I’m sorry you have to experience this, but am glad that it is just a temporary experience for you and your family. I personally know how difficult it is (times 1000 or more).
Hopefully if you actually do become ill, it will pass quickly and there will be no lasting effects.
It is more than likely that most of you will have all the medical assistance, food, toilet paper, and everything else that you will need to have available to deal with basic creature comforts and needs, so it will be just the habitual and a few social comforts that are temporarily disrupted for you.
Did you know that more than a few people are not as fortunate, and experience this kind of segregation full time, with no vacations, with few, if any of the relatively easily accessible (to most) basic amenities? And they aren’t criminals!
Some of us who have environmental health related disabilities, have been forced to live segregated lives for years, as we must avoid fragrances and other everyday exposures that can have debilitating, disabling effects on us, because accessibility policies, if they even exist, aren’t enforced.
Life as a human canary with chemical or environmental ‘sensitivities’ often means permanent social distancing or isolation (especially when the condition becomes more severe) because it’s currently ok for society to sell and use all kinds of toxic fragranced products, as well as other health harming materials. These and other systemic accessibility barriers (including lack of safe housing or access to appropriate health care) prevent what is needed for people to heal.
It also means being incredibly vulnerable if things do get slowed or shut down, if our allergy and sensitivity safe foods or medicines aren’t available, because many of us can’t eat regular food, fast food, emergency food, etc., and already have a very limited amount of what can already be hard to find foods that are safe to eat. Sometimes there are no substitutions due to supply chain contamination.
Many people in our towns and cities, this province (over 400,000 in Ontario), the country (over 1008,400 in Canada), and millions more around the world have been forced to self isolate and practice ‘social distancing’, losing their jobs, families, housing, etc., when the “sensitivity’ to pollutants becomes severe and there are no (enforced) accessibility policies that make it safe to be around people who choose to use certain products instead of others that don’t cause adverse effects.
Most human canaries, who are seriously “sensitive” to pollution wouldn’t have to go into solitary like this if some simple accessibility barriers were removed.
I’m sure you’ve seen comments or posters about scent or fragrance-free policies, but how many apply to all products, including laundry products, the washroom soap, air effers, and other cleaning products? How many policies are enforced? How many places are there that have harmful product, food, material, and chemical avoidance policies? How many doctors and health care settings are totally fragrance-free (without scented carpets, people, etc)?
Family members going about their daily business end up bringing home 2nd and 3rd hand fragrances on clothing and other belongings and cause disabling adverse effects that can take human canaries days or longer to recover from.
Homes aren’t built with separate air spaces and washrooms or double laundry areas so that family members, friends, or other care-givers can detox their bodies, hair and clothing before entering the home space and contaminating the air, furnishings, and the person who must avoid exposures to remain functional.
What about books, papers, clothing, toilet paper, art or sewing supplies… things to do when isolated? They can all be inherently too toxic and/or fragrance contaminated from supply chains and stores.
Medicines are fragrance contaminated in pharmacies that sell fragranced products. Foods become fragrance saturated in grocery stores that sell fragranced products, and cause horrible reactions if eaten. Mail is also toxic and fragrance saturated, especially when postal outlets also sell fragranced products.
Exposures cause pain, cognitive challenges, neurological dysfunction, breathing difficulties, skin problems, fatigue, digestive problems, and any other symptom associated with poisoning. We are being poisoned by little doses everywhere.
The toxic chemicals in most everyday products and materials are not regulated, and fragranced products are full of toxic chemicals (see other posts and resources on this site).
This forced segregation due to accessibility barriers that could be removed if not for the attitudinal barriers, is all of course a serious human rights violation, (MCS/ES is recognized by the OHRC and CHRC) but when one is so disabled, so isolated, how can one find and work with lawyers to take down discrimination and barriers that are systemic?
Perhaps our lives aren’t as important as habits and harmful products are?
Accommodating us requires others to change product habits, habits that have been instilled in us as necessary parts of life by years of commercials and clever marketing, while at the same time manufacturing becomes less regulated, toxic substances are cheaper (due to subsidies), and are more fossil fool based.
Most of the substances that harm human canaries (people with chemical and environmental “sensitivities”) also harm others, but at a slower rate. Some even contribute to more outdoor pollution than cars and trucks do now!
I hope if you find yourself quarantined, when you are free again, that as a result of this experience you will be more willing to change products and habits and also advocate for those who experience long term (if not life-time) isolation and survival difficulties due to systemic accessibility barriers, so that they (we) too may experience freedom and human connection again.
Perhaps you can volunteer some fragrance-free assistance to those who aren’t able to access regular services. Maybe you can organize a more coordinated system to make sure the needs of human canaries, those who are ‘sensitive’ to pollution, are taken into consideration and met, before the wisdom of the birds is lost.
Chronic health problems are experienced by more than half the population now (including children) and human extinction is possible if we don’t change what we do and how we do it. Respecting and learning from the experiences of human canaries, people with chemical and other environmental “sensitivities” could have prevented many of the chronic health problems society experiences and faces today.
Once the canaries are gone, it will be hard to learn which essentials are too toxic for consumption and use, and what kinds of changes are needed to ensure the long term health and well-being of all beings.
Honouring and respecting lives and the environment we all depend on for life requires some changes, but they are changes we can manage, and changes we must embrace if we want to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.
You all know that clean has no smell.
Using fragrance-free soap to wash hands, (frequently, so you don’t make others sick) and fragrance-free sanitizer (without quats) if it’s not possible to wash hands, are a couple of easy ways to remove some pervasive accessibility barriers!
For more ways to remove fragranced barriers, see The Fragrance-free Checklist.