EHN [of California]
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Larkspur, California, 94977-0074

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A 501 (c) (3) non profit agency.


It's Personal!

From The New Reactor,Vol 6, No. 2: March - August 1996.
by Barb Wilkie

BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) has a phone number (see page 27*)to meet every need but one: Reporting fragranced laundry and personal care products that outgas into the ambient air -- our environment.

When I called 1.800.334.6367 to tell BAAQMD staff about outgassing fabric softeners and other fragrance products, the response was: "It's personal; there's no law against it. Besides, it is not a mobile source." The representative would not log my call even when I explained that factories weren't "mobile sources."

I explained that outgassing detergent and fabric softeners permeate neighborhoods -- especially near apartments and laundromats. I told her that fragrance products worn by people a block away adversely affect the chemically sensitive. I elaborated, telling her that the industry is unregulated and their products are made with untested combinations of petrochemicals, and that that is an air quality concern! She repeated, "It's personal."

I told her that breathing was VERY personal, adding that breathing has been acknowledged as a necessary part of living by the Americans With Disabilities Act. "Sorry!" said she, "but there is nothing we can do about fragrance products. It's personal." (Do you think she thought that if she repeated the phrase often enough, I'd catch on?)

Now, I challenge you, and YOU and YOU to call 1.800.334.6367 if fragrance products make your face go numb, or cause you to fall because of motor function impairment or trigger your asthma. If all of us call 1.800.334.6367, perhaps that first [local] step will be taken in regulating fragrance products.

Remember: If you smell it, you breathe it; and, you breathe it even if you don't smell it!

EHN's General Links, page F / Fabric Softeners
You CAN use safer alternatives! You just have to be wise enough to do so.
There is no reason for anyone's favorite product to pollute the air for all for blocks around, yet
everytime a person uses a mainstream brand of fabric softeners, that is exactly what that person
is doing. Plus, polluting our air, those toxins are flushed downstream, where the chemicals
can adversely affect wildlife. -- barb


For more on the toxic chemicals in fabric softeners, see Julia Kendall's
Fabric Softeners = Health Risks From Dryer Exhaust and Treated Fabrics

And then, a personal account of trying to deal with our local Air Resources Board . . .
Year End Story Time: A Family Visit (AKA The Fabric Softener Story)
By Barb Wilkie; The New Reactor; Nov-Dec 1999; Vol. 9 , No. 6

* From The New Reactor, Vol 6, No. 2: March - August 1996; page 27.

Now, in 1999, I suggest you visit BAAQMD's web site

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)

To reach BAAQMD on general topics call 1.415.771.6000. To listen to (SF Bay) areawide reports of air quality readings and next-day forecasts, call 1.800.794.7664. You can also get the air quality readings, plus a small menu of options by calling BAAQMD's Help Air line 1.800.435.7247. Call Public Affairs, 1.415.749.4990 to request a complete list of available brochures. Some are --

  • Aerosol Spray Paint
  • Air Quality Permits
  • Complaint Procedures
  • Global Warming
  • Odors ...
There is a new number for BAAQMD's line to address air quality matters or to lodge complaints: 1.800.334.6367 (the number in the SF phone book has been disconnected -- without a referral). Call BAAQMD to tell them about chemical fragrance products polluting your air, and while you are at it, complain about their "dead" phone number!

Would it were that the SF Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
would get IT! as has the Air Resources Board of southern California. Read:

For excellent information on health effects of fragrances, visit Fragranced Products Information Network:

Please put WWW in subject line. Thanks.

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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. EHN brings you topics on this page that need your immediate attention The URL for this page is