The Fragrance of Fresh Air

There are many ways to get the clean smell of fresh air, but chemicals aren’t the way to go. Fragrances are becoming the bane of our existence. Air freshners have been around a long time, but they are getting more pervasive, and insidious. First it was Glade air freshner, then plug-in air freshners became popular, and somewhere along the line air freshners with ozone machines were used. But air quality is best managed by using air filters, and exchanging indoor air for outdoor air.

Have you ever wondered how the more upscale hotels manage to keep smelling nice and smoke-free even though they allow people to smoke? This is a huge environmental issue that most people are not even aware of due to the fact that if it smells good, then we think that all is right with the air. Fragrance is becoming an environmental and allergy nightmare.

In Las Vegas some environmental groups are waking up to the fact that the scents that are placed inside some air units in Las Vegas hotels and casinos may possibly cause some environmental and health impacts. Air freshening scents are used in many air conditioning and heating systems in Las Vegas that help to mask the odor of secondhand cigarette and cigar smoke. These scents can be just as dangerous to allergy or asthma sufferers as the smoke itself, however.

Casinos and hotels like their air to smell good and this is quite understandable. We all want to walk into places that smell fresh and welcoming. The problem comes in when chemicals are used to create these scents, because some people are very sensitive to chemicals that are commonly used in fragrances and air fresheners. In fact, one study estimates that up to 72 percent of allergy-induced asthma attacks are triggered by a fragrance. Allergies and asthma can cause some severe health problems, which can cost money and time for the sufferers and their families. That is why it is so important to get the word out about these fragrances that are being used in hotels and casinos.

Some hotels and casinos choose to use the scents to help increase their business. Smells have long been used to help increase the time spent in an area, so that you spend more money. There are even signature scents that are created for use in specific hotels or casinos that are used for specific purposes, including making the air smell fresher or invoking memories of childhood. The companies say that this causes the customers or clients to become more comfortable, which will, in turn, cause them to spend more money in a particular store, hotel, or casino. This is another reason that scents are so popular in many air systems.

The bad thing is that the release of these scents is self-regulated, which means that the manufacturers themselves are responsible for testing the complete fragrance or air freshener. Each individual ingredient is tested by the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM), but there may be some synergistic affects when the chemicals come together that may not be known about unless the manufacturer itself tests the fragrance in its entirety.

One company that creates scents for hotels is AromaSys, Inc. Their list of clients from 2003 include many of the big name hotels and casinos, including the MGM Grand, New York New York, Caesars Palace, and the Bellagio Hotel. The frightening thing about this particular company is that some of their ingredients that are listed are among some of the most dangerous toxins to allergy and asthma sufferers, including benzyl alcohol, eugenol, diethyl phthalate, etc. These are all chemicals that can cause skin irritations, breathing difficulties, digestive problems, and in the case of diethyl phthalate, even birth defects and sperm problems.

The saddest thing of all is the fact that these hotels and casinos are trying to cover up one allergen (cigarette smoke) with other allergens and toxins that are just as, or in some cases even more so, dangerous. If you are an allergy or asthma sufferer, then this is something that you need to consider when traveling. There are no warning signs that will let you know that they are disbursing these chemicals into the air. That is irresponsible and wrong. It is important that everyone learn more about this issue so that we can all be healthier.

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