Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
The medical community is divided over whether or not multiple chemical sensitivity actually exists. Some physicians acknowledge it as a medical disorder that is triggered by exposures to chemicals in the environment, often beginning with a short-term, severe chemical exposure or with longer-term, small exposures. This condition is also known as environmental illness, ecological illness, and total allergy syndrome. Conditions that may be related to it (or overlap with it) include sick building syndrome (SBS), food intolerance syndrome (FIS), and Gulf War Illness (GWI).
What Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Multiple chemical sensitivity is something of a medical mystery. The medical community is divided over whether or not the condition actually exists.
Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity a Disorder?
Some physicians acknowledge multiple chemical sensitivity as a medical disorder that is triggered by exposures to chemicals in the environment, often beginning with a short-term, severe chemical exposure (like a chemical spill) or with longer-term, small exposures (like a poorly ventilated office building).
Others in the medical community, however, do not accept multiple chemical sensitivity as a genuine medical disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, does not recognize multiple chemical sensitivity as a clinical diagnosis. There is no official medical definition of multiple chemical sensitivity, partially because symptoms and chemical exposures are often unique and are widely varied between individuals. Some physicians are skeptical of concluding that low concentrations of the same chemicals that are tolerated by everyone else can cause dramatic symptoms in multiple chemical sensitivity patients.
The American Medical Association (AMA) denies that multiple chemical sensitivity is a clinical condition because conclusive scientific evidence is lacking.