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- Press Release -
National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc.

Access Board Commits
One-quarter of Research Budget
to IEQ and Environmental Disabilities;
Technical Guidance Bulletin on MCS in the Works

Contact: Mary Lamielle, Executive Director
National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc.
1100 Rural Avenue
Voorhees, NJ 08043
(856) 429-5358

On September 13 the U.S. Access Board approved funding for an Indoor Environmental Air Quality (IEQ) project for the new fiscal year beginning October 1, 2000. The Board also requested additional funds for the following year to hire an environmental engineer to work on indoor access issues and chemical sensitivities.

Several weeks earlier on August 23 during the initial meeting of the Access Board's Ad Hoc Committee on MCS and representatives of the MCS community, the Board also committed to issuing a Technical Guidance Bulletin on MCS.

The goal of the research project, according to the concept paper approved by the board, is to "provide more access for people with a variety of disabilities affected by IEQ (people with multiple chemical sensitivities, asthma and other respiratory conditions, immune system disorders, neurological disabilities, etc.) as well as make the indoor environment healthier for everyone."

The project is intended to develop an action plan to reduce the level of toxic chemicals and biological agents in the indoor environment through building design and construction including building products and materials. The project will involve representatives from building design and construction, disability agencies and organizations, and the MCS community for whom "poor IEQ is a significant barrier."

The action plan calls for a series of reports on building design and construction over 2-5 years which will result in an action plan. Possible examples include ways to lower volatile organic compounds (VOC's), to provide cleaner air zones within public buildings, or to increase knowledge and understanding of environmental barriers.

Meanwhile the Access Board has begun a dialog with representatives from the MCS community. On August 23 the Access Board's Ad Hoc Committee on MCS, which includes several board members and staff, held an initial meeting with MCS advocates: Mary Lamielle, National Center for Environmental Health Strategies; Susan Molloy, Disability Advocate; Ann McCampbell, MCS Task Force of New Mexico; Larry Plumlee, National Coalition of the Chemically Injured; Barbara Wilkie, Environmental Health Network of California; and Toni Temple, Ohio Network for the Chemically Injured.

During the August meeting MCS advocates challenged the Board's failure to address MCS in the Proposed Rule to Revise Accessibility Guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). While one-quarter of the 2500 comments on the rulemaking came from the MCS community, those with MCS will have no coverage in the rulemaking according to counsel at the Access Board. MCS advocates are pushing for acknowledgement of MCS as a disability recognized by the Department of Justice. The recommendation: add prominent and clear language to the Proposed Rule that acknowledges that those with MCS are a disabled population, protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with access requirements that may not be covered fully under the proposed rules. "Those disabled by multiple chemical sensitivities are covered by this regulation although specific guidelines to define the complete access requirements of those with MCS have not yet been promulgated. The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board hereby goes on record as supporting, in principle if not yet in detail, all efforts to enable access by people with this and related disabilities." This language was recommended by Mary Lamielle, Susan Molloy and Ann McCampbell in comments provided during the rulemaking period and by Mary Lamielle during a public forum sponsored by the Access Board in Washington, DC on Thursday, July 27.

A second meeting scheduled for October 27 will allow continued discussion on including MCS in the rulemaking and the Technical Guidance Bulletin as well as input by the MCS community on the work statement for the IEQ research project.

For more information, please contact Mary Lamielle, National Center for Environmental Health Strategies,1100 Rural Avenue, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043, (856)429-5358; e-mail;

For more information, please contact Mary Lamielle, National Center for Environmental Health Strategies,1100 Rural Avenue, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043, (856)429-5358; e-mail:; website:

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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. HomePage is .