I get so excited when I find out about new studies! The medical nerd in me jumps up and down. Why all the excitement? Well, today I received an email from Dr. Anne Steinemann telling me about a new study that just came out on the prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivities in the United States. The study found that the prevalence of diagnosed MCS has increased over 300% in the past decade which is astonishing but expected given our excessive use of chemicals on a daily basis.
Research for this study was conducted by Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering and Chair of Sustainable Cities from the University of Melbourne School of Engineering, and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. To view the study and related information please review the information below provided by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source
“Multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) is a medical condition characterized by adverse health effects from exposure to common chemicals and pollutants, from products such as pesticides, new carpet, and paint, renovation materials, diesel exhaust, cleaning supplies, perfume, scented laundry products, and air fresheners.1,2
MCS can cause a range of acute, chronic, multiorgan, and disabling health effects, such as headaches, dizziness, cognitive impairment, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, nausea, mucous membrane irritation, and asthma attacks.3 Individuals with MCS may not receive a diagnosis but nonetheless exhibit the condition of chemical sensitivity. Previous studies have found that MCS often co-occurs with asthma,4 as well as fragrance sensitivity,5 characterized by adverse health effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products.6
While MCS is perhaps the most common term, the condition is also known by other terms, such as chemical intolerance or environmental illness (specific to chemical exposures).3 ” Source
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), its co-occurrence with asthma and fragrance sensitivity, and effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products.
Methods: A nationally representative cross-sectional population-based sample of adult Americans (n = 1137) was surveyed in June 2016.
Results: Among the population, 12.8% report medically diagnosed MCS and 25.9% report chemical sensitivity. Of those with MCS, 86.2% experience health problems, such as migraine headaches, when exposed to fragranced consumer products; 71.0% are asthmatic; 70.3% cannot access places that use fragranced products such as air fresheners; and 60.7% lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace.
Conclusion: Prevalence of diagnosed MCS has increased over 300%, and self-reported chemical sensitivity over 200%, in the past decade. Reducing exposure to fragranced products could help reduce adverse health and societal effects. Source
Article on the Prevalence of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities in the US
Steinemann A 2018. National Prevalence and Effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Obtain a Copy of the Article
Check out the March 2018 Media Release about this study by clicking here. Below are a few important snippets from the media release:
1. “MCS is a serious and potentially disabling disease that is widespread and increasing in the US population,” Professor Steinemann said.
2. The study found that, when exposed to problematic sources, people with MCS experience a range of adverse health effects, from migraines and dizziness to breathing difficulties and heart problems. For 76 percent of people, the severity of effects can be disabling.
3. An estimated 22 million Americans with MCS have lost work days or a job in the past year due to illness from exposure to fragranced consumer products in the workplace. Source
Need to know what MCS is? Click here.
Need to know about Hidden Chemicals in Everyday Personal Items and Cosmetics? Click here
Need to share Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about MCS with friends and loved ones? Click here
Check out these helpful tips when visiting someone who has chemical sensitivities, MCS or TILT (Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance)