My guest Alonna Shaw has been blogging about what she’s doing to remove toxic synthetic fragrance from her life (the link below has an index to all her posts on the subject). A writer and editor living in Northern California, Alonna utilizes her background in theater, film, television, and appreciation of nature in her work. Storytelling interests include transformative adventures, travel, biography, and social science fiction. The goal of her alter ego, Alecka Zamm, is “no more freakin’ fragrance.” Because of her sensitivity to fragrance, “Alonna’s world has narrowed to nature, away from anything that spews, reeks, or leaves scent trails. Where there is fabric softener, pesticides, plug-ins, scented shampoos, lotions, potions… she shouldn’t go. Alonna may miss a lot, but breathing means more to her than that once exciting city life, even suburban life. There are many doors in life and she’s still exploring what her fragrance-free door has to offer. Life smells much better without perfume.” www.alonnashaw.com/2013/08/my-interview-on-toxic-free-talk-radio.html
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Creating a Fragrance-Free Life
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Alonna Shaw
Date of Broadcast: August 19, 2013
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 because it is toxic out there. There are a lot of consumer products that contain toxic chemicals that we’re exposed to every time we use them. There are a lot of toxic chemicals just in the environment
When we walk out the door, people would have sprayed pesticides on their lawns and there’s car exhaust and people are, well, wearing perfume for one, which is the subject that we’re going to be talking about today.
But we don’t have to be exposed to all these toxic chemicals because we can recognize where they are. We can avoid them in many ways.
We can remove them from our bodies. We can remove them from our homes and our work places, and live healthy, happy productive lives, do whatever it is we want without being affected by toxic chemicals. It’s our choice. We do have choices that are toxic-free.
Today is Monday, August 19th, 2013. And as I just said, our subject today is how to be fragrance-free, Creating a Fragrance-free Life.
And I have been living without fragrance, without anything scented. No scented beauty products or cleaning products or anything for 30 years.
And the reason that I gave up fragrance many, many years ago was because I discovered that if I was exposed to something with a synthetic toxic fragrance—that means a perfume or a fragrance that’s made from petro chemicals. And I’m not talking about something like essential oils made from natural plants. I’m talking about synthetic, artificial fragrance, made in a lab, from petroleoum.
I noticed that when I was exposed to that kind of artificial, synthetic scent, that I would get a headache. And when I stopped, when I looked around and I said, “Well, there’s scent in this, and there’s scent in that. There was scent in my soap. There was scent in my hairspray. There was scent in my cleaning products,” I just went through my house and I removed everything that had any kind of scent—scent in my perfume of course—and I removed anything that had any kind of scent, and I stopped having headaches. And ever since then, I just have been scent-free.
Now, for many years, I have been using natural fragrances. But many people who find themselves sensitive to scent can’t use any kind of scent at all.
And so we are going to be talking and my guest today has created for herself a fragrance-free life because she has found that scents make her sick. And so we are going to talk about how she did that.
But first, I wanted to just read to you something from the CDC. You’ve probably heard that on the news. The CDC says—and that’s the Centers for Disease Control. It’s a US Federal Agency. What I’m reading to you is from my Green-living Q&A blog at GreenLivingQA.com. And it was from 2010, September 14th, 2010. I wrote that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, has made a fragrance-free policy that applies to all of their offices nationwide.
They issued the policy “In order to protect and maintain safe indoor environmental quality.” And that day, I just said, “Hallelujah” because that means that the Centers for Disease Control—and this is the agency that is working with toxic chemicals and causes of disease, that’s trying to figure out what is making people sick, and that is a public health agency that is tying to keep us well in America—they determined that fragrance was an indoor-air quality issue. It so much causes illness that they made a policy not to allow fragrances in any of their offices nationwide.
You can go to this post and you can see everything that they banned from their offices that had fragrances. And this was to keep their workers healthy.
Now if you own a business, you might consider having a fragrance-free policy. If you work at a workplace, you might consider having a fragrance-free policy.
That’s just something to think about. It’s not somebody’s imagination. It’s not a particular sensitive group of people. Fragrances are toxic chemicals, period.
And now I’d like to welcome my guest, Alonna Shaw.
Hi, Alonna! How are you?
ALONNA SHAW: Good morning, Debra. I’m awake.
ALONNA SHAW: I was concerned that I might sleep through the call.
DEBRA: No, I don’t think you will. I’m in Florida in the East Coast…
ALONNA SHAW: No. No, I meant that I would oversleep.
DEBRA: Oh, yes. Alonna is in California so it’s nine o’clock there for her. It’s noon here for me. So anyway…
ALONNA SHAW: Yes, I’m a bit of a night owl.
DEBRA: Alonna has been talking about what she’s doing to remove synthetic fragrance from her life. And she’s a writer and editor. She lives in Northern California. And she utilizes her background in theater, film, television and appreciation of nature in her work.
So Alonna, tell us your story of how you became sensitive to chemicals. What has happened since?
ALONNA SHAW: It was quite a long journey and kind of a mystery for me. But I’m really glad that you mentioned the natural ones as well. That’s been part of my journey. I am sensitive to every scent—synthetic or natural.
ALONNA SHAW: I’d say about 19 years ago, I started noticing that my deodorant and shampoos were very problematic for me. A lot of people would notice rashes. It’s so funny. Now, everything is so obvious to me now. People will say, I’ve got this rash on my neck. And I’m looking at their hair and smelling all of their hair products.
ALONNA SHAW: I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to offend anybody. But it just would be so simple if they would switch their products, they wouldn’t have to go through that discomfort.
ALONNA SHAW: And for most people, that’s all it is. It’s discomfort. But some of us that have MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and other allergies and asthma and things like that, it’s a more serious issue to the point where I had to move out of the cities. I’ve lived in cities for most of my adult life. But I’ve always loved nature. And so it’s not such a bad trade-off.
So I now live in Northern California and I pursued nature, which is wonderful!
DEBRA: I did that as well. I moved from San Francisco. I moved out into the country. And now I live in suburbia in Florida. But it’s in a very natural suburbia. I’ve lived in Oak Forest and the breeze comes in off the Gulf of Mexico.
ALONNA SHAW: I love the gulf. I was there for a little while. I used to track the pollution drift, the EPA site. And I decided, “Oh, the Gulf Coast could be a good place to go.”
So, we went there. But then, I didn’t know about red tide.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. That was a bit of a shock. For people that don’t know, it’s basically—what is it, the plankton? I forgot now. It’s been a number of years. They die. I guess that’s part of the nitrite run off from all of the pollution from yards, things like that.
ALONNA SHAW: And then all of the fish—it was horrible walking on the beach and seeing sea horses in person that they were no longer living.
DEBRA: What part of Florida were you in because I haven’t had that here? I have been here for 12 years.
ALONNA SHAW: I was south. I know where you are. I was north in Maples, South of Sarasota.
DEBRA: Okay. Yes. I’m a little bit north from there.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. And I was right to the beach. And it was wonderful after being in LA. I thought I was in heaven. Every morning, I would get up—I did actually get up in the morning—and I would walk on the beach. It was my way of getting my lungs to work again because. It got so bad in LA. I basically was sitting in a chair. That’s how I spent my days. It was crazy because I was super athletic. I’m a world traveler and the pollution was so bad. And to me, fragrance is the same thing.
DEBRA: I agree with you. I agree with you. So we need to take a break.
ALONNA SHAW: Okay.
DEBRA: But after the break, we’ll continue to talk about how you created a fragrance-free life.
I‘m Debra Lynn Dadd, this is Toxic Free Talk Radio. And I’m here with my guest, Alonna Shaw. We’ll be back in a minute.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I‘m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Alonna Shaw.
We’re talking about Creating Fragrance-free Life. I’m looking on my website here, and I noticed that in my Green Living Q&A blog, I have over 60 questions that people have asked on subjects having to do with fragrance—everything from fragrance-free workplace policies to finding specific products that don’t have fragrance in them.
I also have on my website on DebrasList.com have many, many products that are specifically fragrance-free. So if you type in fragrance or fragrance-free or perfume in the search engine on my website, you’ll get a lot of information and a lot of alternative products.
You can just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and use that search engine box there to get all that information.
So Alonna, there’s a lot of toxic chemicals in these perfumes. Where should we start? I don’t even know where to start.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. Well, the way that I actually figured some of my puzzle—my life and health puzzle out—was a chemical patch test at my allergy and asthma doctor.
DEBRA: And tell us what is a chemical patch test for people who don’t know.
ALONNA SHAW: Well, a lot of people go through allergy tests where they prick a whole bunch of little spots on your arm or on your back. And then they monitor it while you’re in the office. And whatever little bumps swells up the biggest, that’s what you’re sensitive to or allergic to.
And there were differences between sensitivities and allergies that adds another confusing aspect of this whole thing. But the end result is your life is still kind of turned upside down.
ALONNA SHAW: So, this chemical patch test, if I remember, it’s kind of big maybe, six inches across, and 6-inch square size. And it’s the kind of thing you have to wear it for four days straight. You cannot shower. You can take bath, just you don’t get it wet.
I actually went into my doctor’s office in Beverly Hills and he put it on. And then I had a meeting. And I was still acting then. And it was an important meeting. I was really nervous. It was a big part night. I really wanted to get back to work.
I went to my agent’s office. And he was an agent at one of the big agencies. I go in there. And I’m all excited. I had this stupid patch on my back, but I’m going to keep going.
And I walked through his office. And in LA a lot of people do the kissy-kissy thing on the cheek. And he had on so much fragrance…
ALONNA SHAW: And I’ve had long hair most of my life. And long hair is basically a giant sweeper. And fragrance sticks to things. It’s like a sticky follicle, molecules floating through the air. But it was actually on him and transferred directly to my hair.
My brain short-circuited. It’s kind of an autistic-like reaction where it’s like sensory overload. Your brain stops. The synaptic connections stop working. And of course, an allergic asthma. At that time, I didn’t know I had allergic asthma. We were still figuring it out.
So then I’m standing there disoriented. And he leads me into the meeting with the director. That was not a good moment.
Thankfully, I had an improv background and somehow my mind was coming back. But I really was not on my game.
And it was a turning point for me. I realized this was going to be next to impossible to continue as an actor.
I did struggle with it for years. I didn’t want to give up dream. I loved the craft. I don’t really like the business. But I loved the craft of acting. But that was my turning point.
That patch test, when it came back, I was basically allergic. The fragrance mix (which is what you were talking about), this toxic soup of mystery, elements that the government basically protects these special recipes…
DEBRA: Well, I actually have some information about that that I put on my blog, and so I want to tell people about it. If you go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, and you type in the search box ingredients and fragrances, it will take you to a page about the International Fragrance Association.
ALONNA SHAW: Uh-huh.
DEBRA: And what they do is that they review all the ingredients and decide which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. And so they have a list of prohibited ingredients, a list of restricted ingredients. And you can also find out from them what specific chemicals are in the fragrance of a specific brand name product.
ALONNA SHAW: Really?
DEBRA: Now that’s not something that’s listed on the label, but you can go to them and find out.
The part that was appalling to me was that I looked at this list of acceptable fragrance ingredients and there were many that I recognized as toxic such as styrene (that thing styrene, that’s in styrofoam cups), ethylene glycol, phenol (which is extremely toxic), benzene (which is extremely toxic), xylene (which is an extremely toxic solvent), formaldehyde which causes cancer. And some of these chemicals are among the most toxic chemicals that exists and have long been on my list of things to avoid. And yet they think that they’re okay to use.
Now, later in the week—actually, on Thursday—we’re actually going to have a toxicologist on the show. And we’re going to learn more about how toxicology research gets done. I look at one list and another list. I have studies about things that are toxic and yet I see an association like this one saying, “It’s okay to use this in all products.”
So if you’re wearing perfume or any kind of scented product of any kind, these are the kinds of chemicals that are in there. And it’s just…
ALONNA SHAW: What people overlook most—I hate to jump in here, but…
DEBRA: Go ahead.
ALONNA SHAW: Well, laundry products.
ALONNA SHAW: I did my most recent blog post on laundry products after an overload at the laundromat which I avoid like the plaque normally. People have no clue about their laundry, what it smells like. Because once they put it on, they don’t smell it anymore.
DEBRA: That’s right.
ALONNA SHAW: You get used to it.
DERBA: There’s something called ‘olfactory fatigue’ which means that you can breathe something once and you smell it.
And then you continue to breathe it and you smell it less and less and less. And I think this is why people wear so much perfume and after-shave because they can’t smell it anymore.
We’re going to take another break. And we’ll be back to talk more about living fragrance-free. I‘m Debra Lynn Dadd, this is Toxic Free Talk Radio.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I‘m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is Alonna Shaw. And you can go to her blog, AlonnaShaw.com., and read about her adventures, finding fragrance-free products.
Alonna, you’ve written several blog posts on this. Let’s start with bath products. When you started looking for fragrance-free products many years ago, how do you go about that process?
ALONNA SHAW: I’m my own test subject and I spend a lot of money buying products and trying products. Anytime that they’re—
Oh, masking fragrances. That’s something that it kind of throws a loop into unscented, fragrance free, scent-free, no scent.
It’s a very confusing world out there. I don’t know. You might be better to clarify how a person really find something that is without scent. But there is this thing called masking fragrance in some products.
DEBRA: Tell us about that. Yes. Yes, there is.
ALONNA SHAW: I get a little confused. I think the marketplace is confused because people use the labels interchangeably.
But just like you read the ingredients on your food packages (which I’m hoping most people do that), you need to do that with your products for the bath as well.
DEBRA: Well, I think you actually need to do that for all products.
ALONNA SHAW: I agree.
DEBRA: For some reason now, it’s even worse that it’s been in the past where the manufacturers are adding scents to all kinds of things.
And so what you want to look for on a label is certainly anything that says fragrance. That’s going to be a synthetic fragrance. Just leave anything that says fragrance on the shelf.
ALONNA SHAW: I agree.
DEBRA: It might also say ‘perfume’ and that also means that it’s synthetic.
If it has a fragrance and it’s a natural fragrance, it’ll say aromatherapy or it will say essential oil and those would be from natural sources.
ALONNA SHAW: I do have a question about that.
ALONNA SHAW: For me, I can’t use those at all. But for the people that can use essential oils. But I’ve been reading lately that there are essential oils that are supposed to be organic but they are actually synthetically manufactured. So it’s a little tricky.
DEBRA: That’s not supposed to be that way.
ALONNA SHAW: Okay.
DEBRA: An essential oil has to be from a plant. But it is entirely possible that there are some people who are not following those rules. And so I don’t know if there’s actually a law that says, “This is what essential oils means,” but for many, many, many years, essential oil has meant a net from a natural source. And if it’s organic, it would say organic on it.
I think I should just interject right here that even though labels can be confusing and maybe misleading, there is an agency of the government. The Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, which has regulations that say, “What you say on a label has to be true.” And if it’s falsely misleading, the FTC will fine you or take your product off the market or something, that there’s supposed to be a code of honor of telling the truth.
And yet, many, many, many people don’t. I mean FTC is citing people all the time for making false and misleading claims.
ALONNA SHAW: Thank goodness they’re there for us.
DEBRA: Thank goodness they are there for us and thank goodness there are laws for those. But the problem is, as with many things, there are so many violations they can’t catch everyone.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes.
DEBRA: They just don’t have enough manpower.
ALONNA SHAW: And you know people starting little shops and maybe doing things wrong and not realizing it, it may not be malice. Who knows?
DEBRA: That’s true. An awful lot of people don’t know about toxics in ingredients. And they just think things that sound good. And they don’t understand it at all. So I would say…
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. Thanks to the marketing.
DEBRA: Yes. It’s just marketing. And I see this all over the web too. I’ll go to a website and they’ll be saying things, and I’ll go, “Wait a minute! I know that this is wrong.” But their marketing people don’t.
And so this is why we, as consumers, need to be so careful. And I would say that if you do want to use natural fragrances—not you, Alonna, but the listeners
ALONNA SHAW: I can’t use them.
Well, I take that back. My one natural fragrance is going out and getting fresh air, drinking that through my hair and on me and that is always the best scent ever.
DEBRA: I totally agree with that. I’m going to finish what I’m saying and then I want to say something about that. But if you do want to use natural essential oils, get them from a reputable organization. And if they are reputable, they’ll tell you all about where they got them from. And some of them grow their own herbs and plants and things.
And so just watch out. Here in Florida, we have something called The Dollar Store where everything’s a dollar. I would not like the scent when it’s…
ALONNA SHAW: Well, if it’s a dollar, and it’s an essential oil, it’s not real.
DEBRA: Who knows? Maybe from China or something. But there are a lot of good aromatherapy essential oil products…
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. And the people that make them are very proud. And they’re more than happy like you said to share every tiny, tiny detail. They’re very, very proud of their products, which is wonderful, to have pride in what people make.
DEBRA: Now getting back to fragrances and indoor air pollutants. I had a woman on last week or the week before from the American Lung Association. We were talking about the importance of lungs and the importance of breathing for good health, and that when we breathe indoor air pollutants (of which perfume and fragrance is one), then it actually damages our lungs.
And it makes it more difficult for us to breathe and that impacts our health.
And that’s in addition to whatever other health effects may happen from the toxic chemicals that are contained in those fragrances.
But you have exactly the right idea because going outdoors in a clean air place. Breathing that clean air is one of the most healing things anybody can do.
And I know that you live up in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe, right?
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. For now. I move a lot. I’m going to stay in Northern California I think for a while. It’s a wonderful area.
DEBRA: But the air there is really nice.
ALONNA SHAW: Mm-hmmm…
ALONNA SHAW: The air is wonderful up here. Well, there are fires right now.
ALONNA SHAW: That’s probably the easiest way for people that are not fragrant sensitive to understand fragrant sensitivity.
When there’s a cloud of smoke, everybody kind of gets that it’s hard to breathe. It gets on you. And it’s really unpleasant.
And for people that are fragrance sensitive, all of this fragrance trails that people—as you walk down the streets, if you have clothing washed in—I hear music.
DEBRA: Yes, well you can just finish your sentence.
ALONNA SHAW: So it’s just like the smoke. We can tell the fragrance just like regular people that are not MCS can have problems with smoke.
DEBRA: Yes. And we’ll be back after this. My name is Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. We’re talking about living a fragrance-free life with Alonna Shaw.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I‘m Debra Lynn Dadd. And today we’re talking about creating a toxic-free life with Alonna Shaw.
And Alonna, during the break—we didn’t end up talking about masking fragrance. And I just wanted to go back to that for a minute.
During the break, I looked that up online just to make sure that I got the definition of it right. And actually, what a masking fragrance is is a fragrance (which is a chemical fragrance) designed to block the odor of other chemicals in the product.
So it is considered to be a fragrance. It isn’t necessarily on the label. But if you go to the Material Safety Data Sheet (or MSDS for short), it says fragrance on the material’s safety data sheet.
And the point of an MSDS is to alert people to the toxic chemicals that are in a product. And if fragrance is listed, it’s a toxic chemical.
ALONNA SHAW: Those sheets that you mentioned, a lot of people (including myself) are intimated by them. But it’s something to get friendly with because there’s so much good information there once a person can really understand what’s being offered in the…
DEBRA: It really is something that I think that every single person—they should teach in school how to read these things. In fact, there should be a whole thing in school that teaches kids about toxic chemicals because we live in a toxic world and they should know how to read these things.
What you want to do is if you wanted to look for a particular product and find out if there’s any kind of fragrance in it, you would just go to your favorite search engine. You would type in the name of the product, XYZ Laundry Powder and then put the letters M-S-D-S after it. And then a site will come up where the manufacturer has put the material safety data sheet for that product.
You just click on it and you go look at it, and there’s a section that says hazardous ingredients. And they’re required by law to list these hazardous ingredients now. They don’t have to list all the ingredients that are hazardous. But there is a list of “hazardous ingredients” that are agreed upon hazardous ingredients that need to be listed on these sheets.
ALONNA SHAW: At least it’s a good lead. It’s something for us to work out of.
DEBRA: It’s a start.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. For me, the ultimate test for me since I’m sensitive to so many things is that I really just have to try it.
Sometimes a product will work for a week, and then I develop an issue. It can be dermatitis, it can be breathing issues, just general unpleasantness, a whole host of issues. But I have to just trial and error. But it does help to have these labels.
DEBRA: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.
I do want to make sure that we just say, for the listening audience, that there’s a difference between something being toxic (like in a toxicology book) versus somebody having an individual reaction to it. And when you’re having your individual reaction—and we all can have our own individual reactions—that’s different from like doing a study and finding out all the rat’s died.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes.
DEBRA: And in my work, I have to not be looking at people’s individual reactions, but looking at what did the study say. And if I can identify from the studies something that’s toxic, then nobody should be using it.
And yes, Alonna and others have their own individual reactions to perfume and fragrance. And they need to test just like Alonna does. But I can’t stress this enough. Fragrance,artificial fragrance, synthetic fragrance is a toxic chemical. It’s on material safety data sheets. It has been declared by the Centers for Disease Control as an indoor air pollutant, as a toxic chemical.
And so it’s just something that if you want to remove one toxic chemical from you life, just go around your house and identify all the scented products that are in your home and get rid of them.
ALONNA SHAW: And If I could interject.
DEBRA: Please do.
ALONNA SHAW: Take a look at your pets, their reactions. They don’t have voices. But a friend of mine used that carpet spray stuff to make the carpet seem clean. And the cat would always run and hide behind the TV stand because that was the only place that that carpet stuff couldn’t be applied. And the cat would just stay here.
ALONNA SHAW: The cat was very uncomfortable. Animals know what isn’t healthy.
DEBRA: They do.
ALONNA SHAW: And if we just watch some of our pets—I mean, don’t walk your dog when you’ve just applied pesticide.
Don’t spray that stuff on your carpet and then put your pet right on there. I wouldn’t use any of that on my carpeting anyway.
I wouldn’t have carpeting if i had the choice.
DEBRA: I haven’t had carpeting in 30 years, so I haven’t had any of that stuff in my house.
But also, just keep in mind—here’s another thing about pets and children—their bodies are so much smaller than our bodies are. Even the biggest dog is a lot smaller than an adult human body. And so they can’t tolerate the amount of things that we might be able to tolerate. So we do need to look at these things objectively, know where the toxic chemicals are and don’t use them in our homes.
Even if we’re not being affected by it, our children and our pets most likely are. They just don’t have the same immune systems and the same detox systems. And it’s just a sheer volume of more fragrance that their bodies just can’t handle.
ALONNA SHAW: So any way I could impress on people to be aware of marketing. Get what you need, but you don’t need all of the fragrances and everything. Even if you love fragrance and you have the most expensive bottle of fragrance in the world, realize you’re undermining that wonderful scent with all of these inexpensive, horrible scent that are permeating every other product you’re buying.
DEBRA: Yes. Yes.
ALONNA SHAW: Go unscented and then wear your nice, lightly applied high quality scent.
DEBRA: Yes. One thing that I often think about is that—I forgot what I was going to say.
ALONNA SHAW: I’ve got some things I want to say.
DEBRA: Go ahead. You talk.
ALONNA SHAW: You see, my solution is I walk around this world and I dodge these clouds of perfume. But there are a lot of people that are supportive. You can find work environments if you let people know that you’re sensitive.
After a car accident, I ended up going to work on “The Drew Carey show”. Even though I had starred in movies, I was background, extra. And as a background, I’d do small parts, just utility parts, stand-in for a year and a half (that was basically three different seasons).
Because the environment was supportive—Kathy Kinney is sensitive to scent. I don’t know to what degree. I never actually spoke with her about it because I was too shy. But the work environment was supportive. Nobody there wore strong fragrance or strongly-fragranced products.
So, find a place that’s healthy for you. Don’t try to make an unhealthy place work. Think about the long term. Do you want to have asthma? Do you want to have other issues by having long term exposure to these things?
When I share my story with somebody, if I’ll be standing in line at Starbucks or something, there’s fragrance, I’ll say something to the woman at the register, she’ll go, “Oh, me too…” or if I’m at another store and somebody walks by, somebody else will say, “Yes, me too. I have this problem, but I can’t get out of the store. I have to go outside and get fresh air when I can.”
Try to share with people. There are supportive people out there. Sometimes people aren’t so nice because they don’t understand. They get offended. But I’m not trying to attack somebody when I say I’m fragrant sensitive. I’m just letting htem know that…
DEBRA: No. I think that’s a really important point. If we keep continuing to be exposed to toxic chemicals on the job and say,
“Well I have to do this because I have to work and earn money, and all work places are like this,” I have found in my own life, I just decided that I needed to create my own work and my own money because I couldn’t go work in an office or a store or something like that. I didn’t want to be exposed to toxic chemicals. I was extremely sensitive at that time.
But I ended up empowering myself in creating my own work and helping others and making more money than I would have if I had worked for somebody else then.
For me, deciding to rid my life of toxic chemicals opened up a whole new world of being able to be in a safe place, but also having control over my life and being empowered to make my environment the way I wanted it to be instaed of just being a victim of somebody else’s environment. And everybody could do that.
ALONNA SHAW: Yes. It’s an excellent example of being brave and just walking through a new door that opens.
ALONNA SHAW: We have been throughout life. That’s what life is. One door closes, another opens—that is life. And when a strange door opens and you don’t understand, do some research and go through it.
DEBRA: I completely agree with that. I just see in my life that life has been a constant new opportunity to open doors and open doors and that things get better and better and better. So just have that courage.
Alonna thanks so much for being with me today.
ALONNA SHAW: If I could mention something really quick. You should check out my blog site for MyDestination.com. It’s my solution to recharging my lungs.
DEBRA: Good. Alright! Thanks. We have to go. But thank you [inaudible 00:36:53]. We’ll be back tomorrow.