Happy Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Week!

Happy Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Week! Okay it finishes tomorrow, but better late than never, hey? (Says the old cliche.) And besides, I’ve been so busy: suburb profiles, attempting at writing for Weekend Notes, working on an interview with an amazing author (coming up soon), Poetry Book reviews, submitting poetry (that was accepted!), and, I’m in the process of attempting my first Vimeo review of… well, you’ll just have to wait and find out; and I’ve been working on a five year plan. But back to MCS week. More from AESSRA on the Better Health Channel:

“People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) get symptoms when exposed to low levels of chemicals such as pesticides, car exhaust, diesel fumes, perfume, aftershave, air freshener, fragrances, washing powders, chlorine, polyester, formaldehyde, plastics, rubber, mothballs, disinfectants, paints, gas, cigarette smoke and wood smoke. Symptoms can include fatigue, asthma, rhinitis, headache, migraine, memory problems, nausea, diarrhoea, dry or sore eyes, joint pain and rashes.

In NSW Department of Health studies, 2.1% of children and 2.9% of adults had been diagnosed with chemical sensitivity. In a South Australian Department of Health study, about 1% of adults had been told by a doctor that they had MCS and 16% reported some chemical hypersensitivity.

The week aims to increase awareness of allergies and sensitivities, particularly chemical sensitivities and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).”

Here is my contribution, and the contribution of the one and only heroic Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) TAFE Department at Victoria University, St Albans Campus, Australia.

The pinup board in the main office:

The Brochures and the Door Notice

The Brochures and the Door Notice, before Chemical Sensitivity Week

A close up of the sign:

A Close Up of the Sign that Explains the Seriousness of the Situation.

A Close Up of the Sign that Explains the Seriousness of the Situation.

And the board, this week, after our Coordinator kindly put up the posters I bought in:

(I used last year's posters because hey? Who will know the difference?)

(I used last year’s posters because hey? Who will know the difference? Besides, printer’s ink is not my friend and I couldn’t be arsed printing them.)

This here, is the poster that I was meant to use. And, this is the one that’s displayed in the Student Engagement foyer, and in the students lounge:

Access to Buildings and Services for People with Chemical Sensitivities

Access to Buildings and Services for People with Chemical Sensitivities

And the icing on the celebration cake that we can all feast our eyes on, are the signs that have been placed on the doors leading to my classrooms (not a part of this week; it’s just a part of what we do at VU to support students who are sensitive to chemicals!):

The Signs on the Door to Our Classrooms

The Signs on the Door to Our Classrooms

This time as Chemical Sensitivity (oops, I mean Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) Week rolled around, unlike last year, where my head was hidden deep in the scented kitty litter tray of the fragrance embroilment, this time I’m holding my head up as I feel like a valued member of VU. Because I am. I feel the same as any other student; and I feel like most of the other students (and staff) understand, and if they don’t, well, these signs and the ‘fragrance free culture’ surrounding them, support me and the staff who are supporting me, in every way, everyday. You know? It’s like, this is just what we do. It’s normal. And you know what, I keep meeting people, around VU, who tell me that they too have sensitivities to chemicals. A few of these people report that it’s fragrance that they have problems with but they don’t want to complain about it because they don’t want to offend people. They don’t want to complain. I guess that’s what I’m for; to do it for them! (I have a series of posts coming up about this experience in the next week or so. It’s quite long, as are most posts that run deep with emotion, so it will be in seven parts. It’s a continuation of the post, When is is Time to Retreat? Part 1.)


AESSRA: For information about air fresheners

Wickham House Compounding Pharmacy

The Official Website of the Governor of Massachusetts: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week

“Whereas With the necessary support, understanding, accommodations, and information, individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity can enjoy access to work, schooling, public facilities, and other surroundings where they can continue to contribute their skills, knowledge, and creativity,

Now, Therefore, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim May 6th – 12th, 2012,  to be

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week

And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this fourth day of April, in the year two thousand and twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
By His Excellency

Deval L. Patrick
Governor of the Commonwealth  

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth “

You can read more about from the Governor of Massachusetts here


Coming up

Poetry Review for Micheal Dickel’s Midwest / Mid-East: March 2012 Poetry Tour

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. I have worked for the department of School Education in New South Wales for a couple of decades. Since about 2004 I have terrible health problems with the cleaning products used by a variety of private cleaning companies. My skin, sinus and asthma are in over drive. Every time they change a cleaner I am back to square one asking for things to be diluted or I just pay for products to be used in my class. I am isolated to sitting in my room at lunch as I hcan’t sit in the staff room due to the chemical poison I have observed over the last five years more children displaying health problems with their skin, sinues, asthma etc. If a say anything to the executive I am treated as a nuisance and why don’t I take health retirement. We are supposed to be a “developed” nation yet we treat people with chemical allergies as less than human.

    • Michellina van Loder says:


      Good on you for voicing your concern over these products. (I mean, it’s not like you have a choice; they are impacting on your health!) You need to stick at it and try to get something in writing. For people like us, we need to keep at it, if we want things to change. Or just go away. Either way, it can be stressful, I know. But you really need to get something in writing. I suppose one way of looking at it is that we are training them. And it’s for their–and others–own good. Not everyone is receptive to this idea; however, many are, and just on a basic human rights level, they want to do the right thing by us. I’ve seen this happen in my own situation(s): one Tafe (not naming names), outright discriminated against me; yet Victoria University have changed things (cleaning products, and hand soap for instance) so as to accommodate me and others like myself. If I hadn’t stuck at it the second time around, I would never have found out that people like me can be accommodated for and included in classes. I hope you can keep at it, if this executive continues, you need to speak to their superior.

      I can tell you though, as an employee, you are covered under the Health and Safety act. Will let you know if I can find out the exact part that covers you. :)

      Good luck and stay strong–your capabilities as a compassionate human being are immense; providing your health prevails, you will help so many others if you can keep chipping away at this issue.

      For lunches, i have often stayed in the class room, as that is a chemical free room with an air filter. It can get isolating, I know, but if you had a low-toxic area, then you would have a safe-er place to have lunch.

      Miche ♥

  2. Thank you for sharing information on MCS to help others.

    I too suffered horribly for many years from MCS, EI, CFS, depression and multiple food allergies to name just a few of my diagnoses. Avoidance was my initial and ongoing approach for years while I researched everything I could about all of my conditions – which all started after moving into a new home, that was in 1995..

    Now in 2013 I am:

    100% MCS free
    100% food allergy free
    100% depression free
    100% EI free
    Have excellent energy levels
    I can eat out in any restaurant or home and eat all foods without reactions.
    I can enter and stay in any room, building or anywhere without skewed responses.

    My note to all suffering with the above conditions is:

    1. Continue becoming educated and avoid triggers. This will allow your body time to stop hyper vigilance and reacting and concentrate it’s energies on repair and healing.

    2. Utilize strategies to reprogram your brain and body to stop mounting skewed, excessive and unwanted responses. This may require a paradigm shift in thinking.

    I have been able to duplicate my ‘symptom free’ status with clients. I share my protocol in my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION which is now available globally on Amazon.

    MCS sufferers can become 100% symptom free and safe in all environments.

    Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C.,C.B.P.
    Holistic Wellness Practitioner

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Wow, your site looks amazing: packed full of information. I’ve just spent the last hour following some of your links.

      I’ll be back to check out more later when I have time. Thank you for stopping by, and thanks for the list. I love proactive comments like yours. There is so much we can do to get better; it’s not a life sentence, even if it can feel that way at times.

      I’m glad you’ve made it out.


  3. http://doilooksick.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/readership-award-this-is-for-you/

    As a thank you for being such a great reader, I’ve nominated you for the readership award!

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Why thank you sweetie. An inspiration, that’s what you are… :)

    • WordPress.com Support says:

      OMG, another one. I’m about to have an ‘Awards Day’! I’ve been planning this for ages. Guess which character I’m going to play? It involves Ryan Gosling. Hey, what are those little movie clips called again? Where can I find one of Rosling?

      Thank you
      I Lurve your blog

  4. I have given you the WordPress Family Award. For information go http://allergictolifemybattle.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/wordpress-family-award/.

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Thank you. I’m going to make a page just for these type of awards. I do appreciate it; and I do feel that we are all family here on WordPress. Our blogs bring me much joy, surprises and many, many smiles. ♥♥♥

      • I feel the same way Miche. I need to make a separate page as well. So much going on. Hopefully that can be among my summer projects.

        • Michellina Van Loder says:

          Mine is on this week’s to do list. I just may get it done, by the looks of things. Our little project is shaping up nicely ;0

  5. Miche

    Thank you for sharing in this. May is National Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Month and I am glad to see that Massachusetts proclaimed a week of awareness. I think we just have to keep pushing and pushing to not only make more aware of what chemicals to do us but what they may be doing to others.

    Another lovely and informative post as usual.

  6. Thanks again Michellina for your writings. Great that the VU has understood and embraced Multiple Chemical Sensitivity awareness due to your educating them. :-) Must be very ‘switched on people’ to listen up and understand.
    I battled in two major Melbourne hospitals in 2009 and onwards when I had to continue some consultations after a car accident which nearly claimed my life. It was hard enough for them to put a hand written sign on my door. Eventually I had a list of very nice staff who assisted me, but I had to fight to be recognized, and suffered very much. There were a big handful of angels there, lest say some a little higher in order than others. but I will never forget them and their assistance with dealing the best they could with my MCS.
    I have since participated in a study over a 2year period which involved hospitals in the UK as well as Australia. The study was about how improvements could be made to assist in recovery. Of course I focused on the need for removal of artificial chemicals/scents from the hospital environment. How we need big bright signs educating patients, and visitors, and also staff on the toxicity of fragrance, air fresheners, and artificially fragranced cleaning products. The ‘Candy stripers’ need to understand the issues with toxic perfumes and particulates on clothing, and also how easily it can be transferred from their cars and into the hospital environment. It is only through this education that we will break down the wall of total real ignorance in the general community when it comes to chemical fragrances in personal care products. The people just do not realize that the products are so very toxic in so many ways. Happy Mother’s Day to you. (from one Mom to another :-)


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Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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