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The Ethical Consumer

Sustainability is about reducing our carbon footprint and managing environmental resources, but it is also about our responsibility toward all we share this planet with.

I discovered the significance of how profoundly the impact others could have on my health after a serious injury that compromised every system in my body. As I needed ongoing assistance, I met many people who didn’t realize that they can negatively affect others by the personal care and household products they choose.
Exposure to perfumes and scented products can trigger adverse reactions in virtually anyone, but for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised health conditions such as asthma, allergies, migraines and chemical sensitivities (an adverse reaction to toxic chemicals in the air, food and water), these reactions can be very severe.

There are thousands of chemicals in the environment, but for the chemically sensitive, reactions are typically associated with: pesticides, perfumes, colognes, fragrances in personal care products, cigarette/wood smoke, natural gas/gasoline and fumes, air fresheners, certain plastic products, newsprint, household cleaners, scented laundry products (fabric softeners/dryer sheets), chlorinated water, wood products, paints with VOCs (volatile organic compounds), glues/solvents, and new carpets and flooring.

Those who are chemically sensitive are either very selective where they go to avoid a reaction, or they may never leave home because they become so sick after being exposed. At one point, I was so profoundly affected by the air quality – particularly by the fabric softener scents coming from neighborhood dryer vents – I had to stay indoors with closed windows for nearly a year in order to recover.

To breathe in fresh air is a necessity for our survival, yet the air we share is unsustainable if harmful toxins are being emitted into our neighborhoods. So even if you are healthy, the decisions to make safer and healthier choices that will bring harm to no one are ultimately the decisions that will define you as a human being and an advocate for the most vulnerable in our society.

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