My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I inhaled this book in one sitting, literally. I gassed myself on the petrochemical inks used in the printing of it; because I wanted to know how, what, why MCS. (Not that I’m an MCS-er (cause like, it doesn’t bloody *exist* here in Australia; yet, contradictory to this non consensus on an actual diagnosis, I’ve met plenty of these walking-talking-MCS wounded myself!) but I have been tested and diagnosed as sensitive to chemicals, so I just wanted to find some help relevant to my situation, seeing it’s so bloody similar?!)
Although insightful and engaging, this book was an intensely annoying read because, although it contains a whiff of delightful little morsels of helpful information, ultimately, it’s not as ‘resourceful’ as the title suggests: the links referred to in the book are outdated; therefore, some of the references are not able to be located using a Google search. This book was released in 2009, so the information should still be current. (So to all those aspiring authors out there – you know who you are – make sure the sources and links you quote as references are able to be followed up on.) However, I did enjoy reading about the suggestions for using Tyvek to cover furniture, and the use of Tyvek suits for visitors to wear if they happen to have perfume on, but this protection measure would not do anything to prevent the air being contaminated by the perfume. Would it? And besides, who lets fragrance-wearing people into their home if they, themselves, are sensitive to it? Oh, of course, that’s it: Valkenburg must have visitors who have it in for her, just like I do occasionally. (Yes, Aunty Betty, I’m talking ’bout you!) You know the type: the “I’m-not-wearing-any-LeDoucheDaSmellyArse-Designer-Fragrance-today,” types. (Said from behind teeth lying through pong emanating out VOCs packed with enough synthetic musks and phthalates to supply a Greenpeace Investigation of Chemicals in Perfumes. (If you are interested in this Tyvek idea, there is a woman using it to protect herself from mould spores, which she is highly sensitive to; and I can’t recommend her tips highly enough. She knows her stuff!)
Valkenburg makes many suggestions regarding helpful products and services for people with Environmental Illness (EI), chemical sensitivities, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) (which really are all the same illnesses, it just depends on which country you live in, and what the doctors there tell you!). Some of the suggestions were new to me, but most are common knowledge for anyone who has had to live with this for many years (like I have. Twice). There is not a lot of lateral thinking, which I found disappointing as I was really looking for some new ideas. I guess I’ll just have to stick with avoiding chemicals, walking on the beach, and covering everything with foil, taking supplements, wearing a mask, and in the mean time, hope to hell that I can recover. Again.
And another thing, pedantic I know, the mask that Valkenburg wears on the cover is not one listed as available from any sources in the book or one that I’ve ever seen. Anywhere. Ever. She does make it look fashionable though, in that rich autumn berry colour, and I really, really want one like that. But alas, it’s not discussed in the book. The only masks are the 3M, I can Breathe, and the other ‘ugly fugly’ ones that we can get here, in Australia too.
Furthermore, I would liked to have seen some coping strategies and some tips on getting people who wear fragrance to not wear it. (I guess I’ll just have to write a post about that subject myself. When I’ve mastered the art of this task, of course!)
The foreword is by Greenpeace, which is probably why I bought the book in the first place. I’d follow Greenpeace to the end of the earth (or to the saving of it.).
Overall, Understanding Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Causes, Effects, Personal Experiences and Resources is a fast yet dense devouring, leaving the reader feeling that MCS is a real and severely debilitating illness that needs to be taken seriously right now. The topic is given extra weight when it is the writer, who themselves is suffering, and putting their energy into writing such a book for the benefit of those who suffer like themselves in having to deal with what is fast becoming a modern epidemic.
I can only recommend this book to people newly chemically sensitive because the rest of us know most of what is in this book. I still gave it five stars (cause I’m good like that!). If you’d like more up to date information, and to find out about the hottest book on this exact subject about to hit my shores and yours, head on over to here.
Understanding Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Causes, Effects, Personal Experiences and Resources is available from Amazon and all good bookstores.