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: info@asquifyde.es 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:

Environmental Diseases: To understand or ignore

This is Eva’s contribution about the cinema published in the magazine Delirio that she has translated into English. The script about toxics and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is entitled “Rear Window” and it’s a tribute to the great filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. The photos, as usual, are made by David Palma.

Eva recommends this number of the magazine Delirio dedicated to the cinema because you will find amazing photographs and illustrations.

Rear Window

By Eva Caballé

The room is almost empty; nothing but a bed and an old bedside table without any decor or curtain, all in light colors. It seems calm and quiet. The woman sits on the edge of the bed in front of the window, looking at the sunlight, which is orange because of the sunset. She has a quick look out the window and then observes more carefully, stretching her neck as if she is looking for something. She turns and talks to the young woman who has just entered the room with an ironic and concerned smile.

Woman: Don’t you see how everybody is disappearing? It is no coincidence! They started to spray the park, day after day, while children were playing, and parents and grandparents sat in the sun chatting while watching them.

The young woman puts her hand to her waist with a tired look and responds, gesturing with her other hand, while she snorts, implying that she is tired of talking always about the same thing.

Young woman: You only see conspiracies; for you all is very simple. How can you be so sure if you hardly leave home? When you live through your window! Instead of spending hours writing pamphlets that I’m sure nobody reads, and taking pictures, shouldn’t you focus on your next book?

The woman’s expression becomes serious and she turns angry replying with some indignation.

Woman: But it’s obvious! It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes! The dog of the first floor neighbors died a few days after the first fumigation. They say that he was intoxicated by something that he ate… A few days ago an ambulance took the old woman who lives upstairs in the middle of the night and she is still hospitalized, when in the 40 years I have lived here I had never seen her having a cold! And what about the children on the fourth floor? (She takes a break to breathe because she speaks so fast that she is even short of breath.) Every day I see them with their bronchodilators and every other minute in the ER! Their neighbor has cancer and since she’s having chemotherapy she can no longer tolerate perfumes and now she has to wear a mask when she walks along the street. (Now almost shouting.) They say that she has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and doctors don’t pay attention to her!

The woman makes faces parodying the young woman’s lecture that she already expects and knows by heart.

Young woman: You are a bit alarmist! There are only a few people who suffer from MCS; there is no need to worry. Today almost everyone has allergies or asthma. Authorities warn us that one out of every four people will have cancer in their lifetime. (Goes back and speaks from the doorway leaning on the door frame.) This is the modern life. We all have to die of something!

The woman turns and answers indignant from the bed.

Woman: And does it seem normal to you? Really? And when this affects you, will you still think the same?

The young woman finally leaves the room and her voice is heard from the hallway with a tone between weary and sarcastic.

Young woman: Well, see you next week. Do not keep on spying on your neighbors because you will end up crazy. You should amuse yourself and don’t fantasize anymore.

The woman answers raising her voice while the young woman closes the front door and leaves the house.

Woman: Don’t worry, my attitude has no solution. (And finishes angrily talking to herself.) And neither does your stupidity.

The woman is still staring out the window with indignation and with a worried face and thinks aloud.

Woman: Does anyone realize? I see everything so clearly that it scares me. Makes me want to open the window and shout it from the rooftops, but will anyone hear me? Why don’t they listen even when you alert them? (With a sarcastic tone.) Having no time and the fast pace of life sounds like cheap excuse to me. (She stands up and gets closer to the window.) It’s simple. We’ve become worse than donkeys, because it is not needed to put blinders on us to not look beyond the established road. We no longer have the instinct to do it! We are afraid of what we might see, lest we have to react. (The sun has set and she begins to close the blind.) It must be that I have no fear of looking or I have nothing to lose. It must be that my window is different…

Author: Eva Caballé, No Fun Blog, February 2011

Original article: LA VENTANA INDISCRETA, artículo sobre tóxicos y Sensibilidad Química Múltiple publicado en la revista DELIRIO

German Version at CSN Blog: Umweltkrankheiten: Hinschauen oder wegsehen?

More articles written by Eva Caballé:

Hamburg hospital offers rooms for patients with MCS and environmental illness

After much effort, the Agaplesion Diakonie Hospital in Hamburg, Germany has designed two rooms for people with MCS and multiple allergies. For many years, local support groups have worked tirelessly to try to integrate environmentally controlled hospital rooms in the hospital. For the first time ever, it is possible for people who suffer from environmental illnesses or severe allergies to be in a hospital for medical treatment which is tailored to their health issues.

Environmental rooms for MCS, the environmentally ill, and multiple allergic patients

Since February 2011, with the move into the newly built Agaplesion DIAKONIE Medical Center in Hamburg (formerly the hospitals, Old Oaks, and Bethany Elim), for the first time, a hospital has two special pollutant free rooms prepared for those with environmental allergies, and MCS patients. The special environmental rooms have been built with much care. They consist of a single and a double room. Both rooms are connected by a vestibule from the other station areas separated so that chemical-sensitive patients do not come in contact with the usual hospital chemicals and fragrances from other patients.

Medical treatment, surgery, obstetrics

The Agaplesion Clinic offers the two environmental rooms which have been specially prepared for the treatment of patients in the medical environment including the following hospital departments in the with an integrated spectrum:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Geriatrics (geriatric medicine)
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery, Hand Surgery, Plastic Surgery
  • Gynecology, Obstetrics
  • Orthopedics
  • Anasthesia, Intensive Care

Criteria for inclusion in Environmental Room

There is a briefing which takes place through a doctor or the emergency room. During the first contact a message states that the patient wants a shot in the environmental room. The Agaplesion Clinic requires patients have medical evidence showing MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), environmental allergies / intolerance (allergy multi-) and / or a present a chronic intoxication in the patient. A MCS and / or allergy passport is also useful to explain the need for inclusion in a special room environment.

Core Unit of the Environment Room

Rooms in conventional hospitals are not suitable for chemically sensitive patients. In general, the wards have PVC flooring and particleboard furniture. The environmental rooms in the Agaplesion Clinic have given much effort to create a plan that recognizes the needs of MCS sufferers with good air quality issues. The two environmental rooms were built with the low emission of air pollutants / safe building materials and furnishings, to ensure the safety for hypersensitive patients.

Some examples of the special features of the environmental room:

  • Walls and ceilings with running Fermacell Green Line plates
  • Massive exterior walls are lime
  • Walls and ceilings painted with lime paint
  • Rooms are equipped with a wall heater
  • Floor is made of ceramic tiles.
  • Window and door frames are insulated with hemp
  • Doors are made of glass
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been reduced, including through the installation of power circuit breakers
  • Furniture is made of enamel, metal, or stainless steel

The clinic staff shall ensure low-emission patient care:

  • Attention is given to see if there are fragrance-containing and damaging products in patient vicinity.
  • Patients are asked about their possible food intolerances to allergies, to drugs, disinfectants, medicines and anesthetics.
  • A dietitian takes into account the patients’ food intolerances
  • At the medical station information is summarized, and this can be viewed at any time by medical staff.
  • The staff of the station is working together very closely with the support group „environmental illnesses MCS + CFS.”
  • The room environment is cleaned with fragrance free detergents, but a disinfecting cleaning is essential to neutralize odors, so the patient is offered the use of effective microorganisms (EM 1).
  • When necessary, patients may bring their own food which is kept in a refrigerator at the door. A kettle is also available there.
  • The bedding of the entire hospital is fragrance-free but these patients are permitted to bring their own bedding.

Special measures for the benefit of environmental patients

  • The use of fragrance-free and low-polluting products is offered to patients and their visitors
  • The use of cell phones and smoking are not permitted in this area
  • Living together requires all patients in the environmental room practice understanding, respect and helpfulness

Hospital life – side note

Important information for environmental patients and their physicians, that the Agaplesion Clinic is a hospital and not an environmental clinic. In a hospital procedures are regulated and special requests cannot be met. The Agaplesion Clinic breaks new ground by providing the two environmental rooms. The employees are trained on MCS and environmental illness, but they are dependent on cooperation between the patients, so that a smooth clinical work can be guaranteed. Perhaps at first patients won’t have the highest satisfaction, but patients should be understanding and possibly contribute constructive suggestions for improvement since this is the first attempt at providing environmentally safe rooms in a hospital. It is important for patients with chemical sensitivity (MCS) to realize that this is a new development at the clinic. For those with hyper-sensitivities, a stay at the hospital, despite careful selection of materials, initially may be fraught with problems because of outgassing and ecological matters.

The Chemically Sensitive are thankful for their commitment

The MCS support groups in Hamburg, which for years pursued the goal of a “MCS-friendly hospital room in a hospital” give hearty thanks and appreciation to the doctors, hospital planners, architects and government agencies that were involved in this project. All the best and much success for the safe environment in the new rooms at the Agaplesion Clinic!

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 1 March 2011

Translation: Christi Howarth


Agaplesion Diakonie Hospital Hamburg, newsletter: environmental rooms for MCS patients and the environment / multiple allergies, January 2011


Agaplesion DIAKONIE Hospital Hamburg

Hohe Weide 17, 20259 Hamburg, Germany, Tel: (040) 7 90 20 – 0, Fax (040) 7 90 20 – 10 79, E-mail: info@dkh.de, Internet: www.dkh.de

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