Lush scents incur allergy group wrath

The Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association has argued that the scents emanating from the Luleå branch of the international chain Lush are a health hazard and the store should be ordered to close its doors.

“Our demand is very simple. We simply want the store to be told to close its doors so that people do not get sick and feel queasy,” said the association’s chairperson Birgitta Alstergren to local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD).

The newspaper reports that Lush has been the subject of controversy since the store was opened on Storgatan in the northern Swedish town of Luleå in 2006.

Local Liberal Party politician Ylva Strutz was one of many who considered the odours wafting out of the environmentally conscious soap and scent store less than fragrant and she penned an article in NSD soon after the store opened.

The cause has since been taken up by the local branch of the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.

The association has submitted two letters to the Luleå county health and environmental protection committee on the matter. The committee has twice rejected the association’s demands, satisfied that having installed a new ventilation system, Lush has met its obligations.

But the association has decided to appeal the committee’s decision to the country administrative board.

The store’s manager Lena Hallebjörk told NSD that she can’t understand why Lush is being singled out.

“Of course I understand that there are people who have problems with strong scents. But we use only natural ingredients in our products and people who are sensitive are surely more affected by all the people who smoke along Storgatan and they should therefore demand restrictions against them.”

Hallebjörk is unwilling to meet the association’s demands and close the doors to the store.

“All Lush stores apply the concept of having doors open wherever possible. It is a welcoming gesture that attracts customers. We have not had this fuss over our scents in any other place than Luleå.”