From the February 2014 magazine.

February 2014: Making Scents

A member challenges meetings to pass the smell test and make AA safe to breathe

How can members carry the message to the alcoholic if their scented personal care products are making people ill? I recently became sensitive to these chemicals and learned that other members have adverse reactions to them too. About 30 percent of the population has health conditions aggravated by synthetically scented products. Many of our members have allergies or respiratory problems such as asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and are prone to migraine headaches triggered by scent. What about those undergoing chemotherapy and others with depressed immune systems? Asthma rates are skyrocketing in young people and chemically sensitive individuals are on the increase. Are we to be excluded from meetings? What is the likely outcome for a newcomer who gets sick during meetings from fragrances, colognes or hair sprays? What about members wanting to do service work?

While starting a new meeting with a “low scent” policy may seem like the obvious answer, closer scrutiny raises some questions: Will members support such a meeting? What should be done if the scent policy is disrespected? While some may claim it is an outside issue, isn’t it actually an accessibility issue?

-- Anonymous

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