Well, May is Awareness Month for a lot of medical conditions, and also for Basic Income. However I’m going to focus on the “invisible illness” of MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. It’s a terrible name for a debilitating condition, because most people seeing the word “sensitivity” will minimize the very real and disabling symptoms. Please don’t ignore physical suffering just because you don’t understand it. Help us make May 2017 (May MCS Awareness Month) the last time that we ever hear (or read) the words #MCS? #NeverHeardOfIt!
It’s not rare enough to even count as a rare disease, and was officially recognized in Canada back in 2007, but whenever I tell people about it, they have one of two responses:
- Oh, I’m sensitive to perfumes too, didn’t know it was a condition!
- Oh I HATE perfumes, too!
Unfortunately, MCS is not hatred. I wish it was that simple. So the second reaction is very problematic. Something can smell perfectly nice, and still cause symptoms severe enough to keep people with MCS from going to work for the next week. It’s like an allergy. It’s not some random personal preference, or just disliking a scent. It’s a real, debilitating reaction.
Companies have been proven to put toxic ingredients in perfumes and cleaning supplies. These ingredients can actually cause addiction – same as the additives that are placed into cigarettes. Many people refuse to give up their perfume use even when close family members are immediately affected.
Many of these ingredients are banned in Europe and other civilized places, because they have been proven to create effects such as:
- Brain damage (neurotoxicity)
- Nerve damage (demyelation)
- Cancer (carcinogenic)
- Respiratory ailments (irritant)
- And other negative effects
MCS symptoms are degenerative and range from mild to extreme. They can mimic other ailments depending on where in the body the inflammation reaction happens. It’s estimated that at least 300,000 Canadians are affected by this condition, and at least 50,000 are disabled by it. Some are housebound. Most have difficulty finding and keeping employment that doesn’t trigger the disability, and most have extreme difficulty even finding a safe, non-toxic home to live in.
Symptoms can mimic:
- Chronic Fatigue
Many doctors still refuse to believe that MCS is real, so very many patients have difficulty finding a correct diagnosis. However, if you switch all your personal care products to scent-free and no longer need to sleep for 6 hours immediately after washing your hair with a scented shampoo, it’s pretty obvious what’s really going on in your body.
Next advocacy post will be about toxic products and alternative solutions, and how it also happens to be better for the planet! In the meantime please join the #MaskChallenge on social media for May MCS Awareness Month. Thank you!