Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness
The last post ended with a reference to canaries. If you have not yet seen that post, just click here: 5-4-3-2….
In any event, here is where we left off previously… with a canary:
While some reading this are familiar with this term (canary) used so often within the multiple chemical sensitivity community, others may not be. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’d like to refer readers to the link below for both a definition of multiple chemical sensitivity and an explanation of the origin of the canary term:
My multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) was diagnosed in 1992. It affects me every single day of my life. While readers of my blog may not hear me talk as much about multiple chemical sensitivity as, say, endometriosis… this does not reflect MCS as being any less a part of my life than other conditions such as endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
MCS affects where I can go, which doctors I can see, whether I can go to certain events, what household cleaning products I use, which health and beauty care products I can use, and who I can be around. Heck, it affects where I can go to get a safe haircut. (Most recently, this has been my own kitchen with my dear husband at the hair-cutting shears). It can result in tension between me and my own loved ones. No amount of explanation on my part about the toxins contained in certain products, their effects (not just on me but on the person using/wearing them), and the seriousness of reactions seems to be truly understood by many people and it is incredibly frustrating. It is frustrating beyond words, actually.
Some of the many MCS symptoms I have experienced include (but are not limited to): difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, excruciating headache, cognitive disturbances (foggy thinking), loss of balance, and fainting to name a few.
Triggers for my MCS symptoms can range from new carpets (famously tied to many fainting incidents for me), perfumes, colognes, all sorts of fragranced products, “air fresheners”, pesticides, cigarette smoke (including the residue left on people’s clothes), car/truck exhaust, candles, commercial cleaning products, being near anyone wearing clothes saturated with fabric softeners (as I, unfortunately, was a few days ago), and much more.
Attending an event involving expensive concert tickets can be lovely one moment and a nightmare the next… based on who is nearby and what they’re wearing. (I hope to write an entire post with an example of this sometime this month).
A simple trip to the dentist (one that I picked carefully based on that fact that he “gets” how sensitive I am and bends over backwards to accommodate my needs) requires establishing backup plans for my husband to leave work and pick me up if I determine that I am not safe to drive myself home due to an unforeseen reaction.
I rarely venture to the grocery story because the detergent aisle alone is such a trigger for me that stepping foot in the building can be a risky proposition. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who does the vast majority of the shopping.
I am one of the lucky ones in that I am not housebound by MCS. Yes, I may have to pick and choose my outings with care. However, my heart goes out to those MCS patients who no longer have that option. I am definitely more sensitive now than when I was first diagnosed in 1992. So, I can’t help but be concerned about what the future holds for me. Hearing the stories of those who are more sensitive than I am now is daunting. Many with MCS struggle to secure safe housing. This is a real and serious problem that affects large numbers of people.
The toxins contained in so many modern-day fragrances (“air fresheners” are so ubiquitous that nearly every public ladies’ room has one spraying the room) can make people really sick. I know because I’m one of them. This is a really seriously problem for me since I have interstitial cystitis too!
Perfumes which lack ingredient lists disclosing the toxins within are not healthy for ANYONE. Let me repeat that. Many of the very same products that cause short-term, severe reactions for MCS patients are NOT HEALTHY FOR ANYONE.
For more information about this, please see below:
It first came to my attention when a local endometriosis support group members emailed me the link. She had used it to search for sunscreens that do not contain endocrine disruptors. This site is a wealth of information for all. No matter what state your health is in, this site can help you make the safest choices for everything from shampoo to soap to chemical-free hair coloring… and much more. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
If you visit the link above and do a search on a product you currently use, you may be stunned to discover it contains anything from carcinogens to neurotoxins to endocrine disruptors. If you are fortunate to be relatively healthy now, using this database to check your products could actually help you avoid trouble. If you are already chemically sensitive, this site can be a wonderful tool for checking products out. You might be amazed at what you find!
For more information on multiple chemical sensitivity, I highly encourage you to check out The Canary Report. It is brimming with information and support. Susie Collins has done a superb job of creating a community where people engage in mutual support, information-sharing, and education regarding multiple chemical sensitivity.
Whether you have MCS, a loved one has it, or whether you have never even so much as heard of it, I urge you to take a moment during Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month to stop over to The Canary Report and take a peek. Thank you!
This post was written by Jeanne at http://chronichealing.com. Copyright © Jeanne — chronichealing.com. All rights reserved.
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