Fabric Softeners Become a Health Issue in Japan

The popularity of scented fabric softeners is creating a backlash in Japan, the Wall Street Journal reports in a December 2013 front-page story. The Japanese media calls it an issue of "smell harassment." Clean-air advocates say it's a matter of public health.

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Asking Safeway: Who Will Mind the Store?

Yesterday, I gladly joined the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign to ask retailers to do a far better job of screening their products for hazardous chemicals. The group has developed a list of 100 plus chemicals identified by scientists or regulators as hazardous, including such substances as triclosan, which was featured in the recent Dateline piece, and parabens.

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Hospitals Need a ‘No-Fragrance’ Rule

My 85-year-old mother recently had to go to the hospital emergency room for a subdural hematoma. She’s very sensitive to fragrances. Members of her bridge club and singing group know this and respect her wish for no fragrances. Otherwise her eyes and nose water, she gets headaches and has difficulty breathing.

Hospital personnel wheel gurney

Hospitals need to enforce rules because fragrances can aggravate the conditions of patients. Photo: U.S. Navy.

At the ER, a nurse who was very friendly smelled so strongly that I asked him not to come close. It was the beginning of the shift. He apologized and washed it off, thankfully, but he needed to hear this from a patient’s mother who is also a doctor! I do plan to contact the director of nursing services.

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TILTed in China

China’s air pollution is so bad that I can imagine doctors’ offices there are filled with sick people. And I suspect many patients have TILT, and they won’t be diagnosed correctly or get well.

Chinese flag

China unfortunately is a perfect environment for TILT. Years of economic expansion have polluted waterways and loaded the air with contaminants.

TILT is a disorder caused by exposure to harmful chemicals. The chemical exposures can be at constant low levels, such as in China, or result from an acute event such as exposure to a pesticide.

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How to Say ‘It’s OK to Not Wear Cologne’

How can people convey to others that it’s OK to not wear cologne? A friend of mine does this very well.

Depending on the setting, she will say something like, “This is going to sound strange, but I want to compliment you on not wearing a lot of cologne or fragrance. I have a terrible allergy to fragrances and sometimes it is really hard for me to find people who I can sit next to without developing a headache.”

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Dr. Claudia Miller
Department of Family & Community Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive (222 MCS)
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

emailButton mail@drclaudiamiller.com

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For information on how you can support Dr. Claudia Miller’s research, please contact Ms. Kim Warshauer in the Office of Development at warshauer@uthscsa.edu.