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Meet The Team: United States of America

Joyce Jallo:  State Representative for Washington

Joyce Jallo, MCS International State Representative, Washington, USA. The Chemical Connection:  On September 5th, 1997, at 10:00 AM the air conditioner kicked on in the dental office where I was working. It brought in a horrible smell, worse than rotting tissue, into the building. I had an instant headache and major mental confusion. No doors or windows were opened, so my co-worker and I ran around the office frantically, trying to figure out where that horrible smell was coming from. My co-worker noticed the grounds keeper spraying something, from a big lime green pressure sprayer, around the edges of the building, intake vents, doors, windows, and brick planters next to the front door. The smell was from a pesticide, called "Dursban", an outdoor grade, which was brought into the building through the outdoor intake vents, to the central air system.

My co-worker and I got out of the building, as quick as we could. Dursban was taken off the market 7 years ago, yet you can still buy it at stores today. I went to the doctor the next day, and he called Poison Control, and I was told I had all the symptoms of pesticide poisoning. I was told to go home and rest, drink a lot of water, and I will be back to normal soon. I was also told to come back in two days and another doctor released me to go back to work because he said, I looked fine and all pesticide were safe. Well, I've had a headache and have been sick ever since that day.

My other doctor's diagnosed me with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), caused by the pesticide. I was also diagnosed with mercury toxicity, hypoactive adrenal glands, malabsorption, malnutrition, situational depression, and anaemic in B-12 and folic acid. Dursban is an organophosphate, a nerve gas invented for WW ll, and when miss-mixed or applied improper, can be deadly.

Background Information:  I played league softball for 17 years, along with several other sports. I went to Dental Hygiene school, so I could put myself through night school to be a Math teacher and a sports coach, and still play softball on the week-ends. I found my love for hygiene so rewarding that I decided not to go back to school. I worked 15 wonderful years practicing dental hygiene, which I can say, I honestly loved. My injury was the day before my promotion as full-time, head hygienist, in one of the largest dental practices in Vancouver, WA. I wasn't able to return to work for two weeks.

For the next 5 years I slowly had to cut back at work, one day at a time. I even went back to work for my last employer, so I could come home and rest at lunch. I got laid off my last two part-time jobs. The first job because she could not control the air in my work place, due to the central air system. The second job, in August of 2002, because my weakened immune system caused me to miss so much work due to being sick so much.

I now also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, along with my severe MCS. I had to wait one year to file for Social Security Disability, after I got laid off. Then I waited 24 months for my hearing, from when my attorney filed for Social Security Disability, which I won in May of 2006. Now that I'm 100% disable, and I'm learning to live again. I have to wear a dual filtered, 1/2 face mask, every time I leave my home. I'm very grateful I was taught, when you fall down, you get back up, with what you got.

The Wider Context:  I've been studying MCS for over 9 years now. I read Canada already recognizes MCS, as an illness, which consists of a whole family of diseases of which best-known ones are Fibromyalgia (FM), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). MCS has several other names, like Environmental Illness (EI), Chemical Injury (CI), Toxic Injury (TI), and many more.

Why is it that, no one wants to accept responsibility for these chemicals that are causing these different illnesses? Not the chemical or pharmaceutical companies, or our government? WHY? With the Bhopal disaster claiming 3,000-8,000 initial deaths, 5,000-20,000 subsequent deaths, and 50,000 permanent disabilities, you would think everyone would know about MCS. Well, I say it's about time that the responsible people and companies, should pull there heads out of the sand and stand up, and take responsibility and take care of us who suffer from MCS. And stop allowing these chemicals that keep causing illnesses. I will never understand why some people put money before health.

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