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Meet The Team: Scotland - UK

Frances Beasley: Country Coordinator

Frances Beasley, MCS International Country Coordinator for Scotland, UK. The Chemical Connection:  Unfortunately, I have not yet been formally diagnosed with MCS or any other form of Chemical Injury. My GP, although sympathetic, says that no testing or treatment is available. I am prescribed antidepressants and antihistamines. However, I believe that I am suffering from MCS. I am sensitive to pesticides, toiletries, cosmetics, perfume/smells, food additives, household cleaners and detergents. A list of symptoms I have suffered over the past 5 years is attached. The symptoms are acknowledged as genuine by my GP, but are unexplained. The problem is that MCS and other environmental illnesses are not recognised by Government or the NHS, and therefore my GP has had no training in dealing with these illnesses. I also have a physical disability.

Background Information:  My Father used DDT in the garden where I played. I played on bomb-sites, although forbidden by my parents to do so. The London smog caused recurrent chest infections, which resulted in my being sent away to boarding school for the winter when I was five/six years old. I had my first allergy tests at this time, but do not know the results.

As a teenager in the 1960s, I wore masses of cosmetics, dyed my hair etc. It was when I tried a new product on the market that I developed Pustular Psoraisis, which has flared up and got better in cycles, disappearing as fast as it came. I was treated at St Johns Hospital in London.

I moved to Scotland in 1990 and became a pig farmer for a couple of years. During this time I was treated for running sores on my legs and later for a rash that developed from the neck down, misdiagnosed as Scabies. However after suffering for several weeks I was treated at the ARI and tested. It was a European Standard set for heavy metals, which resulted in a diagnosis of sensitivity to Cobalt, Copper, Nickel, Zinc and flowers in the Primula family (Note: I was tested before I mentioned MCS). I was running a plant nursery at the time. Although I didn't use chemicals myself, something might have been applied to stock I bought in.

Five years ago my symptoms were recurring more frequently, until January 2004, when I had a major flare up. I was in a great deal of pain, my eyes were swollen, and my Psoraisis was very bad. I put Witch Hazel pads on my eyes for about 30 minutes. When I removed them I also removed the skin on my eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows. A few weeks later, I was treated for a torn tendon on my wrist. My GP said I must have lifted something heavy, but I was too ill to lift anything, my arm had swollen up from the shoulder to the fingertips. I said an allergic reaction, the doctor said injury/Arthritis, and prescribed steroids and antidepressants. I have always had a sensitive digestion, but did not know that this could be linked with the skin problems, or that these problems would prove significant in the future. It was at this point that I realised that my symptoms were being recorded as having an unknown or different cause to allergy/sensitivity. My health is deteriorating. I have not known a week that I have felt well in a long time.

The Wider Context:  Over the past five years I have carried out a lot of research, mostly over the Internet and books that I have read. The bottom line is that successive governments and all the major political parties have had full knowledge of the dangers to public health posed by chemicals and have done little to rectify the situation. Therefore, I have drawn the conclusion that they are not worthy of office. It is time to remind all parties that we live in a democracy and use the power of the ballot box to put candidates into office that have a profound respect for public health and the environment.

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