Woman airs complaint against perfume Scent ban sought for public meetings

August 29, 1991|By San Francisco Chronicle

SAN RAFAEL, CALIF — SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Come to public meetings in Marin County, but please leave behind your fragrant Chanel No. 5, your pungent Obsession and your aromatic $300-an-ounce dab of Joy.

Sandy Ross, president of Health & Habitat, a foundation devoted to a healthy environment, is taking her crusade for the rights of the chemically sensitive to City Hall.

She has asked for a ban on fragrances at parks commission meetings and intends to do so at other government agencies.

Perfume odors inhaled by chemically sensitive people can lead to a range of maladies, from dizziness and disorientation to incapacitating headaches and seizures, she said.

Although she is starting with perfumes, her crusade may one day include deodorants and hair spray. "Perfume would be the initial target. Fragrance-free would be the eventual goal," she said.

Merritt Robinson, chairman of the parks commission, said he had never heard of environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivity until Ms. Ross showed up this summer.

He has asked his staff to find a spot in the meeting room that would get the most fresh air and label it a fragrance-free zone.

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