Tag Archives: community

CBC News Hi-lights Accessibility Barriers to Housing for People With MCS/ES

Severe sensitivity to household chemicals leaves GTA man
homeless for the holidays

Environmental sensitivities have forced Oliver Zhang to move 70 times in 3 years


I hope that someone can offer or help create a safe place for Oliver Zhang to live.

I also hope that something is done soon to ensure safe, affordable, accessible,  non-toxic, mold-free, housing is available for all  the other people who have  MCS/ES (a condition, not disorder) who need safe and accessible housing.

Since finding a safe place to rest one’s head and body is so challenging, even in the best of current circumstances, Oliver Zhang should not be forced to leave the shelter where he is currently residing if it is physically safe enough for him to be there.  He is in crisis.

Forcing people onto the streets creates preventable trauma and mental health problems in addition to the serious challenges that already exist when trying to survive with MCS/ES in a society full of systemic accessibility barriers.

I know of many people who have had to move numerous (even countless) times  in their quest to find housing that doesn’t hurt and disable them. I hear from too many who are in crisis,  seeking accessible housing. I know people who no longer have the energy to keep looking for a needle in a haystack, because each toxic haystack leaves them more and more incapacitated. I know people with MCS/ES who are sleeping in cars and tents, and I have also known more than a few people who weren’t able to find safe housing and are no longer with us.

This is a preventable crisis.

Oliver Zhang and all the other people who are homeless due to the lack of accessible housing for people with MCS/ES, have been put into this position due to systemic neglect (if not deliberate discrimination) and bad policies, not through any fault of their own.

The City of Toronto has known about the critical need for accessible housing for people with MCS/ES since at least 2007, and most likely long before.

In 2008:

“The City of Toronto has launched a consultation process on the development of the City’s ten-year affordable housing plan, known as Housing Opportunities Toronto (“HOT”); and

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Fume Enclosure Boxes for Reading, Computers, and Appliances

Since papers, inks, and computers can release fumes that are too toxic for some of us to breathe, adversely affecting our ability to remain functional, and since there’s no getting away from papers and technology in modern society, an assistive device was invented some decades ago that could be useful to bring back as a more popular accessory: the reading box!

I recently ran across an ad on Craigslist for one that was for sale in the US, and then someone found an old catalogue (2002 PDF) with a few other pics, so I thought I’d share the info and images here in case they can help anyone else.

A reading box is basically a box made of wood, glass, or metal, with an opening in the front, and glass on top to read through. A vented box will also have a dryer hose out the back, and a fan of some sort to push the air through the hose and out of a window. A barrier with a vent sized exhaust hole would also be needed to cover the window opening being used.

reading box for computer 1This computer box is from the catalogue.

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Have Your Say For May

What if you had the chance to say one thing about your life with MCS/ES, and how it would change your life if it was understood?

May is MCS/ES Awareness Month (yet again… maybe some year we won’t need it to be, but this year, we still do), and this year, I would like to share some of your stories and insights.

this one thing

If you could tell the world ONE thing about your life with MCS/ES (or any other invisible disability that has MCS/ES as a symptom), what would it be?

How has this one thing affected your life?

If this one thing were changed, how would your life be different?

You could think of it as a conversation with someone you love, someone who loves you (or even a kind stranger), someone who wants to understand, and who is willing to do something for you, and/or to change the way they do things, in order to include you in life, and to help you with what you need or want to accomplish in life (for example).

This is your time to tell them this one thing, and how this change will impact your life for the better.

Here’s what I am asking for with your submissions: Continue reading

Day 256 In the Pursuit of Love (IIAW A “Sister’s” Journey)

Colleen and her friend Beth discuss statistics and friendship challenges and benefits in another revealing post for Invisible Illness week…
Just like Colleen waited for years to get officially diagnosed with MCS, so did I, and for mainly the same reasons.
I knew that the doctors at the time knew nothing about it (or they would have given me a clue as to what the early signs were years ago).
Eventually I came to realize that statistics ARE important (to decision makers), and if we don’t make the effort to get an official dx (I say effort, because many people go from uneducated doctor to uneducated doctor for years… see my post about good news for Ontario to understand what a major deal the announcement of training 2 doctors in environmental health is) then in the eyes of decision makers, we do not exist.
That means that services for us continue to not exist also…
But when we speak up, things change.
I love how Colleen is speaking up, and how her friends are too!

Life in the City with a Future

PERSON

Image17meshovelFor day 5 of Invisible Illness Awareness Week, my buddy Beth has agreed to give her perspective of what it is like having a friend disabled from MCS. In a Canadian study, in 2010, over 800,000 people were diagnosed with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) an 31% increase in 5 years. Those during the same time period with one or more of Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and MCS were 1,415,000 (a 25% increase). This study excluded children with MCS and focused mostly on people with MCS diagnosed by a doctor. I personally went undiagnosed for decades. I avoided the triggers of perfume as much as I could. I figured there was nothing a doctor could do for me anyway and why be just another statistic. I now understand how important it is for our governments to have accurate statistics. The more people who give MCS a voice — the more likely we…

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It’s What You Can’t See that Hurts You

What it can be like having a friend with MCS… from a real friend <3
“I would go through all those steps, put on my safe clothes and Colleen would still say “Nope. Still contaminated.” I wanted to punch something. Here I would do just about anything for a friend, and it still didn’t work. It didn’t dampen her spirits, though. After that happened, she would just smile and say how I had worked harder than anyone else to solve this problem, and it was too bad that it hadn’t worked. That really didn’t help me much. I still felt frustrated.”

Stepping Out with an Agoraphobic

Invisible Illness

This week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. It runs through September 14th. It was suggested to me that I write about my experiences in dealing with my illnesses, and I will – perhaps at a later date. Instead of looking within myself, I thought I would broaden the scope of my focus and talk about an invisible illness that has hit close to home, and changed how I live my life.

To have a loved one succumb to an illness is one of the most painful things imaginable – and that pain applies to friends, as well as to family. What is even worse is when that illness is new, uncommon, or even invisible. This is what has been happening to my friend, Colleen, who has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, a crippling disease that has rendered her disabled.

I must admit that sometimes I don’t feel like…

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Happy New Year!

May this coming year bring what’s most needed!

 Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who has read, followed, commented and shared here.

I hope that as I heal, I’ll be able to bring more helpful and relevant information to you.

I hope that those of you who need to heal, can meet with the circumstances that will allow that to happen.

Happy New Year!