Environment, Health, Toxic Injury and Chemical Sensitivity


The adverse effects from the pollution of everyday chemicals - in production and in consumption - have become a species threat as grave, if not as well known, as climate change. These adverse effects are creating a crisis of fertility, of neurological development and intelligence, of immunity, of proliferating cancers and epidemics of many chronic diseases in ever younger and more numerous humans, as well as seriously compromising the health and viability of many animal species. This is today’s reality, plotted in a body of chilling scientific research across the world. But somehow, awareness of this threat is not even close to being as widely understood as climate change, and still remains almost totally left out of our insured health care services.

In addition to her work as an environmental activist addressing issues such as climate change, water shortages, and genetic engineering, Varda has been addressing key issues in this crisis in her work for many years. In addition to her major 2022 report, some of that work is offered here. 

Educational Website: Dispatches from the Chemical Edge – A Collection of Issues and Resources from the World of Toxics Research. 2017. 

Research aggregation, clinical work and policy report: Putting the Chemicals Back into “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity”. V. Burstyn and M. MacQuarrie. 2022. Ontario Environmental Health Advocacy Group

Major recent research aggregation and analysis, prevalence, relevant toxicology and environmental health reports, clinical experience and policy recommendations - the big, up-to-date picture on chemical sensitivity.

French summary/sommaire Francaise. 

Research aggregation and 2018 Ontario task force critique: of Care Now, the 2018 final report of Ontario’s Task Force on Environmental health. The Centre for Effective Practice's Guiding Principals for the Diagnosis of Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity- A New Effort Needed. Ontario Environmental Health Advocacy Group. 2019. 

Qualitative needs assessment study and design for an Ontario network of care report: Recognition, Inclusion and Equity – The Time is Now: Perspectives of Ontarians Living with Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (ES/MCS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM).. Myalgic Encephalomyetis Association Of Ontario and business case project for an Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health. Toronto, 2013. Funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Major research report addressing current state (survey of patients’ experience, needs, gaps in services designed by Ann Phillips PhD and Erika Halapy M Sc, written by Varda Burstyn); special analysis of women’s, children’s, stigmatization issues; in-depth exploration of proposed model of care and delivery system; in-depth discussion of issues in barrier removal (disability issues) across government and the public sector, providing detailed explanation for the design of the components specified in the business case

Submission re: Ontario government-wide recommendations for creating capacity in environmental health: Slow and Fast Death by Rubber Duck. Policy Submission to Commission of Quality Services and Tax Fairness Ontario. January 17, 2012.  

Three papers, in three anthologies on adverse environmental impacts on children’s health: 

A World Fit for Children. In Child Honoring. Raffi Cavoukian and Sharna Olfman, eds. Foreword by the Dalai Lama. 2006.  Praeger. Westford, Connecticut.  

Toxic World, Troubled Minds (with David Fenton). No Child Left Different, Sharna Olfman, ed.  2005.  Praeger.  Westford, Connecticut.  

Techno-Environmental Assaults on Childhood in America (with Gary Sampson). Childhood Lost: How American Culture is Failing our Kids. Sharna Olfman, ed. 2005. Praeger. Westford, Connecticut. Anthology.

CBC  Radio documentary series: New Ideas in Sickness and Health. IDEAS.  1984.  CBC Radio

Two hour-long documentaries on environmental illness and iatrogenic illness.  First in-depth presentation of ‘Environmental Illness’ (today known as MCS) in Canada, at a national level.