Article 5: Pesticide Use Prohibits Parent From Visiting School
Kootenai Valley Times – August 24, 2000
– by Dr. Gloria Gilbere
Dear Dr. Gloria:
I have multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), and sometimes the way people treat me is a real challenge. One day I told a friend that I couldn't go into the school building that day because they had just washed the carpets with a shampoo containing pesticides. I explained the pesticides would make me ill if I entered, and she laughed at me. I wasn't sure how to respond to her rudeness and insensitivity. How do we respond when people laugh at us for what is a legitimate disorder that can have life-threatening consequences?
Laughed at in Long Beach, CA
Dear Ms. Sartini:
MCS is called the "invisible illness" because generally we don't manifest symptoms that are visible. I've encountered many individuals that just roll their eyes if someone says they have sensitivities. You obviously don't have a friend in the person that was to accompany you to school that day. Many physicians are not knowledgeable about this disorder, much less the general population. First of all, find friends who are supportive and informed. If you value the relationship, provide her with information and resources so she can be informed. If she isn't interested in facts, she's not interested in your friendship. Second, and the most important, do your research on the toxic effects of pesticides and share it with the school's administration and maintenance supervisor; the health of everyone in the building is at stake. An excellent resource on the effects of pesticides in schools is: "Open Letter: Pesticides Sabotage the Health, Behavior, and Academic Performance of Children." It is my experience that individuals quickest to criticize and judge are usually the least informed; don't add to their negativity, offer to add to their enlightenment.
This and subsequent articles are for the purpose of education and to provide support to the millions afflicted with allergies and multiple chemical sensitivity syndromes.