The next time you think about using scented cleaning products, personal care products or adding scents to areas of your hotel, think about your guests and your associates. According to a June 2019 study by Anne Steinemann entitled, “International Prevalence of fragrance sensitivity,” 32 percent of adults reported fragrance sensitivity. To get to the 32 percent, surveys were conducted in four countries—United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and Sweden. Commonly reported health problems include respiratory difficulties (16.7 percent), mucosal symptoms (13.2 percent), migraine headaches (12.6 percent), skin rashes (9.1 percent), and asthma attacks (7.0 percent). For 9.5 percent of the population, the severity of health effects can be considered disabling. Further, 9 percent of the population have lost workdays or lost a job, in the past year, due to illness from fragranced product exposure in the workplace.
Survey respondents were asked if they experience adverse health effects from a room cleaned with fragranced cleaning products. Almost 20 percent in the United States said yes. In the three other countries, about 14 percent said yes. Thirty-three percent of those in the United States experiencing adverse effects from cleaning products said they experienced migraines. Twenty percent said they had asthma attacks. Seventy-eight percent of those in Sweden said the same. About 20 percent across the board said they would leave a business quickly because of a fragranced product. A total of 60.7 percent would choose a hotel without fragranced air (compared to 22.1 percent with fragranced air).