MEDIA ADVISORY January March 1998
January March 1998
FROM: MCS Referral & Resources (MCS R&R)
FOR COMMENT CALL: Albert Donnay, MHS
or Ann McCampbell, MD
Several Reports on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Expected Soon from US Government Agencies
First Report of the US Federal Interagency Workgroup on MCS (2 years in the making)
will be released for public comment in the Federal Register and Congressional hearings are expected. The workgroup included 8 federal agencies (including Defense and Veterans' Affairs) but not 10 others that already recognize MCS, such as HUD and Social Security. The workgroup hired an industry consultant to draft its report and never invited comment from other agencies or even held a single public meeting. The consultant, Dr. Frank Mitchell, did not tell the Workgroup when he joined the board of directors of the Environmental Sensitivities Research Institute, a chemical industry front group, along with representatives of DowElanco, Proctor and Gamble, Monsanto, and the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association. When MCS R&R filed a complaint over this obvious conflict of interest, the workgroup denied any conflict existed and refused to even disclose Mitchell's ESRI affiliation (all drafts prepared to date list Mitchell only as a "consultant").
First Report Commissioned by the Department of Defense from the Institute of Medicine on the Adequacy of its 'Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program' (CCEP) to Detect MCS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia Syndrome among Gulf War veterans
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee consulted numerous outside experts on CFS and FMS but only one of its own members on MCS--Dr. Howard Kipen--despite the obvious conflict of interest posed by his also receiving millions of dollars in federal funding for MCS research from both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Institutes of Health. According to IOM staff, Dr. Kipen did not inform the committee about data on CFS, FMS and MCS that he and other VA researchers reported in 1997 to the VA's Gulf War Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (on which he also sits), including his own study's finding of MCS in 12.5% of over 1,000 veterans randomly selected from the VA's Persian Gulf Registry. The IOM committee also did not receive any MCS data from the Department of Defense, even though Phase 3 of the original CCEP included a questionnaire on MCS developed by Dr. Ronald Blanck, currently Surgeon General of the US Army.
First Fact Sheets for Gulf War Veterans on MCS and CFS by the Dept. of Veterans' Affairs
These are being developed by the staff of the VA's Environmental Agents Service, led by Dr. Frances Murphy, who have no clinical or research experience with MCS. They still refuse to accept or even record the diagnosis of MCS in Gulf War veterans, regardless of whether this is reported by local VA or independent physicians.
At MCS R&R's request, the VA has agreed to an external peer review of these fact sheets prior to their release.
Professional Society Statements on MCS Also Expected Soon
American Industrial Hygiene Association: The AIHA's mostly industry members see MCS in the workplace on a daily basis and are expected to take a middle of the road position calling for more research.
This will be AIHA's first statement on MCS.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: AAAAI's first draft statement was released for comment in June 1997 but the scheduled publication of the final draft was cancelled after scientific and ethical objections were raised by MCS R&R's Medical Director, Dr. Grace Ziem; AAAAI said in December that it was starting over from scratch with a new committee and now planned to finish in 1998. It has no statement on MCS but in 1986 adopted one that was critical of "clinical ecology."
American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians: AADEP has formed committees to draft statements on CFS, FMS and MCS all expected in 1998. MCS R&R has asked AADEP to recognize and endorse a 1997 legal memorandum from the Acting Commissioner of Social Security stipulating that the agency now recognizes MCS as a "medically determinable impairment."
Last Modified: 7/4/98