The Safe As Houses Project for Low Emission, Low Allergen (LELA) Housing and Gardens
MCS-Aware Housing Survey
MCS-Aware has run a survey to assess the needs of people with chemical and electro-sensitivities. The survey has now finished and results will be published later this year. Following on from the survey we will apply for funding to produce guidelines for housing for people with MCS and a second guide for landlords and housing authorities. The survey results will also provide evidence to the public and UK government to raise awareness of the challenges Environmental Illness sufferers face. The project will culminate in a Housing Advocate to directly help people with EI find safe housing. If you would like to donate towards this project, please click here.
1. LELA Chemical Respite Shelter:
This is a voluntary project in Somerset to build a temporary shelter for someone with severe chemical and electrical sensitivity. It is based on an untreated ash frame, with organic spelt straw bale insulation, dragon board roof panels and foamglas (glass pellets) for underfloor insulation. You can read more about the project here and see a video here. and here. The shelter will be lived in and tested by Gillian McCarthy who is a severe MCS and EHS sufferer. NEW: READ THE LATEST UPDATE HERE. The project is nearing completion but needs a final push in funding. If you would like to donate to this project please click here. A full report and photos are in the summer 2014 issue of the MCS-Aware Magazine.
2. LELA EHS Shelter:
This is a project coordinated by one of our members to build a test shelter to investigate rammed earth building techniques for shielding microwaves, and see how it is tolerated by MCS and EHS sufferers. He aims to build a small shelter in Cambridge that can be slept in overnight to test it's suitability. Rammed earth seems to provide a cheap and effective solution to EHS shielding.
3. LELA HOUSE for severe sufferers
This project is coordinated by Gillian McCarthy (our scientific advisor). She is aiming to raise £10,000 to complete research and architect's blueprints for a Low Emission Low Allergy (LELA) house which can be adapted for sufferers of chemical and electro-sensitivities around the UK. You can donate directly to this project:
4. Low Emission Low Allergy Gardens
The SAH trial garden is located in Wincanton, Somerset. The project is coordinated by Gillian McCarthy (scientific advisor to MCS-Aware). Planting includes rare food plants that are useful for severe food intolerance. Trees, shrubs and flowers are chosen for their low-allergen properties. This includes those that are insect pollinated (not wind pollinated) and are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Typically they are also low in fragrances. It is possible to have a beautiful, useful LELA garden that can contribute in a positive way to recovery - see the article at the end of this page. Gillian has drafted a book about LELA gardens and is advising on a second LELA garden in Hertfordshire. Read more here.
Support group members can benefit from discounts on a range of organic seeds and gardening products. The aim is to enable people with Environmental illness to grow their own organic food cheaply to improve their health, and to promote enjoyment from gardening. We have regular articles in our magazine with suggestions for MCS-friendly planting. Read more here.
TO download an article by Gillian McCarthy discussing the needs of sufferers of Environmental Illness click on this link: Canaries or Cassandras? (PDF 190KB)
The following links are to other useful websites:
Re|shelter is a non-profit, charitable 501(c)3 corporation founded to address the urgent need for housing alternatives for people with environmental sensitivities. Based inthe USA , they offer excellent information about housing and grants to help people with EI adapt their homes.
Safer Constructions Tips: Re|shelter have produced this excellent 38 page guide for anyone with EI building or remodelling their own home
The Domestic Chemical Cocktail: a pdf download from the 5th Warwick Healthy Housing Conference highlighting the principal sources of toxicity in buildings in the UK
Safe in a Secluded Valley Example of a house build for EI in Arizona
Blueprint for a Healthy Home Tips for redecorating (USA)
So you want to build a house MCS article by Peter Ruggles
electro-magnetic survey of a home by Andrew Eriksen
MCS-America - excellent detailed tips for living with MCS and EHS