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Is MCS Psychological?

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a condition that affects millions of people; it is estimated that anywhere from 15-33% of the population suffers from MCS to one degree or another. MCS is not a respecter of persons, as it afflicts people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most people with MCS have been told that their illness is all in their heads on numerous occasions by various sources including mainstream medical doctors, church members, friends, and family members. I would like to explore this accusation from a common sense standpoint in hopes of helping people understand how ludicrous this theory is.

Let’s look at a typical scenario that explains how life changes once someone discovers he or she has MCS. Jessica graduated with honors from high school. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she went on to attend law school. While in law school, the apartment Jessica lived in was sprayed with a combination of several different pesticides. After being exposed to these poisons, she went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to the hospital. Following that incident, her life was never the same. When exposed thereafter to the chemicals found in products such as fragrances, new building materials, and cleaning products, Jessica would experience symptoms like seizures, migraines, and fatigue. She became so sensitive to modern day chemicals that she was forced to drop out of law school.

The last several years, Jessica has been unable to work due to her health condition. She lives on Social Security Disability, which amounts to about $300 per month, along with financial assistance from a compassionate relative. All of Jessica’s career aspirations are but faded memories now as she struggles to find meaning in her life. There are few public places she can visit without becoming ill from chemical exposures, so she spends most of her time at home. She is unable to get proper medical care for her various ailments due to a lack of finances. Living with MCS has forced Jessica to live a life of isolation.

(Note: Jessica is not an actual person, but there are many such stories.)

In response to people who think MCS is all in a person’s head, let’s consider the following questions. Why on earth would a bright, educated individual all of a sudden decide to give up his or her career goals to live a hermit-like lifestyle? Why would anyone want to feign having a debilitating illness when used to being a highly productive, successful individual in society? There is certainly no good explanation as to why anyone would make up this condition. It is actually an insult to be told that such an illness is purely psychological when it isn’t. If you know people with MCS, please give them the gift of believing that their condition is legitimate and real. Sometimes mainstream medicine is slow to recognize certain medical conditions, and MCS is certainly one of them.

Generally speaking, people do not die from psychological illnesses unless death is brought on by suicide. Here are two examples of people who have died as a result of complications from MCS. This should prove their illnesses were not psychological in origin.

  1. Cindy Duehring: 1997 Right Livelihood Award Winner, Researcher, Activist, Writer, Editor (1962-1999): http://www.ciin.org/pages/04-fund.html.

 

  1. Dan Allen: “Contractors sued over H.C. coaches death,” July 9, 2004: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/football/ncaa/07/09/bc.fbc.coach.sdeath.law.ap.

 

Let’s pray that as a society, we will start recognizing the reality of the damage that can be done by chemical exposures to human health so that others like Cindy and Dan don’t die needless deaths. In addition, as people become aware of the toxicity of chemicals, fewer people will live lives of forced isolation due to the debilitating nature of MCS. If people learn to protect themselves from various chemicals, it can also help prevent other illnesses that in some cases can be linked to or exacerbated by chemical exposures such as asthma, ADHD, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer, etc. (For further information, see: “Researching Effects of Chemicals and Pesticides on Human Health” at: www.chem-tox.com)

 

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