PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

Is multiple chemical sensitivity a real illness?

ANSWER

It's also known as “environmental illness,” "sick building syndrome,” or “MCS.” Your doctor may call it “idiopathic environmental intolerance.”

The feelings and symptoms are real, but they can happen for many reasons. Health experts don’t agree that MCS is an illness. The American Medical Association doesn’t consider it one.

There's no question that high doses of some chemicals make people sick and that irritants such as pollution and cigarette smoke worsen conditions like asthma. How very low levels of chemical exposure affect people isn't clear.

From: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Position Statement: Idiopathic environmental intolerances."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Chemical Sensitivities."

Black, D. , April 24, 2000. Archives of Internal Medicine

United States Department of Labor: Office of Safety and Health Administration: "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities."

Magill, M. , Sept. 1, 1998. American Family Physician

UpToDate: “Overview of idiopathic environmental intolerance (multiple chemical sensitivity).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.”

Coble, Y. , Dec. 23, 1992. The Journal of the American Medical Association

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 19, 2019

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Position Statement: Idiopathic environmental intolerances."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Chemical Sensitivities."

Black, D. , April 24, 2000. Archives of Internal Medicine

United States Department of Labor: Office of Safety and Health Administration: "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities."

Magill, M. , Sept. 1, 1998. American Family Physician

UpToDate: “Overview of idiopathic environmental intolerance (multiple chemical sensitivity).”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.”

Coble, Y. , Dec. 23, 1992. The Journal of the American Medical Association

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 19, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What can you do for multiple chemical sensitivity?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: