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Visiting a Victim of Chemical Sensitivity without Compromising Their Health





Gloria Gilbere

First-Hand Solutions Second-Hand Reactions








A regular column by Gloria Gilbère N.D., D.A.Hom., Ph.D.



Gloria Gilbère is an internationally respected traditional naturopath, homeopath and doctor of natural health. Author of the bestselling books 'I was Poisoned by my Body' and 'Invisible Illnesses', she restored her own health after suffering from leaky gut syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and now successfully helps others do the same. She focuses on finding drug-free solutions to 'invisible illnesses' such as these which she refers to as Multiple Allergic Response Syndromes (MARS™).


You can now benefit from Gloria's wisdom and experience by visiting us at The Environmental Illness Resource regularly to read her latest column!



Monday, January 28th, 2008:


Visiting a Victim of Chemical Sensitivity without Compromising Their Health


by Gloria Gilbère, N.D., D.A.Hom., PhD., Wholistic Rejuvenist



The Following is an actual case history. It is presented in this context to provide both acknowledgement of the medical condition known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivities or Multiple Allergic Response Syndromes (MARS) and as an educational tool so that you, and your interaction with others, becomes part of the solution not part of the problem.


These disorders are REAL and the numbers of victims will continue to escalate into the multi-millions unless each of us becomes aware and plays an integral part in making non-toxic choices.





I can't wait to get together, it has been so long since we last sat and chatted over a cup of tea. Life sure has changed in many ways since we last visited with each other, hasn't it? For me, interacting with other people is one of the hardest and most stressful things for me to deal with these days while having a difficult to control illness. Even well meaning people can cause me to have what may have started out as a "good day" into a life threatening medical nightmare or disaster. As if living with such a difficult health situation is not bad enough, it is often equally difficult for me to ask others not to make me ill in my own home by using various chemicals/products that seem completely harmless (to them). This causes an entire other set of issues due to isolation, alienation, resentment and even friends & family avoiding me because being in my company or visiting me is simply not "convenient" for my would be guest.


If you are planning to visit me at my home for a few minutes, hours, or for and extended over night stay, here are some basics, which may help make our visit enjoyable and lessen the chances of my becoming too ill to enjoy our visit as well as lessening your chances of feeling hurt, bad or embarrassed for contributing to my illness. After all, breathing is a necessity, chemicals and fragrances on ones body, hair and clothing are not. The truth of the matter is I have never really been in the company of another person who made me sick… it was the chemicals they had on their body, hair and clothes that has gotten my health to the compromised point in which it is today.



These are just some basics, better to ask me than to assume.


Personal hygiene simple rules-of-thumb:


If the word perfume or scented (natural or otherwise) is on the label of your product, don't use it before you come to visit me at my home … Yes, even your breath mints, gum and mint toothpaste smells could knock me for a loop.


Things you cannot smell affect me and make me pretty sick; after all, it's the chemicals not the odors that make me sick, so … just ask if you're in doubt.


Cosmetics have exemptions from labeling laws, they are literally allowed to state they are fragrance free, when they in fact do have fragrances in them referred and often labeled as "masking fragrance" which is used to cover up the smell of the product itself.


Obviously, chemicals are chemicals and fragrance is fragrance, it's in there and it will make me very ill.




All brands you can buy in a supermarket have fragrances in it, even baby shampoo. Please do not "drop in" after you have just come from the salon or you have just shampooed or colored your hair. This will make me sick. If you will be staying over night at our house, I will supply the guest bathroom with "safe" products (ones that do not make me ill) for you to use while visiting, including: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap etc.


Please DO NOT bring any of your own personal products into the house.


Soap is like shampoo.


The worse offenders to me are Dial Soap and ALL other "deodorant/scented" soaps.


Safer alternatives are easily available. Again, ask me and I will help you out here. Keep in mind that the soap you may wash your hands with in a public rest room or in an airplane before you get to my house will make me sick because chances are good that this soap will contain a perfume /fragrance.




Most all deodorants have fragrances or "masking fragrances" and other harmful chemicals in them. A good alternative is the crystal sticks, or any of the chemical free varieties. Try Arm and Hammer UNSCENTED or ask me which deodorant would be ok for you to use while you are visiting me at my home.


Hand cream


There does not seem to be any safe hand creams for people chemically sensitive. Best to leave yours at home. I have some nice "safe" lotion bars that are great even for your face.


Perfumes, fragrances, colognes, after shave, hair care products, nail polish and/or remover etc… I've just got to say NO!


There are not any "safe" products that I am not neurologically sensitive to. Please leave them all at home. Those "all natural" fragranced products are not safe around me either. While some products are worse than others, all WILL make me sick to some degree, probably too sick to enjoy your company.


Lotions, hair gel, hair spray...


Amazing how much stuff people pour on their body, hair and laundry every day, isn't it? Please do without these products around me, in our home or when visiting.


Clothing… What to avoid:


DO NOT WEAR --- Newly washed clothes, unless they are washed in baking soda and borax at least
4 to 6 times.


DO NOT WEAR --- Any/all clothes washed in any scented (natural or synthetic) detergents or bleach,
this will make me sick.


DO NOT WEAR --- Recently Dry-cleaned clothes until fully aired out


DO NOT WEAR --- Moth balled clothes


DO NOT WEAR --- ANY Clothes EVER previously washed or dried with fabric softener / dryer sheets of
any kind
. . . This is the worse for me and will make me very sick.


Bears repeating:


DO NOT WEAR --- ANY Clothes EVER previously washed or dried with fabric softener / dryer sheets of
any kind
. . . This is the worse for me and will make me very sick.


DO NOT HAVE --- Freshly polished nails (same day)… the same goes for "just" colored or permanent waved hair.

Just washed hands, which were washed with a bar or liquid soap, especially those containing fragrance or germicide (antibacterial).

New clothes – new fabrics are treated with formaldehyde and formaldehyde makes me terribly sick.


Do not pack (if you will be staying overnight) or wear clothes that have been in the closet next to other clothes, which have "lingering" perfume/cologne/aftershave smells, fabric softener smells, deodorant smells or detergent smells.


Overnight guests


I do not use any fragranced detergent, softeners or laundry/cleaning products. I wash clothes in borax and/ baking soda; it works well even for dirty work clothes. Chances are good if you are staying over for more than a couple of days, you will need to do a load of laundry.


Any clothing previously washed and/or dried using products that contain fragrances cannot go into my machines or come into the house for that matter. Even if they were washed and dried last month (fabric softeners and dryer sheets leave a long lasting waxy film that sticks on your clothing and machine FOREVER – this waxy chemical makes me very ill.


PS… MCS is NOT an allergy or an "allergic" reaction to "smells."


It is a serious and very difficult to manage neurological disorder triggered by chemicals. I am obviously much more neurologically/chemically sensitive now than I probably was the last time we saw each other, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy each others company and have some fun, it just means I need to be more careful to avoid Central Nervous System problems, seizures, migraines, anaphylactic reactions, or the need to be on oxygen.


On a more Personal Note about MCS:


If I were to tell someone that I had Cancer or Multiple Sclerosis lets say, that person I'm talking to can accept this in a detached, impersonal way. The issue usually does not personally challenge them. Now if I tell this person that perfumes, every day household chemicals, scented soaps and fabric softeners make me horribly sick, since he/she most likely uses one or more of these products regularly, the issue is immediately personal.


I am already sick and pray you will never be. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem!


Adapted by permission from “MCS Global” a Global Recognition Campaign for Victims of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (





Dr. Gloria Gilbère is a traditional naturopath, homeopath, doctor of natural health, a Wholistic Skin and Body Rejuvenist and creator of a certificated course by the same name that is taught all over the world. She is internationally respected as an authoritative influence in the causes, effects and drug-free solutions for Leaky Gut Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chemically Induced Immune System Disorders.


She is author of 9 books including: “I was Poisoned by My Body”, “Invisible Illnesses ”, "Nature's Prescription Milk: Discovering the Healing Powers of Goat-Milk Products ” and “Pain / Inflammation MATTERS ”


For details regarding:

  • Personalized consulting via telephone worldwide or at her office in Sandpoint, Idaho, USA;
  • Health education travel programs and lectures;
  • Certificated Wholistic Rejuvenation (WSBR™) classes for skin, spa, and health care professionals;
  • To purchase products used and recommended by Dr. Gilbère, her books, a list of her speaking and educational forums, and an archive of her articles, visit her website at



Learn more from Gloria's books:



I Was Poisoned By My Body, The Odyssey of a Doctor Who Reversed Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - Naturally!cover

I Was Poisoned By My Body, The Odyssey of a Doctor Who Reversed Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - Naturally!


» Buy Now


Invisible Illnesses

Invisible Illnesses

» Buy Now


Pain/Inflammation Matters: Recipes for Life

Pain/Inflammation Matters: Recipes for Life

» Buy Now







The information provided is not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cures for any condition, disease or disorder. It is presented as educational and investigative material and the consumer assumes full-responsibility for using any product, procedure, protocol or therapy.

Gloria E. Gilbère, LLC, and its representatives, does not warrant and shall have no liability for information provided in this newsletter or on this website, intended or implied. Consult your health care professional for medical-related conditions or concerns.





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