Creating a Healthy, Scent-free Environment

Creating a healthy workplace for employees is a priority for the Faculty of Engineering. Due to health concerns arising from exposure to scented products, the Faculty of Engineering is committed to providing a scent-free environment for all students, employees and visitors in engineering buildings.

One example of this is the use of low-VOC materials used in the construction of the Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering. This is a commitment to a healthy environment that we now want to extend to our daily habits.

Please be respectful of others. We all play a crucial role in creating and maintaining a healthy workplace for our colleagues, students and visitors. We request that, as much as possible, all faculty and staff remove and minimize the use of scented products. 

Here are resources you can use to help communicate this important message:

“The U of A Faculty of Engineering is a scent and fragrance-free environment. Please be considerate. Do not wear fragrances, perfumes, aftershave or scented sprays. Use unscented personal care products.”

Organizations are increasingly adopting scent-free policies. Accommodation for individuals who experience health effects due to exposure to scents is required under both provincial and federal human rights legislation. In 2016, Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health published a random sample study of over 1,100 individuals in the U.S. In this research, 35 per cent of those surveyed reported serious health effects from exposure to artificial scents, 15 per cent had lost workdays due to fragrance exposure, and over 50 per cent preferred a fragrance-free environment. Notably, similar results continue to be replicated in the research. 

A wide range of products contain artificial scents that may trigger a health reaction. Most commonly, these products can include: cologne, aftershave, perfume, scented lotion, air fresheners, essential oil diffusers, and scented candles. In some individuals, scents trigger reactions including: asthma attacks, migraine headaches, serious skin reactions, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, weakness, and general upper respiratory symptoms.

We request that, as much as possible, all faculty, staff, students and visitors remove and minimize the use of scented products.