Category Archives: Policy

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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Harm Reduction Policy for People With Autism

Recent research that Anne Steinemann conducted in  three countries (United States, Australia, and the UK), found that 83.7% autistic adults reported adverse health effects from exposures to  fragranced products, effects such as:

migraine headaches (42.9%),
neurological problems (34.3%),
respiratory problems (44.7%), and
asthma attacks (35.9%)

In particular,
62.9% of autistic adults report health problems from air fresheners or deodorizers,
57.5% from the scent of laundry products coming from a dryer vent,
65.9% from being in a room cleaned with scented products, and
60.5% from being near someone wearing a fragranced product.

Health problems can be severe, with 74.1% of these effects considered potentially disabling under legislation in each country. Further, 59.4% of autistic adults have lost workdays or lost a job, in the past year, due to fragranced product exposure in the workplace.

Results show that vulnerable individuals, such as those with autism or autism spectrum disorders, can be profoundly, adversely, and disproportionately affected by exposure to fragranced consumer products.

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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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Product Safety Gaps are Actually Canyons

Many people believe that for a product to be sold, it has to first be proven safe.
Unfortunately this is far from the truth.

I ran across a great in depth article in Fast Company about product safety,
and how:

“There are no laws in place to ensure a company’s
product development process results in safe products,

because product safety is entirely voluntary.”

and to echo what I’ve been saying:

“Today, public outcry is doing much of the work
that government agencies cannot.”

More snippets from the very informative and long article follow:

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They Said I Wasn’t Fragrance-Free. How Can That Be?

Has anyone ever asked you to be fragrance-free or told you that your fragrance is affecting their ability to function in some way, and you didn’t know what they were talking about?

You may or may not have heard that fragrance-free policies are becoming much more common now since so many people are being adversely affected by fragranced products.

Unfortunately, many people still don’t know why fragrance-free products are healthier for themselves and others, or unaware how common fragrances are!

It’s not just perfumes and colognes!

I’ve had people tell me they didn’t use any fragrance when they couldn’t name a single product they used for laundry or personal care and cleaning.

I’ve had people tell me they didn’t have any fragrance on when all of their products had fragrance listed in the ingredients.

People have also said “but I don’t smell anything”, or “I only used a little this morning” (or yesterday, or the day before yesterday).

They Said I Wasn’t Fragrance-Free. How Can That Be?

Think about that! Read the labels on all of your products, if you haven’t already.

There are all kinds of undisclosed and toxic ingredients in everyday fragranced products that are  linked to cancer, birth defects, and other chronic illnesses.

And it’s not only the fragrances from the products you washed with or applied to your body, or the residues of laundry products in your clothing that are problematic!

Did you ever walk into a room where people were smoking, or have have smoked in the past?

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UK’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 Addresses Product VOCs

The UK has released their Clean Air Strategy 2019 document and it contains some groundbreaking measures that, if implemented, will have very positive impacts on the environment and our health.

It encompasses many areas of air pollution, including indoor air pollutants for the 1st time in any meaningful way, which as NOAA recently pointed out, have as large an impact on outdoor air pollution as vehicle exhaust!

The few news reports I saw did mention air “fresheners” and perfumes, with some building materials, but didn’t get into details. I had to dig through the document and what follows is most of what pertains to our interests here, being seriously sensitive to indoor pollutants.

I’m sure that other sources will focus on the regular types of outdoor pollutants quite well, while mostly ignoring the indoor products and materials, so I will not touch upon them, except for a few illustration screenshots  from the report.

I’ve added  very little of my own commentary. It’s almost entirely copied and pasted (and reformatted) from their document, so you can see for yourself what their plans are regarding NMVOCs (non-methane volatile organic compounds) from consumer products and materials that leave so many of us disabled and housebound, and unfortunately, far too rarely in a home that protects us from exposures and contributes to our well-being.

 

Among other types of pollutants, the executive summary of the report includes:

Chapter 6: Action to reduce emissions at home

Many people are unaware that emissions in the home increase personal exposure to pollutants and contribute significantly to our overall national emissions.

Burning wood and coal in open fires and stoves makes up 38% of the UK’s primary emissions of fine particulate matter1 (PM2.5). Harmful sulphur dioxide (SO2) is emitted by coal burned in open fires.

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) from a wide variety of chemicals that are found in carpets, upholstery, paint, cleaning, fragrance, and personal care products are another significant source of pollution.

We will:

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Health Canada and Chemicals in Fragranced Products

This report from the Auditor General of Canada came out in 2016. Nothing has changed as far as I have seen, and I keep my eyes open for these kinds of things.

“The Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) conducts independent audits and studies that provide objective information, advice, and assurance to Parliament, territorial legislatures, boards of crown corporations, government, and Canadians.”

Here’s a short video, followed by the transcript,  more from the report, and some relevant bits from a follow up by Health Canada:

Chemicals in Consumer Products and Cosmetics

 

Video Transcript

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