L'Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec / Environmental Health Association of Québec

Members’ testimonies

Muriel Létourneau

I am Muriel Létourneau, I am 65 years old and I suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), particularly to scents and fragrances. Today I am sure that it happened because I was exposed to pesticides and insecticides. I started reacting to perfumes and It took a long time for me to find out what I was suffering from because it happened gradually and over a fairly long period of time. One day, I went to Google and typed in: ‘fragrance allergies’ and I landed on the website of the Environmental Health Association of Quebec. I contacted them and they were very helpful in explaining chemical sensitivities to me. They were there for me especially at that time when I had lost my job due to this condition. I thus obtained the disability pension from the Quebec pension (Régie des rentes du Québec), and avoided losing everything. It was around the time when the product ‘Snuggle’ was introduced on the market. I reacted extremely strongly. I react to laundry products. The odour of laundry is everywhere in the community. It is impossible to walk in the street at any time of the day and even in the early morning hours – the smell of these products emanates from people’s homes especially when they have the laundry machines or dryers running. There are even times when I have to close my windows because the smell is too intense … This condition has isolated me, no one really understands what is going on in my body and most think that I am exaggerating, that it is in my head, etc. The Association made me understand what was happening and that allowed me to emerge from severe depression following isolation, job loss and most recently the loss of my partner who also thought that I was exaggerating. Today, I work on accepting my condition and the isolation it causes. I continue to do outreach where possible, and I find all kinds of things to fill my time.

Manon Gagnon Picture

Manon Gagnon, Victoriaville

ASEQ was a great help to me after my diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity. The advice and support I received allowed me to return to my job by getting accommodations in the workplace. Without ASEQ’s help, this would not have been possible. I am extremely grateful to the Association.

Sylvie Hachée, Laurentians

What are the impacts of environmental sensitivities on my life?

I lost my social life. I can’t go to the restaurant, I can’t travel, I can’t go to the hairdresser and I can’t invite my friends or family over. The words « I can’t » are all my life now. I must refuse invitations; I must refuse to be approached by anyone… It’s a psychological torture. I have to avoid all non-essential trips and travels, because otherwise, I will suffer the impacts the following days. It is a life sentence of avoidance and isolation.

ASEQ-EHAQ has helped me by:

  • Referring a doctor
  • Organizing information workshops
  • Always being available to help me
Josy Ida Schwartz

Josy Ida Schwartz

My life changed in December 2019 following multiple allergic reactions to various chemicals (fragrances and perfumes, certain plastics and metals, inks, medicines, food, etc.). I had never heard of this type of problem. I became very anxious because the management of allergic reactions is often difficult. I try to find ways to relax and I consult professionals who help me. I am well surrounded by my spouse and my friends. I discovered ASEQ through one of its members. Suddenly, I felt less isolated with my new condition. I learned about their excellent work (literature, advice, healthy housing projects, workshops, petition, etc.). I know ASEQ is always listening and providing good advice! ”

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Subtitles available in English by clicking on the CC button