In this way, Spain joins the list of countries that recognize MCS such as Germany (2000), Austria (2001), Japan (2009), Switzerland (2010) or Denmark (2012).
The process has been carried out through a Non-Law Proposition (PNL) presented by Deputy María del Carmen Quintanilla of the Popular Party; after a request sent by the Fund for the Defense of Environmental Health (Fodesam), with the collaboration of the Information Service on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Environmental Health (SISS).
A long-awaited recognition
The recognition was an old vindication of the growing number of people affected by this disease, who suffer a daily ordeal because “many of the common chemicals in daily life can cause reactions such as breathing difficulties, palpitations, vomiting, skin irritations or Recurrent headaches - points out the popular deputy -. For this reason, MCS changes the lives of those who suffer from it and forces them, in many cases, to live with innumerable preventive measures so as not to come into contact, even in the air, with these products ”. Thus, going out or entering a store can be, for these people, a practically impossible task.
Added to this condition is the inadequate treatment that many of these patients receive by the health system, a situation that recognition of the disease is expected to help progressively change. But if the inclusion of MCS in the ICD represents something, it is the most basic thing for a patient: that their sanitary-legal existence is recognized. Because what does not appear in the ICD remains in an administrative “limbo”, which for MCS patients implies “a situation of complete defenselessness —as the initiative admits in its explanatory statement—, since beyond suffering its painful effects , they cannot receive the attention they deserve from the public health systems ”.
For this reason, the NLP indicates that its purpose is "to give recognition to this physical disease associated with exposure to toxic chemical substances and thus facilitate the clinical and legal management of it" to allow those affected "to enjoy the rights basic health, care and other derived rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Magna Letters of all democratic countries ”.
"It is a question of justice," explains the popular deputy. The best solution at this time so that they can get out of the defenseless situation in which they find themselves up to now ".
A tremendous ordeal
"The situation of these people is very difficult," emphasizes Carlos de Prada, president of Fodesam. As María del Carmen Quintanilla has pointed out, their intolerance to synthetic substances frequently used in today's society, even at apparently low levels that are apparently 'acceptable' for other people, makes their daily life extraordinarily difficult because it frequently forces them to live confined to their home, almost as 'bubble people'; and to put on a mask the few times they go out, amid general misunderstanding ”.
MCS affects the central nervous system, but it can also cause dysfunctions in other systems such as the respiratory, gastrointestinal or cardiac. It is an "emerging disease" of a chronic "nature" and "environmental toxic" that - as indicated by NLP - causes a "physiological response to a multitude of agents and chemical compounds" that can be found in air fresheners, colonies, cleaning products personal, cleaning, food, tap water, clothing, cosmetics, tobacco ... For all this, although as in other diseases MCS has degrees and its symptoms vary according to the health parameters and the "chemical" environment of the patient, it is a problem difficult to handle, which also "limits the quality of life in a very noticeable way", observes NLP.
"The European Parliament includes it within the growing number of diseases linked to environmental factors", highlights the NLP. “Not in vain,” warns María José Moya, head of the SISS and seriously ill at SQM, “we live in a daily overabundance of synthetic substances, each with a different level of certainty or uncertainty about their effects on health, both individually as in synergy between them. That something like SQM appeared was a matter of time ”.
Chronology of the process that has led to the recognition
"The initial situation has been complex," explain from Fodesam and the SISS. On the one hand, Spain is in the process of changing its current CIE to a new one (from 9-MC, with which it has been working for more than 15 years; to 10-MC, in preparation); and on the other, its health system allows two ICDs to diagnose (9-CM or ICD-10, depending on the autonomous community and the type of center).
Given such complexity, the request to make the SQM official was made through the Congress of Deputies, which processed the request as NLP thanks to Deputy María del Carmen Quintanilla in April 2013. Its processing before the Health Commission would begin on November 6 of that year.
After a year and a half of negotiations, the final result has been inclusive.
While the Ministry of Health collected the witness to advance what the draft of the PNL demanded during its process (that is, the inclusion of the SQM in the current CIE-MC); Congress, in the final drafting of its NLP, has urged the Government to include the SQM in the next CIE-MC, a proposal that it approved on June 11 with the unanimous vote of all the Commission groups present: PP, PSOE, IU , CiU and UPyD.
To finalize the process, the Ministry has received in July, with an update in September after the institutional summer parenthesis, an extensive report on SQM prepared by the SISS as documentary support to the now open process of NLP execution.
“Once the SQM has already been recognized,” Fodesam and SISS comment, “a follow-up should be done to favor its full and correct implementation in the health system, and by all its professionals. In this sense, the report that has been delivered to the Ministry provides some first recommendations ”. “Furthermore, the report —remembers its author, María José Moya— offers unpublished information and very diverse documentation on MCS in relation to the countries that recognize it, the European Union, the WHO, Spain…; and reviews more than one hundred quality investigations (“peer-reviewed”) carried out until 2014. This is a work that had not been done until now and that we will disseminate among professionals and interested parties, since we believe that it will facilitate the adequate understanding of the disease and how to deal with it by the health system ”.