Re: Environmental sensitivities in community?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:52:53 -0800 (PST)
If you are creating with those things in mind it, for the most part,
will not be a problem. We had all of those except electromagnetic as
our values from the start. We built with all low and zero VOC and folk
make adjustments based on a single individuals needs all the time.

So, for example, there are no lilacs or roses near the person with
that allergy. Even though we bought a fireplace that can be wood or
gas (at extra cost!!) we never use the wood portion due to my allergy.
There was a cabinet option that wasn't low VOC in the homes, but an
individual buyer had to choose that cabinet, the standard was low VOC
even for unsold homes. No carpeting until the state required we put it
in the 40B-affordable homes, the one household that needed it out we
took it out for them after the sale was closed.
No used furniture that was once in homes with pets is allowed in the
common house. No perfumes or lotions in the common house guest rooms.

Someone even checked with me on whether a seeing eye dog guest should
be allowed in the common house because of my allergies. (I *strongly*
insisted that registered service dogs trump my allergies, although if
cats ever become service animals I don't know what I'd say since that
allergy is much more severe for me.)

But electromagnetic concerns was not on our list and we've had people
bring them up post move-in and while some individuals have made minor
adjustments, for the most part, the community is not willing to adjust
for those requests.

Assuming that man-made allergens are similar to my own natural
allergens I will say that it doesn't make an allergen free world. All
the cat owners still have cat dander on their clothing, guests come
and wear fragrance, a construction worker smokes while doing work on
your neighbors home. One bad magic marker gives someone a headache for
hours. We all do what we can to fix the problem, but mistakes happen.

I'd say that we are a community that tries very hard to meet people's
allergy needs. And it works "pretty well".

Mosaic commons cohousing, Berlin, MA
On Fri, Dec 21, 2018 at 9:01 AM MJ Phillips <mjphillips [at]> wrote:
> Hi,
> I’m curious about how different communities may be encountering and/or 
> addressing issues of environmental sensitivity (chemical, electromagnetic 
> fields, mold, other?) among members. Is this coming up at all? If so, what 
> are some of the dynamics around it? What, if any, solutions have you found? 
> Feel free to contact me privately or via this list.
> Thanks,
> Jaffy
> (Not currently in community, hoping to create one with above in mind.)
> Jaffy Phillips
> mjphillips [at]
> 781-752-9599
> (Sent from a Hard-Wired Computer - for our Health)
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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