I Dream…

…that one day fragrance will be treated like smoking. It’s just as, if not more, harmful. There are so many sources, I barely know where to start. Perfumes, shampoos, deodorants, facial mists, aftershaves, lotions, air “fresheners” (poison) in changerooms and bathrooms, and sprayed through the air systems in some hotels, and laundry soaps. Drier sheets belch unnecessary air pollution, stinking up half a square block. The scent sticks to clothing and off gasses everywhere, drowning out diesel in bus loops. Entire downtowns and large open areas reek of chemical smells. The chemicals can trigger asthma and skin rashes in sensitive individuals.Even if not allergic, why is it okay for certain persons to add even more perfume on top of what comes from “regular products” to choke the air out of a room and force everyone to smell the scent of their choice?

Perfumes have changed my life. I barely date. I fear shaking hands and social hugs and avoid both. I rarely attend public events. I’ve taped the vents in my apartment and weather-stripped my door so other people’s pop and cleaning chemicals don’t seep in. I mostly leave my windows closed because of smells from the drier. Still, some are so strong they enter through gaps in the windows. I buy ionizers and air filters for home and work. I carry masks and coffee beans. I’ve now stopped using tissues because they absorb so much scent from other products.  Toilet paper is more scent-free. I get through the bus and the gym. Often my hair absorbs the odors of others and I spray it with vinegar. Shopping has lost its appeal. Not only do malls smell, but the clothes. I often leave purchases on the balcony to off-gas for weeks in the rain. I’ve had reactions to new furniture too.

So in this day when we’re protesting so much, (this week in Vancouver the opening of the new Trump tower) I want to voice my distressing and pervasive problem few people pay enough attention to. Fortunately, though, I think MOST people are aware and don’t smell or use minimal scent.

And to answer a question I’m often asked: what do I use to wash my clothes? Soap nuts or unscented organic – same for dishes, body, and hair.


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