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MCS has major impact on everyday life

Thursday 25 June 2009

The Environmental Illness Resource

The Environmmental Illness Resource reports on a new study that "reveals the impact that multiple chemical sensitivity can have on all areas of sufferers' everyday lives":

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a condition in which an individual becomes ill after being exposed to chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. Sources of such chemicals include everyday products such as household cleaners and personal care products. VOCs are also given off by household furnishings such as carpets, sofas, bedding, and furniture made from fibreboard. Vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke are also troublesome to those afflicted with MCS.

Symptoms of MCS can be triggered by minute amounts of VOCs even when the person is unable to smell the offending chemical. Symptoms vary but are typically neurological (e.g. dizziness, foggy thinking, confusion, headache) and respiratory (e.g. breathlessness, asthma, wheezing, coughing).

As the authors of this new study point out, there are currently no internationally accepted criteria for the diagnosis of MCS. This makes it hard for those affected to gain recognition of their illness or be provided with necessary care and financial help in the form of disability benefits. Despite the lack of established diagnostic criteria it is estimated that up to 15% of the population are affected to some degree in industrialised nations. People of all ages and races are affected and the condition can occur in both men and women, although women appear to be affected more frequently.

Although such significant numbers of people are affected the amount of research into both the causes and mechanisms underlying the condition and its impact on those affected is currently limited. The authors of this study, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, therefore conducted research to determine how sufferers everyday lives are affected by MCS.

You can read the full article on The Environmmental Illness Resource.



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