Some countries and organizations already recognize environmental sensitivities/MCS as a disease and/or disability:
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges the condition of electromagnetic sensitivity, no rx and published a 2006 research agenda for radio-frequency fields.WHO and the ICD-10 Classification – click here to read
Scroll below for further details about recognition in some countries:
- The Canadian Human Rights Commission recognizes environmental sensitivities as a disability.ii
- Health Canada stated in its published document Chronic Diseases in Canada (January, decease 1991) that MCS should not be discriminated against by third party insurance, order and concepts should be part of continuing medical education (CME) and medical school curricula.
- Public Works Canada has established procedures and guidelines relating to the workplace for Public Service personnel regarding environmental hypersensitivity (Environmental Hypersensitivity at the Workplace, April. 1998).
- The Ontario College of Family Physicians has developed a Peer Presenter Program on environmental health which is CME (MAINPRO) accredited.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health convened an Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Hypersensitivity Disorders in 1984 and its report provided the first definition. It funded medical research projects on MCS, including $1.5 million for an Environmental Hypersensitivity Research Unit at the University of Toronto in 1994. The Ontario Ministry of Health also funded the creation and ongoing operation of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, beginning in 1996, which has collaborated, and continues to collaborate on medical research projects with researchers at the University of Toronto.
- The Ontario College of Family Physicians has an Environmental Health Committee Which sponsors accredited education programs for Family Physicians on environmental health topics, including Environmental Sensitivities.
- The Nova Scotia Department of Health established and funds a permanent Environmental Health Clinic at Dalhousie University which is affiliated with the Office of the Dean of Medicine
- The Nova Scotia Medical Association has a subsection for Environmental Medicine
- The Public Service Alliance of Canada recognizes MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity at Work: Guide for PSAC Members).
- CMHC has published several reports including Housing for the Environmentally Hypersensitive, and Survey of the Medical Impact on Environmentally Hypersensitive People of a Change in Habitat. A demonstration house for environmentally hypersensitive people was built in Ottawa, and was the site of a 2006 announcement of federal initiatives addressing toxic chemicals.
- Multiple chemical sensitivity is formally recognised by the national health care system.
- The German General Medical Council supported extensive education of medical practitioners regarding environmental medicine, and evidence-based therapies are being developed. iii
- Under its International Classification of Diseases-10 (“ICD-10”) the WHO classifies hypersensitivity (also known in Canada as environmental sensitivities or multiple chemical sensitivities) under Chapter 19 “(injuries, poisonings and certain other consequences of external causes)”. Other complex chronic conditions commonly overlapping with hypersensitivity are myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, classified in Chapter 6 (diseases of the nervous system) and fibromyalgia (FM), classified in chapter 13 (diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue). It is noteworthy that the WHO does not allocate any of these three conditions to Chapter 5 (mental and behavioral disturbances). ICD-10 is used in many countries of the world, including Germany, where it is called ICD-10-GM (GM= “German modification”). The German Institute of Medicine, Documentation and Information Section, has confirmed that the above classifications are used in Germany, and that it is “assumed that the above mentioned diseases are uniformly classified in other states” (countries).
iii Seidel HJ. Environmental medicine in Germany–a review. Environ Health Perspect. 2002;110 Suppl 1:113-8.:113-118.
- The Danish Environmental Protection Agency recently released a report on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. It concluded that there is ample evidence that sensitivities are due to environmental contaminants, and that Danish initiatives to minimise off-gassing materials in the indoor environment may have contributed to a somewhat lower incidence in the Danish population. The Agency recommended that measures be taken to prevent the development of sensitivities. iv
ivDanish Environmental Protection Agency and Danish Ministry of the Environment. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, MCS, Environmental Project no. 988, 2005. Danish Environmental Protection Agency . 2005.
- Electrical hypersensitivity is recognised as a disability
- Health care facilities with very low electromagnetic fields and radiation are in place for sensitive individuals. v
v Johansson O. Electrohypersensitivity: State-of-the-Art of a Functional Impairment. Electromagn Biol Med. 2006;25:245-258.
- The US Department of Justice, which enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, accepts MCS as a legitimate disability if the impairment is significant enough to be disabling
- The US Social Security Administration accepts MCS as disabling if the impairment prevents substantial gainful activity
- The American Medical Association has granted CME (continuing medical education) accreditation for the past 34 annual scientific seminars of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
- 2009 –‘Chemical sensitivity syndrome will make the list of illnesses used in electronic medical charts and electronic treatment fee claim forms, it has been learned.
- The Medical Information System Development Center (MEDIS-DC), an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is planning to make the revision effective October (2009)
WRITTEN DECLARATION -pursuant to Rule 123 of the Rules of Procedure on the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity and
electrohypersensitivity in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).