FROM THE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION-ES/MCS

‘Nobody can see what is happening in my body’

‘When I am exposed to perfumes and other chemicals … nobody can see what is happening in my body, they don’t understand. So my body is burning. My eyes are burning. My throat is burning. I think I am going to throw up. I get migraines. I get shaky. It is kind of like a package deal that feels like every system in your body is going into hyper-drive and you don’t feel a sense of control of your body and of your life.’ – Hope ES/MCS

                                                                                                                

 EXPERIENTIAL PERSPECTIVES

‘I’m like an alien breathing on my own planet.’

ES/MCS includes sensitivities to chemicals and to electromagnetic radiation, both now ubiquitous in our environments. Of the three conditions, it is affects the largest number of people but is, unfortunately, the least researched.

ES/MCS involves reactions as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of common substances in low doses, including, for example, ‘everyday chemicals,’ such as paints, solvents, adhesives, preservatives, gasoline and diesel, commercial cleaning materials, fragranced laundry products, perfume, cigarette smoke and plastics as well as pesticides and industrial-use chemicals; and radiation from cell phones, WiFi and computers.

It is a central nervous system disorder and detoxification dysfunction that can range from mild to severe, and can affect any organ and body system. Common symptoms include headaches, loss of mental clarity, nausea and vomiting, as well as respiratory, dermatological, gastrointestinal and genitourinary symptoms.

As a result, it can produce severe symptoms that can be exhausting, excruciating and completely disabling, even life-threatening.

FROM THE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION-ES/MCS

You can’t have what other people take for granted…’

You can’t have what other people take for granted, like family, friends, socialization, clothing. Lately I order most of my clothing from the Sears catalogue. I guess it’s not so lately that everything comes through China and it is soaked in formaldehyde. … With my current partner we’ve taken cotton clothing and washed it in everything and soaked it in vinegar, just washing and washing and washing. Then we even buried this pair of jeans hoping the earth would eat away some of it.  Actually, after about a year of washing and washing and soaking, then you can wear something. … I moved to the country on the advice of my doctor. Then the air quality has deteriorated over [there during] the time I’ve been unwell so that, you really can’t go anywhere.  … I’m more polluted now, than in my house in the city, cause you have the wind off the water. It’s really a Catch-22. Claire MCS

                                                                                      

It often overlaps (is ‘co-morbid’) with ME/CFS and FM.

The Ontario legislature has passed bill 118 recognizing chemical sensitivity as an “invisible disability” that the affected person should be accommodated for in workplace and public. But this formal recognition has not been implemented in the normal rights, benefits, programs, facilities or services that Ontario provides for others similarly disabled. Though the numbers of those diagnosed with ES/MCS are higher than for the other two conditions, ES/MCS is the least researched of the conditions, and very highly stigmatized.

At moderate to severe levels, ES/MCS creates the need to escape ordinary, everyday chemical ‘incitants’ which are ubiquitous in domestic, work and social environments. As a result, it can drive people into homelessness, extreme poverty and total isolation.

To find out more read the Full Report:

 

Some internet resources:

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity America (MCSA):


 
The Environmental Health Center – Dallas (EHC-D):