MCS is most easily described as a severe reaction to household and commercial products and other chemicals commonly found in the environment. These include pesticides, perfumes, paints, cleaning products, gas stoves, new carpeting and building materials, mold, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust, etc. The onset of MCS can often be traced to a specific chemical exposure, but just as often, its cause is unknown.
People who live with MCS often suffer debilitating chronic fatigue along with a multitude of other symptoms provoked by chemical exposures. These symptoms include asthma, migraines, nausea, aching joints and muscles, weakness, sleep disorders, memory loss, impaired balance, anaphylactic shock and seizures. It is also very common to have problems with memory and concentration, which is affectionately referred to as “brain fog” by those who are all too familiar with it.
Finding a home that isn’t toxic
Perhaps the biggest issue for sufferers of MCS is creating a safe home environment where chemical exposures are minimal. These environments must be non-toxic and can require the implementation of expensive technology.
Typically, people with MCS are forced to move from one place to the next as their homes are made unlivable, often by the activities of those around them. All too often they find themselves temporarily homeless. Others are forced to live in inaccessible, toxic spaces where their health deteriorates. Tragically, the desperate, overwhelming nature of this illness and the difficult process of locating safe housing has resulted in numerous suicides.
Are we listening to today’s human canaries?
People suffering with MCS serve to make us aware of the dire consequences living in a society where chemicals are used in virtually every area of our lives. One of the foremost questions of the 21st century is how do we create a healthy and sustainable environment? We can begin by taking heed of the plight of these human canaries.