Environmental Health Barriers

NCIL Environmental Health Barriers Toolkit

This Tool Kit is a work in progress because the field is changing so rapidly – we look forward to your suggestions.

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What’s New

Introductory Resources

NCIL Documents that Explicitly Address Chemical Sensitivities, Electrical Sensitivities, and / or Environmental Illness:

The NCIL Technology Committee is aware of and concerned about the potentially negative effects that current and emerging technologies are having on many with electrical and chemical sensitivities. This convergence of technology and the human condition often creates unintended environmental health barriers and consequences that are real in effect and must be considered. These are often difficult and complex disabling conditions to understand and protect against.

NCIL is committed to raising these issues when and wherever possible and appropriate to heighten the awareness of the subject and bring about better understanding and mitigating safeguards.

It is further agreed that the NCIL Board and membership shall affirmatively further the fair housing and civil rights of all people with disabilities through such actions as… Support provision of housing to accommodate people with Environmental Illness / MCS, due to the need for chemical free environment.

NCIL supports initiatives to increase accessible, affordable, healthy / non-toxic, decent, safe, and integrated housing. NCIL is a cross-disability organization and applies the term ‘accessible’ broadly, emphasizing physical accessibility, accommodations for persons with sensory (visual or hearing), emotional, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and persons with chemical and electrical sensitivities.

Accommodating CIL consumers and staff with disabilities from chemical, electrical and other environmental sensitivities

Advocacy, Educational and Support Groups

Commercial and public building disability access in for people with chemical, electrical, and other environmental sensitivities

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Radio Frequency Illness

Employment

Note: also see the category titled, “Fragrance-free policies and guidelines and other policies and guidelines that address environmental health barriers”

Fragrance-free Policies and Guidelines

Click sample policy language to see examples of fragrance-free workplace policy statements. JAN is one of several services provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

Fragrance-free Products

To find many fragrance free cosmetics and personal care products, do a Ctrl-F search for fragrance free

  • Product Sources (PDF), from Dr. Gibson’s book Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide (2006)

Health Care

Housing

NCIL supports initiatives to increase accessible, affordable, healthy / non-toxic, decent, safe, and integrated housing. NCIL is a cross-disability organization and applies the term ‘accessible’ broadly, emphasizing physical accessibility, accommodations for persons with sensory (visual or hearing), emotional, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and persons with chemical and electrical sensitivities.

It is further agreed that the NCIL Board and membership shall affirmatively further their fair housing and civil rights of all people with disabilities through such actions as; …Support provision of housing to accommodate people with Environmental Illness / MCS, due to the need for chemical free environment.

Environmental Sensitivities: About 11 percent of the U.S. population has some level of chemical sensitivity (CS) that is likely to require housing that is free of disabling environmental triggers. Unless housing is universally designed to accommodate different sensitivities, it is better for some with CS to live in segregated housing that ensures control over potential exposures.

Hotel, Motel & Lodging Suggestions

Things to ask about when choosing lodging:

  • Use air fresheners in the guest room, restroom or air handling system for the facility
  • Use of landscaping chemicals, i.e., fertilizers, bug sprays, etc.
  • Operable windows for ventilation in guest room or meeting rooms.
  • Recent remodeling, major maintenance or redecorating in guest rooms, meeting rooms or path of travel
  • Indoor chemical treatments in water features, fountains and swimming pools.
  • Unscented staff
  • Cotton, silk or natural fibers for linen
  • Kind of laundry products used on linens, including fabric softeners
  • Check for mold in rooms
  • Check neighborhood for industrial or traffic pollutants
  • If they allow pets, have they used flea bombs or insecticides recently
  • Possibility of cigarette smoke exposure
  • Fluorescent lights in meeting rooms and Compact Fluorescent CFS) light bulbs in guest room lighting.
  • Halogen lights
  • Proximity to cell phone towers
  • Best to have guest room not facing or near the ventilation systems, generators, elevator motors, satellite dishes, WIFI and, cell phone transmitters. Typically this would be outside your window or the top floors of the building.
  • Chose a room away from loading zones and other places where people leave vehicles running for periods of time.

Resource Lists

Miscellaneous