Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.


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Access and Accommodation for the
Chemically / Electromagnetically Injured

An opinion piece by Barb Wilkie

"Strong Odors" What does that really mean?

You will see that if you have asthma, or care for someone who has asthma, you are to be mindful of "strong odors." You will be cautioned about "strong odors" being a trigger for asthm on sites such as the American Lung Associtaion and the Environmental Protection Agency's under their information about air quality, topics dealing with toxins in schools, etc. You will also find "strong odors" in magazine ads for a prescription nasal medication for allergies. But there, in its ads, one will find a picture of a perfume bottle with atomizer to visually explain what has been hidden by the oft-used, inoffensive term, "strong odors." FRAGRANCES.

Warnings about fragrances' adverse effects upon health of users and non-users are also hidden by the phrases such as: "volatile organic compounds (VOCs)," "personal care products" and "cleaning and maintenance products." And, the petrochemical derivatives used to make our modern scents found in perfumes and all the other scented products, are in turn, hidden by the use of the innocuous-sounding word: "FRAGRANCE."

People talk in terms of "smelling" perfumes, detergents, cleaners, air "fresheners," fresh paints, carpets, adhesives, et al. But we are inhaling and absorbing the toxic chemicals used to create our modern products. There are indications that some of those toxins even have a direct pathway to the brain. Even those of us who cannot smell the odors, can be adversely affected by them. I know. I have a friend . . .

Various entities will warn about "strong odors" being a trigger for asthma. It's not just that there is an "odor." It is the chemicals volatilizing that trigger asthma and other symptoms of medical disorders. The chemicals make people, pets and wildlife sick. Some sooner than others. That's diversity for you! (FDA Petition - Docket Number 99P-1340 -- with analyses, FDA contact information and complementary information) at

People already diagnosed EI or MCS are the harbingers. Do respect us and our need for cleaner air and electromagnetically freer environments You may find your health improving too.

If you develop MCS, you'll soon learn that mainstream medical doctors have not been adequately trained to diagnose chemical injury -- not even chemical injury from pesticides. How in the world will they recognize symptoms of chemical injury from products they assume to be benign, such as fragrances? Fragrance products worn and used by you. Or, the real toughy, fragrance products worn and used by OTHERS.

If doctors cannot recognize symptoms of chemical injury, one could then wonder if that is the explanation behind the soaring rates of iatrogenic illnesses and premature deaths associated with the medical profession. Our modern pharmaceuticals are also synthesized from petrochemicals, and they carry flavors and fragrances synthesized from petrochemicals, so if your body is already on petrochemical overload, could that mean it can't handle commonly prescribed drugs either? (See: EPA's RECOGNITION AND MANAGEMENT OF PESTICIDE POISONINGS, "Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year" and "Medical Mistakes Kill 100,000 Americans A Year"

So, how do you get MCS?

It could be from a single, catostrophic event, such as pesticiding a home or a field, from a refinery blowout, or from a medical procedure. Often our health was compromised in our workplaces. Certainly mine was, and yet I worked in an office. An office, however, that was awash in synthetic scents. Scented personal care products including lotions and deodorants, scented fabric softeners outgassing from clothes, scented cleaning and maintenance products used on site -- including a monthly dose of pesticides -- and all of it topped off with perfumes, colognes, aftershaves that were strongly applied by the people who could no longer smell their own scented products. (Their olfactory sense mercifully shut down, while their fragranced products were always a new and most invasive assault to others.)

Although I grew up with undiagnosed until later in life chemical-induced asthma, I developed MCS from what was viewed as "low-levels" of daily exposures to the toxins in the synthetically scented personal care products, as well as the agencies beloved scented cleaning and maintenance products. All used by others. Frankly, the scented folks could be inhaled from one end of a block-long building to the other . . . and their signature scents lasted in their moduler work areas even after they took weeks of vacation. A person from another agency, who attended monthly meetings at ours, would leave her noxious vapor trail volatilizing from a small conference room a full five hours after she had vacated it. I then reacted to pesticides -- enough so that I could tell by my tinnitus and spontaneously erodiing nonhealing chemical wounds exactly when the pesticide spraying took place, even if it was off schedule. And not to be ignored were the newly installed shelves with fresh finishing oil, never-ending painting of halls and offices, adhesives, new carpets, roofing sealant and solvents used during core business hours. "Low-levels"? Hardly. Air pollution? Most definitely! Was I the only one sickened? No. But I was the only one diagnosed with MCS.

Others had what I viewed as environmental illnesses too, such as migraines, asthma and other serious respiratory diseases, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, reproductive problems, . . . but I was the thorn in managment's side. I had MCS. I had learned the cause. I asked for accommodation. I fought pesticiding at the workers feet, fought smoking in the elevator, I explained to management (heavy into perfume use) that perfumes were synthesized from petrochemicals and that their "allergies" could well be their body's first warning signs, even if their doctors didn't recognize it as such. I was polite. I could not say the same for some of them.

Fragrance? When is too much officially too much?

Had I known then about the fragrance industry's declared "scent circle" -- one's perfume is not to exceed an arm's length -- I'd have certainly tried to make use of that. Not that these chemicals can adhere to a boundry, mind you. Not that scents haven't been formulated to waft further and last longer on the ambient air. (Phthalates are added to make scent last.) But it gives us our own distance to declare sacrosanct . . . OUR arm's length. An industry defined "scent circle" would have given me my claim to my "scent-free circle." On the other hand, they may have then ostracized me to that more toxic office even sooner. They had their ways. (Sources: Fragrance Tips by the Fragrance Foundation, Inc. at and, Canadian Cosmetic. Toiletry and Fragrance Association at

Aren't we protected by our government agencies?

Hardly. There is no "scent circle" law. No"scent circle" regulations. Heavens, even the industry hasn't come up with language for control of the scents in hair gel, mousse, aftershave, deodorants, lotions, cleaning products including cleaners, detergents, fabric softeners, trash bags, kitty litter, air "fresheners," deodorants and deodorizers, candles, pot pourris, etc.

Let's take a look at fabric softeners. Fabric softeners' scents waft for blocks on the ambient air when used in the laundry, yet it is not regulated as a stationary source of pollution. You cannot even complain about it to your Air Resources Board. Well you can, but it's a useless and frustrating experience. And then fabric softeners pollute again when the laundered item is used, but that is not regulated under the heading of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). The warmer it is, the more VOCs volatilize. Remember that the next time you wish to use fabric softener. Your clothing and your bedding will be outgassing those petrochemical concoctions and the warmer it is the more that will volatilize. An alternative? Vinegar, for one. Or, as Dalhousie University has shared with us: Throw a sheet of aluminum foil into your dryer to reduce static cling. It automatically balls up and can be reused time and again. Talk about a cheap fix. Or, use cotton -- organic! -- and you won't have "static cling." Of if you like synthetic fibers, attach a safety pin to the hem. We used to do that in the old days with our slips and skirts.

Who will limit the "scent circle" of these and other noxious scented products? Our EPA? Or maybe more specifically, our state Air Resources Board? My experience is that I'm shunted off to the Food and Drug Administration as the "authority" over fragrances, which allows the EPA to nicely dodge the air polluting aspects of fragrances, too.

What about paint? carpets? adhesives? There are products one can purchase which have zero to low-emitting VOCs. But where are the guidelines stating a public entity must use safer, cleaner products for building and rehabilitation projects? Common sense must enter the picture -- or economic savy. IF businesses look to the health of their employees, rather than gripe about use of sick leave -- or reduce numbers of sick days that can be taken -- entities will see it is cost-effective to PREVENT illness and injury.

How many businesses/agencies have ineffective Illness and Injury Prevention policies? They are ineffective because it is so easy to overlook the need for INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY. If management saw that need, they would learn about indoor air pollutants and then they would write policies or set up programs to curtail the use of petrochemical-derived fragrances, along with demanding the use of other low-emitting VOC products used for cleaning and maintenance projects.Certainly if the entity goes "GREEN" and adheres to the writings of the Department of the Interior, it will eliminate the use of products with petrochemical-derived fragrances. See DOI's "Traditional Versus 'Green' Cleaning Products" at

What is THE authority over fragrances and air quality?

The FDA considers fragrances a low priority, even though it is billed as the agency with "authority" over cosmetics. The fragrance and flavos industry is really a "self-regulated" industry. The FDA "authority" is a pipe dream, as it cannot require pre-market testing and it does not test. Any word from industry to FDA about related injuries from fragrance/cosmetic products is strictly voluntarily released information. The industry voluntarily recalls harmful products . . . the FDA is forbidden to institute recalls, without first proving cause in a court of law. The FDA can do one thing toward informing the public, yet it does NOT do it. The FDA has a requirement for a warning message on labels of products released to market without adequate testing, but it does not enforce it's own regulation. That alert would read: "WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined." See "FDA Authority Over Cosmetics"

The EPA's Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Kit -- -- still hasn't spelled out for the general public the fact that perfumes and other synthetically scented products for personal care as well as cleaning and maintenance can cause, trigger and/or exacerbate asthma and other medical disorders. You might be warned about "strong odors," but you are left to translate that phrase into FRAGRANCE PRODUCTS.

Note: 2003 -- But dig deeply enough and you can find a link to "Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals" at Click onto "Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): common household and office products are frequent sources" -- This will bring you information that does spell it out! YEAH!

The public's right to know is abriged.

We the people, primary and secondhand users of fragranced products, have been used as unpaid, unacknowledged guinea pigs. We are the experiment.

For some interesting reading, with a mind toward the effects of fragrance chemicals applied to the skin and air entering the body's blood, brain, fetus, organs, ... see:

    Adopted by the 18th WMA General Assembly Helsinki, Finland, June 1964 ...

    "It is the mission of the physician to safeguard the health of the people. His or her knowledge and conscience are dedicated to the fulfillment of this mission. ..."




We the people have a right to know. We have a right to know about the chemical concoctions we are supposed to apply to our bodies. We have a right to know that those chemicals can enter our bodies via absorption through skin and eyes. We have a right to know those chemical soups can enter our brains directly via the nose. We have a right to know those toxins can enter our bodies via inhalation. We have a right to know those chemicals can cross the blood-brain and blood-placental barriers. We have a right to know that despite the industry's statement that their products are thoroughly tested before marketing and meet or exceed government standards, there really are no government standards . . . and even that one that exists, isn't met.

The FDA's public alert that is to be required on all fragrances and cosmetics released to market without substantiation of safety is overlooked. Talk about your oversight agency! The FDA can't even follow its own regulations, or surely the consumer would see: "WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined." We haave a right to know !

We are not getting the information from the industry, which is protected by self regulation and trade secret laws, therefore, it is imperative that our government agencies give us the proper information from which we may build a purchasing decision based upon INFORMED CONSENT. If one can dig deeply enough, one can find the crucial information, but just how many of your average management teams, your average consumers, will do the necessary digging? Well, one group for sure will help you: THE ALREADY CHEMICALLY INJURED. Listen to us and you'll be a step ahead on protecting your health and the health of your family memberrs and friends . . . including your pets. And together, we all can better protect our planet. It's the only one we've got!

Digging a little deeper . . .

In early 2003, I came across the FDA's "Breathing Better: Action Plans Keep Asthma in Check" By Michelle Meadows and about fell out of my chair. The FDA now had a document up on its site that stated:

    "... Common asthma triggers include dust, pollen, cockroaches,
    cold air, smoke, and other strong odors, such as paint, cleaning fluids,
    perfume, hair spray, and powder. ..."
That news went out to my email tree. Now why was I so surprised -- and pleased -- to see this recognition on FDA's site? Because it is the very agency that has claimed at the bottom of the FDA Modernization Act / Foods:
    "FDA has little or no information that would support actions to raise public awareness of possible health risks associated with the use of fragranced products. Current regulations do require that products that contain added fragrance ingredients must be labeled in the product ingredient statement as containing 'fragrance.' ..."


Whoop-de-do! "Fragrance" on the label, under the ingredient statements, doesn't begin to give a clue as to the number of toxins hiding behind that benign-sounding word, FRAGRANCE. And, "fragrance" certainly doesn't give a clue as to the adverse effects those combinations of chemicals can have upon users. Primary and secondary. Come on, FDA! Even the question on that page tells you that fragrances can trigger migraines and asthma. But then, if people could prevent migraines and asthma by avoiding the use of petrochemcial-derived fragrances in commonly used products, they'd not have so great a need for that other wonderful FDA-related industry: Pharmaceuticals. An old Missouri saying: Money makes the mare go!

Current regulations also demands that FDA require that all fragrances and cosmetics released to market without substantiation of safety carry its public alert: WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined." See "FDA Authority Over Cosmetics" Somehow, FDA has managed to ignore its own requirement . . . as well as the citizens' petition filed by EHN back on May 11, 1999.

The EPA has included in its section on VOCs, scented products for personal care as well as household and janitorial cleaning and maintenance projects. In An Introduction for Health Professionals -- -- EPA has written:


    At room temperature, volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde, benzene, perchloroethylene), some of which may have short- and long-term effects.

    Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors. A study by the EPA, covering six communities in various parts of the United States, found indoor levels up to ten times higher than those outdoors -- even in locations with significant outdoor air pollution sources, such as petrochemical plants. ...

    ... A wide array of volatile organics are emitted by products used in home, office, school, and arts/crafts and hobby activities. These products, which number in the thousands, include: personal items such as scents and hair sprays; ... [emphasis added]

Also, if you look carefully enough throughout the EPA site, you can find some information on fragrances in some places, but not in all. That's how it gets so confusing for the public seeking accommodation. Just as we can find information to make our case, those wishing to continue use of scented products in public places can point to pages without information regarding fragrances.

For example, under "Managing Asthma in the School Environment" -- -- you'll find the carefully worded comment: "In addition, some literature suggests children with asthma may be affected by other pollutants found in schools from such sources as un-vented stoves or heaters and common products such as cleaning agents, perfumes, and sprays." While at the same time, under their section "Asthma and Indoor Environments," you'll read: "Learn more about factors found in the indoor and outdoor environment that can cause, trigger, or exacerbate asthma symptoms and what you can do to reduce their impact. You might be surprised by the list of common environmental asthma triggers and how simple it can be to eliminate them from your environment." ( One might well expect to see fragrances listed there, but they are not.

A click out to the section given, " Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers" at, quickly shows you the EPA includes the usual roundup -- "Secondhand Smoke, Dust Mites, Molds, Cockroaches and Pests, Pets." Fragranced products used for personal care or cleaning and maintenance projects continue to be ignored here. (Not that I haven't written to the EPA time and again asking that they include fragrances on this page.)

The EPA coverage regarding fragrances is at best, spotty. You have to persevere if you want to make a case for cleaner air as being air free of petrochemical-derived fragrances.(Last accessed: March 2005)

With multiple efforts by some mighty fine people, I'm hopeful we'll hurry the day when fragrances are seen as the air pollutants they are. The idea for one of those joint efforts can be viewed by visiting the National Institute of Building Sciences section on INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY at

. California's Air Resources Board is making tiny steps forward, but always with the industry's input in mind. As far as I know, they've yet to get fabric softeners, perfumes and other commonly used highly volatile scented products on their radar screen. How is it the Fragrance Foundation can lay claim that fragrances are to adhere to a "scent circle" yet continue to formulate products that can pollute the air for blocks and the scent can last incredibly long after use? Modern petrochemical-derived fragrances subvert the idea that fragrance products are a personal choice issue.

In the meantime, public health continues to go down the tubes as evidenced by skyrocketing rates of chronic illnesses. By the way, please understand that I'm not saying that synthetic scent is the cause of all chronic illnesses, including those unexplained soaring asthma and cancer rates. What I am saying is that fragrances in our commonly used personal care products and in our cleaning and maintenance products should not be so lightly dismissed as a cause of pollution and adverse health events -- acute and chronic.

That NEVER MEASURE / NEVER MANAGE mentality must end. Also, we must put an end to our blind faith that these products are "thoroughly" tested as the industry assures us. Analyses indicate otherwise. Besides, one must realize that the testing of fragrances done down through the years has been for dermatological (skin) effects to the primary user. That's hardly "thorough." Not when these toxins are made to volatilize, to become one with the air we all must breathe.

Access: It's a right, right?

Why do we have to struggle for rightful accommodation, be it a public meeting, a school room, a workplace, and even our healthcare facilities? Because Stuff Happens! (

And some mighty big stuff that did happen was the Chemical Manufacturers Association's call-to-arms published in 1990. Read The Environmental Illness Briefing Paper. and you'll see why we've had such a struggle for accommodation and access. Pay careful attention to the whole document, but especially to "Forming Coalition," near the end. It seems to me that this document certainly goes far in explaining why our attempts to gain accommodation -- which improves the air quality for everyone else! -- have been such a struggle. This is an abomination.

All too often those of us having to seek accommodation are subjected to the vituperative responses and actions of people who wish to continue absorbing and inhaling their toxic brews of perfumes and other products benignly labeled "fragrance." One such response can be seen via Barbara Robertson's page on MCS --

Sadly, I don't know of anyone who has not had to struggle for fragrance-free accommodation. Some get it. Most don't. And they are no longer gainfully employed. Seeking accommodation through one's healthcare facility can be frustrating -- the very institution where health is a priority and they just don't get it. Case in point. One of my many visits to complain about fragrances denying me access, blocking my path of travel. The young man whose job it was to consul me stated that patients just don't listen to their doctors; he was told not to smoke, but he chose to smoke anyway. Same with fragrances, he stated. I claimed, Yes, true for individual behavior, but you cannot sit here at this desk and blow smoke into my face, nor can you allow a lit cigarette to emit smoke while it sits unattended in an ashtray. I'm protected from the toxins in tobacco smoke, but I am not protected from all of the toxins in fragrances, even though so often they are one and the same polluting chemicals. (So there! But, Kaiser still is scented.)

No one is saying people cannot continue to wear and use fragrances in the privacy of their own homes -- however, I'd add the caution that fragrances should be used and worn only among consenting, non-pregnant adults. Yes, fragrance chemicals can affect a developing embryo and fetus. Are fragrances behind the many UNEXPLAINED reproduction and fetal development problems?

Access to healthcare, education, workplaces, housing We are asking for fragrance-free healthcare, education, workplaces and housing. Of course, fragrance-free recreational activities would be welcomed -- and we do ask. But the big struggle has been to remain gainfully employed, to continue our education, to seek healthier healthcare and SAFER HOUSING. Yet, in response, we have been subjected to comments such as those in the flame received by Barbara Robertson, above, and/or to acts of violence, which include spraying perfumes on us or at us, and on or around our work areas and our homes. See Assaulted at and The Fragrant Door

I see the primary trouble I was dealt stemed from two major sources. One was an errant (politest word I could think of) report on MCSers and Ecology House by the infamous -- May 2003: now promoted to co-anchor -- John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 . The other is a ruling by our Department of Justice, which did not take into account the harmful toxic chemicals with which modern scents are concocted. Frankly I find it abhorring that that ruling has not been changed, once information about the toxins in modern fragrances became known. See: Stossel: and; and DOJ:

Frankly, I would find it utterly refreshing -- and a measure of an increasingly savy consumership -- if ever I were to hear from someone who says that they sought and gained complete cooperation when asking for fragrance-free accommodation in their school, workplace, healthcare facility, place of worship, etc. (Some of the most outrageous assualts have been by our "friends" in the workplace, be that workplace a school, a government office, a healthcare facility, a lawyer's office, or a place of worship.)

Take Heart! was created to highlight the gains we are making, and to provide information that can be used by others in their efforts to be able to breathe in public. As I was unscucessful in my attempts to remain gainfully emplpoyed, I decided to do my utmost to help others. Hence my work with EHN and then the buidling of its website and its page, Take Heart! regarding ACCESS and ACCOMMODATION. Please use the information you find here and throughout EHN's site that can best help you and your particular needs for access and accommodation. Also, use the information available through the analyses of perfumes that you will find in FDA Petition, Docket Number 99P - 1340. ( The purchased analysis indicates that the concoction of chemicals found in modern synthetic scents have been released to market without substantiation of safety. That's against the regulations as imposed by the FDA. I plea, do write the FDA . . . for you and for me, and for the untold millions we never see. And please let others know that FDA Petition 99P-1340 affords them a golden opportunity to inform the FDA of their adverse reactions to our modern fragrance products. Write the FDA about your adverse health events associated with fragrances used by yourself or those used by others. E-mail: . . . full contact info available from the petition link, above.

For an indepth look at the subject of fragrances, written by Betty Bridges, RN, who serves EHN as an Advisory Board member, see Fragrance: Emerging Health and Environmental Concerns Published by the Flavours and Fragrance Journal

And now, a word for the fragrance habituates . . .

Rights? "It is my right to celebrate myself anyway I want to! "

Yeah? You can't wear a bikini in the workplace. You cannot have your radio blaring. You cannot have on so much makeup you look like a circus clown. And, these days, you cannot smoke because it is recognized that your tobacco smoke adversely pollutes the air for others. But, for some reason, managers have not equated highly scented products with polluting the air for others, for being akin to a blaring radio, for calling attention to one's self in an obnoxious fashion.

Absolutely, there is a need for fragrance-free accommodation. One's "personal right" to wear synthetic scents is supposed to stop at one's arms's length. (Fragrance Foundation, Tips However, modern fragrances are crafted with volatilizing, toxic petrochemicals, which do not respect boundaries; which do not respect another's sage doctor's advice: "Avoid fragrances."

Plain and simple: One's perceived right to wear and use synthetically scented products in public abridges another's right to breathe cleaner air.

The ADA acknowledges our right to breathe!!!! And, until our "experts" can begin answering the question: Why are there skyrocketing rates of asthma, cancers, fetal development problems, low birth weight full-term babies, reproductive problems, Parkinson's? . . . etc. ad nauseam, with something more than their one-word, non-explanation explanation, "UNEXPLAINED," perhaps you ought to consider wearing safer, cleaner, eco-friendly fragrance-free products yourself. It is not your due to be the next person talking about chemo around the water cooler. It is not your due to have unexplained adult onset asthma. It is not your due to have unexplained Parkinson's. It is not our due to be driven from gainful employment because someone wants to wear perfume products.

Our government agencies charged with protecting public health seem to have no clue as to the harmful effects of long-term exposures, nor to systemic effects caused by the chemical concoctions called "fragrance." If the industry does, it ain't saying.

Fragrances have not been tested for neurotoxicity. Heavens, these products made to be smelled (inhaled), yet they haven't even been tested for adverse effects upon inhalaltion. And no one seems to have a concern about those who become secondhand users, be they living with chronic diseases, in fetal deveolpment, infancy, old age or anywhere in between.

Through Francesca Lyman's Scents and sensitivities -- -- we learn: "In response to the perceived problems of fragrances in the air, Roberts [Glenn Roberts of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials] says that his industry group has begun the first study to examine fragrance inhalation. 'We're spending a lot of money on this,' he says, 'to understand the systemic effects of fragrances on organs and nervous system, what happens when fragrances are inhaled.' " By the way, earlier in this article Roberts was quoted as stating that, "Products are thoroughly tested before being marketed to assure their health and safety." I smell duplicity!

Get that economic whine and comment about the "first study" following the declaration that products are "thoroughly tested ... to assure their health and safety." I'd like to see some calculations on the cost to business in relation to the neurotoxic and respiratory effects of these ubiquitous fragrances. While there are dollar amounts attached to sick leave due to asthma and headaches, there is no assessment of reduced productivity due to the neurotoxic effects of fragrances. Mental confusion and lost thoughts are dubbed brain fog, but that serious neurotoxic effect is not to be taken lightly. It is no joking matter. And while the fragrance industry whines about its economic costs, the costs to those living with fragrance sensitization -- and those who suffered premature death -- are beyond calculation.

The focus of the oft-claimed "thorough" industry testing has been for adverse skin effects of the primary user. Testing for skin effects of the primary user leaves out all of the people who suffer eczema, acne, rashes, hives and goodness-knows-what-all skin problems at secondary and tertiary levels of exposure. By extension, regardless of level of exposure, including second- and thirdhand, there is no official information on adverse events suffered due to the chemicals that are known or suspected teratogens (adversely affecting embryonic and fetal development), carcinogens (capable of causing cancer), neurotoxins (adversely affecting brain and nervous systems), or hormone disrupters (capable of adversely affecting people of all ages, including fetuses).

To those who maintain it is their personal right to wear whatever scented products they want, where they want and as much of it/them as they want, I'd like to say: Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware! . . . or, Wise Up!

Your health and the health of your families could be spared if you change to eco-friendly, people- and pet-friendly, fragrance-free and organic products. Remember, there is no information on adverse systemic events suffered as a result of long-term exposures to fragrances -- brews of unkown combinations of tens to hundreds of indaquately tested chemicals. Those of us living with MCS have been ignored, ridiculed, stultified. We should be viewed as Human Observational Studies, not subjected to pejorative statements. Dismissing us will not save your health. Learning from us might.

Some of the comments by industry apologists include words such as: somatic, psychosomatic, hypochodriac, malingerer, . . . and the all time classic often uttered by one's own doctor: "It is all in your head." Stultifying us does not address the public health issue of constant assault (exposure to) unnecessary chemical cocktails, some of which store in adipose tissue in our bodies. And, the bodies of fish and wildlife downstream.

Beyond perhaps protecting your own health, you'll know that by being free of petrochemical-derived fragrances in public places you will afford the already fragrance-sensitized public the opportunity to continue their education, remain gainfully employed, get necessary healthcare, attend religious services of their choice, enter government buildings to accomplish the buisness they need to take care of, ride public transit conveyances, . . . Who knows, some day maybe we'll be able to enjoy the olfactory pleasure of dining in our favorite restaurants without having our health and meal ruined by the fragrance products used by the host, waitperson, and/or another patron.

We ALL are stakeholders when it comes to breathing.

I live with chemical injury -- MCS, acquired in my former workplace despite what OSHA thinks -- but I haven't forgotten our friends who live with EMF/EMR. Please visit the links of information on EMF / EMR at

-- barb (Started in 1999, added to down through the years as more info becomes available.)

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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. Learn from the work of Julia Kendall, get The BEST of the Reactor, join EHN and receive The New Reactor. See what influence the Chemical Manufacturers have had against those of us with EI. The URL for this page is