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A talk with investigative journalist Arnold Mann about mold, environmental illness, and MCS

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Arnold Mann


In light of everything that you’ve found, when you are engaged with people over dinner and this momentous challenge before us comes up, what kinds of things do you find yourself offering in terms of how should people live in our toxic environment?

One thing that struck me is how many people I know or am meeting now, randomly, who have this problem or know somebody who has this problem who can’t go into somebody’s house who has perfume on. Or that have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue and just don’t make the connection between their symptoms and what’s in the environment in their own home. I know a number of people who have this problem and I never realized it until I wrote about it. We’re talking about 15 percent of the population that reacts to outside chemicals. How many people in this country suffer from chronic fatigue? They’ve tried to throw that one at every virus in the world, and in every case the virus turns out not to be the cause. The researchers believe that the vast amount of chronic fatigue is environmentally driven, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia too.


With this neurological side to this, the explosion of everything from depression to autism, what role are toxins playing?

The science right now is looking at environmental factors in the rise of autism, which is just through the roof. Can you imagine, 1 in 100 children born in this country now are born autistic? That’s huge.


Where do people go from here?

Oftentimes, people who suffer from MCS are portrayed as environmental hermits with masks and everything. That’s not the way it is. There’s maybe 1 percent who have to live in the middle of nowhere. The other 99 percent, they’re like you and me. They have to pick their way through the chemical world. You have to figure out what you react to. There are ways of doing that, and there are books that can guide you. But the most important thing is that if somebody in the family suffers from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, it’s really important for family members to understand. That’s a big reason I wrote this book. I wanted other people to understand what these people are going through so they won’t be looked at as slackers. •


They’re Poisoning Us! From the Gulf War to the Gulf of Mexico

Arnold Mann
34th Street Press
$19.95, 260 pages
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