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Recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity in Italy moves closer




Italian Parliament BuildingsA multiple chemical sensitivity organisation and Members of Parliament in Italy are working together to pass laws that would ensure recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity and other environmental illness.

The work of Italy's foremost multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) organisation, the Association for Environmental and Chronic Toxic Injury (AMICA), is finally paying off it would seem with a number of law proposals that would officially recognise MCS and related conditions in the country being proposed by a number of Members of Parliament across political parties.

Writing on the subject on December 29th Francesca Romana Orlando, Journalist and Vice President of AMICA, explained that the organisation had first written to all Members of Parliament at the beginning of 2006 asking for a "law to recognize Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) as a social disease."

Amica received a response from Paolo Cento from Parito dei Verdi (Green Party) inviting the organisation to work together in writing a law proposal. As a result of this collaborative effort, the first law for MCS was presented in June 2006, representing a first step towards recognition of MCS in Italy.

Unfortunately, as Orlando reports, in the meantime the  "Superior Institute for Health (ISS), a public health agency, created an inter-regional Commission aimed to prepare a position paper about MCS that the Supreme Council of Health (CSS), the scientific arm of the Ministry of Health, should then review and sign." In September 2008 the CSS released its final MCS document with the conclusion that MCS cannot be recognized as an illness due to lack of evidence and the absence of an univocal diagnostic test.

After reviewing the report AMICA noted that a number of doctors acting as consultants to the CSS on the matter of MCS had ties to the pharmaceutical or chemical industries and that important research establishing the biological basis of MCS and the level of disability and suffering it causes patients was ignored.

With it clear that the only way to gain MCS recognition in Italy at the present time was through political means AMICA again contacted Members of Pariliament and has worked well in promoting the cause of MCS sufferers in Italy. Orlando reports that "Today there are, in fact, five proposals by Partito della Libertà (Liberty Party) and four proposals by the opponent parties, Partito Domocratico (Democratic Party) and Italia dei Valori (the Italian Party of Values)."

Three new law proposals were presented in December with the one by On. Domenico Scilipoti (IdV) being the most comprehensive since it considers AMICA's request for wider recognition of Environmental Illnesses and disability. The law is addressed to those people whose survival and quality of life depend not much on drugs, but on avoiding certain environmental factors.

On. Domenico Scilipoti (IdV) issued a press release on the matter on December 21st titled 'How to Help People Affected by Environmental Disability:

In order to help people with Environmental Disabilities whose survival and quality of life depend not on drugs, but on avoiding certain environmental factors, today I presented a project of law about this issue, comments On. Scilipoti. The law is meant for environmentally triggered diseases such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), involving a loss of tolerance of chemicals, or Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), forcing the affected ones to get far from electromagnetic fields emitted by mobiles, Wi-Fi, electric cables, etc. But the law is also meant for genetic, metabolic, neurological or immunological disorders such as fibromyalgia or CFS (involving chemical intolerances) or favism, which gives serious reactions to legumes. Other cases of environmental disability are seen in autism, epilepsy, migraine and lupus that involve reactions to fluorescent lighting. It's important to discuss this law as soon as possible in order to give an answer to these people, Scilipoti concludes.

To read the full law proposal by On. Domenico Scilipoti (IdV) see: Rules for the Protection of Individuals with Environmental Disabilities”.

Austria recently recognised MCS as a physical illness following the lead of Germany which had already done so. It seems many governments are now recognising the impact of MCS on individual sufferers and society as whole and acting accordingly and responsibly.


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