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Contact:  Dr. Lawrence Plumlee, Phone/FAX: 301-897-9614


The National Coalition for the Chemically Injured (NCCI) has come out
strongly against many of United States Department of Agriculture's newly
proposed organic food standards.   

NCCI is a coalition of support groups across the United States working
to assist people who have developed multiple chemical sensitivities
(MCS) following chemical injury.  In comments to the USDA dated April 6,
1998, NCCI has termed the proposed weakening of the organic food
standards delineated in the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA)
"disastrous" for its constituency.

Refuting an industry claim that MCS is too rare to be considered in
setting standards, NCCI's comments also include data from numerous
recent scientific studies  indicating that chemical intolerance now
affects 15-33 percent of the United States population.   NCCI has
pointed out that the data indicate MCS, an extreme version of chemical
intolerance, probably already affects millions of people.  People with
MCS react adversely to very low--sometimes even minuscule--levels of
toxic chemicals.  The ranks of those afflicted with this disorder
include not only victims of industrial accidents, but persons of all
ages poisoned by pesticides and carpeting in their homes and offices and
also many Gulf War veterans.  In fact, Congress has recently authorized
an expenditure of $7 million over the next five years to study the link
between MCS and Gulf War illnesses.    

Like many other organizations, NCCI has answered USDA's request for
comments on the use of ionizing radiation, genetically engineered
organisms, and "biosolids" (a euphemism for sewage sludge) with an
emphatic "no."  However, NCCI also objects to the proposal to label as
"organic" the products of animals fed non-organic feed.  Additionally,
NCCI is objecting to many proposals allowing synthetic animal drugs,
synthetic additives and processing aids, and synthetic pesticide
ingredients, since even tiny residues of these in "organic" food would
be likely to affect the people NCCI represents.  NCCI's comments make
the point that the residue testing USDA is proposing is a poor
substitute for prohibiting the use of toxic synthetics in the first

Although most of NCCI's comments address points that would be of
immediate concern to its constituency, NCCI also points out that a "food
industry supposedly based on science has failed to stem the huge rise in
cancer and autoimmune diseases in the past five decades, a period which
coincides with the use of synthetic chemicals in agriculture and food
processing."  This fact should be of concern not just for the chemically
sensitive.  It should be food for thought for all Americans.