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A poisoned home life

For four years, she resisted eviction from a house facing High Parkslated for demolition, saying that leaving it would kill her because ofher acute environmental sensitivities.

Linda Sepp’s hostile world just got more hostile.

For four years, she resisted eviction from a house facing High Park slated for demolition, saying that leaving it would kill her because of her acute environmental sensitivities.

Now even her safe haven has turned against her.

Mould grows in the laundry room, making her sick when she opens the basement door, she says.

Shampoo, deodorant, soaps — scented products of any kind — induce symptoms ranging from nausea to mental confusion, making home-repair workers a threat.

The rental property is falling apart, causing traffic pollutants to blow in. Trace chemicals in city tap water pose a threat, meaning she must use glass-bottled water purchased at $1 a litre from her welfare cheque.

Sepp is to be evicted April 4 and she can’t find a chemical-free home to move to, she says.

“I can’t share air with people,” she says summing up her problems from disabilities known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Environmental Sensitivities, or MCS/ES.

“I wish I were a leper,” she also says. “(The government) would build a leper colony and we could help each other.”

Medical studies on environmental sensitivities are split. Some suggest the source of the problem is anxiety. Others conclude it is genetics.

“A genetic predisposition that interferes with the body’s ability to detoxify itself,” Dr. Riina Bray, medical director of environmental health at Women’s College Hospital, says siding with the second camp.

 
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