Jun 28, 2011

MCS should not be underestimated

"A woman in her 30s, living in the Pacific Northwest, was severely disabled by MCS [Multiple Chemical Sensitivity]. Everyone in her community knew it, but as is usually the case with MCS, most didn’t believe she was really sick; they thought she was “crazy.” So, one of her neighbors sprayed the vacant lot he owned, next to her house, to prove she wasn’t sick — over the pleas of her husband and her best friend, another neighbor. She died of organ failure the next day."
I found the above quote on this blog.  That neighbour should be locked away for life.

As someone with MCS I'm all too familiar with the attitude you get when asking people not to wear or use chemical products.  It's as though you're impeding on their basic human rights by suggesting they not wear perfume or burn scented oil in your shared foyer.  It's the sort of illness where people are sympathetic in theory, but if it actually effects them in any way they are more inclined to believe you've made it up just to inconvenience them.

I know what it feels like when your heart starts racing out of control because you used the wrong laundry detergent, or someone down the road is using a wood heater and the smoke got into your house. I know what the migraines feel like when I've slept in a room cleaned with the wrong products.  I know what it's like to feel nauseated every time you eat because you've had to wear sunscreen two days in a row and now your body is reacting badly to any foreign substance.

Trust me, no one makes this stuff up to inconvenience other people.

I can't relate directly to the woman in this blog because I don't believe my MCS has ever been close to this serious (though I honestly dread to think what would happen if a vindictive neighbour decided to spray my yard with pesticides).  I do hope however, that her story serves to underline how serious a condition MCS actually is.  It's rare, but people do die of it, and its impact on day to day living should not be underestimated.


  1. Thank you for posting this. Very good points. And it's cool to find a blog dedicated to explaining about payback. "Payback" seems to be a term used by people with many kids of chronic illness, while "crash" seems pretty specific to the CFIDS/ME community.

    I have been having very supportive, ongoing discussion in the comments about MCS/fragrance-related posts from those wishing to learn more about how to be MCS-safer, which is quite heartening!

  2. wow, if that quote is true, that is terrible! Im struggling with my little boy has breathing difficulties from birth and it is difficult when people are sick, especially when people don't believe you!

    glad to have stumbled across your blog. well said post :)

    - tork

  3. Thanks for highlighting this! A friend of my mother's has MCS, and I know from hearing her talk that it is difficult for her and her friends and family.

  4. My friend has this and it is very inconvenient for her all the time. She had to stay away from church for over three months when they laid a new carpet there and can't paint or renovate her own house because of the chemicals needed to do it. What a terrible thing to happen to the poor woman in your post.


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