May is MCS/ES Awareness Month
Due to the wide variety of chemical pollutants in our air these days, many people with MCS/ES have to wear a mask when leaving home (and sometimes even at home) to prevent or reduce debilitating and disabling symptoms.
Having an invisible (and inconvenient, or so we are told) disability is difficult, especially when many of the adverse effects are delayed and we have to deal with them in isolation, out of sight, out of mind, and without witness to our suffering.
If there’s any good that comes from wearing a mask or respirator in public (in addition to protecting our health a bit) wearing one when we have an invisible disability helps make us visible, and alerts other people that they too are at risk.
Breathing is not optional.
Wearing a protective breathing device can minimize some of the damaging effects exposures to pollutants cause, but people often feel self conscious about wearing a mask, especially if we can’t find a “pretty” one that we are able to use, and that is effective in the environments we need to go, as it can bring more attention to us at a time we are not feeling well from the exposures.
Our eyes and skin, hair and clothing still absorb chemicals from the air, and these can affect us not only while in, but long after we leave a polluted environment (hence the necessity of showering and changing clothes as soon as one reaches home).
The cost of masks and filters is an expense that polluters have externalized, and downloaded onto we the people. Ultimately, polluters should not be allowed to pollute us for profit. Humans are creative. There are many ways to eliminate harmful pollutants, and until that is done, polluters should pay for our protective gear, like air and water purification, and our medical and health care needs. We shouldn’t be paying with our health and for our protection while they profit!
Like with so many other issues, that people develop MCS/ES is almost entirely the result of political decisions and policies, all the way from allowing us to be polluted, to denying us access and care once we have lost our health and abilities.
Being forced into isolation to avoid exposures so we can maintain some level of functionality at home keeps us invisible and denies others the ability to learn about the myriad types of harm that toxic (and wireless) exposures can cause everyone, especially children, and prevents actions to eliminate these everyday sources of harm. In fact, with the proliferation of toxic products and materials, the incidence of chronic health problems and pain has increased alarmingly.
This month I will be featuring more about masks and some of the people with MCS who are wearing masks.
If you would like to be included, the easiest way to contact me is via the blog’s fb page, where you can send a photo of yourself wearing your mask, with a brief description of why you are wearing it, what kind of mask it is, and the way you would like to be identified (initials, full name, or other).
Making the invisible visible is a necessary step for awareness, recognition, access, and inclusion.