American Lung Association Issues Not-So-Sweet Opinion on USPS Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps
Two months ago, news of scratch-and-sniff stamps from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) had us pondering which promotional products would benefit from a similar treatment and which would violate considerations of common sense. For the latter, of course, we had some fun with it, as we doubt anyone would consider adding a scratch-and-sniff scent to floor mats, headbands and T-shirts. But we recently learned that the American Lung Association (ALA) does not share our sense of enthusiasm for the original idea, as it opposed the novel idea as a possible health hazard for asthmatics.
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) June 20, 2018
The parties have teamed up for direct mail-based campaigns for 110 years, but that longevity did not matter to the association as its business partner’s June 20 stamp release neared. According to Associations Now, the mail agency felt the adhesives, all honoring frozen treats, could contain chemicals that could cause trouble for handlers, members of its workforce and the general public who battle asthma, with Asthma.net noting that 25.7 million Americans fit that overall description.
We would never find it odd that an organization would look to protect consumers from what it considers harmful, so we will say that there was legitimacy to the association’s backlash, with ALA president and CEO Harold P. Wimmer penning a letter that “even in small amounts,” certain odors can complicate the daily activities of asthmatics and allergy sufferers. As Associations Now explained, though, the stamps that hit the masses on June 20 contain microfragrances that meet the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s safety requirements.
That explanation of the situation between the two appeared on Associations Now’s website on July 12, but another source ran an item on Saturday, reporting that the ALA still “worries this may pose a serious health problem for those who have a tendency to come down with asthma” with respect to the stamps. It seems, then, that even 40 days after their release, the commemorative products remain a topic that the ALA will continue to visit.
We don't know of anyone who purchased the scratch-and-sniff stamps, and we have not received any mail bearing one of the smells that USA Today claims “evoke the sweet scent of summer.” No matter our direct involvement with them or their seasonal connection, end-users will obviously place them on envelopes beyond September, so one wonders if their usage as the year winds down will find the ALA being more fervent about critiquing the added component to sending mail.