A Metro train comes into the station at the Georgia Ave-Petworth stop. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Regarding the May 24 Metro article “Sweet smells freshen up Metro”:

Why not just clean the trains really well with nontoxic cleaning agents and get rid of the moldy, mildewed, smelly carpeting on many trains? An extensive body of research demonstrates that many air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds, including known carcinogens (benzene and formaldehyde) that can cause headaches and nausea and aggravate asthma. Chemical compounds that carry the fragrance (endocrine-disrupting phthalates) are associated with long-term adverse developmental and health effects. Metro should draw upon the region’s vast scientific expertise in these areas.

For me, a whiff of many perfumes and air fresheners is enough to trigger a migraine that will last for hours — far longer than the duration of a train ride.

Paula J. Bryan, Arlington


Air fresheners can violate Americans With Disabilities Act regulations for those of us with allergies to scented products. Air fresheners can have many unregulated and unlisted ingredients. I have filed a complaint with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority over this practice. Metro not only is introducing an offensive allergen into an enclosed space but also is wasting its meager resources. 

Nina S. Faye, Hyattsville