At the beginning of 2006 AMICA wrote to all the Members of Parliament asking for a law to recognize Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) as a Public Health Illness. The idea came after this kind of recognition was given to the Celiac Disease. If people with such severe food intolerance could have a special law for their problems, why shouldn’t MCS have the same, since it is so similar, widespread and life-limitating?
Paolo Cento from Parito dei Verdi (Green Party) replied and invited AMICA to work together in writing a law proposal. Thus, the first law for MCS was presented in June 2006, posing a first step towards the MCS recognition.
At that time three Regional Parliaments (Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo) had already recognized MCS as a rare disease, but the doctors nominated by two Regional Administrations in the MCS Commission didn’t want to make diagnoses, claiming that “there isn’t enough evidence about MCS” Even though the existence of an International Consensus about MCS diagnostic criteria, they planned an observational study to find new criteria, so the ill people were in fact left without a proper diagnosis and treatment.
In the meantime, the Superior Institute for Health (ISS), a public health agency, created an inter-regional Commission aimed to prepare a position paper about MCS that the Supreme Council of Health (CSS), the scientific arm of the Ministry of Health, should then review and sign. In September 2008 the CSS released the final MCS document claiming that “MCS can not be recognized as an illness due to lack of evidence and the absence of an univocal diagnostic test”. MCS activists know well this old story.
The inter-regional ISS Commission paper, in fact, quoted several studies by researchers with industry ties and also the presumed WHO-IPCS consensus of Berlin in 1996. The famous book about MCS written by the major experts, Nicholas Ashford and Claudia Miller, clearly explain that there isn’t any WHO-IPCS Consensus.
Thus, AMICA wrote again to the Parliament Members asking for an investigation about the ISS and CSS position papers that didn’t consider important scientific references about MCS. The Member of Chamber of Deputies Giorgio Jannone asked to the Ministry of Health, with a parliamentary interpellation, why the inter-regional commission was made mainly by occupational doctors even if MCS is also a pediatric illness. There is still no answer.
Actually, the Italian occupational doctors were prohibited to make MCS diagnoses since 2005 when their professional organization released a strong anti-MCS position paper, claiming that to make MCS diagnoses and to study MCS is a waste of money and time.
The only hope for MCS recognition in Italy lays in the hands of politics and AMICA worked well with members from all the political parties. Today there are, in fact, five proposals by Partito della Libertà (Liberty Party) and four proposals by the opponent parties, Partito Domocratico (Democratic Party) and Italia dei Valori (the Italian Party of Values).
Only in December three new law proposals were presented. Among them, the one by On. Domenico Scilipoti (IdV) is quite new because it considers AMICA’s request for a more wide recognition of Environmental Illnesses and Disability. The law is addressed to those people whose survival and quality of life depend not much on drugs, but on avoiding certain environmental factors.
The most common Environmental Illnesses are: MCS, involving a loss of tolerance of chemicals; Electromagnetic Hyper-Sensitivity (EHS), forcing the affected ones to get far from electromagnetic fields emitted by mobiles, Wi-Fi, electric cables, etc.
Moreover, Fibromyalgia and CFS patients usually suffer from chemical intolerances and scientific evidence suggests that avoiding chemicals improve these conditions. Autism, epilepsy, migraine and lupus involve reactions to fluorescent lighting. But there are also several other conditions, even not originally caused by the environment, that present reactions to a certain environmental quality, such as the genetic favism, which causes serious reactions to legumes and forces the one affected to an avoiding protocol.
A representative of the Green Party of the Region Tuscany wrote today to AMICA to say that they will present this law proposal for Environmental Disability to the Regional Commission for Health and, hopefully, there might be a regional law as well.
Author: Francesca Romana Orlando, Journalist and Vice President of AMICA, 29th December 2009
Associazione Malattie da Intossicazione Cronica e/o Ambientale
(Association for Environmental and Chronic Toxic Injury)
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, A 1999 Consensus, Archives of Environmental Health, May/June 1999, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 147-149
- An Italian law proposal for Environmental Illness and Disability
- Research on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity – MCS
- MCS is recognized as physical disease at ICD-10 in Japan
- Department of Health of the Austraian Government recognizes MCS as a physical disease
The links to the law proposals:
At the Chamber of Deputies
- On. Domenico Scilipoti (IdV) (still not published)
- On. Donella MATTESINI (PD)
- On. Silvana MURA (IdV)
- On. Mariella Bocciardo PdL (still not published)
- On. Annagrazia CALABRIA PdL
- On. Maurizio BERNARDO PdL
At the Senato
- Sen. Roberto DELLA SETA PD
- Sen. Alberto Balboni (PdL)
- Sen. Adriana Poli Bortone (PdL)
- On. Giorgio Jannone parliamentary interpellation about MCS