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Axe body spray triggers severe allergic reaction, prompts Pennsylvania school ban

Jordana Divon
Shine On
March 21, 2013

Axe Body Spray commercials promise young men their product will have legions of amorous females swarming around them, although in the recent case of one Pennsylvania high school student, a number of those females were nurses administering epinephrine.

As the Associated Press reports, the unnamed student at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa. was rushed to the hospital after exposure to the spray triggered a “severe allergic reaction.”

Thankfully, the student is fine.

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Though it remains unclear which chemical in the aerosol deodorant caused the health scare, school officials have taken the opportunity to keep the clouds of Axe at bay and asked students to refrain from coming to school wearing it.

“The purpose of this posting is to make all parents, staff and students aware of a medical issue involving a Freedom High School student having an extreme allergy to Axe Body Spray. This allergy is potentially life threatening for this student. Most recently this student has been transported to the hospital by ambulance for emergency medical treatment due to this student being exposed to Axe Body Spray while attending school,” administrators write on the school’s website.

“My request to all Freedom Family members is that we take into consideration this student's allergy to Axe Body Spray and refrain from using it as your cologne or fragrance of choice while attending Freedom High School. On behalf of this student's family and myself, thank you for your consideration.”

The extra precaution probably can’t hurt. When a student is known to have a severe allergy to something – anything from peanuts to shellfish – schools often ensure these triggers get removed from the premises.

Anaphylactic shock caused by certain allergens is cause for serious concern and in severe cases can be fatal, but fragrance found in other synthetic sprays, such as Axe, can also cause less serious symptoms like skin, eye, and lung irritation.

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A few of the chemicals in Axe products have some not too pleased.

The Environmental Working Group lists the company’s Clix deodorant body spray as a Category 5 on their Hazard List, citing ingredients like butane and SD Alcohol 40B as sources for allergies and immunotoxicity.

Last year, the public school board in the Windsor-Essex district of Ontario mulled a synthetic fragrance ban, but eventually decided not to push it through. While it was decided that no disciplinary action would be taken against teens who considered bathing in perfume or cologne, the board settled on friendly signage that encourages students to rely on their natural eau de hormone scent.

"We just want to bring to people's attention to the fact that there are people out there that have some sensitivities to some of the things that are in our schools or can be brought into our schools, either on [a] person or through cleaning agents," director of education Warren Kennedy told CBC at the time.

Do you think fragrance bans are a good idea or is it simply overreaction? Deposit your thoughts in the comments below.

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