Scents in buses - there may be some health concerns

I read with some concern that Tower Transit has rolled out 100 scented buses ( No. 97: A new fragrance on wheels; ST Online, Feb 28, and Are scents for buses and buildings safe?, by Ms Liu I-Chun; May 1).

There are those who are sensitive to scents and even the mildest of fragrances, from perfumes to air fresheners, can trigger adverse reactions.

This sensitivity may be manifested as runny noses, watery eyes and headaches, or more serious symptoms such as breathlessness and wheezing, and hives and rashes.

These reactions are more likely to be triggered in people who have asthma, rhinitis and eczema.

It is estimated that 2 per cent to 4 per cent of the adult population are affected by respiratory or eye problems as a result of exposure to certain scents.

Scents in products can be easily avoided. There are also ways with which one can avoid buildings that use scents and fragrances.

However, it becomes difficult when scents are used in buses.

A bus service sometimes cannot be avoided or can be avoided only at great inconvenience.

Perhaps there should be more consultation between the bus companies, the Land Transport Authority and the health authorities.

Pearl Sim Ai Lian (Ms)