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CNN Debates: Chemical Injury



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Toxic Mold Poisoned Us Both



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The Top 20
MCS: What It Is, What It Is Not
And How It Is Manifested


By Sheila Bastien PhD

The Isolation and Distressing Effects of MCS "We have reached the age of modern living through chemistry or , as the TV ads said in the late 1940's and early 1950's (with their lab coats and test tubes), "Better living through Chemistry." What has happened in modern industrial society, however, is the misuse, overuse, and inappropriate disposal of chemicals. We now know that many of these chemicals can be toxic. Some harmful exposures are from ignorance, some from oversight, some from complacency, and some are from criminal negligence. The result on individuals, certain groups, (like the Gulf War veterans), and entire communities is toxic injury. Toxic exposure, whether acute or long-term, creates an overload on the individual which can result in serious health problems, including multiple chemical sensitivity, other illness referable to many organ systems, and in some cases, cancer. Insidious breakdown in resistance mechanisms takes place; individuals are often unaware of their developing sensitivity...

We have come a long way with modern chemistry. Our wood floors are being replaced, most often with carpets; old solid wood furniture is replaced with modern laminates, usually thin wood veneer, laminated over pressed wood. Among other things, this furniture exudes formaldehyde. Plain fir or pine boards for building (sheathing) were replaced with laminated plywood containing, at the very least, high levels of formaldehyde and often toxic wood preservatives. Plaster walls were replaced with drywall, which has its own contaminants -- and as dry wall mud became better, they added more chemicals. Wood shingles were replaced with tar and gravel. Clothing was no longer simply cotton, wool, nylon or rayon, as new chemistry brought forth polyesters, non-wrinkle fabrics; and mattresses and drapes that were treated with fire retardants, introducing even more chemicals. These new fabrics are loaded with chemicals, including formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known sensitizer [Carl Zenz, M.D. S.C.D. ed. Developments in Occupational Medicine, (1980), Year Book Medical Publishers, Chicago.], and this adds to the total individual toxic load...

Foods and water contain more chemicals than in the past, including pesticides; multiple toxins are leaching into our water supply. Even products such as toothpaste contain more chemicals each year. Agricultural soils are being depleted of their nutrients and replaced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides (nutrient depletion is one of the things that put people at risk for MCS). There are approximately 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year which are unregulated; their long term side effects are unknown. One such chemical brought forth in 1941 has only now, in the 1990's, been given health and safety guidelines. Lag time is enormous."  (Quoted from pages 1 and 2)

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