As consumers, we have the power to decide what to buy and when to buy it. According to Peter Walters, Director of Business Development, Two Degrees Food, “our American culture will be less about conspicuous consumption and more about “conscious consumerism.” Doing something like promoting health or giving back to the community, in some way, will be a necessity for companies both large and small if they want to keep their customer base.
“Your purchase decisions will begin to change over the next few years. In fact, it’s already happening as more social ventures pop up. After checking the ingredient label, you’ll also hunt for a [truthful, sustainable] mission statement. Customers will make purchases based not only on the quality of product, but also based on the integrity of the company and their mission!”
Who are you going to choose? Who are you going to close? It’s up to you, especially when it comes to your health.
Below is a sample format letter that you can send to your favorite or least favorite retailer, restaurant, health club, yoga studio, and the like to send them a message that our environment is not healthy anymore and that they are contributing to that health risk. Also provided are several corporate addresses to write to, certified letter, of course.
Please feel free to use this letter. And don’t forget to tailor paragraph 3 to record the symptom(s) you have experienced. Keep a copy for your records.
To all persons who suffer from toxic injury, dream big. Be the change. Ideas are not enough. Constructive action is now necessary, more than ever. We have the purchasing power to make the necessary changes for our health. Don’t let it be too late.
Dear [Corporate Office]:
I am sad to report that, over a period of time, I have not felt well going to your stores. Consequently, I will be shopping on Amazon.com for products, unless [Corporate Name] stops using artificial/synthetic chemical products to “freshen up the air.” [Personalize this paragraph]
The bathrooms are excessively perfumed with these products that contain toxins that go unregulated. Moreover, the entire [store or restaurant, health club, studios, or the like] emits odors from cleaning agents that also contain similar toxins. Please check out http://www.ewg.org so that your managers can make wise decisions on which products are safer for your customers and employees.
The last time I went into [one of your stores, restaurant, club], I got an instant headache. By the time I left, I was feeling dizzy and wondered if I could drive home safely. Nausea was another symptom.
You need to know that (1) over 20 million Americans are affected by toxins in these products; (2) people of all ages are developing a chronic condition (e.g., toxic injury such as multiple chemical sensitivities) for which there is no known cure other than non-exposure; and (3) more consumers are making decisions not to go into [stores, restaurants, clubs, studios…] that are offensive to them, meaning less consumer traffic, less profits, and potential closure of premises.
This chronic condition caused by toxic Volatile Organic Compounds and other chemicals varies from person to person. Even the conditions vary due to multiple sensitivities and include such symptoms as headaches, dizziness, nausea, dry eyes, memory loss, nosebleeds, vasomotor rhinitis, asthma, toxic encephalopathy, neurological and respiratory problems, chronic fatigue, cancer cells, etc. In the 90’s, for example, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) was considered an “imaginary” condition; in the 21st century, it has been recognized as a serious health problem and has been held up in the courts as a disability under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Although it is held that MCS can be preventable, too many products are poisoning the very air we breathe–indoors and outdoors–with hazardous fragrances being emitted unknowingly by many consumers. These products need to disappear from the marketplace if this Nation is to have a healthier citizenry.
Please give this letter your serious consideration in revising your corporate policies.
I look forward to receiving a positive response from [name of store….], as a community outreach effort for healthier neighborhoods. Please consider a fragrance-free policy as a best practice to achieve your business goals: more profits because your customers feel safer at your place than at other places. It could serve as an effective and responsible philanthropy that will not go unnoticed.
Enclosure [optional; a fact sheet from one of the MCS advocates]
[ A fact sheet from Ohio State: http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/pdf/0192.pdf; a fact sheet from MCS-Awareness.org: http://mcs-america.org/mcsfactsheet.pdf; fact sheet from MCSR.org: http://www.mcsrr.org/factsheets/What%20is%20MCS.pdf; a fact sheet from Mass. Office of Public Health: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/environmental/exposure/faq-multiple-chemical-sensitivity.pdf ]
Corporate mailing addresses
Target Corporation, 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Sears Corporate Office & Headquarters, 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
KMart Corporate Office & Headquarters, 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
Walmart Home Office, 702 SW 8th Street, Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
Publix Super Markets, Inc., 3300 Publix Corporate Parkway, Lakeland, FL 33811