The month of May is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Awareness month. It is estimated that MCS affects 48 million people. I have heard it said that MCS is an epidemic. It is so important to spread education about this chronic condition, so more don’t have to experience it.
According to MCS America, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is:
“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.”
It is a chronic condition in which symptoms recur in response to low levels of chemical exposure.
MCS America lists some of the following toxic substances that people with MCS become disabled by:
- Exposures to pesticides
- Secondhand smoke
- Fresh paint
- Scented products and perfumes
- Food preservatives
- Flavor enhancers
- Tap water
- Personal care products
- New carpets and flooring
- Petroleum products
- Outdoor pollutants
- Newspaper ink
- Cleaning compounds
- Printing and office products
- Synthetically derived chemicals
- Natural products that are highly concentrated
Symptoms that occur from chemical exposure can range from headaches, head congestion, and tingling tongue and lips to more serious symptoms such as elevated heart rate, severe brain fog (the type where you forget where you’re going), to seizures and anaphalaxis.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Experiences
I know firsthand how difficult it can be to live with MCS because I have lived with it for a few years. I have experienced many of the above symptoms when exposed to toxic substances. The typical things that “healthy” people can handle, I cannot.
As a recent example, last week we had some wood replaced on the outside of our house. The wood was painted and caulked. I had symptoms occur even though the chemicals were used on the outside of the house. A week later, I still can smell the chemicals on the outside. Last week, we also had a new air conditioner installed. I was concerned about the piping and glue when we had our furnace installed a couple of years ago. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to be too much of an issue after a couple of days. I’m not sure what they used this time, but every time we run the air conditioner I feel nauseous from the glue smell. I’m hoping that the off-gassing from the pipes and glue will dissipate soon.
Those of us with MCS are called canaries because we can warn others of the toxins they are being exposed to just like when miners used canaries in the mine shafts to alert them of poisonous conditions.
Unfortunately, we are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis. If someone with MCS is suffering from symptoms, just think of what those toxins are doing to someone who might not experience symptoms which alert them to avoid particular substances. The constant exposure will do harm as our “toxic bucket” fills. It’s just a matter of time before that bucket overflows – and we wonder why so many have cancer, or other damaging diseases!
What can we do?
- Become an educated shopper. Learn about the toxic ingredients which are in every day products.
- We can vote for change with our dollars. Stop buying toxic products and pesticide laden foods.
- We can propose changes to laws that would test toxic chemicals and limit the use of those that are being used today.
- We need to hold manufactures accountable. Sign petitions and work with organizations that are trying to rid our country of dangerous chemicals.
- Speak up when you’re shopping. Large retailers are beginning to say they will stop selling certain products due to their toxic nature. We need more large retailers to take a stand.
Eliminating the use of harmful chemicals is in the best interest of everyone!