What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? This illness is also known as Chemical Injury, Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance and Environmental Illness.
Imagine not being able to leave your home because your neighbor’s laundry softer makes you have migraines, vomiting, tachycardia and muscle weakness just to name a few symptoms. Imagine not being able to hug or be near people with perfume because your lungs react so severely that you have to be hospitalized and treated for weeks or months on end.
Just think for a moment that you are in need of urgent medical/dental attention but you are unable to visit a doctors office because they use air fresheners in patient rooms, hallways, and waiting areas. This is the misery that is faced each and every day by MSC sufferers. This is the outward expression of MCS.
Will you be visiting someone with MCS? Please click here for helpful tips and what you should do prior to visiting someone who is sick.
MCS can be brought on after toxic mold exposure, repeated exposure to contaminants and jet fuel while flying, chemical injury, and a weakening of the immune system. In the case of prolonged toxic mold exposure and chemical injury, a person’s liver function is seriously affected and detoxification pathways are blocked.
These people are also dealing with oxidative stress due to their exposure which makes them more susceptible to an MCS, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis.
MCS is not an allergy. Please note the differences below from a scientific study done back in 2005:
“There are two types of reactions that may occur to the same chemical in different individuals:
- Chemical Allergy
- Toxicity (MCS)
In chemical allergy, the individual is actually allergic to the chemical and immunoglobulin E (IgE) is elevated. This is the type of reaction that would most readily respond to treatments such as low dose antigen therapy (LDA), nambudripad allergy elimination technique (NAET), and other allergy desensitization techniques.
In MCS, IgE is not elevated and the reaction is not allergic in nature. Often the reaction is of a toxic nature and results in neurological symptoms as opposed to typical allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and inflammation.
This neurological effect is what makes MCS disabling. The lack of IgE (allergy) renders MCS irresponsive to such treatments as LDA and NAET. Avoidance of chemical triggers is essential to maintaining functional capacity. This is often difficult to achieve as fragrances and chemicals which have neurotoxic effects are all around us.
It may appear that MCS is improving from allergy treatments in individuals who suffer from both allergies and MCS. When the allergic condition improves, it is not impacting the MCS condition as severely. The converse may also be true.
The most important information this study provides is confirmation that MCS symptoms are not easily treatable with allergy remedies. This also negates the perception that individuals with MCS overreact to what ails everyone. MCS is, based on studies showing impaired detoxification, quite literally, more attuned to chronic poisoning.” Source
“MCS affects the central nervous system, but may also cause malfunctions in other systems such as respiratory, gastrointestinal or heart.” Source
“People with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) are made sick by exposures to low levels of many common chemicals — such as perfume, paint, pesticides, solvents, new building materials, vehicle exhaust, and smoke. Common symptoms include a headache, fatigue, body aches, asthma, rash, dizziness, nausea, and tremors. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. People with MCS also often react to foods, drugs, mold, pollen, and electromagnetic fields.
Developing severe multiple chemical sensitivity alters every aspect of a person’s life and can make it almost impossible to work, find safe housing, obtain health care, socialize or pursue hobbies. Relations with family, friends, and co-workers often become strained, because many do not believe this is a “real” illness.” Dr. Ann McCampbell
“Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) was identified in a 1989 multidisciplinary survey of 89 clinicians and researchers, and modified in 1999. Top consensus criteria (Multiple chemical sensitivity: a 1999 consensus, 1999) for MCS define the condition by these criteria:
A chronic condition.
Symptoms recur reproducibly.
Symptoms recur in response to low levels of chemical exposure.
Symptoms occur when exposed to multiple unrelated chemicals.
Symptoms improve or resolve when trigger chemicals are removed.
Multiple organ systems are affected.
Toxic substances that people with MCS become disabled by include any quantity of exposures to pesticides, secondhand smoke, alcohol, fresh paint, scented products and perfumes, candles, fragrances, food preservatives, flavor enhancers, aerosols, tap water, cosmetics, personal care products, new carpets, petroleum products, formaldehyde, outdoor pollutants, newspaper ink, cleaning compounds, printing and office products, and other synthetically derived chemicals.
Some also become ill from natural products that are highly concentrated such as natural orange cleaners due to high volatile organic compound and pesticide concentration. Symptoms can range from minor annoyances (a headache, runny nose) to life-threatening reactions (seizures, anaphalaxis).” Source
Learn about Environmental Sensitivities discussed by John Molot MD in the video below.
Hear patients discuss their struggles in the video below.
“This film covers not only fragrance issues but also presents an overview of multiple chemical sensitivity. It features Dr. L. Christine Oliver, an Associate Clinical Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Co-Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. The film also contains footage of an interview with the former Commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Dr. Ronald R. Blanck. People with MCS in the film include Gulf War veterans and survivors of the 9/11 WTC attacks, as well as people from all walks of life.”
Below is a video about the Legal Aspects of Environmental Sensitivities. Although this video is from Canada in the USA and in many other countries individuals with MCS are treated as individuals with disability.
More Toxic Injury Awareness Info
Every year the month of May is observed as Toxic Injury Awareness Month, it is a month to share, speak awareness and make your voice heard concerning Environmental Illnesses like MCS. Below is a 2 minute video you can share with friends, family, coworkers, church goers and everyone in between so they can hear some facts on what MCS is and how it can affect us in the workplace etc.
Here you can find out more about MCS and how it affects people.
Here you can read about treatment for MCS
Here you can find tons of articles on MCS from around the world
Here you can read Myths and Facts About Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Here you can read about MCS and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Here you can read How to Become Fragrance Free.
Here you can find videos and information in Spanish about MCS
Here you can find MCS medical research published from 2000 to June 2016
Here you can find out what Toxic Injury Awareness Month is all about
Here you can read about FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ONSET OF CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY
Here you can watch a documentary by a father on Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Clothing
Here you can read about Neurotoxicity and how to recognize it
Here you can watch an interview with Anne Steinemann PhD about Toxins in Everyday Household Products
Here you can read about how to prevent chemical injury
Here you can read an article written by a scientist discussing the 4 stages of MCS
Here you can find out about Chemical Free Housing and Tiny Homes
Here you can find info on reactivity testing for MCS
Here you can read about how toxins and mold can lead to MCS
“Patients who present with complaints of MCS deserve a comprehensive objective evaluation. If this is performed, a high percentage will be shown to have abnormal test results. This is true if the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as pulmonary and immune functions are tested. Also, anatomical changes are frequently found in the nasal passages on close inspection. By contrast, CBC and blood chemistry are usually within normal limits. So are findings on general physical examination.
Whenever possible, longitudinal studies should be performed in which the patient is used as his/her own control. Increases in TA1 cells and chemical antibodies can then be seen following self-reported unintentional exposure and are therefore suggested as markers of MCS.
Our results suggest diagnostic criteria for MCS. These are sorely needed as the number of patients who claim disability as a result of MCS is growing. Millions of dollars are potentially at stake as claims increase. Patients who are truly sick deserve attention and help from industry, housing authorities and government agencies as well as physicians. Patients who make unjustified claims should be quickly identified.
Patients and industry and government are all in need of a practical approach to the diagnosis of MCS. We believe that our findings are pointing the way to such an approach.” Source
Thank you for visiting this page and learning about MCS. If you have found this information useful and this page has helped you in any way you can bless us with something towards my ongoing medical treatment and recovery by clicking here.
Here is a helpful flyer you can print out and share with establishments violating the ADA.
Below is a very informative video by Canadian Dr. John Molot who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa in 1971. He is an expert in the area of environmental medicine and has seen over 12,000 patients. This video can be shared with clinicians, scientists and people suffering with MCS. The video goes into detail and helps clinicians understand the biology of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Please share and help spread awareness about this disease.
For more information and medical research on MCS and Environmental Illness please check out the links below.
Below is a General Database of MCS & Related Scientific Study Abstracts
(Last Updated 5/2007) from mcs-america.org/
This document lists citations for peer-reviewed journal articles that support a physiological basis for MCS.
Organization Specific Research
Free Full Text Studies:
Baines CJ, McKeown-Eyssen GE, Riley N, Cole DEC, Marshall L , Loescher B, Jazmaji V (2004) Occup Med (Lond) 54: 408-418
Block ML, Calderón-Garcidueñas L. Trends Neurosci. 2009 Sep;32(9):506-16. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
Brotman, KW. 2008;April 5. (not peer reviewed)
Caress SM, Steinemann AC. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Sep;111(12):1490-7.
Cecil KM, Brubaker CJ, Adler CM, Dietrich KN, Altaye M, et al. (2008) PLoS Med5(5): e112.
Crow,J. Oxygen Society Educational Program. 2002.
Chiara De Luca,1* Desanka Raskovic,1 Valeria Pacifico,1 Jeffrey Chung Sheun Thai,2 and Liudmila Korkinal. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 July; 8(7): 2770–2797.
Eltiti S, Wallace D, Ridgewell A, Zougkou K, Russo Rz, Sepulveda F, Mirshekar-Syahkal D, Rasor P, Deeble R, & Fox E. Environmental Health Perspectives. 24 July 2007.
Fitzgerald, J. Environmental Health. 2009. 8(3).
Frances J. Storrs. Dermatitis. 2007;18(1):3-7.
Gibson, P.R. (in press). Care for Women International.
Gibson, P.R. (2009). Disability & Society, 24(2), 187-199. Author posting. (c) Taulor & Francis, 2007.
Gibson, P.R., & Vogel, V.M. (2009). Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18, 72-81
Gibson PR, Cheavens J, Warren M. James Madison University. 1996.
Gibson PR, Placek E, Lane J, Brohimer SO, Lovelace AC. Qual Health Res. 2005 Apr;15(4):502-24.
Gibson PR. No Date. James Madison University
Gibson PR, Cheavens J, Warren ML. Res Nurs Health. 1998 Apr;21(2):103-15.
Gibson PR, Elms AN, Ruding LA. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Sep;111(12):1498-504.
Gross L. PLoS Biol. 2007 Jun 26;5(7):e193
Heuser G, Axelrod P, Heuser S. IPPH. 2000 13:1-16.
Hocking B. World Health Organization Seminar on EMF Hyerpsensitivity. 2007.
Hooper M PhD, B Pharm, C Chem, MRIC. Chief Scientific Advisor to the Gulf War Veterans 2003 (Paper Only)
Heuberger E, Hongratanaworakit T, Böhm C, Weber R, Buchbauer G. Chem Senses. 2001 Mar;26(3):281-92.
Koch, L. 2004 Kent State University Center for Disability Studies
Lin TC, Krishnaswamy G, Chi DS. Clin Mol Allergy. 2008 Apr 25;6(1):3
LoPachin RM, DeCaprio AP. Toxicological Sciences 2005 86(2):214-225.
Louis, GB (2006). World Health Organization. Environmental Health Criteria 237.
McKeown-Eyssen G, Baines C, Cole DE, Riley N, Tyndale RF, Marshall L, Jazmaji V.Int J Epidemiol. 2004 Oct;33(5):971-8. Epub 2004 Jul 15.
McKeown, D. Toronto Public Health. 2005.
Miller CS, Ashford N, Doty R, Lamielle M, Otto D, Rahill A, Wallace L. Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Mar;105 Suppl 2:515-9.
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Morello-Frosch R, Brody JG, Brown P, Altman RG, Rudel RA, and Pérez C. Environmental Health 2009, 8.
Nakazawa H, Ikeda H, Yamashita T, Hara I, Kumai Y, Endo G, Endo Y. (2005) Ind Health. 2005 Apr;43(2):341-5.
National Center for Environmental Health (2000)
No Authors Listed. Arch Environ Health. 1999 May-Jun;54(3):147-9
Nussbaumer LL. 2005. South Dakota State University.
Pall ML. Washington State University School of Molecular Biosciences. 2006,
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