I admit I'm feeling discouraged. Ginormous multinational companies own the world. They seem impervious to any change us wee mortals might wish to make. They do what they want, they make lots of money and that's that. But what if we could do something to affect them? What if we had more power than we thought? Think about it: The tobacco companies went about their business making cigarettes and handing them out to unsuspecting men and women in the work force and in the military. Pretty soon the tobacco companies had an addicted consumer base. Cigarette smoking was normal, it was average, it was everywhere. I'm sure you've seen movies from the '50's and '60's in which everyone is smoking. It was no big deal. And those companies just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and more powerful. They had (and still do have) very powerful lobbyists and congressmen. But they've taken hit after hit and they're shrinking. Maybe the day will come when they won't exist. But don't think for a minute that they're not still playing the game -- they want your money and they don't give a flying fuck about your health, no matter how much they want you to think otherwise. It's absolutely no different with a company like L'Oreal or SCJohnson. Do not think for one minute that they are not all about the bottom line. They only only ONLY care about money. They do NOT care about you, your family, your health. They do not. They will go to any lengths to protect their market share, to continue to sell products and to make the hugest possible profit.

Side note: Back in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council took it upon themselves to test 14 air fresheners for phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) -- hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. None of the 14 products listed phthalates as an ingredient but 86% (12 of 14) of the products tested, including those advertised as "all-natural" or "unscented," contained phthalates. You can read NRDC's complete report here. Well, 4 of the 12 that contained phthalates are products made by the SCJohnson Company. The day after the NRDC report was released SCJohnson peed their pants and started waving their arms about the inaccuracy of the study, the bias of NRDC and so on. Hmmmm. Methinks thou doth protest too much. If you want to read Johnson's denial of responsibility it's here. Why would they go off like that? Doesn't that tell you something? It says to me they're scared. It also says to me they will probably be looking for ways to get rid of phthalates (without admitting any wrongdoing) from their products. But they'll do it quietly and in a way that will allow them to later say "See, we really do care about you and your family." Such bullshit.

What matters is that we do something. We can make a difference. We can change things that we don't like. I know it's hard. I know those companies are huge. But I also know it's possible to make them do the right thing. The NRDC's report did something. I know, I know-- you and I are not going to be conducting lab tests anytime soon. But we can boycott products that we know are going to hurt us and our loved ones. That's an excellent start. Use resources like SkinDeep and Guide to Less Toxic Products, be a smart consumer. Tell those big bullies you're mad as hell and you're not going to take it any more!


Colonel Forbin said...

My life has been turned upside down by my co-worker. I feel like my health is being affected. I have never had a problem with scents. Since sitting with the toxic scent monkey I have felt like my health is declining. I wrap a scarf around my face and breath through my mouth every day until about 11:00 or 12:00 when her perfume begins to wear off... or I get used to it. My big fear is that I will have long term health issues from breathing what I feel are toxic fumes. My doctor told me that I need to see a heart specialist (he knows nothing of stinky Merry). I have noticed rapid heart rates when I smell her. I think they are related.

Self-righteous said...

You do not have to tolerate this situation. You have as much right to clean air as she has a "right" to wear loud scents. Go to her boss, but take some ammunition with you. Look around the web for a study that shows perfume irritates people's eyes. There are plenty. Just google perfume is toxic. Then ask for some help. She must tone down or eliminate her perfume use. There may even be cases of worker's comp for things like this.
Let us know what happens.

Just Bill said...

Some years ago, I had to share a cubicle with a woman who wore tons of perfume (and 'way too much makeup). It was quite unpleasant to work in that environment. Now, I realize it was also unhealthy. There should be rules to ban these substances in "captive" environments where you have no option of leaving.