Canada’s top medical journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), says
“Artificial scents have no place in our hospitals“
“These patients may be involuntarily exposed to artificial scents from staff, other patients and visitors, resulting in worsening of their clinical condition. As patients,
family members and emergency physicians will attest, the attacks can be quite sudden and serious. There is little justification for continuing to tolerate artificial scents in our
“We have much to learn about the mechanisms underlying
scent sensitivity, but we know enough now to take precautionary measures in our hospitals. Many public places promote a scent-free environment. Some hospitals also do so. But it is not policy in all Canadian hospitals, and it is not required in hospital accreditation standards.
The high prevalence of asthma and its adverse effects on health and productivity argue strongly for greater consideration of the air we breathe in our health care centres.
Hospital environments free from artificial scents should become a uniform policy, promoting the safety of patients, staff and visitors alike.
As education and promotion programs have some effect on this practice, these programs too ought to be part of our accreditation standards.
Until this happens, individual hospitals must take the lead, particularly in spaces where susceptible patients wait.”
This is of extreme importance, as so many people are adversely affected by toxic chemicals, and I applaud CMAJ for taking steps to encourage the protection of all people and patients, especially in health care environments.
However, I also have to point out that the use of the word “artificial” can lead some people to believe that essential oils are ok. That could be just as problematic:
Clean air is healthy air. We need to stop filling our air with pollutants of all kinds, and use ventilation and filtration for what remains.