Are Natural Fragrances Really Any Better?

Awareness is growing about the harmful effects of synthetic, artificial fragrances. This is with good reason, but now, many people have jumped onto the natural fragrance and essential oil (EO) bandwagons, believing them to be safe alternatives.

Is this a good thing?

Some believe so, after all, what could be wrong with something that’s natural?

It’s time to have a closer look.

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So You Think We’re Being Difficult When We ask You to Change Products?

Seriously though:

We are not trying to make your life difficult.

We’re just asking you to choose products that don’t disable us.

“Really? Products we can buy in every store disable you?”

Yes! Everyday products and materials can disable us.

There’s actually a lot of info out there that the things that disable us are harming many other people too, just in different ways.

An info dump of links are included below. Take your time and read through them, as you will learn things that will help you protect yourself and your family in the absence of product and material regulations that should exist to protect us.

In many places, it’s also the law to accommodate us
to the point of undue hardship.

“inconvenience, morale, and preferences are not valid considerations in assessing whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship”

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Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

Another great resource shared by Mary Lamielle, this time on how to make events accessible for people with MCS/ES.

Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

The new online resource from ADA Hospitality, Accessible Meetings, Events & Conferences addresses chemical and electrical sensitivities in their planning process.

“The guide is an updated version of a 1993 work authored by June Isaacson Kailes and Darrell Jones. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center and TransCen Inc. sponsored the update and publication in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. The updated version includes both regulatory updates along with practical guidance from meeting planning professionals and subject matter experts.

Mary Lamielle, Executive Director of the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies (NCEHS), was invited to comment on the 1993 Guide for the update. She made extensive recommendations addressing the access needs of people with chemical and electrical sensitivities.

The following pages include the NCEHS fact sheet Planning an Accessible Meeting or Event for People with Environmental Sensitivities or Intolerances and recommendations that were incorporated into the just-issued guide. Those with environmental sensitivities are urged to use the fact sheet and the guide to substantiate individual disability accommodation needs and to ensure all meetings are healthier for everyone.”

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Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Speaks about MCS: Video

Dr. L. Christine Oliver is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

This is an excellent half hour presentation.

Dr Oliver packs so much about the issues faced by people with MCS into the first 16 minutes of this video. If you can’t watch the whole video, at least watch this much.  Alison Johnson finishes off by reading from her important book Amputated Lives.

Alison Johnson is the author/producer/director of books and documentaries on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Visit http://www.alisonjohnsonmcs.com to download a transcript or to purchase her books or DVDs.

amputated-lives-chemical-sensitivity

How to Basics: Accessible Washrooms for People With MCS/ES

So many accessibility guidelines completely skip the fact that these necessary and super easy to implement accessibility measures make it possible for perhaps  1/3 of the population to use (or use without harm) a public (or other) washroom, and especially help provide access for those who have disabling chemical and or environmental “sensitivities” (a term that trivializes the condition and effects).

Fragranced products not only create accessibility barriers for people with chemical and environmental “sensitivities”, fragrance sensitivity, autism, sensory sensitivities, migraines, asthma, MCAS/MCAD, and others, but fragrance ingredients have been linked to a number of other short and serious long term health effects in the general population.

It has come to our attention that too many places that hang up a scent or fragrance-free sign in the front office, have air effers and scented soaps in the washrooms. That’s not how this is done.

How to Basics:
Accessible washrooms for people with environmental sensitivities

Image is of a public washroom with sinks on the left side, a cleaning cart in the middle, and garbage cans holding open the stall doors on the right. There are purple bars across the image with the following lines of accessibility tips text:

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Accessibility STOP Signs

I ran across a sign that the lung association had created, and while I am glad they are doing something , I found the message and visual required some tweaking.

Of course, the lung association didn’t come up with the term “sensitive”, it’s what is used in human rights laws, but it seems to have created an impression in the public’s mind that chemical and environmental sensitivities are trivial, and not disabling or even life threatening like they can be.

It also needs to be said that signs without enforcement are endangering lives and perpetuating harm, systemic accessibility barriers, discrimination, and forced isolated segregation for those who are disabled by any or repeated exposures.

To download printable posters, see below.

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Mask Challenge Revisited

Back in 2017, there was an effort by Memes for Inconvenient Disabilities to get people to wear a mask to see what it was like to be a human canary.

Only one person we know of took the challenge, but she did not give permission to share her incredible insights from her experience.

I’ve discovered that Fast Company did their own version of the Mask Challenge and here’s their video: Continue reading

Three New Videos About Environmental Sensitivities

 

EHAQ (Environmental Health Association of Québec) is presenting three new videos for

Environmental Sensitivity Awareness Day – May 12, 2019

Presentations are from:

John Molot MD.

“Numerous papers have been published supporting a biological explanation for MCS. These will be reviewed as well as the evolving medical and political perspective.”

David Fancy Ph.D.

…”Drawing from insights from the ‘social model of disability’ this presentation identifies how the current cultural moment presents systematic barriers, negative attitudes and ongoing electromagnetic wounding that puts the responsibility on society for being the main contributing factor in disabling EHS persons.”

Meg Sears Ph.D.

…” Sears notes the urgency of curbing harmful products and thus chronic disease because as people are getting sicker, families and society also suffer and the healthcare budget balloons faster than the Gross Domestic Product – clearly an unsustainable situation.”

 

The videos are available in both English and French.
There’s no need to register this year, just visit the website:

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Simple Fragrance-Free Posters in English and French

People have asked for simple printable signs that can be posted at home or elsewhere.  There are 2 versions of each sign, one being mostly black and white.

Click on the images below to save and print

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MCS/ES: Societal Neglect = No More Fun and Games for Life on the Planet

 

Please take a moment to feel your heart beating.
Not everyone can do this anymore.

While some progress has been made, it’s still too little,
too late for far too many people.

This will not change until more people who have MCS/ES come forward with their stories, and more  healthy people start advocating and helping us in daily life, as well as pushing governments and medical institutions to pull their heads out of the sand (and industry pockets) and get into (at least) the 20th century as far as the very serious environmental and related health issues are concerned.

 

“Business as usual is a disaster”
Robert Watson

 

“Unfortunately, many physicians, employers, family, and friends
are in effect assisting in suicide through their disbelief.”
(and neglect)

“The Consequences of Disbelief”

“Twelve years as an advocate for the chemically sensitive has led me to the sad realization that a large number of chemically sensitive people have taken their own lives and many others are inching ever closer to that decision because they find it such a daunting task to locate a safe place to live or work and are rapidly running out of money. And at the same time that they are engaged in this herculean struggle, far too many of them are facing a discouraging skepticism from those about them.”

 

From
“Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity”
2008
By Alison Johnson
With a Foreword by L. Christine Oliver, M.D., Harvard Medical School

 

Links to several chapters of the book, where stories about people’s lives are featured are available here:

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MCS Survey for May 2019

Survey for People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and/or Environmental Illness and Injury (EII)

Guest post from Mordecai Cohen Ettinger,
The Health Justice Commons

I’ve had MCS for nearly 20 years. I’m a survivor of of the Three Mile Island partial nuclear meltdown, excessive x-ray radiation from medical treatment as a child from a teaching hospital that has since been ongoingly investigated for bioethics violations, and successive exposures to lead and mold from reckless landlords.

I’ve been a community activist for many years, along with a scholar and teacher of Critical Science, Technology and Medicine Studies.

In late 2016, I founded the Health Justice Commons, a non-profit. Our mission is to re-imagine and remake healthcare for our times.

To support efforts for MCS Awareness Month, we want to address the gap of basic research of our experiences.

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