My guest today is Adrian Ballou, a writer, artist, activist, and educator who focuses on advocacy around disability justice and transgender rights. I found Adrian when I discovered Get Mad When Folks Ask You to be Scent-Free? Here are 8 Things to Consider , which is helping to shape a mainstream conversation on chemical/fragrance sensitivities and access to public spaces. Adrian particularly enjoys writing and facilitating social justice education and youth organizing curriculum. www.adrianballou.com
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Toxics as a Right-To-Access Issue
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Adrian Ballou
Date of Broadcast: November 11, 2015
DEBRA: Hi. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic free.
It’s Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. Today we are going to talk about toxics from an angle that we haven’t ever discussed on this show and I think most people aren’t discussing or even thinking. I know that I wasn’t even thinking in these terms until I read an article called ‘Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider.’ This article was talking about how people should be considering other people’s needs as well as their own, particularly, other people’s needs to not be exposed to toxic chemicals.
There is a whole group of people who have multiple chemical sensitivities. Many years ago, I was in that group but I recovered from that. Those people are in the same kind of situation of not having access to public places as somebody who is in a wheelchair doesn’t have access to a building if there isn’t a ramp. The larger picture is, don’t all of us have the right to access a place that isn’t toxic?
We’re going to be talking about these questions and more as we look at toxics from the viewpoint of a right to access issue. My guest is the author of this article, Adrian Ballou. She is a writer, artist, activist and educator who focuses on advocacy around disability, justice and transgender rights.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Hi. How is it going?
DEBRA: Good. How are you?
ADRIAN BALLOU: I’m doing well.
DEBRA: Good. How did you get interested in access rights?
ADRIAN BALLOU: A lot of my friends are involved in disability justice work and a whole variety of ways. I’ve had chemical sensitivities and fragrance sensitivities for a couple of years now. At one point, one of my friends pointed out to me that this actually is an access issue. It shifted my whole perspective thinking about disability, justice and access and helped me realized that there are different ways that people face a border in accessibility issues in our society. Limitations and privileges that people have might vary depending on different kinds of disabilities that they have.
This definitely falls into that category. It helps me change the community work I was doing and think about accessibility in a new way.
DEBRA: Yeah. After reading your article made me think about accessibility in a new way also. Many years ago, when I had limitations on environments that I could in because of my chemical sensitivities, I think I took the attitude that “Well, I’m not going to sit in my house. I need to figure out what I need to do so that I can safely go into those places.” I used to wear a raw silk scarf around my neck. A big, long, raw, silk scarf so that no matter where I was, I could put it over my nose and be able to breathe without so much exposure to the chemicals.
I wasn’t going into a lot of places where there were a lot of chemicals. It did limit my access. It limited what I could do. When I went to work, (I had to work in an office building) I took an air filter with me. I’m always trying to figure out. “How can I do that?” It comes down to nobody should be exposed to toxic chemicals.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah, definitely not.
DEBRA: Everyone is being poisoned. There should actually be signs up saying “There’s poisons in this building.”
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah, for sure. Nobody should have to be exposed to. It’s really debilitating to folks who have higher sensitivity. I think it’s really important for people to be more aware of it.
I did a [inaudible 00:05:18] CPR online training recently. There is one slide that was about toxins in the air. Basically, it’s just talking about – maybe you’re working in a place that has exposed paint, [inaudible 00:05:34] or something like that. First aid scenario is somebody is getting really dizzy and out of it [inaudible 00:05:40], “Oh, make sure that you call 911. Be careful.” I was like, “Yeah.” but those symptoms that people experience from chemicals that folks do recognize, they are definitely toxic like [inaudible 00:05:51]. Folks that have multiple chemical sensitivities experience with stuff that other people necessary notice a reaction to even if that’s still hurting their health.
DEBRA: Right. That’s absolutely true. I would say though that what they should’ve said was if somebody (whether they have MCS or is just a person who doesn’t yet know that they’re sensitive to chemicals) is exhibiting symptoms in a situation where there’s fresh paint, the first thing, the number one thing you do in that situation is take them outside. Take them away from that toxic chemical. The number one rule with toxicology in Poison Control Center is you take the person away from the poison.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah.
DEBRA: Maybe you should call 911 but you need to get the person out of the building first.
ADRIAN BALLOU: I think they did say that.
ADRIAN BALLOU: I didn’t remember the whole slide. [inaudible 00:06:58]
DEBRA: I just wanted to make sure that our listeners know that if you see somebody is being made ill by a toxic chemical in a building, the first thing you should do is take them out of the building and then call 911 if they need more help.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah.
DEBRA: It’s interesting to me that they’re talking about this because that shows that there’s more awareness and that it’s a problem.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah, definitely. Especially in workplaces that people are exposed to chemicals on a part of their job. It comes up a lot I think. It comes up in so many different situations depending on what folks’ sensitivity level is. I know for me, it’s easy sometimes to switch either from self about writing about this and talking about this issue. It’s easy to believe what folks in general say around the chemical and fragrance sensitivity. “Oh, you’re just sensitive. It’s not that big of a deal.”
When I actually look at the issues that are involved and the barriers that folks with multiple chemical sensitivity are facing, it actually is a real problem. It’s just easy, I think, for people that, “Oh, I [inaudible 00:08:13] my deodorant matter.” The kind of cleaning solution I use not for somebody else but – some people get seizures even with multiple chemicals sensitivities. They can’t even leave their house. I know for myself it’s affected my workplace environment. When I was working in a school as [inaudible 00:08:36] perfume that was really difficult. It even affected my house [inaudible 00:08:41]. At one point, I had a landlord that sprayed her house with chemicals and I couldn’t live there anymore.
DEBRA: Yeah, that is a problem. I keep wanting to say that it’s a problem for everyone. It’s especially a problem for people with multiple chemical frvsensitivities but it really is a problem for everyone because everyone is being poisoned. That was a shift that I went through. I used to think that I was in this little isolated sub group of people who are particularly sensitive and that there was something wrong with me. What’s wrong is that we’re being exposed to poisons that are poisons to everyone on a daily basis. That’s the problem. It’s not that my body is saying “Wait. Don’t expose me to these toxic chemicals.” It’s that everybody else who isn’t having a symptom, they’re not aware that these poisons are there. Still these poisons are damaging to them. We shouldn’t be exposed to them.
We’re coming up on the break but I just want to say this before we go and then we’ll come back and talk more. I was thinking about the show, what we were going to talk about today. I realized that there’s an acknowledgement now of – cigarette smoke is not allowed in public buildings. It used to be that everybody was smoking. Nobody knows it caused cancer. Now they know it caused cancer so it became illegal to smoke in buildings. That’s only one toxic chemical. That’s only one pollutant. If people were to realize that perfume causes cancer, then we can have perfume not allowed in buildings too. We can just go down the list until we actually apply the same logic behind cigarette smoke to all toxics.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah, definitely.
DEBRA: Wouldn’t that be great?
ADRIAN BALLOU: That would be really nice.
DEBRA: We need to go to break but we’ll be right back. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Adrian Ballou. She is the author of an article called ‘Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider.’ If you go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and look for this show, there’s a link to the article. You can see it right there or you can google it and take a look. We’re going to be talking about it when we come back. We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Adrian Ballou, author of the article ‘Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider.’ Adrian, what is the problem here? Why should people not be mad?
ADRIAN BALLOU: People can have whatever feeling they want to about anything I suppose. Ultimately, the issue here is that a lot of folks have really sensitivities to scents and chemicals. If people are asking you to be scent-free then they’re trying to be in a space where they can breathe. Or they’re trying to be in a space that won’t make them sick. A lot of times, people have reactions to chemical and fragrances that include vomiting and headaches, [inaudible 00:14:34] with breathing, hives, even seizures. It’s actually a very serious problem to people that have multiple chemical and fragrance sensitivities. As we were talking about in the earlier segment, these kind of chemicals and fragrances are toxins that do affect everyone but they affect some people to really extreme areas that they can’t even necessarily go to work or go out in public or even leave their houses.
DEBRA: Yes, that’s right. Okay. There’s eight things that you mentioned in the article so I just like us to take some time and go through those eight points because those are the points.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah.
DEBRA: Yeah. So let me just start with the first one. I have the article in front of me, do you?
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah.
DEBRA: Okay. So start with the first one. ‘This Is for My Self-Expression’
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah. [inaudible 00:15:31] article, technically somebody who get a lot of work within the transgender community. Self expression is something that we have trouble accessing a lot of the time. I consider to get the conversation that I think it’s really important. It can be really charged depending on who you’re talking to. For some people, they think nail polish, hair styling products – for different persons, it’s a really important part of their identity. I’m not [inaudible 00:16:03] self-expression at all. It’s not my goal by having chemical or fragrant sensitivities. Whem
I’m asking folks to be scent-free or to not use chemicals in their environment, I’m actually expecting that I’ll be able to be around them.
There are a lot of alternatives that you can use instead of mainstream fragrance products. They may or may not work for everybody but I’d be one that’d be able to sit beside with people that maybe using these products. That’s why I’m asking them to make a change.
DEBRA: Well, I would say that I’m not trying to change anyone’s self-expression either. But I’m a person that everybody thinks should be able to express their selves. I love to be my own individual self and I want everyone else to be their own individual self too.
I think that a lot of times, people don’t realize the toxic effect that they’re having. I think it’s always a good idea to speak up and educate people in any situation whether it’s in a building or – a lot of people are concerned about scents in fabric softeners that people are using next door and down the street. A lot of times people just don’t know.
I remember years ago when cigarette smoking was banned in public places. Prior to that, I would ask people not to smoke. If they were courteous, they would say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that it bothered you.” and they would put out the cigarette. Most of the times I had no problems. Then I would run into somebody and they would say, “Rumble, rumble, rumble.” and they sneer at me and turn around and walk away. But I got rid of the cigarette.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Right.
DEBRA: I think it always pays to ask. I know for myself that my self-expression is to be toxic free. I think that it would be a good idea for many, many more people in the world. I think there are many people listening today. Well, that is our self expression. We have a right to have that in the world as much as they have a right to be toxic, I suppose.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah. Ultimately, I want to be able to breathe when I’m in public. That must really be what the issue is here. If folks are going to use toxic self care, self-expression products, ideally folks should use when they’re at home. Especially nail polish can take even a couple of days to [inaudible 00:18:49] so you really can’t have a no scent base when wearing nail polish. That makes me really sad because even though I have chemical and fragrant sensitivity, I still like wearing nail polish sometimes. I think it’s awesome even though it’s toxic. At the same time, I want to be respectful of other folks that have even more intense sensitivities than I do. So when I go to public place, I make sure that I’m not wearing nail polish or that I’ve taken my nails a couple of days in advance.
DEBRA: That’s just such a refreshing thing to hear for me because even though I have the viewpoint and you have that viewpoint, many people are only thinking of themselves. They’re not thinking about the effect that they’re having on other people or the effect on the environment. I think, if everybody were to think, “How do my actions affect others?” that the world would be a very different place in a lot of ways.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Yeah, for sure. I think most people aren’t necessarily being selfish, they’re just not really aware. I think too in the past couple of decades, the second of 1900s, there’s been such an increase in fragrancy chemically products. It seems really natural but actually – it seems very normal that this is the state of affairs today, but it’s actually a pretty recent occurrence that there’s so much toxicity in the products that we’re buying and using. It seems normal to us these days but it actually isn’t.
DEBRA: That’s absolutely right. Many years ago, a man wanted to date me. I said, “I’d loved to go out with you but I can’t be around you because of the scented products you’re using.” I offered to give him some unscented products that he could use. If he was willing to use them I would go out with him. He said yes. So I put together a bag of soap, shaving cream, deodorant, and shampoo. It was unscented and he used them and we went out. We had a lovely relationship for two years. It always pays to let people know.
ADRIAN BALLOU:Yeah, it does. I think part of what’s hard is a lot of these personal care products are personal. You don’t necessarily want to go around telling people about their deodorant or their shampoo. It feels like personal invasion which are the reason for number two on my article about ruining someone’s personal space.
DEBRA: When we come back from the break, we’ll talk about ‘You’re ruining my personal space’.
ADRIAN BALLOU: Sounds good.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Adrian Ballou. She is the author of an article we’re discussing called ‘Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider.’ All of it has to do with access, people being allowed to go into a building without being poisoned. We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd.My guest today is Adrian Ballou, author of the article ‘Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider’ which is about access issues for the people who are sensitive to scents.
Adrian, before we go on to the next – ‘You’re Ruining My Personal Space’, that’s where we were on. Before we go on there, I want to ask you about something that you said in number one. I know that you work with social justice issues so I’m assuming that there’s a whole field of social justice that has its various viewpoints, terminology and things to apply to various different situations. One of those that you mentioned in the article is ableism.
On your website (which is AdrianBallou.com) you have a whole list of lectures that you give that have all these ‘isms’, ‘phobias’ and everything. I was just interested to know, what is ableism?
ADRIAN BALOU: That’s a really good question and definitely important to define for the show.
Ableism is basically a wonderful passion that affects people with disabilities. Just like people not just add on the same way but raises them as a passion that affects people of color or a sexism is a passion of affects people who aren’t men. Ableism is something that affects people with disabilities. It’s not the part where somebody might actually have a disability that’s necessarily the ableist but how society treats it. Very simple, it’s not ableist that somebody is in a wheelchair but it is ableist that somebody maybe can’t get into an event that doesn’t have enough space for their wheelchair to move around. It’s not ableist that somebody has sensitivities to chemicals but it is ableist if they can’t access a space that has chemicals in it. Does that make sense?
DEBRA: Alright! Yeah, I understand what you mean now by that. That makes sense because you’re looking at the degree of ability that somebody has and if there is disability, how is that disability respected.
ADRIAN BALOU: Right.
DEBRA: It gets down to we’re basically human beings and even if our bodies are disabled or our skin has a different color we’re still human beings.
We still have all the rights of human beings.
ADRIAN BALOU: Right. Exactly. Disability is also partly just kind of designed by society to a certain degree. Society has decided that there’s certain things they should and shouldn’t be able to do. People who can’t do those things are decided that they’re disabled. For example, if we don’t necessarily think those most people who use glasses as disabled because of their glasses but people who are wearing glasses use a device that helps them be able to see. In some ways it is a device that’s correcting a disability but it’s so common maybe we don’t necessarily see it as a disability.
DEBRA: It’s also less of a – I can see that there’s degrees of these because it’s much – you don’t have to build a ramp for somebody who wears glasses. It’s something that is more individual on something that – a person with glasses can go out in the world and nobody has to accommodate their glasses. With other disabilities, like somebody in a wheelchair, in order for them to get access then the building has to be constructed in a certain way.
ADRIAN BALOU: Right.
DEBRA: They have that right to that access just as everybody who’s sensitive to chemicals has the right to be in any building and they –
ADRIAN BALOU: Definitely. A lot of disability activist could say that – I think you hit the nail in the head in terms of why some things are seen as disabilities and some things aren’t. Is our society is built for some people over other people? If folks with wheelchairs had more power in our society, we automatically would have buildings set up for them to be able to get into them.
ADRIAN BALOU: I think that’s part of wider differences there. It’s probably just how society sees us. It seems like some needs are being really hard to accommodate or a burden to accommodate and other needs as [Inaudible 00:30:58.05]. Like everybody needs some kind of help sometimes.
Some help is seen as being related to disability and some help is seen completely normal.
DEBRA: That’s right! Another thing that you say that I think – you said it but I want to say it again because you have it here in the article. You say for the most part wearing perfume is something that’s best worn and used in the privacy of your own home. I totally agree with that because of the fact – what I’m about to say is something that I struggle with for a long time before I understood it. This is why I want to say it.
I used to want to have my own personal individual expression everywhere. If somebody didn’t like my personal expression, then they didn’t like me.
That was how I felt and I think a lot of people feel that way. They’re trying to be who they are in every situation. What I learned was that I am myself and at home, I can do whatever it is I want to do in the privacy of my own home. Including not to have toxic chemicals but when I go out in the world, then I’m part of a group. There’s a group, where group of human beings – we’re living all together and the ecosystem of the earth. Once you stepped out of your own private space, you need to consider everybody else that’s there and what is the good for everyone not just yourself. It’s at the same time we are both ourselves and we’re part of these groups.
ADRIAN BALOU: Definitely.
DEBRA: And that we need to act accordingly depending on the situation. I think that’s a really good thing that is not widely known in our society.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah. It can be really hard to not be able to express yourself in different ways. Obviously I have chemical and fragrance sensitivities. I don’t know how to use them, to put chemicals on my [00:33:01.14] self-expressions. [00:33:02.20] nail polish like what we’re talking about earlier. Sometimes I really want to wear really sparkling nail polish but that is not going to happen because I want to make sure I’m respecting other folks.
DEBRA: That’s the keyword I think, respecting other folks. I see all throughout this article that we’re discussing. That’s what I see. The thread of how can we respect other people instead of saying “Me, me, me, it’s all about me”. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be ourselves. We should be ourselves and we should respect other people.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah, definitely.
DEBRA: Okay, are we now on number two?
ADRIAN BALOU: Yes, I think we are.
DEBRA: We are not obviously going to get through the whole thing.
ADRIAN BALOU: No.
DEBRA: We’ll give the listeners a taste of what’s going on here and they can look up and read the rest. Number two is “You’re ruining my personal space”. Tell us about –
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah. I think a lot of the numbers on this poster are really about people not understanding the severity of the impact that they have. I don’t think people would be saying that if they understood that actually these chemical is making it hard for somebody else to breathe. They say it can be hard to make that change but ultimately, folks with chemical and fragrance sensitivities are really struggling to have any personal space if they can’t be well in a space that has fragrances in it.
DEBRA: Yeah, that sounds so true. Another thing is that it’s not that there’s something – I’ll just say this again. It’s not that there’s something wrong with the person that they have chemical sensitivities. It’s that they’ve been exposed to ordinary everyday chemicals and they’ve been made sick from it and especially with fragrances. If they come to a person, it’s not that the person with the sensitivity doesn’t like that person. It’s not a personal thing at all. it’s just that the person who’s wearing a scent that is making them sick.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yes, exactly.
DEBRA: We have to take a break again. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest is Adrian Balou and we’re talking about her article “Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider” We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Adrian Ballou, author of the article “Get Mad When Folks Ask You to Be Scent-Free? Here Are 8 Things to Consider”. You can just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, look for this show and there’ll be a link to that article or you can look it up in your favorite search engine.
Adrian, instead of talking about more points on the article, (we’re in the last segment now) I like to just talk about what things people can do to reduce their use of fragrances that might bother other people. In particular you have a link which I just was looking for and I’ve lost about how the meeting that’s fragrance free. So other people who can’t tolerate fragrances can come to have access to come to the meeting. Let’s talk about those things a little bit.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah, definitely. You can check out the article to see some really common products that can cause reaction to people with multiple chemical and fragrance sensitivities. I think the biggest thing to do is if you know somebody who has multiple chemical and fragrance sensitivities to check in with them and to ask them what they need from any given situation. Some people have higher sensitivities. Some people have less sensitivity. Try to figure out the best way to support what they’re asking you to do.
Sometimes, I for example experienced reaction to essential oils which other people think they’re like a natural scent and maybe nobody will have a reaction to it, but I react to it. Sometimes, other people will “Oh, I have a friend who doesn’t have that reaction at all. [00:40:39] chemical sensitivities. You’re probably making it up.” That obviously validates what people are saying to you and how to figure out a way to make it work for them.
When you’re going out in public really try to think about ways to reduce the chemicals or fragrances that you’re wearing or to stop wearing them entirely. I think those are two really huge ways to do that.
I guess one thing to do in terms of limiting chemicals and fragrances is – some people think that it’s only about wearing perfumes and cologne. They aren’t thinking about other fragrances that might be in the air or on their body. So they think, “Oh, I’m not wearing scented deodorant” maybe or “I’m not wearing perfume so it must be fine” In reality there’s so many things that can cause a reaction to people.
DEBRA: I just wanted to pin on that one because I have recently been in some public places where the problem really was the scent of the detergent on their clothes. It had nothing to do with wearing any kind of scented product. It was their clothes. You could smell it all the way across the room.
ADRIAN BALOU: It’s really hard to get scents out of clothes. It’s important to know that if you’re trying to be fragrant free for a public event or a conference that flow scent or scent free, you’re going to need to wash your clothes in advance but not just the unscented detergent. It’s best to add some baking soda into your clothes or into the washing machine because that’s really what’s going to help to reduce the odor but it’s still probably going to take a couple of washes for it to get entirely washed out. That’s a really big one people aren’t thinking about that much. Sometimes, I make over and stay at a friend’s house or my family who aren’t necessarily thinking about that. I [inaudible 00:42:33] sleep on the sheets and blanket they have there because they have scented detergents
DEBRA: Yeah. It’s really a problem. It’s the scent of the detergent It seems like it’s getting worse and worse.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah. It definitely is. It’s important to know too that if you’re trying to be in solidarity with folks with chemical and fragrant sensitivities on because it’s [00:42:55.27] to continually list all the things that could [inaudible 00:42:59] them and ask people whether they’re really fragrance free.
For me, I’m lucky enough that I can go out to a lot of place and not experience too much of a reaction so I don’t have to continually have this conversation. For folks who are more sensitive, it’s very exhausting to try to make that happen. I’ve noticed a lot of times, people are starting to become more aware of fragrance issue. They go put on their event description on facebook or something that you should not wear fragrances to this event but they don’t talk about what that actually means.
DEBRA: I think it’s important to talk about what that actually means. Otherwise, people will come in and it won’t really be a fragrance free event because they don’t understand all the possibilities. The groups that want to have fragrance free events should take the time to define what that means for them.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah, exactly. I can’t really go into all the products that can have fragrance sensitivities right now but I might just list some so people have an idea of how much to think about. We got air freshener. We got cigarette, marijuana smoke or other drug smoke, cleaning products, deodorants, essential oils, hair products, laundry detergents, drier sheets, fabric softeners, make up, nail polish, nail polish remover, (can be even worse sometimes) soap, aftershave, bubble solution, dish soap, incense, insect repellent, lotion, paint, perfume, obviously and cologne, scented candles, spray paint, sunscreen, varnish, those markers that are used in white boards, the permanent markers. There’s just so many other things that have scents and fragrances but those are really common products that cause reaction. I know that scented candles can be a big one. Sometimes people have them [inaudible 00:44:46] in their room or showing in the closet and they don’t have it lit but the scent is still really strong and causes a big reaction.
ADRIAN BALOU: Another really common things is if you’re out in public – I’m not so sensitive that I can’t use hand in soap bathroom and that kind of thing but some folks really are. A lot of soaps are extremely scented. Even the ones that are unscented can be bad for some people. So please make sure that you have unscented soap in your bathrooms at home, and at your job or school. That would be such a huge help.
DEBRA: I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear you saying all these things because it really is so unusual for anyone to be talking about these things in terms of being courteous for others in public places.
ADRIAN BALOU: It is. The other thing I would say – I know we don’t have a lot of time left but it’s really important. I know sometimes people really want to be scent free. I feel they’re shy or maybe a little bit ashamed if they aren’t sure that they’re entirely scent free. Or they’re not sure but they think that maybe they [inaudible 00:46:02] close enough. For somebody like me who has minimal sensitivity – maybe depending on what the scents are that that person is wearing. For other people close enough really isn’t enough. It’s just really important, if somebody is in the process or trying to become scent free to just be honest with the people around them about where they might be wearing scents for that person who has chemical/fragrance sensitivity can make a choice about what to do with their body.
Unfortunately, they may have a reaction right there. Some chemicals and fragrances, you can’t necessarily smell so you don’t necessarily notice right off the bat. You may have a reaction much later and you may not know where it’s coming from. It’s much more [inaudible 00:46:51]. So it’s really important to just be honest in that friend. Even if “I’m not really sure if it’s unscented or not. It has unscented but it had a weird smell.” That’s the other thing. Some products that say they’re unscented actually are still scented. I’m not really sure about that. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I went to a friend’s house and they have scented soap. I’m not sure what to do about it but I just wanted to let you know so that you can stay safe.” It’s ultimately a safety issue even to people that are less sensitive. They may not be thinking about it in those terms.
DEBRA: Yeah. Once, I had a situation where a friend got together with me at a time that we had determined we were going to get together. He was coming straight from getting a massage. The massage oil had scent in it. It’s was funny because he never is scented. Never never never is scented and here he walks in this scent all over his body.
ADRIAN BALOU: Right.
DEBRA: I said, “Oh my God. What did you just do?” He said, “Oh, it’s the massage oil.” He went straight to the bathroom and washed his body so that he would not be offending me with the odor. I think that that is how everyone should be. He’s an exceptional person. He’s very conscious of how he affects everybody in every way. I think that the more the society in general could think about the different ways that people might be affected by the toxic exposures that they produce, I think that would be an interesting thing.
ADRIAN BALOU: Yeah, it’s really important. Ultimately, it’s about everyone being able to consent to living in a world that is going to be safe and good for them.
ADRIAN BALOU: I’m not going to tell other people what’s good for their bodies or what’s not. I can only really feel what’s good for mine. I know that this is something that’s going to create a space where more people can be and that’s really important. It’s also important to know that sometimes, there’s aroma therapy to there are other times where people use scents as part of [inaudible 00:49:13] for other disabilities they might have or for other parts of their mental health care. It’s not my goal to police anybody else’s needs. Sometimes people are addicted to cigarettes or maybe they just like smoking even if they aren’t addicted, I’m not here to judge any of that. Even if they just want to wear scents. It’s just folks who have chemical and fragrance sensitivity, we also need to be able to be in public places. That’s really important too.
DEBRA: It is. Both need to be important. The ideas to figure out how everyone can have what it is they need and all be happy, healthy and stay in life on earth.
Thank you so much. We’re at the end of the show. Again, my guest is Adrian Ballou. You can go to her website, AdrianBallou.com. You can go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and get a link to her article that was the session today. you’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. Be well.