Allergy Aware... supermarkets?
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Could your local shops be Australia’s pilot Allergy & Asthma Aware supermarket? I wrote this letter to my local supermarket and would love to be involved in making these changes someday.
With my lifelong experience with allergies & immune issues, I'm a passionate advocate for environmental health, particularly reducing chemical exposure in public and community spaces such as your fantastic supermarkets.
According to the National Asthma Council Australia and their Sensitive Choice Program, 2.5 million Australians, children and adults, currently experience asthma and one in three of us suffer from allergies. (Sensitive Choice, 2018)
I’ve just read through your inspiring Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020 and wondered if there could perhaps be an added focus on the air quality and accessibility of your stores for staff and customers suffering from allergies & asthma, and also for improved general health, which aligns so well with your strategic vision.
This could include air quality measures such as air conditioning & filters, and more importantly fragranced and VOC containing (volatile organic chemical) products such as
building materials & finishes chosen such as paints
cleaning products used, particularly during opening hours and sprayed around customers
the range of products & packaging in stock
perfumed products worn by staff & customers
Recent research from the University of Melbourne also shows that one in three Australians report health problems, such as migraine headaches, asthma attacks, rashes, dizziness, and breathing difficulties when are exposed to common fragranced consumer products such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products (Steinemann, 2018). At the more serious end, this is resulting in lost work days, jobs, and a 300% increased incidence Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in the last 10 years (ABC News, 2018).
I absolutely love the Sensitive Choice Program and am sure you are already working with them, but if not, they certify an increasing range of asthma and allergy friendly products across all of the areas mentioned above and I’m sure would be delighted to work with your leaders to create a strategic approach, building guidelines, fragrance free policy, product selection criteria and maybe a range of products.
On a much simpler level, I’d be delighted if the cleaning products used in store, particularly the cleaning sprays used at the self checkout, could be replaced with a simple, natural, Australian product such as Koh (www.koh.com). I use this everyday at home and it works brilliantly! It can be used for almost everything, is designed and produced in Australia, certified by the Good Environmental Choice Australia as well as HACCP, and is incredibly affordable in bulk.
I’m a graphic designer finding allergy freedom in simply natural living, and love sharing affordable tips and products in Health, Home, Cleaning, Body, Beauty, Style, Living through my ebook and website www.naturallyhealthyxo.com
I’d love to become a health advocate in Australia, working with both the amazing companies creating natural products, and the organisations determining the products used in public environments such as Woolworths, to make our communities not only more allergy-friendly, but healthier, more affordable and environmentally sustainable for all of us!
I'd be delighted to talk to anyone in your team if helping to make your stores even more inclusive for everyone, especially people experiencing allergies and asthma.
For more information on the organisations and research mentioned I’d love you to visit
Selected Publications by Dr. Steinemann