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Individual Sensitivities: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Posted on January 06, 2015
by Wendy Stackhouse

Have you ever been the only person to notice a smell? Did the people around you look at you like you were a little crazy? You probably just have individual sensitivities that the others do not–you are more sensitive to the indoor air contaminant creating the odor than the other people in the room.

Individual sensitivities are funny, unless you’re the sensitive one. But even just one person reacting to environmental contaminants may be an important sign of a sick building or a facility that could use some environmental maintenance work.

Here’s a short video from the Indoor Air Quality Association about the value of individual sensitivities:

[jwplayer mediaid=”5075″]

If you are a sensitive individual, you have the right to be taken seriously. Just because you may be the only person reacting to a particular contaminant or in a particular location does not mean that that contaminant is not harming others as well. It maybe as simple as looking for something in ductwork, like a dead animal, or something more complicated like mold growing where no one can see it, but your health could be at risk.

It can be hard to persevere when you are alone in your sensitivity to a certain substance or odor, but everyone around you is also being exposed, whether they know it or not. Your landlord, your building manager, your facilities department are all responsible for making sure your environment is safe and healthy. Don’t give up!

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