Acompromised immune system because of over exposure to environmental toxins
|Do you know what it feels like to be sick and your doctor’s treatment does not help you? Can it be that the wonderful technological advancements we enjoy, which appear to make our lives more comfortable and convenient have side effects to them?
Many people around the country and throughout the world are suffering and doctors are often misdiagnosing and providing treatment that does not lead to recovery. There are however, a growing number of doctors nationwide and internationally, who are familiar with; identifying and treating the symptoms of this disorder. Many of these doctors met for the first time in August 2006 as part of a workshop to write a usable case definition of this growing phenomenon. Then a year later a committee of doctors and scientists from the August 2006 group, consisting of doctors from Arizona, California, North Carolina and Oregon, came together again in August 2007 to refine the case definition.
What is MCS?
Although the common reference for this disorder is MCS, an acronym for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the medical consensus of these doctors working on the case definition concluded that MCS generally can be understood as a Chemical Hypersensitivity Syndrome (CHRS) stemming from a myriad of toxins encountered in the environment. MCS is often used to identify several physical conditions stemming from disorders such as Environmental Illness (EI), Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), Building Related Illness (BRI) and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS). It is a chemical hypersensitive syndrome that is neurological in nature and can also be referred to as a chronic chemical toxicity. MCS can occur with several distinct types of reactions, occurring together or in isolation:
ā¢ Chemical allergy
ā¢ Chemical toxicity
ā¢ Food allergy
ā¢ Food intolerance
Individuals suffer from a compromised immune system because of over exposure to environmental toxins. A sensitive individual can become hyper-sensitive, developing an intolerance to the external environment around them. Once sensitized, something that was once tolerable becomes toxic and causes an adverse reaction with subsequent exposures. In addition, the sensitivity variations from one person with MCS to another can be spectral; organic human biology is constantly reacting to the environment outside of the body. What is often shocking about this disorder is that once a person becomes hyper-sensitized, even with treatment, only in very rare cases to they ever fully regain their previous state of health.
Disadvantages of Modern Technology
To gain a better understanding of how this debilitating state evolved here in the US we have to go back in time to post World War II. During the mid-1940s, after World War II, we were in the midst of a baby boom and people wanted a better standard of living. The construction industry’s response was to develop new building materials – plywood, particleboard, foam insulation, and floor tile. Plywood, particleboard, and foam insulation were made with adhesives and solutions that previously were not commonly found inside the home -such as formaldehyde and arsenic. Floor tiles and their adhesives, along with the use of asbestos became popular building materials of the time.
The development of new man-made materials was not restricted to the building trade alone. Foam padding began to appear in furniture. Permanent press and stain-resistant finishes were applied to fabrics to protect them and make them easier to care for. New products were introduced to the marketplace to make housework easier. Soon homes were filled with cleaners, insecticides, and other products constructed of manmade materials containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). To conserve energy, homes where more tightly constructed and better insulated. Unfortunately, these air tight homes not only contained a soup of VOC’s and other toxins, but they also kept in moisture which promoted the growth of fungi and other microorganisms. These are the homes that many of us grew up in and where too many of us are still living now.
The advancement of modern technology has created a major problem. From the constant bombardment of cell phone microwaves and wireless technology, to the perfumes and deodorizers in our detergents, pesticides sprayed on food and the off gassing of chemicals, the human body is experiencing overload. The buildings in which we live, work, and play, while designed to protect from nature's extremes, have been found to adversely affect health and the environment, both indoors and outdoors in countless ways. The harmful elements within homes, schools, and places of business all cause a multitude of health problems, culminating in ailments from headaches, asthma and allergies to hormone disorders and cancer. Indoor pollutants and low-level electromagnetic radiation are having increasing pronounced effects on small children. These symptoms are also exasperated in people who are sick and the elderly. The risk is greatest in low income environments where housing is often old and in disrepair. This factor poses a unique set of challenges in the building of an adequately healthy house. In order to meet the needs of the chemically sensitive it is necessary to develop as neutral a building envelope as possible that can be tolerated by a wide spectrum of chemical and electromagnetic sensitivities.
The Need for Improved Standards
Alternative solutions must be applied to the construction of buildings, primarily where the health risk is greatest. A higher standard of building needs to be introduced providing guidelines for housing that are not only energy efficient and ecologically sound, but most importantly, holistically healthy for the inhabitants. Bau-BiologieĀ®, the science of the holistic relationship between the living environment and life and is based upon a 3 skin theory. The body represents the 1st layer; clothing the 2nd layer and the house is the “third layer of skin”. These standards, introduced by Bau-BiologieĀ® in Germany thirty years ago, incorporate the holistic use of healthy building principles as a means to improve living and work spaces by prioritizing the health of the people who occupy them.
Fortunately there has been an increase in environmental awareness and green, sustainable construction is being encouraged in this country. Under the USGBC’s (United States Green Building Council) new construction program, LEED can certify the energy efficiency of buildings that meet energy star standards. While LEED accredited green buildings are improvements to the general standards, since these standards do not address the health of the inhabitants, even what is considered a “green building” often cannot be tolerated by many of the multiple chemically sensitive. The International Institute for Bau-BiologieĀ® & Ecology in North America is interested in working with USGBC in raising the eco building standards nation wide to include a holistic prospective.
Building for the Chemically Sensitive
Finding the right combination of safe building materials can be achieved by understanding the holistic approach to building design and construction, which is paramount in establishing a range of synergistically compatible materials. (u}The Making of a Holistic Habitat for the Multiple Chemically Sensitive is a project spearheaded by Bio-SolarĀ® Proto, Inc., a 501(c) 3, who will conduct numerous tests to identify a complete range of tolerable building materials, in conjunction with identifying, then testing the correct composition of these materials. This composition will not only meet currently established green standards, but also present a healthy, tolerable atmosphere for chemically sensitive people. Ecologically safe, energy efficient, functional design; these are all forerunners for this prototype. It is crucial to build an indoor environment with a foundation of material that has the integrity to support the inclusion of non-toxic home furnishings and house hold products with low to no VOC. A building foundation or envelope, for example that does not prevent the growth of mold, cannot sustain a healthy quality of indoor living, making all other efforts ineffective. The Making of a Holistic Habitat for the Multiple Chemically Sensitive is a unique research opportunity with a focus on examining holistic paradigms for healthy, non-toxic building construction.
Life for the Chemically Disabled
Many people living with chemical sensitivities are considered disabled and live with a greatly impaired quality of life. Cynthia Wilson, Executive Director of the Chemical Injury Information Network, who has been living with MCS for a number of years, explains it this way: “A person with MCS has lost the ability to process everyday toxins. Research has shown that these people have defective redox systems and as a result, those who get MCS usually get a plethora of other chemically-induced health problems including porphyria, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and neurological problems.” As with all illness, MCS not only affects the patient but also the lives of those closest to them. One member of the chemically sensitive community explains that prior to visits from her children; she needs them to send her the clothing they will wear during their visit for laundering. Her children also have to refrain from wearing fragranced deodorants, shampoos and perfumes weeks before a visit. This can be very challenging for everyone in their life of the chemically sensitive. For many chemically disabled people, the best they are able to do is try and establish a “safe” room within their house that is toxic free in order to create a living space they can tolerate.
Bio-SolarĀ® Proto, Inc.
The challenge of addressing the issue of safe housing has been taken on by a number of passionate individuals, some of whom suffer from chemical sensitivities personally or vicariously through friends and loved ones. The desire to create safe housing is shared by many architects and builders who understand the importance of a holistic approach and the principals of Bau-BiologieĀ®. Among them is Bio-SolarĀ® Proto, Inc., (BSPI), a non-profit organization strongly committed to resolve the dilemma of creating safe and healthy housing. BSPI was established for the sole purpose of designing prototypes of healthy affordable environments using the Bau-BiologieĀ® approach. By focusing on the population of children from a system sensitive and preventive care perspective, in addition to the multi-chemically sensitive population in general, BSPI will be able to develop a control method for key residential health issues. Along with the efforts of other green intentioned architects and contractors across the country, this project can greatly advance the nation’s communities by improving the environmental health and safety of families living in public and privately owned homes.
Need for Funding
BSPI will undergo intensive research with specialists such as the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN) and a medical advisory board consisting of doctors and clinicians. These medical professionals are specialists in the fields of neurotoxicology, imunotoxicology, cardiology, epidemiology, and other related fields of study. The focus will be on understanding the triggers of MCS with regard to each building material used in the construction of the prototype. BSPI will also conduct extensive exploration into the world market to discover technologies and manufacturing capabilities that have been developing over the past twenty years, currently used in Europe and China, yet new to the United States. European building science and construction will be applied utilizing a comprehensive composition of the building envelop, along with the construction of permeable walls, for a design which allows moisture to travel through a structure preventing trapped moisture from accumulating dew water. Unlike standard American construction, this will prevent the growth of mold and improve air quality, providing the bases for an indoor environment that is conducive to optimal health. For many hypersensitive people, even the use of wood can be intolerable, which is why alternative materials must be taken under consideration. Combined with the use of non synthetic and naturally preserved materials and adhesives, it is possible to have the components pertinent to the groundwork of healthy construction. As the search for funding continues there is an ongoing request to government agencies and private foundations to see the merits of this project and provide support.
Education for the Future
The outcome of The Making of a Holistic Habitat for the Multiple Chemically Sensitive research project will result in the construction of a holistic habitat house prototype. The prototype will then undergo a series of tests to ensure the livability of the house for the chemically sensitive, along with the completion of a documentary of the entire process. This documentary will be used to inform the medical community; generate public awareness, educate future architects and support specialization in this field. There is a strong need to articulate the value and practical application of improvements in the quality of living and working indoor environments. The health of our communities is predicated upon a commitment to address this moral imperative of the 21st Century, to create healthier living conditions for everyone. By improving the living environments for the chemically disabled, a new standard will be achieved which will improve the quality of living for all future generations.
For more information or an interest in contributing support to Making of a Holistic Habitat for the Multiple Chemically Sensitive project contact:
Chemical Injury Information Network www.ciin.org
The International Institute for Bau-BiologieĀ® & Ecology www.buildingbiology.net
Bio-SolarĀ® Proto, Inc. www.bio-solar.com