ANRES Australian National Register of Environmental Sensitivities

ANRES Australian National Register of Environmental Sensitivities Data Collection

ANRES are an Australian Organisation who are collecting data for the statistics to present to the Australian Govermemt on behalf of people with chronic illness, including MCS/EHS; ME/CFS; Fibromyalgia; and other overlapping medical conditions with the hope of presenting information to government organisations with the aim of influencing outcomes to benefit the chronically ill. More from ANRES:

Welcome to ANRES.

We aim to create a national register of those who experience environmental sensitivities so that we can communicate our needs to the decision-makers as a group.

We aim to be a resource for the support associations and organisations in order to assist them with their work and application for grants.

We, too, are a volunteer-run group. If you are wanting to get involved at ANY level, be sure to let us know. This is not a government action but an independent initiative to gather data in the hope of influencing government decisions.

Your information will be kept private and secure.
Your information will be kept private and secure.
To facilitate privacy in Registration of your environmental sensitivities your name and email are optional fields. If you do add your name and email, be assured that we will not share your name or email address.

Show Your Support

To show your support become a member of the ANRES website. We won’t spam you or share your email address, but will occasionally contact you with updates, surveys or to ask for volunteers.

The prevalence of Environmental Sensitivities is largely unknown in Australia.

Take Action to Create Change

The prevalence of Environmental Sensitivities is largely unknown in Australia.

ANRES (Australian National Register of Environmental Sensitivities) aims to provide the background evidence to highlight the need for recognition and assistance. Statistics are needed for reform, particularly at a political level.

If you have environmental sensitivities or are a carer of someone with environmental sensitivities please take the time to:

  • Firstly, become a member of ANRES – membership is free; and
  • Secondly, register your environmental sensitivities by following the link below or menu on the right of the page so you can contribute to the recognition of these medical disorders.
  • Persons who register on this site will not be individually identified, their data kept private and secure.

The register includes conditions such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and food intolerances. Many of these conditions co-exist. For example a person with MCS may also suffer CFS and food intolerances. It is important to collect this information to determine the overall impact on health and lifestyle.

You can assist by registering your support on the ANRES website

Collecting numbers will not bring about immediate changes but it is the first step in gaining recognition of environmental sensitivities, which are largely invisible functional impairments or disabilities.

We need to create the will for action.

INDIVIDUALS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITIES

If you have Environmental Sensitivities please register your Environmental Sensitivities with ANRES to help us create real change. To facilitate privacy in Registration of your environmental sensitivities your name and email are optional fields. If you do add your name and email, be assured that we will not share your name or email address.

If you know someone with Electomagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) who is unable to access the internet, please download and print the ANRES Individual registration form. The form can be completed and mailed to us for inclusion on the register.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS

We hope that you will register on the site to show your support for the project; inform your members so that they can register; and your presence on the ANRES site may assist individuals in finding the right support group for them.

Please register your Organisation/Association support for the ANRES project

MEDICAL AND HEALTH PRACTITIONERS

Please show your support for this project by registering yourself and/or your practise and providing some basic information on the numbers of people you see with ES. Please share the information about ANRES with your patients and colleagues and encourage them to register. Your presence on the ANRES site may assist individuals in finding the right practitioner for them.

Practitioners please register your support for the ANRES project.

We may occasionally ask you to complete surveys so that we can ascertain the next steps.

Don’t be shy – feel free to be in touch with us. We want to make a difference.

~ Ian, Sharyn and Lucinda

You can read more here, as well as access other information relating to the above-mentioned medical conditions.

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 to Avoid Slab Moisture Ingress

Slab moisture ingress can cause indoor mould growth because it not only adds moisture and humidity to the indoor air environment but it can also cause the house to act as a petri dish where mould will grow, spreading spores around the house. This can happen if it hasn’t cured properly, of if there are gardens with soil covering the weep holes—small rectangular spaces left between the bricks at the bottom of the outside wall—where moisture from inside the building envelope can’t escape. Another reason is the slope of the property, rainfall needs to drain away: Don’t expect that ridiculously heavy rainfall will soak into the ground, it needs to run away from the property of into drainage channels.

I found out the consequences of slab moisture ingress at my last residence, before this rental property, when I lived in The House of Mouldy Horrors. (I do have a post in my drafts folder titled, The House of Mouldy Horrors, which is why I have been referencing it in my posts for like, the last two years or is it three now?), on how we (My Daughter and I) managed to remediate this situation including most of our possession kept in the house, including medical assistive devices such as InovaAir Purifiers but due to the stress or ustress (stress you use to create action), that I’m under, I’d rather not think about that right now. I have a mould-free house to build; or rather, lay in bed an write about it. I’ve not been there since I became chronically ill from a bunch of things at the house.)

(Just a note to new readers: my health went from good to bad in The House of Mouldy Horrors, and I suffered painful symptoms that were the beginning of chronic illness on top of chronic illness, I now react to outdoor moulds as well. I’m trying to get on top of this; and I’m trying to build a safer, mould-free home, where I WILL recover. Right now though, I can smell damp soil all the time because I live in a draughty beach-house. One doctor, recently diagnosed me with “what appears to be CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) caused by mould” illness. Another doctor, my main Allergist, says I do indeed get sick from mould but he also says, “It’s not your only problem.”, meaning inhalant allergies to other chemicals other than mould.)

Damp patch of concrete causing humidity and mould in the house efflorescence (a build up of a white coloured powdery substance)

The inside part of the house’s slab edge during wet winter months

Damp patch after drying out (before vacuum) with salt powder efflorescence (a build up of a white coloured powdery substance)

The inside part of the house’s slab edge during dry summer months

The white patches are efflorescence (a build up of a (harmless) white coloured powdery substance). The three rooms, all bedrooms, that had these wet patches in the concrete, coming from the slab edges that ran parallel with the outdoor gardens originally had carpet in them. When I moved into this house, the owner removed the carpets due to my allergies; ergo, if we hadn’t of done this it may have taken longer for the concrete leak to become apparent. I imagine the carpet would have taken on a mildewy odour–but not before the mycotoxins (the chemical in mould) outgassed into the air making me ill. Instead, each time it rained heavily, the house took on the odour of damp soil. And then I got sicker. It was inconvenient to pack up and move but necessary.

Those photos were taken in the main bedroom where I slept for the first year in that house; it had a garden bed and a tap on the outside of the house, running parallel to my to the room.

As a precaution, for the Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House project, we’ve particularly asked our plumber, Kale from KLM Plumbing not to install any taps near the edge of the house anywhere near the slab edges.

We’re also not putting any garden beds or grassy areas around the house. In fact, we’re using more high-energy-embodied concrete to put a pathway around the whole house. (And, so that we can conserve energy within the building via our slab [thermal], we’ll add insulation between the house slab and the concrete path. But more on this later.)

The majority of houses incorporating wellconstructed and well-detailed concrete slabs and footings experience no problems with slab edge dampness. Where problems do occur, there may be one or more of several causes. A thorough investigation is required to determine the most appropriate course of action to rectify the problem. Most slab edges are occasionally damp due to rain, garden watering or by contact with the ground. In some cases this dampness is able to permeate from the outside to the inside and affect the internal walls and/or finishes such as the floor coverings. Preventative measures are far more effective than facing the often difficult and costly repairs required to remedy problems caused by slab edge dampness and moisture ingress.

Not to mention the cost of a water damaged building (WDB) to human health!

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Indoor mould caused by dampness and high humidity can impact on medical conditions such as Asthma, Inhalant Allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory inflammation, Toxic Encephalopathy, Occupational Asthma, Irritant-associated Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), Irritant-induced Asthma, Small Airways Disease or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

The initial indication of a problem is usually persistent dampness of the exposed face of the concrete slab/footing, often resulting in associated efflorescence (a build up of a white coloured powdery substance) below the damp-proof course (DPC). There’s your red herring, right there: The DPC may have had lost it’s integrity or may never have been laid properly in the first place.

To fix the above problem, we needed to employ someone to dig out the gardens and pour tar against the slab edges, therefore, sealing them from slab moisture ingress. Due to my sensitivities to petrochemicals, this wasn’t an option. However, had I known before I moved in, it might have been. It was 2010 and my health had recovered from the mysterious chemical sensitivities; but by 2012, my health and level of tolerance for fragrance, petrochemicals and solvents was at ground zero.

To avoid slab moisture ingress:

  • Slope the surrounding soil around your building by 50mm before attempting to lay any paths or garden beds
  • If you suffer symptoms from mould exposure, keep garden beds away from the side of the house
  • When laying concrete around your house, make sure to insulate or better still, water proof the edge of the slab
  • Get professional Arborist before planting large trees to avoid tree roots blocking outlets to storm water drains
  • Avoid over watering adjacent to slab footings and edges
  • Have your plumber install unground pipes that drain water away from your home, which is what KLM Plumbing are doing for us

More

Toxipedia: Dangers in our Home, Mould and More

Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House: D&C Fear Concreting

Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House: KLM Plumbing

Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House: Come Shopping with Us at Reece Plumbing

Build an Eco-Friendly, Allergy-Free House: We Wrapped Our House in Plastic

The Labyrinth: DuPont’s Worse Nightmare

Coming up

uPVC windows: Are They the Right Choice For You?

A Hardwood House Frame!

Kingspan Insulation: How we Wrapped our House

 

 

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.

Dry Eyes and Artificial Tears

Chronic dry eyes have been a symptom of my inhalant allergies since the beginning of their time. September 2002 to be exact. During periods of good health, I’ve had months, and once, a whole year and half without needing to use artificial tears. Lately, I’ve been using a whole pack of Bion Tears a week; these are prescribed by various doctors. They’re not a prescription medicine but for patients who need to use a lot of them and are eligible (as in on a Disability support or Aged pension), they’re on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS); they are also preservative free. I suppose, until and if the Liberals change this, Bion Tears will stay on the PBS scheme. This means I can get them at the same cost as commonly prescribed drugs. Lucky for that because I’m using so many, it costs $6 a box (30 single-use vials of tears), which is heaps less to pay out compared to the $25 a box, I’d pay if they were not on the PBS Scheme! (The way my mucosal tears are drying up, during the election, I’ll be voting for whoever leaves Bion Tears on the PBS Scheme!)

eye-909093_1280

When airing out my shoe collection over summer, musing over whose skin exactly was on my adorable set of clogs (Dog skin? How do we know… And it’s not like many people even care! However, I do, and rightfully so, feel like a shit person for owning so many pairs made from skin… ), I couldn’t get over the vegan irony of getting painfully, chronic dry eyes from trying to air out my shoe collection.

Chemicals used in the manufacture of shoes can contribute to inhalant allergies due to chemical irritants impacting on the immune system

Chemicals used in the manufacture of shoes can contribute to inhalant allergies due to chemical irritants impacting on the immune system

When this type of exposure happens (exposure to fumes while out in the sun), I lose all mucous-type tears. I’ve had the Schirmer (results are below) test for dry eyes. And I was flat out dry because even just petrochemical fumes dry and sting my eyes, whether it be coming from a new pair of shoes or the exhaust of a car, my eyes dry out and sting to the point of distraction: I just became the pain in my eyes, and that’s all I am until I get the soothing relief of Bion Tears. In 2013, I wrote about how all the symptoms first started:

Some nights, I’d wake up and, painfully, my eyelids would be stuck to my eyeballs. Excruciating! Opening my eyes felt as if there were dried paper stuck to them and just the tiny movement of attempting to open my eyelids, made it feel as though paper that had been stuck down to my eyeballs, and as I fully opened my eyes, it was being ripped off of them. It got to the point where I’d sleep with the drops under my pillow, scrambling for them on awaking. I wore dark glasses and a hat to go outside; and I avoided sunlight like a character in a modern day vampire television series. (Not only do I wear a mask out in public places, but I always, always wear a sun visor to protect my eyes from air-borne fragrance molecules in the air.)

An Eye specialist, Dr J Doug Roydhouse at Vision Eye Institute, an Eye Clinic at Footscray, Victoria, Australia, whose area of expertise was General, Cataract and Medical Retinas, did a test call a Schirmer tear test, as requested by my specialist, Dr Colin Little. The test: 0 ml in 5 ml for the left, and 0 ml in 5 ml for the right shoes how dry they are. This guy had on a shit load of aftershave, which I didn’t realise at the time, probably contributed to the test results of my eyes being as dry as a dam in an Australian drought.

These are the Results of the Schirmer Tear Test in Relation to Chemical Sensitivity:

Excuse the stain on my page; I did have a busy life with a six-and-a-half-year-old child

Excuse the stain on my page; I did have a busy life with a six-and-a-half-year-old child. 13 years later, my busy life is gone but the dry eyes remain

One of the Doctors who I saw that actually went fragrance free way back when I was tested for Sjogren’s syndrome, was Mr Neville Quinn, also an Oral Surgeon. He was pretty cool. Very gentle, with a kind nature, as I remember it. Going by my symptoms, he knew straight away that I didn’t have Sjogren’s, but ran the test as asked my specialist anyway. It’s a matter of elimination of all possible illnesses before being able to diagnose someone as sensitive to chemicals (which is not a diagnose (YET!) , nor does it have a disease code for insurance claim purposes).

Oral Surgeon

Dr Neville Quinns Contact Details:

20 Collins Street, Melbourne

03 9650 1144

Fast forward 13 years and: It’s not just with my newer shoes this happens with: any exposure to hydrocarbons, gas, BBQ smoke, wood-fire smoke, especially at close range can cause painful dry symptoms. If I breathe in freshly sprayed aftershave, the chemical irritants used in the ingredients to make that ‘fragrance’, well these dry and sting my eyes immensely. If I’m in an air-conditioned room, I fair better; if I I’m in the sun, it’s the metaphorical equivalent to holding a blow torch to my eyeballs while spritzing solvents into them. Hot weather is be a nightmare for me if I don’t stay indoors with the air-conditioning on.

I even get sick from my boyfriend if he is in a room with family and friends who are wearing hydrocarbon based products such as spray deodorants and designer fragrances that contain industrial solvents— (OH, BUT THEY ARE DESIGNER FRAGRANCES! AND, THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WOULDN’T ALLOW THEM IF THEY WERE NOT SAFE, HEY? Which just means they don’t have to take me seriously cause it’s just me being… whatever.) Dan has even had to go sleep in another room because someone has hugged him or shook his hand and the solvents haven’t come off when he showered—even though he uses our unscented soap and bicarbonate of soda. He’s musing on becoming my carer, officially, but his family (apart from one person) refuse to stop using these products around him. I’m actually so sick of it that I am crying as I write this. I’m so over trying to live a life where I am not breathing in fragrance chemicals that sting and burn my eyes—even in my own home.

(When I used to visit people, like my boyfriend’s family, I’d insist on putting the air-conditioner on in all types of weather. I know, first I ask people not to wear fragrance, then I put the air-conditioner on to keep the fragrance residue still on their hair, clothes and furnishings from outgassing—I’m not very popular anymore. I used to be, before I became this sick, complaining woman—I guess this is why I’m not able to go to family gatherings anymore? It’s just too hard. For everyone but mostly me:

Fragrance, perfume, noxious hairsprays and spray deodorants containing industrial solvents and petrochemical are far more important than family relations… Don’t you know?

I’m not really family anyway. I’m not married, and I’m not the mother of my boyfriend’s children and I’m not Macedonian and, anyway, people gossip about me in regards to the life I lived way back when… But if I didn’t have the chemical sensitivities, even if I was still just a sick woman, I think I’d be welcome at all the family gatherings, weddings, birthdays and funerals that I used to go to if I didn’t have sensitivities to fragrances. Yes, my feelings are beyond hurt. And, yeah, in case you don’t know, I’m adopted so there’s already that sense of abandonment lurking, waiting for people to freeze me out so that I can feel a sense of abandonment once again. I’ll stop where I’m going with this now… I don’t want to depress anyone; I’d much rather be of some constructive help, somehow.)

In case you don’t follow the building section of our blog: We have just wrapped our house. The 23rd of February, my birthday, was a 38 degree Celsius hot day on the Victorian Surf Coast, and we spent it wrapping the lower part of the house in Kingspan AirCell 3 in 1 Building Wrap, using a high-powered staple gun and a stanley knife. Dan did all the heavy lifting, cutting, stapling and carrying work, I just stood there in the hot dry wind holding the foil for him. I wore my sunglasses, the ones that wrap around and cover my eyes at the sides; the ones I managed to buy from OPSM (and I was able to facilitate the disability accomodations needed to get them  fragrance-free—in that they were not touched or tried on previously by people wearing fragrances!), so my eyes were protected, but my whole body dried out no matter how much water I drank. The next day I woke up feeling hungover, and we were back at it again: this time wrapping the top floor with noxious plastic wrapping. It’s clear and it’s designed to go under concrete. It’s been near on a week and my eyes are still painfully dry, reacting to all odours, chemical and natural, and I can’t drink enough water nor apply the drops fast enough before my eyeballs dry out again. (We could have paid someone to wrap the house but we need to find ways to save money; and there are no family and friends at this point in time who are able to go fragrance free by washing with our shampoo, conditioner and body wash—use our deodorant if needed—and arrive here in a car that doesn’t have a Fragrance Emitting Device (FED) spewing out fragrance chemicals all over them, and then help us with our Build and Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly House project. If I could find a time machine, I’d go back in time and pay someone to wrap our house for sure: People go fragrance-free for money because it’s just a part of accomodating someone with a disability.)

Why Can the Symptom ‘Dry Eyes’ Happen in Regards to Allergies and Chemical Sensitivity?

Way back when I was first diagnosed as sensitive to various chemicals, mostly solvents, petrochemicals, formaldehyde and MEK in woodsmoke, fragrance and polyester, I was given a study by one of my treating doctors.

Here is the gist of it:

“The majority of dry eye symptoms are due to a chronic inflammation of the lacrimal functional unit resulting in a loss of tear film integrity and normal function. This leads to a reduction in the ability of the ocular surface to respond to environmental challenges. The underlying cause of tear film dysfunction is the alteration of tear aqueous, mucin, and lipid components. This may result from a systemic autoimmune disease or a local autoimmune event. A lack of systemic androgen support to the lacrimal gland has been shown to be a facilitative factor in the initiation of this type of pathophysiology. Tear secretion is controlled by the lacrimal functional unit consisting of the ocular surface (cornea, conjunctiva, accessory lacrimal glands, and meibomian glands), the main lacrimal gland and the interconnecting innervation. If any portion of this functional unit is compromised, lacrimal gland support to the ocular surface is impeded. Factors such as neurogenic inflammation and T cell involvement in the disease pathogenesis as well as newly developed animal models of ocular surface inflammation are discussed.”

Click here to read the rest. Or skip/read until the end of this post where I’ll insert the document as a Google Doc. Scanned it just for you xo

After I was tested for Sjogren’s syndrome,  I saw an eye specialist, Professor Justin O’day, who offered to put latex plugs into my tear ducts to stop the tears draining away.

I couldn’t even understand what was happening, I was like: “Smells are stinging my eyes… ” Trust me. This is a dumb thing to say to people. Much better to rephrase it and say, “When I breath in perfume, my eyes hurt.” Look, I had no concept that breathing in a smell containing chemical irritants could do anything other than smell nice. This is why I have such patience for people who don’t understand my condition; I just find other ways to explain it to them—or give them a doctor’s letter.

Why Does Dry Eye Happen in Regards to Chemical Sensitivity?

My Immunologist explains our reactions really well when he has time. The following is a diagram he drew for me way back (like 2002-3) when dry eyes and a headache where the worst of my symptoms (Why don’t illnesses have a stoping point where we can just freeze them, stopping them in their tracks from advancing? I could live with the dry eyes and headaches, avoiding chemicals—no problem. But these symptoms I have 12 years later are often unbearable—until they pass.):

Possible reasons: damage to the tear glands; the same things that affect the nerves could also effect tear production; infection; allergies; pollutants; perfumes; tobacco

Possible reasons: damage to the tear glands; the same things that affect the nerves could also effect tear production; infection; allergies; pollutants; perfumes; tobacco

Remember, this was at the time my illness hit, like 13 years ago. I don’t blame fragrance companies. I blame my immune system. I take full responsibly for my illness. The fragrance industry runs itself in Australia. No one gives a fuck.), I just couldn’t believe that everyday products were the culprits; especially my own. I now have many ‘chemical’ based products I use on a regular basis. They just don’t have fragrance or solvents in them. Nowadays, if I don’t go out in my car or into fragranced buildings with too many people wearing sprays, and I stay home a lot, I don’t get that sick. If someone mows and I don’t shut my windows (my neighbour won’t text me before he does it; he won’t do it even though I gave him a copy of the doctor’s letter (He’s “too busy with 3 kids under 3 to send me a text”, he said. Legally, there is nothing I can do.), not only do I get dry eyes, I get chronically ill: my lower back throbs, it hurts to breathe—along with the dry eyes.

I think I need to find a way to ask more nicely when I’m being gassed physically by chemicals medical testing has shown to impact detrimentally on the state of my health:

I can try to manage my condition with avoidance to chemicals to which I’m sensitive to but moulds are looking to be a huge problem. Pullaria drops really helped. I’d like to be able to travel to the city and get testing for some aspergilious clearing drops from my allergist but my car has mould in it due to a leaking roof. The last time I drove to the city, sitting in the back seat, air-purifier running, mask cloistered to my face, it took a week to recover, so I’ve asked to get some sent out via express post; hopefully, these will be the right clearing dose, or they’ll just go in the bag in the fridge with the other 6 bottles.

In winter, since 2012, outdoor moulds during wet weather have impacted on my health to the point of losing tolerance to foods. It makes a raw diet impossible if you’re going to have a physical reaction to the tiny amount that’s on fruit; especially fruit AND green leaves that have sweated via aspiration in the fridge or during storage before purchase. Over winter, I could only eat cooked food, mostly white (Japanese?) sweet potato (the one with the purple skin!.) and zucchini.

What I have worked out myself, is that dry eyes are only symptomatic of a collection of symptoms (body overheating, dry mouth, constipation, dry skin and, what used to be anger (trying to control or flee the situation causing it) that have now manifested as extreme tiredness where I just have to go to bed; I’m sure there is something else ‘wrong’ with me, and I’m on a search to find out because one way or the other I will find my way out of the Labyrinth of chemical sensitivities.

(I will insert the study on dry eyes later, my scanner is not working properly and my iPad won’t allow me to get the photos in to PDFs.)

 

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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