Category Archives: Disability

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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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

MCS/ES: Societal Neglect = No More Fun and Games for Life on the Planet

 

Please take a moment to feel your heart beating.
Not everyone can do this anymore.

While some progress has been made, it’s still too little,
too late for far too many people.

This will not change until more people who have MCS/ES come forward with their stories, and more  healthy people start advocating and helping us in daily life, as well as pushing governments and medical institutions to pull their heads out of the sand (and industry pockets) and get into (at least) the 20th century as far as the very serious environmental and related health issues are concerned.

 

“Business as usual is a disaster”
Robert Watson

 

“Unfortunately, many physicians, employers, family, and friends
are in effect assisting in suicide through their disbelief.”
(and neglect)

“The Consequences of Disbelief”

“Twelve years as an advocate for the chemically sensitive has led me to the sad realization that a large number of chemically sensitive people have taken their own lives and many others are inching ever closer to that decision because they find it such a daunting task to locate a safe place to live or work and are rapidly running out of money. And at the same time that they are engaged in this herculean struggle, far too many of them are facing a discouraging skepticism from those about them.”

 

From
“Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity”
2008
By Alison Johnson
With a Foreword by L. Christine Oliver, M.D., Harvard Medical School

 

Links to several chapters of the book, where stories about people’s lives are featured are available here:

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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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Review Finds Ontario Far From Accessible but Report Includes People With Environmental Sensitivities

The Honourable David C. Onley, the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (2007-2014) was appointed to lead the Third Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The report has now been released.

LISTENING TO ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES
REPORT OF THE THIRD REVIEW OF THE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2005

For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers

Thanks to everyone who wrote in, those of us with environmental sensitivities have been recognized, and thanks to David C. Onley, we’ve been included in the report and the final recommendations:


In the SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS (on pg 80):

7. Ensure that accessibility standards respond to the needs of people with environmental sensitivities.

 

Other mentions of environmental sensitivities and details:

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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”

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