Saturday, April 29, 2017

May - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Month - How MCS affects you.

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) affects over 48 million men, women, and children. May presents a great opportunity to work towards increased public awareness of MCS and support for the millions of people affected.
“MCS is a devastating illness that makes it difficult to live in our modern world. It’s hard to imagine that everyday household items like cleaning products and perfume can make you sick, but for people with MCS, virtually everything in their homes can trigger reactions,” says Debra Lynn Dadd, consumer advocate. 
Dadd was one of the first people to be diagnosed with  MCS and has written two books on the subject. For her and others, sheets made from synthetic materials usually contain petrochemicals and can be a trigger for illness. Many MCS patients have insomnia. Dadd now uses 100 percent cotton sheets and she sleeps like a baby.
Lately I have noticed that my bedroom has become one of the triggers for asthma and respiratory illness for me. I recently purchased a new mattress and a mattress cover that was claimed to block dust mites which are one of my allergies, but maybe it is off gassing petrochemicals and causing my breathing problems. 
"...While people with MCS were the first to show negative health effects from toxic chemical exposure, now there is a clear correlation between everyday toxic chemical exposure and virtually every illness.”
Recently, after a night when I did not sleep, I was at the local grocery store wearing my special mask with the charcoal lining when a young man who carried my groceries to the car asked why I wore the mask. I told him the grocery store was a bad place for me because of the air pollution from cleaning products, air fresheners, scented candles and so many other fumes that stagnate in the air including the personal care products of all the employees and the customers. I told him they make me very ill.  
"I have a problem like that," the boy said. Some of the perfume that girls at school wear really get to me. I think it's some Avon stuff, but it really bothers me." 
I didn't tell him that he was not unusual. One third of all Americans are adversely affected by scented products and the chemicals usually made from petroleum. 
A teacher I saw at a recent event at the high school told me that one summer before she got her job teaching, she worked for a cleaning service and they cleaned my house. "I'll never forget you," she said to me as I tried to remember her. "You taught me to clean without those yucky cleaners. I don't use them anymore."
I never allow any cleaning products in my  house except vegetable or plant based cleaners. Vinegar and water does the best job of cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, along with baking soda. When I dust I don't use a furniture polish or anything sprayed into the air. My indoor air is clean. In my living room are two air purifiers that run all the time. They are small but large enough to take care of the room size. Two more help clean the air in the rest of the house. Even with a little dog living here, I am told my house smells clean. Instead of all the stinking air fresheners people use all the time, they could purchase a few small machines that clean the air, not cover the smells. 
Larger air purifiers like my niece has in her home, work wonders on cleaning and making breathing indoors comfortable. When I spent a few days at her house, I loved being in the bedroom where they had the large air purifier going all the time. 
I usually make my laundry detergent from unscented soap, baking soda and Borax. But I can use Seventh Generation free and clear and a  couple of other plant based products. I never use dryer sheets. They are almost as bad for us as air fresheners. The smell of dryer sheets linger in clothes forever and also hang in the dryer. It is almost impossible to clear the odor from the dryer. Often service people come into my home to take care of the AC or another appliance. The smell of the dryer sheets used on their clothes immediately begin to make me feel uncomfortable. 
With 1/3 of the  people in the United States having adverse conditions from scented products, I have hope that one day manufacturers will be held accountable for the use of these chemicals they tell us have no harmful effects. 

But we must continue to  educate the public and make them realize that they can protect themselves and their families by refusing to use these products. Today  I went online to find products that are unscented or non-fragranced. We have access to many more now than we did ten years ago. 
One day we might catch up with other countries that have already banned some of the harmful products found right on our grocery store and drug store shelves.


Elephant's Child said...

We bought one of our homes from a woman who had almost total chemical sensitivity. Life was just sooo hard for her.
And I too have some sensitivities. Heavily scented cleaners/perfumes and a lot of aerosol products.
Simple is better. And clean smells better than scented.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Well said! I agree 100 percent. My husband and I are both sensitive to perfumes, candles, smoke, cleaners and we use all products that are products are really hard to find, sometime I just use baking soda. We have a sign on our door that says do not enter if you have perfume or aftershave on...most people cannot read. :(

Glenda Council Beall said...

Almost everyone I talk to these days have adverse effects from scented products, so why are they still being used? We should all write to the people who make these products and tell them we can't use them.
I am just now recovering from exposure to visiting a local store where open scented candles caused me and my friend to start coughing as soon as we entered. We were there only a minute or two, but I ended up having to take a steroid shot to stop the pain it triggered.

I tell those in stores that the scented products make people sick. We must all speak up and let it be known that too many people become ill from all these chemicals that are polluting our lives. Thanks EC and Far Side for your comments.