Interview of Portia Anon
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Advocate and educator on chemical sensitivity, fragrance, and increasing medical understanding of MCS.
- 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). Advocate and educator on chemical sensitivity, fragrance, and increasing medical understanding of MCS.
- Anon, Portia
- Persons Present:
- Anon and Yiu
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- 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 Wei Si Nic Yiu, a graduate student researcher, for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.5 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.
Introduction into childhood living environments--Family’s background and memories of childhood home--Recognition of change in health at the workplace--First experience with medical professionals from hyperventilating--Researching about MCS with mom--Experience with dealing with anesthesiologist who didn’t understand MCS--Adapting to feel more comfortable in public spaces--Health and chemical exposure of then-boyfriend and now husband--Dermal reactions from coworkers--Husband and family’s understanding and support of health--Treatment from coworkers--Previous work at a swimming pool with chemical exposure--Inability to recall and concentrate--Social relationships and recuperation time--Going to school for master’s while working as an infection control consultant--Accommodations in the workplace with current employer and previous employers--Online schooling--Employment Insurance (EI)--Family doctor and environmental health clinic--Need more knowledge among health practitioners on MCS--Process of making lifestyle changes and accommodating sensitivity--Current living situation--Not her place to tell others to make lifestyle changes for her--Reasons for MCS being a difficult illness--Husband for support and online community as resource--More education than activism--Advice for others with MCS--Proud achievements--Creative outlets and activities--Why women are more vulnerable to MCS--Suggestions for societal and industry changes