Fragranced consumer products and effects on asthmatics: an international population-based study

Steinemann, Anne, and Goodman, Nigel (2019) Fragranced consumer products and effects on asthmatics: an international population-based study. Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, 12 (6). pp. 643-649.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (214kB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Asthma is an international concern, with risks linked to air pollutants. Fragranced consumer products, such as air fresheners and cleaning supplies, have been associated with health problems such as asthma attacks and breathing difficulties. This study investigates the health and societal effects of fragranced products on asthmatics in four countries: United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and Sweden. Nationally representative population surveys (n = 1137; 1098; 1100; 1100) found that, across the four countries, 26.0% of adults (n = 1151) are asthmatic, reporting medically diagnosed asthma (15.8%), an asthma-like condition (11.1%), or both. Among these asthmatics, 57.8% report adverse health effects, including asthma attacks (25.0%), respiratory problems (37.7%), and migraine headaches (22.6%), from exposure to fragranced products. In particular, 36.7% of asthmatics report health problems from air fresheners or deodorizers, 18.1% from the scent of laundry products coming from a dryer vent, 32.9% from being in a room cleaned with scented products, 38.7% from being near someone wearing a fragranced product, and 37.5% from other types of fragranced products. For 24.1% of asthmatics, health problems from fragranced products are potentially disabling. Further, 20.6% of asthmatics have lost workdays or lost a job, in the past year, due to fragranced product exposure in the workplace. Fragrance-free environments received widespread support. More than twice as many individuals, both asthmatics as well as non-asthmatics, would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities and professionals, airplanes, and hotels were fragrance-free rather than fragranced. This study provides evidence that asthmatics can be profoundly, adversely, and disproportionately affected by exposure to fragranced consumer products. Moreover, the study points to a relatively straightforward and cost-effective approach to reduce risks; namely, to reduce exposure to fragranced products.

Item ID: 60750
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-9326
Keywords: Asthma, Asthma-like condition, Asthmatic, Fragranced consumer products, Indoor air quality, Fragrance, Health effects, Volatile organic compounds
Copyright Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use,distribution, and reproductionin any medium, provided you giveappropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a linkto the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Funders: National Environmental Science Programme (NESP), CSIRO Land and Water
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 01:52
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified @ 75%
40 ENGINEERING > 4004 Chemical engineering > 400499 Chemical engineering not elsewhere classified @ 25%
Downloads: Total: 458
Last 12 Months: 17
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page