Jun 21, 2010

Chemically Sensitive, Anyone?

Ever since I've had dysautonomia I have been sensitive to smelly things. It seems like every time I leave my own house I am bombarded with the scents of chemicals. There are gardeners outside spraying weed killer, car exhaust fumes from traffic, people smoking cigarettes, or using noxious chemical cleansers on their cars. And that is just outdoors in the "fresh" air. When I venture inside a business or a restaurant, the tables have been sprayed with bleach or windex, or there are people wearing strong cologne. And inside the effects of these chemical odors are usually much stronger because there isn't always proper ventilation of fresh air to counteract the fumes. Although I would love to have a relaxing pedicure once in awhile I cannot go to a standard nail salon because of the noxious fumes. Instead, I polish my own nails outside in the fresh air. That is the only way I can handle the strong smell.

The question is, why does society rely so heavily on harmful chemicals? In America we have developed a collective dependence on chemicals to do the work that people used to do. Take weeding for instance. Instead of people weeding their yards the old-fashioned way, it has become standard practice for many people to rely on weedkillers to do the job for them. How does one live in a world where people are obsessed with perfection and finding a fast and easy way to achieve it? With little or no regard to those people who may be harmed in the process? I still struggle with these questions when I walk down the street to the apple orchard near my house, a city park, that is covered with chemical sprays all seasons of the year. Children play in that park everyday. People harvest and consume the apples. And most people who use the park are just fine. For now at least. Nobody really knows the long term effects of these potent chemicals. Even doctors and researchers can merely speculate about the long term effects. The short term effects for chemically sensitive individuals like me, can range from mildly annoying to downright debilitating.

MultipleChemicalSensitivity.org has compiled a comprehensive list of symptoms:

  • Burning/stinging eyes
  • Wheezing, breathlessness, nausea
  • Extreme fatigue, lethargy
  • Headache/migraine/vertigo/dizziness
  • Poor memory & concentration
  • Runny nose (rhinitis)
  • Sore throat, cough
  • Sinus problems
  • Skin rashes/itchy skin
  • Sensitivity to light & noise
  • Sleeping problems
  • Digestive upset
  • Muscle & joint pain

No comments:

Post a Comment