CDPH: Fragrance-free Policies Can Help Prevent Work-related Asthma

Published October 11, 2017

A new webpage published by the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Work-related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) collects resources intended to help employers and workers address fragrances and work-related asthma. Fact sheets intended for both employers and workers are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. The new page also includes a model fragrance-free policy template that can be edited and customized for different workplaces, and links to resources for finding products that do not contain fragrances.

According to CDPH, fragranced products are used in many indoor workplaces—schools, hospitals, offices, and manufacturing facilities, for example—and have been associated with more than 300 cases of work-related asthma in California. A new analysis of work-related asthma cases tracked by WRAPP found that perfume was the ninth most common exposure reported by people with work-related asthma. The study, which was published online in the Journal of Asthma in March 2017 (subscription required), also found that almost a quarter of cases associated with fragrances were new-onset asthma cases in workers who reported no prior history of asthma.

“Our surveillance data show that fragrance use in the workplace is associated with [work-related asthma],” the authors write. “Prevention methods include employee education, enforced fragrance-free policies, well-designed ventilation systems, and good building maintenance.”

Learn more on the WRAPP webpage.