Tag Archives: scent free

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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Review Finds Ontario Far From Accessible but Report Includes People With Environmental Sensitivities

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:

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Harm Reduction Policy for People With Autism

Recent research that Anne Steinemann 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%)

In particular,
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.

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More Reasons and Resources to go Fragrance 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.

access safe

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” …

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Fragrance: A Barrier to Access

Fragrance a Barrier to Access

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