Chemical sensitivity, asthma, and effects from fragranced consumer products: national population study in the United Kingdom

Steinemann, Anne (2019) Chemical sensitivity, asthma, and effects from fragranced consumer products: national population study in the United Kingdom. Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, 12 (4). pp. 371-377.

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Consumer products, such as those with a fragrance, can adversely affect air quality and health. This national study in the United Kingdom (UK) investigated the prevalence of chemical sensitivity, a condition associated with chemical pollutant exposures, and the medical diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). In addition, it investigated the co-occurrence of chemical sensitivity with asthma and asthma-like conditions, and with fragrance sensitivity (adverse health effects from fragranced consumer products). Using a nationally representative population sample (n = 1100), an online survey was conducted of adults in the UK, comprising England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The survey found that, across the UK population, 16.3% report chemical sensitivity; 6.6% medically diagnosed MCS; 25.3% are asthmatic, diagnosed with asthma (17.1%), an asthma-like condition (9.0%), or both; and 27.8% are fragrance sensitive. The conditions frequently co-occur: among the chemically sensitive, 57.0% are asthmatic and 77.7% are fragrance sensitive; and among asthmatics, 36.7% are chemically sensitive and 54.0% are fragrance sensitive. Air fresheners and deodorizers trigger health problems for 15.5% of the general population, 52.5% of chemically sensitive, and 38.8% of asthmatics. Disabling health problems can result from exposure to fragranced products for 41.7% of the chemically sensitive and 37.3% of asthmatics. Further, 21.2% of the chemically sensitive and 14.0% of asthmatics lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace. Results indicate that chemical sensitivity is widespread in the UK, affecting over 5.7 million adults, with over 2.3 million diagnosed MCS, 8.9 million asthmatics, and 9.8 million fragrance sensitive. Reducing chemical exposure to problematic sources, such as fragranced consumer products, is a critical step to reduce adverse health and societal effects.

Item ID: 58128
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-9326
Keywords: United Kingdom, Chemical sensitivity, Asthma, Fragranced consumer product, Fragrance, Fragrance-free policy, Indoor air quality
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 07:39
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 30%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320907 Sensory systems @ 20%
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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