MCS America

Thirty-Four Governors Proclaim May 2007 for Awareness of Pollution and Chemical Induced Illnesses!

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Source: MCS America

Thirty-seven proclamations for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), toxic injury (TI), or chemical sensitivity (CS) have been signed by governors of 34 states! This year’s proclamations represent the largest signing of any past year, indicating increased awareness of these debilitating environmental illnesses.

Multiple chemical sensitivity is an environmental illness which causes negative health effects in multiple organ systems (Gibson, 2003, Rea et al, 2006). Respiratory distress, seizures, cognitive dysfunction, heart arrhythmia, nausea, headache, and fatigue are among the many symptoms that result from exposure to levels of common chemicals such as perfumes, fragrances, cleaners, and pesticides that are normally deemed as safe (Gibson, 2003, Rea et al, 2006). In 1999, consensus criteria were established for the diagnoses and definition of MCS (Joffres et al, 2005). The criteria define MCS as symptoms that are reproducible with repeated chemical exposure, are chronic, appear at levels of exposure lower than previously tolerated, improve or resolve when incitants are removed, appear in response to multiple chemically unrelated substances, and which involve multiple organ systems that commonly include the cardiac, pulmonary, and neurological systems (Joffres et al, 2005).

The effect of these illnesses reaches beyond the individual to the parent, the social system, the work force, school curriculum, medical providers, care providers, and the welfare system (Muir & Zegarac, 2001). Therefore affects the pocketbooks of every taxpaying citizen (Muir & Zegarac, 2001). Cumulative social and economic costs identified in four case studies of illnesses that are candidates for environmental causation totaled between $568 billion and $793 billion dollars per year in Canada and the United States (Muir & Zegarac, 2001).

Neurodevelopmental disorders cost the United States $81.5 to $167 billion annually and Methylmercury induced toxicity alone is estimated to cost $8.7 billion dollars in lost productivity in the United States (Szpir 2006). Sixty-seven percent of chemicals imported into the United States have not been examined for neurotoxicity and could be a further contributing factor (Szpir 2006). The costs of reduced IQ in the United States alone in 1987 may have reached $327 billion (Muir & Zegarac, 2001).

The most effective treatments to date involve avoiding all chemicals, creating a chemical-free living space, and various methods employing detoxification to reduce body burden of toxicants (Gibson, 2003). Many report they had successful, professional careers prior to becoming ill and reported that they would happily resume their old lives if they could find relief from their MCS (Gibson, 2005). Part of this relief includes proper accommodations for MCS in the workplace and school system so that patients may return to productive work and school.

To create a workplace and school without toxicants would benefit all who occupy it and prevent toxic injury to healthy occupants. No one is safe from this mass pandemic. These illnesses pose a clear threat to our welfare, social security, and disability systems and are completely avoidable! Many of the chemicals used in our society are completely unnecessary and do more harm than good. The perception of money saved by using a synthetic chemical instead of a natural alternative is often lost in later healthcare costs, lost income from employment, and increasing costs to maintain disability programs for those harmed by chemical toxicants.

The solutions are really very simple and chemical avoidance should be practiced by all people, regardless of health. Employing a fragrance free workplace policy not only benefits those with MCS, but it benefits the entire staff and all those who enter your place of business. Cologne was shown to cause airflow reduction and neurotoxicity in a study by Anderson & Anderson (1998). When people can breathe better and think clearer, productivity will increase and attitudes will improve. Healthy, happy staff in turn create happy, returning customers and increased profits.

For a sample fragrance-free workplace policy, see http://www.mcs-america.org/PortlandCallCenterFragranceFreePolicy.doc and http://www.mcs-america.org/PortlandRecordsDeptFragranceFreePolicy.doc

All governor proclamations may be viewed and downloaded at http://mcs-america.org/index_files/proclamations.htm

Proclamation List:

Alabama - TI
Arizona - TI
Arkansas - MCS
Broward County, Florida - MCS
Colorado - MCS & TI
Connecticut – MCS
Connecticut - TI
Florida - MCS
Florida - TI
Georgia - TI
Idaho - TI
Illinois - TI & CS
Indiana - TI
Iowa - TI
Kansas - TI
Kentucky - TI
Louisiana - TI
Maine - TI
Maryland - TI
Massachusetts - MCS
Michigan - TI
Mississippi - TI
Missouri - TI
Montana - TI
Nebraska - TI
Nevada - MCS
New Hampshire - TI
New Mexico - TI
New York - TI
Ohio - MCS
Oklahoma - TI
Oregon - MCS/TI
West Virginia - TI
Washington - MCS
Washington DC - TI
Wisconsin - TI
Wyoming - TI

References:

Anderson RC & Anderson JH. Acute toxic effects of fragrance products. Arch Environ Health. 1998 Mar-Apr,53(2):138-46.

Gibson, P (2003). Perceived treatment efficacy for conventional and alternative therapies reported by persons with multiple chemical sensitivity. Environmental Health Perspectives. 111:12, 1498 – 1504.

Gibson, P (2005). Understanding & accommodating people with multiple chemical sensitivity in everyday living. Houston, TX: Independent Living Research Utilization.

Joffres, MR, Sampalli, T, & Fox, Roy (2005). Physiologic and symptomatic responses to low-level substances in individuals with and without chemical sensitivities: a randomized controlled blinded pilot booth study. Environmental Health Perspectives. 113:9, 1178-1183.

Muir, T, & Zegarac, M (2001). Societal costs of exposure to toxic substances: Economic and health costs of four case studies that are candidates for environmental causation. Environmental Health Perspectives. 109:6, 885-903.

Rea, WJ, Johnson, AR, Ross, GH, Butler, JR, Fenyves, EJ, Griffiths, B,& Laseter, J (2006). Considerations for the Diagnosis of Chemical Sensitivity. Retrieved January 1, 2007 from http://www.aehf.com/articles/A55.htm

Szpir, M (2006). New thinking on neurodevelopment. Environmental Health Perspectives. 114:2, A100-A107.

About the Author:

Lourdes Salvador is a writer and social advocate based in Hawaii. She is a passionate advocate for the homeless, having worked with her local governor to open new shelters and provide services to the homeless in a new approach to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for victims of multiple chemical sensitivity. Since 2006, she has been the president of MCS America http://www.mcs-america.org and a featured monthly writer for MCS America News. She co-founded MCS Awareness http://www.mcs-awareness.org in 2005. She also serves as Partner, Environmental Education Week http://www.eeweek.org and Partner, Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) http://www.healthandenvironment.org. For more information about Lourdes and her advocacy work, please visit: MCS America http://www.mcs-america.org, MCS America News http://www.thetruthaboutmcs.blogspot.com, and MCS America's Logo Shop http://www.cafepress.com/mcsamerica.

Copyrighted © 2007 Lourdes Salvador

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