In the days of heavy coal mining canaries were taken down the pit as early indicators of gas leaks. To put it simply, if there was a leak such as carbon monoxide the canaries would die before the miners giving them a warning and time to get out of the pits immediately.
Sometimes I think that we should now have a modern version of canaries in all public places. Not to detect carbon monoxide but rather the clouds of perfume and cologne that some people drench themselves with.
Our sense of smell is much like our other senses. It acclimates to the smells that are regularly around us so that it can concentrate on smelling things that are of danger to us and out of the ordinary.
Unfortunately, this means that for some people they can no longer smell their favourite perfumes/colognes and so they add more and more until they can smell it again. By which point it’s so intense that those of us with sensitivity to smells have real problems.
Sometimes you can talk to those concerned and they’ll agree to back off the scent a little. Most health related buildings are no scent or low scent areas but not everybody follows the mandate.
So I think we need a modern version of a canary in public spaces. Something that would set off an alert if somebody entered the space with excessive scents. I think that a few embarrassing moments like that and the perpetrators may think a little more before using so much scent again.
In reality this isn’t going to happen but perhaps we can just raise awareness that scents can kill people. As an example, I’m allergic to Marijuana so 420 friendly spaces are literally deadly for me.
So please, as you reach for that perfume or cologne think twice about where you will be going that day and think twice about how much you put on. Those of us with scent sensitivities will thank you.