National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

The challenge of multiple chemical sensitivity

Environmental health professionals frequently come across a health-related problem with no clear cause-and-effect relationship. A typical case occurs when a person complains of experiencing symptoms, often in an indoor setting, that may vary from vague to severe. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) may be a factor at play in some of these situations. The condition is characterized by persistent symptoms that follow exposure to chemically unrelated compounds at doses well below those that have been established individually to cause harmful effects. An understanding of MCS among environmental health and medical professionals is encouraged. The following article provides a review of the current literature about MCS and discusses the difficulties, from various sources, in resolving health complaints that may be caused by exposure to low doses of multiple chemicals.

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