To Breathe, That Is…
I was looking up masks and found these ads…
I am a bit (but not entirely) speechless…
“Companies across the globe are including fragrances in their heating and ventilation systems. It’s part of what emotional branding companies such as DMX call a multi-sensory experience. Retail stores may use scent in combination with audio and visual systems to enhance brand awareness. Smell associations, say DMX, are so strong they can even increase worker productivity. Whatever the reason, these scent systems can make it difficult for employees working in the affected areas who have fragrance sensitivities.”
While it won’t be possible for all workers in controlled scent environments to wear respirators, for those who can, we have a few suggestions:
I do know people who have to wear a mask just to go to work. It’s a horrible way to have to live when toxic chemicals are used everywhere everyday by almost everyone, and so much worse when pumped into the air deliberately. In fact, I don’t think anyone with MCS/ES or respiratory symptoms could work (or visit or shop) in an environment with deliberately pumped in fragrance chemicals, even wearing a mask.
That’s why we have human rights legislation to provide fragrance or scent free policies for working environments (see the sidebar or resources page at the top). These policies actually end up benefitting everyone’s health, not just those of us who are “sensitive”. Soon (but not soon enough) that will change to basic public health legislation, as it has for smoking.
Some multi-unit housing complexes have introduced smoke free rules, but so far there are very few housing options with fragrance free rules. We need them. Wearing a mask all day and night just isn’t feasible or possible, even if we tolerate the (mostly synthetic) materials they are made of, which many of us don’t.
Did you know there are masks for kids? These just make me really sad…
Looks like they are trying to make masks in Asia a lot more “fun” and individualized.
While I understand the need to be simply stylish, creative, and not scary looking, air pollution cannot be made to be “fun”. Masks to protect us from toxic trespass should NOT become fashion accessories. We, the people who have to wear these masks, should not be the ones considered scary and in need of change:
The companies responsible for the pollution are the ones we should be concerned about enough to demand that they change, that they clean up their acts!
OUR governments need to create regulations and enforcements that protect OUR health and the environment we depend upon for all that gives life. Their priority shouldn’t be protecting corporate industrial financial health, as it is now.
Who gave them the right to pollute OUR air, OUR water and OUR bodies for THEIR profit?
Unfortunately, the reality is, that many of us DO need protection now, JUST TO BREATHE! And not just in Beijing. We might need them to go shopping, to drive, to visit with friends, to read our mail, to take out the garbage, even to sleep with if we don’t have safe housing.
MCS America has a list of masks and respirators to choose from in their resources:
And here is some basic info on what to look for in masks and respirators:
Note that to remove VOCs, a carbon insert is required. Some of these options are for particulates only. They will help a little, but our eyes and skin also absorb what we are exposed to, so just wearing a mask is not enough to prevent the pollutants from entering our bodies.