On being an environmental refugee in Ontario

People with any other disability are allowed appropriate health care and related aids, tax breaks, subsidies, insurance benefits, accommodations, and accessible housing. People with chemical injury, with MCS/ES, are denied access and even obstructed at every turn.

By Linda Sepp.

This is an excerpt from what I sent to Ontario politicians for Earth Day 2009:

People with any other disability are allowed appropriate health care and related aids, tax breaks, subsidies, insurance benefits, accommodations, and accessible housing. People with chemical injury, with MCS/ES, are denied access and even obstructed at every turn.

The same synthetic substances that people with MCS/ES have been disabled by for years (we’re like canaries in the coal mine) now cause cancer and other chronic health problems in too many people. Children are especially vulnerable in so many ways.

This incredible suffering is preventable, and not an acceptable economic activity!

Healthy non-toxic environments allow people with MCS/ES to lead livable lives, instead of struggling to barely survive. Healthy housing, safe food and water are key needs. Simple needs. Basic health care needs. When these are met, everyone benefits.

Healthy people can create healthy economies. Sick people will drive it to a halt.

Almost 25 years ago Ontario had a guidance document to do the right thing. Instead of acting on it, many more people have been made to suffer in unimaginably difficult and trying circumstances. Too many do not make it. And more are discovering the horrors.

It’s time something was done to respect people with MCS/ES, and help them live in safety and dignity. Doing this will also make the environment safer for all citizens.

The Honourable George Thomson, in 1985:

“I chaired a committee on environmental sensitivities established by Ontario’s Ministry of Health. The committee included two eminent teaching hospital physicians and a highly respected epidemiologist. We issued a report that identified existing, publicly funded means of diagnosis, and accepted various methods of patient management, including avoidance of offending agents.

Equally important in our minds were measures, such as income support, that would provide concrete assistance to members of this vulnerable group and reduce the risk of preventable harm.

… We also called for further research and the development of services to support that research, while also helping those who were experiencing a wide range of very difficult symptoms. We did not feel that more research was needed before these and other measures were introduced to protect patients from being caused harm through inappropriate labelling or the denial of reasonable accommodation.”

George M. Thomson, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.

What can you do to make sure safe water, food, clothing and housing are available and accessible to those of us who need them?

Linda Sepp
Toronto

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One response to “On being an environmental refugee in Ontario

  1. Linda,

    First, welcome to the blogosphere!!

    Second, this video was very moving.

    Third, your words are spot-on.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Jeanne

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