Toronto School District Scent Awareness Program

(Image source:

(Image source:

From the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in Canada:

“Scented products have an impact on everyone. For most people, perfumed, scented or fragrant products are enjoyed, but for those who have asthma, allergies or environmental sensitivities, exposure can result in illness, absence from work and even hospitalisation.

We want the Toronto District School Board to be a clean and safe environment for all of out staff, students and visitors. To help achieve that, the TDSB has launched a Scented Products Awareness Program encouraging the TDSB community to reduce the use of fragrances and scented products.

Using fragrances is a personal choice, however, by their very nature, they are shared. The chemicals vaporize into the air and are easily inhaled by those around us. Today’s scented products are made up of a complex mixture of chemicals which can contribute to indoor air quality problems and cause health problems.

This awareness program will do just that – increase the awareness within our community about the impact of fragrance on health, wellbeing and productivity of those impacted by scents.

What can you do to help?

  • Be considerate of those who are sensitive to fragrance chemicals

  • Avoid using scented products and use scent-free alternatives, instead

  • If you do use scented products, use them sparingly. A general guideline for scented products is that the scent should not be detectable more than an arm’s length away from you

  • Do not apply scented products in a public area

  • Avoid using laundry products or cleaning agents that are scented”

You can find more information here, and by clicking on the following links, you can read all about how the TDSB is raising awareness about scented products and what you can do to help!


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.

THE GREENPEACE CHRONICLES – 40 Years of Protecting the Planet

The Greenpeace Chronicles, written and edited by Steve Erwood, was published in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 11 November, 2011. It’s printed using vegetable-based ink, and on 50% recycled, 50% FSC mixed-source paper: not only do they passionately care about sustainability and our planet, but they  also care about the people on it! (You can download this issue, here, and not have to worry about wasting paper, or have concerns about inks that might effect your breathing and/or chemical sensitivities (But, you know, they probably won’t as they are vegetable inks. Woo hoo!)) As a tribute to Rex Weyler, a director of Greenpeace Foundation and co-founder of Greenpeace International in 1979, the document has been called ‘The Greenpeace Chronicles‘. Weyler was a reporter and photographer in the early Greenpeace whale and seal campaigns; he also writes a monthly column for the Greenpeace website called ‘Deep Green’: two of his articles appear in this volume. (In 1979, I was nine, and during this time, or soon after, was around the time I agonisingly watched baby white seals being slaughtered on the T.V. I’ve been devoted to Greenpeace ever since: they are attached to my heart, my purse strings and my blog.)

Don’t you just bloody love them? I do; you see, they’re the true heroes of our century. The Greenpeace Chronicles documents their own personal hero’s journey. A journey a lot of us have witnessed. Here’s a part of the The Greenpeace Chronicles foreword from Bill Darnell, the founding member of Greenpeace:

Forty years of campaigns have taught many lessons. Fundamental is to pay respectful attention to everything that lives around us; make deep connections, even with those we disagree with. When we connect deeply, we fall in love and we will not allow others to be harmed.

We have also learned that when we confront destructive activities, we are going to be scared; we know those we confront may be angry. Fear is an expected part of change but it does not stop us.

Mistakes are also to be expected and we will make them: during the first voyage of Greenpeace, if we had not made the mistake of entering the USA ‘illegally’, we would not have received the heroic support of the coast guard crew of the United States vessel Confidence. (See the account of this on pages 12-13).

Forty years of activism have taught us to work together and to trust each other. What really matters in the end are our relationship with all life on this planet.

Finally, we have learned to celebrate these loving connections by having fun. Hard work ties us together, the fun celebrates the bonds.

As Greenpeace sails into the next 40 years, I am filled with hope. The tasks ahead are daunting, but our gaze is global and our roots are with peoples in all continents. We will use our strength, intelligence and goodness to inspire people to organise.

Greenpeace has been an inspiration for me for these 40 years. I trust Greenpeace will inspire both me and you for the next 40 years.

A part of that inspiration has now been taken up by social media and bloggers. And thanks to Greenpeace it’s spread like wildfire, inspiring us to help take action by blogging about the challenges that our planet faces: Environmental Criminals need to be exposed; and governments and corporations need to be challenged when they fail to do the right thing, and/or refuse to safeguard our planet and our future. Greenpeace have my support, I blog for them when I can; I donate money when I can. How about you? Can you help? Do you? Will you? Because if you’d like to, this is what we need to do: if we could just spend 10% of our blogging time doing our best for Greenpeace, then we too, can help safeguard our planet. We hear about climate change in the news: the repetition and the spin make it all sound so helpless, making it sound as if it’s all just gonna go down anyway, so what difference can one blogger make?  I’m not sure. But let’s try… How about it? Will you join me? (Cut and Paste this whole post, and re-post it, or re-blog it. I give you full permission to take my words, spread them, change them; attribute them to yourself, if you must; do what you will… Just help me to help Greenpeace, because, ultimately, they help us):

Laura Kenyon – Greenpeace International online activist and a specialist in community network – brings us up to date with the latest technological developments as Greenpeace adds social networking and cyberactivism to its powerful array of campaigning tools:

“Four decades ago the first images of Greenpeace activists putting themselves between harpoons and whales were captured. They revealed the horrific reality of modern whaling: a fleet of harpoon ships running down and slaughtering entire pods of whales, from adults to babies. After being harpooned the carcasses were tagged and towed back to a mammoth factory vessel where the whales disappeared into the bowels of the ship – devoured. The activists who raced among the fleet in small inflatable boats had never seen anything like it before. They were horrified.

This first confrontation took place far out at sea, with nobody present to witness the savage hunt or the peaceful protest but the activists, the whalers and the whales themselves. But this was 1975: the world had already entered the age of mass media, and fortunately this meant that more than just those present that day would bear witness to the industrial- scale destruction whaling represented. The images captured by the Greenpeace activists out at sea travelled all over the world, as photographs via the wire services and as video footage aired on news broadcasts. A new understanding of whaling entered the minds of everyone who saw these images, and their impact hasn’t diminished over the years. These ‘David vs Goliath’ images: activists in small zodiacs dwarfed by whaling ships like floating factories, still hang on the walls of Greenpeace offices around the world, and they remain one of the most recognisable Greenpeace images in the minds of the general public.

The lesson learned from the impact of these first images was that mass media would be a powerful tool in the struggle against environmental destruction. A single picture – if it told a compelling story – could change people’s minds.

Since those early days Greenpeace has used the tools mass media provides to extend the act of ‘bearing witness’ to more than just the individuals present at the scene of devastation, to expose those complicit in environmental crimes, to present alternatives to the status quo, and to send messages that solutions exist, that change is possible.”

Social networking is a powerful tool, one that Greenpeace have utilised prolifically. By allowing us to witness the wrongs and injustices committed by the governments and corporations of our world, they give us the power to show how much we disapprove, and how much we won’t stand for it, because social media provides us a platform where anyone can challenge a company and its policies. Even a mere blogger such as myself has this power.

Through Greenpeace, I’ve learnt that when standing up for your rights, the planet’s rights, and other human’s rights, fear is natural it’s a natural part of the process, but it’s not something to stop us. It’s just there. Let it be your friend, and move forward anyway because when you are challenging the norms, and those norms are just plain wrong, then fear is your friend because when you feel it there, by your side, it’s a signal to keep going, it’ll be over sooner or later…

Take the fragrance issue for example: I’ve been struggling with this for nine years, nowhere near as long as some, and nowhere near has it been as devastating for me as what it has for them, yet when I’m faced with situations where others are wearing fragrance products, and I need to ask them to not wear them—otherwise I cannot partake of the same activities as them because of the debilitating symptoms that their fragrances cause, meaning I must stay at home in isolation—I feel fear. Great fear. Sometimes, I want to hide because this fear is so great. My choices: stay home, or push on. And I don’t want to stay home. So, when I can, when I’m not debilitated by fragrance symptoms, I push on because I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not alone by far. There are many like me. Many, many, many and more… When I first became ill with sensitivities to a plethora of different synthetic chemicals, I became first a member, then a volunteer for the Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity Support and Research Association Inc. (AESSRA), and while researching for information about the ingredients in fragrances for a brochure that I was co-writing, I came across Perfume – An Investigation of Chemicals in 36 Eaux de Toilette and Eaux de Parfum. This inspired me in a way that still sits with me today, emanating out vibes of bravery into the core of my very being, because I know that I’m on the right side of right: I know that I’m helping the world with my own personal campaign to educate people about the toxicity of fragrances. I know that these fragrances are toxic because this investigation showed us the ingredients that are inside the fragrances; the same ingredients the manufacturers try to hide from us; the same ingredients that cause me to have to wear a mask; the same ingredients that cause so many others to hide in safety within their homes; the same ingredients that amplify many childrens’ (and adults’) asthma; the same ingredients that cause many people headaches, sinus problems, and other symptoms; the same ingredients that, when causing symptoms or exacerbating illness, make people fearful to speak up because when they do, fragrance-loving people single them out as wingers, or take offence because they think the person with the fragrance induced health problem does not like the way they smell.

But thanks to many, this is slowly changing.

It’s a small battle in the scheme of things. Nothing compared to the battle to save our precious oceans, the rain forests, or our wildlife but it’s a battle that’s interconnected with our whole ecosystem. And all of these are things that you and I can do something about!

Join me in this campaign to save our planet, and its occupants.

You can download the PDF: Perfume – An Investigation of Chemicals in 36 Eaux de Toilette and Eaux de Parfum by clicking this link

You can read The Greenpeace Chronicles here on my blog, or you can download it here

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(Ps. If you would like to put an Issuu publication on your blog, like this Greenpeace one, then you need this Plugin (If you’re with WordPress, after downloading the plugin, you need to go to your downloads folder, find the plugin, right click on it, and compress it into a zip folder. Then go to the Plugins tab in your WordPress menu and upload your Plugin, and click activate.) You’ll then need to sign up with Issuu; its free. The next step is to go and find the publication you’d like to show on your blog, and find the embed code button, click on it, cut and paste the code into your page’s HTML view, and there you’ll have it, just like mine above. Enjoy, and have fun posting  ♥ ♥) 


(Image source: Greenpeace Media Page)

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.

Sandy Hook Primary School Tragedy

I could not believe the news this morning, and I can’t believe someone could do this to children–or anyone. My prayers and thoughts go out to anyone who has been hurt spiritually or physically by this senseless act. We need to watch out for each other in this world. I wish there were no guns…

Jamila Rizi from Autralia’s Mamamia had this to say to President Obama:

“When asked about the possibility of gun ownership reform this morning, your press secretary said: “There is, I am sure, will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day.”

Respectfully Mr President, that is wrong. Today is EXACTLY the right day to be talking about gun control.

Why? Because those who died today didn’t give their lives for anything, Mr President.

They had their lives taken from them.

They didn’t choose to die. They didn’t walk boldly into harms way for some great cause, to defend their country, to fight for a better life, to free others from oppression.

When you’re five-years-old you and you haven’t even had the chance to ask a grown up what ‘death’ means yet, you can’t give your life for anything. When you haven’t heard of the 2nd amendment and you don’t know about the so-called ‘right’ to bear arms and you don’t realise that ‘rights’ even exist… you can’t give your life for anything.

When yours is a world where mum, dad and teacher’s word is law and where the best thing that can happen is the sound of a Mr Whippy van playing Greensleeves and the worst, is tripping in the playground and scraping your knee… you can’t give your life for anything.

When you’re only five-years-old, like some of the children whose lives were brutally cut short today, you’re not cognitively capable of knowing whether or not you would want your death to be used as impetus for change or reform.

So you, Mr President, have to do that for them.”

We don’t have the right to bare arms in Australia. Sure, sometimes we have criminals do insane stuff on the streets with them, usually to each other; and we’ve had crazy gun men commit massacres, but we have gun control, so this is much less than if we didn’t have that. And I know that the US and Australia are two different countries with different views and different laws, but our children are the same. The way a parent loves a child is the exactly the same. I wish this didn’t happen today, or any day. I wish those children did not loose their lives, and I wish the parents could have their dear little ones back. I wish… I wish there were no guns.

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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