Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is an ongoing struggle. Friends and family of those who have MCS also have a difficult time understanding and/or making accommodations.
What is MCS?
According to www.multiplechemicalsensitivity.org: “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; in broad terms it means an unusually severe sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to many different kinds of pollutants including solvents, VOC’s, perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke, “chemicals” in general and often encompasses problems with regard to pollen, house dust mites, and pet fur & dander.
Multiple chemical sensitivity unlike true allergies – where the underlying mechanisms of the problem are relatively well understood widely accepted, is generally regarded as “idiopathic” – meaning that it has no known mechanism of causation & it’s processes are not fully understood.”
“For most sufferers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the avoidance of pollutants/toxicants is the key.”
The possible symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is almost endless, but the more common ones are as follows:
- “burning, stinging eyes
- wheezing, breathlessness nausea
- extreme fatigue/lethargy
- poor memory & concentration
- runny nose (rhinitis)
- sore throat, cough
- sinus problems
- skin rashes and/or itching skin
- sensitivity to light & noise
- sleeping problems
- digestive upset
- muscle & joint pain.”
I’ve highlighted in pink the symptoms that I suffer from. When I’m in an uncontrolled environment, these symptoms are a part of my daily life. At work recently, I had migraines, pain behind my eyes, obstructed vision, tension headaches, and insomnia for 15 consecutive days. As you can see, it is a very debilitating condition to have.
This section of Lionheads is dedicated to educating the public about MCS. One of its goals is to build a database of “bad” products (that make people with MCS sick), “good” products (that I can tolerate), and safe public spaces. Please note that these lists are solely based on my personal experience. People with MCS have varying experiences with different chemicals.