We opened Refreshingly Free, LLC in December 2003 after my mother was diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity. She is unable to tolerate scents and smells in normal everyday activities and was forced to end her 20 year teaching career. It was difficult finding products for our families and homes that were acceptable to her and would allow her to be in contact with us. We began investigating the option of offering natural and fragrance free alternatives to those with chemical sensitivities, asthma and allergies as the number of people with these illnesses continue to rise.
In the last few years, we have done much research on the illness and the things that cause her so much discomfort. We are also concerned for others out there who may be suffering silently as she did for many years, not knowing that many of their problems may be linked to chemical encounters. Her reactions were so diverse it took three years to determine what was causing her illness. When my mother is exposed to fragrances whether it is perfume, synthetic fragrances, petroleum products or others, she has neurological problems such as neurocognitive dysfunction (inability to think, focus, remember) and neuromotor dysfunction (difficulty writing, walking). Her symptoms include nausea, extreme fatigue, sore throat, dizziness, heart palpitations, increased respirations, a metallic taste in her mouth, and flu symptoms.
A few of the products that will cause these symptoms are inks on newspapers and magazines, petroleum products, car exhausts, computer out gassing, perfumes, smoke, fragranced laundry and dishwashing detergents and any other product that has fragrance including most body care products. These reactions may be immediate or delayed for a day or so. The only relief from these symptoms was and is avoidance.
We hope by providing these non-toxic alternatives at our website, we can provide a service for those like my mother who are unable to shop and for others who want to prevent later health problems and by doing so we can be a small part in ensuring the health of our future.
We also realize that individuals have different levels of sensitivity so all products might not be suitable for all individuals. We also realize how expensive and discouraging it can be to buy products that you might not be able to tolerate. So we thought it would be very beneficial to offer samples of many of our products so that individuals can verify a product will work for them before purchasing larger sizes. We try to offer safer products but also realize that some people just need the products to be fragrance free. Therefore, there are several things we look for when adding new products to our site.
General Product Guidelines:
· First and foremost, we do require that all products are fragrance free and have no noticeable scent.
· If there is any noticeable scent to the products, we do list that on the items web page.
· Since we also have children, we are also looking for products that are safer for them.
· We look for those that contain less toxic ingredients than traditional products.
· We look for products to offer that are free of toxic or questionable chemicals.
· We look for those that are BPA, sulfate, and/or wheat/gluten free.
· We look for those that are organic, and eco friendly.
Each product will not meet all criteria so we offer several product lines. We also like to list the ingredients in the products on the product page so that our customers can review them for ingredients that may aggravate sensitivities or cause irritation. We realize that all products will not meet each individuals needs but try to offer something that might work for you. As always, please let us know if you have any questions, concerns or comments.
Jenny Webster, President
NOTE: If you want to share comments, stories or information about your illness or conditions, please feel free to email my mother at firstname.lastname@example.org