The CDC and MCS

There have been questions about whether or not the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recognizes MCS.

Their Indoor Environmental Quality Policy from 2009 explicitly states:

Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment, and the use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.” …

Potential hazards include chemicals, biological agents, fragrant products, and physical conditions that may cause irritation, illness, or exacerbate existing health conditions.

Here are a few more excerpts:

 

INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY POLICY

o… This policy establishes guidance and procedures to protect and maintain safe indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and guidelines for reporting and investigating complaints. This policy applies to all CDC1 workers (employees, contractors, guest researchers, etc.) at all CDC facilities, both leased and owned, and all CDC work areas including animal facilities.

C. Building Occupants

It is important that personnel be aware that the use of some personal care products may have detrimental effects on the health of chemically sensitive co-workers. Personal care products (colognes, perfumes, essential oils and scented skin and hair products) should not be brought into, used, or otherwise applied at or near actual workstations, in restrooms, or anywhere in CDC facilities.

Indoor Environmental Quality Hazard: Building condition that has the potential to adversely impact the health of building occupants.

Potential hazards include chemicals, biological agents, fragrant products, and physical conditions that may cause irritation, illness, or exacerbate existing health conditions.

1.    Non-Permissible Products:

Scented or fragranced products are prohibited at all times in all interior space owned, rented, or leased by CDC. This includes the use of:• Incense, candles, or reed diffusers• Fragrance-emitting devices of any kind

• Wall-mounted devices, similar to fragrance-emitting devices, that operate automatically or by pushing a button to dispense deodorizers or disinfectants

• Potpourri

• Plug-in or spray air fresheners

• Urinal or toilet blocks

• Other fragranced deodorizer/re-odorizer products

Personal care products (e.g. colognes, perfumes, essential oils, scented skin and hair products) should not be applied at or near actual workstations, restrooms, or anywhere in CDC owned or leased buildings.

In addition, CDC encourages employees to be as fragrance-free as possible when they arrive in the workplace. Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment, and the use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.

Employees should avoid using scented detergents and fabric softeners on clothes worn to the office. Many fragrance-free personal care and laundry products are easily available and provide safer alternatives.

A copy of the whole policy, where they also discuss safer cleaning, pest control, repairs and renovations can be downloaded here:

http://www.drsteinemann.com/Resources/CDC%20Indoor%20Environmental%20Quality%20Policy.pdf

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8 responses to “The CDC and MCS

  1. If they make a formal declaration that MCS does exist, it seems like they would have to supply proof. I can only imagine the resistance from companies who use toxins in their products. I just started my own blog about my 30 year battle with MCS. I had never seriously researched it before. Wow, chemicals worse scale than I had imagined. I am amazed at the impunity of big corporations who put this into their products. Where did this lack of accountability come from? The legality of it? I guess we weren’t paying enough attention.

  2. We must make everyone aware that allergies can be much more than asthma and hay fever. Absolutely any area of the body or brain can be affected by dust, molds, pollen. foods or chemicals. When someone has a drastic sudden change in how they look, feel, act, behave, write, walk, speak etc, check on what they just ate, touched or smelled. You might have the answer as to the cause very very quickly. Doris Rapp, MD

    • Thank you Dr. Rapp.

      You are a true pioneer and long time warrioress for people who have chemical injuries and allergies.

      After seeing you guest on daytime tv in the 80′s, when my kids were young, I knew what was happening to me when I started getting strange symptoms after a toxic carpet installation in 1994. I knew I was already “sensitive”, but at the time I wasn’t yet disabled. I benefitted a great deal from reading your books since I wasn’t able to find any doctors in my area who understood what was going on.

      Thanks so much for all you do!

  3. There are laws in both Canada and the US re accommodating people with disabilities at work. MCS/ES is recognized in this way, although it’s not always easy finding co-operative employers or co-workers. Hence a few high profile lawsuits in the US.

    Here are more good resources if you are still able to work:

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission Policy is here:
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/legislation_policies/policy_environ_politique-eng.aspx

    In the US, JAN (the JOB ACCOMMODATION NETWORK) has info here:
    https://askjan.org/media/MCS.html

    There is another excellent document for Canadians available here:
    http://harepublishing.com/Workplace/guide_home.html

  4. Just after reading your article, I also saw this one – showing some examples of the impacts of scents in the workplace, and the fact that industry is taking notice. http://www.hrdaily.ca/article/office-odours-just-access-your-scent-drive-but-dont-kick-up-a-stink-127997.aspx

    • That would not be nice… Just like scented tires a few years back… bad idea… If scents were still made from flower essences, people wouldn’t be keeling over from them, or having trouble keeping it together and thinking when exposed… There are too many toxic chemicals in fragrances now, some affect our fertility, others cause cancer, obesity and even diabetes along with a dose of neuro-toxicity for good measure…(read about phthalates for instance). It almost seems like fragrances have become dumping grounds for the chemical industry.

      Here’s a good resource on fragrances now and what you might find in them: Fragrance http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=222

  5. Very intersting, glad to have found your blog! Thanks for visiting mine. You have a wealth of information here, love it.

    • Thanks Rachel.
      I’m trying to make credible info available so people can educate themselves and hopefully prevent more health harm.

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