Official start of construction for MCS residential project is in sight

Contaminant-free living area designed for the environmentally ill

Europe’s one-of-a-kind housing project is designed for Switzerland. The planned start for construction is spring 2012 and the project is estimated at costing 5.8 million Swiss francs. The small to medium sized ecologically built apartments meet the strict health requirements of chemically sensitive people. The Swiss housing cooperative “Healthy Living MCS” was founded three years ago and since then has been working toward the realization of an MCS housing project. The city of Zurich agreed and sees enormous potential in the MCS residential project. The knowledge won through this project can be very useful for future ecologically built residential projects in the city.

Construction begins in spring

The news came at exactly the right time. Christian Schifferle (video) sent an email from Switzerland just in time for Christmas stating the following:

“There’s good news: A few days ago, we finally received the building permit from the city of Zurich for our Zurich MCS-housing project. All our planning in the last two years is on track. In January, the City of Zurich will begin with the development work (access, water, electricity) and April /May is the official start of construction.”

Contaminant-free housing

In Switzerland, there were, as in Germany and Italy, already cases of suicide, because the appropriate living space for chemically sensitive people has not been available. When no one offers help, the despair and helplessness is tremendous if the apartments are uninhabitable due to a hypersensitivity to pollutants and nothing adequate is available. Christian Schifferle, the initiator of the housing project knows about the catastrophic housing situation through his consulting work and from his own personal experience. He spent years searching for a suitable, pollutant-free apartment and camped in a caravan in the country. Often he had to sleep in the forest, regardless of weather or temperature. A long time ordeal finally comes to an end for him and other environmentally ill. But Christian Schifferle is already thinking ahead and would like to develop pollution-free housing projects for the environmentally ill all across Europe in cooperation with the MCS housing cooperative.

Author: Silvia K.Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 02.01.2011

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Damn, I do not accept that my life is over!

Let me live!

Patrick is 19. His American football gear is in his closet, and in the corner of his room his electric guitar lays on the shelf next to the brilliant lyrics he wrote. His songs have a meaning, not just modified, banal versions of some well-worn songs that were eventually on the top of the charts. No way. Patrick’s music gets down to business and strongly suggests that the songwriter is not a wimp, but instead confident and that he has something significant to say. When Patrick wrote the songs/music, he went to high school, which earlier posed no problem for him, and he enjoyed a life outside of school as well. His buddies were always with him. Life then was to be lived! But now the American football equipment, the guitar, the unfinished recordings, and song books remain on the dusty shelves.

Those were the times

When Patrick lies on his bed in his room it seems like decades since he was with his band buddies on the stage. Sometimes he has flashbacks where he again sees the faces of the girls in front row of the stage, glowing, looking reverently up and so moved by the band’s damn good music. When these flashbacks return, Patrick is reminiscent of the life he used to live. Patrick would like to scream really loud so everyone can hear:

“My body and my pain hold me prisoner. I cannot leave and live like others. A broken body makes me a cripple. It forces me to not always do things that I would like to do. But I want to live.”

Causes and effects

Patrick is sick from chemicals and his body has developed an extreme form of chemical sensitivity (MCS). Some chemicals have the capacity to sensitize the body. In medicine, this is well known that some chemicals like formaldehyde, isocyanates, and some pesticides are able to cause illness. Everything has played a role in Patrick’s current condition. His father was a chemist and had 30 years of contact with chemicals which are capable of damaging genes. No one can define precisely the effects of the countless years of exposures from the not so harmless chemical cocktails where Patrick’s father worked. The fact is, that Patrick’s father, because of work-related health issues, no longer has his health and is seriously ill. Perhaps the house where the family lived also played a role in the illness. Seven times they had high water which left mold on the walls. The walls were washed extensively with chlorine, a highly toxic chemical. Also the wood preservatives in the house could have played a part in Patrick’s state of health.

Others have lived at least

The average age of people who are chemically sensitive, is from 35-45 years, according to studies. There are also sufferers who are much older and some who are still toddlers, but the majority of sufferers had a life before MCS. For Patrick, it’s different:

“Excuse me, I don’t want to offend the others, but the other MCS sufferers were allowed to enjoy prior life experiences (youth, school, training, travel, friends, partnership, etc.), but I was denied everything from the beginning. The best time of life, my youth, has not been granted to me. On the contrary, I am going through hell, but no one is interested, because they do not believe me.”

Ciao buddy

After Patrick broke down completely, the compassion of his buddies and classmates was just great. They came to visit him and provided him with information from school. That gave him the opportunity to continue his school for awhile. When that was no longer possible, he tried getting his education on the internet, via a correspondence school. But now that is over. No more calls, no more visits. Patrick experiences unbearable pain as he feels like he too is covered in dust like his guitar. The girlfriend he had whom he wanted to build a life with, now also lives a life without him, perhaps with someone else. Patrick experiences pain on another level besides just the excruciating physical pain of the illness. He is furious and says:

“I cannot believe that since I’m not out there, I must not be forgotten and do not exist. My struggle must not be in vain.”

“It is hard to accept that everything I have achieved to this point is destroyed.”

“I have resigned myself that I will probably always remain living alone. There is no compassion for this disease. In fact, on the contrary, I am immediately excluded. What girl or young woman is prepared to make such a sacrifice, and how will I even find a person when I need to live a life of isolation? Forget it. This also applies to other friendships as well. ”

“Although various people helped me earlier, now only two friends remain – I’ve always given everything and now … I’m just dropped, since I cannot keep up and have become too annoying or too complicated to all the others.”

To go out at least once

Besides all the bad luck Patrick and his parents experienced in the past, they also lost their most faithful companion too. So Patrick’s mother bought a new dog so that her son has some life in the house and finds some comfort through the love of an animal. The decision was good for the dog and he is very fond of Patrick:

“As much as I would love to be in nature for a couple of hours with our dog for training or just playing only with him, I am not even granted this.”

Simply cut the strings and let the frustration out

If Patrick was frustrated, it was hard to miss. He grabbed his guitar and the sparks were flying as he sang until the walls shook. That has not happened often, but when it did, everyone in the house knew after two minutes. Music is life and a way to express yourself, to let out what the mind has suppressed. But even allowing the frustration and the anger to be let out, is no longer possible for Patrick:

“Playing guitar and singing means so much to me, but my damn body does not even allow that. The muscle weakness and pain again slow me down, and of course, my dream of American football is over.”

MCS means in the worst stage of a “life” in total isolation

Patrick is one of the MCS patients who having a life outside the four walls is impossible. It should not be confused that these people do not want to be, among others, but on the contrary, the wish and desire to do something with other people remains every day around the clock. It is not a psychological problem or fear of people. The body simply gives up when exposed to chemicals. Car exhaust, heater exhaust gases, perfumed people, houses, from which wafts the cleaning products. All chemical cocktails present a difficulty for chemically sensitive people to have a chance to move about.

A short contact with the outside world means having extreme pain, seizures, difficulty breathing, collapse, or unconsciousness. The same applies for visiting. If someone comes to visit, the joy for Patrick can quickly lead to disaster. The deodorants or residues from the dry cleaners in the jacket, fabric softeners, which cannot be totally washed out will make the visit impossible. Utter nonsense? Not at all. Who will make the effort to find appropriate ingredients for “everyday products” that will bring about severe consequences for a man whose body is hypersensitive? What companies will makes the effort to accommodate hypersensitive individuals as they produce products? Not even most doctors will attempt to understand this chemical hypersensitivity. This is due partly out of ignorance, because they have never heard of the disease, and simply because they lack time to investigate further. And if doctors are not smart and declare the disease as a quirk of convenience, how can ordinary people understand those with MCS?

Patrick’s opinion on MCS:

“MCS is the worst disease out there; sometimes I wish I was a paraplegic. I know this sounds harsh, but I would not be so isolated, left alone, not credible, and would have no pain. I could travel in spite of this handicap, going almost everywhere, going to concerts, meeting friends, and possibly make training, and, and. “

The whole family is ruined

Patrick’s parents are willing to do anything for their son, so he can have his life back. But MCS is too complex to just fight the disease with medicine and a few natural remedies. One must start by establishing a clean living environment. Patrick and his father would need a living space that is chemical-and mold-free as much as possible. But how do you implement that? The house in which they have is hard to change due to the financial loss due to his father’s illness.

Help from authorities? No

Patrick should actually have a good case for the authorities to help, but because he has no education, there is no funding, no basic security, which is humiliating for the young man. His mother says:

“We get help from nowhere, in fact, it is quite the opposite. We are harassed by authorities and they make demands on Patrick which he cannot satisfy. Anyone who can count to three must see that. But nobody takes the trouble to look at the misery, instead, decisions are made that are devoid of any humanity. Yes, Patrick virtually exists only on the card. This illness ruined my two men and those who might know how to help and change things for us, look away too easily! ”

“Many people ask me, how has this total isolation been for over the last two years? They say to me, “I would go mad …. I would go crazy … I imagine the bad, and, and …” They also ask, “Where does Patrick, or where do you get the strength to keep going?”

The response from Patrick’s mother: “You can see that Patrick lives and we also manage. Somehow we are probably fighting spirits and do what we try to be bold, brave, and strong willed to survive. The struggle for justice makes us stronger. “That’s what Patrick’s mother says to the outside world, but inside she often thinks, how long does will the body last, like the heart muscle. Every day she must be available around the clock for her men. Every day is actually a struggle for survival, for Patrick, as well as his father.

Optional: a human decision

That which was given to Patrick and his parents since March 2009, is staggering. His parents submitted an application to determine his level of disability. Now a court ruling says that the 19-year-old man who is suffering from unbearable pain all day, and reactions to chemicals must go into a hospital. The hospital has assured the court that it is equipped for emergencies so there shouldn’t be any problems.

  • What if he’s there and collapses completely? Who bears the responsibility for him then?
  • Who pays to stay in a hospital environment abroad, because in Germany there is no help?
  • Can a normal emergency procedure help him to bounce back?
  • What if not?

There are no environmentally controlled hospitals for MCS patients in Germany. No hospitals can assure a complete freedom from chemical exposures at all. The hospital rooms discussed in a previous CSN article which are in Hamburg for the environmentally ill, are still not in full operation and they are also only for medical intervention, not for environmental treatment. Thus Patrick’s health would possibly be further compromised by this current court ruling the way it now stands.

So far, instead of support costs caused

Administrative expenses have already cost a fortune for Patrick, a 19 year old, with unbroken will to live. Legally, there is the possibility of seriously ill people remaining in their homes, and being examined within the safety of their own four walls. For Patrick, allowing this would be an act of humanity. This young man wants nothing more than for his disability to be determined. His disability and disease are detected nowhere better than in his own home where everyone can see with their own eyes what the illness actually means for Patrick and his family.

Authors: Silvia Müller and K. Kira, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 9 July 2011

Translation: Christi Howarth

Note: Patrick’s documents are complete before CSN.

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Environmental diseases are not unexplained mysteries

More attention needed to the disease factor in indoor pollutants

The awareness of the importance of uncontaminated food and pollution-free products in everyday life is growing worldwide. People are striving for a healthy and unpolluted living environment. Especially noteworthy are efforts that have been observed recently in Norway. In this Scandinavian country, efforts are prioritized to protect children, particularly against pollutants and allergens. One of the most active pioneers is Kjell Aas, a retired professor who supports the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association, with his profound knowledge. This scientist is anxious to clear ignorance about environmental and pollution-related diseases. He clarifies the facts to the authorities and population in ways which are understandable.

Environmental diseases are not mysteries, but scientifically explainable

For many people it is still difficult to understand that polluted air can also cause health problems or symptoms beyond just the respiratory tract. Research has delivered to us today only fragmentary explanations, but there are some entirely understandable explanations and solid scientific evidence of things not delivered to us, which Kjell Aas tries to make as general knowledge for the public.

The scientist Kjell Aas said, “Medical science has not yet managed to explore all the biochemical mechanisms behind the disease. The same goes for the so-called environmental diseases, such as hyperactivity, migraines, and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). To think that these environmental illnesses are something mysterious or inexplicable, or even that they are psychologically conditioned is just incorrect. This can be explained by one or more biochemical reactions. Both the physical and mental functions and activities are regulated by more or less complex chemical processes. The reactions are dependent on the dose and individual tolerance levels.”

Individual biochemistry sets the pace

“From a scientific aspect,” says Kjell Aas, “one must internalize that our internal biochemistry relies on the smooth functioning of a variety of cells with specific receptors and signal systems operating, and upon thousands of enzymes and co-enzymes. These biochemical processes can lead inhibitory and stimulatory mechanisms and integrated “amplifier systems” to gain significant effects.”

Kjell Aas says that the following is important for the public to realize, “Every person is an individual with his/her own individual biochemistry. A few milligrams of cocaine can change the personality and emotional life of an individual,” says the scientist, and continues, “or imagine alcohol having the same affect on the population, but as everyone knows, the tolerance threshold is different for each unique individual.”

The air we breathe daily

The scientist points out in his illustrative design, that adults consume 12 to 15 kg of air per day, and those gaseous chemicals are in the air we breathe, in a more or less high concentrations. Some of these gases combine with others, making them more harmful. These include ozone and other gases that lead to oxidation processes.

In addition, we take in particles in the air we breathe each day without ceasing. We breathe millions of fine particulate matter every hour of every day. These include chemical substances that are associated with the particulate matter which are in a position to pass as easily as breathing gases, and to move fully into blood, lymph and tissue fluid, the researcher points out.

Children are not little adults

Kjell Aas thinks special attention should focus on improving the current situation for children. He justifies this by saying that children can tolerate very little and will get sick easily from chemicals. “We have a variety of cells in our body,” the scientist explained, “all based on chemicals. The chemicals must agree to allow the cells to function properly and then the body will not get sick. ”

The Norwegian elaborated his statement and says, “If an unwanted chemical substances are inhaled, then the chemical balance is upset and so are the cells, and thus we get sick. The cells are blocked by these unwanted chemicals and cannot send out important chemical messengers responsible for our health.”

“Who exactly needs to understand these statements?” Kjell Aas wonders. It is important for all of us to realize the significant consequences for children, in particular, whose bodies are still under construction and development. This enlightenment is exactly what Kjell Aas hopes to awaken in all of us in hopes that we all begin to act accordingly. The Norwegians therefore ask in conclusion that we should internalize the following important fact:

“The air in a room which is acceptable for children, it is also acceptable for adults, but indoor air which is not acceptable for adults, can already make children ill.”


Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, Alena Jula, Just Nature, July 1, 2011

Translation: Christi Howarth

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WHO receives delegation of representatives for the environmentally ill

MCS stakeholders sign petition to the World Health Organization

On May 13, a petition from the WHO delegation of stakeholders from MCS and EMS patients, physicians, scientists, lawyers and journalists in Geneva will be received. The delegation will be welcomed by Dr. Maria Neira, Director General of Public Health and Environment, WHO confirms.

WHO confirmed hearing from MCS organizations

Dr. Neira will receive the relevant documents from the delegation, a bibliography regarding environmental diseases, a list of countries that already have a ICD-10 code for MCS and / or EMS, and some other relevant documents for the meeting. All documents being submitted support the science-based arguments, and finally create a mandatory basis for environmental health conditions worldwide, so that the medical care of patients can be assured.

MCS and EMS organizations sign the WHO petition

The petition, which seeks to ensure that the situation for people, who are chemically sensitive or electro-sensitive, was improved by the Spanish organization „Asquifyde”. The petition was signed by many organizations, researchers, and practitioners from around the world. The hope is that WHO will implement this petition, which would apply a consistent international code of disease (ICD) in all countries worldwide for those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS). This ICD code is important because it will allow patients’ doctors to give an accurate diagnosis with expected benefits from the health insurance, which already exists for other disabilities and illnesses. The existence of MCS and EMS has already been demonstrated.

In all countries, binding ICD-10 code for MCS and EMS

Currently, Japan (T65.9) and Germany (T78.4) have the ICD-10 code for MCS. Other German-speaking countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria ,through their Ministry of Health, say that in their countries the ICD-10 code for MCS, T78.4, is valid and can be used as well.

Submission of evidence to the WHO

It is possible to contribute and submit other important documents regarding the scientific aspects of MCS and EMS, to the WHO. During the next few days a PDF may be sent via e-mail to: which is the Spanish organization. All documents received by medical experts and lawyers for environmental law will be organized in terms of their relevance and then selected for submission to the WHO.

Confirmed participation in the WHO hearing

Until May 3rd, 2011 it possible for organizations, academics, lawyers, and doctors to register for consultation with WHO in Geneva. This requires a binding confirmation take place with Asquifyde. The organization will report the final number of participants on May 3rd to Dr. Neira, after which it is appropriate to reserve a space.

WHO press conference after hearing

According to the WHO, a press conference will take place after the hearing. It will be headed by Sonia Miguel Jara and journalists. To fund this important press conference following the WHO hearing, Asquifyde and other MCS and EMS organizations, are asking anyone who is concerned about the environmental concerns of those ill from environmental factors to contribute financial support.

Help the environmentally ill

Scientists estimate that about 15-30% of the general population in industrialized countries suffer with MCS. The number of EMS stakeholders increases by the progressive expansion of mobile networks also. These people are almost without exception, without the help and support, which contradicts the international disability convention and applicable laws. Ignoring and negation of environmental diseases in recent years has led to indescribable suffering and to considerable financial losses to the economy. It is hoped that the leaders at the WHO, will respect the suffering of those patients with MCS and EMS and take seriously the international petition and act according to their stated mission which is to provide assistance to those disabled internationally.

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 2 May 2011

Translation: Christi Howarth for CSN

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No more discrimination for the ill

MCS Global Action Month – May 2011

For months, there have been preparations for the 2011 “MCS Action and Awareness Month” . The three letters “M C S “represent an environmental disease that affects about 15-30% of the general population. Often the patients do not even know that the health complaints, from which they suffer, have the name of “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or simply “MCS” . They react for example to aftershave or hair spray from their colleagues with headaches, dizziness, or other symptoms which can make it extremely hard to concentrate on their work. Some feel bad when they ride in the subway, bus, train or tram on the way to work in the morning as they sit next to their traveling companions, inhaling strong solvent containing print from the newspaper.

Exclusions must stop

Many patients with MCS have lost social contacts and have had to give up their jobs. Many of those studied repeatedly went to doctors, however, because of be lack of knowledge about the disease MCS, no diagnosis was given, and no adequate medical care was offered.

Worldwide operations for MCS sufferers

Worldwide organizations and activists are working hard during May 2011. For them it is important that the MCS illness and disability will be known to the public, and that better care is taken to make sure that patients get the help and support they require, just as other disabled and the sick enjoy correct diagnosis and support without all the difficulties.

Thanks to the internet and social networks, many of the actions this year will be implemented, as targeted in previous years. This year, however, not only few small things here and there will take place, but also a whole series of coordinated actions globally will take place which are aimed at educating and giving recognition to the plight of the MCS patients internationally.

Stay tuned for the 2011 actions during the MCS Action and Awareness Month in May, and contribute in your own way to the success of this important awareness campaign!

Documents that you can help your education about the disease MCS:

Logo’s and Avatar’s you can use: