The Governor of Colorado has signed a proclamation to make May 2008 Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Toxic Injury Awareness Month.
Governer Bill Ritter, Jr. has done a great service to those suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and toxic injury by making May an awareness month for these conditions.
This follows declarations by The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Health Observance Calendar that May 2008 be Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness and Education Month.
MCS is a devastating condition in which sufferers react to tiny amounts of various chemicals which are present everywhere in modern life. These include laundry detergents, scented soaps, household cleaning products, perfume, and vehicle exhaust. Common symptoms include neurological problems such as dizziness, confusion, rapid heart beat, and fatigue as well as respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing.
MCS in its most severe form is estimated to affect between 1% and 5% of the population in developed countries. People affected badly often have to withdraw entirely from society and remove all chemical products from their homes and their lives. They also often need to wear face masks containing a carbon filter when they are out and about or around people to prevent themselves from being exposed to chemical vapors and becoming sick.
Additionally, various reports have suggested that closer to 10-15% of the population may have less serious adverse reactions to everyday chemicals.
According to data collected by MCS Referral & Resources (a support service for MCS patients run by doctors specializing in the condition) between 1952 and 1999 there were 609 references to 'Multiple Chemical Sensitivity' in the mainstream medical literature and of these 311 concluded that MCS was a real disease with an organic basis. In other words, the weight of evidence demonstrates that MCS is a physical rather than psychiatric condition.
Despite this the diagnosis of MCS is not accepted nor given by the mainstream medical profession. In the majority of cases people who say that exposure to everyday levels of chemicals makes them seriously ill are regarded as being somewhat mentally unstable, both by the medical profession and the public at large. Such views mean that those suffering from MCS and unable to work as a result often have great trouble securing disability benefits which they require to survive.
When MCS patients are able to secure financial aid it is usually because they are seen as being mentally ill. This is simply not acceptable for someone who is suffering from a debilitating physical illness.
The proclamation by the Governor of Colorado and other lawmakers in the US and other countries can only serve to help those with MCS. Much work still needs to be done to ensure MCS sufferers receive the help they need and that much more effort is put into finding out exactly why the condition develops and how best to treat it. Currently MCS research tends to be carried out be individual researchers with very limited resources.
The key points of Governor Ritter's proclamation include recognition that MCS and toxic injury:
- Affect all ages, ethnicities, cultures and religions.
- Are characterized by enhanced sensitivity to minute amounts of air pollution, petrochemicals and other toxins.
- Are chronic conditions for which there are no known cures.
- Are disabling conditions which can be life-threatening.
The aims of the awareness month are:
- To raise awareness and educate citizens on the dangers of MCS and toxic injury.
- To acknowledge that the State of Colorado recognizes those who suffer from MCS or toxic injury, and acknowledges that those affected deserve the same rights, respect, and support afforded to those with other illnesses and disabilities.
Source: http://mcs-america.org/Colorado2008MCSTI.pdf (courtesy of MCS America)