Category Archives: Accessibility

How to Survive the Holidays with EI and (Possibly) Not End Up Alone or Wanting to Give Your Family the Boot

Part One of Four

Guest post by Che Ray


For those of us with EI (environmental illnesses), the holidays are especially brutal.  What were once happy times surrounded by family and friends become increasingly isolating experiences.  Depending on how bad off we are with things like fragrance sensitivity (which, next to fruit cake is the worst part about inviting Aunt Betty) or severe fatigue (where you just want to curl up into a ball under the dinner table), more and more we are faced with having to choose between trying to brave a family gathering only to end up sick in bed for weeks or convincing ourselves we will just stay home and write that novel.

In response to a heart-felt plea for help from one newly aware Canary who was torn between wanting to accommodate her family and fear of going overboard and getting sick, I wanted to reach out to her and give her some advice I wish someone had told me.  This is more or less what I said:

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Help for How to Be Fragrance-Free

All it takes is a decision to go fragrance-free!

It should be easier than quitting smoking since there aren’t supposed to be addictive chemicals in fragrances, right?

Due to the fact that so many people are now experiencing adverse effects from fragranced products (34.7% in 2016), we are well on the way to having fragrance-free policies everywhere for the sake of protecting public health just as was done with smoking bans. It’s not just those of us who suffer immediate and disabling adverse effects from the products (1st, 2nd, and 3rd hand), but for everyone.

Here are some great resources (in no particular order) to help you go fragrance-free:

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Corporate Gaslighting and Conflicts of Interest at the Women’s College Hospital

I saw something that shocked me, and I don’t know how anyone involved with this could have thought it was a good idea.

This is what I saw

If you are a Canadian, you will probably understand.

.

It’s pretty much the same thing as this (slightly revised) image:

(pretend it’s done all the way)

What would you think if you saw that?

Shoppers Drug Mart is the antithesis of scent or fragrance free!

 

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Province of Ontario Interim Report on ME/CFS, FM, and MCS/ES

The Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s long awaited Environmental Health Task Force Interim Report has finally been released!

“We found that, throughout the health care system and in society at large, there is:

•a lack of recognition of the seriousness and severity of these conditions
•a profound shortage of knowledgeable care providers
•a dearth of clinical tools to support and guide care
•a discouraging shortage of services and supports for people living with these conditions
•an absence of support for family caregivers.

The lack of knowledge and appropriate accessible care has devastating effects on Ontarians struggling with ME/CFS, FM and ES/MCS.

For those living with ME/CFS, FM and ES/MCS, the lack of recognition of these serious and debilitating conditions is as harmful as the lack of treatments. …

We urge the Minister to act now to raise awareness of these conditions and address the barriers that keep people with ME/CFS, FM and ES/MCS from getting the care and services they need.”

From the press release:

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A Universally Recognized Accessibility Symbol for Environmental Sensitivities?

 

We need an easily recognizable accessibility symbol for non-toxic, wireless, VOC, scent, and fragrance-free places that show they are accessible to people with MCS/ES, asthma, COPD, migraines, and others who need healthy environments in order to remain functional and not become physically or cognitively impaired.

These signs would be used only in places that actually enforce the policies.

The standard accessibility signs have white symbols on blue backgrounds like these:


I’ve never seen anything like this to signify healthy wireless, scent, and fragrance-free indoor air, but these are some others I have found or assembled that might give a designer ideas to run with:

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Song: “I’m a prisoner because of fabric softener”

A song by Jonathan Richman

I had never heard of Jonathan Richman before this song about not being able to walk outside at night because of dryer sheets, fabric softener, air “fresheners”,   and having to close doors and windows because of them,  so I looked him up and found he had done a song about cell phones too. Here they are:
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Bubbled People

 

I ran across some striking photos by Alex Kisilevich (you can see them in the banner above if you squint) and I shared the link with  the intro “Food for thought… what’s outside the bubble preventing access?”  Someone responded with  “tell me about it”, so I wrote a short story before seeing what the photographer’s intent was, if it was indeed as a writer wrote, to say:

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