New research shows sensitivity to smells can be debilitating

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Nearly 35-percent of Americans reported health problems when exposed to common fragrant consumer products. (KFSN)

Melissa Eboli works from home most days where she knows she can avoid smells that make her sick.

"If I were around somebody that had strong perfume on or was smoking a cigarette, the smells were bothering me and putting me into a full-blown asthma attack."

Eboli's doctor helped her figure out that the smells were the culprit and that her sensitivity is severe.

"There was times when I've had meetings when, unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to drive to because I might have been exposed to some sort of external pollutant."

New research shows the risk is real-- nearly 35-percent of Americans reported health problems when exposed to common fragrant consumer products like air fresheners and deodorizers, cleaning supplies and personal care products.

"These types of health effects included asthma attacks, migraine headaches, dizziness, seizures, and skin rashes," said Dr. Anne Steinemann, University of Melbourne.

Dr. Steinemann led the research and said it does not require a super sensitive nose to be impacted physically or financially.

"Over 15-percent of Americans have lost days at work or lost a job just in the past year from exposure to common fragrance consumer products in the workplace."

Fragrance sensitivity, or multiple chemical sensitivities, can even be considered a disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now some companies are getting proactive.

"An immediate step would be to implement a fragrance-free policy," said Dr. Steinemann.

Eboli does her best to avoid triggers, but she also thinks society needs to wake up and smell the potentially debilitating situation.

"I wish that others would be more compassionate to understanding that there are people that are sensitive to smells and scents."

Experts point out the problem goes beyond employees' potential health problems and can impact a business's bottom line in terms of lost productivity and work days.
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