Fragrance Free School Policies

As most of my readers know, I completed my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at Victoria University (VU) in 2014. (I’m going back in 2017 to begin the swiss-army-knife of all degrees, An Arts Degree!) There is no Fragrance Free Policy in place at this time as far as I know. However, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before there is one protecting those of us who suffer respiratory issues with chemical irritants from fragrance, aerosols and solvents.

But for now, VU does a great job at including those of us who have allergies and sensitivities.

I’ve heard feedback from other students at VU who have said how pleasant it is to be able to learn in an environment where there is clean air; and I’ve heard from students and staff who have milder allergies to perfumes (and skin conditions that get inflamed from aerosol solvents in the air) but have not wanted to speak up, and these kind people have thanked me for doing so, which is so lovely to hear! (Whew! I was starting to feel like a troublemaker there, just for a second.) Trust me, if I didn’t suffer the symptoms that I do, I wouldn’t bother registering with Victoria University Disability Services (VUDS) and working out an ‘Access Plan [yes, I promised I would post information this, and I will as soon as I can]’ so that I can go to classes, sit tests and access my work and materials the same as other students: if I didn’t have this medical condition, I’d just go to class like everyone else. 

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Below is a list of Schools, Colleges, and Universities that do have them in place. These are all in the US and Canada, which is where some staff at VU sourced information helping me get through classes. Hopefully, my learning place of choice, my beloved Victoria University in Australia, will be on this list one day. Until then, I’ll just be grateful for the accomodations they do make for students such as myself; and, totally!, be grateful for the ‘No ‘Smoking on Campus’ policies that are being implemented in all Australian Universities. 

The following list is from Dr Anne Steinemann. You can find out about other institutions who also have fragrance free polices in place here.

Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Portland State University, Portland, OR
http://www.pdx.edu/hr/fragrance-free-value-statement 

Minnesota Schools H.F. No. 2148, as introduced – 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008) Fragrance Free Schools Pilot, Minnesota House of Representatives
http://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2008/mandated/080128.pdf
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2148.0.html&session=ls85 

North Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA
https://northseattle.edu/policies/indoor-air-quality 

Bastr University, Kenmore, WA
http://www.bastyr.edu/admissions/visit/#nonav 

Challenge Charter School, Glendale, AZ
http://www.challengecharterschool.net/schoolinfo/policies/environmental/ 

Arthouse Preschool, Waunakee, WI
http://www.arthousepreschool.com/Content/Forms/Fragrance%20Free%20Policy.pdf 

Cecil College, North East, MD
http://www.cecil.edu/about/policies/fragrance-free.asp

The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
http://www.evergreen.edu/conference/policies.htm

McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/safetyoffice/documents/ScentAwarenessGuidelinesApr04.pdf 

Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada
http://www.msvu.ca/en/home/aboutus/WhatsHappening/scent_free/default.aspx

New Brunswick Board of Education, School District 8, Saint John, NB, Canada
http://web1.nbed.nb.ca/sites/district8/aboutus/policies/District%208%20Policies/Scent%20Free%20Environment.pdf
http://www.district8.nbed.nb.ca/district8policy/pages/series800.htm#8056

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/resources/HSGuide/Scent.htm

More

Dr Anne Seinemann’s Resources

Going to School with MCS in Australia: Imagine How This Feels

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.

My Good News

Today, dear readers, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all while also sharing some great news. Before I share my happy news, let me say that without all of you I wouldn’t have this to share. You have all been here for me in more ways than you can possibly imagine, encouraging me, supporting me, spurring me on. Some of you have even contacted me to point out the wrong use of a particular word, or to pick me up on my spelling or just to tell me that I’m wrong, or should be ashamed of myself… I value all feedback; I thrive on it. Oh, and a few of you have said you enjoy my writing style.

:)

Anyway, without any further waffle, here it is:

I am now the proud owner of a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing from Victoria University (VU)

More from my Instagram feed:

On the day I received the cylinder in the mail containing my Diploma, I wasn’t well but I was more well than I had been all year, so though the misty fog of my sickness, it was a bright and beautiful day; and the day became even more luminous for me once I placed this up on the wall and took this photo. It sunk in.

I did it. This is a monumental achievement for me; and I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t need, or try to go to the graduation ceremony: it would have been too much. Perhaps when I go back and complete my Arts Degree, I’ll be well enough to wrangle a graduation ceremony?

However, my boyfriend, Dan, ceremoniously, gave me this:

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The picture is not that clear, in case you don’t have your glasses on [LOOKING AT YOU SONDA!], it’s an owl wearing a graduation hat.

The last year of study, 2014, was tortuous. I recently shared some of what I was going through at that time; group that with a chronic sinus infection that turned out to be an infected root canal, mould illness caused by Pullaria mould and the burden of navigating disability accomodations for a worsening illness, and the chemical exposures (a car that’s like a gas chamber), and the recovery time for those exposures and the stress of dealing with them, and living (still!) in a foil lined house, and I have to wonder how I completed that final year at all. Without a doubt, it was my writing and my actual studies that got me through. VU staff—particularly disability staff (VUDs), awesome teachers and compassionate students also made this possible. But sharing my trials and tribulations as I try to make my way out of the Labyrinth that is chemical sensitivities with all of you along for the ride has been like therapy for me; but even more than that, this blog and its readers have helped me feel more at home in my craft. Thanks to all of you xo [hugs]

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As promised, I do have some posts in my drafts folder detailing the strategies used by myself and VU, enabling me to attend school. I’ve been busy working on a cookbook that needs to go out, and an interview with someone very special and close to our hearts. Both these are close to completion—so long as I don’t have any major exposures and end up bed ridden for days, everything should go to schedule. Lol. (These tasks are actually distractions I’m using to stop stressing about the actual task of building a safe home; but as you may have noticed, there’s a lot about that going up on this blog already so I’m not really that distracted at all. (Also cathartic for me to share with you! xo)

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Latest from Pubmed: Reliable Biomarkers for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electrohypersensitivity

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.

How the Mask Can Hinder

Back before I had an ‘Access Plan’ (called a Disability Plan, in other countries perhaps? Oh wait, is it only Victoria University (VU) who’re up to speed on this?) created for me by VU In 2012, I began to get sicker; I thought that was as sick as I could get. I didn’t know that it can much worse than that. When I had to wear a mask to school, and found even that didn’t help with the fragrance in the class, I became frustrated and wrote this to my Disability Liaison Officer (DLO):

“If it’s [the classroom] not a fragrance chemical free, aromatic solvent (aerosol) free area, then it is only fair if the students or teachers tell me, so that I can leave and not get affected. It’s not the smell; it’s the chemicals in the products, specifically hydrocarbons, solvents and fragrances that affect me. It’s not fair that I have to wear a mask to protect myself from products that the other students are wearing, especially when the mask actually stops me from being able to tell if there are sprays in the air, therefore making it impossible to protect myself by taking avoidance action! The only way to tell is to remove the mask, breathe the air, and see if I can smell it, sometimes I can, but other times I can’t because ‘smell’ is something a person acclimatises to; however, once I get symptoms, then I can tell. (Wearing the mask is akin to putting my head in the sand as far as knowing what is in the room.)

Also the mask hinders me in that, when I move to the left of the right, open my mouth to speak, laugh, cough, or yawn, the products enter, and are held in that small airspace where I breathe them in. And I can taste them.

I would be better off just leaving if there are sprays in the room, rather than staying until I get sick. Ideally, the teacher could tell me so I have the choice. I appreciate it when someone warns me that it is there, because that saves me from having to breath it in to find out. (This year, 2012, many times I’ve come to class, keeping my mask tight to my face, so that I can stay as long as I can before getting sick—I know I will get sick and have to leave anyway as that has been the pattern this year—but on a few occasions there has been a high concentration of aromatic solvents in the room, which have made me extremely ill once I have left, removed my mask and gone home. I know they were actually in the room because the next day, the clothes that I wore reek of them. (I shower and wash my hair as soon as I get home but many times I haven’t been able to do this quick enough; and sometimes it’s impossible to leave my mask on until I can get home to shower because I need to remove it to drink, eat, and even more importantly, breathe fresh air once leaving the building, or on a break. If I do this, I get sick.

On these occasions, if I knew there were fragrances, deodorants in the room, I’d leave my mask on until I could get in the shower at home.)) In the true sense of being disabled, having this contradictive action: having to smell the air to find out if something is there, and then getting sick from breathing it in, is something I wish someone else could do for me.”

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I didn’t get a Teacher’s Assistant to sniff the air for me to see if class was safe for me; however, I did get something better than that….

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Next I’ll be blogging about how I got to be in a Fragrance Free classroom.

And parts of My Access Plan

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.

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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