Re: Re: Multiple chemical sensitivity
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 08:19:32 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 28, 2005, at 7:16 PM, Becky Weaver wrote:

What level of sensitivity do your community members have (mild - moderate - severe)? [snip] Do most cohousing-friendly people take a fragrance-free policy in stride? I'm trying to develop a sense of perspective.

I think these two sentences go together -- some communities may have no members who are fragrance sensitive. Is it important for that community to be fragrance free?

I think it is much better to be "fragrance sensitive." Setting a policy that the community is fragrance free will make the "fragrance unaware" feel very paranoid because they it will not be natural for them.

If you have people who are fragrance or chemical sensitive, then as a community you can determine how far you can go in accommodating them. We have several people who are very sensitive and some not so sensitive and some who believe that the chemicals are negatively affecting all of us but only some are aware of this. We only use cleaning supplies and markers in the commonhouse that are fragrance free, environmentally friendly.

We don't have a policy about people wearing fragrances but I'm sure people have modified their behavior voluntarily. On the whole, more people are aware of this.

One of the things that I think separates cohousing from ecovillages, for example, is that cohousers tend not to form around "issues". While some people will come to the community with a commitment to various practices or convictions, in the end, communities do what works for them. A cohousing community is in the end a good place to live for those who live there. It isn't a school or political movement formed to convince the world of anything. The aim is community and its relationship to other communities, etc. but not specifically to advocate a particular cause unless that community has decided to take it on.

So my answer would be, how do the people in your community feel about this?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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