Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.


EHN [of California]
P.O. Box 1155
Larkspur, California, 94977-0074

Support and Information Line
(SAIL) 415.541.5075
A 501 (c) (3) non profit agency.

Perfumes and Asthma
Don't Mix

The following is set up for a brochure on 8.5 x11 paper, landscape mode, folded in thirds. Font, Helvitica 12, or other non-serif font unless otherwise indicated; leading auto.

Replace all double hyphens below with "em" dashes. Change double and single quotes to "smart" quotes in your page layout program. Other adjustments to be made depending upon your software and printer.

My hope is that everyone will make this information available to his/her healthcare providers. It is not only the health of the MCSer at stake here, as important a recognition as that would be, but also the health of people with asthma, emphysema, and other upper and lower respiratory diseases (including laryngitis); congenital heart failure; migraines and other neurological diseases. ETC. Indeed, most people going to a health care facility are there because they are sick. So, who needs additional petrochemical pollution?

Let us all remember the Hippocratic oath, in which doctors pledge: FIRST DO NO HARM. With that in mind, strong efforts should be made to replace the superfluous toxins found in the plethora of perfumed cleaning and maintenance products used in the health care facilities. Efforts should also be made to return to the days when staff were not supposed to use perfume.

These days, we can add a reminder that staff, patients and visitors should use personal care products and cosmetics that are truly free of fragrance. Safer substitutes exist and are becoming readily available. Everybody's body burden should be lightened by purchasing safer products. The word "fragrance" on a label means pollution in the air . . . AND in the bodies of users and nonusers.

If a facility claims to be "green," then it will not purchase and use products that contain petrochemically derived fragrances. (U.S. DOI's Traditional Versus 'Green' Cleaning Products states that green products: "Must not contain petrochemical-derived fragrances." See

If you decide to reproduce this brochure, copy it on light colored paper so others may copy.

The original version is set up as an 8.5 x 11 page, landscape mode, folded in half . It is available on the site of Anderson Laboratories




My notes are in Italics; do not copy them. However, if Italics appears within the text that is obviously part of the brochure's information, so be sure to copy.

Text panels start 3/8 inch from top of page. Panels are 3 1/8" wide, 7 3/4 ' long, left to right. But keep in mind, this is set up to print out for folding using my current equipment. Make adjustments accordingly for your printer.

Copy text and place in your page layout program in the following order. Top to bottom below becomes left to right in your page layout program.

Page 1, first panel, left side of page layout program. Title is Helvetica 12 point, bold. Main text is Helvetica 10 point, normal, auto leading.

A few fragrance ingredients


CAS (Chemical Abstract Services) numbers provided.
  • Acetic acid, benzyl ester - 40-11-4 -- Target
    organs: nerves, kidneys; possible carcinogen.
  • Benzyl alcohol - 100-51-6 -- Central Ner-
    vous System (CNS) depressant.
  • Citral - 5392-40-5 -- Possible risk of harm to
    the unborn child. Skin sensitizer, irritant. Over
    exposure may cause reproductive disorders.
  • p-Cresol, 2,6-di-tert-butyl - 128-37-0 --
    Target organ: lungs; possible carcinogen.
  • Coumarin - 91-64-5 -- Animal carcinogen.
  • p-Cymene - 99-87-6 -- Chronic effects: dam-
    age to lungs, liver, kidneys; Target organ: CNS.
  • Diethyl phthalate - 84-66-2 -- Possible risk
    of congenital malformation in the fetus; targets
  • Iso E Super - 54464-57-2 -- No publicly
    published health and safety data.
  • Musk ketone - 81-14-1 -- Suspected to in-
    crease the carcinogenic effects of other
    materials. Found in blood, fat tissue, and
    breast milk. May cross placental barrier.
  • Musk xylene - 81-15-2 -- Carcinogenic in
    animal studies. Found in blood, fat tissue and
    breast milk. May cross placental barrier.
  • 6-Octen-1-ol, 3,7-dimethyl - 106-22-9 --
    Extremely destructive to the tissue of the mu-
    cous membranes and upper respiratory tract.
  • Toluene - 108-88-3 -- Target organs: liver,
    kidneys, brain, bladder. One of nine major
    starting materials for synthesis of fragrance
  • 4-Vinylphenol - 2628-17-3 -- Toxic. May
    impair fertility. Toxic by inhalation. Respiratory
    and skin sensitizer.
  • 2,6-Xylenol - 576-26-1 -- Toxic. Harmful by
    inhalation. Material is extremely destructive
    to upper respiratory system, eyes, and skin.
Source info is Helvetica 8.5 (Don't copy this note, but do copy and use the source info and credit line: Betty Bridges, RN, below.)

*Sources for information: MSDS sheets from Aldrich Chem-
ical Company, National Toxicology Program Studies, and
other medical and scientific literature. -- Betty Bridges, RN


Page 1, center panel. When folded this becomes the mailer section.

. There will be plenty of room on the rest of the panel to affix a mailing label and postage.

This panel is set up with mailing return postal information at upper edge of panel, reading right to left, turned perpendicular to other text flow. EHN's brochure contains the following information, placed below our logo and return address.

Remember, this text, plus your return postal information gets turned so the top of it is at the top and right side of the panel. If this doesn't make sense yet, try folding a sheet of paper in thirds and marking it to reflect a mailer.

With the following text, I used Helvetica 10 -- barb

Make wise purchases.
Use safer alternatives.

The National Institute for
Environmental Health
Sciences includes fragrances
and pesticides in its document,
Common Indoor Air Pollutants.

US DOI: Green "must not contain
petrochemical-derived fragrance."

Page 1, right panel, which becomes the cover when folded. Title is 18 pt. Helvetica, centered. Other text is Helvetical 12, bold and Italics as appears below.

Perfumes and Asthma
Don't Mix


Perfumes can trigger an asthma attack.
American Lung Association

Common asthma triggers include
perfume and hair spray.

US Food and Drug Administration

Scented products can worsen asthma symptoms.
National Institutes of Health: Heart, Lung,
and Blood Institute

Perfumes can trigger asthma attacks.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of

Toxic chemicals in fragrance products:
RC Anderson and JH Anderson. "Acute
toxic effects of fragrance products"
Archives of Environmental Health
53: 138-146 (1998).

Additional information online:


Page 2, inside brochure, left panel.

Fragrance: A common asthma trigger!


Asthma can be triggered by perfume
exposure via lungs and eyes.

Dr. Eva Millqvist and colleagues, Univer-
sity of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Over four thousand Americans die
each year because of asthma attacks.

"Asthma, Air Quality, and Environmental
Justice ..." (

Scents in cologne, after shave and
other personal care products ã and in
cleaning products ã trigger asthma.


Medical literature:

  • Colognes decrease air flow in asthmatics. C Shim and MH Williams."Effects of
    odors in asthma." American Journal of


  • Perfumed magazine inserts
    decrease air flow in asthmatics.
    P Kumar et al. "Inhalation challenge
    effects of perfume scent strips in
    patients with asthma." Annals of
    Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology


  • Perfumed hair sprays decrease air
    flow in asthmatics.

    E Zuskin and A Bouhuys. "Acute
    airway responses to hair spray
    preparations." New England J. Medicine


Page 2, middle panel.

How can we protect asthmatics from dangerous exposures to scented products?

  • Medical offices can be "fragrance-
    free" zones.
  • Doctors, nurses, patients and visitors
    can avoid wearing aftershave, per-
    fume, cologne, and other scented
  • Hospitals can discourage use of
    scented products. See Health Care
    Without Harm (
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital has a
    fragrance-reduction policy. (B &W's
    Hospital Personnel Policy Manual.)
  • Kaiser Permanente Health Care Sys-
    tem discourages patients' use of
    scented products.
  • DOI's green cleaning states: "Must
    not contain petrochemical-derived
    fragrances." (
  • Schools and cities reduce scents.
    • Dalhousie University avoids scents.
    • Schools can follow the guidelines
      of the National Institutes of Health
    • All public events in Shutesbury MA
      strive to be fragrance-free.
    • Berkeley, CA: "The City Council
      requests that people refrain from
      wearing scented products to the


Page 2, right panel . . . inside of brochure.

When folding, and you are looking at the inside of the brochure, this panel folds in first and then the left panel folds over it.

For more information: American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)

Anderson Laboratories, Inc. (ALI)

Environmental Health Network (EHN)

Fragranced Products Information
Network (FPIN)

HealthCare Without Harm

Brochure developed by:
Julius H. Anderson, M.D.Ph.D.(ALI);
Betty Bridges, R.N. (FPIN);
Lynn Lawson, M.A. (Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, & Chemical
Sensitivity Coalition of Chicago);
Lawrence A Plumlee, M.D. (Chemical
Sensitivity Disorders Association); and
Barbara Wilkie (EHN).

You may replace EHN information below with that of your own agency. I've included EHN's just so you get a feel for the complete panel. If you use this as the basis of your brochure, it would be gracious to acknowledge EHN ( -- barb

Distributed by:

Environmental Health Network
providing support,
advocacy and information
to the chemically and
electrically injured since 1988

P.O. Box 1155
Larkspur, CA 94977-1155


EHN's web site -- "A great place to begin your research."


EHN's Contact Information

EHN's HomePage

FDA Citizen Petition 99P-1340 -- a golden opportunity for you to inform the FDA about
the adverse events you suffer due to fragrances in personal care products and cosmetics.


If you have questions about EHN, MCS, or comments about the web page, email
Please put EHN, NR, MCS or WWW on your subject line. Thanks.

As with all organizations, EHN depends upon your contributions of
time and energy, as well as your support through membership.
We thank you.

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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. EHN is a member -- #49 -- of The Community Thrift Store in San Francisco. The Community Thrift Store serves over 200 charities. The URL for EHN's homepage is