Multiple chemical sensitivity info is offered

Thursday, May 27, 2004
St. Tammany bureau

A growing number of individuals and groups are lobbying Congress and public health agencies to recognize multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS, as a legitimate environmentally related disease or illness.

A key goal is to obtain a "case definition" -- classification as a disease -- for MCS from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Nancy Hirschfeld of Slidell, an MCS sufferer.

Her group, Informed Choices, also wants the agency to warn the public of "the dangers from pesticides and other everyday chemicals that may cause MCS and other devastating health conditions."

The group will have an educational booth for the public set up today through Sunday at her home, 1301 Howze Beach Road, south of Fritchie Park and next to the Oak Harbor Estates golf course.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, meanwhile, has proclaimed May to be Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month. Her proclamation describes MCS as as a disorder caused by a single massive exposure or repeated low-level exposure to toxic chemicals and other environmental irritants. MCS syndrome is a controversial issue.

Hirschfeld cites a study that estimates 12.6 percent of the population suffers MCS. Most physicians consider the ailment -- which can include chronic fatigue, body pains, asthma, memory loss, headaches, and respiratory and neurological problems -- to be a pyschosomatic condtion.


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