When your neighbor runs her dryer, does the vented exhaust make your eyes and nose burn? Do you cough? Does your head hurt? Does it feel like your throat goes numb, making it difficult to swallow? Does it make you feel dizzy or confused? Do you become clumsy with jerking movements? Does it seem like you're in a chemical cloud? Do you lose your sense of smell but still taste the chemical in your mouth? Do you go inside or leave to try to escape from it?
Do you have the same symptoms when your work colleague plugs in or sprays an air freshener? Is it making your job difficult?
Do you wonder if these chemicals are doing other physical damage to you?
All of the above describe the symptoms and worries that I have daily. Today, I'm sitting in my apartment with my nose and eyes burning and my head hurting. I'm miserable and sick from the overpowering smell of some new dryer sheet my neighbor is polluting the air with. My apartment is not air-tight, so I cannot just close my windows. I rarely have fresh air at home. Although my workplace forbids air fresheners, scented candles, oil diffusers, and the myriad other chemical fragrances that make me and others sick, my colleagues still use them.
I have asked colleagues and neighbors not to use these chemicals, but none have ever complied. They all have resisted, telling me that the chemicals are "natural" or that they have a right to them. My being angry about it accomplishes nothing. They're correct that they can use these products, because there's no law against it. Even at the workplace, the rules are not enforced.
I finally realized that we have all been taking the wrong approach. We've been blaming the people who use these products or we've tried to implement rules to protect us from them. But our neighbors and colleagues are buying these products because the companies that make them spend millions of dollars to convince them that "clean" includes added fragrance. The manufacturers spend millions of dollars to convince people that they need a "fragrance brand." Our neighbors and colleagues are swayed by the manufacturers' advertising. They're not about to let go of their fragrances. They have too much emotionally invested in these products.
Yet you and I are sick from the second-hand exposure. It's time we laid the blame where it belongs: on the manufacturers. The manufacturers are selling a product that makes us sick from second-hand exposure. We must hold the manufacturers accountable for their products. This website is dedicated to that end.