Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

What is it?
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a condition in which a person reports sensitivity or intolerance to many different kinds of harmful environmental agents including perfume, diesel, solvents, VOC’s, smoke and any other chemical based pollutants. MCS usually results from exposure to toxic chemicals, either in a single massive dose or long term exposure to low doses. Many of the workers in sick buildings, victims of chemical accidents, solvent exposures, people living near toxic waste sites or those whose air or water is highly polluted have been diagnosed with MCS.

It is estimated that 2%-10% of people suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported that up to one-third of people in the workplace claim to be sensitive to chemicals in the air. Studies show that women between the ages of 30 and 50 are more likely to develop the symptoms.


  • Headaches, dizziness
  • Eye, ear, nose, throat irritations
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nosebleeds
  • Poor concentration, memory loss, sleep disorders
  • Respiratory difficulties


MCS sources are all around us in our home and work place. There is toxic exposure from pesticides, scented products, building materials, gas stoves, paint, printer ink and house hold cleaning supplies. They can also be emitted by furniture and cabinets constructed with press board that emit formaldehyde.

Restore Health
The best way to stay healthy when you suffer from MCS is to keep away from the chemicals which may trigger reactions. Avoiding the source is always the best solution; however there are many situations in which this is not feasible. Airborne chemical exposures can create health problems for many and should be further removed with an air purifier. Select an air purifier that will be able to remove airborne gaseous molecules and particulate solids. A combination of a medical grade High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter and an activated carbon filter are highly effective at filtering chemical gases, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and odors. At the present time there is no cure and primary treatments are avoidance, reducing the environmental exposures, and purifying the indoor air.

Multiple chemical sensitivity is controversial because many experts have stated the connection between the patient’s symptoms and environmental exposures are speculative and evidence of disease is lacking. Yet many people suffering with unexplained symptoms believe that it should be considered a recognizable clinical syndrome. Much of the controversy centers on whether the symptoms associated with MCS are caused by physical or psychological factors.

Read Next: The Effects of Volatile Organic Compounds in Your Home

Reading next