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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EFSA publishes European overview of dioxin levels in food and feed

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published an analysis of the levels of dioxins and related substances in food and animal feed. The report, which was prepared by EFSA’s Data Collection and Exposure unit, is based on over 7,000 samples collected by 21 European countries between 1999 and 2008. EFSA was asked by the European Commission to evaluate dioxin contamination levels in relation to maximum levels which have been set for different categories of food and feed in the EU in order to protect consumers.

Dioxins and similar compounds, such as dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), include a range of toxic substances which are formed by burning – e.g. through waste incineration or forest fires – and some industrial processes. Their presence in the environment has declined since the 1970s, following concerted efforts at the EU level.

Dioxins are found at low levels in many foods. They do not cause immediate health problems, but long-term exposure to high levels of dioxins has been shown to cause a range of effects, including cancer. Their persistence and the fact that they accumulate in the food chain, notably in animal fat, therefore continues to cause some safety concerns.

The highest average levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in relation to fat content were observed for liver and liver products from animals. The highest average levels in relation to total product weight were for fish liver and products derived from fish liver. In animal feed, the highest average levels were found in fish oil.

Overall, 8% of the samples exceeded the different maximum levels set out in EU legislation. However, some of these samples clearly originated from targeted sampling during specific contamination episodes. There were also large variations between different groups of food and feed in terms of the proportion of samples which exceed maximum levels.

The report concludes that no clear trend can be established regarding changes in background levels of dioxins and related substances in food and feed over time, as there were increases in some categories but decreases in others. Furthermore, occasional contamination episodes and a lack of information on which samples resulted from targeted or random sampling make it difficult to assess such trends.

The current EU method for measuring overall dioxin levels is based on toxicity values for different types of dioxins recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1998. EFSA was also asked to assess the impact on total dioxin levels of using toxicity values set out in WHO recommendations from 2005, which downgraded the relative toxicity of certain types of dioxins. The report finds that using the new values would reduce overall dioxin levels by 14%, although the extent of this reduction was very different across food and feed categories.

Finally, the report recommends continuous random testing of a sufficient number of samples in each food and feed group to ensure accurate assessments of the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs.

Author; EFSA, EFSA publishes European overview of dioxin levels in food and feed, March 31, 2010

The Department of Health of the Austrian Government recognizes MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a physical disease

Just like Germany, Austria is now classifying Chemical Sensitivity / MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a physical disease under the code T78.4 of the ICD-10 (the register of diseases). The news comes from a recent letter by the Department of Health of the Austrian Government.

MCS in the ICD-10 in Germany

In a letter dated September 4, 2008 the DIMDI, the Cooperation Partner for Germany of the WHO, wrote that MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity was classified in the register ICD-10 GM which is valid in Germany:

MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

T78.4…Allergy, not otherwise specified;

Chapter 19 (Injuries, Intoxication and certain other outcomes), Article T66-T78 (Other and unspecified injuries caused by external causes).

MCS in Austria recognized as physical disease

With a letter dated June 24, 2009 regarding “Chemical Sensitivity / MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (T78.4)”, the Department of Health of the Austrian Government declares that:

In response to your letter dated 4/14/2009 to the Minister of Health Mr. Stoerger, we inform you that the WHO ICD-10 Code modified for Germany from DIMDI is used in Austria as well.

Also in Austria MCS is not a psychological disease

It should be emphasized that the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) declared explicitly that there is not any allocation of MCS in Chapter 5 (Mental and behavioural disorders) of the ICD-10-GM. Thus, the debate about MCS as mental illness is at an end.

In Germany doctors who document the diagnosis and the hospital administrations work under the Social Security Code V, which states that the diagnoses have to be made according to the systematic list of ICD-10-GM. Thus, the ICD-10 classification is legally binding.

The Department of Health of the Austrian Government refers in the letter that MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is recognized in Austria as a physical disease, because also there it will have the code T78.4 in the ICD-10.

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 26. June 2009


Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Chemikalien-Sensitivität / MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (ICD-10 T78.4), 24.06.2009, Wien, Österreich.

DIMDI Letter to CSN, MCS ICD-10, 04.09.2008

DIMDI Letter, 04.09.2008