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:
Posted in Accessibility, Air Quality, Disability, Environmental Health, Policy
Tagged allergies, asthma, autism, chemical sensitivity, environmental sensitivities, event planning, fragrance sensitivity, fragrance-free, how to, Human Rights, IAQ, invisible disabilities, MCAD, MCAS, MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities, pesticides, scent free, tips
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
The Honourable David C. Onley, the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (2007-2014) was appointed to lead the Third Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The report has now been released.
LISTENING TO ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES
REPORT OF THE THIRD REVIEW OF THE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2005
“For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers”
Thanks to everyone who wrote in, those of us with environmental sensitivities have been recognized, and thanks to David C. Onley, we’ve been included in the report and the final recommendations:
In the SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS (on pg 80):
7. Ensure that accessibility standards respond to the needs of people with environmental sensitivities.
Other mentions of environmental sensitivities and details:
Posted in Accessibility, Disability, Environmental Sensitivities, Human Rights, Policy
Tagged AODA, chemical sensitivity, discrimination., EHS, fragrance-free, IAQ, MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities, review, scent free, systemic
Recent research that 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%)
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.
Posted in Accessibility, Autism, Child Health, Fragrance, Human Rights, Policy, Public Health
Tagged air freshener, Anne Steinemann, ASD, asthma, autism, chemical sensitivity, cleaning products, environmental sensitivities, fragrance-free, IAQ, invisible disabilities, laundry products, MCS, migraines, Neurological symptoms, scent, scent free
If fragrances and the products they are added to didn’t contain so many seriously harmful ingredients which pollute the air we all breathe, the clothing we wear, the water we drink, and the soil we grow the foods we eat in, there wouldn’t be a need to go fragrance-free. Strangely, the fragrance industry has seen fit to include a vast array of toxic, petrochemical pollutants and highly allergenic substances in their products.
Here are some resources to use in making schools, workplaces and homes safer places to be. Some are new, some I’ve already linked to in other places on this site.
Hope you find them helpful.
from The CDC and MCS
The CDC Indoor Environmental Quality Policy from 2009 explicitly states:
“Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment, and the use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.” …
Potential hazards include chemicals, biological agents, fragrant products, and physical conditions that may cause irritation, illness, or exacerbate existing health conditions” …
Posted in Child Health, Fragrance, Health, Indoor Air Quality, Pollution, Public Health
Tagged asthma, autism, cancer, environmental sensitivities, fragrance chemicals, fragrance-free, fragrance-free policy, hazardous air pollutants, images, migraines, multiple chemical sensitivities, pregnancy, scent free, schools
Fragrance: A Barrier to Access
When you choose, use and wear products with fragrance, you create chemical barriers to access for people who are disabled when exposed to the toxic chemicals allowed in fragrances.
To be air safe and disability friendly, choose fragrance-free laundry and personal care products, and avoid dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
Not so Equal Access to Health Care in Ontario or Systemic Barriers to Access for People with MCS/ES
Posted in Fragrance, Healthy Environment, Human Rights, Images, Indoor Air Quality
Tagged Chemicals, environment, environmental sensitivities, fragrance-free, images, laundry, multiple chemical sensitivities, phthalates, scent free