Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 12, Issue 12, pp 1399–1404 | Cite as

Exposures and effects from fragranced consumer products in Germany

  • Anne SteinemannEmail author
  • Ursula Klaschka


Fragranced consumer products—such as cleaning supplies, laundry products, perfumes, and air fresheners—have been associated with adverse human health effects and subsequent impacts in society. This study investigates effects associated with exposures to fragranced consumer products in Germany. Using a nationally representative population-based sample (n = 1102), data were collected in March 2019 using an online survey of adults in Germany. The study found that, across the German population, 19.9% report health problems, such as respiratory problems (55.3%), migraine headaches (25.1%), and asthma attacks (16.9%), when exposed to fragranced products. Of these reports of health effects, 33.8% could be considered potentially disabling. Further, 5.5% of the population have lost workdays or a job, in the past year, due to exposure to fragranced products in the workplace. A majority of Germans would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities and professionals, airplanes, and hotels were fragrance-free rather than fragranced. Results from this study provide new evidence that exposures to fragranced consumer products are associated with adverse health and societal effects among the German population, and that reducing exposures such as through fragrance-free policies could provide benefits.


Fragranced consumer product Fragrance Fragrance-free policy Health effects 



We thank the staff of Dynata (formerly Survey Sampling International) for their superb work. We also thank Nigel Goodman, Neda Nematollahi, and the anonymous referees for their thoughtful reviews of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Infrastructure Engineering, School of EngineeringThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.College of Science and EngineeringJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.University of Applied SciencesUlmGermany

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