Postal Updates

Lung association tried to stop scratch and sniff stamp issue

Jul 12, 2018, 6 AM
The 10 Frozen Treats forever stamps. The American Lung Association has raised concerns about this scented stamp issue.

Washington Postal Scene — By Bill McAllister

The American Lung Association made an eleventh hour appeal to stop the issuance of the United States Postal Service’s first scratch-and-sniff stamps.

On June 13, a week before the June 20 first-day-of-issue for the Frozen Treats forever stamps, the organization sent a letter to Steven W. Monteith, marketing chief of the Postal Service, saying that the fragrances on the stamps “may pose a risk for serious health problems.”

“The American Lung Association encourages the USPS to move forward with the lovely artwork but without the chemicals that create the fragrances on the stamps,” said Harold P. Wimmer, president and chief executive of the association.

A spokeswoman for the association said the Postal Service responded to the complaint, but did not disclose what the Postal Service said.

“Fragrances used in workplaces have been linked to new onset asthma,” Wimmer’s letter said.

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Allison MacMunn, spokeswoman for the association, told Linn’s in an email that “The American Lung Association has raised concerns that fragrances may pose a risk for many of the more than 26 million Americans living with asthma — including both postal workers and the public.”

In a June 19 news release, the Postal Service said the Frozen Treats stamps were to first U.S. stamps with embedded fragrances: “The aromas of the Frozen Treats Forever stamps will remind customers of the sweet scent of summer when mailing and receiving letters of love, friendship, party invitations and other correspondence.”

David Partenheimer, a Postal Service spokesman, confirmed that the agency had responded to the American Lung Association’s request.

He also said that the firm that supplied materials for the stamps had given the Postal Service “a written statement that the coatings and print varnish used for the scratch-and-sniff stamp feature complies with all the safety requirements listed in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.”

“The scratch-and-sniff feature utilizes encapsulated micro-fragrances where tiny droplets of scented oils are surrounded by a coating to create extremely small capsules. These micro metric capsules will release the scent of the oil when ruptured by scratching the printed stamp surface,” he said. The eight-stamp side of a booklet pane of 20 Frozen Treats forever stamps. The American Lung Association has raised concerns about this scented stamp issue.