Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

 Federal Agencies' Data on MCS Withheld from Draft MCS Report


Someone mentioned that Lester Smith of the Federal Interagency Workgroup said it was important that when you comment on the draft report that you cite the sentence or sentences by line number. She also suggested sending a copy of your comments to your elected officials.

I second this suggestion and urge you all to ask your congressional rep to support a Congressional and/or GAO (govt acct office) investigation into the many problems with the report, esp. how all of the 8 agencies involved fail to mention the most significant (if any) results from the MCS research that they have either done themselves or funded since the Workgroup first met in 1995:


(numerous separate studies of MCS among Gulf War veterans by VA and at least 1 each by DOD and CDC, but no data are reported even though some were published by VA researchers as long ago as 1996, and even though the workgroup either included or consulted with several of the researchers directly involved)


(one MCS survey of DOE medical clinics is mentioned, but no data are given)


(peer-reviewed report identifying MCS as the most common symptom of chlorpyrifos exposure is not mentioned, only papers with no data)


(mentions CA epi study findings it funded in 1995 of 6% diagnosed with MCS and 16% with some sensitivity but--although bemoaning lack of validated epi data-- does not mention that these data WERE validated when repeated the next year on another 4000 randomly selected adults)


(earlier draft reference to $10 million in MCS funding in FY94 is no longer mentioned: no agency gives any data on MCS research funding )


(has published at least one formal health hazard evaluations involving MCS complaints, but none are mentioned)

And also not mentioned of course:

The "consultant" listed on the last page, Frank Mitchell, was actually the original author of the report, as well as a board member of the Environmental Sensitivities Research Institute, the chemical industry front group set up to try to discredit MCS, which he joined just months after retiring from ATSDR. And he wasn't hired as a consultant, but brought back to ATSDR on a postgraduate research fellowship arranged by his old boss, workgroup co-chair Dr. Barry Johnson, for which Mitchell--without any academic affiliation and not in any postgraduate training program--was not even eligible and failed to file the required "progress" reports..

Then there are the 15 other federal agencies, depts, commissions etc that already have MCS policies or statements but which were not consulted by the Workgroup or included in the report.

And even though supposedly focusd on research agencies involved in MCS-related research, the report contains no mention of the one federal health agency that has been funding more research on chemosensory reception and the "chemical senses" of smell and taste than all the other agencies in the workgroup combined. It is the Nat'l Inst. on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, which among other things funded the discovery in 1994 that Carbon Monoxide is the neurotransmitter responsible for smell sensitization and desensitization, as well as work since showing it also regulates memory, vision, blood vessel tone and GI tone. Yet when I asked workgroup co-chair Dr. Barry Johnson of ATSDR after the report came out about this, he said "NIDC who?" and admitted he had never heard of it or the obviously important finding that carbon monoxide controls olfactory sensitization (this after 4 years of supposedly studying federal involvement in MCS-related research).

So please, do copy your comments to your Congressional representatives and do include a cover letter asking them to urge the Burton Committee on Gov. Reform and Oversight Committee (or its Shays subcommittee) to conduct an investigation into what is obviously a deliberate attempt by all 8 of these agenicies to cover-up their MCS findings. (and also cite ATSDR's refusal to accommodate people with MCS by posting the report for electronic comment because of its "security concerns" -- your complaints about these basic process issues will count as much or more than your comments on the misleading and missing content)

-- Albert Donnay, MHS
Exec. Director, MCS Referral & Resources, Inc.
410-889-6666, fax 889-4944,



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Last Modified: 9/28/98