http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118799086084008302.html?mod=todays_us_pursuits

Okay, I’ll weigh in on this one.

Speaking as someone who suffers from allergies and asthma…yeah, I can see the logic in a ban on perfumes.  First, consider that we are not talking about one scent…or two…but several dozen, if not several hundred.  If you have three hundred high-school girls circulating through these hallways, assume that just one-third of them are wearing some sort of scent.  (That’s probably low, but we’ll err on the side of conservatism.)  That is one hundred different perfumes, body sprays, and/or lotions – and many of these girls will wear all three.  (I HAVE a teenage daughter, so I know something about this.)  To an allergy sufferer, that is a huge issue.

Now factor in the one-third of the high-school BOYS who are wearing body sprays or cologne – that’s TWO hundred different scents.  (Some of them will be the same scent, but it’s still a multiplier.)  Again, for an allergy sufferer, that’s a fairly big deal.

One girl, or one boy, wearing body spray is not an air-quality issue.  Two hundred or more could be.  I can see the logic here.

Now add in the fact that few of these kids have been taught the doctrine of “less is more”.  These kids don’t lightly spritz on some cologne or spray the air in front of them and walk through it…they practically bathe in this stuff.

Okay, I hear some of you saying, “Well, if you have allergies, you should be on medication.”  I agree wholeheartedly.  However – about a week ago, I actually experienced an severe allergy attack at work brought on by a customer’s injudiciously applied cologne.  That is the first time this has happened – though I have frequently experienced them from coworkers’ scented candles or room sprays.  This, despite the fact that I take two different oral allergy medications and use a nasal spray and an asthma inhaler.  This is not an issue of inadequately protecting ourselves, it is an issue of being assaulted by vastly overapplied airborne chemicals.  And if we are going to ban peanut butter from schools due to food allergies, it only makes sense to ban fragrances due to respiratory allergies.

I do think the reasoning cited in this article – “kids don’t shower the way they used to” – is rather spurious.  That’s a separate issue, in my opinion.  If that is the concern, maybe the appropriate tactic isn’t a ban, but educating these kids on proper hygiene?

But if your concern is that the average school hallway smells like a low-end brothel…well, I’m behind you on that one.

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