Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and the severity of fragrance-related symptoms among hairdressers in Denmark compared with the Danish general population. Further, to characterize former hairdressers who are severely chemically intolerant to fragranced products in relation to sex, age and health- and work-related reasons for leaving the hairdressing profession.
Methods: The study population consisted of all hairdressers who graduated from the public vocational schools in Denmark during 1985 and 2007 (n = 7840) and a random sample of individuals from the Danish general population (n = 6000). Both populations received a postal questionnaire on symptoms from inhalation of fragranced products and the resultant behavioral consequences. All former hairdressers also answered additional questions on health- and work-related reasons for leaving the profession.
Results: No differences were found in the prevalence (OR = 1.0, CI = 0.89–1.14) or the severity (OR = 1.1, CI = 0.80–1.51) of symptoms from inhalation of fragranced products in hairdressers compared with the general population. Among hairdressers, however, experience of fragrance-related symptoms (OR = 1.2, CI = 1.01–1.31) and adjustments of social (OR = 1.8, CI = 1.12–2.80) and occupational conditions (OR = 2.8, CI = 1.84–4.25) were reported significantly more often by former hairdressers than current hairdressers.
Conclusions: The prevalence and the severity of fragrance-related symptoms were similar in hairdressers and the general population. Former hairdressers were more affected by fragranced products than current hairdressers were. Although fragrance-related symptoms did not seem to be more frequent among hairdressers, the hairdressing profession might pose a problem for those who are chemically intolerant.