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Workplace RERC


State of the Science Conference
September 15-16, 2005

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Improving Workplace Access and Accommodations for Chemically & Electromagnetically Sensitive Employees

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Slides Index Slides 1-15 Slides 16-31

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  1. Improving Workplace Access and Accommodations for Chemically & Electromagnetically Sensitive Employees
  2. What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?
  3. What is MCS? (cont.)
  4. What are Electromagnetic Sensitivities (EMS)?
  5. Who is Affected by MCS/ES?
  6. Minimize or Avoid Exposures that Trigger Reactions
  7. Presentation Highlights
  8. Typical Recommendations for MCS Accommodations
  9. MCS Accommodations (cont.)
  10. MCS Accommodations (cont.)
  11. Incidents of Intentional Harassment and Discrimination
  12. Harassment and Discrimination (cont.)
  13. Harassment and Discrimination (cont.)
  14. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Project
  15. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Project

Slide 1 of 31

Improving Workplace Access and Accommodations for Chemically & Electromagnetically Sensitive Employees

Mary Lamielle, Executive Director
National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc.
Workplace Accommodations: State of the Science Conference
September 15-16, 2005


Slide 2 of 31

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?


Slide 3 of 31

What is MCS? (cont.)


Slide 4 of 31

What are Electromagnetic Sensitivities (EMS)?


Slide 5 of 31

Who is Affected by MCS/ES?

  • 16 % of Californians are “unusually sensitive” to chemicals
  • 13% -16% of Americans have chemical sensitivities according to a national survey
  • Up to 4% of the U.S. population is chronically ill with MCS based on a series of state and federal studies
  • 6% of Californians have a diagnosis of MCS
  • 3% of Californians report electrical sensitivities

  • Slide 6 of 31

    People with MCS/EMS Must
    Minimize or Avoid Exposures that Trigger Reactions


    Slide 7 of 31

    Presentation Highlights


    Slide 8 of 31

    Typical Recommendations for MCS Accommodations


    Slide 9 of 31

    MCS Accommodations (cont.)


    Slide 10 of 31

    MCS Accommodations (cont.)


    Slide 11 of 31

    Incidents of Intentional Harassment and Discrimination

  • Employee forbidden to use a charcoal mask or oxygen at work
  • Employee forbidden to open a window, even in a private office
  • Window(s) nailed shut to prevent opening
  • Signs that request a specific accommodation and name the disabled employee:
  • “Please refrain from the use of perfumes for Bonnie”

    Slide 12 of 31

    Harassment and Discrimination (cont.)

  • Intensified use of perfume or the use of perfume and other scented products during the workday
  • Perfume poured on MCS-employee’s chair
  • Deodorizer sprayed on MCS-employee’s phone
  • Intentional use of candles, incense, or potpourri
  • Use of cell phones or microwave ovens in the vicinity of EMS employee

  • Slide 13 of 31

    Harassment and Discrimination (cont.)

  • Employees “accommodated” by selecting worst possible/least accessible worksite:
  • MCS-employee moved into janitor’s office
  • Teacher with MCS moved to copy center; another teacher moved to the art room
  • EMS employee moved next to an electrical transformer

  • Slide 14 of 31

    Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Project

    Funded by the U. S. Access Board

    Collaborative project conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)

    Purpose: make public and commercial buildings more accessible for people with chemical and electromagnetic sensitivities and healthier for everyone


    Slide 15 of 31

    Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Project

  • http://ieq.nibs.org
  • http://www.access-board.gov


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