Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) The toxicity of modern building materials is a health issue for everyone, not just people with Environmental Illness and/or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). I agree that the regulation needs to be done at the point of origin of the products, and that the government should be overseeing the regulatory process. To commenter Jon Vara: saying MCS is psychosomatic is 15-20 years behind the times. In fact, the DSM-IV, the manual of the psychiatric profession, does not recognize MCS as a psychological disorder. Good article here: http://www.getipm.com/personal/mcs-campbell.htm . Further, as a point of clarification, MCS is not an allergy either. Also, as another point of clarification, “toxin” is a poison produced by a living organism. “Toxic” is poison by chemical means. People tend to mix up the terms. People with MCS have adverse reactions when exposed to certain toxic chemicals not necessarily toxins (an exception may be with something like toxic mold). If people with MCS have allergies to toxins or toxics, it is a separate health issue. It may interest you to know that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is recognized as a disability by the Social Security Administration, HUD and the Americans with Disabilities Act, among others. For a list of published peer-reviewed articles documenting the “realness” of MCS, go to http://www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org and http://www.mcs-america.org/index_files/MCSScientificStudies.htm . This chemical sensitivity condition is not rare and the numbers of people who have it are growing. I agree that the ultimate responsibility lies with the government to regulate toxic chemicals in building materials at the point of origin. But changing the laws governing corporations is a slow process, even when in the best interest of public health. Changes to public health policy often start at the local level, as has been the case with smoking, and is often sparked by concerned mothers, the scientists who are doing the research, and those of us who are ill from the offending products. My hope is that green architects and builders will also do their homework and chose to use nontoxic materials. Unfortunately, among green building trends, which are most often linked to global warming issues, indoor air quality tends to be ignored. Clean air is everybody’s business, and seeing this issue as a fundamental health issue is the only way we will ever get consensus on taking the necessary action to protect everyone.
Posted: 06:43 pm on April 6th 2009