Category Archives: Air Quality

When Being Quarantined or Isolated and Broke is “Normal”

But Shouldn’t Have to Be

Guest Post by Joanne Cabe

I read a post from someone who was out of work and broke, who wrote that being quarantined and broke, or being an essential worker and working over time, isn’t normal for anyone.

I had to respond. I don’t know that it will do any good on people’s awareness, but this was my try for the day:

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Homeless Canaries Need Access to Fragrance-Free Showers

 

I saw an announcement on fb from a city agency that was opening up an arena to allow homeless people a place to shower, and they were also providing soap, shampoo, and other necessities.

“People who are homeless or precariously housed in (the city) relied upon bathrooms and showers in public facilities. But, they have closed their doors during the pandemic. There are now free showers and washrooms open daily at (the)  Arena.”

Homelessness is something far too many human canaries are intimately  familiar with, since there are so few accessible, medically safe housing options available when our ‘sensitivities’ become disabling.  Many  human canaries are  precariously housed too.


Graphic image text description:

Everyone welcome.
Toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, and more provided.
Free showers & washrooms
———————————————————————-
ACCESSIBILITY QUESTION:
Is the soap and shampoo fragrance-free so that people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ could also access the space?
MAY is MCS/ES Awareness Month

I was (due to MCS/ES related accessibility barriers) homeless myself for a year, and the need to shower did not go away. I know several homeless canaries now, one who just a few days ago was discussing her attempts to create a shower outside the van she is living in, so I asked the fb page a question about accessibility for homeless canaries.

Here’s what happened:

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The Fragrance Free Revolution

Are you on facebook?

If so, please check out and follow the

Fragrance Free Revolution

They share  memes with accompanying information for people with chemical, fragrance, and environmental ‘sensitivities’.

This is one of my absolute favourites!

Image description:

A fair skinned woman is growing out of a terra cotta flower pot. She wears something white and sleeveless. She has long wavy hair that is surrounded by several pink flowers of varying sizes. Her head is tilted to one side and that arm is holding up one of the flowers between her ear and her forehead.

Image text:

If you were meant to smell of fragrance you would’ve been a plant.

Be fragrance free, it’s what nature intended.

#No Fragrances #No Essential Oils  SOS #Back to Basics

 

Direct link to this specific fb post:
https://www.facebook.com/fragrancefreerevolution/photos/a.107251783966059/192533602104543/

 

 

Accessibility Recommendations from ARCH and CELA

Accepting the leadership offered by the Task Force on Environmental Health to address the health care system, proactive change can begin immediately at all levels of society including federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public departments and agencies.

These would include, but are not limited to, public transportation providers, school boards, and the private sector.”


screenshots
of  the report recommendations
with source added

 

The Legal Rights and Challenges Faced by Persons with Chronic Disability Triggered by Environmental Factors

From ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA),  September 2019

“3. Conclusion While there has been significant research and study into barriers to include persons with EH disabilities, critical obstacles remain.

Seeking help in the health system, trying to find and/or retain adequate housing or employment, entering public spaces, shopping, or using public transportation, limit the inclusion of persons with EH disabilities in our communities.

Much more needs to be done to acknowledge the significant hurdles faced by persons with EH disabilities.

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Attitudinal barriers, fragranced products, and invisible disabilities

Having been housebound for far too many years due to having to avoid exposure  to common, everyday products and materials that disable me, has given me time to observe the world (and sometimes even make a little sense of it).

Still, there are some things that make no sense. With over 404,207 Ontario citizens diagnosed with MCS, and 740,370 with one or more diagnoses of MCS, FM, and/or CFS (ME) (in 2016), why hasn’t the Ontario government done anything about the Task Force recommendation to raise

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Find all 25 reasons why I didn’t come (to your party)

There are those who invite us to celebrations, sometimes year after year, but who also refuse to remove the accessibility barriers so that we can attend.

There are 25 barriers in this photo.
Can you find them all?

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Don’t understand?

Learn more here:

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s “Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies”

The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s
Policy on Environmental Sensitivities
has been updated to add more on scent-free policies.

Image description: “Environmental sensitivity and scent-free policies” text on a blue background to the left, with a photo of a dark haired woman resting her chin on her hand, while looking wistfully (towards the title  text) out a window with rain drops on it, on the right side.

The new policy includes this:

“A scent-free policy is similar to other workplace policies such as
anti-harassment policies. It applies to all employees and is intended to guide
their conduct. If an employee does not comply with the policy, disciplinary
action can be taken.”

and this:

“If an employee with environmental sensitivities needs to leave because of a trigger, this person should not suffer negative impacts because of their disability
or their need for accommodation.”

 

Visit the CHRC website to download the PDF:
https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/policy-environmental-sensitivities

 

Full text of the policy
(as copied from their PDF for people who have difficulties with PDFs):

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Diffusing Health Harm on Unsuspecting Shoppers and Outrageously False Product Claims

Here’s yet another example of a systemic issue regarding health harming accessibility barriers, happening in a province (and country) where we have Human Rights laws that recognize people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ as having a disability, and where everyone is encouraged to remove accessibility barriers instead of creating new ones.

Unsuspecting Oshawa Costco Canada shoppers are being subjected to this fragrance assault and/or accessibility barrier between November 26, 2019 and December 8, 2019.

Info which was found buried on Costco Canada’s website in the Special Events page, there may be other locations as well.
How many members see these announcements?

In December, it appears that those who shop at  Costco’s Ste Foy location will also be sprayed, without alternative accommodations made for member shoppers whose lives are harmed by this kind of thing (unless there’s a public outcry before it happens).

Not only is the store air thoroughly polluted by this kind of diffusion (as experienced by someone who reported it to their mother who has environmental sensitivities and is severely allergic to fragranced products) for the 2 week duration of this “special event”, but everything in their store(s), *including food*, will also have absorbed substantial residues of undisclosed (and not food-safe) fragrance substances, that may be difficult if not impossible to remove.

This ‘special event’ can cause significant harm to people with asthma, autism, chemical and environmental sensitivities, fragrance allergies, migraines, and mast cell activation syndrome (to name a few). Even 2nd and 3rd hand residues of this type can cause serious (and life-threatening) health problems and long lasting disabling effects, so a suggestion of having someone else do the shopping is not a reasonable or feasible accommodation.

See below for the product details and the store manager’s and assistant manager’s responses when called.

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Persil: Just STOP!

When you need a product that says it’s fragrance-free

and the product’s web page states:

“It’s 100% dye-free, perfume-free and dermatologist-tested. Take laundry day to the next level. … With Persil® Sensitive Skin you can achieve a deep clean without scents and perfumes that can aggravate skin sensitivities.”

Guess what? You still need to read the ingredient list, because some manufacturers think it’s ok to do this:

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Hyperthyroidism in Cats Exposed to Air “Fresheners”, Upholstered Furniture, and New Buildings

Cats are adversely affected by toxic chemicals too

 

… “Higher TDCIPP exposures were associated with air freshener use, houses built since 2005 and cats that prefer to nap on upholstered furniture.” …

The same things cause disabling adverse effects in people with MCS/ES.

Learn more:

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