Interview of Amy Marsh
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Former president and board member of the Environmental Health Network of California.
- 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. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Former president and board member of the Environmental Health Network of California.
- Marsh, Amy
- Persons Present:
- Marsh and Bloom
- 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:
- The interview was conducted by Molly Bloom, MA, Graduate Student Researcher, UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Bloom’s dissertation focuses on community among people with disabilities.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading literature on MCS, such as Juliene Lipson’s peer reviewed article, “Multiple Chemical Sensitivities: Stigma and Social Experiences,” and Amy Marsh’s personal website, “Amy Marsh, Sexologist and Hypnotist: Supporting Your Sexual Human Rights & Quest for Pleasure,” as well as a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.75 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--In utero exposure to chemicals due to father working as crop duster--Pregnancy hormonal changes cause vulnerabilities to MCS--Working with striking farmers--Promoting women’s involvement in outer space exploration--Activism and living in San Francisco--Starting a furniture finishing business--Miscarriage while learning furniture finishing and working with barium--Piecing together chemicals and illness--Meeting others with environmental illness--Difficulties of living with MCS--Pursuing homeopathic remedies--Difficulty of having a fragrance-free birth plan--Doula training--Attending school for sexology--Private practice and enforcing a fragrance-free policy--Learning about environmental illness in Hawaii--Tenure as president of Environmental Health Network--Researching effects of toxic chemicals on people’s sex lives--Teaching at Sex Coach University on eco-sexology--Difficulty of being in public spaces and living with MCS--High suicide rate among MCS community due to overwhelming social isolation--Future of MCS-- Legislating fragrance like cigarettes--Gendered aspect of toxin exposure