7 Women Dead From Inhaling Scents, Perfume Samples Sent by Mail-Fiction!

7 Women Dead From Smelling Deadly Perfume Samples Sent by Mail-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

Warnings that seven women were dead after sniffing perfume samples sent by mail have been circulating since early 2002.

The Truth:

Although warnings about seven women who are dead after smelling perfume samples laced with anthrax have been in circulation for a decade and a half, there’s never been any verified accounts to back them up.
The earliest versions of the rumor surfaced in late 2001 or early 2002. Forwarded emails and message boards were the primary drivers of these rumors, and they were fueled by widespread reports about letters laced with anthrax in the days following the 9/11 terror attacks. The letters were laced with highly refined version of anthrax that was easy to inhale. Ultimately, 22 people were poised and five were killed.
The anthrax letters created nationwide panic. There were (false) rumors that ironing mail before opening it would kill anthrax spores. And there were rumors that seven women were killed after smelling perfume samples that were sent to them by mail. One of the earliest versions we found appeared on a discussion forum in March 2002:

Seven women have died after inhaling a free perfume sample that was mailed to them. The product was poisonous. If you receive free samples in the mail such as lotions, perfumes, diapers etc. throw them away . The government is afraid that this might be another terrorist act. They will not announce it on the news because they do not want to create panic or give the terrorists new ideas.

The rumor was debunked almost immediately. There were no verifiable reports of women being killed by smelling perfume samples at the time, and ABC News was among the news outlets that acknowledged it was a bonafide urban legend.
Nevertheless, the rumor still persists today. Many social media users have seen versions of the warning, often using the exact same lines as the original.

Modern versions of rumors about seven women being killed by smelling perfume samples sent by mail are almost identical to earlier accounts.

Again, there have never been any verified reports of seven women being killed by sniffing perfume samples that were sent to them in the mail. That’s why we’re calling this one “fiction.”