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Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association

What To Do If You Have MCS

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Introduction

Are you developing a health condition where you have a reaction to a breath of some (typically petrochemical-based) perfumes, or you have a reaction to eating a nibble of fresh hot peppers (typically jalapeno peppers), or you have a reaction the odor from the ink on newspapers (typically in the advertising section), or you have a reaction to many (typically petro-chemical based) household cleansers, or you have a reaction to a breath of the smoke from many types of (typically non-organic) tobacco smoke, or do you have a reaction to the odor from (typically plug-in) air fresheners? Does spending an hour in a supposedly public carpeted building leave you weak, and dopey for the rest of the day? And probably a big arthritis flare-up for the next week? (It is notable that many environmentally-oriented doctors do *NOT* have carpeted medical offices.)

The reaction can range from a severe headache, profound body weakness, fuzzy thinking, dizziness, muscle aches, short-term memory loss, or more for the rest of the day or longer.

If the medical contacts that you have made cannot offer any help, consider that you may be developing the health condition of chemical sensitivity, which has been called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) in the medical literature for the past several decades and medical records trace it back to the 1880's when people were plumbing coal gas into homes for heating and lighting.

Technically, the following criteria are considered diagnostic of MCS -

Here are some strategies that may help you develop ways to live with this syndrome.

Hopefully, these resources will bring you up to speed with current thinking and strategies for coping with the personal, social, medical, and political challenges of this health challenge and help you develop a lifestyle of living effectively.

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Read the Book - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, A Survival Guide

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, A Survival Guide, Second Edition
By: Pamela Reed Gibson, 2006
Publ: Earthrive Books
ISBN: 0-9777097-0-1
Price: About $20.00

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is an encyclopedic survey of much of what is known about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) that ranges from the historical accounts to reviews of the physiological and psychological hypotheses to extensive presentations of how the lives - both sufferers and significant others - are impacted by it.

The book's chapters include the following areas -

The Appendices provide a wealth of information, nearly 100 pages, on coping strategies and many resources to help you develop a healthy lifestyle.

There is also an extensive section of references to MCS-related medical studies going back to the mid-1950's.

Dr. Gibson's web site is -

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Read the Book - Explaining 'Unexplained Illnesses'

Explaining 'Unexplained Illnesses'
By: Martin L. Pall, PhD, 2007
Harrington Park Press
ISBN 978-0-7890-2389-6, 446 pages

Professor Pall's book provides detailed presentation about his proposed model for an internal mechanism of neural sensitivity that explain many of many multisystem illnesses - chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Gulf War syndrome (GWS). He proposes that a common mechanism, an NO/ONOO hypersensitivity cycle, causes these illnesses, and many others. The NO/ONOO cycle is a vicious cycle of an internal neural injury that releases nitric oxide that is poorly detoxified by the body. That injury in turn causes another toxic oxidation product, peroxynitrite, to build up. The model suggests therapies that may relieve the NO/ONOO cycle.

The book's chapters include the following areas -

The book has an extensive reference section, of some 290 pages, of medical studies throughout the world that support the OO/ONOO cycle.

Dr. Pall did have a web site, http://thetenthparadigm.org/, that presented much of the information in this book. That web site is no longer available. We look forward to the information becoming available elsewhere on the web.

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Read the Book - Chemical Exposures, Low Levels and High Stakes

Chemical Exposures, Low Levels and High Stakes, Second Edition
By: Nicholas A. Ashford and Claudia S. Miller, 1998
Publ: Van Nostrand
ISBN: 0471292400, 464 pages
Prices -
Used - $45.92
Softcover - $60.28
New - $101.95

This book explores low-level chemical exposures causing or aggravating a wide variety of health problems, including breathing difficulties, chronic fatigue, digestive problems, Gulf War Syndrome, headaches, memory impairment, mood changes and sick building syndrome. This is one of the first presentations of the concept of adaptation, which may lead to an explanation for the basis for this phenomena. The concept of toxicant-induced loss of tolerance, which amounts to an injury or genetic deficiency in the blood-brain barrier, is also presented, which may have some far-reaching implications for future public health and environmental policy. The book also documents many of the efforts over the years by some corporate interests to deny the existence of MCS.

The book's chapters include the following areas -

Dr. Miller's web site is -

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Make a printout of your State governor's proclamation recognizing MCS

Go to the web site, MCS-America; http://www.mcs-america.org/, and select the 'Proclamations' link, find your state and make a print of the proclamation signed by your governor recognizing MCS or EHS. Include a copy any time you are making contact where acceptance of MCS may be an issue. Especially whenever making new medical contacts.

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Find a board-certified doctor who supports MCS

The health condition of MCS is usually recognized by doctors who have specialities in Clinical Ecology or Environmental Medicine. A variety of alternative doctors, such as Chiropractors, Naturopaths, and Homeopaths, may support the condition. (Notably, many doctors who support MCS do not have carpeted medical offices.) The American Academy of Alternative Medicine lists many doctors who support MCS.

Part of the reason MCS is so poorly known is that there is no ICD (International Classification of Diseases) for this condition in America. An alterative that is used by some doctors is the ICD-9 code 989.9, "intolerance to other substances, non-specified."

In Colorado, the web site Colorado Medical Board; https://www.colorado.gov/dora/licensing/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx lists the licensing details for doctors practicing in Colorado.

Yes, it can be an imposition on your health care practitioner, but given the widespread lack of understanding in this illness, do get a written statement for your MCS or severe intolerance diagnosis.

Severe MCS is recognized as a disability by knowedgeable doctors. As such, the disability diagnosis opens the way for you to be able to request unconditional accomodation in some areas, such as public housing.

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Wear a medical alert bracelet

Consider wearing a wrist or ankle bracelet identifying that you have MCS. Because the sensitivity is not an allergy, it isn't well recognized as a health problem by many people, including medical and emergency response personnel. So it is best to use terms such as "sensitivity" or "hypersensitivity," and name key classes of chemicals or other substances that are inappropriate for you as room allows. You can also say "allergy," but only if you also have reactions that lead to altered levels of immunoglobulin, as clinically verified by IgE or other medical testing.

Here is a possible wording - but of course name only materials that appropriate to you.

Hypersensitivity to anesthetics, mercury,
pesticides, tobacco smoke, fragrances.

The significance of these terms to health providers must be that you may be hypersensitive to a wide variety of chemicals, including medical chemicals, and they must exercise caution in treating you with with various drugs.

A list of medical bracelet providers is on the Disabilities page -

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Add Your Name to Your State's Pesticide Sensitive Registry

Many states have a registry for persons who wish to or must avoid pesticide exposure. For Colorado, go to the following address for a description and link to a form for your doctor to fill out.

Sadly, this link uses web coding gimicks (pop up frames) that are not well supported by legacy web browsers. You may have to copy and paste urls to get to the form for your doctor.

Alternatively, telephone the Colorado state information number, 303/866-5000, and ask to be connected to the Pesticide Registry office.

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Subscribe to Environmental Illness Newsletters

There are several environmental illness oriented organizations that publish periodic newsletters that contain a wealth of information about current developments in supporting environmental illness and also many current political developments. Consider subscribing to them.

Chemical Injury Network (CIIN)
P. O. Box 301
White Sulphur Springs, Montana
59645
Telephone: 406/547-2255
Website: CIIN; http://www.ciin.org/

CIIN publishes a (usually) 32-page newsletter, Toxic Times, on a monthly basis. They ask a membership fee of any amount for an annual subscription.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Chemical Sensitivity Coalition of Chicago (CFCCC)
P. O. Box 277
Wilmette, Illinois
60091
Telephone: 773/650-1332
Website:CFCCC; http://www.cfccc.net/

CFCCC publishes a 20-page newsletter, Canary Times, four times a year. Membership dues are $25.00 a year.

Visit web sites that present much more information about MCS. Some examples are -

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Take the QEESI Questionnaire

The Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI), developed by Dr. Claudia Miller, is a widely used screening instrument for multiple chemical intolerance. Coupled with a comprehensive exposure history, it is useful in diagnosing MCS/TILT. that may be causing health problems. The QEESI is designed for self-assessment and screening.

You can take the questionnaire and obtain an evaluation that can help your doctor determine if your illnesses stem from chemical intolerances.

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Contact RMEHA

Contact the Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association if you have any questions.

Use the Contact RMEHA page; http://bcn.boulder.co.us/health/rmeha/rmehcnt6.htm on the RMEHA web site,
Or call Ernie (Vice President) at 303/459-0180,
or call Caryl (President) at 970-213-6039
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Search Engines

Here are links to several search engines in case you wish to do more research from this page -

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Revised '6-Jun-2015,14:01:48', Version: '24'.
Copyright © 2015, Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association