Scent-Free Work Area

The Equity and Inclusion Office maintains a scent-free work area because we recognize that the effects of scented and chemical based products can and do cause serious problems for many people, especially those with asthma, allergies or other environmental illnesses. By proactively moving to minimize and eliminate scents and avoiding the use of chemical based products in our shared environment, we are acting to achieve and present a healthy and safe environment for all those “we share the air” with. To help maintain a scent-free work area, we ask visitors to refrain from using or wearing scented products. While we do act to provide people with advance notice of our scent-free work area, we accept that the occasional visitor may arrive wearing a scented product. In these rare instances, we simply ask that you alert the person greeting you so appropriate measures can be taken.

What are the Effects of Scented Products?

Scented products can cause a variety of health problems such as, but not limited to, sore throat, runny nose, sinus congestion, wheezing, shortness of breath, headache, mental confusion, inability to concentrate, flushing, irritability, nausea, muscle pain or migraine. Besides perfume, cologne and aftershave, some products that may contain added scents are: soap, lotion, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, make-up, sun screen, detergent, fabric softner, cleaning products or air freshener.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions specific to the use or application of the Equity and Inclusion Office’s scent-free work area, please contact a member of our staff directly. The Department of Health, Safety and Environment also has more information, helpful tips for dealing with scent-related issues, and links to further information available on their website. For additional information, the Canadian Human Rights Commission also has valuable resources:

  1. Accommodation for Environmental Sensitivities: Legal Perspectives, Research Report prepared by Cara Wilkie and David Baker, May 2007
  2. Sample Policy on Environment Sensitivities

Where does the “We Share the Air” logo come from?

We thought some of you may recognize this logo. Dalhousie University created the original “We Share the Air” logo as part of a University wide campaign to minimize scented products at their institution many years ago. Since then, a number of Canadian Universities, Colleges and Public School Districts have adopted various aspects of this campaign, which is exactly what we are doing here. We gratefully acknowledge and thank Dalhousie for their important work and their willingness to share resources.