Fighting The Stigma

Health Risk Navigation Inc

To successfully deal with the stigma associated with Chemical Injury, one must first address and expose the source of the stigma. The source is the false, misleading information put out by the chemical/pharmaceutical industry, who have a huge influence over the medical community and over governments at all levels on a global scale. Their aggressive, targeted, deceptive campaign began in 1990 and continues to this day.

In a nutshell, many corporations in the chemical industry have at least two divisions – one division that researches and manufactures drugs, and another division that researches and manufactures pesticides, or other toxic chemical products. Therefore, if their pharmaceutical division acknowledged that the pesticide division produces products that harm human health and life, they would be shooting themselves in their financial foot.

So these corporations chose instead to:

  • discredit the people whose health has been negatively affected by their products,
  • discredit everyone who supports the chemically injured.

To do this, the chemical corporations purposefully used their pharmaceutical division. In doing so, they successfully influenced the medical world, governments and society on a global scale. The aggressive, targeted, deceptive campaign succeeded in stopping the legitimizing of Chemical Sensitivity and stopping much of the support the Chemically Injured received. The end result was that the Chemically Injured individuals became stigmatized.

This is documented in Dr. Ann McCampbell’s documentary: Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Under Siege. Dr. Ann McCampbell is a specialist in Internal Medicine, who also became disabled with MCS. Here are a few excerpts from her documentary:

  • In 1990, the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now the American Chemistry Council) vowed to work to prevent the recognition of MCS out of concern for potential lost profits and increased liability if MCS were to become widely acknowledged (2). It specifically committed to work through physicians and medical associations to accomplish this, stating that it was critical to keep physicians from legitimizing MCS. Unfortunately, this plan has been relatively successful. ...
  • The pharmaceutical industry is also involved in the effort to suppress MCS. Drug companies, which usually work with the medical profession to try to help patients, are working to deny help for those with MCS. This is extraordinary, but can be explained by the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is intimately linked to the chemical industry. That is, many companies that make medications also manufacture pesticides, the chemicals most implicated in causing MCS and triggering symptoms in people who are chemically sensitive. For example, Novartis (formerly Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz) is a pharmaceutical company that makes and sells the widely used herbicide atrazine (3). ...
  • ... The pharmaceutical industry has been able to spread misinformation about MCS and limit the amount of accurate information received by physicians and other health care providers through its financial influence over medical journals, conferences, and research. ...
  • Since 1996, however, the chemical industry has taken a bold new approach to the name for MCS. It has made a concerted effort to rename MCS “idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI).” It is quite clear that its motivation is to get the word “chemical” out of the name. ....
  • ... implying that MCS has no known cause helps the industry. They do not want to be held responsible for their products causing MCS, or for that matter, triggering symptoms in people sensitized to them. ...
  • MCS is under siege by a well-funded and widespread disinformation campaign being waged by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Their goal is to create the illusion of controversy about MCS and cast doubt on its existence. These industries feel threatened by this illness, but rather than heed the message that their products may be harmful, they have chosen to go after the messenger instead. While corporations are only beholden to their stockholders, medicine and government need to be responsive to the needs of their patients and citizens. Unfortunately, industry has convinced many in the medical and legal professions, the government, the general public, and even loved ones of people with MCS, that this illness doesn’t exist or is only a psychological problem. ...

The chemical/pharmaceutical industry have discredited and stigmatized those of us who have been harmed by their products. However, if we state the facts, hopefully truth will prevail over their false information.

It is common knowledge that the word “toxic” means poison, and therefore toxic chemicals are chemicals that are poison to the human body. Poison is poison to everyone. There is no such thing as a “safe” poison. The people, who react to exposures of toxic chemicals, have crossed their body’s toxic threshold; and the people,who don’t react, haven’t crossed their toxic threshold yet. That is the only difference between the two groups of people.

For more information, see the articles:

  1. Crossing The Toxic Threshold
  2. Toxic Reaction – The Body’s Alarm System

Chemical injury (chemical sensitivity) is a genuine health condition that is devastating and very life altering. It is acquired, but it can also be prevented by reducing one’s exposure to toxic chemicals. The number of people, who are crossing their toxic threshold and becoming chemically injured, is growing rapidly world wide. For example, according to the Phase 1 Report by the Ontario Task Force On Environmental Health, there are now 250,000 people in Ontario that have been diagnosed with chemical sensitivity.

The stigma, purposefully caused and perpetuated by the chemical/pharmaceutical industries, is very pervasive. It hinders the chemically injured from receiving the support they desperately need from the health care systems, governments, family and society. It also hinders the medical profession and governments from taking proactive steps to prevent the growth of this health condition.

Therefore, it is imperative that everyone, who is aware of this injustice, speak out loud and clear against it. In doing so, hopefully the truth will conquer the self-serving misinformation; and the chemically injured will begin receiving the help and support that they desperately need.