My Name is Alyce Vincent, I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and I am the founder of MCS Awareness.
I became afflicted with MCS as a result of workplace exposures in an automotive factory in 1988. I became very ill, and was never able to return to my job. This is a severe medical condition that gets progressively worse with each subsequent exposure.
In the beginning, I didn’t know anyone else (other than a couple of other girls at the same workplace who had also gotten ill) with this medical condition, after insufficient medical treatment, I was pretty much left to survive and deal with this on my own.
For people with MCS, life becomes a struggle.
It becomes difficult to work, to interact with the public, even just to be accepted, sometimes even by family and our closest friends. We are very often ridiculed, harassed, and even intentionally assaulted.
When I filed my Ontario Human Rights Complaint, I began to do some research about my disability, and how common it was. Up to that point I had only vaguely heard of a couple of other people who had MCS, I had never encountered anyone.
What I learned shocked me! There are millions of us!
Between 11%-16% of the population are sensitized to chemicals (mostly personal hygiene and household cleaners), with 3% being formally diagnosed. Even 3% is a shocking amount of people, 1 million in Canada, and 10 million in the US. By the time a diagnosis is realized, the sufferer’s live is usually drastically compromised. How could so many of us fall through the cracks?
As I learned more, it became apparent that we have what is known as an “inconvenient illness”.
Our illness makes others uncomfortable, because they like their chemicals, and they sometimes (and often don’t) feel guilty, because they are making those who suffer from MCS, sicker. A single 2 second exposure can make someone ill for days or even weeks.
This illness is growing very rapidly, (by 34% every 5 years)epidemically in fact. It was doing this research and my own experiences that led me to create MCS Awareness, to create awareness of this condition, how fast it is growing and who is most at risk…our infants and children!