Sample Letter for Establishments Using Air Fresheners and Fragranced Products

Hello, world. How’s everyone doing amidst this pandemic? Things sure have turned into an absolute circus lately, and I worry that those of us who already had limited access to many establishments will be forced even farther away as businesses employ the use of stronger chemicals and fragranced cleaners to sanitize surfaces and restrooms.

Dealing with the increase of chemicals and fragrances used indoors is going to turn into a huge problem for many people around the world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if lawsuits become the norm in the coming months and years.

I know this may be a drop in the ocean, but I still wanted to share a letter I formulated a few years ago and have used numerous times. Some of the health information written in the letter below is from Dr. Anne Steinemann and is used here with her permission.

Please feel free to modify the first paragraph to suit your needs, copy and paste the text below for use in emails, letters, and flyers.

Sample Letter

I am writing this letter because I recently visited your establishment. I was made very sick after being exposed to air fresheners in the bathroom, and the overpowering essential oils diffused in the main areas.

As a concerned consumer, I am asking that your establishment discontinue these practices to accommodate people who suffer disabling reactions to these chemicals.

A large percentage of the population is severely allergic and or chemically sensitive to fragrances in air fresheners and chemical compounds in essential oils.

Did you know that the use of a single air freshener in your establishment and the use of essential oils and fragranced disinfectants can violate the Americans with Disabilities Act? Because people who suffer disabling health effects from air fresheners, fragranced disinfectants, and essential oils cannot access the facility such as a restroom?

People can have seizures, breathing attacks, an anaphylaxis episode, or lose consciousness if exposed to air fresheners, fragranced disinfectants, and essential oils, making it a liability risk for your establishment.

Please use ventilation instead of chemicals and consider removing sources of odors from your restrooms frequently rather than masking them with chemicals.

Please also consider removing all diffused essential oils, scented hand soaps, scented sprays, and wall-mounted air fresheners from this establishment to accommodate those who suffer from disabilities.

I would hope that (establishment name) would not expect a disabled person to park at the end of the parking lot because (establishment name) doesn’t have the required amount of handicapped parking. I would also hope that you would not expect someone in a wheelchair to manage in a small bathroom stall.

In the same way, please do not deny consumers with other disabilities the right to breathe clean air in your _______.

If you would like more information, please feel free to visit the websites below.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. I hope to revisit your _____ in the future and see the changes.  


2 thoughts on “Sample Letter for Establishments Using Air Fresheners and Fragranced Products

  1. Hi,

    Would you be willing to talk with our writer, Josh McCormack, about the problems chemically intolerant individuals are facing during this pandemic? Perhaps share a personal story or two?

    I am sending Josh your recent blog which is so relevant to the current situation. Josh has written several articles for us and has been learning about the challenges so many people face which have been magnified by the requirements to shelter in place, sometimes with others who may use fragrances, cosmetics, hairspray, nail polish, etc. (also on the QEESI). Josh always incorporates a link to our website and invites readers to take the QEESI and our 3-question screener, the BREESI.

    I’ll send you my recent letter to the editor/commentary on smokers and COVID-19 which was published by the San Antonio Express-News. Josh is also writing articles in support of our efforts to ban smoking in multifamily residences—a problem that is escalating as people remain at home and understandably are anxious. However, they are generating smoke particles that contaminate others’ living spaces, and placing the elderly, the young and chemically susceptible individuals at increased risk from the virus.

    Josh—disinfectants, air fresheners, bleach, phenolic disinfectants (those cleaners whose names end in -ol) are all items on the QEESI which can trigger severe symptoms that persist for hours or days.

    I’m happy to discuss further by phone. Let me know when might be convenient. Which cleaners seem to be better tolerated? How about “masks”?
    Can we ask your subscribers about their experiences?

    Thanks for your help. I’ll ask Josh to introduce himself and send you a sample of his work (Josh, perhaps the piece your write about the Haywards?)

    Thank you for any help you can give. Of course, we’d like to quote you and credit you for your work.

    Claudia S. Miller, MD, MS
    Professor Emeritus
    Department of Family and Community Medicine
    University of Texas Health Science Center- San Antonio
    Environmental Scientific Consultant
    Marilyn Brachman Hoffman Foundation

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