Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
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Hawaii Governor Abercrombie Recognizes MCS America's Contributions to Community Health and WellnessHawaii Governor Abercrombie Recognizes MCS America's Contributions to Community Health and Wellness
by Lourdes Salvador
Hawaii Proclamation Issued Dually Recognizing May 2011 as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month and MCS America for its Contributions to the Hawaii Community.
On April 28th, 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Brian Shatz have formally recognized MCS America´s efforts in a perfectly and beautifully worded document thanking MCS America for its contributions to the health and wellness of the Hawaii community!
Since its inception in 2006, MCS America has worked to gain medical, legal, and social recognition for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults; provided support and referral services to the individuals with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), and other environmental illnesses; and worked toward ensuring that environmental toxicants are identified, reduced, regulated, and enforced through promoting effective legislation. This is only possible because of community involvement.
On behalf of MCS America and our MCS community, I humbly thank Governor Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Schatz for this gracious proclamation. Their recognition of MCS America's outreach efforts to people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is greatly appreciated.
MCS America will use this proclamation to foster awareness of this health crisis, encourage policy and procedure changes to support people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and make public services and places accessible to people with MCS in Hawaii and all across America.
The 2011 Hawaii proclamation may be viewed and downloaded in PDF format from: http://www.mcs-america.org/hawaii2011mcs.pdf
A special thank you also goes to Susie Collins at the Canary Report for working with MCS America on the proclamation request. Collins operates one of the best online social networks in the U.S. for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. For more information, visit http://www.thecanaryreport.org/.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "a diagnostic label for people who suffer multi-system illnesses as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of airborne agents and other substances."
A surprising number of people report sensitivity to ordinary everyday chemicals. According to published studies by Bell (1993, 1998), Meggs (1998), Voorhees (1998), Kreutzer (1999), Caress (2004, 2005)), and colleagues, MCS affects an average of 1.5 out of 10 people. The figures reveal that at least two percent, and as many as six percent, have been so disabled by chemical exposures that they sought medical care and received a doctor-diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).
Martin L. Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University and Research Director, The Tenth Paradigm Research Group, says, "Cases of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) are reported to be initiated by seven classes of chemicals. Each of the seven acts along a specific pathway, indirectly producing increases in NMDA activity in the mammalian body. Members of each of these seven classes have their toxicant responses lowered by NMDA antagonists, showing that the NMDA response is important for the toxic actions of these chemicals. The role of these chemicals acting as toxicants, in initiating cases of MCS has been confirmed by genetic evidence showing that six genes that influence the metabolism of these chemicals, all influence susceptibility to MCS. It is likely that chemicals act along these same pathways, leading to increased NMDA activity when they trigger sensitivity responses in MCS patients."
Toxic substances that people with MCS have reduced ability to break down include any quantity of exposures to pesticides, secondhand smoke, alcohol, fresh paint, scented products and 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. Some also become ill from natural products that are highly concentrated such as natural orange cleaners due to high volatile organic compound and pesticide concentration. Symptoms can range from minor annoyances (headache, runny nose) to life-threatening reactions (seizures, anaphylaxis).
Health care utilization costs directly related to MCS have been estimated at approximately $1,581 annually per patient (Fox et al, 2007). At the time these costs were calculated, the United States Population was estimated to be 302.8 million (United States Census Bureau, 2007). The prevalence studies predict an average of 15% of the United States population suffers from chemical sensitivities; therefore, direct health care utilization costs amount to a staggering $71.8 billion dollars per year.
Estimated costs for MCS and other disorders linked to neurotoxicity amount to an additional $81.5 to $167 billion annually in lost productivity (Szpir, 2006). Cumulative social and economic costs identified in four case studies of illnesses that are candidates for environmental causation totaled between $568 billion and $793 billion dollars per year (Muir et al, 2001).
People who suffer from MCS lose much more than financial freedom. The diagnosis of MCS has major employment, housing, social, and health consequences.
MCS America strives to provide support and referral services to help people with MCS adjust to and manage their condition. The support and help of family, friends, medical providers, and coworkers is essential to leading the most normal life possible.
MCS America provides information and resources of the latest scientific findings on the cause and treatment of MCS to help medical providers and those who have been afflicted.
MCS America raises awareness of MCS in the hope that through awareness, many people can be saved from this devastating diagnosis by minimizing toxic exposure and tightening chemical regulation.
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2011 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America