Category Archives: Policy

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

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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