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.
Great info. People who don’t want to give up their toxic chemicals wonder why I don’t “just” wear a mask. I have when absolutely necessary but as you point out I’m still being exposed and it is hot and uncomfortable to breathe through. I wish someone would invent personal force fields that would hold in all the toxic chemicals people choose to wear. They could then breathe in all the toxic chemicals they wanted and I could just breathe fresh air.
Great idea! Except, they’d be sick soon too…
Better to ban toxic chemicals from everyday products and materials… and the first step for that seems to be to require them to label ALL the ingredients
I have more info and commentary on masks coming up… I’m trying to figure out if I should leave it in one post or break it up a bit… editing is really hard when my brain has been blitzed by exposures that a mask cannot help with (especially when there are no chemical-free-enough masks available for me)…
I totally agree on changing the laws. At least in the US, I wonder if SciFi will become reality with personal protective force fields before the laws are made to protect the innocent from harmful toxic chemicals?
I would break up the info into smaller bits. For those of us with MCS, we do better with less info at once due to brain fog. For those without MCS (if there is actually anyone still without at least some level of chemical toxicity), its probably still easier to process bits of info before the BIG scary picture is revealed.
As you may have noticed, my editing brain is still MIA… I think I will eventually take just the technical parts and links (without much commentary) and put them into a page at the top.
One thing that would help a lot of people with MCS is to change laws and practices surrounding property valuations. In most U.S. states your housing valuation is based on square-footage, number of rooms, and similar metrics. Valuations do not take into account specialty materials that must be used to build a house that won’t fill up with mold, formaldehyde, and other toxins. This puts MCS sufferers at an even greater disadvantage than the general public if they decide to build a house, buy a house, or get a mortgage. A toxin-free house was instrumental in my husband’s recovery from MCS, but buying this house involved taking out two mortgages as well as all of our savings and retirement. It was, of course, worth it. However, if MCS had greater recognition perhaps housing could become easier for more people.
Good points Christy!
The lack of safe, accessible, affordable (and medically required) housing is perhaps THE biggest obstacle to recovery (if available early enough) and for on-going quality of life when recovery is not possible (as there are different causes and conditions resulting in MCS/ES).
It’s wonderful that you were able to build such a place, even though it wasn’t easy (for many this is impossible), and that your husband has recovered.
If safe housing was available to everyone who needs it, it would make such a difference in countless people’s lives.
http://freeandclear1.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-accidental-activist-gets-in-your.html Haven’t updated any mask information or photos. Did try to blog about it once and here’s the link. Suki
Great post! Thanks for the reminder!