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Occupational Health Watch: DropperJanuary 2021 

Fragrance Ingredients & Work-Related Asthma

Fragrance ingredients such as those found in perfumes,  essential oils, air fresheners, and cleaning products can cause and trigger asthma. Fragrance products are used in many California workplaces and have been associated with over 350 cases of work-related asthma investigated by the Occupational Health Branch.

OHB’s Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) collaborated with research partners at the University of Melbourne, James Cook University, and RMIT University (formerly known as Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) to conduct chemical analyses of car air fresheners and essential oils. The results showed that hundreds of unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including asthma-causing chemicals and many other hazardous compounds, were found among the 12 car air fresheners and 14 essential oils analyzed. The results were published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health.

To help California workers and employers address fragrances and work-related asthma, WRAPP created a web page dedicated to this issue. It features publications in multiple languages, a model fragrance-free workplace policy, and resources to find products that do not contain fragrances.

Air fresheners can have ingredients that cause or trigger asthma.

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