Monthly Archives: February 2013

Women’s Voices for the Earth Report on “Secret Scents”

Women’s Voices for the Earth recently released a new report, called “Secret Scents“. It  highlights the need for ingredient transparency by the companies that create fragranced products, since right now we have almost no way of knowing what is causing the fragrance allergies and other serious health effects people experience when exposed to  fragrances. These adverse health effects are increasing, especially in children.

Amazingly, companies are not required by the FDA or EPA to disclose fragrance ingredients, so it is difficult for anyone to pinpoint specific fragrance allergens and sensitizers among the hundreds of ingredients that can make up a scent.

Another report  was also just released, this one on endocrine disrupting chemicals. Some fragrance ingredients, like phthalates (see below) are also endocrine disruptors, while others are known carcinogens and/or neurotoxic!

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Affordable, Healthy Housing Project in the Laurentians Deadline Extended

This is good news for people who are willing to give up their proximity to friends and family in order to live in a medically required healthy housing community. I’ve filled out my application. I can’t wait to live somewhere I can safely go outside again without being assaulted by chemicals from other people’s dryer vents or chimneys. The Laurentians are a beautiful place to be.

The Laurentians

From Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec – Environmental Health Association of Quebec | 6 Trianon, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Québec H9A 2H8

Affordable, healthy housing project in the Laurentians deadline extended to March 1st, 2013

Have you registered? Did you fill the NEW form and return it to us?

If you haven’t done this yet and you are interested in living in affordable, healthy housing for people suffering from environmental sensitivities (multiple chemical sensitivity and electro sensitivity), please call us immediately at (514) 683-5701.

You can find the form on our website (by clicking on the brown button ‘Affordable Housing’, which is on our Home page), fill it out, print it, sign it and mail it back to us.

If you need help filling out the form or if you don’t have a printer and/or cannot leave your home to post it, please contact us. We will help you fill the form! It is important that your form reaches us on March 1st 2013 by 5 p.m.

Did you buy your bricks?


Toxic Chemicals in Air “Fresheners” and Health Effects

Some people wonder what the fuss about air”fresheners”  is all about.

Air”fresheners” do not freshen the air. In fact, they make the air harmful to breathe!

Thank goodness we have people like Dr Anne Steinemann to tell us what some of the ingredients that harm our health actually are.

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UN and WHO say hormone-disrupting chemicals are a ‘global threat’

“Frankly, for BPA, the science is done. Flame retardants, phthalates … the science is done,” Zoeller said. “We have more than enough information on these chemicals to make the reasonable decision to ban, or at least take steps to    limit exposure.”

Phthalates are found in fragrances, laundry and other personal care and cleaning products, soft plastics, (PVC) and even in time released medications!!!

Exposures to these chemicals are currently very difficult to avoid, and require diligent personal effort and significant financial investments. But even that is not enough to avoid exposure.


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Toxic Chemicals in Fragranced Laundry Products and Health Effects

toxic chemicals in laundry products

Some people wonder what the fuss about laundry products is all about.

What follows is Dr Anne Steinemann’s research on specific chemicals and their health effects. These are not just benign additives. They cause serious harm, and they are accumulating in ourselves and the environment, where they also harm other species.

Toxic Chemicals in Fragranced Laundry Products and Health Effects

Principal Investigator: Anne C. Steinemann, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Public Affairs, University of Washington.

Chemicals identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) headspace analysis.

Health and regulatory information obtained from databases compiled by the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies.

Note that fragranced consumer products are not required to disclose all chemicals, not even ones classified as toxic or hazardous. None of these chemicals were listed on any product label or material safety data sheet.

Recognized Carcinogen
Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act); Hazardous Air Pollutants (CAA); Hazardous Substances (CERCLA); Regulated Toxic, Explosive, or Flammable Substances (CAA); Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals (EPCRA)

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Hospital Protocols for People With MCS/ES


Some hospitals around the world are developing fragrance-free policies and other less toxic practices, but most health-care environments can still be dangerous places to be for people with MCS/ES, presenting enormous challenges if health care services are needed, as I quoted from the ES-MCS Sensitivities Status Report in the post Canadian Statistics on MCS/ES.

“For ES-MCS sufferers the ideal of ‘patient-centred care’ is currently in stark contrast to realities within the health care system. Knowledgeable healthcare professionals and support workers are so few as to be virtually inaccessible most of the time. For moderately or severely chemically sensitive persons, physicians’ offices, clinics and hospitals commonly are unsafe places to wait, consult, or undergo procedures because patients can be exposed to many symptom triggers emitted from furnishings, cleaning and laundry products, disinfectants, and personal care products on staff or other patients, making their conditions worse. Fragrance/scent-free hospital, home care and rehabilitation services are very rarely available, and there are no chemically safe emergency shelters. Consequently, patients with severe chemical sensitivities may avoid seeking care, risking further deterioration and chronicity, thereby being “caught between a rock and a hard place.”

It can be a difficult decision for many of us when we experience symptoms, whether or not to have them checked out. Sometimes we wait too long, other times we just can’t go because the going is too dangerous for our health. Toni Bernhard touches upon it in Psychology Today, although MCS/ES adds another layer of complications to the decisions:  “5 Tough Choices You Face When Chronically Ill or in Pain

If a trip to the hospital is required, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. If it’s not an emergency, then your choice of the following documents can be forwarded and discussed in advance. Otherwise, carrying paper copies or discs with us at all times could be warranted, in case of emergency.

The following is a list of the best protocols and websites I’ve found, with important resources and documents for people willing and able to take the risks to advocate for themselves or to provide to others so they can do it on our behalf if we are not able.

Hopefully you have the time to go through them and choose what is most suitable for you before the need arises. With any luck, you won’t need them, but it’s good to be  prepared “just in case”. It will take a long time to prepare your local health care providers with protocols to reduce harm (we’re nowhere near the eliminate harm stage)  in advance.

A lot more needs to be done, because until the systemic issues are resolved, for too many of us, it’s far too dangerous to try to access health care.  The necessary negotiations are not feasible when severely disabled, ill, and in need of immediate care that does not exist.  These resources require the ability to work to implement. And there’s no guarantees that if you make progress once, the progress can be built on the next time, as far too often, it’s a start all over again from the beginning process.

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Gillian’s Den: Update

Here’s an update about Gillian’s Den



See  my post Gillian’s Den  for some history. Gillian McCarthy

Many thanks and much gratitude to Tony Wrench and crew for doing this!


I recently came across this website which shows what else Tony does with his time:  Many wonderful photos and videos to explore.

We need more safe and natural housing that respects the environment and our health!

Canadian Statistics on MCS/ES

According to Statistics Canada, between 2005 and 2010 the rates of people diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Canada increased significantly.

The number of people diagnosed with MCS increased by 31%

The number of people diagnosed with FM increased by 15%

The number of people diagnosed with CFS increased by 24%

As far as I know, they are no longer collecting information about these conditions, so updated prevalence statistics may not be forthcoming, despite these alarming increases and every indication that the amount of people being affected will continue to rise.

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Fragrance: A Barrier to Access

Fragrance a Barrier to Access

Fragrance: A Barrier to Access

When you choose, use and wear products with fragrance, you create chemical barriers to access for people who are disabled when exposed to the toxic chemicals allowed in fragrances.
To be air safe and disability friendly, choose fragrance-free laundry and personal care products, and avoid dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

Not so Equal Access to Health Care in Ontario or Systemic Barriers to Access for People with MCS/ES

Toxic Trespass and Other Images

Simple images with catchy phrases are popular these days. I recently discovered that the photo program on my computer has more features to play with, and my brain is finally capable of a little bit of exploring. Computer graphics is something very different from the manual art I’ve learned and practiced in my life, so my attempts will surely improve over time as I learn more about the technology, as well as recover my visual brain functions and co-ordination.

I thought I’d share some of my early  attempts here. Feel free to download and use in a not for profit way if you find them useful. However, if you want to use them in any money making ways, please discuss it with me first.

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