I have been spending a great deal of time on a Facebook support group for EIs (people with environmental illness) called EI Safe Housing. It is really helpful to have several dozen people to turn to for advice on waters they’ve been treading for some time (some more than others). The waters I speak of and have begun to swim of late are the dire straits of trying to maintain the highest air quality by avoiding VOCs, fragrances, and mold of all types. This is due to my own environmental illness.
Also called MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), this disorder is basically autoimmune in nature, and simply put, harsh chemicals, fragrances, molds, and even sometimes natural odors/allergens cause a very strong reaction in the individual. I’ve had some seriously weird allergies and sensitivities in the past couple years, and it took me awhile to come to grips with the fact that I might be suffering from chemical sensitivity. Now that I’ve accepted it, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out what’s bothering me in any given area fairly quickly. The airborne and smelly things that bother me have included:
- Detergents/fabric softeners
- Construction dust
- VOCs from building material (housing additions)
- Formaldehyde/acetaldehyde sprayed on new clothing and products
Needless to say, it gets pretty tiresome avoiding all of this stuff. (Truthfully, it can be downright horrifying and downright torturous at times.) I spent 7 years in a moldy house, giving me a mysterious chronic illness which slowly got better when I moved out. However, it has come back to haunt me in various forms and in varying degrees since then. This struggle was the origin of this blog. Somehow, using a combination of supplements, fresh air, yoga, good food, lots of sleep, and prayer, I’ve been able to stabilize my condition and stay safe inside of my parents’ house. I went through a pretty harsh stint of living outdoors last summer before I restabilized. Now I literally feel as one resurrected.
Through all of my struggles with MCS, I have begun to sincerely feel it is a human right to be allowed clean, safe air. While outdoor pollution is extremely important in this cause, I am talking about taking this to the extreme of monitoring indoor pollution. This is the best place to start, because indoor pollution is about 2 to 5 times as bad as outdoor (according to the EPA). Just as smoking has been banned indoors in many states in the U.S., the bans need to extend to these more than 500 harmful, carcinogenic chemicals that to me can sometimes seem worse than cigarette smoke.
Here at Modern Life Survivalist, we are big on constitutional rights and small government. However, protecting human rights and providing safety (within reason) fall into the category of roles that government should play in regulation. They do a lot of nonsense, Some people may feel it is their right to wear their perfume/cologne, but is it? I found this on the EI forum I am a part of on Facebook, and I believe it succinctly expresses the truth of the matter on this potentially touchy subject:
What you choose to wear, wash your clothing in, bathe in, freshen your home in and so on is your constitutional right and your right to free commercialism.
Just remember that every choice you make with the singular focus of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’ DOES impact everyone else around you and many, with great peril. So the ‘me’ does impact the ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘other’, ‘friend’, ‘family’, ‘community’, ‘society’, and ‘the whole’ either in harmful ways or in ways of peace, health and support.
Just remember, to live your life freely in a vat of petrochemical toxicity is to insist others do, too, and when they cannot do so and survive, these people lose all of their constitutional freedoms to live, to thrive, to breathe in clean air, drink clean water, live in clean neighborhoods, enjoy friends, and have any real life as we know it.
Our free choice, once we know the truth and we make no changes, creates a world where normal society imprisons others with the same right to life as you. You become the warden and 20 million or so people have become your prisoners.
Just for synthetic fragrances alone.
Are you willing to at least think on this?
–Raven Galarza de Gold
[tweetthis]What you choose to wear,wash your clothing in, etc is your constitutional right and your right to free commercialism[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@mlsurvivalist”]Free choice creates a world where normal society imprisons others w/ the same right to life as you[/tweetthis]
I don’t believe there’s anything more I can add to what Raven said here. I can give you a little background on Raven, though. She has had one of the hardest journeys I’ve heard yet with this illness, but she has somehow survived it and begun to thrive. In her words, she’s “a latter stage person with MCS. 40 years with the issue. I live out in AZ cultivating a homestead and living outside on the land. That’s my short MCS perspective. Building cob, shed houses, etc.” You can learn more about her journey here, and please donate to help her build a house she can live in. She is literally living outside right now, and that is never fun!
In her response, she provided a post that discusses how in Canada, many workplaces and restaurants have begun to post “scent-free” restrictions just like non-smoking signs in front of their establishment. It is a terrific article. In it, the author was on the right track saying “I suspect the increase in allergic sensitivity (myself included) and scent sensitivity are related. Is it all the chemicals in our environment we are bombarded with from birth? Who knows?”
I would take his suspicion one step further and surmise that, yes, it is the chemicals that have built up these intolerances, but their mechanism of action is through an assault on the gut. This assault on the gut has been accompanied by an all-out war on your gut from day one featuring many other biological offenders such as antibiotics, vaccines, and EMFs. This takes “constitutional” rights to the next level. Your very constitution is under attack!
You can find a lot more information on the topic of everyone’s right to a fragrance-free environment on Think Before You Stink, a website dedicated to educating the masses about MCS, chemicals, and VOCs, and how they affect you and your loved ones.