Written by Peyton Thomas, an Indoor Environmental Professional with ESG.
The article, “The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities”, makes the argument that the importance of making accommodations for people with environmental sensitivities transcends the health benefits for those people who are sensitive to things such as chemicals and electromagnetic phenomena. Harmful effects of ignoring the factors that cause environmental sensitivities include a decrease in worker productivity and increased absenteeism from work, as well as cases of new people developing sensitivities to aspects of their environment. Thus, it is important to accommodate people with sensitivities, as doing so can reverse these negative effects.
The author of this article discusses the symptoms that manifest due to environmental sensitivities, which range from flu-like symptoms to neurological troubles. Once someone has developed a sensitivity to an aspect of their environment, the recurrence of a symptom may occur at exposure levels that are well below the level that would affect most people. Due to this ease of recurrence, many people without sensitivities find it difficult to understand how something that doesn’t affect them at all can create such a debilitating condition in others, which often leads to the belief that environmental sensitivities are primarily a psychological issue. This, as the article states, is not entirely true, and the true nature of an environmental sensitivity is that it is a complex combination of both physical realities and psychological factors that create a serious medical condition.
The article ultimately argues that due to the harmful effects that this condition may have on one’s health, business productivity, and well-being, it is very important to find ways to address the factors in the environment that cause this issue. One quickly finds that many of the most effective remedies are inexpensive (education, choosing chemical products more wisely, and use of least-toxic cleaning and pest control), and even the more expensive remedies (renovation) tend to pay for themselves in the long run. Thus, it is unwise to ignore this issue due to the ease of accommodation and the positive impact that accommodating this condition can have on many different aspects of life and business.
We will be happy to provide a .pdf copy of the original article, “The Medical Perspectives on Environmental Sensitivities” written by Margaret E. Sears (M.Eng., Ph.D.) in 2007, upon request.