Safe Houses: Only for the affluent?

by | Nov 9, 2009 | Chemical Sensitivity News, NEWS | 0 comments

People with MCS who have few resources end up as housing refugees


The Dispossessedsource: raggededgemagazine.com

Barbara Eaton, president of a regional chapter of The National Association of the Physically Handicapped, wrote about housing issues for those afflicted by chemical sensitivities in the March/April 2003 issue of Ragged Edge Magazine, a magazine focused on disability rights. Unfortunately, not a lot has improved in this area for those suffering with environmental illness since the article was published.

“You should see my beautiful apartment,” says Lynn Nelson. “I really wish I could live in it.”

Nelson has what is called “multiple chemical sensitivity,” frequently shortened to MCS. She sleeps in her car, even though she has a government-subsidized apartment. “When I went on disability for MCS, I feared I would be sleeping in the streets. I was thrilled to find out that I could get this kind of housing.

“Yet, here I am — in the street or begging friends to let me sleep in their driveways, or sleeping behind my church.”

Nelson discovered what thousands of others with severe MCS have learned: that their conjoined and rented living spaces are impossible to keep free of the plethora of volatile organic compounds emitted by neighbors’ perfumes, cigarette smoke, pesticides, laundry products, or that sift in from renovations in the building and from routine lawn maintenance. When people with MCS move in, they almost always find that residues of perfume and pesticides have saturated the porous wood surfaces, carpets and carpet padding — residues in amounts high enough to sicken them. And they are very difficult to remove.”

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  • Earthwalker

    Earthwalker is the username that PT founder Julie Genser created for her online interactions so many years ago when first creating Planet Thrive.

    Julie's (Earthwalker's) life was derailed over twenty years ago when she had a very large organic mercury exposure after she naively used a mouth thermometer to measure the temperature of just-boiled milk while making her very first pizza at home. The mercury instantly expanded into a gas form and exploded out the back of the thermometer right into her face. Unaware that mercury was the third most neurotoxic element on Earth, Julie had no idea she had just received a very high dose of a poisonous substance.

    A series of subsequent toxic exposures over the next few years -- to smoke from two fires (including 9/11), toxic mold, lyme disease, and chemical injuries -- caused catastrophic damage to her health. While figuring out how to survive day-to-day, and often minute-to-minute, she created Planet Thrive to help others avoid some of the misdiagnoses and struggles she had experienced.

    She has clawed her way over many health mountains to get to where she is today. She is excited to bring the latest iteration of Planet Thrive to the chronic illness community.

    In 2019, Julie published her very first cookbook e-book called Low Lectin Lunches (+ Dinners, Too!) after discovering how a low lectin, gluten free diet was helping manage her chronic fascia/muscle pain.

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