Zenyu’s New Fragrance-Free Policy

As part of our sometimes-clumsy path towards addressing our own ableism, we are introducing a new fragrance-free policy at all Zenyu events starting this month.  This has been a long time coming and we deeply apologize to those community members who have been shut out of our events (and gotten sick) because this policy was not in place earlier. We welcome all of you to support our endeavor by wearing products that are free of artificial AND natural scents, including essential oils. For more information on how to do this, check out: http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html
We know this can be quite a shift for many people (including ourselves) but it can also be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to be more conscious of the products that we use, both for the sake of others and for our own health. Here’s a brief FAQ on why this ish is important! Thanks to Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashina, from whose awesome blog post we will shamelessly quote and draw from!

ImageWHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS? ISN’T THAT JUST SOMETHING A FEW WHITE HIPPIES CARE ABOUT?

More and more people are coming out about having chemical sensitivities, or what some folks refer to as chemical injury. There are many of your friends who have asthma, have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, have been through chemo, etc, who don’t mention it cause they don’t feel entitled or want to get in a fight, but if you cut down on scents, they will be really happy. A lot of people are chemically injured through doing industrial labor: cleaning houses, using or being exposed to pesticides as farmworkers, and growing up in neighborhoods with a lot of industrial pollution. Chemical sensitivity is a POC issue.Folks who have everything from asthma to chemo to rheumatoid arthritis have noticed that cigarettes, perfume (which legally can have stuff like arsenic in it and the makers don’t have to declare it), scented personal care products, pesticides, and car exhaust make them really sick.

THIS INFO IS OVERWHELMING! WHERE DO I EVEN START?

To be honest, we get overwhelmed also! One place we have started is by buying completely fragrance-free laundry detergent. We got the hippie brand 7th Generation but there are lots of good, affordable ones out there including an excellent one at Trader Joe’s. Also we are committed to phasing out our smellier body and hair products. We are running on a dental-floss budget here at Zenyu and currently can’t justify spending all that money to replace everything (lotions, face stuff, hair products, etc) at the same time since we can barely pay our rent.  However all of these things run out, and when they do, we are running to Trader Joe’s, PCC and to Fierce Bodies to replenish! In the meantime, to prepare for all Zenyu events, we shower without soap or shampoo on the day of, and revel in our own delicious natural smells!
For more info, read Leah’s awesome blog post at http://www.brownstargirl.org/1/post/2012/03/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15.html.  She gives tons of useful resources and other good ways to start.
Holla if you have any questions!
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