Body Spray Banned at Pa. High School

Principal urges students to not use fragrance after student lands in the hospital

The principal of a Northampton County high school is asking students not to use a popular body spray after a teen was hospitalized, suffering an “extreme allergy.”

The Freedom High School freshman was taken from the Bethlehem, Pa. school by ambulance a few weeks ago after having a reaction to the fragrance in AXE Body Spray, according to principal Michael LaPorta.

In an interview with WFMZ-TV, the boy's mother Rosa Silk said her son Brandon Silk has been allergic to the spray for the past couple year.

"It's definitely something in the AXE spray that's causing or triggering whatever is going on in his body," said Rosa Silk.

Brandon Silk says his throat swelled up a few weeks ago after he breathed in the spray while at school.

"This product is killing my son," Rosa Silk said.

LaPorta posted a message to the school's website to address the student's concerns:

"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.

"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."

It is only the AXE body spray and not other AXE products that cause the boy to have the allergic reaction, the principal said.

Dr. Linda Graziano, of South Jersey Allergy & Asthma Associates, says respiratory problems, including asthma, could be triggered by a product in the air or even on the skin. It's possible the boy here could also suffer if he stood too close to another student who used a roll-on or lotion that contains the same trigger.

Graziano says she had never heard of an allergy to AXE before but did say that anything that can be aerosolized into the air such as bleach, perfumes and even some flowers can cause respiratory problems when breathed in by someone with an allergy.

"Avoidance is really all that can be done," Graziano told

LaPorta says it's impossible to control all the student's hygiene preferences but that letters home to parents and conversations in the school are being utilized to try and make a comfortable environment for the student.

“In a school of nearly 2,000 students it’s almost impossible to police,” LaPorta said.

The principal said the student is doing well. Silk told WFMZ that her son is currently being home-schooled but she hopes he can return to school next year.

In a statement obtained by, AXE's parent company Unilver says they are aware of this situation and that the safety and well-being of their customers is their top priority:

"The safety and well-being of those who use our products is always our first priority. We were made aware of a report about an allergic reaction and we are looking into the matter. If there are any issues with our products, we advise consumers to reach out to our Consumer Services Team at our 800 phone number, which is available on the back of our product packaging."

This isn't the first time a parent has called for AXE to be banned. In 2010 an Indiana mother sued her son's district saying the spray irritated his allergies.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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