Letters to the Editor

Chemicals: Be aware of MCS this May

Gov. Gary Locke has signed a proclamation honoring May 2002 as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Awareness Month” and urges all citizens to support understanding, education and research of this chemically acquired illness.

This increasing environmental disease results from exposures to toxic chemicals which can be preventable through education, awareness and prevention of toxins in our air, water and food. It is estimated that 15 to 30 percent of the U.S. population is chemically sensitive and the numbers are rising.

The events of Sept. 11 have left thousands of New Yorkers and rescue workers injured and suffering from exposure to the burning buildings, materials, etc. These chemical poisons were inhaled during the fire and from the smoke that smolders for weeks after the event. Many of those victims will acquire MCS leading to permanent illness and disability.

Thousands of Washington’s workers and residents have acquired this devastating illness from chemical exposures, which are ubiquitous in modern life, to prevent further degeneration and additional illness. Because of the disabling factors of MCS and its infrequent accommodation in the workplace, many sufferers end up on public assistance and/or with their basic needs unmet. MCS is a chronic, degenerative and potentially fatal condition for which there is no known cure.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter being recognized throughout the country this May. With increased awareness, we can learn to identify, regulate and control the proliferation of this environmental public health crisis. With your help in publicly announcing May as “MCS Awareness Month,” we can take action and work towards the enforcement of the necessary health precautions and improvements to protect Washington citizens and children from the toxic dangers which are encroaching on us all.

Please contact me at (360) 579-2173 for further information including local medical doctors and organizations who support MCS. The Washington State Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Network website: http://hometown.aol.com/wsmcsn/index.htm.

Lori O’Neal, president,

Whidbey Island Chemically Injured Network

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