Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

20 July 2016

The Hidden Marginalization of Persons With Environmental Sensitivities

"This paper constructs persons with environmental sensitivities as comprising a hidden, marginalized group in technological culture that is paying a large price for our industrialized lifestyle... This population is marginalized by health-care providers and shunted into mental health categories, as our current health paradigms are not adequate to frame and categorize health problems caused by our toxic industrial lifestyle..."

The Hidden Marginalization of Persons With Environmental Sensitivities
by Pamela Reed Gibson Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC. VOL. 8 NO. 2 JUNE 2016 ECOPSYCHOLOGY

Full text of paper

Abstract 

This paper constructs persons with environmental sensitivities as comprising a hidden, marginalized group in technological culture that is paying a large price for our industrialized lifestyle. Due to the polluted nature of most public venues, this population is robbed of a sense of ‘‘place’’ necessary to maintain personal relationships. This population is marginalized by health-care providers and shunted into mental health categories, as our current health paradigms are not adequate to frame and categorize health problems caused by our toxic industrial lifestyle. The problem is discussed within the context of the pressures of capitalism, and examples are given of persons with environmental illness receiving mental health diagnoses (an attempted colonization) when they attempt to access mainstream health-care providers who lack knowledge or expertise regarding toxic-induced illness.



Extracts:

There seem to be parallels between the global colonization of mental health categories and the internal marginalization and attempted colonization of those for whom high technology is not viable. Mills (2013) speaks of ‘‘colonial subject formation’’ as our Western diagnostic mental health nomenclature is exported to create greater numbers of drug-dependent customers for pharmaceutical companies. Just as this diagnostic nomenclature travels the seas to colonize China and India, it inserts itself into populations ‘‘at home’’ where a resonant diagnostic home for physical illness is lacking, thus further enlarging its scope. So psychiatry can delegitimize and then colonize as patients those who react to products of technology in ways that others do not.
...

For the ‘‘system’’ it is better that those with ES [environmental sensitivities] be disenfranchised and relegated to the mental health industry where they can then at least be subsumed in presently validated categories (and feed the current problematic system). Thus psychiatry first delegitimizes/ marginalizes and then attempts to colonize as patients those who react to products of technology in ways others cannot.
...

Despite physiological findings of inflammation (Belpomme et al., 2015), hypoperfusion in the temporal lobes upon chemical exposure (Orriols et al., 2009), a change in the permeability of the blood brain barrier specifically for EHS ( Johansson, 2015), and other findings, ES remain marginalized and treated only by environmental physicians, who themselves are marginalized by mainstream medical ‘‘science’’ for their efforts.
...

Though the perceived disorder in those with ES is actually only a by-product of a society-wide disorder that includes excessive faith in and reverence for technology and industry, technological stressors must be ignored, by not only health-care providers but by others, to meet the capitalist goal of limitless growth.
...

People with ES are a fairly new group (though many have been sick for 30–40 years) that has been rendered irrelevant to mainstream economic commerce. How many more demographics will industrial conglomerates destroy before the very principle of growth at any cost is questioned and, more importantly, replaced by a sustainable paradigm?
...

...people with ES must endure illness for the current economic model to continue. They and other groups absorb a portion of the costs of our highly technological, resource-extractive business model that benefits a small number of persons. Mental health diagnoses keep this population in check so that complaints about toxics are not taken seriously. On the other hand, ‘‘If you become so delusional that you no longer see trees, human beings, a living planet, but, instead, dollar bills, workers, resources—far from being put away, you may find yourself well-rewarded, perhaps the CEO of a corporation’’...
...

Dispensable groups in the United States may include veterans with health needs, those with ES, small farmers, minorities, people with disabilities, the elderly, the ‘‘undocumented,’’ and the poor, among others. Once one tallies the numbers in each of these groups, how many remain who are truly indispensable? The economic system of capital is working for only a small, temporary, elite. Some hang on at the margins, many fall off, and some are outright destroyed.
...

I do not believe that the concepts of chemical or electrical hypersensitivity can ever be addressed in isolation from the generational slide in the acceptance of unreal environments. Whether we will stop this slide is questionable, though Kahn (2011) suggests that we must immerse our children in nature and help them understand that they are seeing a degenerated version of the world...

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/eco.2016.0003

No comments:

Post a Comment