Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome
Causes and Symptoms (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), reactive airway dysfunctions, and the “sick building” syndromes are overlapping disorders caused by intolerance of environmental chemicals. Exactly how many people are affected by MCS is unknown. The onset is often associated with initial acute chemical exposure; patients may report the onset of MCS after moving into a new home, after exposure to chemicals in the workplace, or following the use of pesticides in the home. Patients often describe an increasing intolerance to commonly encountered chemicals at concentrations well tolerated by other people. Diagnosis is made when the following six criteria are met: Repeated exposure reproduces symptoms, the condition is chronic, low chemical exposure levels cause symptoms, symptoms improve with the removal of offending chemicals, responses are triggered by multiple unrelated chemicals, and multiple systems are affected.
Symptoms usually wax and wane with exposure and are more likely to occur in patients with preexisting histories of migraine or classical allergies. Idiosyncratic medication reactions (especially to preservative chemicals) are common in MCS patients, as are dysautonomic symptoms (such as vascular instability), poor temperature regulation, and food intolerance. It is thought that patients with MCS have organ abnormalities involving the liver, the nervous system...
(The entire section is 515 words.)
Treatment and Therapy (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
The management of patients with MCS at present involves symptomatic and supportive therapy. There is a general consensus among researchers and clinicians that in order to treat patients with MCS effectively, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study performed in an environmentally controlled facility, with rigorous documentation of both objective and subjective responses, is needed to help elucidate the nature and origin of MCS.
(The entire section is 61 words.)
For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Baron-Faust, Rita, and Jill P. Buyon. The Autoimmune Connection. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 2003.
Barrett, Stephen J., and Ronald E. Gots. Chemical Sensitivity: The Truth About Environmental Illness. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998.
Delves, Peter J., et al. Roitt’s Essential Immunology. 11th ed. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006.
Dwyer, John M. The Body at War: The Miracle of the Immune System. 2d ed. New York: J. M. Dent, 1993.
Kindt, Thomas J., Richard A. Goldsby, and Barbara A. Osborne. Kuby Immunology. 6th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman, 2007.
McCormick, Gail J. Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Narratives of Coping. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2000.
Morgan, Monroe T. Environmental Health. 3d ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2003.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Referral and Resources. http://www.mcsrr.org.
(The entire section is 120 words.)