Educating People Makes Our Life Easier – Don’t let people violate the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Hi guys! I know I have been away for a while. Life has been a bit crazy. I’ve been battling many ups and downs with my health but I am continually pushing forward.

Today I wanted to post a bit about my experience these past few weeks and some of my frustration.
These past few weeks I have been trying to make appointments to be seen for oral surgery that I have needed to do for the past few years but due to health and finances, I have not been able to.  Before getting sick I was able to go to any doctor, any dentist without an issue. Now, my life has been literally tossed upside down. Due to my recently confirmed MCS and my other health complications I cannot go to places with air fresheners, fresh paint, and other chemicals.

This makes going out very restricting it also has been extremely taxing on my family and children who have to pay for something that they did not cause or deserve. So this week I called over 50 different Holistic Dentists both in and out of my state and I found out that most of them use some sort of chemicals in their office.
About 90% of them use scented plug-ins to freshen the air in their waiting rooms and patient rooms.

“How can you say that you are a Holistic Dental office and use chemically laden products that affect the mind and the body? These products are potent endocrine disruptors and they are irritants to the lungs and nasal cavities not to mention the effect they have on patients like myself who suffer from a debilitating illness?”

My enthusiastic yet frustrated remarks were met with dismay, surprise and in a few cases an attitude of noninterest.
And then I decided to call a clinic in Spain that specializes in Holistic Dentistry. To my utter shock, I was told that they did not even clean with chemicals because they have a large number of patients dealing with MCS and other severe health issues. They said that they make their own natural cleaning products for bathrooms and floors and they do not use anything scented in their offices.

I was elated, I felt like I had won the lottery. Here I was with a 7-hour difference, across a vast and blue ocean, gripping the phone and wiping tears of disbelief from my eyes. I hung up the phone and wondered why in Spain the doctors could understand but in my beautiful nation, they could not. I called a few more medical facilities in Spain and asked similar questions and many of them answered me in the same manner. I was floored.
Right then and there I knew that as a people suffering from invisible illnesses we are not speaking loud enough. We are not petitioning enough, we are not sharing our battles and struggles and enlightening our medical community in the US.

So today I want to encourage you. Please allow me to jump up on my soapbox and say that it is imperative that we talk about chemical sensitivities, environmental illnesses, invisible disabilities, ME and everything in between

If you walk into a hospital, doctor office or public restroom and the scent of the air makes you sick speak up. Ask to speak to the owner or facilities manager and politely suggest that they remove scented items because it causes disabling conditions in many people not just those with chemical sensitivities but children and adults with airway diseases and those with heart issues and autism.

Let them know that by having certain fragranced products which cause disabling conditions they are essentially denying you a right to service or access to a restroom and they can be in violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

It is a violation of the ADA when you need to access medical care but cannot because the hospital and or doctors office uses air fresheners. It is also a violation of your rights as a person with a disabling illness if you are denied use of a restroom in a public setting because they use air fresheners. Employees who suffer a debilitating disability due to MCS or allergies because of fragrances in the workplace have filed lawsuits per the ADA and won. This is not to be taken lightly. Know your rights and fight for them. Click here to read about Fragrance Sensitivity being recognized as a Disability Under ADA.
Click here to read about the Hidden Hazards in Air Fresheners and Deodorizers in public places.  We must stay informed and speak up and if needed involve the law!

Dr. AnneSteinemann says the following:
“While legislation exists to protect people from secondhand smoke, the law is evolving to protect people from “secondhand scents,” or involuntary exposure to fragranced products. For instance, under the US Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [2], an individual who experiences disabling effects from exposure to air fresheners can request a reasonable accommodation for the air freshener to be removed or disconnected. Similar legislation and protection exist in other countries, such as in Australia under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) [8]. In the aforementioned surveys of the US and Australian populations, half of the health effects reported could be considered as potentially disabling under the language of the ADA and DDA.” Source

We also must continue to educate, to hand out flyers about our condition, to explain to our churches, schools, and businesses that we are a growing community that feels shunned by society and we need to be heard and helped.
I wasn’t always sick. I never even knew what ME/CFS, TILT/MSC, Vasomotor Rhinitis, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Mycotoxicosis, and Neuro-Immune Illnesses were until they knocked on my door after years of working in a sick and contaminated office. This is something that can happen to anyone.

ADA flyer

Outside of our home, I have a sign posted that tells visitors they cannot knock or come inside if they are wearing anything scented like perfume, cologne or clothing with fabric softener. I’ve had many a conversation on the other side of my closed-door politely telling people I cannot open because I can end up really sick. The sign further says that these smells can literally take my breath away.
From ATT techs to delivery men and friendly visitors, they all ask about my condition once they read the sign. It is a great way to educate people.
If you would like to print and use this sign and find other helpful printouts for explaining MSC please click here.

Click here to read about Accommodations for Employees with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Environmental Illness (EI)
Click here to read 5 Things You Should Know About Toxic Mold Illness
Click here and here for more information on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Will you be visiting someone with TILT/MCS? Or will loved ones be visiting you and you suffer from TILT/MCS?  Please click here for helpful tips and what you should do prior to visiting someone who is sick. 

Below is the same flyer as above but with no background so you can print out and handout or stick on the walls of bathrooms and establishments that are violating the ADA. Right click on the image, save and then print.
ADA flyer2

That is all for tonight.
God bless you.

17 thoughts on “Educating People Makes Our Life Easier – Don’t let people violate the Americans with Disabilities Act

  1. Hi! I have MCS but wondering if the ADA requires an official diagnosis. Where might I be able to find out more about how to get my workplace to become more accommodating?

    1. Hi there
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. First and foremost speak up. Email your boss and HR about what is making you sick. Document these emails and conversations. Next tell your doctor and have him do a full evaluation and he may be able to write a note to your employer recommending that you avoid chemical smells.
      Please also read these articles below as they outline helpful information.

      “The Expansion of the ADA
      The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA covers all private employers, state and local governments and educational institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. On September 25, 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law making significant changes regarding which employees and job applicants are considered disabled and protected from discrimination. The ADAAA, effective January 1, 2009, made it easier for many employees to fall under the ADA’s coverage and expanded the definition of what disabilities are covered under the Act. The EEOC claims that under the amendments, an employee may be considered disabled if a workplace odor or substance causes asthma or an otherwise normal allergy to become “severe.”

    2. Why does it only apply to work and not to hospitality / hotels and doctors offices
      We are discriminated against by not being able to visit many hotels as they now pump toxic fragrance with no regulation it is as if not more poisonous than cigarette smoke was . We changed non smoking hotels to vaping hotels

      1. You’re 100% correct. Accommodations should be made by all of these places. Now that more and more people are suing hotels for fragrance injuries maybe big corporations will get the message.

  2. I love this and am bookmarking your site, as I want to start a group to stop all these chemicals we are being exposed to. I find it no different from 2nd hand cigarette smoke.

  3. Thank you for your post. I have been struggling with MCS for over 20 years after we were poisoned by Terminex.
    I slip into a coma for hours after each exposure to fragrances or gas fumes. My kidney, spleen and liver fill up with the toxins and spills out of my eyes.

    My dentist office is ok now but I still have trouble at the doctors office. I can’t go to church, rarely make it through the grocery, do very little shopping, and, of course, no gas stations. I have had to stop meeting with friends because some of them really don’t care how it hurts me.

    I did not know we had a voice. I posted your info on fb and sent some emails. I have had so much trouble and been met with different reactions from people who think it’s funny, or who berate me for calling it to their attention.

    Blessed are those who are horrified and do everything they can to help me. I love them.

    So, thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry Barbara. This disease is so tough and few people understand it. I’m glad you were encouraged by my post.
      Don’t give up hope and keep pushing forward.
      There is a group on FB called Moms Healing From Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. You might find it a helpful resource.
      God bless you.

  4. Do you know where I can find info on respirators? What types work best… how often they must be replaced… Have been sensitive for years but it has gotten MUCH worse in the past couple of months. I have purchased a respirator on Amazon to wear at church and the grocery store. My issues are not nearly as severe as some folks, but these scents make my lungs ache and burn for days. Julie

    1. Hi Julie.
      If you type in respirators in the search bar to the right of this page you will find an article we posted a few years ago that discusses various types of respirators.
      The disposable P100 is an inexpensive respirator that we’ve used and many others have used as well to filter out molds, fragrances, exaust, paint fumes, gas ECT. When placed on the face correctly you can’t smell anything.
      It can be purchased online at Walmart, Home depot, Amazon and a few other places.

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