May of each year marks Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Awareness Month. During the month, people suffering from MCS, their doctors, and researchers mobilize to increase awareness of MCS and education others in how to accommodate and prevent it.
Once diagnosed with MCS, many patients find little understanding from family, friends, schools, and workplaces. Often they are shunned, misdiagnosed, and altogether dismissed. This frequently results in the unnecessary loss of career and educational opportunities, social circles, finances, and self-esteem. MCS Awareness month is dedicated to breaking these barriers of understanding and increasing public access for people who are disabled by MCS.
Organizations around the world have come forth to establish May of each year as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month. Many activities occur around the world during May. A few highlights for May 2012 thus far:
The Government and Parliament Declaration on MCS & Electrohypersensitivity (EHS) addressed to the World Health Organization was presented to the European Union.
A current world wide effort to have MCS and EHS included as distinct and separate diseases in the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases, version 11) is underway. The draft ICD-11 is due to be released during May 2012.
Christiane Tourtet of MCS Homepage has put her annual MCS and EHS awareness month display in her Florida library.
They Mayor of Cuyahoga, Ohio has signed an MCS resolution.
The state of Washington has signed an MCS Awareness Month proclamation.
The state of Wisconsin has signs a proclamation for Gulf War Illness.
The states of New York, Tennessee, Mississippi, and city of Roswell, New Mexico have signed healthy schools proclamations.
The United States Centers for Disease Control & Preventions had designated April 30May 4, 2012 as Air Quality Awareness Week.
Individuals who wish to increase awareness should keep a few things in mind.
Experts advise to watch what you say and how you say it. People with MCS need to work much harder to be understood than their counterparts with other chronic illnesses such as cancer or diabetes.
Here are a few documented facts about MCS:
MCS is a major Public Health Concern
At least 45 million people in the US report sensitivity to various chemicals.
About 3 million Americans are diagnosed with MCS.
MCS affects people of all ages, economic status, race, and both genders.
The Cost of Environmental Illnesses
Annual expenditures for healthcare and lost productivity due to MCS are estimated at $71.8 billion dollars per year.
MCS Can be Prevented and Controlled
With a plan that includes avoidance and control of environmental triggers, many people with MCS can lead normal, healthy, and active lives.
MCS can be prevented by learning about the hazards of everyday chemicals, avoiding exposure, and turning to more natural methods of cleaning and pest control.
How can a tiny bit of perfume or air freshener make you sick when it doesn´t bother me?
How can a tiny bit of sugar make a diabetic sick when it doesn´t bother me? Most people understand clearly that a diabetic must avoid sugar. Chemical sensitivity is no different.
They wouldn´t sell this if it wasn't safe!
Eighty percent of all chemicals on the market in the United States have not been tested for human safety.
Isn´t MCS just a conditioned response?
Scientific studies designed to extinguish MCS reactions as a conditioned response have failed.
MCS is psychological / all in your head
Scientific studies have been unable to provide a clinical test to prove that MCS is psychological.
There is no proof that MCS exists
There are multitudes of peer-reviewed scientific studies performed on MCS subjects that show multi-system abnormalities which may account for many of the symptoms.
I can´t control the environment
It´s actually quite easy to reduce, and in many cases eliminate, most environmental contaminates for the health benefit of everyone. Start by using fragrance free products and going back to the basics. While not perfectly safe, select "green", organic, and natural products whenever possible.
I need to clean/do/use this
Most manufacturers hire psychologists to advise them on how to convince people their product is necessary to increase their sales. Then offer a natural alternative to the product the listener is using.
To protect your family from developing MCS, always choose fragrance free cleaning, laundry, and personal care products. Get rid of the air fresheners. They don't really freshen the air anyway. They only add scent to it and contain many toxic chemicals that are known to be harmful to health. Avoid using pesticides. Eat a healthy, well-balanced organic diet made up of whole foods, or foods that are minimally processed. And most importantly, make others around you aware too!