One in four Americans suffer when exposed to common chemicals

ScienceDaily, March 14, 2018

University of Melbourne research reveals that one in four Americans report chemical sensitivity, with nearly half this group medically diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), suffering health problems from exposure to common chemical products and pollutants such as insect spray, paint, cleaning supplies, fragrances and petrochemical fumes.

The research was conducted by Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering and Chair of Sustainable Cities from the University of Melbourne School of Engineering, and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Professor Steinemann is an international expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects.

Professor Steinemann found the prevalence of chemical sensitivity has increased more than 200 per cent and diagnosed MCS has increased more than 300 per cent among American adults in the past decade. Across America, an estimated 55 million adults have chemical sensitivity or MCS.

“MCS is a serious and potentially disabling disease that is widespread and increasing in the US population,” Professor Steinemann said.

The study used an online survey with a national random sample of 1,137 people, representative of age, gender and region, from a large web-based panel held by Survey Sampling International (SSI).

The study found that, when exposed to problematic sources, people with MCS experience a range of adverse health effects, from migraines and dizziness to breathing difficulties and heart problems. For 76 per cent of people, the severity of effects can be disabling.

“People with MCS are like human canaries. They react earlier and more severely to chemical pollutants, even at low levels,” Professor Steinemann said.

The study also found that 71 per cent of people with MCS are asthmatic, and 86.2 per cent with MCS report health problems from fragranced consumer products, such as air fresheners, scented laundry products, cleaning supplies, fragranced candles, perfume and personal care products.

In addition, an estimated 22 million Americans with MCS have lost work days or a job in the past year due to illness from exposure to fragranced consumer products in the workplace.

To reduce health risks and costs, Professor Steinemann recommends choosing products without any fragrance, and implementing fragrance-free policies in workplaces, health care facilities, schools and other indoor environments.

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The risks outweigh the benefits

by George Squire CRNP, Active member of DSM

We have noted in recent months that the risks outweigh the benefits when it come to spraying for mosquitoes.

Chemical sensitivity in humans and animals can be deadly when sprays are used indiscriminately. The entire planet becomes the target for such spraying. Infinitely preferable is the use of preventative measures such as BT larvicide which has proved very effective in stopping mosquitoes before they hatch.

As in the field of Medicine, prevention is the key to effective control of this problem. Over the past decade, Medicine has moved toward an evidence-based approach, which has produced some sound research-based science. The data from the use of pesticide and herbicidal sprays has been sadly lacking regarding any potential benefit from their use. Unfortunately, we will always be able to count on the lobbying on behalf of the chemical companies to propagandize us about the benign nature of their products. Their desire for increased profit will continue to skew the public’s understanding of the true nature of these chemicals.

A friend from St Peter’s Village who is a beekeeper and maintains a garden there, has noticed a drastic decline in his bees and other beneficial insects. A steady drop off like this in bees and other beneficial creatures could lead to an agricultural disaster for consumers and farmers alike. Future untold problems could arise with shortages in fruits and vegetables, not to mention farm animals and pets that may eat the poisoned crops.

Let us appeal to our public servants assigned to these tasks. Let us ask them to put their constituents first and make our neighborhoods safer, and maintain the constitutional right to happiness. Let us remind them that there are alternatives to using poison in our water and on our land.