Need Protection?

To Breathe, That Is…

I was looking up masks and found these ads…
I am a bit (but not entirely) speechless…

Find a Mask to Filter Fragrance From Work HVAC Systems

“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…

People wearing surgical masks on the streets

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.

source unknown

(source unknown)

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:

Googling around shows me there are a lot more basic options in the East, than in America these days. Here’s another example not readily available here.

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.

I love clean air

7 responses to “Need Protection?

  1. Because I wear a mask a lot of the time, those children’s masks make me really sad. Our local support group in Melbourne, Australia, offers tips on how to make our 3M masks fit a small child.

    On a more positive note, here is a ‘Hello Kitty’ one on Pintrist.

    If I could share something that is a little funny with you, Linda, once my daughter had a small dress up party. (It was a fragrance free event with about six children.) I drew a red cat’s nose with black whiskers on my mask, and the kids loved it. However, the next day, in a hurry to take my daughter to school, I grabbed the wrong mask (the cat’s face one) and put it on, walking out of the carpark, up some stairs, through the whole school to my daughter’s classroom, not realising why I was getting strange looks from other parent’s who knew I always wore a mask into the school grounds anyway. (Some parents put on an awful amount of perfume/aftershave.) Then, when I got back to my car and took it off, I saw the cat face on it!

    Later, I asked my daughter, then 7, why she didn’t say anything to me. She said, “I thought you liked that one!”

    PS: I wish we had more of a range to choose from. Particularly ones that work well but are not cumbersome, and perhaps with ‘Helllo Kitty’ designs also.

    • Hahaha!
      And of course we would love the masks we made to make our kids happy!
      In the East, a lot of adults seem to be wearing Hello Kitty type masks for the smog, and perhaps SARS protection.

      It is terribly tragic that kids are living their lives in such polluted times that masks are required (and a lot more need them than use them)

      A few years ago some of us were discussing sayings we could attach to our plain masks with velcro or something, depending on the circumstance… Things like “If you stare (or wear perfume) any longer, MCS WILL be contagious” or “Have A Nice Day”, smiley faces or sad faces… There were some good ones we thought up but my wit and memory fail me now…

  2. Oh no, not through the HVAC! I wouldn’t be able to work at or even enter those places.

    • Everything travels through HVAC systems, even the toxic air”freshener” chemicals that are plugged in or installed in washrooms.

      So many stores use “scent marketing” now. So many stores that I can no longer buy anything from even if someone else could enter and shop for me…

      Their use gets particularly problematic in housing, because it is impossible to remove those residues from inside ductwork and between the walls…

  3. For history buffs, I just ran across this:
    An Illustrated History Of Gas Masks

  4. Pingback: When We HAVE to Wear A Mask to Breathe and Function | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  5. Pingback: School Boards to Pump Peanut Fragrance Into Schools! | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.