Re: Re: multiple chemical sensitivity, fragrances
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 06:51:56 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 29, 2005, at 5:18 PM, Becky Weaver wrote:

So, we are discussing whether to ask people to agree to switch to fragrance-free laundry & personal care products when they become members. This would not only affect what we use in the common house, but what everyone uses at home.

And we haven't even started talking about construction materials yet...

This is an extreme situation. In cohousing there will always be people around who are not members of the community and new members will always be joining -- roommates, renters, etc. The commonhouse will often be used by guests, delivery people, service people, etc. who are not fragrance free. This is a situation that everyone can learn to work with but just making them aware of the severity of the problem will probably be the most you can do to help the affected person. It will take time for people to learn how easy (or hard) it is to avoid fragrances. Making rules is probably not your best option.

There is a portable device one can wear around the neck that blows clean air up to the face that one person I know uses. Also in places like the commonhouse, a small HEPA air purifier placed near the person so the clean air blows in her direction may also help. They are almost noiseless. Chemical sensitivities also change -- after several years of a chemical free home, I no longer have problems that require extra attention unless I am subjected to them for hours on end. I know within 2 hours if the commonhouse filters have not been changed, for example, but I no longer end up in bed the next day because of it.

The second part of the message about construction materials raises another red flag. Can a group be making such rules so early in the process? Some people who would immediately leave the group if there were such a rule, might find it very easy to accommodate the fragrance problem down the road. Give them time to adjust.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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