Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Learn more about multiple chemical sensitivity

Table of Contents

Overview

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic condition, sometimes referred to as environmental illness, total allergy syndrome, sick building syndrome, chemical intolerance, or idiopathic environmental intolerance.

Reported symptoms of MCS include migraine headaches, asthma, dizziness, difficulty breathing, skin problems, red or watery eyes, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, fast or irregular heartbeat, and muscle or joint pain.  MCS symptoms are reported to occur following exposure to concentrations of chemicals that are below the levels that are typically considered harmful for the general population (where the general population includes individuals who may be sensitive to chemicals, such as individuals with asthma).  There is disagreement among health practitioners regarding whether MCS is a medical disorder with established cause and effect relationships between symptoms and low-level chemical exposures.

DPH recommends that individuals who are concerned that their symptoms may be related to MCS should seek the advice of a health care provider knowledgeable about MCS.

References

Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2022. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/multiple-chemical-sensitivity

Magill, MK and A Suruda. (1998). Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. American family physician58(3), 721.

Roof, KA. (2017). Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2291-2295.

Rossi, S., and A Pitidis. (2018). Multiple chemical sensitivity: review of the state of the art in epidemiology, diagnosis, and future perspectives. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine.  60(2):138.

Zucco, GM and RL Doty. (2022). Multiple chemical sensitivity. Brain Sci. 12(1):46.

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