Fragrance-Free Workplaces

Presented by: Alison Johnson, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, Topsham, ME

In this workshop, Alison Johnson will screen her film titled Fragrance-Free Workplaces, which she has produced, written, and directed. This timely film covers not only fragrance issues but also presents an overview of multiple chemical sensitivity. It features the conference keynote speaker, Dr. L. Christine Oliver, an Associate Clinical Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Co-Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. The film also contains footage of an interview with the former Commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Dr. Ronald R. Blanck, and the endorsement of Johnson’s first MCS documentary by Bernie Sanders. People with MCS in the film include Gulf War veterans and survivors of the 9/11 WTC attacks, as well as people from all walks of life. This film includes this quotation from an October 2016 article titled “Fragranced Consumer Products: Exposures and Effects from Emissions” published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health:

53.2% of the Americans surveyed would prefer fragrance-free workplaces.

19.7% of the Americans surveyed would not prefer fragrance-free workplaces.

The other respondents did not express a preference.

This screening and the following Q&A session will enable participants to gain a deeper understanding of multiple chemical sensitivity and the need for fragrance-free workplaces that will enable people who become sick when exposed to fragranced products to remain in the workforce instead of having to seek public assistance.

About Alison Johnson

Alison Johnson graduated from Carleton College summa cum laude. She studied mathematics at the Sorbonne on a National Science Foundation Fellowship and received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, where she studied on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. She has written three books relating to MCS: Casualties of Progress: Personal Histories from the Chemically Sensitive, Gulf War Syndrome: Legacy of a Perfect War, and Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity. Her documentaries on chemical sensitivity include the following: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: How Chemical Exposures May Be Affecting Your Health, Gulf War Syndrome: Aftermath of a Toxic Battlefield, and The Toxic Clouds of 9/11: A Looming Health Disaster. In 2001 Johnson founded the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, which she chairs.

Johnson has shown her Gulf War Syndrome and 9/11 documentaries on Capital Hill and in New York City, as well as at the EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Seattle. She has also shown her documentaries in London, Wiesbaden, Halifax, Ottawa, and Montreal.

In 2010 Johnson received a Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College for her work in the field of chemical sensitivity. In 2010 she also presented a seminar titled “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Rapidly Growing Health Disorder” at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the NIH. This event was co-sponsored by the NIEHS National Toxicology Program.

Johnson’s national advocacy includes giving copies of her books and documentaries to every member of Congress and to every governor. In 2001 she organized a press conference on Capital Hill for the tenth anniversary of the end of the Gulf War; speakers included Ross Perot and Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Dick Durbin