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Choose Friendships Over Fragrances - Sherri and KarynSherri Connell, who lives with Environmental Illness (also referred to as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chemical Injury or Toxic Encephalopathy) wanted to find out what friends and family were thinking when she asks them to go fragrance free in order to visit with her. In this video, Sherri is talking with friend, Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN.

This is an impromptu interview to help bring awareness about such conditions and to encourage loved ones to make some changes in their lives so that millions of people like Sherri don’t have to miss out on dinners with family, time with friends and live a life of isolation.

Research done in 2004, 2005 and 2009 by Stanley M.Caress and Anne C. Steinemann “… found that nearly 38% of Americans report adverse effects when exposed to some kind of fragranced product” (Caress and Steinemann). With approximately 310 million people in America in 2010, that is almost 117 million Americans who report adverse effects to normal, everyday products.

“As we can imagine, people living with Environmental Illness often experience limited access into public places, issues at work and inability to attend functions with friends and family. Regrettably, these barriers can lead to loneliness, isolation and feeling abandoned when loved ones choose not forgo the fragrances that cause these problems.

Therefore, if our loved one is telling us they are getting debilitating migraines, dizziness or fatigue from our laundry detergent, maybe we should consider simply switching it out so that they may remain a part of our lives” adds Sherri Connell.

DISCLAIMER: The people in this video are not employees of IDA nor are they medical experts. We are simply sharing their story in order to help others living with Environmental Illness. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of IDA. IDA is not a legal or medical authority nor are we scientists. Please consult a professional for any medical advice.


For more information on the Choose Friendships Over Fragrances project, visit the Cleaner Indoor Air Campaign (CIAC).

CIAC is a Campaign of the Invisible Disabilities Association – A 501(c)3 non-profit organization that encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and injury around the globe.

Caress and Steinemann

Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN

Sherri Connell