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Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

MCS, a condition presenting as a complex array of symptoms

linked to low level of chemical exposures. A common theme

reported by individuals is experiences of heightened

responsiveness to chemicals at extremely low exposure levels.

Agents Associated with MCS

Individual Chemicals/Chemical Products

  • Air Pollutants
  • Workplace and domestic chemicals
  • Agricultural Chemicals
  • Therapeutics
  • Foods



Examples of Chemicals that Trigger the Symptoms of MCS

  • Coal, oil, gas and combustion products
  • Mineral oil, Vaseline, Waxes
  • Asphalts, Tars, Resins, Dyes and Adhesive
  • Disinfectants, deodrants and detergents
  • Rubber, plastics, synthetic textiles and finishes
  • Plastics, synthetic textiles and finishes
  • Alcohols, glycols, aldehydes, esters and derivatives

Symptoms Reported for MCS

The symptoms experienced by individuals from exposures are diverse and involve multiple organ systems.

Common Symptoms

Headache, Fatigue, Confusion, Depression. Shortness of breath,Arthralgia, Myalgia, Nausea. Dizziness, Memory Problems, Gastrointestinal symptoms and Respiratory symptoms.

Association of MCS with Airborne Chemicals/Disinfectants

Yes, airborne chemicals are most common triggers/initiators of MCS and respiratory symptoms are common complaints. The airways are particularly sensitive to damage by airborne chemicals, particulates and infectious agents. These inhaled chemicals/ aerosols/ infectious agents bind to receptors on sensory nerve C-fibres in the respiratory mucosa which triggers the local release of inflammatory mediators from nerve endings, leading to altered function of the respiratory system.

Treatments for MCS

There are no standardised treatments for MCS. Current treatments advocated for MCS include dietary changes,nutritional supplement, detoxification and desensitization techniques, holistic or body therapies,  as well as prescription medicines and behavioural therapies. The most common management regime for MCS is avoidance of agents that trigger symptoms.

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