So You Think We’re Being Difficult When We ask You to Change Products?

Seriously though:

We are not trying to make your life difficult.

We’re just asking you to choose products that don’t disable us.

“Really? Products we can buy in every store disable you?”

Yes! Everyday products and materials can disable us.

There’s actually a lot of info out there that the things that disable us are harming many other people too, just in different ways.

An info dump of links are included below. Take your time and read through them, as you will learn things that will help you protect yourself and your family in the absence of product and material regulations that should exist to protect us.

In many places, it’s also the law to accommodate us
to the point of undue hardship.

“inconvenience, morale, and preferences are not valid considerations in assessing whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship”

Ontario Human Rights Commission


The Code protects people from discrimination and harassment because of past, present and perceived disabilities. “Disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.

There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, mental health disabilities and addictions, *environmental sensitivities*, and other conditions.

Relevant policies:

Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability (2016)

Policy on environmental sensitivities
(Canadian Human Rights Commission)

Click to access policy_sensitivity_0.pdf

Canadian Human Rights Commission Policy on Environmental Sensitivities

New policy from the Canadian Human Rights Commission states:

“People who have allergies or sensitivity to certain products may have a bad reaction to a much lower level of chemicals, perfumes or environmental triggers than the average person.

Their reaction is a medical condition. It is a recognized disability.

People with allergies or environmental sensitivity are entitled to protection from its cause.”

~ CHRC “Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies” 2019

CDC Indoor Environmental Policy protects those with chemical sensitivities

There are a lot of us, and our numbers are growing!

Fragranced consumer products:
exposures and effects from emissions.

Fragranced consumer products, such as cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and personal care products, are a primary source of indoor air pollutants and personal exposure.

Previous research indicates that fragranced products can trigger adverse health effects, with implications for workplaces and public places. This is the first study to examine the multiple dimensions of exposures related to fragranced products and effects in the US population.

The study investigated the prevalence and types of fragranced product exposures, associated health effects, awareness of product emissions, and preferences for fragrance-free policies and environments. Data were collected using an online survey with a nationally representative population (n = 1136) of adults in the USA.

Overall, 34.7 % of the population reported health problems, such as migraine headaches and respiratory difficulties, when exposed to fragranced products.

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.”

Further, 15.1 % have lost workdays or a job due to fragranced product exposure in the workplace.

Also, 20.2 % would enter a business but then leave as quickly as possible if they smell air fresheners or some fragranced product.

Over 50 % of the population would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities and professionals, hotels, and airplanes were fragrance-free.

While prior research found that common fragranced products, even those called green and organic, emitted hazardous air pollutants, more than two thirds of the population were not aware of this, and over 60 % would not continue to use a fragranced product if they knew it emitted such pollutants.

Results from this study provide strong evidence that fragranced products can trigger adverse health effects in the general population.

The study also indicates that reducing exposure to fragranced products, such as through fragrance-free policies, can provide cost-effective and relatively simple ways to reduce risks and improve air quality and health. (full text)

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.” …

Preventable Disabling Symptoms from Exposures

From the US Job Accommodation Network

Accommodation and Compliance: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Accommodation and Compliance: Electrical Sensitivity

Dr Molot Urges Everyone to Support the Canaries

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners:

“We found fragrance chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, endocrine disruption and other serious health conditions in everything from children’s shampoo to body lotion to perfumes,”

Right to know: Exposing toxic fragrance chemicals in beauty, personal care and cleaning products

Types of hazardous chemicals detected:

Chemicals linked to breast cancer including benzene and 1,4-dioxane, which have been linked to mammary tumors in laboratory studies.

Hormone-disrupting compounds with links to breast cancer: oxybenzone, propyl paraben, and two phthalates (DEHP and DEP).

Respiratory toxicants and chemicals linked to asthma.

Developmental toxicants and other chemicals linked to skin irritation and neurotoxicity.

What’s it Like to Have MCS/ES? Part 2: Curbs

What’s it Like to Have MCS/ES? Part 3: Toast Chaos

What’s it Like to Have MCS/ES? Part 1: Arms, Brains, and Legs

And no, essential oils and natural fragrances aren’t a healthy substitute!

They are the light cigarette version of fragrances!

Essential oils are not non-toxic. They emit hazardous VOCs which react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) to create ozone molecules and other pollutants.

They have become accessibility barriers, preventing people from being able to shop for food (at health food stores), receive medical and dental care, go to school, (etc) because the oils are being used and diffused everywhere under the erroneous impression that they are benign and harmless.

“Essential oils, widely used in society, emit numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some of these VOCs are considered as potentially hazardous under federal regulations. However, essential oils are exempt from disclosure of their ingredients on their label. Thus, the public may lack information on emissions and potential hazards from essential oils.

This study examined VOCs emitted from a range of commercial essential oils, including tea tree oils, lavender oils, eucalyptus oils, and other individual oils and mixtures of oils. Using headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), the study analyzed 24 commercial essential oils, including 12 with claims of being “natural” or related terms, such as organic, 100% pure, or plant-based.

Among the 589 VOCs identified, 124 VOCs, representing 33 different VOCs, are classified as potentially hazardous. All natural and regular essential oils emitted one or more potentially hazardous VOCs, such as acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol. Toluene was also found in 50% of essential oils.

Moreover, for the prevalent VOCs classified as potentially hazardous, no significant difference was found between regular and natural essential oils. This study provides insights and information about emissions of commercial essential oils that can be useful for public awareness and risk reduction.”


“Beyond their immediate effects, VOCs react with other molecules in the air, such as oxygen and nitrogen oxides, to generate ozone as well as fine particulate matter. (Those nitrogen oxides come, in large part, from vehicle exhaust.) High levels of fine particulate matter make it hard to breathe and contribute to chronic lung problems (SN: 9/30/17, p. 18). And while ozone high in the atmosphere helps shield Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, at ground level, it mixes with fine particulates to form breath-choking smog.”

Household products
make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses
Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

From the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
2 page pamphlet
“Creating Healthy Apartments: What You Need to Know”

Help for How to Be Fragrance-Free

Artist of background image:  Jun Kamoari

We are not trying to make your life difficult.
We’re just asking you to choose products that don’t disable us.

16 responses to “So You Think We’re Being Difficult When We ask You to Change Products?

  1. Pingback: They Said I Wasn’t Fragrance-Free. How Can That Be? | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  2. Pingback: The Fragrance-free Checklist | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  3. Those scented products you love?
    NOAA study finds they can cause air pollution

    “Even though 15 times more petroleum is consumed as fuel than is used as ingredients in industrial and consumer products, the amount of chemical vapors emitted to the atmosphere in scented products is roughly the same, said lead author Brian McDonald, a CIRES scientist working at NOAA.”

    “The chemical vapors, known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, react with sunlight to form ozone pollution, and, as this study finds, also react with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form fine particulates in the air.”

  4. As usual, this is superb! I commend you –again- for exceptional research, excellent public info/communication skills, dedication to helping others, & courage to lead in reform of public policies & understanding. You ROCK!

  5. Pingback: Diffusing Health Harm on Unsuspecting Shoppers and Outrageously False Product Claims | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  6. Pingback: Find all 25 reasons why I didn’t come (to your party) | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  7. Pingback: Fragrance-free in 2023 | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

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