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Mette Kalleberg lives in Norway and she get sick from perfume, both first hand, second hand and third hand.
Article in Norwegian Aftenposten. Published: 06 June 2011 12:49 Updated: 06 June 2011 13:05
Article translated in English:
Perfume affect health
Mette Kallenberg can not tolerate perfume smell. It is far from easy in a world where everything smell of fragrance.
Chemical environmental intolerance experts call it. For 44-year-old Mette Kallenberg implies the condition make that she can not associate with people who smell of detergents, shampoo or perfume. There are few places she can stay indoors, and even at her home condo in Sandnes she risks the neighbor’s laundry sends dangerous scents to her.
So little is needed to make a bad day
– It takes so little, that’s the problem. One time I was sick from a student who herself was perfume free, but who had given his father a hug before he went in the morning – with a chin full of aftershave, she said.
Physician and Professor Kjell Aas do not call people with illnesses like Mette Kalleberg a patient, she is a person in risk. Professor Kjell Aas is one of few medical specialists in Norway who has been involved in environmental inhibition studies.
– Chemical Environmental Intolerance is a form of environmental inhibition, as compared with the cases of allergies and pronounced manifestations of hypersensitivity, and asthma. As long as they are in the right environment, it is appropriate to call them “person at risk”, but they are the patients when the environment is wrong, he says.
Mette Kalleberg’s state can easily be confused with extreme allergies. The symptoms are similar, and Kallenberg has, like many others having MCS, also some allergies. However, the difference is significant, not only cause. While allergies can be detected by simple tests, MCS which only shows up in subjective symptoms.
– We are talking about a disorder of the inner chemistry, a biochemical disorder. We have a wonderful system, where cells make chemicals that are sent to other cells. It is a fabulous but fragile system. Actually, it’s amazing that we are not sick all of us, says Kjell Aas.
There are few figures on the extent of the chemical environment intolerance in Norway. Kjell Aas has been in contact with about a hundred people who are affected, in Denmark it is believed that as many as 17,000, one-half percent of the population, are seriously ill from perfumes and content of other smells.
Health Directorate collaborates with medical Kjell Aas a book Environmental inhibition, which are these days. Children and Family Affairs provides financial support, and the book will be right on the Internet, available to all.
– I hope the right people in Norwegian Social Security Dep, Nav will read it, said Professor Kjell Aas.
Chemical environmental intolerance is actually no recognized diagnosis in Norway, unlike in some states in the U.S. and Canada, and in Germany and Austria. For Kallenberg and others in her situation, it offers challenges.
– I have been fully and partially on sick leave since 2004, which means that I have been on rehabilitation and reintegration, and now I’m on it called rehabilitation money. Nav will consider my so called capacity for work, but the thing is that in an environment where I was not exposed, I am completely healthy and able to work, while I was in a different environment is completely disabled. I am 100 percent the mercy of my environment, and it has been almost impossible to find the right one, because employers are unable to provide for me, she says.
She has managed to get to a perfume and odor-free working environment, fortunately, thanks to colleagues who would like to contribute. Kallenberg is a graduated preschool teacher, and has additional training as a music therapist with 23 percent position in a school in Sandnes. There, she works as a music therapist and special educator for multi handicapped children, in a department where no perfume either themselves or their clothes, and where all cleaners are fragrance-free.
– I can not praise my colleagues enough, which makes it possible for me to work, she smiles.
I think everyone should be like Mette Kalleberg’s colleagues.
Article in Norwegian Aftenbladet.no: