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The Everyday Products Causing Migraines, Asthma & Seizures

People are turning their noses up at fragranced household products, with more than a third of people complaining they make them sick.

University of Melbourne researcher Professor Anne Steinemann has surveyed thousands of Australians and Americans and found that many can suffer migraines, asthma attacks, and seizures after a whiff of air fresheners, soaps, candles and laundry detergents.


"These are products that are supposed to be pleasing but they're making people sick," she told AAP.

More than half said they would prefer fragrance-free workplaces, hotels and planes, while more than 20 per cent would leave a business abruptly if they could smell air fresheners or a similar fragranced product.

Prof Steinemann said fragrance-free policies should be considered by businesses because the issue extends beyond personal health to incorporate public rights and economic profit.


"This isn't just someone saying they don't happen to like the aroma," she said.

"People are reporting effects such as dizziness and cognitive problems which impacts upon workplace performance."

"Fragrances are pervasive, they are in hundreds of different products in Australian society," she said.

"People should be able to access public spaces without concern over reactions.

"The most prevalent and highest concentrations of pollutants within indoor spaces are fragrance compounds."

Prof Steinemann suggests scrapping the use of air fresheners altogether.


* Respiratory problems: coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath (18.6pct)

* Mucosal symptoms: watery/ red eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing (16.2pct)

* Migraine headaches (15.7pct)

* Skin problems: rashes, hives, tingling skin, dermatitis (10.6pct)

* Asthma attacks (8 pct)

Have fragranced household products ever made you sick? Tell us your story in the comments section below. 

AAP / Staff Writers

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