Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Misinformation Campaign

Many illnesses are misunderstood. People with MCS often have more than ignorance to fight, however. Some large and powerful corporations have reasons to make sure that chemical sensitivity isn't accepted as a valid condition and that chemical safety isn't called into question.

Dr. Ann McCampbell has written an excellent analysis of the situation entitled Multiple Chemical Sensitivities under Siege. I recommend it, not only for people curious about MCS, but for anyone interested in how public opinion about medical issues may be shaped. McCampbell details the activities of chemical manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry. (Oddly, many drug manufacturers also make pesticides.)  She writes about non-profit organizations with benign-sounding names and notes that the activities of one of them include the following:

  • publishing newspaper advertisements made to look like legitimate news stories stating that MCS “exists only because a patient believes it does and because a doctor validates that belief”  

  • paying a medical journal to publish the proceedings of an anti-MCS conference which was partly organized by a firm owned by their executive director

  • sending anti-MCS literature to a state disability agency developing a report on MCS which included advice on how to avoid accommodating chemically sensitive employees

  • sending a representative to a Medicaid Advisory Committee meeting to urge that Medicaid benefits be denied for the diagnosis and treatment of chemical sensitivities

  • providing a representative to speak against MCS at a continuing medical education (CME) conference for physicians where he failed to disclose his industry affiliations as required by CME guidelines

  • sending a member to speak to the staff at an independent living center where he berated them for providing a support group for people with MCS.

In Isaiah 1:17, God instructs His people to defend the oppressed. There are people all over the world today being oppressed in significant, obvious, and life-altering ways. There may also, however, be less obvious forms of oppression occurring right before our eyes. In the realm of MCS, there is a great deal of very real suffering that is being caused by those with power, resources, and vested interests. Those who suffer from MCS need healthy advocates and defenders. Will you be one?


Christa Upton said...

Thank you for this wonderful post!!! It is so true that those of us with MCS need healthy advocates and defenders.

Martha McLaughlin said...

I've come to deeply appreciate the healthy people who take on this cause. Some of the doctors and researchers especially deserve our gratitude. They can encounter significant opposition at times.