Scent-Free Policy


What is meant by "scent-free"?

When we talk about “scents”, we usually mean the smells or odours from cosmetics (perfume, make-up, shampoo, deodorant, etc.) or from other products such as air fresheners, cleaners, etc. Unfortunately, there is no exact definition for “scent-free”, “fragrance-free” or “unscented”. Products labeled as “unscented” may actually contain ingredients that are used to mask or hide the smell of other ingredients.

According to Health Canada, when labeling cosmetics, the following terms are used: FRAGRANCE FREE OR UNSCENTED. This means that there have been no fragrances added to the cosmetic product, or that a masking agent has been added in order to hide the scents from other ingredients in the cosmetic.

While it is important to be aware of the lack of consistency when these terms are used in various manufacturers, the terms can still be a rough guideline when choosing products.

Can scents cause health problems?

When scented products have been blamed for adversely affecting a person’s health, some or all of the following symptoms are reported:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Malaise
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness

What can I do to protect others?

  • Refrain from wearing perfume, cologne or any products with heavy fragrances (lotion, cream, fabric softener, etc.) when visiting or receiving treatment at the hospital.
  • Do not use any products that contain alcohol such as hair spray, mousse, perfume when visiting or receiving treatment at the hospital.

Scented products can cause severe irritation and a variety of health related problems for staff members and patients alike.

This can ultimately impact the care provided anywhere in the hospital.

Kelly Hebert
Health, Safety & Emergency
Preparedness Coordinator
Renfrew Victoria Hospital
499 Raglan Street North
Renfrew, ON K7V 1P6
Phone: 613-432-4782 extension 192
We are committed to providing a safe, secure and respectful environment for our patients, staff and visitors
and will not tolerate any form of violent, abusive or aggressive behaviour.