People with chemical and/or electromagnetic sensitivities can experience debilitating reactions from exposure to extremely low levels of common chemicals such as pesticides, cleaning products, fragrances, and remodeling activities, and from electromagnetic fields emitted by computers, cell phones, and other electrical equipment.
The severity of sensitivities varies among people with chemical and/or electromagnetic sensitivities. Some people can enter certain buildings with minor accommodations while others may be so severely impacted that they are unable to enter these same spaces without debilitating reactions. Furthermore individual tolerances to specific exposures can vary greatly from one individual to the next. Meanwhile some exposures, such as the application of certain pesticides or extensive remodeling, for example, may be devastating to all chemically sensitive people and make a building or facility inaccessible for a substantial period of time.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability laws, public and commercial buildings are required to provide reasonable accommodations for those disabled by chemical and/or electromagnetic sensitivities. These accommodations are best achieved on a case-by-case basis.
Reasonable accommodations for a chemically sensitive and/or electromagnetically sensitive individual can include providing a space or meeting area that addresses one or more of the Cleaner Air criteria, upon request, such as
- Remove fragrance-emitting devices (FEDS)
- Delay or postpone indoor or outdoor pesticide applications, carpet cleaning, or other cleaning or remodeling until after the meeting
- Provide room or meeting area near exterior door or with window(s) that can be opened
- Require cell phones and computers be turned off
- Provide incandescent lighting in lieu of fluorescent lighting
- Provide at least one nonsmoking, fragrance-free person per shift to provide services (e.g. nurse, police officer, security guard, clerk )
For individuals who are unable to use or meet in a building or facility, or who are too severely impacted by chemical and/or electromagnetic exposures to use a designated Cleaner Air Room, accommodations may include:
- Meet an individual at the door or outside to conduct business
- Allow a person to wait outside or in car until appointment
- Provide a means, such as a phone, intercom, bell, or buzzer to summon staff to an outside door for assistance
- Permit business to be conducted by phone, fax, mail, or e-mail rather than in person
- Allow participation in a meeting by speakerphone