Sunday, July 1, 2007

Featured Research Study

Genetic polymorphisms in CYP1A1, CYP2D6, UGT1A6, UGT1A7, and SULT1A1 genes and correlation with benzene exposure in a Chinese occupational population

Gu SY, Zhang ZB, Wan JX, Jin XP, Xia ZL.
Department of Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Fudan
University. Shanghai. People's Republic of China.
1: J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Jun;70(11):916-24.

Metabolic enzymes involved in benzene activation or detoxification, including cytochrome P-450 1A1 (CYP1A1), cytochrome P-450 2D6 (CYP2D6), UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A6 (UGT1A6), UDP-glucuronosyltransferase1A7 (UGT1A7), and sulfotransferase 1A1 (SULT1A1), were studied for their roles in human susceptibility to benzene poisoning. All 304 subjects were investigated with a unitary questionnaire and their DNA was isolated from blood samples by a routine phenol-chloroform extraction. The study included 152 benzene poisoning patients, and 152 control workers occupationally exposed to benzene in South China. The genotypes were determined by polymerase chain reaction-restricted fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique with genomic DNA. No individuals had the CYP 2D6 c.212 G>A variant alleles in this study. There is no association between theUGT1A6 c.181 T>A, UGT1A7 c.208 Trp>Arg, and SULT1A1 c.638 G>A genotypes and increased risk of benzene-induced carcinogenesis. Although most of the CYP2D6 haplotypes did not show any significant difference, the CYP2D6 haplotype CYP2D6 c.188 C/C, C/T, and c.4268 C/C was significantly overrepresented in the case group (OR 4.02, 95% CI: 2.53-6.39) compared with in controls. Overall, our data suggested that individuals with CYP1A1 c.5639 T/T, CYP2D6 c.188 C/C, C/T, and CYP2D6 c.4268 C/C genotypes tend to be more susceptible to benzene toxicity.

Community News

Mercury from fillings harming the environment

See You In (Vaccine) Court

Medical Examiner's report: NDA track star died from rare toxic dose of sports creme

Housing Office Ratchets Up River Pines Inspections

Hand Sanitizers Could Be Toxic In Kids, Poison Control Says

First hearing on Autism/thimerosal link to be heard

Canines can be bothered by mold spores

Black Mold in Olean

Groups seek ban on cleaning chemicals

UCSF study questions drug trial results: When drug companies sponsor research, their products more likely to perform well.

Brain cancer linked to pesticides: Study

Vaccine Claims to Get Their Day in Court,,-6683831,00.html

Inside MCS America

We have been closely following the research of Dr. Martin Pall, PhD. Pall's book, Explaining Unexplained Illnesses, was released in May of this year. The book discusses MCS, CFS, FM, Gulf War Syndrome, PTSD, and related conditions as a new paradigm in medicine.

Dr. Pall's suggested supplement protocol is now available in four products for individuals to purchase direct without a prescription from Nutricology at The cost totals at about $125 for a one month supply. When visiting Nutricology, one will find the four products:

CoQ-Gamma E with Tocotrienols & Carotenoids


MVM-A (Antioxidant Protocol)

NAC Enhanced Antioxidant Formula

Neither Lourdes Salvador, nor MCS America, has any financial interest in Dr. Martin Pall, Explaining Unexplained Illnesses, or Nutricology. The information provided in this article is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sal's Place

Another month gone by and much has happened. I'd like to do a reflection this month on cooperation.

I was sitting at a picnic table eating my lunch, which consisted of a salad and a croissant. I held the croissant in my left hand and the fork in my right. With a sudden flutter, a tiny bird swooped out of the nearby tree and snatched a chunk of my croissant right out of my hand! Stunned, I began to feed the birds the remainder of my croissant, a piece for them and a piece for me, while I observed their behavior.

If you've read this column before, you'll find I am always feeding birds and observing their behavior. I think we can learn a lot about human behavior from other species.

As I expected, the birds came to the table and would take bread from me as I held it out to them. A few were more shy or fearful and waited for me to put the bread down before they picked it up. So far so good... until something changed.

A new bird flew down and commanded a huge chunk of roll from my hand before flying off with all the other birds in hot pursuit. I watched in amazement as the bird flew this way and then that way… dodging and outrunning the others. It swooped under a branch, through the bushes, and around sharp corners in attempts to lose the other birds, all at high speed!

Being out of my league, I sat thinking "stupid birds, why don't you come here to the food source instead of chasing that one bird down for the piece it got?" What did they get for all that effort, flying fast and burning energy, only to end up sharing one tiny morsel when I had a half of a roll left to share with the lot?
Perhaps the bird that took the large piece was not liked by the other birds. It seemed the birds wanted what it had, when they had access to their own food supply from me. It struck me as a jealous and greedy behavior. The rest of the birds wanted what one bird had and was unwilling to share. Yet cooperatively, they could have taken the whole role back and fed their entire community.

Far be it from me to be an animal psychologist. I may be totally off base on this. However, it brought up a constant pattern I see in the human population. No matter what one has, they always want what someone else has and will fight to get it. These fights may take the form of disagreement, badmouthing, backstabbing, and even angry verbal attacks and unfounded slander.

It seems personal recognition, glory, and one-upmanship is often a motivator. Sometimes this motivator is at the cost of what really matters to the individual and group. And sometimes the only thing that matters for many is personal recognition. This often takes the form of criticizing others and wrapping one's whole group worth around one tiny item, when in reality the individual have much to contribute.

I find achieving something via a cooperative team effort just as rewarding as achieving it alone. It is often much easier to collaborate, cooperate, and combine efforts. I must agree with Alan Moses on page 24-25 of this issue. It's time to "come together, right now". Not just between groups, but within our own groups. The infighting must stop. Those who fight endlessly stop progress.

The Lone Ranger may have wanted to go it alone and have all the glory, but he was NOTHING without Tonto! Each and every one of us has something we specialize in to contribute. Why not use it all to make the community into a solidified whole?

It's Time to Collaborate


Autism, multiple chemical sensitivity and environmentalist groups should join forces. All of these groups, plus others, share an agenda. That is to eliminate the amount of toxins that we are subjected to. Why this has not been done as of yet is beyond me, as I belong to groups that involve all three. I hear the same complaints and the same information being passed amongst members. By combining forces this may take these issues over the top and gain them the importance that they deserve.

Each group gains some recognition by state and national acknowledgements that in truth are small steps on an individual basis. Acknowledging and actually doing something are two different things. The horror stories continue and in truth nothing really changes. Despite the "us against them" attitude, without being one massive lobby we can't break the oil, pharmaceutical and industrialist hold on our government.

Yes this idea would be democratic, as all sides to each group could be represented and through parliamentary means issues could be tackled one after the other. No more small agendas being pushed at the same time. Individual desires must wait their turns. All and all this process would quicken the desperately needed changes required. This would also force those that block or discredit these views to take notice.

The arguments between the separate advocates and activists can continue, however some sort of consensus needs to be forwarded. If the government refuses to understand that these issues, as many others, are related, then force the issue. Use the same strategy that is used against you. After a while, the fighting must turn into an aggressive campaign against the so called enemy. Fighting amongst each other gains nothing.

You don't really want the top FDA official to be executed, as the Chinese have done for the situation so reminiscent to our own. Zhen Xiaoyu the former head of China's FDA was put to death for doing what his American counterparts do as usual business. The industry lobbyists that paid him the $832,000.oo should have suffered the same fate to be fair. But China was just telling its own officials that yes capitalism is okay, but the fraud that comes with it is not.

We are promised in our constitution that if the government no longer is doing its job then we can change it. This is not saying to over throw the government, but to use the system to make these changes. And just by electing this person or that does not help, as once in Washington they become a part of the problem. Only by numbers and making it clear that this is what we all want can we make the true changes.

We have a type of civil war going on in America. Groups that share an end can't even agree. It is time for all of the groups that recognize the dangers that toxins and pollutants are doing to us all come together as one. Only then can something really change. We should the system, as this has proven time and again to be the only way to make the adjustments that we require.

I promise that if the groups with shared agendas respond as one, we will see a difference. The infighting must stop, as this causes those that are in reality an ally to walk away. You never see this with the pharmaceutical industry. What oil company has said that they are going to invest all profits into alternative fuels? It is noted that every great idea was called crazy until enough people realized that it was beneficial.

I hope that all of us that feel the same can find ways to do as John Lennon once said, and "come together, right now".

-Alan Moses

Copyrighted © 2007 Alan Moses
Reprinted with Permission.

CFS/FM Serenity Prayer

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept
The things I cannot change,
The courage to change
The things I can,
And the wisdom to hide
The bodies of doctors I shot
When they said,
"You're perfectly healthy,
It's All In Your Head."

-Author Unknown

Retrieved from:

Reprinted with Permission

Healing Modalities: Just Don't Get Sick

The best healing modality is to avoid getting sick in the first place! For many reading this newsletter, it's too late. For our friends, families, and others, there may still be time. In the event illness is already present, practicing the same tips may result in improved health. There are many environmental toxicants that are correlated with various illnesses in our society. While it is not yet possible to avoid them all, there are things we can do to limit our exposures.

Diet, that nasty 4 letter word, is one of the most crucial aspects of our health. Our diet provides the very nutrients we need for normal function, detoxification, rebuilding, and healing. Eating a widely varying diet with fresh produce, whole grains, essential fats, and lean proteins is beneficial. Using as many organic foods as possible serves to limit intake of dangerous pesticides. Avoiding fast foods, restaurants, and taking to the kitchen ensures knowing exactly what is going into the foods you eat.

Exercise is also beneficial, as it improves fitness, increases caloric need to ensure adequate nutrition and satiation, and encourages sweating to removes toxicants.

Supplementation with needed vitamins and minerals is also essential, as many of the minerals we require are depleted from the soil we grow our food in. Many naturopaths, and some doctors, will order blood tests to determine what, if any, vitamins and minerals are lacking or in overabundance. It is important to remember that too much can be as bad as too little. Those suffering high iron levels become sick and the practice of blood letting is still used to reduce iron levels. Balance and testing is essential.

It is given that alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided, though some studies show a glass of wine with dinner is beneficial.

Enough sleep is absolutely essential to give the body time to repair and rebuild itself. Sleep deprivation is common and can cause accidents, lost productivity at work, and increase susceptibility to environmental contaminants.

Finally, avoidance of any and all chemical exposures is essential to avoiding the negative affects many toxicants have on reproduction, energy, metabolism, blood pressure, and general health. This can be the hardest step we take to improve our health as chemicals are everywhere and we are often not in control of what our neighbors or employers are using in our airspace. It takes diligence, effort, and constant follow-up to ensure we are taking care of ourselves. However, if we don't take care of ourselves, no one will!

To Good Health!


Natural Laundry Solutions

As society became industrialized manufacturers seeking a bigger share of profit began to add scents to products to attract buyers and ensure sales. The cost of adding natural scents was high and manufacturers soon turned to synthetic fragrances and additives to keep costs down. The advent of the synthetic fragrance has changed the health of many unknowing and trusting buyers.

Laundry products produce a large toxic release into the air of neighborhoods. Exposure occurs through inhalation form dyer vents, skin contact from clothing, and handling/use of products such as laundry soap, bleach, and fabric softener. Many harmful chemicals are contained in these products making pets, children, and adult ill. These chemicals do not wash out in the rinse cycle and remain in our clothes, on our skin, and in the air.

However, it is possible to completely eliminate these toxins from our neighborhoods without additional cost or compromising the cleanliness of clothes. Mother Nature provided us with washing soda, a safe and natural product for washing clothes. Thankfully there are alternatives… just ask grandma!

Health Effects of the Many Chemicals in Laundry Products


"CNS depressant. Irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, and GI tract, causing nausea and abdominal pain. May cause kidney damage" (Kendall, 2006).


"Carcinogenic… irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough" (Kendall, 2006).

"Irritating to the upper respiratory tract... headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure" (Kendall, 2006).


"Local irritant and CNS stimulant... readily absorbed through body tissues..."irritation of eyes, nose and throat… dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions" (Kendall, 2006).


"On EPA Hazardous Waste list... irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract... may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)... may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys" (Kendall, 2006).


"On EPA Hazardous Waste list; fatigue; irritating to eyes and upper respiratory tract even in low concentrations... initial stimulatory effect followed by drowsiness, impaired vision, ataxia, stupor..." (Kendall, 2006).


Contains "petroleum distillates, which may cause cancer (it they contain benzene) and damage the skin and eyes… may provoke asthma attacks and irritate the air passages" (Environmental Justice Action in Southern Africa, 2006).


Linked to cancer and may also damage the eyes, liver, kidneys, skin, and the central nervous system. Children may get brain damage from breathing naphthalene fumes (Environmental Justice Action in Southern Africa, 2006).


"Carcinogenic… irritant and sensitizerDo not inhale limonene vapor." (Kendall, 2006).


"Narcotic... respiratory disturbances... attracts bees. In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression... development of respiratory disturbances leading to death... depressed frog-heart activity. Causes CNS disorder" (Kendall, 2006).


"Highly irritating to mucous membranes... aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema. Can also cause excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS and respiratory depression, and headache. Prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact" (Kendall, 2006).

Nature's Laundry Soaps

Baking Soda

1 cup at the start of the w3ash cycle.

Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar with the baking soda for extra dirty loads.

Baking soda contains Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3)


1 cup at the start of wash cycle.

Borax and baking soda can be mixed for tough loads.

Borax contains Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate (Na2B4O7*10H2O)

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1 cup at the start of wash cycle.

NOT baking soda

Washing soda contains Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).

Unscented Natural Food Store or Name Brand Laundry Soaps

A bit less effective.

A better alternative to traditional name brand products.

Use as little as possible to clean clothes.

*Not MCS safe.

To Remove Fragrance

Vinegar Soak

Soak in 100% vinegar overnight, wash.

Keep the bucket / jar in a dark place.

Nature's Fabric Softeners

White Distilled Vinegar

¼ to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.

Deodorizes & softens clothes.

Removes soap scum.

Leaves no vinegar odor when dry.

Do not hang colors in direct sunlight.


Mix 1 cup of glycerin per gallon of water and add ½ cup to rinse cycle.

Baking Soda

1 cup at the start of the wash cycle.

Tennis Ball or Tennis Shoe

Put a clean, old tennis ball/shoe in the dryer to soften & reduce static cling.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Soak a washcloth in peroxide and put it in the dryer to reduce static cling.

Nature's Bleach

3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

1 cup per load at the start of wash cycle.

If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub and rinse. Repeat.


1/2 cup at the start of wash cycle along with detergent.


Hang linens in the sun to dry. The sun is a natural bleaching agent..

Ensure even exposure to the sun and/or reposition as needed.


Gibson, P. (2005). Understanding & Accommodating People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in Everyday Living. Independent Living Research Utilization.

Environmental Justice Action in Southern Africa, (2006). The Household Toxic Tour: The Laundry & Cleaning Cupboards. Retrieved June 2, 2006, from: Ground Work Web site:

Kendal, J. (2006. The Health Risks of Twenty Most Common Chemicals Found in Thirty-One Fragrance Products. Citizens for a Toxic-Free Marin. Retrieved June 2, 2006, from:


This information is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the examination, diagnosis and treatment of a licensed physician and no such claims are inferred. Neither MCS America, Lourdes Salvador, nor any members of MCS America will be responsible for misuse of this information.

Chelation Reverses Free Radicals

Chelation often gets a bad rap and this author opines that the bad rap often comes from practitioners who use risky chelation methods, such as intravenous dosing. Chelation not only removes toxicant metals, but also minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Too large a dose all at once could strip the body of these minerals required for heart function and cause death. Sadly, these cases have received bad publicity and tainted the benefits and relative safety of oral chelation.

However, chelation is not all bad and may even be beneficial. Flora et al (2007) published a study entitled "Arsenic and lead induced free radical generation and their reversibility following chelation" in the Cellular and Molecular Biology journal. The researchers found that chelation after exposure to lead or arsenic actually reversed the free radical damage that the heavy metals caused.

The researchers focused on lead and arsenic, as they believe the two are the most important current global environmental toxicants because the symptoms of toxicity are believed to be produced by an imbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant homeostasis, as well as a high affinity for thiol groups on functional proteins.

Lead poisoning can result in fatigue, vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, colic, weakness and dehydration. Severe cases lead to convulsions, external limb paralysis, coma, and death. Arsenic poisoning can result in stomach pains, cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, dryness and tightness in the throat, thirst, hoarseness, speach difficulty, convulsions, delirium, and death. Both interfere with central nervous system function, as well as liver and kidney function. The approved treatment for both is administration of chelating agents to bind with the metals and carry them out of the body.

The researchers cite calcium disodium ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid (CaNa2EDTA), D-penicillamine and British anti-lewisite (BAL) as the most commonly used chelating agents. They believe that meso 2,3 dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), commonly used by naturopaths for mercury chelation, is unable to remove the metal from intracellular sites. Therefore, they recommend combination therapy, including the use of "structurally different chelators or a combination of an adjuvant/ antioxidant/ herbal extracts and a chelator" for better results.


Flora SJ, Flora G, Saxena G, Mishra M. Arsenic and lead induced free radical generation and their reversibility following chelation. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2007 Apr 15;53(1):26-47.

The Critical Period

The International Conference on Fetal Programming and Developmental Toxicity was held from May 20 - 24, 2007 in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, where researchers in the fields of environmental health, environmental chemistry, developmental biology, toxicology, epidemiology, nutrition, and pediatrics met to discuss the human health effects of developmental exposure to environmental toxicants. The focus of the meeting conference was to review the effects of prenatal and infant exposure to toxicants and to examine the lifelong impact of exposure.

As summarized by Christensen (2007), it is already well know that the developing fetus is highly susceptible to the intrauterine environment. As a result, the many physiological processes underway during development are highly vulnerable to toxic effects of environmental contaminants. Upon meeting, the researchers were already aware that toxic exposures to chemical pollutants during times of increased susceptibility can cause disease, functional deficits, and disability in infants and children that may stretch across their lifetime. Congenital malformations are well recognized and documented to occur with environmental exposures to contaminants, such as pesticide exposure. during gestation. The researchers believe that discovering the critical windows of susceptibility is a crucial factor in protecting infants from harm.

"Chemical exposures during prenatal and early postnatal life can bring about important effects on gene expression, which determines normal development" and predisposition to disease risks during adolescence and adult life (Christensen, 2007). "Many environmental chemicals can alter gene expression by DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling. These epigenetic changes can cause lasting functional changes in specific organs and tissues, amounting to increased susceptibility to disease that may even affect successive generations. New research on rodent models shows that developmental exposures to toxic chemicals, such as the hormonally active substances diethylstilbestrol, tributyl tin, bisphenol A, genistein, can increase the incidence of reproductive abnormalities, metabolic disorders, including obesity and diabetes, and cancer, presumably through epigenetic mechanisms that do not involve changes to DNA sequences but may be heritable" (Christensen, 2007).

The researchers discussed prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol, an estrogenic drug no longer used on pregnant women, and its link to an increased risk of vaginal, uterine, and breast cancer. Bisphenol A was noted to result in an increased susceptibility to breast cancer or prostate cancer in very low doses. Vinclozoline, a fungicide, was also noted to promote development of cancer. These substances, and many others are much more carcinogenic to infants and children than adults, mainly due to susceptible periods children go through and their smaller size. The same exposure would be more diluted in an adults larger body than a child's.

The brain is also more susceptible to toxic exposures during development, which may result in social implications and economic difficulties in the absence of any apparent mental or physical disease. Though each exposure may be minor, what has not been studied enough is the total body burden, or the combination of many toxicant exposures which may enhance neurotoxic effects. Add other adverse factors, and the damage from seemingly innocuous substances could indeed be quite severe.

Moving on to the reproductive system, the researchers conferred regarding the vulnerability of the intrauterine hormonal environment to changes, including testicular cancer and poor semen count/quality, both of which have been linked to developmental exposures to maternal smoking and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Also noted were phthalate exposure and pesticide exposure to many common substances, including polychlorinated biphenyl, polybrominated biphenyl, endosulfan, and DDT.

Lastly, the immune system may also be affected by immunotoxic chemicals, which include polychlorinated biphenyls, vaccines, and atrazine among others. These immunotoxic chemicals increase the risk of infections and development of allergy in the child.

In conclusion, the key points discussed were:

  • The mother's chemical body burden is shared with her fetus, exposing the fetus to larger doses relative to body weight.
  • Susceptibility to adverse effects is increased during critical periods of development.
  • Developmental exposures to toxicants can lead to life-long functional deficits and increased disease risk.
  • There is a new paradigm of toxicologic understanding. The old paradigm, developed by Paracelsus, was that "the dose makes the poison". The new paradigm is that "the timing makes the poison".
  • Adverse effects have been linked to chemical pollutants at realistic human exposure levels similar to those occurring from environmental sources.
  • Changes in gene expression as a result of altered epigenetic marking is of concern as it may lead to increased susceptibility to diseases and may be passed on to subsequent generations.
  • Finally, understanding chronic disease processes requires a holistic approach where multiple causalities are examined.

The researchers concluding recommendations are to:

  • Incorporate studies on the etiology of human disease in early development through longitudinal studies with planned birth cohorts, as they may affect subsequent disease risks.
  • Promote cross-disciplinary approaches and translation of animal data on exposure biomarkers and disease susceptibility in studies of human disease.
  • Emphasize the time period of early development in environmental chemical exposure assessment.
  • Consider mixed exposures (body burden).
  • Explore intake of essential nutrients and societal environment in relation to the impact of genetic variation and genetic predisposition to disease.
  • Take into account the susceptibility in early development in toxicological tests and risk assessment of environmental chemicals .
Increase the use of available test protocols to assess reproductive toxicity or developmental neurotoxicity.

In a final statement by the International Scientific Committee of the Conference, "the accumulated research evidence suggests that prevention efforts against toxic exposures to environmental chemicals should focus on protecting the fetus and small child as highly vulnerable populations. Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental toxicants, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Such prevention should not await detailed evidence on individual hazards to be produced, because the delays in decision-making would then lead to propagation of toxic exposures and their long-term consequences. Current procedures therefore need to be revised to address the need to protect the most vulnerable life stages through greater use of precautionary approaches to exposure reduction" (Christensen, 2007).

Sounds like good advice!



Chiristensen, TS. PPTOX. The International Conference on Fetal Programming and Developmental Toxicity. Torshavn, Faroe Islands. May 20—24, 2007.

Co-Occurring MCS, CFS, and FM

It would seem obvious to most people that the more illnesses one has, the less functional they would be. Scientists, on the other hand, must prove things via empirical studies.

In a study titled Functioning in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome: increased impairment with co-occurring multiple chemical sensitivity and fibromyalgia, Brown and Jason (2007) set out to "differentiate these diagnoses by comparing individuals with one or more illnesses on functioning, psychiatric comorbidity, coping style, and in vivo physical measures".

Brown and Jason were spurred by the proposal that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and fibromyalgia (FM) commonly co-occur and may be manifestations of the same illness.

The researchers surveyed 114 men and women who met the criteria for CFS. They further diagnosed FM during a physical examination, and MCS using a questionnaire. The men and women were then divided into four groups based on diagnoses:
43.9% met criteria for CFS,
23.7% met criteria for CFS & MCS, 15.8% met criteria for CFS & FM,
16.7% met criteria for all three.

Demographics varied widely. A total of 46% were referred by physicians, 34% from media advertisements, and 20% from word-of-mouth.

After an initial screening, participants were given a CFS questionnaire to collect demographics, health status, medication usage, and symptom data. This was followed by a structured clinical interview for DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders) disorders to determine presence of any mental disorders. A medical assessment of CFS was performed, including an in-depth medical and neurological history, and physical exam. A self-report measure was used for general functioning. The Fatigue Severity Scale was added to measure fatigue and the Beck Depression Inventory was included to measure depression.

A Brief Cope and Brief Pain was administered to determine how subjects reacted to stress and pain respectively. An Actiograph, designed to measure activity during every minute of a week was worn to record daily activities. A six minute walking test measured physical functioning and the Rating of Perceived Exertion was used to measure subjects perception of the intensity of their activity based on bodily sensations. Sit and reach, hand grip, and employment status were the final factors examined that concluded this extensive battery of measures.

As you undoubtedly guessed, the more conditions the subject had, the more impaired they were. Those with CFS alone were the highest functioning and those with CFS, FM, and MCS were the lowest functioning, leading Brown and Jason to conclude that "this study provides evidence that having more than one illness exacerbates one's disability beyond CFS alone", which we have already guessed would be the case.

No significant differences were found in varying socio-demographic categories. A rather large percent of subjects (68%) had a college degree or higher, suggestive of prior functioning.

A substantial number of CFS patients (56%) had co-occurring MCS and/or FM, which is consistent with prior study findings that have shown significant overlap between MCS, CFS, and FM.

Depression was more common in those with MCS, CFS, and FM combined, suggesting increased prevalence of depression in those who are more severely disabled.

Overall, this exhaustive study has shown that increased disability means decreased functioning. It is important to remember that all participants in this study suffered from CFS. FM and MCS was not evaluated alone or as a pair without the presence of CFS.


Brown, MM & and Jason, LA (2007). Functioning in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome: increased impairment with co-occurring multiple chemical sensitivity and fibromyalgia. Dynamic Medicine 2007, 6:6

Community Spotlight: Di Steiner

How did you learn that you had MCS?

I was exposed to Freon at work. I became hypersensitive to many chemicals. I developed increased allergic reactions. Before MCS, I only had some mild allergies. I did some research and a doctor confirmed I had chemical sensitivities.

How has MCS changed your life?

MCS created significant limitations in my world. I had to put my health first.

Has MCS affected your relationships with others?

Most of my friends & family have been very supportive. With new visitors, I give them a list of things I have to avoid. Most are willing to assist me.

What benefits has MCS provided for you?

I am more aware of how much damage is caused by chemicals & toxicants. I have met many new friends through the MCS community. I consider MCS one of the many factors that make me unique. I value it for that.

What are your future plans in light of MCS?

Life is a journey and I am going to enjoy the entire trip. I'd like to get approved for Social Security.

Would you like to share anything else?

Thanks to MCS America & especially Sal for being here & helping the fight to save lives.

-Di Steiner

Activists' Corner

Welcome to our new column, designed to provide pre-designed letters for various purposes and other information for MCS activists. This month's letter is regarding fragrance applied to bills and catalogs received in the mail

Dear XXXX;

I have been a customer of your company since XXXX. Recently, a concern in regards to your company's practice of adding fragrance to catalogs and bills has arisen. I would like to address this issue as it not only affects me, but also many of your customers and would be customers.

Fragrances, such as common cologne, were scientifically shown to reduce air flow velocity and produce neurotoxicity in mice in a study by Anderson and Anderson at Anderson Laboratories. Many people who make up your customer base have ailments such as asthma, chemical sensitivity, and other respiratory disorders and these people are even more susceptible to the effect of fragrances. In fact, it is estimated that 20 million Americans have asthma, 16% chemical sensitivity, and 30 million suffer other respiratory disorders. People with these conditions can suffer exacerbation of their condition, and even serious harm, by contact with fragrances. They are often instructed by physicians to avoid such contact.

The practice of applying fragrance to mail exposes all your customers to potential neurotoxicity and respiratory difficulties and puts all your customers in jeopardy, especially sensitive populations.

The fragrance on your mail often rubs off onto other mail delivered as well, making reading any mail arriving with your mail challenging. I encourage you to consider discontinuing this practice in the interests of your customer's health.

Many companies do offer fragrance free bills and catalogs. I would like to request that my bills and catalogs be delivered without fragrances. If you do not offer this service at this time, I highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible. I would also be interested in e-billing or another method where I can review and pay my bill without coming into contact with any fragrances.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. I look forward to continued patronage.



To download this letter for your own use, go to:

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