Category Archives: Disability

Human Rights and Housing: New Resources for Community Workers Supporting Clients with Chemical and Environmental Sensitivities

Canadian Lawyer Magazine and The Law Foundation of Ontario have shared the news about CERA’s new resources for community workers, to help support clients with chemical and environmental sensitivities in rental housing:

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Video Discussions about Environmental Illnesses, “Sensitivities”, and Disability

It’s not often that we hear people discussing chemical and environmental “sensitivities” and other environmentally linked chronic health problems and disabling  conditions, or how they relate in the bigger picture.

Two such discussions have taken place in August of 2019, and you can watch the videos below.

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Now Online: “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide”

Great news!

Pamela Reed Gibson’s groundbreaking and information filled book “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide” (2nd Edition) is now available to read online, or as a download, for FREE!

 

It’s still very relevant and extremely useful even though it came out in 2006.

There are also a lot of other excellent resources, including research papers, available on the new website: Continue reading

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