Environmental Illness, Sick Building Syndrome and MCS. Sounds a little scary, but what does it all mean?
Environmental Illness. In 1952, a thick persistent smog hazed the city of London for four days causing an estimated 12,000 deaths and 100,000 serious illnesses. Many considered it to be an environmental illness. In the eastern Indian state of Bihar in 2017, it was reported that more than 10 million people were estimated to be threatened with arsenic poisoning from contaminated groundwater.
Also, in Hawaii in 2015 it was reported that the national rate of congenital disabilities was 10 times higher, with sources placing the blame on chemical companies. For instance, chemical companies like Dow, BASF, Syngenta, and DuPont are known to spray 17 times more restricted-use insecticides per acre than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland.
The aforementioned situations are prime examples and causes of environmental illness, and while those are extreme examples, many people succumb to poor health by way of increasingly poor air quality.
How do I know if I suffer from environmental illness?
Sufferers of environmental illness often have allergies and are very sensitive to chemicals. Almost anything can cause symptoms in a person suffering from environmental illness; the usual suspects include pollen, mould, dust or dander.
However, certain foods, chemical cleaners, and cosmetics can also adversely affect someone dealing with an overload of environmental triggers.
If you find yourself becoming increasingly or newly allergic to different things commonly found in our modern environments, you might be a “universal reactor”, which is someone whose body reacts negatively toward multiple environmental triggers.
Why do I feel so horrible after a long day at the office?
Sick building syndrome often affects office workers who spend long stressful hours indoors in poorly ventilated workspaces. Fatigue, eye and throat irritation, respiratory disorders, and headaches are common problems for those dealing with sick building syndrome.
Symptoms can be acute for sufferers, and no discernible illness can be directly attributed to the condition.
The good news is that the effects of sick building syndrome are often short-term. However, despite the short-term effects, the effects are none-the-less an infringement on you while you’re in your working environment, and not all of us have the option to simply seek out new employment.
What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Some people suffer from a heightened reaction to a variety of chemicals.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get at the Cambridge Mask Co is whether or not our masks can protect people who deal with this condition. The answer is yes, the Cambridge Mask PRO, with its three-layered system of filtration, can provide protection to those affected by Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Many customers with MCS have reported reduced symptoms when using our masks, particularly with reference to interaction with perfume, household cleaning products and other chemical smells. Depending on which chemicals are causing sensitivity problems, our masks may block them and reduce the associated symptoms.
People often shrug my symptoms off as allergies; I’m feeling misunderstood and alone.
There’s a fair amount of support for someone with your symptoms. In fact, one such place is the charmingly rural area of Snowflake, Arizona, where a community of people stay to avoid and lessen the impact of pollutants which can trigger multiple chemical sensitivity. Members of this community share the common understanding of multiple chemical sensitivity and provide support to each other. Homes in this area are constructed from non-synthetic materials to avoid contaminants and the community is home to various ethnicities, religions and backgrounds.
Well, I can’t just move to Arizona. Where can I find support?
The Environmental Illness Resource is an excellent organisation hosting information, support, reviews, and products that can help to keep you informed, in touch with others, and healthy.
Founder and Editor, Matthew Hogg, has made it his mission to offer his professional advice and personal experiences to sufferers. To find out more, visit the Environmental Illness Resource page here.