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Friday, 12 March 2010

Canaries Sometimes Stop Singing

This a moderate and reasonable post, some to come will be less so. It is an appeal and represents a real need by increasing numbers of people who react to the strong and pervasive perfume pollutants now so difficult to avoid. It is a direct quotation.

Professor of chemical engineering urges students to go fragrance-free.

Posted on the “Canary Report” web site of the Australian MCS/CFS site on Feb 03, 2010 by Susie Collins in her Blog.

Chemical engineering professor at the University of New Hampshire encourages students to “be considerate to human canaries and help them to enjoy life to the fullest.”

Ihab Farag, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Hampshire and member of our Canary Report community, wrote a letter to the editor at his school’s student paper to raise awareness about chemical sensitivity. And they published it! I’m a huge supporter of letters to the editor. Bravo, Ihab!

Many of us are familiar with canaries, the beautiful, colorful birds that tend to sing most of the time. Canaries also saved many human lives in coalmines. This is because canaries are much more sensitive to toxic gases than humans.

Miners would take canaries with them in the coalmine. If the canary stopped singing and fell (or died), the miners knew to leave the coal mine quickly to safety. There are individuals who have developed a very strong sensitivity to many common chemicals.

These people can be very negatively affected and irritated by fumes, chemical cleaners, disinfectants, cigarette/cigar smoke, engine exhaust, solvents, etc.
These people are often called “Human Canaries” of the modern world, because of the chemical sensitivity similarity to that of Canaries.

Human Canaries of the 21st century tend to be very strongly irritated by everyday chemicals like perfumes, hair products, shampoos, shower gels, after shave lotions, antiperspirants, deodorants, hand sanitizers, chap sticks, finger nail polish, etc.

Human canaries look the same as other people, and when you see one you probably will not recognize he or she is a human canary until an offensive toxic chemical triggers his or her sensitivity.

Please be considerate to human canaries and help them to enjoy life to the fullest. One way you can help the human canary and at the same time lower your exposure to undesirable chemicals, is to go fragrance-free: avoiding perfumes, and fragranced personal care products.

Ihab Faraq, Professor Chemical Engineering Department, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA.

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