Finding a safe place to live is one of many challenges that people with MCS struggle with. Building a healthy home is a wonderful option, but you can expect to pay an additional 25% over the costs of a traditional house. Not everyone can afford this option. Some manage to adapt their current homes to their particular needs. However, the truth is that many individuals with severe MCS find themselves living in a tent or RV in rural areas with cleaner air, where there are no cell phone towers and power lines.
Christian Schifferle is one of those people. Christian, a 60 year old MCS sufferer is extremely sensitive to carpets, cigarette smoke, detergents, deodorants, dyes, perfumes and a host of other modern day products. Like many with MCS he is also sensitive to EMF’s, even the smell that electrical appliances give off when they are warm can make him ill. As many people with MCS can attest to, this illness leads to a life of isolation and daily survival. Many of the basic things that people take for granted are major health issues for those who struggle with MCS and EMF issues.
Christian has struggled with fragrances since early childhood. He first felt sick from the fumes in his parents’ furniture factory when he was three or four and has lived most of his life in a trailer in the Swiss Alps. (1) He also struggles with Chronic Fatigue and EMF issues. It wasn’t till his mid-30’s that he came across an American book about MCS with answers to what was really going on. But he is hopeful for a better quality of life thanks to a new project in Zurich, Switzerland.
Christian is the head of Healthy Life and Living Foundation (www.stiftung-glw.com), and is the prime driver behind a safe housing project for chemically sensitive individuals. With Christian’s help, the Zurich authorities began planning a healthy apartment complex about five years ago. The city government is addressing the problems of MCS patients and their challenges by setting rents that are affordable, donating the land and offering zero percent financing for the construction of the building. The cost for the building is $6.9 million which is largely being funded from a housing subsidy fund. (1, 2)
Those who wish to rent here must provide a doctor’s note and be willing to comply with very strict living standards, such as no cell phones, no perfumes, and no fragrances. Near the entrance, the only cleaning and personal hygiene products residents are allowed to use in the building are on prominent display. For most people this would not constitute a happy living situation. For those who plan on living here, it may be a little piece of heaven on earth.
According to Andreas Zimmerman the architect who designed the structure, The Zurich building was constructed with special materials, by purpose-trained builders banned from smoking or using scented products like cologne as they worked. It has a ventilation system aimed at removing all odors. “I think a good example for the whole thing is the plaster on the wall,” It doesn’t smell, and that is very important for these people,” he added, saying he searched for months for a completely odorless plaster”. (1)
He adds, “The floor plan is layered like an onion “so that the deeper you enter the apartment, the cleaner the rooms get,” he said. The building’s most “contaminated” parts are the common areas, main hallway, stairwell and elevator in the center. From there, residents enter their apartments, moving through a hallway where they can remove “polluted” clothing, the bathroom and kitchen or other technically equipped rooms, before getting to the “cleanest” rooms: the living room and bedroom. A special “net” has also been built into the facade and roof to protect inhabitants from electromagnetic or electrostatic waves or fields, Zimmermann said “. (1)
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that people spend 90% of their time indoors and that indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Indoor air pollution can threaten the health of everyone in your family. When you add in how air tight most homes are and the toxic products used to build and clean them, is it any wonder that we are seeing an increase in individuals with asthma, chronic headaches, aches, pains and MCS?
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