Shopping Centres Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Last week I was poisoned at Robina Town Centre.  Admittedly, the word “poisoned” may be a bit over the top, but not much.  I arrived there feeling fine, and within 30 minutes I felt slightly ill. In an hour I felt much worse, and after an hour and a half breathing the chemicals in the air, I started to faint.   Fortunately, there was someone there to catch me and help me to my car.

I would have complained to Robina Town Centre, or to some individual stores, but why bother?  They have never answered any letters or phone calls I’ve made about the quality of their air, and I’ve made a few during my 28 years as Director of Hippocrates Health Centre.  I made the calls because nearly everyone who attended our centre told us that they had to limit their time in shopping centres, or stay out of them entirely, because of the bad air.  Further, hundreds of persons in the many seminars I’ve given raised their hands when I asked if the air in shopping centres made them ill.

This is a scandal, and something needs to be done about it, for the sake of the people who work in the centres, day in, day out, breathing dangerous chemicals, many of which haven’t been properly tested, and some of which are well known to cause serious respiratory illnesses and cancer.   For sceptics, there is abundant, persuasive scientific proof of these dangers in books written by prestigious scientists.  

It’s clear that shopping centres are not going to do anything about this.   But unions and government agencies can, and should, do something to protect people from dangers in the workplace.    We customers have a choice – we can elect to shop in safe places, but shopping centre workers are economic captives! 


We have sent the above letter to several organisations that are in a position to make changes, and we will notify you when and if we hear from them. Meantime, let us know if spending time in a shopping centre leaves you feeling foggy-headed, dizzy and generally unwell, as so many people have reported to us.  

Yours in good health

Elaine Hollingsworth


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