Former librarian wins compensation claim

Former librarian wins compensation claim: Embattled former Liberty High School librarian Angela Page won a major decision against the district that is trying to fire her.

The New York State Worker's Compensation Review Board ruled Friday against the district in their appeal of her workman's compensation claim. Page filed for the workman's compensation in September of 2005 after being on sick leave for a year.

Page said she developed multiple chemical hypersensitivities from exposure to mold at the library due to a leaking roof.

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First Wi-Fi-cancer now this...

* Terr AI.

Division of Immunology, Stanford University Medical School, CA 94305.

The concept of multiple chemical hypersensitivities as a disease entity in which the patient experiences numerous symptoms from numerous chemicals and foods caused by a disturbance of the immune systems lacks a scientific foundation. Published reports of such cases are anecdotal and without proper controls. There is no convincing evidence for any immunologic abnormality in these cases. Diagnostic methods have been shown to be unreliable. Diagnosis, treatment, and theoretical concepts underlying the purported disease are not consistent with current immunologic knowledge and theory. As defined and presented by its proponents, multiple chemical hypersensitivities constitutes a belief and not a disease.

PMID: 3313764 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] (1989)

1: J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Dec;118(6):1257-64. Epub 2006 Sep 25.Click here to read Links
Multiple chemical sensitivities: A systematic review of provocation studies.

* Das-Munshi J,
* Rubin GJ,
* Wessely S.

Section of Epidemiology, Institute of Psychiatry, London. spsljdm@iop.kcl.ac.uk

A systematic review of provocation studies of persons reporting multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) was conducted from databases searched from inception to May 2006. Thirty-seven studies were identified, testing 784 persons reporting MCS, 547 control subjects, and 180 individuals of whom a subset were chemically sensitive. Blinding was inadequate in most studies. In 21 studies odors of chemicals were probably apparent; 19 of these reported positive responses to provocations among chemically sensitive individuals, and 1 study demonstrated that negative expectations were significantly associated with increased symptom reporting after provocations. Seven studies used chemicals at or below odor thresholds, and 6 failed to show consistent responses among sensitive individuals after active provocation. Six studies used forced-choice discrimination and demonstrated that chemically sensitive individuals were not better at detecting odor thresholds than nonsensitive participants. Three studies tested individuals by using nose clips/face masks and confirmed response, possibly mediated through eye exposure. Three studies used olfactory masking agents to conceal stimuli, and none of these found associations between provocations and response. We conclude that persons with MCS do react to chemical challenges; however, these responses occur when they can discern differences between active and sham substances, suggesting that the mechanism of action is not specific to the chemical itself and might be related to expectations and prior beliefs.

PMID: 17137865 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

I have had experience with MCS

I went to a college where one of the instructors insisted she developed MCS after some odd mishap, a car accident if I recall. She had a sign on her office door asking that everyone that entered not wear any 'chemicals' including perfume, deodorant, or other 'non-natural' substances.

Well I was taking a programming class in the same building and had to walk down the hall past this room. I do wear deodorant and wash my clothing with plain old Arm & Hammer detergent, and use regular soap and shampoo. Apparently I didn't stink a bit too well as one of the busybody functionaries who works in the building snottily told me that my 'fragrances' might be offensive to some people with medical conditions.

Being that tactful young man that I was (this was a decade ago) I politely responded that someone else's mental illness was not going to dictate my personal habits.

I wonder why they didn't hire me as a librarian at that college? I filled out the background check, took the drug test and was offered the position (as an adjunct) over the phone, then I got the letter thanking me for applying but... However the position is still open and I know two people who have rotated through it in the last two years. Well they were only offering ~$13 an hour (no benefits of course) and that just does not get me up for 8AM desk duty anymore. (It was probably not related to that woman, I pissed off a lot of people there. Hard to believe I know.)

Re:I have had experience with MCS

This is a tough topic for me. I'm quick to jump on quackery. But I know what I personally feel when I walk down the soap aisle, when grandma pulls out a mothball-bathed blanket, when sealant and paint fumes permeate the library, when the damn barometric pressure drops. I don't claim that it causes long-term injury to me, but it does something to me. I get this weird prickly feeling in my shoulders, I feel...funny...in a marginally unpleasant trippy way. When it's really bad, I get kind of stupid and have a hard time thinking of words and stringing together coherent sentences. It's been that way since LONG before anyone used the term multiple chemical sensitivity. I see it in my 13 year old, who can't tolerate many fragrances (but not my 16 year old who loves her "stinky" baths). I think that as research continues to be done, there will be a solid connection made. I mean, everyone thought Jospeh Lister was a nutjob talking about those crazy, invisible germs.

Re:I have had experience with MCS

I can't stand the old lady who causes anoxia in the elevator with her extra-strength dose of three dollar perfume. I could see how someone would say it gave them a headache or made them want to hurl.

However it goes away when you remove the offending source. Someon'e deodorant is not going to make anyone sick all day, or week. Nor does being exposed to mold, or a car accident, or aliens or RF radiation. Some people ar just nuts.

Re:I have had experience with MCS

Some people ar just nuts.

Heck, I know that, and I try to not be one of those people. Removing the source does, eventually, help remedy the situation, but man does it suck to have a $20 orchestra seat and be stuck next to a stinky metrosexual or floral matron, and hope you can make it through to intermission before the migraine kicks in. Does a perfume or mold-induced migraine make me nuts?

Re:I have had experience with MCS

You do not have experience with MCS. You sound to me that you have migraines triggered by sensory input (lights, smells, and/or sounds). Migraines triggered by odors are just migraines, they are not MCS and produce the symptoms you describe. Of course, I'm not a doctor but you should probably talk to one.

Re:I have had experience with MCS

And I'd also like to comment that I've a similar problem. Walking past a Yankee Candle store can really make me feel sick. Once I went into the store with a friend shopping (trying to be brave) and didn't feel well again until I got a full 12 hours of sleep. Certain cigs my mother smokes do that to me as well. It's not abnormal and it's not MCS.

Re:I have had experience with MCS

Yankee Candle and that bed and bath place. Gah. We refer to those as "the headache stores." I have talked to docs about migraines and related issues and have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia (which is more or less under control, if you call having headaches 50-60% of the time under control). I've got migraine meds, and just function as best I can with feeling like crap a lot of the time.

Re:I have had experience with MCS

I'm not sure what was worse, the fact that I thought maybe I was gonna pass out in the Yankee Candle store (cuz I was being a manly teen or the guest book which had all these comments praising how great the place smelled. I felt a little better (translation: tough and manly) when I saw a little girl stumble out from the back somewhere, dizzily running into a shelf and stumbling out. Then I finally broke 5 minutes later.

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