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Professor of chemical engineering urges students to go fragrance-free

Thursday 4 March 2010

The Canary ReportThe Canary Report has an article about a University of New Hampshire professor who has written an open letter expressing his concerns about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity:

Professor of chemical engineering urges students to go fragrance-free

Posted on Feb 03, 2010 by Susie Collins in Blog, MCS, Susie Collins

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 Farag
Professor, Chemical Engineering Department

Link to Dr. Farag’s home page at the University of New Hampshire.

Related Articles:

The above originally appeared here.


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