Portland, Oregon is considering a restriction on fragrances for all city employees.  The fragrances would fall under the category of anything that emits an odor like strong deoderants, perfume cologne, aftershave, etc. 

The reason for considering this ban is the number of people who are allergic to strong scents.  People have been known to go in to respiratory distress from fragrances.  They can also trigger migraines.

Is this too much government interference?  I am going to vote no.  I am one of those people who is allergic to some scent.  As ridiculous as it sounds, I can no longer use dryer sheets even.   I would like for the restriction to go even further and include people in restaurants and stores.  I think other jurisdictions should consider it. 

One of the worst migraines I have ever had came from sitting behind some woman at a UMD basketball game.  She must have bathed in perfume before coming to that game.  I have this theory about fragrance.  It should be for people you are up close and personal with.  They should be able to smell it, not everyone who comes within 5 feet of a person.  What say you?

21 Thoughts to “Portland, Oregon considers fragrance restrictions for city workers”

  1. marinm

    Two weeks after people have to work in that type of environment (especially as it gets warmer) the restriction will end. Human’s don’t smell pretty especially after any sort of physical activity.

    We lost our AC last year at work and our office was sitting at about 85F. We we’re very thankful that people here bathed and took care of thier hygiene – that doesn’t always happen.

    Now, having said that the people that bathe in the stuff make me want to gag.

  2. Pepe Le Peu

    Vive La France! Eet iz about time you prissy Americans saw ze light. Bathin, shavin et personal hygiene are much overated. We have found our way of life much superior and much less stressful, hairy legs keep us warm in the winter and you will find you can’t smell each other if you smoke unfiltered cigarettes and drink lots of wine on a two hour lunch break. Of course you must alzo have to accept the Euro and the comedic stylings of Jerry Lewis as genius. We French are far superior to you Americans, you had your gold standard, we base our economy on arms trading, we have millions of weapons to ship, all of them never fired and dropped only once.

  3. @marin, @—,—-‘—- some of us smell like a rose. Just kidding.

    There is nothing worse than someone covering up BO with fragrance. I would rather smell horse sweat than that. ewwwwwwwwwwww

    @pepe le peu too funny, you stinker! How is zee white stripe/?

  4. Perhaps if one jurisdiction bans fragrance, then corporations might get the nads to do it. Some people truly suffer from being trapped all day with someone else’s cologne or after shave.

  5. marinm

    It really doesn’t solve anything. Let’s say this covers the DMV.. Ok the employees can’t wear anything banned but the customers (taxpayers) can.

    Now, I think it’ll be funny to see a collective bargaining agreement that covers ‘body odor, human, requirements to bathe but not use sanitary products such as deoderant, perfume or products such as “Summer’s Eve”.

    Why do I think these people are taking lessons from the San Francisco city council??

    1. @marin,

      There is plenty of odorless deoderant. I can honestly say I have never smelled anyone’s deoderant. It is the gallons of perfume and after shave people dump on themselves. Also Emma is right. The spray scent from bath and body is used by the gallon.

  6. Emma

    I cannot stand anything Bath and Bodyworks. Women absolutely douse themselves in that crap, and I get itchy just standing near them. I asked them one time if they carried any unscented version of their body lotion, because it actually works very well but is too heavily scented for my taste. The salesperson actually said, “What would be the point?” Ummm, skin care?

  7. splash

    I’m extremely allergic to all fragrances. I would welcome the ban.

  8. Raymond Beverage

    It is one thing to use a touch of fragrence…it is another to wear the whole bottle.

    I’m all for control – bring it even into our closed air-system schools. My daughter used to have to carry an inhaler as her reaction to some of those who bathed in the bottle just made it difficult to breathe in class. In the days when we could open school windows and let in air, it was not that bad….closed systems are just contributing to every level of buildings having this problem.

  9. marinm

    No doubt but this proposed regulation won’t ‘fix’ the situation as those that are clueless about hygiene issues (including using too much) will still be clueless after this and may just go in the oppisite direction. It also doesn’t stop the customers of these city government offices/agencies from non-compliance and mucking up the system as is.

    I think that if someone really has an issue they should pull that person aside and encourage a change that way. making it a rule so people can avoid having that frank conversation ..doesn’t solve anything.

  10. @marin, There really isn’t anything wrong with an employer setting standards of dress.

    How do you feel about places that will not hire if you have a visible tattoo and who will fire if you get one? Company policy. How about facial piercings? That is the company’s right to set those standards. People don’t have a right to be employeed.

  11. Censored bybvbl

    Add candle shops to the stores that I hate to enter. Aside from the health risk to some people, perfume is something that is a personal taste. Some scents are nice , others gagging. When you put perfume on, you never know who might think you stink.

    Marinm, changes seldom occur instantly. Just as society has taken a different view of smoking than it did twenty or thirty years ago, it can change over the acceptance of perfume as well. These changes are all incremental. Rebels/contrarians can pour it on at their risk!

  12. I asked hubby one day why he wore cologne to work. He said he has to work so closely with other people, he didn’t want to offend. Makes perfect sense.

    I am very heat intolerant and, therefore, self conscious about potential odor. Bath soaks, powders, lotions…all good with me. Lately, though, I have taken to using antibacterial hand spray. Someone said I smelled good. I just had to laugh.

    My preference–cologne over BO.

  13. marinm

    I’m not arguing that an employer can’t do it. I think they can. I’m just saying the policy makes no sense what so ever.

    But, let’s take what MH and Censored said and take it to the next level. Can an employer not hire someone based on skin color based on company policy? Support that?

    How does a company enforce the no-smell policy? Smell monitors that sniff people upon entrance to the building? Smell detectors and smell downs? :chuckle:

  14. Censored bybvbl

    Marinm, I don’t think perfume wearers are a protected class of people. An employer will discriminate against someone based on his/her race at his, the employer’s, own peril.

    I’ll admit that I’d hate to have to be the BO police. I actually have few complaints about perfume if it isn’t applied too heavily or isn’t a scent that I despise. I’m lucky not to be allergic to it. I guess a heavy-handed ordinance is being considered because some people are a little too heavily-scented.

  15. marinm

    And the proposed solution is a little heavy-handed.

    Sometimes I think the best solution is just pulling someone aside and being frank with them — “I don’t think you realize that your cologne is rather strong today” will probably work better than TSA-type smell patrols.

    As a chuckle excercise.. Imagine a scenrio where a person has no sense of smell and they overuse product. They get written up, warned, and terminated for violation of this policy. They then turn around and sue because they we’re fired for essentially having a medical disability (they couldn’t tell if they smelled ‘too good’ or ‘too bad’). They get a settlement and their job back. An employee with a sensitivity for perfume than files an OSHA complaint that he’s working in a hazardous environment because the smell is impacting him. Vicious cycle!!!

  16. Bob

    The thing a lot of people who wear perfume/cologne don’t understand is that they are not doing anyone a favor. It may seem to them like they are, but if you have asthma or get migraines from perfume, and someone wearing cologne/perfume walks by you, it’s an instant panic flash. Am I going to have a problem here? Can I get away from this person before I have an attack? Holding breath… gotta get the heck away from here…

    It’s vastly worse in a corporate setting – I’ve worked in I.T. for several years doing desktop support. Glad to help anyone but it’s like living in a minefield. That little old lady over there who can’t get her spreadsheet to work smells like a rose garden and is trying to kill me. How do I fix her problem and keep my job and my health at the same time?

    Church, social gatherings, shopping – all these sweetly scented people who think they’re doing me a favor are really not. Did you know that many (if not most) hospitals in the U.S. disallow fragrances too?

  17. @marinm
    If someone is told s/he has too much scent on, should s/he be told at the end of the day? After all, it’s pretty hard to wash off the scent once it’s in the clothing and pores.

    For some reason, I have this image of Avon samples being disbursed at the door and employees being told the sample is the only acceptable fragrance and amount.

  18. marinm

    Avon? Try Government Fragrances, Inc.


  19. marinm

    …and it’ll be taken out of your paycheck for your convinience.

  20. @marinm
    Yeah, but wouldn’t Avon signify approval of the open market and public/private partnerships?

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