Tag Archives: indoor air quality

What I Wear In Bad Air :: Ellie

 

2016 Ellie

“Instead of cancer, I got MCS, meaning I stop breathing on contact with your everyday chemicals (plus a multitude of other symptoms.) Hey, there’s another perk! You might finally have the excuse you need to buy an expensive gas mask that can also be used with costumes! After all, once you get MCS, you can’t leave the house without one, so you’ll always be dressed for an adventure! #GoNatural”

Ellie uses this mask:

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MCS Awareness Month and Masks

May is MCS/ES Awareness Month

Due to the wide variety of chemical pollutants in our air these days, many people with MCS/ES have to wear a mask when leaving home (and sometimes even at  home) to prevent or reduce debilitating and disabling symptoms.

may is mcs es awareness month

Having an invisible (and inconvenient, or so we are told) disability is difficult, especially when many of the adverse effects are delayed and we have to deal with them in isolation, out of sight, out of mind, and without witness to our suffering.

If there’s any good that comes from wearing a mask or respirator in public (in addition to protecting our health a bit) wearing one when we have an invisible disability helps make us visible, and alerts other people that they too are at risk.

Breathing is not optional.

Pollution is!

Wearing a protective breathing device can minimize some of the damaging effects exposures to pollutants cause, but people often feel self conscious about wearing a mask, especially if we can’t find a “pretty” one that we are able to use, Continue reading

When Keeping Your Job Depends On What Other People Do

When we develop MCS/ES, one of the first concerns we have is how to keep our job when other people keep using products and materials that disable us.

Some people are able to negotiate a legally required accommodation  policy, but sadly, too many people find these policies are rarely or effectively enforced as they should be.

no enforcement lost my job

Recent research from Dr Anne Steinemann shows there are serious adverse  impacts due to fragrance use:

“Significantly, 15.1 % of the general population reported that exposure to fragranced products in their work environment has caused them to become sick, lose workdays, or lose a job. Also, 20.2 % of the population reported that if they enter a business, and smell air fresheners or some fragranced product, they want to leave as quickly as possible.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11869-016-0442-z

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Here are some Human Rights resources on various laws, regulations, and solutions that, when enforced, can help people remain employed without losing their health and abilities:

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We Shouldn’t Need a Gas Mask to Use A Computer or Blender!

Ever notice how when you buy a new appliance or electronic device, and take it out of the box, or plug it in, the smell makes you nauseous, dizzy, and gives you a headache? Or worse?

That smell is made up of some really toxic chemical fumes. Benzene, styrene, and toluene, among others… in everyday technology!

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New research from the Exposure, Epidemiology & Risk Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, on how the pollutants in indoor environments affect people’s cognitive functioning (people who are still able to work in polluted offices, not the people who are already too disabled to work in polluted offices) discovered that

Green office environments linked with higher cognitive function scores

…”People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores–in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy–than those who work in offices with typical levels, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.

“We have been ignoring the 90%. We spend 90% of our time indoors and 90% of the cost of a building are the occupants, yet indoor environmental quality and its impact on health and productivity are often an afterthought,” said Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, and lead author of the study.

“These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers.”

Researchers wanted to look at the impact of ventilation, chemicals, and carbon dioxide on workers’ cognitive function because, as buildings have become more energy efficient, they have also become more airtight, increasing the potential for poor indoor environmental quality.

Building-related illnesses and “sick building syndrome” were first reported in the 1980s as ventilation rates decreased. In response, there has been an emphasis on sustainable design–“green” buildings that are energy efficient and are also designed to enhance indoor environmental quality. The researchers designed this study to identify the specific attributes of green building design that influence cognitive function, an objective measure of productivity.

“The major significance of this finding lies in the fact that these are the critical decision making parameters that are linked to optimal and productive functioning. Losing components of these skills impacts how people handle their day to day lives.”

In other words, pollution prevents people from being smart!

appliance gas mask

Here are just some of the harmful emissions from computers:

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Who Wants to Help Me Get New Air Purifier Filters?

I need several air purifiers to clean the air of pollutants from unavoidable everyday products and materials (like the mail, receipts, product labels, food packaging, replacement of any basic essentials, etc) and also the neighbourhood pollution (trains, planes, laundry products, pesticides, BBQs, fireplace smoke, etc) from my indoor air so that my brain and body can work more like they were intended to.

To cook, clean, and take care of my very basic needs, (nothing extra going on here, I am housebound) I am dependent on clean air to be able to function. My filters need to be changed annually or every other year (depending on what the air quality has been like) and mine were last changed in 2012, three years ago.

I have looked all over the place for funding to purchase new filters and there just isn’t anyone out there with a mandate to provide clean air to those who require it for medical reasons.

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IAQ help

Last summer was a disaster for me, this year was even worse. I’ve had a horrid three  months from area roadwork and pesticide use (there was massive spraying of Wild Parsnip around this part of Ontario during the summer, and the pesticide drift got to me really bad), and now other simpler exposures that hadn’t been bothering me as much as they used to, are again having more serious adverse effects on me because my indoor air is not being filtered anymore.

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Fragrance Facts Brochure

I’ve been looking through some of my old files and ran across this printable brochure about fragrances. Made by Betty Bridges in 2002, it has very useful information that is still relevant.

What has changed since then is that fragrance industry members voluntarily disclosed over 3000 ingredients that they commonly use (only they know how many were not disclosed, as the fragrance industry is still not regulated), and more research has come out on how harmful many of the fragrance ingredients are.

Additionally,  many  more people have become permanently disabled with MCS/ES, often originally triggered from fragrance chemical exposures (in Canada, there was a 31% increase in people diagnosed with MCS between 2005 and 2010, with many more undiagnosed due to a lack of doctors trained in environmental health matters), and  now it has become impossible to avoid 1st, 2nd and 3rd hand fragrance chemical exposures in the “developed” world, so everyone is constantly being exposed to these chemicals.

Fragrance Brochure 1- horz screenshots

Screenshot of brochure. Download the document at link below.

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Fragrances, Hormones, Women, and Children

While these resources are primarily directed at women of childbearing age and children, they are really applicable to all of us. If a mother stops using perfume, but the father still piles on the scented deodorant, aftershave, and cologne, then his sperm, the mother, and children (born or unborn) are still being exposed to harmful chemicals.

If other family members, friends, and places like daycares are using scented laundry,  personal care, and cleaning products, they too are putting moms-to-be and kids at risk.

The adverse effects from these chemicals can be life-long, even longer. Our exposures can affect our grandchildren. Eliminating them from our lives now will ensure better health all around, including downstream, where fish and wildlife are also being affected.

WECF Pregnancy and EDCs

The short video below, produced by Women in Europe for a Common Future  (WECF), provides simple, important information on how you can protect yourself and your child from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). They are found in so many places now.

WECF have also developed a new website, NESTING, which is another good resource for all of us. They have assembled a lot of good advice there.

Here’s an example from their Cleaning & personal care page:

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