Judith Spence, RN
There are fewer than 25 physicians practising environmental medicine in Canada
There are fewer than 25 physicians practising environmental medicine in Canada. These doctors are principally located in five or six major urban centres. They often have six-month to one-year waiting lists and have approximately two thousand patients in their practices. Patients who can withstand the agony of a long-distance trip may travel many hundreds of kilometres. Unfortunately most cannot gain access to them.
Governments, insurance companies and medical associations deem treatments used in environmental medicine as experimental. Once given this designation, insurers refuse to cover such therapies under an employee health plan. As a result, treatments which have excellent track records, researched scientifically, bring about relief and possibly the reversal of symptoms, are not paid for by provincial health plans, hospitals or private health plans. This puts treatments out of the reach of most Canadians with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).
There have been cases of provincial ministries of health sending Canadians to US clinics for testing and treatments. Since they won't provide or pay for these treatments on our own soil, it's high time we considered demanding governments send us to treatment facilities south of the border all the time. Given that there is a shortage of trained physicians, testing equipment and no radiologists specially trained in administering and interpreting the result of certain scans, MCS, CFS and FM sufferers in Canada need to be sent stateside for proper medical treatment. Specialized lab tests exist in Canada but they are no longer available because of recent cut-backs in medicare funding.
As a result of provincial governments refusing to provide adequate testing and treatment, Canadians who suffer environmental illness experience a continued degeneration of health. Two per cent become completely disabled, are in constant pain, face daily medical crises and cannot be adequately treated in our hospitals.
Imagine being sick from paints, carpets, plaster, glues and furniture in your own home. Add to it reactions from outdoor triggers like cigarette smoke, auto exhaust and pesticides so that your only option is to live outdoors in the country in a tent. Many Canadians are forced into this life. They have to live outdoors even in the -40°C cold winter because they are so highly sensitive to indoor air.
When chronic autoimmune disease is left untreated, it may lead to permanent nerve and organ damage or even death.
Look For The Label
You could be eating frankenfood! That's the message the Citizen's Voluntary Labelling Collective (CVLC) relayed in Halifax recently.
Dozens of the Collective members converged on the city's largest supermarkets and stuck over 2,000 warning labels on products containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
"An alarming number of the products on the shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients. That has to be exposed," commented one labeller. "It's no longer possible to have any confidence in the safety of our families' diets."
Breakfast cereals, vegetable oil, cookies, corn and baby food were labelled by group members with a warning that they might contain GE material that had not been adequately tested and could be dangerous. Their efforts were met with more cheers than jeers as employees gave them the "thumbs-up" and many shoppers took interest in the label's message.
CVLC is part of a growing worldwide movement to highlight the lack of integrity and truth in the world's food system. They have stated that they will continue to reveal GE foods that would otherwise remain hidden from the public.