Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome


Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome

is marked by multiple symptoms in multiple organ systems (usually the neurological, immune, respiratory, skin, "GI," and/or musculoskeletal) that recur chronic-ally in response to multiple chemical exposures. MCS usually starts with either an acute or chronic toxic exposure, after which this initial sensitivity broadens to include many other chemicals and common irritants (pesticides, perfumes and other scented products, fuels, food additives, carpets, building materials, etc.).

MCS Symptoms

commonly include difficulty breathing, sleeping and/or concentrating, memory loss, migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, aching joints and muscles, and irritated eyes, nose, ears, throat and/or skin. In addition, some with MCS show impaired balance and increased sensitivity not just to odors but also to loud noises, bright lights, touch, extremes of heat and cold, and electromagnetic fields.

MCS Studies

show about 2/3 of those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia also have MCS (and vice versa), as do 1/2 of those with allergies. Like CFS, MCS is more common in women and can start at any age, but usually begins in late puberty to mid-life. There is no unique test for MCS, but immune, porphyrin, EEG, balance, and SPECT scan abnormalities are common.

MCS Treatments

and outcomes vary greatly but--consistent with basic toxicology--the frequency and severity of symptoms usually can be reduced through the environmental control and avoidance of exposures that them. A nutritional assessment also is recommended.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

A Chronic Condition Characterized by:

Multiple Symptoms

  • acute abdominal pain

  • asthma, headaches, rashes

  • chronic fatigue & weakness

  • concentration & memory loss

  • muscle & joint pains

  • numbness, tingling, twitching

  • sore eyes, ears, nose & throat

Multiple Organs

  • Central Nervous System

  • Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat

  • Gastrointestinal

  • Musculoskeletal

  • Peripheral Nervous System

  • Respiratory

  • Skin

  • Multiple Senses

  • hypersensitive to smells

  • photosensitive, blurred vision

  • intolerant of loud noises

  • bothered by abnormal tastes

  • hypersensitive to touch & temperature extremes

  • impaired "senses" of balance, coordination & concentration

Multiple Exposures

  • alcohol & medications

  • caffiene & food additives

  • raw fuels & engine exhaust

  • new carpet & furnishings

  • paint & renovation materials

  • perfume & scented products

  • pesticides & herbicides

  • solvents & other VOCs


Multiple Overlapping Disorders:

CN LINK: For more info, see: Overlapping Disorders of CFS, FMS, MCS and GWS


Multiple Theories About MCS:

1. Chemical Allergy (a 1960s concept, since disproven)

2. Neurologic / Toxic Encephalopathy

3. Autoimmune Illness (under JHU study)

4. Limbic Kindling (via limbic control of sensory pathways)

5. Neurogenic Inflammation (via the olfactory nerve)

6. Porphyrin Disorder(via heme synthesis)

7. Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (most recent)

8. Subconscious Reaction to Early Childhood Abuse

9. Iatrogenic (a "belief-system" induced by doctors!)"Belief System"

10. Psychogenic Illness (invented by the patients!)



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Last Modified: 7/4/98