Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.


EHN [of California]
P.O. Box 1155
Larkspur, California, 94977-0074

Support and Information Line
(SAIL) 415.541.5075
A 501 (c) (3) non profit agency.


North Seattle Community College

Classroom Policy on
Environmental Illness & Solvent Sensitivity


The fragrances in aftershave, perfume, hair spray, cologne, detergents, shampoos, and many other products we encounter every day contain solvents which cause severe reactions in some people who have become sensitized to them. These reactions can be mild, such as a slight headache which might not even be recognized as the result of exposure to fragrance; or can also be so severe as to interfere seriously not only with study but even with everyday life. The National Academy of Sciences has stated that approximately ten to fifteen percent of the population suffers from some level of chemical sensitivity. Some students, faculty, and staff at NSCC have suffered severe adverse effects after even one smell of strong fragrance, and have become very ill.

This problem is not yet widely recognized as a problem, and as a result people do not realize that by using or wearing something with fragrance in it, they are jeopardizing someone else's health, and causing illness and distress. NSCC does have a policy requesting that people not wear fragrances or scented products in classrooms.

I am also asking that you refrain from using or wearing products which contain fragrance. Colognes, perfumes, aftershaves, and hair sprays are causing the most distress. If possible, it would be appreciated if you would avoid using these products. This will benefit you (these solvents are toxic to all of us, even when we don't notice it), and it will benefit those affected persons, some of whom may be saved great suffering. (It will also benefit me, since I have recently developed serious physical reactions to these fragrances and solvents.)

If you do find yourself reacting to something worn by a classmate or faculty member, please tell that person so they are aware of the problem. If someone in the classroom asks that you avoid using something that is causing them distress, please take into consideration their problem which causes them so much discomfort. This is a very personal subject, but please be kind and think of others' needs. (Since it is so easy to forget these things, you might even consider taping this note to your bathroom mirror as a reminder.)

Thank you for your consideration.

Dr Tom Kerns
Department of Philosophy
North Seattle Community College
9600 College Way North
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 526-7014

Dr. Kerns' Home Page

Curriculum Vitae



To learn more about NSCC, please visit their website


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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. Learn from the work of Julia Kendall, get The BEST of the Reactor, join EHN and receive The New Reactor. See what influence the Chemical Manufacturers have had against those of us with EI. The URL for EHN's website is