Monday, May 18, 2009

21st Century Coal Mine

Well, even though we've asked our neighbors to consider switching from fragranced dryer sheets to something less unhealthy, the toxic fumes just keep on blowing into our yard, causing us no end of symptoms and unhappiness.

Some of my recent posts have elucidated how the air blowing from neighbors' nearby dryer vents causes us no end of symptoms and irritation, and we have indeed very recently been chased from our yard or our screened-in porch as the clouds of vapors have entered our space.

Luckily, several neighbors have responded to a series of letters that we have circulated through the neighborhood, and change may indeed be afoot. One neighbor knocked on our door just this evening to show us the hypoallergenic, eco-friendly dryer sheets she'd purchased with us in mind, and another neighbor called to accept my offer to purchase "dryer balls" for anyone who would like to give them a trial run.

Living in a relatively close-knit homeowner's association with our homes in close proximity to one another, navigating these thorny issues of privacy and lifestyle can be a challenge. Just recently, I learned that a local cohousing community has officially banned dryer sheets altogether due to the deleterious effects that they have on some residents' health, so examples have indeed been set of communities who look after their own and do the right thing.

Having physiological reactions to fragrances is no fun, and convincing others that one's reactions are not a personal affront to their way of life is also no picnic. But when the world around you is saturated in toxic chemicals that can actually impair your ability to function and feel good, then sometimes radical steps must be taken. For us, it is asking others to kindly consider changing their habits. For others, homelessness is sometimes the only option.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is more common than we think, and living with such a life-altering condition can be the bane of one's existence. Still, it is a lesson in asking for what one needs, making accomodations when necessary, and sometimes it simply necessitates removing yourself from places where one's health is negatively impacted. It's a toxic world out there, and those of us with MCS are the human canaries in the 21st century coal mine.
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