Is it right that people who suffer chemical injuries and are disabled as a result are abandoned by the systems designed to help other people?
By Linda Sepp.
In her report to the Ontario Disabilities Support Program in February 2006 when the Special Diet allowance was revised, Dr. Lynn Marshall, the previous director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Hospital, outlined my health needs as follows:
The most effective means of managing this condition is by avoidance of known triggering chemicals, and minimization of exposure to other “everyday” synthetic environmental chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. As with intolerances to foods themselves, it is highly challenging and expensive to minimize such exposures.
She (Ms Sepp) requires food (water, air, and consumer products) containing the lowest possible amounts of synthetic chemicals permanently to help maintain, and hopefully improve, her health status
In a letter regarding my housing needs she wrote:
If Ms. Sepp is exposed to allergens or triggers such as in scented products, laundry and cleaning products, carpeting, particle-board, pesticides, moulds, wireless technologies, etc. she suffers from inability to concentrate, poor memory, profound fatigue and muscle weakness that makes it difficult for her to walk, migraine headaches, and generalized muscle pain.
In order to avoid repeated episodes of such severe symptoms, Ms. Sepp must avoid exposure to her allergens and chemical and electromagnetic triggers.
… she is in urgent need of safe housing, a situation she has been unable to rectify since I saw her in 2005, and that her health has deteriorated considerably since then. In my opinion, from my further communication with her, if Ms. Sepp is unable to live in safe housing to meet her special needs, it is probable she will require ongoing help and assistance with activities of daily living. As it is, she requires assistance when shopping for groceries due to her deteriorating health and the increased use of strong fragrance and air freshener chemicals being used and sold in grocery stores, some of which cannot be effectively removed from areas they have been used.
Ms. Sepp is unable to use a public or shared laundromat due to the chemicals used in regular laundry products, which severely impair her ability to function. She requires her own washing machine at home to avoid these triggering substances.
She also requires whole house water filtration (like that available in the Environmental Health Clinic, Dallas) to filter all the water including for cooking and drinking, as well as for washing clothes and bedding.
…She cannot share air with other people, either by HVAC or through cracks in units or shared hallways and requires a detached two bedroom home in a chemically safe area.
In my view, it is urgent that some mechanism be found to assist Ms. Sepp to locate a suitable home to prevent even more suffering and deterioration in her already extremely compromised health.
Lynn M. Marshall MD FAAEM FRSM MCFP
From a submission to ODSP, Dr Armstrong writes: