Why We Need “Sensitive” Human Canaries

“Sensitive” humans are not defective or here to inconvenience you.

maybe it is not me

Some canary history:

“Carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas devoid of color, taste or smell, can form underground during a mine fire or after a mine explosion.

Today’s coal miners must rely on carbon monoxide detectors and monitors to recognize its presence underground. However, before the availability of modern detection devices, miners turned to Mother Nature for assistance.

Canaries — and sometimes mice — were used to alert miners to the presence of the poisonous gas. Following a mine fire or explosion, mine rescuers would descend into the mine carrying a canary in a small wooden or metal cage.


Any sign of distress from the canary was a clear signal that the conditions underground were unsafe, prompting a hasty return to the surface.


Miners who survive the initial effects of a mine fire or explosion may experience carbon monoxide asphyxia.

According to tests conducted by the Bureau of Mines, canaries were preferred over mice to alert coal miners to the presence of carbon monoxide underground, because canaries more visibly demonstrated signs of distress in the presence of small quantities of the noxious gas.

For instance, when consumed by the effects of carbon monoxide, a canary would sway noticeably on his perch before falling, a much better indicator of danger than the limited struggle and squatting, extended posture a mouse might assume.”

~ U.S. Department of Labor | Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Human canaries (people with MCS/ES) can put things into words. We can tell you why we are keeling over, and what products are making us keel over. We can warn you that you will eventually be affected by the substances that are making us keel over.

We know that advertising is powerful, and that freedom of choice is a deeply held “right”. We also know that most people would not willingly or knowingly choose to use products that are harmful to their own health, or to the health of others, near or far.

When products are full of unregulated, unlabeled toxic chemicals, you are not practicing “freedom of choice” when you keep using those products after someone says they are being harmed by the products. The corporations have chosen for you.


canary kicker 1

canary in a mine

In memory of all the canaries, feathered and human, who have been ignored, abandoned, harassed, and lost.

May all beings become aware and begin to care.

♥ ♥ ♥


13 responses to “Why We Need “Sensitive” Human Canaries

  1. I wish I could draw. I love the cartoons you have depicted but I would redraw them with myself in the cage hanging next to a perfume counter. Too many of us know how the canary feels.

    • Yes, and beside dryer vents… and so many other places… and things…
      I wish I could draw too, especially on the computer… I have had so many ideas!

      I was glad to find a few skilled cartoonists have approached the issue to some degree, enough for me to illustrate the post… If I had a working brain, I’d have added some of the things, but this blog is full of that kind of info… it gets repetitive after a while…

      • Having taught teenagers for so many years — I learned that most humans learn by either repetition or because they are emotionally attached to the info. Since most people aren’t emotionally attached unless it directly involves them — repetition seems to be a necessity.

  2. On behalf of this ‘canary,’ thank you. I make the attempt to educate others on the dangers of many everyday products. Dryer sheets make me and my husband really sick so I mention those a lot. Sadly, I have to disagree with your statement…”We also know that most people would not willingly or knowingly choose to use products that are harmful to their own health, or to the health of others, near or far.” Most people “choose” to ignore my warnings, suggestions, etc. Why? Not sure. Perhaps it’s inconvenient to make changes, they like the smell (I’ve been told that not only about dryer sheets but also Febreze–I know at least three people who spray their bodies with Febreze to freshen up. I also know that many are in denial. Besides dryer sheets, I comment on ‘magic’ markers, air fresheners, fragrances, etc. without a lot of success except among some family members and a few friends. Lots more PSAs, etc need to get out. I wouldn’t wish being a ‘canary’ on anyone! p.s. My husband and I became sensitive to chemicals after acute carbon monoxide poisoning 12 years ago.

    • Thanks for your efforts to educate.
      It’s going to take each and every one of us who “knows” to keep planting the seeds that will sprout when all the people who are getting sick finally realize that spraying Febreze (etc) and popping pharmaceuticals to deal with the symptoms is only making them sicker, not healthier.

  3. To bad Nova Scotia is going backward 30 years when it comes to the canaries

  4. May I use the first picture of the lady in the mask as my profile picture?

  5. Pingback: Two Tales: Temporarily Quarantined or Isolated Forever | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  6. Byron Woolcock

    Useful and informative. Thank you. I can relate to jetric’s comments on so many people sadly disregarding facts and continuing to choose harmful products
    and unnecessary toxic practices. Here in retirement in the country most people, and local governments ,seem to believe toxic wood smoke and pesticides are economical and basically harmless and even essential ! There are, as you know, much safer products and practices and also thousands of studies over many years that prove the opposite of the common beliefs I mentioned.

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