The last few months of the life of Angelika S. who was chemically sensitive

Chemical Sensitivity – MCS is recognized as a disease and as a physical disability in Germany. The disease is coded at ICD-10 with T78.4 as an organic disease. One might think that people with MCS get proper medical treatment, are treated with fairness like other disabled people, get special workplaces and receive help. Sadly all of this is still lacking in Germany. People with MCS are left without medical attention and accommodations. If their families are unable to take care of them they are lost. For the very sick this sad and unacceptable situation can end in disaster as in the following authentic case.

The last few months of the life of Angelika S.

The last few months of the life of Angelika S.

Six months ago Angelika S. was still doing fairly well. She lived with her family in a suburb of a German town. She loved animals and had a small animal hostel. She also cared deeply about other people.

I got to know her through my cousin who often visited her and mentioned four months ago that Angelika too had strange symptoms similar to my own. Suddenly, she didn’t tolerate fabric softeners – the shower gel of her family, the deodorants and a lot more now made her sick. My cousin told her about me and so we got in touch, first writing letters. She was looking for informational material about chemical sensitivity and I was sending it to her. About the same time I heard that she couldn’t tolerate the furniture and the flooring anymore and was sleeping on the kitchen floor on blankets. From now on everything went incredibly fast…

Nearly every day my cousin called me to report new intolerances. Because of the heat in August, she could only sleep outside on the patio on a kind of futon mat made from compatible materials. Then even this wasn’t possible anymore for her…

Calling an environmental doctor she was told, she would have to wait several weeks (vacation etc.). Then I could contact to her on the phone too. She was able to talk only five or seven minutes, because in addition now she had become electromagnetically sensitive.

Then I gave her the advice to drive to a nature area in her neighbourhood. She did so with her husband each morning between 7 and 8 o’clock. There she did much better. But it speeded up:  difficulty in breathing… heart palpitations …. decreased muscle tonus in the arms and legs …. pulmonary problems …. everything took a turn for the worse.

Since she couldn’t use the phone anymore, I talked to her husband instead. In September he brought her to an abandoned campsite of his club and they slept in the car…in small cars…she in her car and he in his car because his one was contaminated with chemicals from his work. During the daytime he had to drive 25 kilometres to his workplace and to leave her alone there. In the evening he was cooking the meals for her and brought them to her… again 25 kilometres … The nights in the car… bad for the joints.

Then her husband called the environmental doctor again and got the advice to arrange a clean room for her in their house. He should tile the room and keep her in it. So he removed the floor, tiled the room and painted the walls with safe chalk paint. Angelika still was at the campsite, alone during the daytime and it started to get colder…Two air purifiers where bought from PureNature, oxygen for the ride to her home… and then the attempt to bring her back to the new safe room. During the whole time her husband had to take time off from work which got more and more difficult. They had to worry that he would lose his job too.

When she was back at home, my cousin couldn’t come for a visit anymore. Also no one from the family could come to see her. When her son came, she had to escape, and had no contact to her beloved grandchild.

I have had Multiple Chemical Sensitivity for over ten years now, but I had the chance to grow into the situation and I know what isolation means. The soul suffers…tears come…sometimes depression…and when there is no or little hope and you do not really know what will happen to you…then everything is even worse.

But Angelika was learning fast and tried to avoid everything which made her sick; she ate organic food and changed everything.  But it takes time until all smells are out of a general household.

I supported her as much as I could by calming her down and providing her with information…Then the appointment with the environmental doctor came…He said that she has full blown Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and suggested a therapy only of B12 shots for six weeks daily with added B1 and B6. She started his therapy, but everything got worse.

Angelika had reached the end stage of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in only six months.

When she still wasn’t doing so badly – that was in September this year – I had offered her a invitation to come to my place and try it here, but she wanted to try first the tiled room at home.

Last Saturday her husband called me to tell me that they had to drive to the forest or to a graveyard each night.  Otherwise she wasn’t able to breathe…The heating period made the air in the town intolerable for Angelika. Each night she suffered from heart palpitations, shortness of breath and many more symptoms.

I told them to try to come over to me and so they arrived at nine o’clock Saturday, October 25th.

The last days of the life of Angelika S.

She arrived totally exhausted with a mask and heavy use of oxygen on the ride. We placed her on the porch.

For me her clothes were totally contaminated from her environment. I had to keep distance. Then she wanted to change her clothes.  I offered her some of my clothes, but she couldn’t tolerate them. I had used an unscented safe washing powder which I tolerate very well.

AngelikaTo let her into the house we had to shower her in the evening. I found old jogging pants of my husband’s and a cotton pullover; both had not been washed for a long time, and socks…

But on what should she sleep? She couldn’t tolerate wood anymore, no natural wood furniture. It didn’t matter if it was old or not. She even couldn’t tolerate the very old closet in the room we arranged for her. She wanted to sleep on the floor on linen which had not been washed for a long time and on a blanket which had been hanging in the attic for a long time too.

The windows to the forest were open all night and all day…

We live here in Germany in a wide forest area at Vogelsberg and so she was doing well with the clean air. However, last Monday it got damp and foggy and we had bad weather.

Her hope vanished that she would slightly recover here, but she wanted to try.  She didn’t want to go back…

Angelika - Very sick woman - Multiple=

Either she lay or sat on the porch …. I cooked for her, gave her much water to drink …. tried everything possible to help her to restore her soul and mind …. told her about CSN and other sufferers who had recovered by avoiding substances and by isolating themselves. Each day we left for a walk in order to get some fresh air. So far she was still able to walk for an hour.  On Tuesday, though slowly, she was able to walk until a car passed by and left exhaust emissions, which affected her in spite of her mask.

Then she said she couldn’t live a life as I do, without people around her and in isolation for such a long time and then it got worse and worse.  She had no hope that she could stay here any longer because she couldn’t tolerate the damp air especially during the nights.  She refused to eat or drink anymore.  She was in despair and her mucous membranes were – as in her home – bright red and swollen.

She had to leave, but where to go????

We were considering many possibilities: Switzerland, North Sea…back to the campsite because there is not that much forest in its neighbourhood…setting up an aluminium shed…but how to heat it…and so forth…

On Wednesday at 3 o’clock p.m. the son of my cousin came with a big car which was safer than her car. Her husband and we said goodbye…

They didn’t know where to go…they didn’t know…what to do….so they first drove back to her tiled room and then to the close-by nature site.

She survived the ride at five degrees Celsius inside the car and then I heard nothing from them anymore.

On Thursday afternoon when her husband had to go to work and go shopping for food, she put an end to her life!  I did not learn of it until Friday evening because it was the wish of her husband.

We are in deep grief about this lovely person…a human…who still could be living if there was accommodation for cases like hers in Germany. If there was just one clinic to go to which had clean rooms as at the Environmental Health Center in Dallas / USA. If we just had doctors who could diagnose chemical sensitivity in time.  If we just had support for the relatives who don’t know why all this happens.

This ignorance and intolerance about environmental diseases MUST stop. These are diseases that have been described by scientists like Prof. Martin Pall and others.  It’s well known what these diseases DO exist.

I have seen two suicides since last July.

  • Two precious humans who didn’t know what to do because of their boundless despair.
  • Two humans who felt as a burden to their families.
  • Two humans who had worked hard all their lives.

We lament Angelika S. and we are shocked because of the lack of help for people with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

May the God of solace comfort the suffering of the relatives and may they find hope that their suffering is not forever…

That it will not be like this forever…

That the suffering stops some day…

And that some day there will be a recovery of all things lost…

Authors: Wolfgang and Mona B., Silvia, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network November 2009

Martin Pall about genetic evidence and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Studies show chemicals act as toxicants in causing cases of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; genes that metabolize these chemicals into other forms influence, therefore, susceptibility to getting MCS.

Guest post at Canary Report by Martin L. Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University and Research Director, the Tenth Paradigm Research Group.

Dr. Martin Pall

Martin Pall: I have emailed the following as an open letter to the Denver Post in response to the article on multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) that was published this weekend. I think the published article was generally a step forward in terms of public understanding of MCS. But the article left out a number of important things and this letter is an attempt to deal with some of those. I have asked them to consider publishing this as an Op-Ed piece, but wanted to make it available regardless of whether or not they opt to do so.

Thank you for writing this article on multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), the term that is used in most of the scientific literature on this disease. There are vast numbers of people who have been afflicted in this epidemic of chemical sensitivity and I am sure that they are all thanking you. I also thank you for mentioning a bit of my work on this disease.

Some of your readers have already made quite a number of important points about MCS so I can focus here on just a few remaining issues. How do chemicals act in MCS? We know now that the seven classes of chemicals implicated in MCS all produce a common toxic response in the body, excessive activity of a receptor in the body called the NMDA receptor. So even though we have a vast array of such chemicals, we know how they can produce similar responses in people.

There is compelling genetic evidence that these chemicals act as toxic agents (toxicants) in the body. Four such studies have been published by three research groups in three countries. Collectively they implicate six genes as influencing susceptibility to MCS, such that people carrying some forms of each of these genes are more susceptible to becoming chemically sensitive than are people carrying other forms of the same genes. All of these genes control the activity of enzymes that metabolize these chemicals into other forms. Most of these studies show a high level of what is called statistical significance. In the Schnakenberg and colleagues studies, the chances of getting their results by chance are less than one in a million billion. So obviously, these are not chance results. What these studies show is that chemicals are acting as toxicants in causing cases of MCS and that genes that metabolize these chemicals into other forms influence, therefore, susceptibility to getting MCS. These studies, then, provide compelling evidence that cases of MCS are caused by toxic chemical exposure. Clearly they also show that MCS is a real disease, otherwise one would not be able to do such studies clearly linking the chance of becoming ill with MCS to the action of chemicals acting as toxicants.

Dr. Herman Staudenmayer has, for some 20 years claimed just the opposite. He claims that MCS is psychogenic, caused by psychological responses and according to him, is not a toxicological phenomenon. He has maintained this claim by ignoring contrary data wherever it occurs. He has ignored all of the evidence that chemicals implicated in MCS produce a common response in the body; he has ignored the roughly two dozen studies showing that MCS patients show objectively measurable responses to low level chemical exposures, responses that differ from those of normals. He has ignored all of the evidence implicating excessive NMDA activity in MCS; he has ignored the dozens of animal model studies on MCS; he has ignored over 50 studies that show that cases of MCS typically occur following chemical exposures; he has ignored the various other measurable physiological changes reported to occur in MCS. This has all been documented in my book “Explaining – Unexplained Illnesses” and in my article on the toxicology of MCS that is coming out next month in a prestigious reference work for professional toxicologists “General and Applied Toxicology, 3rd Edition”. It is also documented on the MCS web page of my web site: The Tenth Paradigm

Clearly you cannot do science by simply ignoring the existence of vast arrays of contrary data. However, Staudenmayer provides us with a couple of other tests of his views in his book, predictions that allow us to test his theory. He predicts that psychological factors are necessary and sufficient to account for the properties of MCS. This, of course, is contradicted by all of the evidence I referred to earlier. Therefore we should reject his hypothesis based on his own prediction. He provides a second prediction as well (the exact quotes from his book on these predictions are provided on my MCS web page). He predicts that the variation of susceptibility to MCS is not caused by variable responses to toxic chemicals. Clearly the genetic studies discussed above have shown that this is false and therefore, his hypothesis should be rejected for that reason, as well.

It is clear, from the above, that Staudenmayer’s construct was basically a house of cards. Now that it has collapsed, where does that leave us?

Firstly it leaves us with reversing the errors of the past. We need to start treating MCS sufferers as victims of unsafe chemical exposure. Many of them have previously been used, abused and discarded. If we live in a society where people are not disposable items we need to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

We obviously need to start regulating chemical usage much more carefully, to avoid initiating new cases of MCS. It is imperative to develop tests for chemical activity in MCS, just as we have developed tests for chemical activity as carcinogens. Then we need to use these tests to effectively regulate the use of toxic chemicals.

We need to develop specific biomarker tests for MCS, tests that can be used to objectively confirm diagnoses initially based on subjective symptoms. I think we already have several very promising approaches to doing this in the scientific literature and a minimal amount of further study may be all that is needed to develop such tests.

We need to confirm that chemical avoidance is key to therapy and to develop other therapeutic approaches to work along with avoidance. The environmental medicine physicians and others have already made very important progress in this direction and I am optimistic that further progress can be made quickly. Such progress is relevant not only to the treatment of MCS patients but also to the treatment of clearly related diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome/mylagic encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia. All of these diseases are caused by what I have called the NO/ONOO- cycle and the way to treat them, in my judgment, is to lower the activity of that vicious cycle mechanism.

Martin L. Pall

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University and Research Director, the Tenth Paradigm Research Group

Reprinted with permission from the author. Dr. Pall cautions the reader that he is a PhD, not an MD, and none of this should be viewed as medical advice.

German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine mentioned MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity at Thesaurus “Safety and Health at Work”

The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine has published an alphabetical and systematic Thesaurus “Safety and Health at Work”. The Thesaurus has been created in a long-standing cooperation between documentalists, librarians and scientists from the Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine.    

The disease MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (ICD-10 T78.4) is mentioned at the Thesaurus “Safety and Health at Work”, alphabetical Part, Status May 2009, as: 

MCS - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity at Thesaurus

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (B02.19.00)     

At the systematic Part MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is found at the category B02:  

“Work related Disease and Occupational Disease/Disease”  

integrated in Part:  

  • B02.19 Other Disease 
  • B02.19.00 Multiple Chemical Sensitivity  

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is integrated analogue.  


MCS is not classified as a mental disease

To clear up occurring doubts, it is to point out that MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is not integrated into chapter B02.15: Mental diseases, Depression, Neurosis, Post traumatic Stress Disorder or psychosomatic diseases. 

Thesaurus “Safety and Health at Work”

The Thesaurus offers a quick overview on the broad group of themes “Safety and Health at Work”. It contains about 3 500 main keywords and is the joining of the keywords from the two previous Thesauri “Safety at Work” and “Occupational Medicine”. The Thesaurus is based on the practical work of the Library group, documentation at the content development and their research of technical literature. It is a tool for documentation.   

The Thesaurus is intended for all who search for literature about “Safety and Health at Work”. It is supportive for prearrangement of research inquiries at the data pool LITDOK and can be helpful for searching in topic related databases.  

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, July 23, 2009  

Reference:  Thesaurus „Sicherheit und Gesundheit bei der Arbeit“ Alphabetischer Teil, Systemischer Teil, Dortmund/Berlin/Dresden 2009.