Allergies Home > Do I Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Several years ago a committee of experts in the multiple chemical sensitivity field decided upon a consensus as to what "qualifies" the patient as truly having multiple chemical sensitivity.
Six criteria were decided upon for multiple chemical sensitivity:
- Symptoms are reproducible with repeated (chemical) exposures.
- The condition is chronic.
- Low levels of exposure (lower than previously or commonly tolerated) result in manifestations of the syndrome (i.e., increased sensitivity).
- The symptoms improve, or resolve completely, when the triggering chemicals are removed.
- Responses often occur to multiple chemically-unrelated substances.
- Symptoms involve multiple-organ symptoms (runny nose, itchy eyes, headache, scratchy throat, ear ache, scalp pain, mental confusion or sleepiness, palpitations of the heart, upset stomach, nausea and/or diarrhea, abdominal cramping, aching joints).
Several medical conditions appear to be related to -- or overlap with -- multiple chemical sensitivity, such as sick building syndrome (SBS), food intolerance syndrome (FIS), and perhaps the Gulf War Illness (GWI).
In each of these, a chemical (smell usually, or taste) appears to precipitate one or more organ-system responses. The initiating culprit of multiple chemical sensitivity might be:
- Chemicals in a new rug, cockroach dander, or freon circulating in a closed-ventilation building (SBS)
- Chemicals in wine, processed corn products, or sulfites consumed (FIS)
- Nerve gas, organophosphates, or pesticides to which soldiers were exposed during the brief 1991 war in the Middle East (GWI).