Monday, December 31, 2007

Attenuated Morning Salivary Cortisol Concentrations in a Population-based Study of Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Well Controls

Attenuated Morning Salivary Cortisol Concentrations in a Population-based Study of Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Well Controls.

Journal: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Dec 26 [Epub ahead of print]

Authors: Nater UM [1,2], Maloney E [1], Boneva RS [1], Gurbaxani BM [1,3], Lin JM [1], Jones JF [1], Reeves WC[1], Heim C. [2]

[1] Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, Coordinating Center for Infectious
Diseases, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, GA;
[2] Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Emory University
School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA;
[3] Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia
Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.

NLM Citation: PMID: 18160468

Context: A substantial body of research on the pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has focused on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation. The cortisol awakening response has received particular attention as a marker of HPA axis dysregulation.

Objective: The objective of the current study was to evaluate morning salivary cortisol profiles in persons with CFS and well controls identified from the general population.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: This study was conducted at an outpatient research clinic.

Cases and Other Participants: We screened a sample of 19,381 residents of Georgia and identified those with CFS and a matched sample of well controls. Seventy-five medication-free CFS cases and 110 medication-free well controls provided complete sets of saliva samples.

Main Outcome Measures: Free cortisol concentrations in saliva collected on a regular workday, immediately upon awakening, 30 minutes and 60 minutes after awakening.

Results: There was a significant interaction effect, indicating different profiles of cortisol concentrations over time between groups, with the CFS group showing an attenuated morning cortisol profile. Notably, we observed a sex difference in this effect. Women with CFS exhibited significantly attenuated morning cortisol profiles compared with well women. In contrast, cortisol profiles were similar in men with CFS and male controls.

Conclusions: CFS was associated with an attenuated morning cortisol response but the effect was limited to women. Our results suggest that a sex difference in hypocortisolism may contribute to increased risk of CFS in women.

The full text is currently available for free in PDF format at:

Friday, December 28, 2007

EI News, Science, & Links Summary for the W/E 12/28/2007

December 29, 2007

The plastic killing fields

December 28, 2007

Mold found in 'green' building

Mold in the Home Linked to Mood Swings, Depression

December 27, 2007

House dust: toxic and on your table

Chemical Odor Causes City Building Evacuation

Environmental Factors Early In Life May Influence Testicular Cancer Risk

FEMA trailer residents worry about mold

Odd allergy: Diagnosis controversial, but a Canadian researcher is 'totally

Woman finds clean start in new Gilberts home,3_1_EL27_A1MSLADY_S1.article

Woman hurt in pool chemical explosion,22606,22975715-2682,00.html

ENVIRONMENT: Activists to push N.Y. for better standards on toxic vapors

December 26, 2007

Norway will ban mercury

School studied for environmental causes of autism,0,516410.story

Emissions proposal misses point

Cremation a hazard to the living?,0,3146009.story

Health hazards add to nursing shortages

December 25, 2007

Area parents switching to glass for baby's bottle

New toxin rules seen as lax

FDA-Approved Bacteria Blocks Acrylamide Formation in Cooked Foods

Law gets strict on toy lead

December 24, 20078

Mercury ban among laws going into effect

Is it possible that I am allergic to my Christmas tree?

Brazil adds three chemicals to barred products list

Chemical used to harden plastic harmful to humans

December 23, 2007

These bulbs are a bright idea, but be careful with the cleanup
Experimental AIDS Vaccine Goes Awry

Concerns resurface over chemical in hard-plastic water bottles,0,2126101.story

There's no defense for toxic toys,1,4067006.story?coll=la-news-comment&ctrack=2&cset=true

Fungus a homegrown conflict

Integrative Way: What's gotten into your genes?

A Toy Maker's Conscience

The hazards inside the tube,0,895773.story?coll=bal_tab03_layout

Peril in plastic?,0,894641.story

Call for ban on toxic fibreboard

Some Parents Seek Options to Vaccine Orders

December 22, 2007

Christmas Trees Making Some Sneeze

ExxonMobil fined $60k for spilling diesel into ocean in 2004

For some, fluoridated water still hard to swallow,1,2338669.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Everyday Items, Complex Chemistry

December 21, 2007

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Portrait of the Skeptic

Text-messaging system alerts buyers to toxicity

Medical Gift Cards Bring Well Wishes

Unions, members of Congress urge action on diacetyl

Chemical Rules for Selected Products

Washington Joining California Auto Emission Suit Against EPA

State receives diesel emissions grant

Air Fresheners' Potentially Toxic Chemicals Require More EPA Action

Missing the Mercury Threat: An appeal to New Jersey's Governor

Very few children here tested for lead poisoning

Health Hazards Add to Nursing Shortages

December 15, 2007

Banished, the schoolgirl, 8, told to sit outside class by teacher 'allergic
to her fabric softener'

Web Links

Public Service Announcement #4 (SPANISH)
Scented laundry detergents and fabric softeners pollute indoor and outdoor

Daily News Feeds and Research Studies Delivered via Email:

Scientific Studies

Outdoor air pollution and emergency department visits for asthma among
children and adults: a case-crossover study in northern Alberta, Canada.

A shared decision-making communication training program for physicians
treating fibromyalgia patients: Effects of a randomized controlled trial.

Negative Affect and Chemical Intolerance as Risk Factors for
Building-Related Symptoms: A Controlled Exposure Study.

The health effects of nonindustrial indoor air pollution

Residues of 18 organochlorine pesticides in 30 traditional Chinese

Impact of environmental pollutants on the male: Effects on germ cell

Neurotoxic disorders of organophosphorus compounds and their managements
(review article).

Exposure to heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) and its effect on the
outcome of in-vitro fertilization treatment.

Lourdes "Sal" Salvador

Articles and links are not necessarily the opinion of MCSA or Lourdes
Salvador and neither will be responsible for misuse of this information.
Posting does not constitute endorsement. We have no financial interest in
anything posted . This post is provided free of charge via volunteer effort.

Neurotoxic disorders of organophosphorus compounds and their managements (review article).

Arch Iran Med. 2008 Jan;11(1):65-89. Links

Neurotoxic disorders of organophosphorus compounds and their managements (review article).

Medical Toxicology Center, Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran,

Organophosphorus compounds have been used as pesticides and as chemical warfare nerve agents. The mechanism of toxicity of organophosphorus compounds is the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, which results in accumulation of acetylcholine and the continued stimulation of acetylcholine receptors. Therefore, they are also called anticholinesterase agents.Organophosphrus pesticides have largely been used worldwide, and poisoning by these agents, particularly in developing countries, is a serious health problem. Organophosphorus nerve agents were used by Iraqi army against Iranian combatants and even civilian population in 1983 - 1988. They were also used for chemical terrorism in Japan in 1994 - 1995. Their use is still a constant threat to the population. Therefore, medical and health professionals should be aware and learn more about the toxicology and proper management of organophosphorus poisoning.Determination of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activity in blood remains a mainstay for the fast initial screening of organophosphorus compounds but lacks sensitivity and specificity. Quantitative analysis of organophosphorus compounds and their degradation products in plasma and urine by mass spectrometric methods may prove exposure but is expensive and is limited to specialized laboratories. However, history of exposure to organophosphorous compounds and clinical manifestations of a cholinergic syndrome are sufficient for management of the affected patients.The standard management of poisoning with organophosphorous compounds consists of decontamination, and injection of atropine sulfate with an oxime. Recent advances on treatment of organophosphorus pesticides poisoning revealed that blood alkalinization with sodium bicarbonate and also magnesium sulfate as adjunctive therapies are promising. Patients who receive prompt proper treatment usually recover from acute toxicity but may suffer from neurologic complications.

PMID: 18154426 [PubMed - in process]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Healthy Hospitals: A Transformation, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Healthy Hospitals: A Transformation

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Health care establishments should be among the healthiest of environments.
People who are ill go to hospitals for treatments, operations, and therapies
with the hopes of getting well. Though hospitals are generally considered
sterile environments, this might not be in the best interests of the
environment or human health. Many hospitals do not use environmentally
preferable purchasing policies, follow environmentally conscious waste
management strategies, attempt to decrease the use of chemical pollutants,
or promote the use of healthy foods, let alone provide leadership in
environmental stewardship.

Individuals with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) may find hospitals
hostile environments, not only because of the environment itself, but also
because the staff often dismisses their complaints as trivial, adding
emotional stress on top of medical problems. Products that MCS patients
react to include any quantity of exposures to pesticides, secondhand smoke,
alcohol, fresh paint, scented products, perfumes, candles, fragrances, food
preservatives, flavor enhancers, aerosols, tap water, cosmetics, personal
care products, new carpets, petroleum products, formaldehyde, outdoor
pollutants, newspaper ink, cleaning compounds, printing and office products,
and other synthetically derived chemicals. In a hospital setting,
disinfectants and floor wax are among many common, and often unavoidable,
irritants. The truth remains that many of these chemical pollutants. which
can be found within the hospital setting, impact both staff and patients,
especially those with asthma, immunodeficiency, allergies, and MCS.

A recent article published in the Online Journal of Nursing states that
"while it is commonly understood that the quality of the air we breath and
the water we drink can impact our health, it is often more difficult to
recognize that our choices of the health care products, along with the way
we dispose of them, and the chemicals we spray on our foods or use to clean
and disinfect may actually compromise the environment and consequently our
health" (Sattler & Hall, 2007). Hospitals are in need of standard
guidelines to transform into environmentally healthy and safe places.

In order to create environmentally preferable purchasing policies one must
understand how products impact the environment in three stages: production,
use, and disposal. For example, a product that is effective in the
hospital, but is a persistent organic pollutant after it is disposed of may
not be the best all around choice.

Keep in mind that vast sectors of industry have a high stake in the
purchasing power of hospitals... food, equipment, paper and office products,
batteries, linens, construction products, medicaments, cleaning products,
and more. Each sector of industry has vested interests in the purchasing
power of hospitals across the country. When environmentally preferable
purchasing policies are established, industry will vie for continued
business and may even make vehement objections, downplaying the importance
of environmentally healthier products.

A good example Sattler & Hall (2007) cite is the mercury thermometer
experience, where nurses employed strategic use of their purchasing power to
affect positive change in hospital environments by pressing for the use of
mercury free thermometers in the hospital and offering to exchange mercury
thermometers for mercury-free versions as a public service. In this way,
nurses used their purchasing power to influence industry and now the market
has many mercury-free thermometers.

Greener Choices for the Environment

The following products are cited as environmentally preferable purchasing
requests (Sattler & Hall, 2007):
· Reduced packaging
· Bulk buying to reduce packaging
· Double-sided copiers
· Reusable (versus single-use) products
· Products with recycled content
· Latex-free products
· Mercury-free products
· Polyvinyl chloride-free products
· Diethyhexyl phthalate-free products
· Unbleached paper products
· Use of stainless steel which can be sterilized and reused rather than
disposable plastics which contaminate the environment.

In addition, waste management is encouraged. The "3 R's" are:

· Reduce - less waste through less packaging and single use devices, and
bulk purchasing without packaging, and fewer single-use devices.
· Reuse - eliminate single-use devises whenever possible and select products
that are more durable.
· Recycle - select products that can be recycled.

While this is all really nice, great for the macro environment, and
commendable, it does little to reduce chemical incitants that impact
everyone, including both staff and patients, especially those with asthma,
immunodeficiency's, allergies, and MCS. Chemical pollutants must also be

Chemical Pollutants

"Many of the chemicals we once thought useful in providing safe care in
hospitals have been found to be dangerous for patients and health care
workers alike. These include, among others, chemicals called persistent
organic pollutants (POPs), which are some of the most dangerous chemicals
that have been created by man and include pesticides, industrial chemicals,
and chemical by-products. They are sustained in the environment for long
periods of time, hence the descriptive term "persistent." Also included are
compounds found to be asthma triggers, chemicals in the plastic family
called di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and pesticides" (Sattler & Hall,
2007). These chemicals are both dangerous and polluting.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), primarily pesticides, are still in
current use and include insecticides, including (Sattler & Hall, 2007):
· Aldrin and Chloradane for termites
· DDT for mosquitoes
· Heptachlor for mosquitoes and fire ants
· Dieldrin and Endrin for crops
· Toxaphene for ticks and mites
· Hexachlorobenzene as a fungicide
· Poly chlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) for capacitors, transformers, and
hydraulic and heat transfer systems, weatherproofing, carbonless copy paper,
paint, adhesives, and plasticizers in synthetic resins.

These POPs have been linked to reproductive disorders, developmental
disorders, suppression of the immune system, dysfunction of the nervous
system, and cancer. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a safer, relatively
new approach to managing pests that involves monitoring, treating only the
affected areas rather than the entire property, and keeping close records.

Hospital Induced Asthma & MCS

According to Sattler & Hall (2007), "given the prevalence of asthma in both
children and adults in the US, the last thing one would want, or expect to
encounter in a hospital setting, would be a chemical associated with causing
asthma or triggering asthma symptoms", yet asthma inciting chemicals are
quite common. Hospital trigger risks include cleaners, disinfectants,
sterilizers, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, natural rubber
latex gloves, pesticides, and other volatile organic compounds. This is
compounded by fragrancesm such as scented cleaners, fragrance-emitting
devices (air fresheners), and people wearing perfume or scented lotions.
Any one of these items alone could bring on a life threatening breathing
reaction or cause dizziness and fatigue. Combined, they create a
significant health hazard.

But that's not all. Add in phthalates, plastics, tobacco smoke residues on
the clothing of smokers, mold, fungus, pollen, dust, cockroaches,
fluorescent lights, an assortment of pharmaceuticals, and food that many
consider unfit for human consumption. It would seem that a hospital is not
the safest place to be for an individual with asthma or MCS.

Sattler & Hall (2007), explain that "transforming hospitals into
environmentally healthy places necessitates forging and building
relationships among various departments within a facility." It takes a
coordinated effort and the caring concern of all staff members.
Administrators must stand behind the effort and ensure that training of
staff who have an influence in this area is mandatory. Staff should be
encouraged to join committees and give their input. Sattler & Hall (2007)
state that "over time these changes to protect human health may also have a
positive impact on the bottom line of the facility as the facility learns
how to be reimbursed for recyclables, explores free composting services for
food waste, rethinks reusable products, and ultimately reduces the waste
stream." However there is still more.

Additional Challenges for MCS Patients

One thing that was left out of the review by Sattler & Hall (2007) is
patient comfort and safety. Often hospitals can be cold and frightening
places. Patients are not feeling well and may be may be agitated and
concerned about their needs. Patients with MCS in specific often have their
needs overlooked. Carolyn Cooper (2007) presented an excellent review that
was published in the American Journal of Nursing. She explained simple ways
to take care of patients with MCS to avoid unnecessary discomfort and make
for a better working relationship with the patient. Among her tips was to
heed patient concerns. She affirmed that it is never really appropriate not
to heed a patient's concerns. Regardless of etiology, a patient should be
made as comfortable as possible.

In her review, Cooper discusses Mr. Norris, a man with MCS under her care
who she was able to accommodate during his hospital stay through various
measures, including a warning sign on his door, a scent free nurse, a "sniff
test" by Mrs. Norris before entering his room, and a respirator when needed.
Cooper recommends a hospital protocol and staff training to include the
policies quoted below (Cooper, 2007):


· Don't use perfume, aftershave, or scented lotion.
· Keep free of the odor of cigarette smoke.
· Wear a long-sleeved cotton surgical gown (and cap if necessary) to mask
odors if you know you smell of a potential irritant and no other caregiver
is available.
· Knock first and wait to be admitted to the patient's room.


· When a patient with MCS is scheduled for surgery, notify perioperative
areas well in advance. It is particularly important that the
anesthesiologist confer with the patient before a surgical procedure so that
medication sensitivities can be considered. Perioperative clinicians must
be prepared to carefully reassure patients that safety measures will be
taken on their behalf.
· Schedule the procedure as the first case of the day to minimize exposure
to environmental irritants that will be stirred up during the day.
· A ceramic or porcelain oxygen mask may be indicated to deliver anesthesia.
· Povidone iodine is generally a safe antiseptic solution, but isopropyl
alcohol should be used sparingly.
· Use paper tape for surgical dressings (or assess the patient's reactions
to other adhesives 24 to 48 hours in advance by using patch tests).
· Use only latex-free gloves.


· Until a dietitian's evaluation has taken place, nurses should allow
patients to provide their own "safe food supplies," when appropriate. Be
particularly watchful for asthmalike symptoms that may progress to
bronchospasm in response to irritants.
· Intolerance for peanuts, soy products, and dairy products is common in
those with MCS.
· Avoid plastic and Styrofoam containers; use glass or ceramic containers.
· Bottled drinking water should be provided with meals.
· Dyes, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate may
not be tolerated.
· Avoid processed or prepackaged foods that contain preservatives.


· Based on your initial assessment, you may find it necessary to ask the
physician for "as needed" orders for medications the patient usually uses to
alleviate hypersensitivity symptoms, including oxygen or nebulizer
treatments. Other important considerations include the following:
· Ensure that the pharmacist is aware of the patient's specific allergies,
sensitivities, and possible intolerance to preservatives.
· Confer with the pharmacist and physician if you have concerns about
medications. Enforce a "no substitutions" policy for medications ordered in
order to avoid unexpected reactions.
· Some patients may be sensitive to chemicals that leach from plastic IV
bags; glass bottles may be necessary for iv fluid administration in such

Preparing the Hospital Room

· Though not always possible, a private room is ideal. In the ED, ICU, or
perioperative area, use existing isolation cubicles to protect the patient
from odors that could trigger a reaction.
· A sign on the door will alert staff to the patient's sensitivities (confer
with the patient first to ensure consent and protect privacy).
· The patient's own respirator mask, if needed-or an R95 respirator if your
institution carries them and fit testing can be performed-should be
available for the patient to wear when being transported within the clinical
setting. (The R95 mask contains a carbon filter that provides both odor and
organic-vapor filtration. Other masks do not filter odors.)
· The soap dispenser should contain unscented soap only. If unscented soap
is not available, empty the dispenser and place a bar of Ivory brand or
another brand of unscented soap in the room.
· Place a new sharps container in the patient's room (the old container may
contain odor-producing trash along with sharps).
· Remove latex glove boxes and replace with latex- and powder-free gloves
until the patient's sensitivities can be assessed.
· If necessary, use a negative pressure machine and a high-efficiency
particulate air filter, or a reverse isolation room to avoid exposure from
air that enters from the hallway. (A rolled towel placed underneath the door
can be used as a temporary measure.)
· The room should be free of carpeting and cloth draperies (gasses may be
released from the synthetic materials).
· The room should not have been recently painted or wallpapered. There
should be no floor wax removal, floor waxing, or pesticide use near the
patient's room for the duration of the stay.
· Allow patients to bring linens from home. Otherwise, you may request a
sterilized linen pack from your facility's housekeeping department if the
patient cannot tolerate lingering traces of detergent on sheets.
· Inform the housekeeping staff that only fragrance-free disinfectants may
be used when cleaning the patient's room; that means no bleach, ammonia, or
aerosols may be used. MCS patient advocates have suggested using a moist
cotton cloth and baking soda to clean surfaces if unscented products are not
available, but you must collaborate with the infection control and
housekeeping departments to determine an appropriate course of action.

Choosing Equipment and Supplies

· Avoid fragrances and deodorizers. (Be aware that "hypoallergenic" doesn't
necessarily mean fragrance free.)
· Don't bring standard admission packs with plastic basins and
patient-hygiene items into the patient room until the patient's
sensitivities are known.
· Latex-free products are often indicated.
· The patient might bring her or his own oxygen tubing from home and choose
to use it instead of new tubing from a sealed package. (The odors released
from new plastic materials may irritate.)
· Patients may request that a metal "butterfly" needle be used for iv
therapy instead of a plastic cannula.
· Have paper tape conveniently available-other adhesive tapes may not be
· Don't use pens or markers with strong-smelling ink in the patient's

Health care establishments should be among the healthiest of environments.
With a little caring, concern, and thought, they can be.

- Lourdes Salvador

Cooper, C. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in the Clinical Setting: Although
the cause and diagnosis of this condition remain controversial, the
patient's concerns should be heeded.

Sattler, B., Hall, K. Healthy Choices: Transforming Our Hospitals into
Environmentally Healthy and Safe Places. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues
in Nursing. May 31, 2007;12(2)(3).

About the Author
Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the
recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). As a former human
services professional, she was a passionate advocate for the homeless and
worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a
new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to
advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who
treat them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS
America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week,
a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a
supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air. She
is an active writer for both the American Chronicle and NewsTarget.
Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Community Spotlight: Andrew Fasey and REACH, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Community Spotlight: Andrew Fasey and REACH

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Would you share something about yourself and your background?

I have been working on international regulatory chemicals issues for almost
20 years. I am currently advising companies and other stakeholders on the
implications of REACH (The Registration, Evaluations, Authorisation and
restriction of CHemicals Regulation) and the GHS (Globally Harmonised System
for the classification and labeling of chemicals) and how to address
compliance issues. I have two main 'claims to fame'. First, I was one of the
authors of the European Commission's proposal for REACH and subsequently
acted as a Special Advisor on REACH to the Government of Finland during
their Presidency of the EU when they brought negotiations in the EU on REACH
to a successful conclusion. Second, whilst working for the UK Government I
was part of the IOMC (Inter-Organisation Progamme for the Sound Mangement of
Chemicals) drafting group that prepared the GHS.

Do you feel that industrial chemicals have been effectively governed around
the world?

No. Whilst the authorities have largely 'done their best' it is clear that
the management of chemicals has been inadequate globally. The development of
legislation is always to an extent incremental but progress has been too
slow. There is insufficient data on the properties of the vast majority of
chemicals in use, the communication of information in the supply chain on
the properties of chemicals, and how chemicals can be used safely. The
promotion of chemical innovation and the encouragement of safer processes is
poor. The old EU legislation did not encourage innovation and may even,
inadvertently, have discouraged it.

What is the new chemical regulatory system in the European Union known as

REACH is the Eurpean Union's (UN) attempt to correct some of the
shortcomings of the old regulatory regime. It is a complex legal, technical
and scientific piece of legislation and will be supported by many thousands
of pages of guidance. It will lead to a data-set being established for all
substances manufactured in, or imported into, the EU in quantities of 1
metric tonne or more per year per manufacturer or importer; the data
required increasing in proportion to the tonnage. This process is known as
Registration and will in the cases of all registrations over the 10 tonne
threshold also require risk management measures to be identified for the
uses of the substance. 'Substances of very high concern' (SVHC) will
potentially be subject to authorisation; this is a system whereby all uses
of chosen SVHCs will need to be specifically authorised. It is hoped that
the authorisation process in particular, and REACH as a whole, will lead to
the substitution of SVHCs with safer alternatives and processes. There are
many other important components of REACH but the Registration and
Authorisation elements are perhaps the most important.

How did you become involved in REACH?

I have been working in the international regulatory chemicals field for many
years. I had been involved in the development and implementation of many
pieces of EU chemicals legislation and international development programmes
and had seen at close hand the strengths and limitations of the various
pieces of legislation and programmes. I was therefore well placed to work
for the European Commission when they asked for support to turn the White
Paper 'A future EU chemicals policy' into legislation. Once I left the
Commission after publication of the REACH proposal I was in a very good
position to help other stakeholders such as the Government of Finland to
progress the REACH proposal through the complicated EU negotiating process
and industry to understand the implications of REACH and prepare for its

What process will REACH require for evaluation of chemicals before they are

Manufacturers and importers of substances (on their own and in mixtures)
should pre-register their substances (second half of 2008) in order to take
account of the tonnage related registration deadlines. Following
pre-registration, all potential registrants of the same substance need to
cooperate to share data to develop a single hazard data-set per substance
and to make proposals for testing if needed to complete the data-set; the
requirements of the data-set are prescribed in the legislation and are
tonnage dependent. The potential registrants can then prepare their own risk
assessment (known in REACH as a chemical safety assessment) to identify
appropriate risk management measures or cooperate with each other to do
this. The registration itself is the hazard data-set and the chemicals
safety assessment (if required).

Will REACH be banning any current chemicals?

Existing bans and restrictions on chemicals will be carried forward under
REACH. The restrictions process under REACH will lead to further bans and
restrictions being introduced over time. The authorisation process will mean
that only certain uses, if any, of authorised substances will be allowed.
REACH will also lead to chemicals being 'deselected' and withdrawn from the
market once there is greater information available on their properties and
safe use.

I understand that authorisation will be required for the use of certain
chemicals. What does this mean?

All SVHCs (broadly speaking CMRs, PBTs, vPvBs and other substances with
properties of equivalent concern) are potentially subject to authorisation;
a list will be published and other SVHCs added over time as they are
identified. The idea is that a few of these substances will be selected
every year and all those using these substances will need to submit a case
demonstrating that they can be used safely for each individual use or,
failing that, there is a socio-economic reason why the use of the substance
should be allowed to continue. All unauthorized uses would de facto be

Who will be the governing authority to carry out REACH?

The operation of REACH will be managed by the new European Chemicals Agency
in Helsinki. The European Commission will continue to have powers to
introduce new, or amend the existing, legislation. All the EU Member States
will have enforcement responsibilities within their boundaries.

Will REACH encourage more research studies on chemical?

It is hard to say. However, as all stakeholders become more aware of the
risks posed by chemicals the pressure to research new and better ways of
doing things may increase. I think it is likely that REACH will encourage
research into the development of new approaches to identify the properties
of chemicals; this may include computer modeling approaches ((Q)SARs)*,
toxicogenomics, and non-animal test methods. REACH covers the whole life
cycle of chemicals; I expect increasing emphasis to be given to
environmental fate assessment for chemicals after they are used. I would
hope that greater resources will be given to the development of safer
chemicals than those currently used but with the same use characteristics.
The principles of green chemistry should be further developed so that a
wider range of companies can apply these principles in practice.

How do you think REACH will affect those with multiple chemical sensitivity
(MCS) and ?

REACH does not specifically address MCS. However, over time we will have a
far better understanding of the effects of individual substances and we will
be able to apply this knowledge to the issue of MCS; for example, we may be
able to make a link between chemical structure and/or effects and the
incidence of MCS. If there is a known issue with MCS and a registered
substance it would be good practice to address this in the chemical safety
assessment and in the relevant hazard and risk assessment tools (e.g. safety
data sheets).

What can we do to establish similar chemical regulation the United States?

It is not up to Europeans to advise the US on its regulatory requirements
and/or the deficiencies in its existing legislation! Indeed, the EU can
learn a lot from the US in the area of computer modeling of effects. The US
has to consider whether chemicals are sufficiently well managed, for both
human health and the environment, and whether innovation and the replacement
of dangerous chemicals and processes by safer ones is encouraged
sufficiently. If the answer to either of these questions is no then you
should perhaps consider revising or replacing existing legislation. It is
however vitally important that the various national and international
programs are compatible and that information generated under one system can
be shared with another. Whilst the EU hopes that REACH will improve the
management of chemicals the US would be well advised to monitor its
successes and failures to help ensure that the same mistakes are not

Are there any problems with REACH?

This remains to be seen, however, I do have some concerns. The authorisation
process may be overly slow and cumbersome to deal with the perhaps 1500
SVHCs, and could conversely lead to the withdrawal of substances which are
needed and for which there are no adequate replacements. Many companies will
struggle to cope with the scope and complexity of REACH which may lead to
poor business decisions being made. The data-set for low volume substances
is limited (for good competitiveness reasons), but this could perhaps be
addressed in REACH 2. The requirement for all potential registrants to share
data to prepare a single hazard data-set may sound like a good idea but the
practical implications (e.g. agreeing on the data to be used, how the costs
will be attributed, holding discussions in up to 20 languages, SMEs having
to 'hold their own' with large multi-nationals) are going to make this
process a nightmare. Resolving these data sharing issues and then preparing
a registration dossier by the end of 2010 will be challenging to say the
least. Enforcement is the responsibility of the individual EU Member States;
it is certain that there will be some difference in interpretation and
enforcement of the law, despite the best efforts of the agency, resulting in
an un-level 'playing field'.

Andrew Fasey can be contacted at:

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Activist's Corner. MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Activist's Corner

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

This month, in conjunction with the article on pages 18, we have provided a
letter to mail to state representatives to urge the banning of wood burning.
This letter may be downloaded for use at:

Dear XXX,

The seriousness of wood smoke pollution can not be overstated! Recreational
wood burning in outdoor fire pits, restaurants, and fireplaces has created a
growing and urgent need to reduce fine particulate air pollution. Fine
particulate air pollution enters deep into mammalian lungs and cannot be
cleared. Wood smoke is far more concentrated than tobacco smoke and
contains many of the same toxic, cancer-causing chemicals.

Wood smoke is comprised of fine particulates, many of which are
carcinogenic, such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and polyaromatic
hydrocarbons. It invades our water and food supply with persistent organic
compounds that do not break down, but remain for years, causing a host of
health problems in mammals and humans. Wood smoke has been implicated in
global warming because it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. Carbon
emissions and dioxins are released into the air when wood is burned.
Burning wood is one of the sootiest, unclean and least energy-efficient
forms of energy.

Wood smoke pollutes the air with arsenic, formaldehyde, dioxins,
flourohydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and a host of other
harmful chemicals are entering our lungs and stressing our immune system.
The evidence of harm is present in the contribution to childhood asthma,
birth defects, deaths from asthma attacks and heart attacks, and sudden
infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The pervasiveness of wood smoke has become a major livability and air
quality problem. Everyone is at risk from wood smoke exposure. Children,
the elderly, and individuals with asthma, allergies, or heart disease are in
the highest-risk categories.

EPA scientists estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in
just nine US cities alone. Other studies have estimated the nationwide
death toll to be tens of thousands annually.

I urge you to address this burgeoning health hazard through legislation to
restrict or ban wood burning. Please act now! I look forward to your

Name, Address, Phone (required for constituent letter)

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Childhood Pesticide Exposure Leads to Functional Developmental Disorders, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Scientific Studies
Childhood Pesticide Exposure Leads to Functional Developmental Disorders

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Organophosphate pesticides may lead to functional developmental
abnormalities in the nation's children!

Organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase by binding with cholinesterase
at the neuromuscular junction. Lack of acetylcholinesterase is the result
of organophosphate overexposure and organophosphate poisoning, which leads
to chronic irreversible illness.

Illness induced by chronic organophosphate exposure includes symptoms of
nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, abdominal pain, and
chest pain. Acute exposure results in gastrointestinal upset, bronchospasm,
sweating, muscle weakness, depression of the central nervous system, and
other symptoms. Irreversible sensory-motor neuropathy can progress into
paralysis, ataxia, and spasticity.

More than 13,000 cases of organophosphate poisoning were reported in the
United States in 1999, including 83 fatalities.

Scientists at the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental
Toxicology, Oregon Health & Science University have now shown that
organophosphates have an additional negative effect on infants whose nervous
systems are not fully developed.

Organophosphates impact the normal growth of axons, nerve fiber that extend
from brain neurons, interfering with brain growth and development.
The researchers feel this discovery explains why children and animals that
have been developmentally exposed to organophosphates may have functional
developmental abnormalities.

In addition, developmental exposure to organophosphates appears to increase
the vulnerability of the central nervous system to organophosphate

Organophosphates include pesticides such as diazinon and chlorpyrifos.
Organophosphates are nerve agents first discovered in 1938 and introduced
as a chemical warfare agent during World War II. Organophosphates are now
primarily used against fleas, lice, flies, and mosquito's.

Infants have been shown to be especially susceptible to environmental
contaminants in what is referred to by scientists as the critical stage.
Now there is evidence that developmental abnormalities may results from
organophosphate exposure.


Jaga, K, Dharmani, C. Sources of exposure to and public health implications
of organophosphate pesticides. J Public Health. 2003;14(3).

Yang D, Howard A, Bruun D, Ajua-Alemanj M, Pickart C, Lein PJ. Chlorpyrifos
and chlorpyrifos-oxon inhibit axonal growth by interfering with the
morphogenic activity of acetylcholinesterase. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007
Nov 17.

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Pesticides Reduce Sperm Count, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Scientific Studies:
Pesticides Reduce Sperm Count

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

If you want a child, researchers say to avoid using pesticides. Pesticides
have contributed to semen reduction over the last few decades, and without
enough semen, the chances of reproducing are slim.

If reproduction is hampered to a large extent, the human race may even be at
risk of extinction. Well, it's not that bad. yet.

University researchers at Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila in Mexico
evaluated the effect of organophosphate pesticides (OP) at three
occupational exposure levels on semen quality by examining the association
between semen and urinary excretion of OP in both exposed and unexposed

OPs refers to a group of nerve agents used as pesticides that act on the
enzyme acetylcholinesterase by irreversibly inactivating it in the body.

Without acetylcholinesterase nerve function in both insects and mammals.
including human beings, declines. The brain and nervous system can no
longer function properly.

The subjects in the study with the highest OP exposure had the lowest semen
count, as well as the poorest quality semen.

OP poisoning may also occur as a result of inhalation, skin contact, or
ingestion. Children and small pets are especially susceptible to inhalation
and skin contact as they live and play closer to the ground where pesticides
are commonly sprayed.

Symptoms of poisoning include runny nose, muscle twitching, confusion, chest
tightness, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and
death. Now researches have added low semen count and poor quality semen.

There are steps that can help to reduce exposure, including not using OPs
inside the home and work area. Alternatives include boric acid and keeping
things neat and clean. Many other insect specific alternatives can be
found. Two excellent sources of information about safer pest control are:

The Best Control

The Bug Stops Here

The precautionary principal prevails. Avoiding exposure and use of OPs is
the most sensible approach when efficacious alternatives exist.

Recio-Vega R, Ocampo-Gómez G, Borja-Aburto VH, Moran-Martínez J,
Organophosphorus pesticide exposure decreases sperm quality: association
between sperm parameters and urinary pesticide levels. J Appl Toxicol. 2007
Nov 28,

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Mold Induced Neuropsychological Illness. MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Scientific Studies:
Mold Induced Neuropsychological Illness

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Researchers at Texas Southern University say contamination of the indoor
environment by toxigenic molds is directly related to adverse health

Mold releases spores into the air to reproduce. These spores grow readily
in damp environments and are easily inhaled.

According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), " Molds can trigger
asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma
should avoid contact with or exposure to molds." However, mold exposure is
not limited to affecting only asthmatics.

Researchers examined twelve female office workers who presented with
symptoms of neuropsychological illnesses with mold as the suspected cause.

The subjects complained of weakness and numbness in their legs, dizziness,
loss of memory, light-headedness, vertigo, fatigue, getting lost in familiar
territory, and confused thoughts.

Various tests were carried out including immunological testing, EEG's, and
neuropsychological tests. All the subjects showed abnormal antibodies to
Alternaria tenuis, Pullularia pullulans, and Epicoccum nigru, each a form of
EEG's were abnormal in all subjects and some showed evidence of tremor and
paresis (a partial loss of movement).

The most significant finding was gross neuropsychological abnormalities
similar to those observed in the brain-damaged population.
Neuropsychological evaluation examines brain function and impairment and
identifies the brain area affected.

The researchers concluded that chronic exposures to toxigenic molds appears
to lead to neuropsychological manifestations.

The key to controlling mold is to control moisture, especially in water
damaged areas. Good indoor circulation is helpful. A dehumidifier in damp
areas is essential, as are exhaust fans, particularly in the bathroom after

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a resource site for mold at:

Anyanwu, EC, Kanu, I, Nwachukwu, NC, Saleh, MA. Chronic Environmental
exposure to Alternaria tenuis may manifest symptoms of neuropsychological
illnesses: A study of 12 Cases. Journal of Applied Sciences &
Environmental Management, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2005, pp. 45-51.

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Autism Correlated with Mercury, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Scientific Studies:
Autism Correlated with Mercury

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Parents want to know what is leading to the apparent increase in autism, and
many across the country are blaming mercury from vaccines as the culprit for
their children's autism. Doctors and medical organizations have denied
there is a connection and continue to recommend, and even force,
vaccinations that contain thimerosal. Thimerosal contains the neurotoxin
mercury and doctors claim the dose is not high enough to cause any damage to

Researchers at the Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa
wanted to know the truth. Particularly interested in the correlation
between mercury exposure and autism, the researchers cite that, like the
link between aspirin and heart attack, even a small effect can have major
health implications. Could mercury contribute to autism?

Proponents of both sides of the autism debate over mercury cite that the
other side refers to studies that are misleading or funded by industry.
Those who support no connection between mercury and autism are accused of
reporting false results to protect the financial interests of pharmaceutical
companies and industry. Some say researchers are paid off to report the
desired findings of the payer.

Refreshingly, this set of researchers stated that "If there is any link
between autism and mercury, it is absolutely crucial that the first reports
of the question are not falsely stating that no link occurs."

This led them to reanalyzing a data set originally reported by Ip et al. in
2004. They found an error in the original p value. Upon correcting this
error, they found that a significant relation does exist between the blood
levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder!

Parents have been saying all along that the symptoms of mercury poisoning
are the same as the symptoms of autism. Many claim that chelation cured
and/or improved their child's health and behavior. Further evidence can be
found in the fact that both autism and increased vaccinations occurred

There is still one question that burns in many parents' minds. Why are some
children affected and not others? This reanalyzed study has provided an
answer. Hair samples in this study support the theory that persons with
autism may be less efficient at eliminating mercury. This would indicate
that vaccination with thimerosal laced vaccines is contraindicated in a
significant portion of the population, if not all.

Should thimerosal be eliminated from all childhood vaccines? It would
probably be a good idea based on these findings. Yet, New Jersey just
enacted a law to force children to receive a thimerosal laced flu shot each
year. New Jersey also has the highest rates of autism in the country.
Parents must wonder why lawmakers without medical degrees are calling the

Citation: Desoto MC, Hitlan RT. Blood Levels of Mercury Are Related to
Diagnosis of Autism: A Reanalysis of an Important Data Set. J Child Neurol.
2007 Nov;22(11):1308-1311.

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Wood Smoke: The Other Cigarette, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Wood Smoke: The Other Cigarette
by Take Back the Air

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Many states are enacting legislation against secondhand tobacco smoke, but
they continue to overlook recreational wood burning. Wood smoke, a big
source of air pollution, is as deadly as vehicle exhaust and has many of the
same toxicants as cigarette smoke.1,2,3 It is a major health hazard that
often goes unrecognized, even by concerned environmentalists.

Recreational wood burning in outdoor fire pits, restaurants, and fireplaces
across the nation has created a growing and urgent need to reduce fine
particulate air pollution. Fine particulate air pollution enters deep into
mammalian lungs and cannot be cleared.4 Wood smoke is far more concentrated
than tobacco smoke and contains many of the same toxic, cancer-causing
chemicals.1 It also travels farther distances. According to the EPA, it
stays chemically active in the body forty times longer than tobacco smoke.5

Urban outdoor air across the nation has become so infused with faint or
heavy wood smoke that we don't seem to notice it much anymore. We have
habituated to it. However, when we pay attention, an unmistakably rank,
smoky and even sweetish wood smoke smell often fills the air. When the odor
is detectable, arsenic, formaldehyde, dioxins, flourohydrocarbons, carbon
monoxide, carbon dioxide and a host of other harmful chemicals are entering
our lungs and stressing our immune system.1,2,3 Whether it is noticed or
not, the evidence of harm is present in the contribution to soaring
childhood asthma rates, birth defects, deaths from asthma attacks and heart
attacks, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).2,5,6

Wood smoke is comprised of fine particulates, many of which are
carcinogenic, such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and polyaromatic
hydrocarbons.1,3 It invades our water and food supply with persistent
organic compounds that do not break down but remain for years, causing a
host of health problems. Wood smoke has been implicated in global warming,
because it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. Carbon emissions and
dioxins are released into the air when wood is burned. Burning wood is one
of the sootiest, unclean and least energy-efficient forms of energy.1

The pervasiveness of wood smoke has become a major livability and air
quality problem. Everyone is at risk from wood smoke exposure. Children,
the elderly, and individuals with asthma, allergies, or heart disease are in
the highest-risk categories according to the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA).5,6

EPA scientists estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in
just nine US cities alone.7 Other studies have estimated the nation wide
death toll to be tens of thousands annually.8

Burning Issues is an online nonprofit organization (
that provides scientific and educational information on the hazards of wood
smoke. There are viable alternatives to wood burning, including gas
fireplaces and handsome new electric fireplaces with flames that look real
and provide heat.

Do we have the right to force others who prefer to breathe clean air, to
inhale our wood smoke? Can burning wood be justified for fun, if there is a
chance that it may harm others? There is likely no justification. Just
like smoke-free states have helped people quit smoking, we need laws to help
prevent wood burning. If you can't breathe, what else matters?

Please contact your city officials and legislators to encourage them to
address this burgeoning health hazard. The urgency of wood smoke pollution
can not be overstated. The people that sell wood burning equipment and
those who use it are selling and promoting pollution. Please act now to
spread the word about wood smoke and protect the health of your family, your
pets, and the planet!

This standard letter to your state representatives may be downloaded at:

Contact information for your state representatives may be found at:

It is recommended that letters be sent via postal mail. A public service
announcement, which may be sent to media contacts or used in flyers may be
downloaded at:

Take Back the Air




1. Cooper J.A., Environmental Impact of Residential Wood Combustion
Emissions and its Implications, Air Pollution Control Association Journal.
1980 Aug. 30:8,855-861.

2. Failey, D. The Relationship of Daily Mortality to Suspended
Particulates in Santa Clara County, 1980-1986. Environmental Health
Perspectives. 1990;89:159-168.

3. Zelikoff, JT. Woodsmoke Emissions: Effects on Host Pulmonary Immune
Defense. New York University Medical Center, Institute of Environmental
Medicine. Tuxedo, NY November, 1994.

4. MacNee, W, Donaldson, K. Mechanism of lung injury caused by PM10 and
ultrafine particles with special reference to COPD. Eur Respir J. 2003;

5. US Environmental Protection Agency. Health Effects of Wood Smoke.
2007. Retrieved on December 7, 2007 from:

6. US Environmental Protection Agency. Health effects of fine particulates
and smoke. 2007. Retrieved on December 7, 2007 from:

7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate Matter Health Risk
Assessment for Selected Urban Areas. December 2005.

8. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fact Sheet: Clean Air Interstate
Rule. March 10 2005. Retrieved on December 9, 2007 from:
Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Persons with Disabilities Should Be Treated With Respect, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Persons with Disabilities Should Be Treated With Respect
by Christiane Tourtet B.A.

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

It is hard enough for many persons with disabilities to get the
accommodations they are legally entitled to under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), and even harder in many instances to get respect. As
for persons suffering from painful chronic illnesses/disabilities, which
cannot be seen (invisible disabilities), it can be quite a challenge.

There are many illnesses / disabilities which fall under the category of
invisible disabilities. Chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical
sensitivity (MCS), Lyme disease, progressive multiple sclerosis,
fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart diseases,
asthma, chronic infections, and brain injury, are just a few of the many
diseases and disabilities that are not apparent to onlookers.

It is rather amazing that people in general have the wrong notion that
persons with disabilities have to be either on crutches or in wheelchairs,
or using some sort of assisting devices. Even though, this may be the case
for many persons with disabilities, it certainly is not true for persons
suffering from illnesses and disabilities which cannot readily be seen.

The fact that a person looks good and healthy does not mean in any way that
this person cannot possibly have an illness or disability. On the contrary,
persons with invisible illnesses and disabilities are legally disabled and
entitled to the same rights as persons with visible disabilities under the
law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other laws and

An excellent source of information on chronic illnesses and invisible
disabilities can be found at "The Invisible Disabilities Advocate":

It is wrong to stereotype persons with disabilities. Many persons with
disabilities can be counted among some of the greatest achievers of this
nation. From what I have heard and observed over the years, I am quite
appalled by the lack of respect, and even cruelty, of many people in general
toward persons with visible and invisible disabilities.

Many people with disabilities, especially persons with invisible
disabilities, are routinely subjected to insensitive inquiries about their
disabilities, including discrimination, derogatory comments, harassment, and
mistreatment by many employees in places of business, and by people in

I have compiled a list of do's and don'ts that can be quite helpful for
dealing with persons with disabilities in general:


When a person with a visible or non-visible disability takes the trouble to
bring to you information about his/her disability, possibly with sections of
applicable law and is making a legal request for Accommodations under the
Law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):


1- Do not, become defensive and refuse to accept the information that this
person is providing to you. Persons with disabilities are usually very well
informed about their disabilities and their legal rights under the Law ADA.

2- Do not be rude, verbally or otherwise, such as throwing on the counter
the information provided to you by a person with a disability.

3-Do not make insensitive requests or comments about a person with a
disability, such as, "What's wrong with you?" You surely look fine to me!"
Well, you surely could make it to my store!"

4-Do not refuse to accommodate or threaten a person with a disability asking
for accommodations under ADA as it is unlawful to do so and legal
consequences may follow.

5- Do not give the brush off to a person explaining to you his/her
disability and requesting accommodations under the Law ADA.

6-Do not discriminate by first serving non-disabled customers and then the
person with a disability.

7-Do not become impatient, irate, and ask a person with a disability to
leave your premises, thus refusing to provide services while this person is
trying to obtain the reasonable accommodations/modifications he/she needs
under the law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as legal action can
be taken.

8-Do not purposely interrupt a person with a disability who is trying to
explain to you the accommodations and modifications, he /she needs under the
Law ADA.

9-Do not make sarcastic remarks, jokes, about a person with a disability.

10- Do not purposely spray chemicals in the presence of a person disabled by
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), as it could result in very serious
reactions for the person with this illness/disability and potentially very
serious legal consequences.

Information about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) can be read at, MCS


1-Greet all persons with visible / invisible disabilities with a friendly
smile and attitude.

2-Listen attentively to what a person with a disability is trying to convey
to you.

3-Be courteous, and take gracefully the information provided to you by a
person with a disability.

4-Thank the person with a disability for bringing information about his/her
disability, and information about the ADA.

5-Serve persons with disabilities as efficiently and promptly as possible,
especially persons suffering from painful chronic illnesses or disabilities
such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Do not use or spray any
chemicals in the presence of persons disabled by MCS, as it could result in
very severe reactions that could be life-threatening.

6-Be kind and compassionate toward persons with disabilities.

7-Be patient and understanding of the limitations of persons with

8-Educate yourself about the ADA and disabilities in general and diligently
train your employees, especially in regard to invisible disabilities.

9-Go out of your way to help persons with disabilities.

10-Make persons with disabilities feel at ease and welcomed, such as saying,
"nice to see you, thank your very much for your business, please come back
to see us".

This way, professional relations with your customers with disabilities will
be very good, which will benefit both your business and persons with

Information about the law "The Americans with Disabilities Act" (ADA) can be
found at the U.S. Department of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act,
ADA Homepage:

It is recommended to the general public to refrain from sending dirty looks
or making unfounded, hurtful, and derogatory comments to persons who happen
to look good and healthy and yet may suffer tremendously from invisible
chronic illnesses or disabilities.

The next time you get impatient and angry, give dirty looks, discriminate,
harass, or make hurtful, sarcastic remarks, think twice. The young, healthy
looking, pretty woman who seems to take so much time at a store check-out,
the healthy looking lady who insists on having each of her water bottles put
in double paper bags, and the young, well dressed, healthy looking man
pulling into the handicapped parking space may be people who have painful
chronic illnesses and are legally disabled under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, (ADA). They most likely have the legal right to park in
that disabled parking space!

© 2007 Christiane Tourtet
Reprinted with Permission
Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Sal's Place: Donkey in the Well, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Sal's Place

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Life is going to shovel "dirt" on us, all kinds of "dirt". When a chronic
illness develops, the "dirt" may take on the form of insulting comments by
well-meaning friends and family, loss of finances/dignity/credibility, and
loneliness. This can be further compounded by the disbelief of others in
the severity of the disability, feeling misunderstood, and experiencing
sadness and anger over losses. Some may even experience persecution for
seeking understanding and acceptance from society for disabilities. It is
during these times that we must remember the donkey in the well.

Donkey in the Well

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously
for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided
the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just
wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a
shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized
what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he
quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was
astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the
donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he
would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as
the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

-Author Unknown

The lesson the donkey teaches is two fold.

The trick to dealing with life's "dirt" is to shake it off and take a step
up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. No matter how deep the well, we
can get out just by shaking it off, stepping up, not stopping, and never
giving up!

The second lesson is that when you do something hurtful and try to cover
your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

Living with multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and
other chronic multi-system illnesses can be a challenge, both personally and
in the community at large. Daily challenges may seem overwhelming; however,
by taking one simple step at a time, anything can be overcome. I hope that
you will focus on the next step and never forgot the story of the donkey!
The donkey serves to inspire us to greatness!

See you at the top!

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

MCS 2007: The Year in Review, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

MCS 2007: The Year in Review

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

It was a busy year of activism in the multiple chemical sensitivity
community. Much progress was made in the awareness arena. Let's review a
few things that happened this year:

January saw the kick off to the proclamations season, when activists around
America began thinking about requesting proclamations from governors and
mayors in across the country.

January was also the month a researcher, Staudenmayer, attempted to prove
that litigants with Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance are malingering and
MCS America published a rebuttal.

February was the month that MCS America Petition to the AMA, CDC, WHO, and
NIEHS was mailed. It was the work of many individuals, both professionals
and community members, who came together to write and edit.

February also saw genetic research by Schnakenberg et al showing that
subjects who report chemical sensitivity are more often slow acetylators and
harbor deleted GSTM1 and/or GSTT1 genes.

March was the month that Carolyn Cooper, RN published her article in the
American Journal of Nursing, which expressed that although the cause and
diagnosis of MCS remain controversial, she is urging nurses to heed MCS
patient concerns when hospitalized.

March brought the first of many wonderful press releases about MCS in the
mainstream media.

Real Estate: Scents May Not Make Cents

Study Finds Cologne Causes Acute Neurotoxicity and Air Flow Reduction

Studies Show Genetic Variations in MCS

Studies Show Air Fresheners May be Harmful

MCS America Seeks Recognition for Environmental Illness

April saw the opening of MCS America's first Cafe Press MCS awareness logo
shop, which now houses eight shops, and four in progress, with various
awareness t-shirts and gift items. These items are provided at wholesale
cost. MCS America's mark-up is 0%. MCS America provides the artwork and
maintenance of the stores on a volunteer basis to further the awareness of
MCS and to support the mission of MCS America.

The month of April also brought research from Monnet-Tschudi et al
confirming that neurotoxicant chemicals cause inflammation and injury to the
central nervous system.

April began the monthly publication of articles about MCS in the mainstream

May was celebrated as MCS Awareness and Education Month and Toxic Injury
Awareness and Education Month in 34 states with 37 proclamations issued by
governors and mayors across America.

May also brought Christiane Tourtet's library awareness display.

May brought the addition of a database of MCS and related scientific studies
to the research and resources provided by MCS America, which now houses 40
full text studies and over 2,000 abstracts.

May also brought the long awaited release of a new book by Dr. Martin Pall,
PhD, "Explaining Unexplained Illnesses".

June brought a face lift to MCS America's website, with new bold colors,
larger fonts, and more user friendly navigation. It also brought the
finalization of moving all the state subsidiary websites to the MCS America
umbrella page:

In July, the news media was flooded with stories about Susan McBride, who
filed a lawsuit against her employer in Detroit to ban fragrances and
cigarette smoke in the workplace.

August saw the meeting of the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN)
case definition committee. Results are still pending publication.

August was the month that MCS America's Ready to Go Activist Website was
launched, providing community members with pre-designed letters for various
purposes for their personal activism. Many times we want to write a letter
to an establishment, individual, or other entity to educate them and request
they change their practices. The hardest part used to be writing the
letter, and often it never happened because there was no time. The addition
of these samples letters, which can be customized and printed by individuals
who would otherwise not be able to send a letter, has increased personal

August also brought a study by Prockop, which showed that neurotoxic injury
is not treatable.

September brought the addition of "perfume kills" activist items in MCS
America's Cafe Press Shops.

September got our attention when Boyd and Genius, researchers, published the
staggering economic costs of environmental illness in Canada.

October saw the release of MCS America's Position Statement, a fine point in
time when MCS America finally declared it's position on the etiology
(causation) of multiple chemical sensitivity. It states in part,
"Therefore, it is essential that MCS be immediately and fully recognized in
America as an organic physiological disorder induced by toxic environmental
insults. Environmental toxicants and irritants from perfumes, smoke,
pesticides, industry, and building materials must be reduced or effectively
regulated through legislation and enforcement to prevent injury to all
citizens. Immediate accommodation with a safe environment for school, work,
and housing should be granted to MCS victims who are still capable of
working, while those permanently injured should receive disability benefits.
The Americans with Disabilities Act must be enforced, to provide the same
rights to MCS patients as other disabilities, with protection from abuse,
harassment, and discrimination. As new information is published regarding
MCS, it is crucial that it be communicated to the medical and public
communities. Accurate, objective information which is free from conflicts
of interests, ties to the chemical industry, and connections to the
pharmaceutical industry must be rigorously researched and widely
disseminated. Funding is immediately and direly needed for additional
investigation into the etiology, treatment, and prevention of this costly,
devastating, and disabling disorder.... Sufficient clear and present
evidence is currently available to show that MCS is real and disabling, and
to justify, indeed to demand, immediate action."

October also confirmed that household cleaning chemicals contribute to
soaring asthma rates when Henderson et al published their study.

In November a new service was launched by MCS America known as MCSA Feeds.
It is an email list server with the purpose of distributing daily news and
research studies on multiple chemical sensitivity, chemical injury,
environmental concerns, and other related environmental illnesses and

December brought another new service from MCS America known as MCSA Safer
Salvage and Share, a "safer" version of freecycle. The purpose of this
program is to find and recycle needed "safe" or "safer" items. All items are
exchanged for free. Shipping costs are arranged between donor and recipient.
Items may include gift certificates for food, shelter, medications, and
other basic needs.

It's been a busy and successful year! Best wishes for a healthy and
prosperous 2008!
Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Community News, MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Community News

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Katrina FEMA Trailers Tested For Dangerous Chemical

Merck Agrees to $20 Million Chemical Spill Settlement

Toxic toys hang over holiday season

Mercury in Mascara? Minn. Law Bans It

Is there any link between leukemia and nuclear power?

Long Island Toxic Mold Victims to Get Relocation Assistance

Cal-EPA plan could make state a leader in toxic chemicals policy

The Hidden Dangers Of Mold

Lingering toxins continue to cause cancer: study

Liberty fires middle school librarian (with MCS)

Under-Urination, Excessive Body Strain Or Toxicity May Cause Cancer

Vets warn of killer chemical in pet meat,23599,22915444-2,00.html

Group Warns That Nurses Face Health Risks from Chemical Exposure

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Featured Research Studies. MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.

Featured Research Studies

MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2008.


Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Genetic evaluation of the serotonergic system in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Smith AK, Dimulescu I, Falkenberg VR, Narasimhan S, Heim C, Vernon SD, Rajeevan MS.

Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MSG41, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder of unknown etiology with no known lesions, diagnostic markers or therapeutic intervention. The pathophysiology of CFS remains elusive, although abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS) have been implicated, particularly hyperactivity of the serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) system and hypoactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Since alterations in 5-HT signaling can lead to physiologic and behavioral changes, a genetic evaluation of the 5-HT system was undertaken to identify serotonergic markers associated with CFS and potential mechanisms for CNS abnormality. A total of 77 polymorphisms in genes related to serotonin synthesis (TPH2), signaling (HTR1A, HTR1E, HTR2A, HTR2B, HTR2C, HTR3A, HTR3B, HTR4, HTR5A, HTR6, and HTR7), transport (SLC6A4), and catabolism (MAOA) were examined in 137 clinically evaluated subjects (40 CFS, 55 with insufficient fatigue, and 42 non-fatigued, NF, controls) derived from a population-based CFS surveillance study in Wichita, Kansas. Of the polymorphisms examined, three markers (-1438G/A, C102T, and rs1923884) all located in the 5-HT receptor subtype HTR2A were associated with CFS when compared to NF controls. Additionally, consistent associations were observed between HTR2A variants and quantitative measures of disability and fatigue in all subjects. The most compelling of these associations was with the A allele of -1438G/A (rs6311) which is suggested to have increased promoter activity in functional studies. Further, in silico analysis revealed that the -1438 A allele creates a consensus binding site for Th1/E47, a transcription factor implicated in the development of the nervous system. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay supports allele-specific binding of E47 to the A allele but not the G allele at this locus. These data indicate that sequence variation in HTR2A, potentially resulting in its enhanced activity, may be involved in the pathophysiology of CFS.


PMID: 18079067 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

TJ Med Toxicol. 2007 Sep;3(3):89-93.

Weight gain associated with chronic exposure to chlorpyrifos in rats.

Meggs WJ, Brewer KL.

Department of Emergency Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA. <>

OBJECTIVE: This work exposed rats to low levels of the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos and monitored for toxic effects, including weight gain. METHODS: Rats received either a subcutaneous injection of chlorpyrifos, 5 mg/kg/day, or an equal volume of vehicle daily for 4 months. Subjects were observed for 30 minutes after injection for signs of acute toxicity. Body weights were recorded at baseline, 2 months, 3 months, and 4 months. At the end of the experiment, the weights of hearts, medial lobe of the livers, peri-nephric fat pads, and gastrocnemius muscles were recorded. Effects of chlorpyrifos on adipocyte differentiation in culture were studied. Results were compared using RMANOVA. RESULTS: No signs of acute cholinergic toxicity were observed after injections in any subject. Rats in the 5 mg/kg group were significantly heavier than those in the control group by 2 months (335.7 +/- 16.7 g vs. 318.6 +/- 15.8 g; p = 0.034). This difference increased at 3 months (350.1 +/- 16.4 g vs. 322.3 +/- 21.3 g p = 0.006) and 4 months (374.4 +/- 22.2 g vs. 340.2 +/- 25.2 g p = 0.006). At 4 months, the weights of the perinephric fat pads were significantly increased in the chlorpyrifos group relative to controls (2.867 + 0.516 vs. 1.130 + 0.171, p = 0.0039). The two groups showed no weight differences between hearts, livers, and gastrocnemius muscles. Chlorpyrifos did not affect adipocyte differentiation in tissue culture. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic exposure to chlorpyrifos at 5 mg/kg/day caused an increase in rat body weight when compared to controls. This increase was in adipose tissue. Chlorpyrifos did not induce differentiation of adipocytes in culture.


PMID: 18072142 [PubMed - in process]



J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2007 Nov 23


Development and validation of a chemical hydrolysis method for dextromethorphan and dextrophan determination in urine samples: Application to the assessment of CYP2D6 activity in fibromyalgia patients.


Daali Y, Cherkaoui S, Doffey-Lazeyras F, Dayer P, Desmeules JA.

Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Geneva University Hospitals, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland.


Dextromethorphan (DEM) is a widely used probe drug for human cytochrome P450 2D6 isozyme activity assessment by measuring the ratio between DEM and its N-demethylated metabolite dextrorphan (DOR). DOR is excreted in urine mainly conjugated to glucuronic acid. Prior to quantification, DOR must be deconjugated to avoid variability caused by the polymorphic glucuronosyltransferase enzyme. A chemical hydrolysis method was optimized using a chemometric approach. Three factors (acid concentration, hydrolysis time and temperature) were selected and simultaneously varied to study their effect on conjugated DOR hydrolysis. Hydrolysis conditions that maximize DOR release without significant degradation of both DEM and DOR were chosen and results were compared to those obtained by enzymatic method using beta-glucuronidase. An HPLC method with fluorescence detection was developed for the simultaneous quantitation of DEM, DOR and levallorphan, used as an internal standard. Separation was performed on a phenyl analytical column (150mmx4.6mm i.d., 5mum) with a mobile phase consisting of 18% acetonitrile and 50mM phosphoric acid (pH 3). The overall analytical procedure was validated and showed good performances in terms of selectivity, linearity, sensitivity, precision and accuracy. Finally, this assay was used to determine DEM/DOR molar ratios in fibromyalgia patients for the purpose of determining phenotype status for the CYP2D6.


PMID: 18065299 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


Int J Androl. 2007 Dec 6

Urinary phthalate metabolites and semen quality: a review of a potential biomarker of susceptibility.

Hauser R

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Phthalates are a class of chemicals with widespread general population exposure. Some phthalates are reproductive and developmental toxicants in laboratory animals. Advances in the field of phthalate research in humans are dependent on the development and implementation of biomarkers to assess exposure and outcome, as well as potential markers that may be indicative of increased susceptibility. Recently, we incorporated a novel biomarker of potential 'susceptibility' into our study on the relationship of phthalates with semen quality and sperm DNA damage among men recruited from an infertility clinic. We measured urinary concentrations of three di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolites, mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) and two oxidative metabolites, mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxylhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP) and mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP). We calculated the percent of DEHP excreted as the hydrolytic monoester (i.e., MEHP). We referred to this as %MEHP and considered it a phenotypic marker of the proportion of DEHP excreted in the urine as MEHP. In our sperm DNA study, we found novel results for the DEHP metabolites. Although MEHP was positively correlated with the oxidative metabolites, the association of sperm DNA damage with MEHP, as compared to MEHHP and MEOHP, were in opposite directions. We hypothesized that MEHP is the bioactive toxicant and further metabolism to MEHHP/MEOHP may lower internal burden of MEHP and thus be protective from sperm DNA damage. An alternative explanation may include that the relative percentage of DEHP excreted as MEHP was a surrogate for the function of phase I enzymes. Men with high %MEHP may have higher levels of sperm DNA damage because of poor metabolism (detoxification) of other genotoxic chemicals. Our hypothesis that %MEHP may represent a phenotypic marker of metabolism is novel but requires further exploration to confirm.


PMID: 18067563 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


Indoor Air. 2007 Aug;17(4):328-33

Nasal hyperreactivity in allergic and non-allergic rhinitis: a potential risk factor for non-specific building-related illness.

Shusterman D, Murphy MA.

Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98104, USA.

Self-reported non-allergic nasal symptom triggers in non-allergic ('vasomotor') rhinitis overlap with commonly identified environmental exposures in non-specific building-related illness. These include extremes of temperature and humidity, cleaning products, fragrances, and tobacco smoke. Some individuals with allergic rhinitis also report non-allergic triggers. We wished to explore the phenotypic overlap between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis by ascertaining self-reported non-allergic nasal symptom triggers among allergic rhinitics. Sixty subjects without work-related respiratory exposures or symptoms, aged 19-68 years, stratified by age, gender and (skin test-proven) allergic rhinitis status, were queried with regard to self-reported non-allergic nasal symptom triggers (aggregate score 0-8). In this sample, the number of self-reported non-allergic triggers was bimodal, with peaks at 1 and 5. Forty-two percent of seasonal allergic rhinitic subjects reported more than three non-allergic triggers, compared with only 3% of non-allergic non-rhinitics (P < 0.01). Subjects over 35 years were more likely to report one or more non-allergic triggers, particularly tobacco smoke (P < 0.05). Allergic rhinitics reported more non-allergic symptom triggers than did non-allergic, non-rhinitics. As indexed by self-reported reactivity to non-specific physical and chemical triggers, both non-allergic rhinitics and a subset of allergic rhinitics may constitute susceptible populations for non-specific building-related illness. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Judging by self-report, a substantial subset of individuals with allergic rhinitis--along with all individuals with nonallergic rhinitis (by definition)--are hyperreactive to non-allergic triggers. There is overlap between these triggers (elicited in the process of obtaining a clinical diagnosis) and environmental characteristics associated with ''problem buildings.'' Since individuals with self-identified rhinitis report an excess of symptoms in most epidemiologic studies of problem buildings (even in the absence of unusual aeroallergen levels), rhintics may be acting as a ''sentinel'' subgroup when indoor air quality is suboptimal. Together, non-allergic rhinitics plus allergic rhinitics with prominent non-allergic triggers, are thought to constitute approximately one-sixth of the US population

PMID: 17661929 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

Copyrighted © 2008  MCS America


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