I ran across some striking photos by Alex Kisilevich (you can see them in the banner above if you squint) and I shared the link with the intro “Food for thought… what’s outside the bubble preventing access?” Someone responded with “tell me about it”, so I wrote a short story before seeing what the photographer’s intent was, if it was indeed as a writer wrote, to say:
“As though addressing the sad lives of those who are too afraid to live, photographer Alex Kisilevich latest photo series features three individuals who have put themselves in bubbles to protect themselves from scary situations. Quietly somber, it shows how cut off from the world they have become.”
Or as another writer wrote: he “creates a story through each of his images in the series “bubble troubles” individuals, isolated and alone, face challenges with no apparent solution, the look of loss and abandonment stretched across their faces or in their inanimate body language.“
I wasn’t able to find anything by the photographer himself about his intentions, but it was interesting to see these two different takes on the images.
When discussing MCS/ES, contrary to industry funded campaigns that sow doubts in people’s minds, it’s not usually fear (chemophobia or technophobia) that cuts people off from the world. An awareness of cause and debilitating effects can force people into isolation, without them having any fear.
It is true that some people do develop fear and anxiety, but this is often a result of the exposures themselves, or from the lack of awareness and limited options to address the new reality, that the things we have 24/7 exposure to can be disabling, and more often than not, there’s nowhere to go to avoid exposures!
Systemic accessibility barriers can make it impossible to function outside the bubble, and can force people to withdraw into a medically required “safe” space (if they can find and afford one).
The lack of safe and sane solutions, be they not in existence, or not accessible due to cost or lack of assistance, can be a real mindmuck.
Of importance to note here is that “bubble people” were not always “bubble people”. We were not designed to be polluted on a 24/7 basis like we are now.
The Other Story
Once upon a time there was someone who decided to make petro-chemicals out of fossil fuels like oil and gas.
Toxic chemicals were put into everything, polluting air, water, earth, food, clothing, cars, beds, and even human bodies.
Some people (also known as human canaries) had to become bubble people to protect themselves from the disabling adverse effects these toxic petrochemicals were creating.
They were subjected to ridicule, abandonment, and inhumane conditions by others who were taught to believe that petrochemicals were better than sliced bread and could not possibly cause harm, despite more and more of them developing chronic and deadly illnesses themselves, requiring more and more petrochemically based pharmaceuticals to cover up the symptoms.
The bubble people were not living happily ever after. Many were barely able to live at all, but so many petrochemically addicted people didn’t care as long as they could keep using their cheap but toxic products, products that were also destroying their own ability to think clearly and see what was happening in the world.
Petrochemically addicted people didn’t seem able to recognize that they were endangering their own lives too, not just the lives of the bubble people, not only that, but the lives of their children were also at risk, and that to save future generations, they would have to change what they bought and used, and change the way they lived, to actually care about life and the planet that supports us with life… and to stop destroying and polluting everything in sight, just so that their grandchildren would have a chance to live healthily and happily ever after.
But they only had a short time to realize this before it would be too late, before the human epigenome would be so damaged from the petrochemicals that it would be impossible for future generations to survive, before the planet became inhospitable, and could no longer provide anyone the ability to live on her.
We now find ourselves with an opportunity for extinction prevention transformation. What will happen? Will enough people start caring? Nobody knows…
Just in case you were wondering
A Few Useful Links
Unpacking the Fragrance Industry: Policy Failures, the Trade Secret Myth and Public Health
Toxic Chemicals Found in Fragrance
Galaxolide: A Threat to the Environment and Human Health
Volatile emissions from common consumer products (2015)
Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions
“72.6 % were not aware that even so-called natural, green, and organic fragranced products typically emit hazardous air pollutants.”
Overall, 34.7 % of the population reported one or more types of adverse health effects from exposure to one or more types of fragranced products. The most common types of adverse effects were as follows:
18.6 % respiratory problems; 16.2 % mucosal symptoms; 15.7 % migraine headaches; 10.6 % skin problems; 8.0 % asthma attacks; 7.2 % neurological problems; 5.8 % cognitive problems; 5.5 % gastrointestinal problems; 4.4 % cardiovascular problems; 4.0 % immune system problems; 3.8 % musculoskeletal problems; and 1.7 % other.
20.2 % of the population reported that if they enter a business, and smell air fresheners or some fragranced product, they want to leave as quickly as possible.
Significantly, 15.1 % of the general population reported that exposure to fragranced products in their work environment has caused them to become sick, lose workdays, or lose a job.
Health and societal effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products (AU)
…”Finally, for public officials, the problem of “secondhand scents,” or indirect exposure to fragranced products, has parallels to secondhand tobacco smoke. Prevention from fragrance product exposure will enable individuals to work in their workplaces, attend school, and function in society without suffering involuntary harm.” …
Volatile emissions from common consumer products 2015
Scented laundry products emit hazardous chemicals through dryer vents
Indoor Pollutant Emissions from Electronic Office Equipment
A STUDY ON THE VOCS EMISSION RATES OF HOME ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
Accommodation Ideas for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness
CDC Indoor Environmental Policy protects those with chemical sensitivities
Canadian (Federal) Policy on Environmental Sensitivities | Canadian Human Rights Commission
Ontario Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability
Environmental Sensitivities and Housing
“Housing as a Medical Necessity”
Think Again Training » Fragrance Free
The Root Social Justice Center
Tips on How to be fragrance-free
3 Steps to Organizing A Fragrance Free Event
Ability Tools’ Scent-Free Policy
About Those Fragrance-Free Laundry Products
Many people with MCS/ES also have EHS and will need you to turn off your wireless devices in their presence.
Here are some MCS Visitors Guidelines for visiting people with more severe MCS/ES
check in particular Section 4. Guideline Checklists for a visit to a MCS person
We now find ourselves with an opportunity for extinction prevention transformation.
What will happen? Will enough people start caring? Nobody knows…