Category Archives: Air Quality

How to Basics: Accessible Washrooms for People With MCS/ES

So many accessibility guidelines completely skip the fact that these necessary and super easy to implement accessibility measures make it possible for perhaps  1/3 of the population to use (or use without harm) a public (or other) washroom, and especially help provide access for those who have disabling chemical and or environmental “sensitivities” (a term that trivializes the condition and effects).

Fragranced products not only create accessibility barriers for people with chemical and environmental “sensitivities”, fragrance sensitivity, autism, sensory sensitivities, migraines, asthma, MCAS/MCAD, and others, but fragrance ingredients have been linked to a number of other short and serious long term health effects in the general population.

It has come to our attention that too many places that hang up a scent or fragrance-free sign in the front office, have air effers and scented soaps in the washrooms. That’s not how this is done.

How to Basics:
Accessible washrooms for people with environmental sensitivities

Image is of a public washroom with sinks on the left side, a cleaning cart in the middle, and garbage cans holding open the stall doors on the right. There are purple bars across the image with the following lines of accessibility tips text:

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Accessibility STOP Signs

I ran across a sign that the lung association had created, and while I am glad they are doing something , I found the message and visual required some tweaking.

Of course, the lung association didn’t come up with the term “sensitive”, it’s what is used in human rights laws, but it seems to have created an impression in the public’s mind that chemical and environmental sensitivities are trivial, and not disabling or even life threatening like they can be.

It also needs to be said that signs without enforcement are endangering lives and perpetuating harm, systemic accessibility barriers, discrimination, and forced isolated segregation for those who are disabled by any or repeated exposures.

To download printable posters, see below.

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Mask Challenge Revisited

Back in 2017, there was an effort by Memes for Inconvenient Disabilities to get people to wear a mask to see what it was like to be a human canary.

Only one person we know of took the challenge, but she did not give permission to share her incredible insights from her experience.

I’ve discovered that Fast Company did their own version of the Mask Challenge and here’s their video: Continue reading

Can’t Ban Fragrances? Consider a Fragrance Free Zone

This article appears in The Job Accommodation Network’s
ENews: Volume 17, Issue 2, Second Quarter, 2019

JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Can’t Ban Fragrances?
Consider a Fragrance Free Zone

Dig into developing a fragrance free zone

From the desk of Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Principal Consultant/Legislative Specialist

Employees with fragrance sensitivity often need a fragrance free work environment to avoid triggering symptoms. However, it can be difficult to completely eliminate fragrances in some workplaces. Fragrance sensitivity can be triggered by not only perfumes and colognes, but also in some cases by personal products such as deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, and lotion. In workplaces with a lot of employees or in which the public has access, trying to control what products people use and enforcing a total fragrance ban can be virtually impossible. So what else can be done? Continue reading

Gain – Sinking Your Disabled Boat

Have you seen the new  “the more the better” Gain detergent ad?

When the delivery woman tries her best not to puke from the Gain fumes,
the Gain user shrugs and the voice-over says:

“Hey, you can’t float everyone’s boat. Love it or hate it, it’s intense.”

!!!

In other words, Gain implies they’re fine with sinking us

(More on what we all think about that later)

The ad starts off with a scene that already promotes an IAQ nightmare:

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Appropriating Disability Language to Sell Products That Harm People With Disabilities

Hey Vagisil!

Aside from making women feel like they need products that are
totally unnecessary and can be all around harmful in general, it’s
TOTALLY NOT COOL
to appropriate disability language
to sell products
that harm people with said disability!

If you are  ‘scentsitive’, it means you need to be scent-free!

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Are Natural Fragrances Really Any Better?

Awareness is growing about the harmful effects of synthetic, artificial fragrances. This is with good reason, but now, many people have jumped onto the natural fragrance and essential oil (EO) bandwagons, believing them to be safe alternatives.

Is this a good thing?

Some believe so, after all, what could be wrong with something that’s natural?

It’s time to have a closer look.

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The Fragrance-free Checklist

 

It seems like the best way to clear up some confusion about being fragrance-free, is to provide a checklist of products and places where fragrances that can make you not be fragrance-free are found, so that you don’t inadvertently bring fragrances with you when going  somewhere with a strict fragrance-free policy.

The checklist addresses some common misconceptions about what being fragrance-free really means.

Being fragrance-free is about more than not using perfume or cologne.
It’s also not about skipping deodorant, as some people seem to think.

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Your Very Own Neighbourhood Chemical Distribution Device

Did you know?

If you use conventional laundry products, you might not knowingly be feeling the effects now, but you more than likely have some neighbours who do!

Dryer vents are undisclosed, unregulated chemical distribution devices.

When you choose your laundry products,
you choose what your neighbours have to breathe!

Please think about your neighbours and choose non-toxic & fragrance-free products, so that your neighbours do not become ill or disabled
and can enjoy their homes and properties too!

A growing number of people (millions, not handfuls) cannot enjoy walking about their neighbourhoods, sitting or working in their own outdoor spaces, or even open the windows of their homes due to the harmful pollutants released from dryer vents that were designed to emit moisture, not drifting toxic chemicals.

Laundry products should not be disabling people or cause short term adverse health effects like asthma, headaches, migraines, confusion, vomiting, dizziness, etc., or longer term effects like reproductive and neurodevelopmental problems!

EWG has a website where you can check the ratings for the products you use. It’s a great place to start learning which products to avoid, and which are safer options.

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When Someone Says They’re Fragrance-Free, But

When someone says they’re fragrance-free, but

they smell like

essential oils, febreze, scented candles, plug-in air effers, &/or air effing sprays…

When someone says they’re fragrance-free, but

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