Interview of Anandi Smith
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and fibromyalgia. Environmental and disability activist.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and fibromyalgia. Environmental and disability activist.
- Smith, Anandi
- Persons Present:
- Smith and Kim
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted by telephone.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Kelsey Kim, graduate student interviewer, for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Anthropology, UCLA. Kim’s dissertation focuses on gender and racial inequalities in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.25 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Personal Background--Early exposure to pesticides--Frequent childhood illness--Wrist injury as trigger for fibromyalgia and chemical sensitivities--Challenges with getting diagnosis--Experience with medical field and qualifying for SSI--Breast cancer--CYP2D6 enzyme and link to chemical sensitivities--COVID-19 and being immunocompromised--Accessibility issues with MCS and fatigue--Navigating social settings and relationships with MCS--Advocacy for fragrance-free settings--Activism campaign to halt aerial pesticide spraying in populated Bay Area cities--Peer advocacy for people with chemical sensitivities--MCS online community--Neural retraining programs--Impact of gender identity and race on experience of illness--Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on rates of chronic illness and chemical sensitivity--Friend’s suicide due to chemical injury and chronic fatigue--Impact of MCS and fatigue on inability to work--Economic survival through sex work