Category Archives: Public Health

Homeless Canaries Need Access to Fragrance-Free Showers

 

I saw an announcement on fb from a city agency that was opening up an arena to allow homeless people a place to shower, and they were also providing soap, shampoo, and other necessities.

“People who are homeless or precariously housed in (the city) relied upon bathrooms and showers in public facilities. But, they have closed their doors during the pandemic. There are now free showers and washrooms open daily at (the)  Arena.”

Homelessness is something far too many human canaries are intimately  familiar with, since there are so few accessible, medically safe housing options available when our ‘sensitivities’ become disabling.  Many  human canaries are  precariously housed too.


Graphic image text description:

Everyone welcome.
Toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, and more provided.
Free showers & washrooms
———————————————————————-
ACCESSIBILITY QUESTION:
Is the soap and shampoo fragrance-free so that people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ could also access the space?
MAY is MCS/ES Awareness Month

I was (due to MCS/ES related accessibility barriers) homeless myself for a year, and the need to shower did not go away. I know several homeless canaries now, one who just a few days ago was discussing her attempts to create a shower outside the van she is living in, so I asked the fb page a question about accessibility for homeless canaries.

Here’s what happened:

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Two Tales: Temporary Quarantine or Long-term Segregation

 

There have been several articles in the news lately about the experiences of people who have been forced to endure quarantine or social isolation due to the coronavirus.

Many other people are worried about having to stay at home for a couple of weeks, without access to their regular activities, because they have never had to think about what it’s like, but some of us (indeed millions around the world) have been forced  to stay confined and isolated, sometimes for most of our lives! Our stories are seldom told, and when they are told, they’re often dismissed as anomalies and quickly forgotten.

 

When I saw the following articles, I felt the need to add a different perspective.

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Dear Quarantined and Socially Distanced

I’m sorry you have to experience this, but am glad that it is just a temporary experience for you and your family. I personally know how difficult it is (times  1000 or more).

Hopefully if you actually do become ill, it will pass quickly and there will be no lasting effects.

It is more than likely that most of you will have all the medical assistance, food, toilet paper, and everything else that you will need to have available to deal with basic creature comforts and needs, so it will be just the habitual and a few social comforts that are temporarily disrupted for you.

Did you know that more than a few people are not as fortunate, and experience this kind of segregation full time, with no vacations, with few, if any of the relatively easily accessible (to most) basic amenities? And they aren’t criminals!

Say what?

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Accessibility Recommendations from ARCH and CELA

Accepting the leadership offered by the Task Force on Environmental Health to address the health care system, proactive change can begin immediately at all levels of society including federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public departments and agencies.

These would include, but are not limited to, public transportation providers, school boards, and the private sector.”


screenshots
of  the report recommendations
with source added

 

The Legal Rights and Challenges Faced by Persons with Chronic Disability Triggered by Environmental Factors

From ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA),  September 2019

“3. Conclusion While there has been significant research and study into barriers to include persons with EH disabilities, critical obstacles remain.

Seeking help in the health system, trying to find and/or retain adequate housing or employment, entering public spaces, shopping, or using public transportation, limit the inclusion of persons with EH disabilities in our communities.

Much more needs to be done to acknowledge the significant hurdles faced by persons with EH disabilities.

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Attitudinal barriers, fragranced products, and invisible disabilities

Having been housebound for far too many years due to having to avoid exposure  to common, everyday products and materials that disable me, has given me time to observe the world (and sometimes even make a little sense of it).

Still, there are some things that make no sense. With over 404,207 Ontario citizens diagnosed with MCS, and 740,370 with one or more diagnoses of MCS, FM, and/or CFS (ME) (in 2016), why hasn’t the Ontario government done anything about the Task Force recommendation to raise

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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

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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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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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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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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