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Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

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Published on Jun 18, 2014

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, also referred to as MCS, is a controversial issue with many in the medical community. Some do not recognize the condition as a true disease or illness, while others support its existence.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states, "In theory, MCS is an adverse physical reaction to low levels of many common chemicals. Chemical sensitivity is generally accepted as a reaction to chemicals but debate continues as to whether MCS is classifiable as an illness." The National Institute of Health (NIH) has defined MCS as a "chronic recurring disease caused by a person's inability to tolerate an environmental chemical or class of foreign chemicals."

There are a number of synonyms for MCS, including environmental illness, total allergy syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance, and chemical sensitivity among others.

Proposed theories to explain the cause of MCS include allergy, dysfunction of the immune system, neurobiological sensitization, and various psychological theories. According to OSHA, "There is insufficient scientific evidence to confirm a relationship between any of these possible causes and symptoms." The agency goes on to report that "an evaluation must be performed by a physician knowledgeable of the symptoms of this condition."

MCS patients often report non-specific symptoms from exposure to low-levels of chemical, biological, or physical agents. There may be no single stimuli or predictor of reactions. Many MCS symptoms mimic other known illnesses. Common symptoms of MCS may include nausea, trouble breathing, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, trouble concentrating and memory issues in addition to numerous other symptoms.

This myriad of different symptoms can make it a challenge for many MCS sufferers to find relief. Avoidance of the substance or substances that are believed to be triggering the condition appears to be one of the consistent ways to treat MCS.

These are just a few things to know about MCS. To learn more about this or other health & safety, environmental or indoor air quality issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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