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You can quote freely from the statements made by re|shelter Board Members below:
Julie Genser, president of re|shelter
“There are thousands – if not millions – of environmental refugees across America and around the world, struggling to survive in an increasingly toxic world. They all suffer from severe, disabling environmental sensitivities that make finding safe housing nearly impossible. There just aren’t enough safe, affordable choices in today’s housing market. Re|shelter wants to change that, but we need your help. Please help us, so we in turn can help this marginalized and vulnerable population that has historically been ignored, maligned, and denied resources in just about every sector of our society.”
“Solving the problem of safe housing for people with environmental intolerances will lead the way for millions of others in the future who are at risk of becoming chemically and electrically sensitive as well. There are so many chemicals being dumped into our air, water, and ground, and so much invisible electrosmog blanketing the Earth, that most living beings on our planet are now under threat of becoming toxic, sick, and even disabled from these exposures. Re|shelter is a pioneering organization helping to lead the way toward a new standard of safe housing in order to prevent this condition from reaching epidemic proportions in our world.”
Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D., author and MCS researcher
re|shelter Advisory Board member
Quotes taken from: Gibson, P. R. (2002). Understanding and accommodating multiple chemical sensitivity in independent living. A 50-page guide published by IL NET, a cooperative National Training and Technical Assistance Project of the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) Program and the National Council on Independent Living.
“Housing may be the single most crucial element in survival and possible improvement for someone with MCS. Yet it is almost impossible for people with MCS to find places to live that are truly safe for them. Housing may be their most difficult challenge, a challenge greater even than for people with other disabilities…”
“I believe that MCS is an important and unrecognized contributor to homelessness. As people disappear from a visible lifestyle and adopt coping mechanisms such as living on porches and in RVs, they approach the divide between those with and without homes. When they slide over that divide there is no record of it and they disappear. Some go to live in tent communities in the Southwest, but for others it is even worse than that. One woman in my most current study sent me a drawing of her “home,” which consists of a wire mesh cage to sleep in. Because she must sleep outdoors, she has constructed this cage to protect herself from dogs and wild animals. Her home is literally a five-foot cage.”
“By the time a person comes to you for help she or he may be in an almost impossible situation regarding housing. The person may be homeless, living in a car, or in housing that is making her or him sick. You may hear stories about past and ongoing housing problems. There may be a need for financial assistance to create even a marginally safe living space. The person needs somehow to create the cleanest living space possible within her or his means.”
“Although there are no official data on what percentage of people with sensitivities commit suicide, it happens when the stresses become too severe and the person sees no way out. Many of these people have no money, no home, no support, and certainly no advocates. One supportive person may be a lifeline to someone who is quickly losing her or his place in society.”
“It is expected that many more people will develop MCS in coming years due to environmental contamination. Many of the people in my study have had MCS for decades (the average time was 15 years). Therefore, if MCS is environmentally caused, many people suffered their initial sensitizing exposure many years ago. How many more people are developing MCS now as a result of increasing air, water and food contamination? And events such as the World Trade Center destruction set up large portions of the population to develop environmentally induced illnesses that may or may not develop into MCS. It is crucial that our institutions recognize and respond to the plight of these people in order to be positioned to help the increasing numbers who will request help.”
Quotes taken from Gibson, P. R. (2006). Multiple chemical sensitivity: A survival guide, Second Edition. Churchville, VA: Earthrive Books
“I believe that housing is the single most important issue regarding environmental sensitivities. A safe zone can help prevent further health deterioration, and provide a place to detoxify after exposures received from the outside community. In my estimation, even research is not as crucial as safe housing. After all, it already seems clear that environmental contamination causes illness. Do we have to wait until we know exactly how the body breaks down in laboratory animals before we allow people to live in safe homes?”
Magda Havas, Ph.D., an expert on the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation
re|shelter Advisory Board member
“A growing number of people are reacting adversely to the electromagnetic radiation generated by wired and wireless devices such as mobile phones, wireless routers, nearby antennas, computers, and even energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting. As a consequence, these people are unable to live in urban centers and have become electromagnetic refugees. Safe, affordable housing with minimal electromagnetic exposure is essential for them to recover. According to one study, by 2017, 50% of the population in the western world is going to experience the symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity. Today, approximately 3% of the population has severe reactions and another 35% have mild to moderate reactions to the electronic equipment that is now common in most homes. Because this radiation penetrates walls, exposure in one home could come from neighbours who have cordless phones and wireless routers, so simply not using this technology doesn’t guarantee that you will not be exposed. It is estimated that 4 billion people use cell phones worldwide. This rapid increase in cell phone use is exposing billions of people to microwave radiation at frequencies that do not naturally occur on earth. Our research shows that among those who are sensitive to EMR, cordless phones can cause an irregular or rapid heart rate that can be mistaken for a heart attack. We have evidence that exercise on a treadmill increases blood sugar levels among diabetics who are electromagnetically sensitive. These results are objective and reproducible and can be used by doctors to diagnose electrohypersensitivity. Ensuring low levels of EMR exposure in the home is essential for recovery. Just as we have smoke-free environments and nut-free schools we need EMR-free environments for those who are sensitive and for those who do not want to become sensitive to this radiation.”
William J. Rea, M.D., a leading specialist in the field of environmental medicine
re|shelter Advisory Board member
“Housing for the chemically sensitive patient is difficult to find; however, in many cases, it is essential for treatment. If not done properly, the patient will not get well.”