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Scents and Senseless Air Toxins in The Orleans and Other Las Vegas Hotels.

What Are Las Vegas Hotels Hiding and Are They Creating ADA Barriers?

 
PRLog - Feb. 24, 2011 - LAS VEGAS -- On May 26, 2010, the City of Las Vegas and Clark County asked residents and employees to go chemical and fragrance free in support of “Indoor Air Quality Awareness Day”. [1,2]

Now, almost a year later, the majority of hotels are still polluting their indoor environment with “scent branding” chemicals in their HVAC. The hotels claim they use these chemicals to try to mask the odors from cigarettes/cigars and create a certain ambience that their guests will remember fondly. Rather than look for more natural remedies to improve indoor air quality, they add more chemicals that are problematic for many individuals and, thus, create barriers for some under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On December 8, 2010, Cheryl Wisecup, while visiting The Orleans Hotel, became immediately ill from the super-saturation of unknown chemicals in their HVAC. Ms. Wisecup suffered severe ocular, dermal and gastrointestinal effects from the chemical fragrance exposure at The Orleans. Because of the severe impact on her own health and her concern for the employees and guests of The Orleans, she filed an incident report with the hotel’s security and risk management departments.

In her communications with The Orleans and their parent company, Boyd Gaming, Ms. Wisecup asked for the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and was told by Andre Filosi, Vice President and Assistant General Manager at The Orleans, that “it is against our company policy to release the MSDS sheets.” [3] When Ms. Wisecup called about filing an incident report, Mr. Filosi stated he had previously received a similar complaint regarding the air freshening system at The Orleans.

Scent-Air markets the fragrance used in The Orleans. Their Vice President, Mark Signorin, in a telephone call with the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation (NTEF), stated they did not do any in-house testing and relied upon the manufacturer, Belle Aire Fragrances, to do the appropriate tests.

Mr. Signorin claimed that he tries to market a more natural product. When specifically asked about phthalates, he said his products do not contain phthalates. He also stated that his products follow EU (European Union) guidelines and are IFRA (International Fragrance Association of North America) compliant. When asked if his essential oils were steam or chemically extracted, Mr. Signorin’s response was, “I don’t know”. He refused to provide to the NTEF the MSDS as he stated “it was only for workplace exposure”.

Scent-Air does not even provide their Las Vegas sales representative, Suzanne, with the relevant MSDS for the products she is promoting. Apparently, Scent-Air is paranoid about the “proprietary” blend of their “fragrances” becoming public. Thus, leaving the unsuspecting public prey to the potentially noxious, synergistic effects of their “fragranced witch’s brew”.

Belle Aire Fragrances sent a letter to Ms. Wisecup, on behalf of The Orleans, but they did not provide the MSDS or any details of the ingredients included in the fragrance used at The Orleans.

In the letter from Charles David, Vice President of Belle Aire Fragrances, he stated: “As a
member of the International Fragrance Association of North America (IFRA NA), we abide by the IFRA Code of Practice which sets the highest safety Standards for use and manufacture of fragrance materials based on RIFM research.” [4]

However, he never said anything about whether Belle Aire Fragrances does testing for respiratory or gastrointestinal effects, dermal or ocular absorption or irritation. IFRA and RIFM are supposedly independent research centers for the fragrance industry, but, in reality, they are associated with industry.

This is not the first time a hotel in Las Vegas has had complaints regarding the chemically laden scents in their HVAC and refusal to provide the MSDS. The Wynn Hotel, a client of AromaSys, was written up in a travel magazine, as smelling “like a well maintained dryer vent.” [5] Nor would their legal department provide a copy of the MSDS when requested.

If Scent-Air’s supplier Belle Aire Fragrances uses the same litany of chemicals, like AromaSys’s “safe fragrance chemical ingredient list” [6], the public is being exposed to some chemicals that are probable carcinogenics, according to the EPA, with no safe exposure level. [7]

When an employee becomes injured at work, they have the right, under OSHA, to obtain a copy of the MSDS that is associated with the product. When a hotel guest is exposed to those same chemicals, they are refused this accommodation.

One has to ask--why are the hotels, manufacturers and marketing companies refusing to provide MSDS or proof of independent testing to the public?

During the American College of Toxicology Conference in 2004, RIFM stated in their report:

“While airborne levels of the nine fragrances were reproducible, the physiological interpretation of these concentrations is unknown at this time. One possible starting point for the biological significance of these results could be the ACGIH guidelines for Particulates Not Otherwise Classified of 10 mg/m3 for inhalable particles and 3 mg/m3 for respirable particles. These data provide an understanding of modeling for standard exposure conditions and show that any assessment of exposure from different fragranced product forms is influenced by the product form. The information will be useful in the design of future clinical studies in normal and sensitive subpopulations to assess the potential effects of inhaled fragrance materials.” [8]

Has RIFM actually created these “future clinical studies” that are to be used to allege the safety of these chemicals?

Did The Orleans and other hotels in Las Vegas request that these air freshening systems be tested for the diverse populations of employees and guests that visit their properties? Did the manufacturers test these products to eliminate the barrier issues they present for disabled persons? Most likely, the answer is No. Otherwise, they would be open to providing the MSDS and other documentation from the manufacturers to support their claims of safe ingredients.

One would hope that the “green” and higher level LEED-certified hotels in Las Vegas will include the discontinuation of harmful chemicals in their HVAC systems. If a product claims to be green, that does not automatically ascribe that the product is indoor air quality friendly.

When hotels such as The Orleans have upper management who, apparently suffering from
olfactory fatigue, are determining the level of fragrance to be emitted, the property runs the risk of  “fragrance overkill.”

Are Las Vegas visitors who get sick from these air fresheners going to have to litigate to obtain the information needed in order for their medical practitioners to provide appropriate treatment in response to these toxic exposures?

If Las Vegas wants to promote and market itself as being green, then they need to stop creating barriers and make it accessible to everyone. Intentionally discriminating against the disabled population and drenching the visitors with toxic chemicals will turn Sin City into Sickly City.

[1] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/c...
[2] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/v...
[3] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/o...
[4] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/orleans.htm
[5] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/wynn.pdf
[6] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/aromasys.pdf
[7] http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-scented-consumer-products-shown-emit.html
[8] http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/rifm.pdf

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Source:NTEF
Phone:702.490-9677
Zip:89126
Location:Las Vegas - Nevada - United States
Industry:Environment, Health, Tourism
Tags:ada, fragrances, las vegas, Scent Air, aromasys, Orleans Hotel
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