Letter to the Editor: Say It, Don’t Spray It


By NWN Editors

English Teacher Michael Conroy
English Teacher Michael Conroy

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in five Americans suffers some sort of physical discomfort as a result of exposure to strong chemical scents. Symptoms include the following: irritation of the eyes, sinuses, or throat; sneezing; coughing; and in the case of asthma sufferers such as I, bronchial arrest and symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.

The CDC’s numbers mean that between 500-600 people at Niles West suffer a negative reaction to scented body sprays, perfumes, colognes, moisturizing creams, and antibacterial lotions. Some reactions are mild; other symptoms—as I can attest—are frightening and emergency room worthy.

I would like to assume that those who use such scented chemicals are not aware of the discomfort they cause and of potentially dangerous effects of releasing such odors into the environment. If so, they should consider themselves edified.

On behalf of myself and the hundreds of other scent-sensitive adults and students who populate Niles West on a daily basis, I ask that you refrain from releasing these pungent chemical scents into the environment. After all, you would not force peanuts down the throat of someone with a nut allergy.

Your compliance with my request would be welcomed.


Michael Conroy
English Department