I was on the phone to a customer, confidently and professionally, leading him through a diagnostic repair. Another customer walked in and I immediately smelled the laundry soap or fabric softener on their clothing. Normally I would ask them to step outside where I would try to be polite and patient given my sensitivity to their smell, but I am on the phone.  Within moments I’ve lost my train of thought. I can’t process anything and am now useless to both customers. Dazed and confused, is the only way I can explain it, in the clouds, stoned, high, under the influence. Great for business eh?

Now one would wonder about the poor kid in school who might be scent sensitive; it may not be on them but what about the other kids or the teachers. Is that why they seemed spaced out, have difficulty concentrating, have learning or behavioural difficulties, respiratory problems or a constant runny nose?

As a young boy, I recall a number of times I was taken to the hospital with tonsillitis and booked for surgery in the morning. Miraculously I was cured overnight and would return home only to repeat this several times. Obviously something at home or school was affecting me. Oh, by the way, I still have my tonsils.

And then there were the many times that a visit from my sister and her husband would immediately find me in the washroom overcome with stomach cramps. Oh you’re just excited, everyone would say.

According to the Environmental Working Group, ordinary school cleaning supplies can expose children to multiple toxic chemicals linked to asthma, cancer and other health problems along with scent sensitivities. Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser, a product commonly used in both schools and homes, releases more than 100 air contaminants, including chloroform, benzene and formaldehyde. In fact a typical assortment of cleaning products releases 457 distinct chemicals into the air. Could using unscented, toxic free products help your kids? You won’t know until you try. Just take small steps. Start with unscented products and work towards less toxic alternatives. Lots of them are even cheaper.  More on that in a later section.

Speaking of my sister, I recall the time, about 12 years ago, that she referred me to what she considered, a sympathetic, caring doctor. He politely listened to my 10 minute explanation of my experiences. He then proceeded to tell me that I might not like what he was going to say but asked that I listen to his diagnosis. He explained that I had in fact experienced some sort of trauma in my life; consider it a mild nervous breakdown. I was no longer able to handle stress and would require a prescription of some sort to help me cope and deal with these problems. I needed to accept my condition and start seeing a psychiatrist.

In order to be polite my actual response to him is bleeped. But I can tell you, that told him I was not angry about what he was saying, just really concerned for all the other patients that would be misdiagnosed and misinformed. They would be taking unnecessary medication and feeling like a “crazy” person. Does anyone else have a similar story to share that might help others realize that they, also, have a choice?

I have had many couples who have come into David T’s Auto Center where one or both are wearing heavily scented products. After explaining what it does to me, I ask them to consider the possibility of what using scented products might be doing to their relationship especially if they are not getting along, arguing a lot, finding themselves impatient with each other and possibly having sexual difficulties. Needless to say they are shocked that I could possibly know all this. Hey, been there, done that. I have even had thank you calls saying I was more help than a marriage counsellor.

And ladies did you ever stop and think when you apply all those scented, toxic products to your body. Not only are you asking your guy to smell your shampoo and hair products, face cream, lipstick, body lotions and perfume but to taste them when he is kissing you. Read the ingredients and think about whether you would eat them or not. Perhaps this is why things in the bedroom aren’t quite up to par. A little food for thought maybe?

So Ladies here is a familiar scene you have probably all experienced. You get up in the morning and step into a warm, invigorating shower. You lather up with your shower fresh scented soap or lavender scented body wash, wash and condition your hair with another heavenly scent like coconut; maybe even use some tropical breeze shaving gel. You dry off and cover yourself with rose scented body lotion. Now you apply some special smelling face cream, foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush, maybe some lipstick. Now to your hair-maybe some scented mousse or gel and a finishing layer of fragrant smelling hair spray. Don’t forget your baby powder fresh deodorant. Get dressed in your clothes washed in fresh scent laundry soap and dried with that outdoor fresh fabric sheet. Maybe spray a little static guard just in case.   Finally you top this all off with perfume cause, after all—you want to smell good.

Never mind all the layered smells; this beauty routine includes the use of cancer-causing chemicals, suspected-cancer causing chemicals, hormone disruptors, allergens and other harmful substances.