In an effort to distract myself while tackling a basket of ironing last week, I watched a full two-hour movie on a commercial television station. In almost every ad break, there was an advertisement for some product to which I would have a reaction. These included cleaning products, scented laundry products, perfumes and many varieties of air fresheners. These toxic products invade our lives on every turn, and millions of dollars are spent to convince us that they are necessary in our daily lives. Since I don't buy these products, I don't usually notice their advertising, so this experience was an eye-opener for me.
On the other hand, I wondered how much attention is paid to the opposite message--that chemicals in our environment are dangerous, even life threatening. So I've started watching for the anti-chemical message. Much to my (pleasant) surprise, I have found numerous accounts of problems with chemicals discussed in various forms of media. Here in Helena, Montana, our local newspaper is not exactly the Washington Post, but I have found at least one article every day this week about the damage being done or the dangers of chemicals of one sort or another. There are three online news sources that I browse several times a week, and I am finding the same coverage there of new studies of, new diseases from and groups opposed to chemical exposure in our food and/or environment. Just last night, tucked in between the primary election coverage on the national news stations, there was a feature about a consumer group trying to get artificial dyes banned from foods because of the negative effects on children.
Of course, information alone with not change the world, but it may help change some personal behavior--what people buy and what they use in their homes and businesses. After almost forty years of dealing with MCS, and the ignorance (sorry, can't think of a nicer way to say it) of people who don't believe that chemicals can make a person so ill, it's nice to see some public attention being turned this way. I am a firm believer that education is the key, and it's gratifying to see people starting to "get it".