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MCS-The Hazard of Paying Bills

Posted Oct 03 2008 11:32am

I don’t mean the hazard of not having enough money in one’s account to cover the payments.  For those of us with chemical sensitivities an added hazard is “scented” bills, the one’s that when you open the envelope a wiff or the latest perfume or cologne rises up to greet you.  The scent is meant to be a good marketing tool for the perfume and the store selling it, but for those of us with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities opening our “scented” bills literally makes us sick. 

After I became ill with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, exposure to perfumes, colognes, dryer sheets and fabric softeners triggered asthma attacks, migraines and a severe feeling of cognitive blurring and physical slowing.  As my illness progressed, so did the severity of my body’s response to these chemicals.  I now experience debilitating neurological symptoms.   The above mentioned products are unregulated by the FDA.  They contain Neurotoxins as well as Carcinogens.  

This morning I paid our bills, starting with the safe, unscented online payments- no problem there.  The ”off-line” Macy’s bill was next- the dreaded Macy’s bill!  (Dreaded in spite of the small balance remaining on it.)

My hubby opened it soon after it arrived.  He threw away the perfumed insert and sealed the rest in a baggy, thinking it would subdue and contain the scent until it was time to pay.  When I opened the baggy the invisible yet stubborn perfume escaped.  My brain went woozy.  The left side of my face and my left arm became numb. My lungs tightened and burned.  I coughed through writing the check as I tried to focus my blurry mind on writing it for the correct amount. 

I wrote the check for the remaining balance, determined to not have another scented Macy’s bill enter our home again.  I opened the window, then took a nap in order to air both the room and my system out.  As I was falling asleep, I thought of all the people with MCS, Asthma and other Lung Conditions, and Neurological Diseases, who will unsuspectingly open an envelope and have their symptoms triggered, some will have an asthma attack, some a migraine, some even a seizure. 

It’s time to start writing letters I thought as I drifted off.  I need to start with writing Macy’s billing department.  Companies that scent their bills need to know that they are endangering their customers–those of us “Canaries” who are immediately effected as well as healthy customers whose body’s may someday be effected by exposure to neurotoxins and carcinogens.  One letter at a time…perhaps together we can get the perfume out of bills…and ultimately FDA regulation of the perfume industry.

*For more information on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity visit The Canary Report .

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