Gagging and headaches I can see but hospitalization!? Now we’re into the mass psychogenic illness territory.
Eight students were hospitalized, and two others were taken to their own doctors, after someone released the especially pungent body spray in a sixth grade classroom at 1 p.m. Emergency crews rushed to Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Brooklyn to investigate the “hazardous” smell.
The article notes that this has happened in other places. Some schools have banned the products. Certain people are very sensitive to odors and perfumes. Just the perception of a noxious chemical in the air will make some suffer from a psychogenic response and feel ill. Doctors do not agree about what causes a fragrance reaction, it may be a response to an irritant or it could be an actual allergic reaction. It has been linked with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), which is not considered a real condition. WebMD has a decent post about the questions of fragrance sensitivity. Use of such strong scents is often compared to breathing second-hand smoke. Well, we have not established that body sprays are carcinogenic but it is a matter of personal freedom and affecting public space. Tricky stuff. We’ve all been in the room full of Axe-heads and at the social full of ladies with strong perfume. But these days, it seems worse.