Due to the severity of my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities/Environmental Sensitivities (MCS/ES), I need completely chemical free clothes (very expensive) and a way to wash them.
By Linda Sepp.
I might be homeless in April without more clothing to wear than a tattered summer outfit and robe.
I cannot use the tap water, and require a heavy duty whole house water filtration system to make the water safe for washing hands, dishes, myself and my clothing, towels and bedding.
The delivered glass bottled spring water is expensive and heavy but I have to wash my one safe disintegrating outfit in it as I have no other choice. I can no longer afford to pay for this either, as ODSP is now deducting the $ from my cheque for heating this entire 3 story 100 year old leaky house, despite that I only use 4 rooms here (+some storage). I’m actually only able to wash my undies and tank top so that I can change them once a week now. Gross? You betcha. Dignified? Not at all.
In addition to safe water, I need a heavy duty, all metal, portable washing machine (pictured above), as I cannot use the basement laundry room here anymore due to the mould.
The Ontario Disability Services Program refuses to cover any of my medically required disability related needs.
In her report to ODSP in February 2006, when the Special Diet allowance was revised, Dr. Lynn Marshall, the previous director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Hospital, outlined my health needs as follows:
“The most effective means of managing this condition is by avoidance of known triggering chemicals, and minimization of exposure to other ‘everyday’ synthetic environmental chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. As with intolerances to foods themselves, it is highly challenging and expensive to minimize such exposures. She (Ms Sepp) requires food (water, air, and consumer products) containing the lowest possible amounts of synthetic chemicals permanently to help maintain, and hopefully improve, her health status.”
My doctor wrote about my water needs as being:
“She also requires whole house water filtration (like that available in the Environmental Health Clinic, Dallas) to filter all the water including for cooking and drinking, as well as for washing clothes and bedding.” (See AEHF Whole-house Water Filter with Prefilter)
Imagine getting sick every time you wash your hands, dishes, or self. Imagine not being able to have a hot shower or bath to relieve your aching body when the aches and pains of fibromyalgia flare up? Imagine not being able to wash bedding or towels for a year. Sound dignified?
January 9th, 2009, was the day my water was contaminated with up-the-pipe repair chemicals, ruining almost all my clothing in the washing machine, and I could not go back to drinking or using it safely after.
The system is supposed to allow for basic needs and some level of dignity:
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) was created to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities. The program provides income support including health and other benefits for people with disabilities in financial need.
The intent of the program is to provide the supports necessary to enable individuals and families to live as independently as possible in the community and lead more productive, dignified lives.
So why am I not receiving the help I need?