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'I Can't Go Anywhere': Chemical Sensitivities Complicate Canadian Woman's Search For Housing
Friday 15 February 2019
‘I can’t go anywhere’: Chemical sensitivities complicate Alliston woman's search for housing
Marla Flear living between apartment and van to manage symptoms
There have been many nights when Marla Flear has been forced to flee her apartment and sleep in her van, even when it’s -30 C outside.
The 63-year-old Alliston resident doesn't have much choice in the matter. Either she toughs it out in her vehicle, or she gets severely ill and makes another trip to the emergency room.
For the past 25 years she has lived with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a condition that affects about three per cent of Canadians or about one million people across the country.
Things like air fresheners, laundry soap, perfumes/colognes and essential oils make her extremely sick, causing her to vomit, have breathing problems and shake.
While she got the apartment at an affordable housing building in August, she couldn't move in right away due to the odours from the new floor and fresh paint.
While those scents have gotten somewhat better, she’s never been able to stay inside the apartment for more than three hours at a time due to other odours in the building, like air fresheners used by other tenants.
Flear runs fans constantly to circulate fresh air into her unit, and she also uses expensive air filters, but they have limited effect.
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