A Letter To Caledonia Home Health by Heather Awen, July 24, 2012
To All Public Servants and Community Organizations
Canary News July 4, 2012:
The Vermont Canary organization is now asleep. We can still pass out flyers, and support each other as best we can, but the actual organization is no longer incorporated, to my knowledge, and we have had no public meetings for almost a year. There is a small group working on a safe a housing project, with an architect, and there are many individuals advocating for themselves and educating as their lives permit, but we are not organized. There was an attempt to create bylaws, and to incorporate as a 501c3 - and another attempt to seek grant funding. For lack of active people, there is no such thing as the "Vermont Canaries.org" anymore. I will leave up both the Facebook/Myspace and this forum for the good of all, and will continue to monitor so that only Canaries are on the site. Hopefully some non-canaries will step forward and run with this issue. We need solid people involved if the changes we need are to be made.
The Canary Packet
Understanding the growing phenomena of Chemical Intolerance
Compiled by Ishana Ingerman (Burlington, VT)
Feb. 2009 / Revised June 2009
February 19, 2009
To Whom it May Concern,
I am a Chemically Intolerant resident of Burlington, VT. This means that I have a federally recognized
limitation that makes many normal activities impossible for me. Like a wheelchair bound citizen, I have my
own limitations with which I do my best to cope, but my biggest challenge is the unconsciousness of
others. Where high counters and stairs prohibit a wheelchair from moving forward or a seated person from
communicating easily, people's choices of fragrance toxins affect my ability to go to any building or
Here are some facts that might help other (ignorant) people understand this situation better.
Synthetic musks are petrochemical adhesives that cause neurological and immune damage.
Upon inhalation, many (25%) Americans experience some adverse affect. Stinging eyes, nausea,
migraines, uncontrolled vomiting, memory loss, confusion, sudden and lasting physical pain, sudden and
lasting loss of energy, and a resulting irrational anger or hyper sensitivity to light, sound and smell are all
People wearing products containing these chemicals are daily, unwittingly, causing pain and suffering to
those around them. In the last few months I have heard some very sad stories from people in the
costumer service industry here in Burlington... The cashier who has to fight off headaches whenever a
Fragranced costumer comes through. Artists who could not attend the Arts Alive auction to see their art
sold because of two women wearing strong perfumes. A young person at the local library who has to wear
a mask because of the soap in the children's restroom, and the scented lotions used by some librarians. I
also spoke with a farmer who forks many tones of straw bales, only to become extremely fatigued from a
short visit to a mall. Vendors at an event at the Expo. in Essex complained of migraines, caused by
perfumed visitors. I even heard of a man who will not allow his daughter to have friends over if they are
wearing dryer sheeted clothing. There are hundreds of us, Canaries, and yet even the school nurse at a
local junior high was completely ignorant of the existence of this toxic phenomena.
Allergy? No. These chemicals dampen the immune system, and damage the nervous system. Because of
this, however, after the chemical whiff that breaks the proverbial camel's back, the onset of many allergies
Did you know?
Many U.S. State Governors have made declarations around Chemical Intolerance Awareness? (not in
Many cities have permanent signs on the doors of public buildings (Libraries, City Halls, etc.) declaring
them a Fragrance Free Facility, please refrain from wearing chemical fragrances.
Many cities have fragrance free policies for any meetings open to the public.
Many synthetic musks have been made illegal in Japan and the E.U. because science has proven their
connection to asthma, cancer and several neurological disorders, as well as being harmful to wildlife.
Though illegal in other parts of the world, we Americans continue to buy deoderizers, detergents, hair
products and even kitty litter and baby wipes containing these toxins.
Synthetic musks accumulate in the body - affixing themselves to human tissue.
Water treatment plants do not remove them.
Saveral states have developed safe housing specificly for chemically intolerant indeviduals.
Would you be willing to do what you can to comply with the ADA requirement that libraries and other
generally public places be made accessible to the chemically intolerant population? This would be for the
benefit of all - as we are only the canaries in toxic mine shaft. You may be next
(June, 2009. This Letter, after going to the Fletcher Free Library, was distributed to the Heads of Departments of the City of Burlington. The result was a plan for the creation of a information workshop to help heads of departments discuss chemical intolerance issues with city employees. The person delegated this organizing job soon moved out of state. The Parks and Rec. Department, in charge of the janitorial service to eight large buildings in the city, has changed the hand soaps to unscented, and is looking into other product alternatives. The F.F. Library now has a sign on the front door asking patrons not to wear scented products in the library - and an effort was made to limit the fragrances that the librarians wear. Two successful changes, and one good idea. So we keep asking for help in educating the public. - Ishana)
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