Scientifically guided MCS-housing project is in the making

In 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland, a new housing project for people with MCS will be complete. Environmental illness is widespread in Switzerland, with statistics from authorities estimating approximately 5000 affected people. The city of Zurich will help with the real estate and construction law of the housing project for the chemically injured. “The project, costing about 5.8 million francs will be remembered as a pioneering project for healthy living in Zurich’s history,” said city council member Marin Vollenwyder at a press conference today in Zurich. The city has set the goal for itself… “HOUSING FOR ALL,” which means the city also supports this chemically injured population which has a difficult time finding appropriate housing.

Hope is finally within reach

Christian Schifferle, the founder of this Healthy Living Project for those with MCS, and president of the self help support group, MCS League Switzerland, has waited many years for this project. Two years ago he founded this cooperative, and since then it has progressed in leaps and bounds. Today Christian Schifferle said in an e-mail:

“I just came from the media conference discussing the MCS apartment project in Zurich, and I’m still overwhelmed and barely managed to give my speech. The Neue Zürcher newspaper has published an article, and today or tomorrow a report will be on Tele Top. I will report the new details in my next email. Currently I am sleeping in my car but am promised a transitional solution for my accommodations.”

Architect commitment

There was more good news this week from Switzerland. Schifferle added that the Healthy Living MCS housing project will be strengthened by Marianne Dutli Derron, an architect who has worked as a consultant at Zurich SVW, which is the umbrella organization for over 200 housing associations in Zurich. Her office is directly next to the MCS housing association. Ms. Dutli Derron has been elected as the executive manager of this housing project, and will work with Dr. Roman Lietha and Christian Schifferle. At the next general meeting, Ms. Dutli Derron will be asked to be a board member and co-president. She brings eight years of experience as president of another Zurich housing project. A few weeks ago Schifferle asked the architect to join the MCS project and of course, is very pleased to have this commitment.

Professional support

The issue of MCS living is not new for Ms. Dutli Derron. She was one of the jury members for the MCS architectural competition on this project, and understands what is required to make this housing project a success. Christian Schifferle has offered his professional support which is crucial since he has suffered since childhood from severe MCS and knows much about the details needed for those with this environmental compromise. He has invested his energies for years in seeing this project become a reality. Difficult decisions over the coming months will be made during the construction phase. Support and expertise will be needed for the success of this healthy living project. Schifferle is anxious to relate the needs of the chemically injured population, and is thrilled to have Ms. Dutli Derron as a project expert on the board.

Healthy living has a big future

The city of Zurich while providing this housing project for those with MCS is taking on a pioneering project. It is the first residential project emerging for the chemically injured in Europe. In September 2009, the financial department of the city approved a loan of 150,000 francs for the implementation of a study for the residential building with ten apartments for MCS sufferers. The MCS house is designed from the ground up biologically and scientists offer their support on the residential project.

Technical and old workmanship combined

As the Zurich newspaper explains, the focus of this particular building is one of careful choices of safe building materials and expert workmanship. This structure will even be fitted with special locks so that the inhabitants can clean off chemical substances as they enter. This pioneering project will be challenging to build because of the use of old craft techniques, some of which have been forgotten, combined with modern safe materials.

Glass fiber rods will be used, which, until now, were never tried in structural engineering. The material conducts either heat or electricity. The MCS building will also try an external wall construction of insulating bricks with a variety of biologically active inner skin with clay and lime plaster. Perhaps this project will have unusual looking materials and processing techniques which are different from normal residential projects, but it is hoped that the architectural firm which has received the contract for this innovative project will emerge with a successful outcome on all levels. In addition the firm desires to give innovative input to traditional residential projects as well.

For Christian Schifferle (video), he must sleep for two more years, through long cold nights in the car or on the cot in the forest. After the enormous efforts that he has devoted to this project, he will hopefully have a home in which he and other MCS sufferers can live without symptoms, and thus experience real healthy living. As a next step, with Schifferle’s leadership, Germany will begin safe housing projects for healthy living as well. Perhaps eventually these projects will be prototypes for healthy living buildings for MCS sufferers around the globe.

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, Sept. 10, 2010

Translation: Thank you very much to Christi Howarth

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Zurich targets first MCS Housing Project in Europe and issues an invitation to tender

Safe Living for the chemically sensitive in Switzerland

The Swiss city Zurich has tendered a MCS Housing Project. People with chemical sensitivity, commonly shortened as MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity), will obtain a building biology home. Living in standard flats is nearly impossible. Substances from construction chemicals in concentrations tolerated by the healthy cause them unacceptable medical conditions. A toxic free habitation environment is required for stabilization and to be reasonably free from symptoms.

Currently such publicly supported projects for people with environmental illness exist only in the US and Japan. The City of Zurich is approaching this complex of problems with obligation and sympathy. They also hope to get innovative concepts for more public housing projects which could benefit many more people. The completion will require some time indeed, but the project looks promising because it is pro-actively supported by many professionals.

The search of a suitable estate for the project lasted months. The location for the house had to meet a set of criteria. Christian Schifferle, the President of the residential building cooperative HEALTHY HABITATION, went with specialists to inspect building sites again and again. Then it happened, the site was found. A dream came true for this very engaged Swiss.  How the MCS Housing Project will come true.

Property for MCS Housing in Switzerland

Beginning of November the City Zurich published a press release with detailed infos about the project. CSN sends its best wishes for success.

The estate authority of the City encourages habitation for severe cases of environmental illness. The construction of a new building at Rebenweg in Zurich-Leimbach was tendered according to a Swiss specific practice which allows to limit the selection to expert contenders. A path breaking project for an MCS compatible residential building with about ten or twelve small flats satisfying the highest building biology standards is expected. Teams of architects or planners had to file their bids by end of November to the building department. A panel will choose five teams from the applications received, who have to submit their drafts for the project by April 15, 2010. The decision will be made in May.

The City of Zurich assumes 5.000 cases of the severe illness MCS all over Switzerland. Often it’s impossible for them to find suitable habitation to live. Most minimal concentrations of chemicals trigger symptoms: vertigo, headache, limb aches, skin and respiration problems, chronic prostration. The one who is struck severely cannot work and finds himself increasingly separated from society, according to the City in its press release.

With this project of a pioneering building biology compatible house, the residential building cooperative HEALTHY HABITATION MCS, founded in 2008 based in Zurich, and the City of Zurich want to provide MCS suitable habitation and lebensraum. The site at the Rebenweg with its 1214 sq m has been evaluated thoroughly and most notably for Zurich conditions, the air quality is good.

Because the new residential building cooperative lacks adequate capital resources, the City is pre-financing the project competition with 150.000 Swiss Francs. The realization of the project is calculated with 5 million Francs. In order to achieve affordable rents, the coop aims to cover 1.5 million Francs by fund raising.

Interview Silvia K. Müller with Christian Schifferle

Christian Schifferle was interviewed by Silvia K. Mueller. He spoke of how the idea occurred to create a MCS housing project in Switzerland and which barriers yet to be overcome, but also what remarkable support it already has received.

Silvia K. Mueller: Christian, we all are very proud of you and enormous happy about the MCS housing project which getting into gear in Switzerland. How long did it take since you first had the idea for the project and what was your motivation?

Christian-SchifferleChristian Schifferle: As I have suffered from environmental illness since childhood, that’s nearly 50 years, I first asked the city government of Zurich about accommodation for MCS cases 20 years ago. So it required several attempts and much perseverance. I crew up with lacquer and thinner and obviously I was ill, but NOBODY around took me seriously and I was dealt with as a malingerer.

SKM: You suffered from the existence of an outsider, into which you were forced?

CS: Yes, because from the very beginning I fought a lonely battle to survive. Being excluded marked me and made my into a political MCS activist who thinks spiritual but knows that it will take real activity to get anything done. Actions speak louder than pretty words. The plight of others and the lack of solidarity really hit me. So I founded the Swiss MCS League nearly 10 years ago. It seems MCS is my fate and my life-task, because I had this disease from childhood on.

SKM: What do you think prepared the City of Zurich for this innovative project, which last but not least will be beneficial for other building projects? Healthy habitation is not only trendy but also results in healthy and more powerful human beings. Was this idea decisive too for the City of Zurich?

Christian in front of the Swiss ParliamentCS: I started flyer campaigns in front of the Zurich City Hall and posted reports in noted local and countywide media. This made others affected by MCS to contact the authorities as well. Now the city takes us for serious and is interested to learn from our MCS housing project how to build healthier. So now we will offer this to the public media more often and I also think it is really great, what you do with CSN-Germany for us MCS sufferers. Even a foundation for MCS, which lies very close to my heart, turns out to be possible by the force of this housing project.

SKM: How did you manage to make the guys from the City of Zurich listen to you and that now, actually it can be said this way, it looks like a dream to come true for MCS sufferers?

CS: Simply it was due to the long-time pressure by the media reports. That’s great, what the city of Zurich is doing now. Special thanks should go to them for this pioneer project. Fortunately times have changed. Today we preach to the choir about HEALTHY HABITATION. We, the environmentally diseased have to make use of it to set precedents. Healthy houses for EI’s are physical facts which help others for a better understanding of this environmental illness and which lead to acceptance.

SKM: Who were and who are the biggest supporters for your project?

CS: First there were these approximately 45 members of a cooperative who acquired one or several shares of about 330 Euro and more each by now. A total of nearly 20.000 Euros, with that we had a good start. We should mention the two doctors Dr. Roman Lietha and Dr. Klaus Tereh who supported us from the early beginnings and who both are on the executive committee.

SKM: For some months we have severe emergencies in Germany and we desperately seek shelters for MCS cases who have been hit hardest and can’t find accommodation to survive. Will you offer accommodation for emergencies?

CS: Yes, the housing shortage of others struck by environmental illness touches me dearly. Of course we intend to offer emergency housing. Surely you remember what I experienced, when I searched a site for my old caravan. I never will forget it, not even the numerous nights which I spend outside in the woods, sleeping outdoors on a canvas chair. Thus we intend emergency apartments for environmental diseased and a fragrance free common room where MCS sufferers can meet. The house rules will be strictly MCS adapted.

Christian with his safe trailer SKM: Christian we wish you that the MCS Housing Project will be built quickly and without trouble in order to end your nomadic caravan life. What will you do with your caravan in the mountains, when you finally receive a MCS compatible home?

CS: As I am additionally sensitive to heat and suffer from the warmer temperatures in the lower regions, I will keep the caravan for the present. As many MCS cases are heat-sensitive, we also intend to provide MCS compatible emergency and holiday apartments in the mountains. Over the long term we aim to establish a system of holiday flats, because MCS diseased people hardly find suitable vacation homes. It would be nice to have such apartments at the seaside too. The Zurich MCS Housing Project obviously cannot ease all MCS accommodation needs but it should to be a pioneer impulse to originate many other MCS Housing Projects.

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

Translation: BrunO

German Medical Association warns: “Swine flu vaccine” unsuitable for patients suffering from environmental diseases and other chronic multi-system illnesses

“Swine flu vaccine” unsuitable for patients suffering from environmental diseases

Press release of the German Professional Association of Environmental Medicine (Deutscher Berufsverband der Umweltmediziner – DBU)

from 26. October 2009

Swine flu vaccine is unsuitable for patients with environmental diseases and other chronic multi-system illnesses.  Pandemrix® poses substantial health risk with respect to mass immunization programs due to the lack of proof of safety.  Because of the producer’s release from liability by the German Federal Government (BRD), the risk of adverse reactions and/or permanent damage due to the vaccine rests with the patient.

The German Professional Association of Environmental Medicine (DBU) has, in spite of press releases from the BRD, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, as well as the vaccine producer’s assurances of safety, serious concerns relating to Pandemrix® (GlaxoSmithKline), the only vaccine which has been approved for mass vaccination by the BRD.

The DBU discusses at this point neither the medical use of immunization in general nor the necessity of such measures in the, up until now, mild course of the swine flu pandemic.

Our criticism is directed only against the pandemic vaccine Pandemrix®.

  • There exists considerable doubt as to the effectiveness of the vaccine: during the licensing phase, the vaccine tested had a 40% higher portion of virus antigen (5. 25µg) than the vaccine (3.75µg) now being delivered. An unequivocal consensus has not been reached as to whether the vaccination should be given once or twice a season !!!
  • There exists considerable doubt concerning the safety of the adjuvanted active amplifier since it is being used for the first time. The vaccine contains 27.4mg AS03, an emulsion of polysorbate, squalene and tocopherol. Sufficient studies are lacking, because in the test phase, only the development of antibody titers was determined as a surrogate criterion, and not any potential adverse reactions.
  • The producer as well as government agencies have concealed the fact that squalene, if used subcutaneously or intramuscularly is an inflammatory immune activation immunogen, unlike when ingested. (Squalene is, among other things, for example, naturally contained in olive oil.)
  • Autoimmune diseases can be provoked by squalene; already existing ones can be activated. Squalene has been connected with the emergence of Guillan-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and is now considered a trigger for Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). In animal studies squalene brought on rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Squalene from food sources is mainly incorporated into membranes in the body. The production of squaline antibodies resulting from an immunization sets off chronic inflammation of the membranes, which explains diseases such as Gulf War Syndrome and also degenerative neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy and Guillan-Barré Syndrome.
  • The delivery of vaccine in multiple dose ampules is obsolete. In single dose ampules the mercury used for preservation, as in thimerosal – which is included in Pandemrix – would be unnecessary.  Also, mercury has been proven to set off autoimmune diseases.
  • Since the vaccine has not been tested on either young children or pregnant women (Ethics Commission objection), the call to give preference in the first phase of vaccination to precisely this particularly endangered segment of the population represents an improper and totally unjustifiable field test.
  • The vaccine poses a higher risk than the swine flu itself for patients with environmental illness and for patients with compromised immune systems (e.g. AIDS).
  • The vaccine producer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), according to the contract with the BRD, is largely exempt from liability. In case of damage from the vaccination, the affected vaccinee would have to sue the government and therefore the country of Germany, usually a futile exercise.
  • To avoid the trap of liability, the doctor giving the vaccination must meticulously inform the patient of all risks concerning the vaccination and the vaccine. It is recommended to give this information in the presence of an assistant and to have it be confirmed by the patient’s signature. The explanation should also include the liability features. Also the indication that other, lower risk vaccines are available in Europe and that due to a faulty decision by the German government, they are currently not available to the German population. This information should definitely be included in the explanation.

For general and environmental health considerations the DBU urgently advises against carrying out a vaccination with Pandemrix® ! Hans-Peter Donate

for the board of the German Professional Association of Environmental Medicine (DBU)

Translation: CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network