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Letting Go of Family for Our Sake





MCS America

Lourdes Salvador's Column

...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.








Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). 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 serve 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.


For more information visit MCS America




Monday, March 8th, 2010:


Letting Go of Family for Our Sake


by Lourdes Salvador

Q:  I was poisoned by solvents and developed multiple chemical sensitivity. I’ve adapted quite well, but my spouse is having difficulty changing his ways.  He thinks he is not complete without cologne and my doctor said I must avoid the toxic chemicals colognes and fragrances contain if I want to get well again.  My husband can’t understand this concept and is forcefully trying to get me to go to work again despite my doctor’s declaration of disability because he thinks I’m just depressed and not really sick.  He won’t listen to my doctor any more than he listens to me.  It’s very stressful and he is interfering with my ability to get well.  I love him and I’m dependent on his support. How can I convince him this is real?


A:  If your husband has been presented with all the facts and brochures, and the doctor has spoken with him and he still refuse to accept your illness, you might suggest counseling to help him to accept your illness and cope with the lifestyle changes.  Sometimes a friend can also intervene with a positive outcome. In a few cases, having the spouse speak with others who suffer from the condition or their family members has been useful.


If all else fails, separation may be required in order for you to take care of yourself.  While this is difficult to face, bear in mind that you will continue to worsen if your husband continues to expose you and refuses to adapt to the necessary lifestyle changes which will improve your health. A separation could be temporary or permanent. Sometimes when a spouse sees the improvement that can occur when the doctor’s orders are followed, he may come around and becomes more supportive.


Consider staying with a supportive family member and applying for social assistance and disability while you stabilize your health.  There are many social programs which may be useful.  Your husbands treatment of you may qualify as domestic violence in terms of emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse for interfering with your doctor’s orders. This opens up domestic violence shelters and services as well.


Ideally, you want to reach your husband and find a way to explain to him what is happening to you. Talk with others who have chemical sensitivity and find out what has worked for them and how they explain their condition. Delivering the message from another angle sometimes gets through. 


Above all, respect yourself and stand strong for your needs. If your husband truly loves you, he would not be harming you.






For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.


Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America



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People in this conversation

  • My sister is a little the same way.. she understands my condition but refuses to stop using all her bathroom chemicals.. she has gradually stopped using a couple things like hair spray and has switched to using my soap over the toxic dove soap.. but still uses her antiperspirant and alcohol based face cleanser and the shampoo and conditioner and the infusium and stuff to add into hair for effect...

    i find slowly talking her into things makes it easier.. i slowly talked her in to changing the shampoo she uses.. she's just finishing up the bottle now so as not to waste our little amount of precious money we have.. i just need to find a type that does not make the whole apartment smell toxic after she showers...

    but slowly talking her over to not using things like air freshener and dish soap (we use a mixture of baking soda coarse salt and a drop of my hand soap with hot water and it does the job well) and other cleaning chemicals and shown how vinegar and baking soda do wonders and she's accepted it and seen how we're saving money in the process so that's a plus too for our argument hehe

    the rest of my family is a different story.. making small progress with them(my older sister is not buying baby wipes anymore because i've reacted to them every time she;s pulled one out while i;ve been over at her place and have shown her research into what's wrong with them.. ahh but she's still clorox happy sadly..).. but i don;t live with her so it;s not as bad for me though not as good for her two children heh....

    anyways i'll stop this long comment.. just thought i'd share :)

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