Environmental stewardship is one of our guiding principles at Global Links, and has been since our inception 25 years ago. This year we have taken one more step to help protect our environment and the health of our employees, volunteers, and visitors – Global Links is going Fragrance Free.
It might come as a surprise to many of you that the ingredient “fragrance” that is found in numerous personal care, household, and cleaning products can refer to any number of 3,100 different chemicals. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for safety or health measures. Of the ones that have been tested, most of the chemicals are toxic chemicals, carcinogens, allergens, or are endocrine disruptors.
These toxic substances can cause wheezing, increased asthma symptoms, headaches or migraines, difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, allergic reactions, dermatological reactions including eczema outbreaks, neurological issues, or create an increased risk of cancer. The chemicals that have been identified as endocrine disruptors can cause developmental, fertility, and reproductive problems in men and women.
Aside from being harmful to humans, many of the ingredients are man-made chemicals created from coal and petroleum. This puts an increased strain on our limited natural resources to create chemicals that have proven more toxic than helpful. Some water treatment facilities are not able to filter out the chemicals so the toxic ingredients are being detected in waterways which can cause further damage to plant, animal and human life.
So what is Global Links doing?
We have instituted a Fragrance-Free Policy for our headquarters in Green Tree. Our office and all spaces used by staff and visitors will remain free of scented products. Air fresheners are prohibited from our facilities as well as any cleaning products that contain the ingredient “fragrance.” We are also encouraging all employees, volunteers, and visitors to avoid the use of personal care products that contain fragrances while they are at Global Links. These personal care products include cologne, perfume, aftershave lotions, scented lotions, fragranced hair products, or similar products. We are asking this of our staff and visitors because while you may not react to fragrances in products, several of our staff members and volunteers do react negatively to these ingredients. We want to promote a safe and healthy environment for everyone who walks through our doors.
What can you do?
If you are planning to visit Global Links please be considerate of the scented products you choose to use that day. You can read the labels on personal care products to learn what ingredients are contained in that item.
If you are concerned about the products you use and want to find healthier alternatives, there are a few sites that can help you. EWG’s Skin Deep Database and the Good Guide are both websites that let you search for personal care or household products to see a list of ingredients and health concerns associated with those ingredients. Both sites also have a mobile app with a barcode scanner to help you while you’re out shopping. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Women’s Voices for the Earth, and Women for a Healthy Environment are three more resources that provide information on fragrance and toxic chemicals in the products you use daily.