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.
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Environmental Health, Environmental Sensitivities, Human Rights, Images, Policy
Tagged accessibility, allergies, asthma, autism, chemical sensitivity, Fragrance, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, health, IAQ, invisible disabilities, MCS, migraines, multiple chemical sensitivities, scent free, signs
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
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Disability, Environmental Health, Fragrance, Human Rights, Policy
Tagged accommodation, allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivity, employment, environmental sensitivities, Fragrance, fragrance sensitivity, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, IAQ, invisible disabilities, job accommodation, MCS, work
We often hear from people who think they aren’t wearing any fragrance while their fume trail is noticeable (and headache inducing or worse) from 100 feet away. Not only that, but the scent residues are left everywhere these people have touched anything, including pretty much permanently in the furniture they’ve used.
How can this be?
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, chemicals in clothing, Environmental Health, Fashion, Laundry, Pollution, Public Health
Tagged accessibility barriers, allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivity, Chemicals, dryer vents, environmental sensitivities, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, hazardous air pollutants, IAQ, invisible disabilities, MCS, petrochemicals, phthalates, toxic trespass, VOCs
When we develop MCS/ES, one of the first concerns we have is how to keep our job when other people keep using products and materials that disable us.
Some people are able to negotiate a legally required accommodation policy, but sadly, too many people find these policies are rarely or effectively enforced as they should be.
Recent research from Dr Anne Steinemann shows there are serious adverse impacts due to fragrance use:
“Significantly, 15.1 % of the general population reported that exposure to fragranced products in their work environment has caused them to become sick, lose workdays, or lose a job. Also, 20.2 % of the population reported that if they enter a business, and smell air fresheners or some fragranced product, they want to leave as quickly as possible.
Here are some Human Rights resources on various laws, regulations, and solutions that, when enforced, can help people remain employed without losing their health and abilities:
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Disability, Environmental Sensitivities, Human Rights
Tagged EHS, employment, enforcement, fragrance-free policy, indoor air quality, jobs, MCS, MCS/ES, policies
Canada’s top medical journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), says
“Artificial scents have no place in our hospitals“
“These patients may be involuntarily exposed to artificial scents from staff, other patients and visitors, resulting in worsening of their clinical condition. As patients,
family members and emergency physicians will attest, the attacks can be quite sudden and serious. There is little justification for continuing to tolerate artificial scents in our
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Disability, Environmental Health, Fragrance, Health, Health Care, Hospital Protocols, Policy, Precaution, Public Health
Tagged allergies, asthma, autism, cancer, environmental sensitivities, Fragrance, fragrance-free policy, hazardous air pollutants, health care access for people with MCS/ES, Human Rights, IAQ, MCS, MCS/ES, multiple chemical sensitivity, petrochemicals, phthalates, toxic chemicals, toxic trespass
Another great resource shared by Mary Lamielle, this time on how to make events accessible for people with MCS/ES.
Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities
Posted in Accessibility, Disability, Environmental Health, Environmental Sensitivities, Healthy Environment, Human Rights, Policy
Tagged access, barriers, conferences, EHS, electrical sensitivities, events, fragrance-free policy, IAQ, inclusion, MCS, MCS/ES, meetings, National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, wireless
Smoke and chemicals (such as fragrances, air “fresheners”, laundry products, pesticides, and other VOCs) do not respect property lines as they travel throughout space, often making others quite sick, even disabling them in their own homes. This is especially a problem in multi-unit housing, and where housing units are built close together.
This is also a very serious accessibility issue for people with MCS/ES, as there are few affordable housing options available, and most of these put people at risk of further harm due to indoor air pollution issues, despite HUD and other federal agencies in the US and Canada recognizing MCS/ES as a disability that needs to be accommodated.
The following webinar is about addressing smoke, but the issues are applicable to other forms of indoor air pollutants as well. It should also be available as a podcast later.
For those of you who are interested and able, the webinar is being offered on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT by the Asthma Community Network
Breathing Easy at Home: Partnering to Increase Smoke-Free Policies in Federally Assisted Housing
More info: Continue reading
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Environmental Health, Housing, Indoor Air Quality, Pollution
Tagged affordable housing, allergies, asthma, Chemicals, environmental sensitivities, fragrance-free policy, hazardous air pollutants, health, IAQ, MCS, MCS housing, smoke, smoke-free, toxic chemicals
When she needed accommodation, you won’t believe the rigmarole that ensued.
(unless you have MCS/ES)
“They should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain service. They should also not have to accept lesser quality or more inconvenience.”
Someone with MCS (who wishes to remain anonymous) was asked about how her efforts to receive appropriate, safe, accommodation were going, so she could see a health care provider. She is one of a growing number of people who become disabled from exposures to toxic chemicals found in many everyday products and materials, especially in fragrances.
This is pretty much how the story goes:
She contacted a health care provider by phone and talked to a receptionist.
She asked her if they had a scent-free policy and was told they didn’t.
Posted in Accessibility, Chemicals, Disability, Environmental Health, Fragrance, Human Rights, Indoor Air Quality, MCS/ES, Policy, Precaution
Tagged allergies, AODA, environmental sensitivities, Fragrance, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, health, IAQ, invisible disabilities, multiple chemical sensitivities, petrochemicals, Pollution, rigmarole, smoke-free, systemic barriers, systemic discrimination, toxic chemicals
Guest post and images by Laura J Mac
What always strikes me during conversations about how to persuade service providers to accommodate our disability is how much extra work we have to do just to participate in simple survival stuff. I mean, “simply” tracking down professionals who are willing to accommodate is a chore and a half. The luxury of “having a good relationship” with a service provider falls way down on the list because it’s usually one or the other.
Nobody would think twice about someone who uses a mobility device asking if there are ramps and elevators but it seems that our need for fragrance-free and reduced chemical exposure is perceived as a “preference” rather than a medical necessity. That perception leads to the idea that accommodation of our disability is an “option” (and generally it’s an “option” that service providers aren’t willing to make available.) It’s not that we don’t “like” fragrance, these chemical exposures cause neurological and physiological problems that interfere with our ability to function on a daily basis.
Posted in Accessibility, Disability, Environmental Health, Fragrance, Health Care, Human Rights, Indoor Air Quality, Mental Health, Policy, Public Health
Tagged AODA, Chemicals, environmental sensitivities, fragrance-free policy, hazardous air pollutants, health, IAQ, invisible disabilities, MCS, MCS/ES, mental health, multiple chemical sensitivities, Ontario, petrochemicals
Fragrances Can Cause or Trigger Work-related Asthma
The Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) of the California Department of Public Health released new fact sheets on fragrances and work-related asthma.
2017 Fragrances and Work-Related Asthma: Information for Workers (PDF) – fact sheet
2017 Fragrances and Work-Related Asthma: Information for Employers (PDF) – fact sheet
2015 (editable) Workplace Fragrance-Free Policy (Word) – fact sheet
Posted in Air Quality, Chemicals, Environmental Health, Fragrance, Human Rights, Indoor Air Quality, Policy, Public Health
Tagged air freshener, asthma, cleaning products, daycares, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, hospitals, laundry, manufacturing, offices, perfume, personal care, resources, retail, schools, work