Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

Video: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: How Chemical Exposures May Be Affecting Your Health

An older but still relevant documentary about MCS, featuring patients, parents, doctors and more…
“Interviews with leading physicians and people whose lives have been changed by chemical sensitivity.”
Produced and directed by Alison Johnson, with cinematography and editing by Richard Startzman. Visit http://www.alisonjohnsonmcs.com for more information and to order this film or Alison Johnson’s book Casualties of Progress: Personal Histories from the Chemically Sensitive, which contains the the stories of the people appearing in this film.

What do tobacco smoke, fragrance chemicals, food, drugs, supplements, health food stores and incense have in common?

Tobacco smoke contains so many harmful chemicals causing health problems, that smoking has been banned from most public indoor environments. Work remains to be done in shared housing, where neighbours are forced to breathe in 2nd and 3rd hand smoke.

Since fragrances  also have  many harmful chemicals,  including too many  of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke, they should also be banned from indoor environments. Well, (unless  certified organic), they should just be banned period  since they also pollute the outdoor air when expelled from dryer vents, and also pollute our  waterways.

Just like sitting in a smoky room for 10 minutes will make your hair and clothes smell like smoke, sitting in a fragranced room for 10 minutes will do the same. In fact, foods absorb smoke   and fragrance too, including those that can’t be washed (breads, salt, etc) and if you are attending a wine tasting event, you’re asked not to smoke or wear fragrances since they interfere with people’s ability to taste and smell.

Most fragrance chemicals weren’t designed to be eaten (although IFF would probably beg to differ ) and most of us certainly don’t want to be eating plastics, do we? Makes you wonder why phthalates  are found in drugs and supplements?    Especially since so much evidence is mounting regarding harm.

So what to do? One might assume that shopping for food, especially organic food, at health food stores (HFSs) would be safer. One would be thinking wrong if the HFS sell  fragranced products and  incense, which is linked to asthma, dermatitis,   and cancer,    and most HFSs do sell these products.

They don’t sell cigarettes, which are even triple wrapped despite not containing any VOC’s when unlit, yet the incense and other fragranced products are often unwrapped, or sold in flimsy plastic bags which do nothing to contain the VOCs, or keep them from migrating into other foods and products in the store.

I don’t know about you, but when I pay extra for organic foods, I don’t want them tasting like incense or other fragrance chemicals. I don’t want to be eating phthalates and BPA, so I avoid plastics, I don’t want to be breathing in the chemicals in tobacco smoke, yet buying food from most stores means these toxic chemicals are getting into the foods they sell.

Buying veggies and fruit from farmer’s markets,    CSA‘s    or organic delivery services usually eliminates this problem, but some warehouses have so-called air”fresheners”     or allow staff to use scented soaps   etc, which end up leaving residues on the food, and not all kinds of foods are available from these sources.

Food should not be kept in the same air space as these toxic chemicals. Volatile toxic chemicals should be sealed in impenetrable packaging as long as they are still legal. Stores that sell both food and items that contain volatile chemicals  should be required to separate the fragranced items from the foods, including using different ventilation systems.  It shouldn’t be so difficult for anyone, let alone those of us with a medical need,  to find safe, chemical and fragrance free foods.