Society Logo
ME/CFS Australia Ltd
Please click here to donate ME/CFS South Australia Inc

Registered Charity 3104


Mailing address:

PO Box 322,
Modbury North,
South Australia 5092

1300 128 339

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday,
10am - 4pm

ME/CFS South Australia Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.


ME/CFS South Australia Inc aims to keep members informed of various research projects, diets, medications, therapies, news items, etc. All communication, both verbal and written, is merely to disseminate information and not to make recommendations or directives.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed on this Web site are not necessarily the official views of the Society or its Committee and are not simply an endorsement of products or services.

Become a Member
DOCX Application Form (Word, 198 KB)
Why become a member?

Tossing out toxins

Wednesday 28 March 2012


From the University of Arizona's student newspaper The Arizona Daily Wildcat:


Toxic markerTossing out toxins

Professor proposes to ban toxic dry-erase markers from classrooms

Published March 20, 2012 at 12:05am
Updated March 20, 2012 at 12:05am

After months of living in pain, associate professor of geography and development Marv Waterstone thinks he may have found the cause for the mysterious bouts of illness he experienced while teaching at the UA.

Dry-erase markers.

Now, Waterstone is doing what he can to ban all markers containing sensitive toxins from the entire campus.

Dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea were a few of the symptoms Waterstone experienced at random intervals whenever he was in his classroom. Once it started to interfere with his ability to teach, he decided to figure out what was making him sick.

“Every time I went outside I felt better,” he said, “and it was clear to me that it wasn’t coming from my office.”

When he approached the whiteboard in his classroom, he noticed the symptoms manifesting, and after doing some research on the Internet, he diagnosed himself with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, or MCS. The sensitivities of this syndrome are similar to allergies, but also cause unusual symptoms like those Waterstone experienced.

“People have symptoms of MCS, but don’t know how to associate the cause,” Waterstone said.

Perfumes, pesticides, cigarettes and dry-erase markers are some of the most common triggers for an MCS attack. Dry-erase markers containing the organic chemicals xylene and toluene are what Waterstone pinpointed for causing his symptoms. An overexposure to these chemicals result in having similar effects as drinking large amounts of alcohol on the brain.

On Feb. 6, Waterstone asked the Faculty Senate to propose a resolution that the campus only allow non-toxic dry-erase markers be purchased and used in classrooms.

“There is a range of sensitivities and a range of chemicals on this campus,” Waterstone said, “which all produce differential effects.”

The resolution passed, and affiliates of the UofA Bookstore were quick to comply with Waterstone’s request. Bookstore employees examined all of its products and pulled anything off the shelves containing toxic chemicals.

“We didn’t have to be pushed to get this done,” said Frank Farias, associate vice president of student affairs. “When the community has a need, we will respond almost instantly.”

Of the products examined, only two were found to contain the sensitive toxins Waterstone was concerned about. A Staples generic brand of dry-erase markers and a package of whiteboards containing markers with unmarked ingredients were removed from stock.

“This was very minimal,” said Debby Shively, the director of UA Bookstores. “We already have plenty alternatives in place.”

Waterstone’s only concern now is whether other faculty members will comply with the resolution and bring non-toxic dry-erase markers to their classes from now on. Since he asked that the resolution be adopted as a “campuswide policy,” Waterstone said he hopes that all faculty members will make the “casual adjustment” in switching marker brands in order to make his job more tolerable.

“All I’m really trying to do is get myself back in the classroom,” he said.


The above originally appeared here.


Arrow right

More Multiple Chemical Sensitivity news



blog comments powered by Disqus

Previous Previous Page