Click here to donate to our fragrance-free campaign or our general fund.
CSF Board Members

Alison Johnson, Chair
Topsham, Maine

Varda Burstyn
Peterborough, Ontario

Pamela Gibson, PhD
Churchville, Virginia

Jeffrey May
Tyngsborough, Massachusetts

L. Christine Oliver, MD
Boston, Massachusetts

Robert Weggel
Reading, Massachusetts

  Fragrance-Free Workplaces: Wave of the Future?

Help change the world one card at a time. Click here for more information about obtaining these 2" x 3.5" cards to hand out to friends, relatives, businesses, etc. The cards provide relevant websites on the reverse side.


Unfortunately, the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation has no money available to help individuals with workplace issues, housing, or legal problems. We do not have a salaried staff to answer your questions and suggest that you read the articles reached by the links on the left of this page. Of particular importance are “Searching for an Elusive Cure,” “Heating Systems and Gas Stoves,” and “Air Quality Testing.”



Welcome to the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation

The primary goal of the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, is to raise public awareness about multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). The following video will help viewers understand this condition that is making it extremely difficult for large numbers of people to remain in the workforce or find a safe place to live.

Fragrance-Free Workplaces

Produced and Directed by Alison Johnson

This film covers not only fragrance issues but also presents an overview of multiple chemical sensitivity. It features Dr. L. Christine Oliver, an Associate Clinical Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Co-Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. The film also contains footage of an interview with the former Commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Dr. Ronald R. Blanck. People with MCS in the film include Gulf War veterans and survivors of the 9/11 WTC attacks, as well as people from all walks of life.

New CDC Policy Limits the Use of Fragranced Products in All CDC Facilities Nationwide

In June 2009, the CDC implemented a new indoor environmental quality policy for all its facilities. This policy prohibits, among other things:

  • Incense, candles, or reed diffusers
  • Plug-in or spray air fresheners

The policy also states: "[The] CDC encourages employees to be as fragrance-free as possible when they arrive in the workplace. Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment, and the use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines."

View the entire 13-page CDC policy.

Recent Research from Dr. Anne Steinemann

Dr. Anne Steinemann, formerly a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Public Affairs at the University of Washington, has recently published important research documenting the presence of a large number of toxic chemicals in widely used fragranced products, including detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners, disinfectants, cleaning products, shampoos, and other household and personal-care products.

Read more about Dr. Steinemann's research

Useful information from publications by members of the CSF Board:

Videos and books by Alison Johnson, Chair of the CSF

Visitors to Johnson's website,, can learn about her documentaries and read excerpts from her books.

Click here to read the Introduction to Johnson's book Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity Read the Introduction to Johnson's book Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity, which traces the development of multiple chemical sensitivity in Exxon Valdez clean-up workers, veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, First Responders and others exposed to the toxic aftermath of 9/11, and Katrina victims housed in toxic FEMA trailers.
Click here to read Chapter 1 of Johnson's book Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity Read Chapter One of Amputated Lives, "The Struggle to Find a Safe Workplace."
Click here to read Chapter 2 of Johnson's book Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity Read Chapter Two of Amputated Lives, "The Elusive Search for a Place to Live."
Click here to read Chapter 2 of Johnson's book Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity Read Chapter Three of Amputated Lives, "The Consequences of Disbelief."

What Is MCS?
This is the first section of a booklet published by Ann McCampbell, M.D.
Read more

Making Your Environment Safe
This is the first section of Chapter Four in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide by Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D.
Read more

HUD Considers Multiple Chemical Sensitivity to be a Disability

Another goal of the Foundation is to call attention to the housing problems faced by those with multiple chemical sensitivity. There is a great need for housing that is constructed, remodeled, or furnished in such a way as to minimize the use of building materials and furnishings that contain and release formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that can cause severe problems for the chemically sensitive. We also believe that it is important to educate landlords about the effects that their pest-control or cleaning chemicals can have on the chemically sensitive. In 2004 the Foundation provided seed money to produce a DVD to raise awareness about chemical sensitivity among landlords serving renters receiving funds from programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This DVD contains an introduction from Bennie Howard, then Acting Deputy Director for the Office of Disabilities at HUD, in which he stated that HUD considers multiple chemical sensitivity to be a disability under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Click here to read Bennie Howard's complete statement.

Guide to the HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program for Persons Disabled with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

This important new 21-page booklet full of useful information will help chemically sensitive people better understand and navigate the bureaucratic intricacies of this program that can assist them to obtain accessible affordable housing. Author R. S. Hurley states in her Introduction: “Do not simply take ‘no’ for an answer. Instead, use the HUD regulations and Public and Indian Housing (PIH) notices in this booklet to help you get what you need.” She provides detailed information about whom to contact at HUD and how to frame your requests in the most effective way, and she also includes sample letters. Click here for further information.

NIEHS Seminar: "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity"

A major milestone in the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation’s efforts to raise awareness about chemical sensitivity occurred in October 2010, when Chair Alison Johnson was invited to present a seminar titled “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Rapidly Growing Disorder” at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a branch of the NIH. This event was cosponsored by the NIEHS National Toxicology Program and the NIEHS Disability Advocacy Committee.

Click here for the article about the seminar appearing in the December issue of the NIEHS newsletter.

Chemical Sensitivity Bibliography

Our efforts to raise awareness about chemical sensitivity include the distribution of a twelve-page selected bibliography of studies and articles on chemical sensitivity published in peer-reviewed journals. The amount of solid research on this subject is expanding each year, and we believe it is important to alert physicians and researchers to scientific information on this condition that is as yet not always recognized or understood. One of our goals in distributing this list is to stimulate other scientists to consider launching research studies in this field.

Click here for the Selected Bibliography of Research Articles.





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Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, P.O. Box 283, Topsham, ME 04086