Chemical Manufacturers have had against those of us with EI. The URL for this page is