Holiday Canaries

Holidays
are not easy for human canaries these days.


But friends CAN make it better:

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Diffusing Health Harm on Unsuspecting Shoppers and Outrageously False Product Claims

Here’s yet another example of a systemic issue regarding health harming accessibility barriers, happening in a province (and country) where we have Human Rights laws that recognize people with environmental ‘sensitivities’ as having a disability, and where everyone is encouraged to remove accessibility barriers instead of creating new ones.

Unsuspecting Oshawa Costco Canada shoppers are being subjected to this fragrance assault and/or accessibility barrier between November 26, 2019 and December 8, 2019.

Info which was found buried on Costco Canada’s website in the Special Events page, there may be other locations as well.
How many members see these announcements?

In December, it appears that those who shop at  Costco’s Ste Foy location will also be sprayed, without alternative accommodations made for member shoppers whose lives are harmed by this kind of thing (unless there’s a public outcry before it happens).

Not only is the store air thoroughly polluted by this kind of diffusion (as experienced by someone who reported it to their mother who has environmental sensitivities and is severely allergic to fragranced products) for the 2 week duration of this “special event”, but everything in their store(s), *including food*, will also have absorbed substantial residues of undisclosed (and not food-safe) fragrance substances, that may be difficult if not impossible to remove.

This ‘special event’ can cause significant harm to people with asthma, autism, chemical and environmental sensitivities, fragrance allergies, migraines, and mast cell activation syndrome (to name a few). Even 2nd and 3rd hand residues of this type can cause serious (and life-threatening) health problems and long lasting disabling effects, so a suggestion of having someone else do the shopping is not a reasonable or feasible accommodation.

See below for the product details and the store manager’s and assistant manager’s responses when called.

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Persil: Just STOP!

When you need a product that says it’s fragrance-free

and the product’s web page states:

“It’s 100% dye-free, perfume-free and dermatologist-tested. Take laundry day to the next level. … With Persil® Sensitive Skin you can achieve a deep clean without scents and perfumes that can aggravate skin sensitivities.”

Guess what? You still need to read the ingredient list, because some manufacturers think it’s ok to do this:

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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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Safe Housing Survey

Do you (or will you) need safe housing?

Until the end of November 2019, Health Risk Navigation Inc. (HRNI) is conducting a much needed (yet simple) survey of the housing needs of the chemically injured in order to have quantitative data to show housing providers, communities, policy, and decision makers, funders, and other relevant parties.

This kind of data doesn’t exist currently, so even though safe housing is our core need, there are no official documents that anyone can easily point to.

More details are available on their FAQ page:
https://www.hrni.ca/Housing-Survey-FAQ.php

Some of you may have already done the 1st edition of this survey in June of 2019, when it originally came out. Thank you! Even though the survey now has a different format, those responses are not lost.

You don’t have to do the revised one, but it would be helpful if you could spend the 10-15 minutes to do so… just mention that you completed the original on the last page where people are asked to share any additional comments.

The questions of the initial survey and the current survey are identical, except that the current survey now has four new questions at the beginning  that seek  consent of the respondents to save and share info (largely due to EU privacy laws).

Every question also gives an explanation as to why the data is requested. Additionally, every question (except the consent questions) now gives us the choice to answer “Prefer Not To Say”.

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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

Hyperthyroidism in Cats Exposed to Air “Fresheners”, Upholstered Furniture, and New Buildings

Cats are adversely affected by toxic chemicals too

 

… “Higher TDCIPP exposures were associated with air freshener use, houses built since 2005 and cats that prefer to nap on upholstered furniture.” …

The same things cause disabling adverse effects in people with MCS/ES.

Learn more:

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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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Accessibility STOP Signs

I ran across a sign that the lung association had created, and while I am glad they are doing something , I found the message and visual required some tweaking.

Of course, the lung association didn’t come up with the term “sensitive”, it’s what is used in human rights laws, but it seems to have created an impression in the public’s mind that chemical and environmental sensitivities are trivial, and not disabling or even life threatening like they can be.

It also needs to be said that signs without enforcement are endangering lives and perpetuating harm, systemic accessibility barriers, discrimination, and forced isolated segregation for those who are disabled by any or repeated exposures.

To download printable posters, see below.

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