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The Safer Travel Directory has been awarded the Co-op America Business Seal of Approval, and is a member of Co-op America's Business Network and can be found in Co-op America’s National Green Pages™.

What is MCS?
How many people have MCS?
What are the special housing needs of people with MCS?

What is MCS?

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, (MCS), also called environmental illness, is a medical condition in which individuals develop symptoms from very low levels of chemicals in the environment, levels which they previously tolerated and which most people don't even notice. MCS usually results from exposure to toxic chemicals, either in a single massive dose or long term exposures to low doses.

How many people have MCS?

MCS is a widespread, growing public health problem. Nationwide, it is estimated that 15% of the population has become sensitized to one or more common household chemicals or commercial products. Preliminary results of a 1995 California Dept. of Health Services study found 16% of the study population were chemically sensitive and 7% had been diagnosed with MCS. That's approximately 2 million cases in California alone. Another study, using a telephone survey, found that 3.9% of respondents had symptoms of MCS that occurred daily.

What are the special housing needs of people with MCS?

People with MCS need their home to be a sanctuary or haven where they can avoid or recover from chemical exposures. They will look for a place with relatively clean air, away from busy highways, and with freedom from insecticide spraying and weed killers. They prefer houses with hardwood or ceramic tile floors, with natural wood rather than plywood or other pressed-wood products that contain glues, solvents and formaldehyde. They will usually want electric or hot water heat instead of heating oil, natural gas, or a wood-burning stove. The structure should be at least 10-15 years old with no recent renovation, so that most of the problem chemicals will have outgassed from the building materials. The home should have good ventilation and freedom from mustiness and molds.

These are just a few of the items to consider. A person with MCS may have many other specific requirements, depending on the severity of their condition. No property will be perfect, but some are much better than others. For people with MCS, their health, ability to work, and even their lives may depend on finding a tolerable place to live.

Reference: http://www.thegarden.net/mcs/mcsoverview.html

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