Mom Wants Scents In Schools Axed

Meadow Lake mother and pharmacist Sandra Dufour is asking Northwest School Division to instate a scent-free policy at their schools because she believes perfumed and scented products are causing her daughter, Alexandra, to become sick. She says Alexandra regularly experiences severe symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and vomiting when she is at Jonas Samson Junior High for extended periods of time. Photo by Omar Mosleh.

Meadow Lake mother and pharmacist Sandra Dufour is asking Northwest School Division to instate a scent-free policy at their schools because she believes perfumed and scented products are causing her daughter, Alexandra, to become sick. Photo by Omar Mosleh.

A Meadow Lake mother is pleading with the local school board to instate a scent free policy because she believes perfumes and body sprays are making her daughter sick.

Pharmacist Sandra Dufour says her daughter Alexandra has been experiencing headaches, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath since the beginning of the school year.

She’s not 100 percent sure it’s the scents that are causing the reaction, but says Alexandra gets sick whenever she is exposed to strong perfumes.

“We’re still working on it, tracking down all avenues,” she said. “All I can go by is she can’t spend more than an hour at school.”

As a result, Alexandra no longer participates in band, school sports, or other extra-curricular activities.

Dufour is in the process of getting her daughter medically tested, but was hoping the school would co-operate in order to either single out or eliminate the school as a cause.

“Everybody’s sensitivities are different,” she said. “I’m not saying they have to rip down all the walls, I just think this is a measure we can try and see if it makes any difference.”

When Dufour contacted the school board, she was told they do not want to prevent students who are unable to keep proper hygiene from using body sprays.

“They’ve said if we see kids spraying in the school, we stop them, but that’s a little bit too late,” she said. “Let’s get a little more proactive.”

Northwest School Division did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Dufour was encouraged to keep pushing the school when she recently visited the pediatrician’s and noticed a scent-free policy.

“It’s obviously enough of a concern in health care facilities for them to get rid of it, so why is it an unreasonable thing to ask the school?”

Dufour has no personal problem with strong perfumes, and acknowledges that she even sells them at her pharmacy.

But she says that’s different from a school, which Alexandra has no real choice in attending.

“There’s no other school, and I work so I can’t home school her,” Dufour said. “And why should I?”

Dufour’s ultimate objective is to get people to see the scents are not a “minor inconvenience”. She compares them to people smoking.

“I just want people to know it’s that serious,” she said. “Kids have to know and understand they’re putting someone’s life in danger.”

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