Chemical Sensitivity

Do you, or does someone in your family, suffer from Environmental Illness or Chemical Sensitivity?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), chemical sensitivity is related to exposure to natural, or man-made pollution, indoors and outdoors. This includes pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, scented products, petroleum products, and paint fumes. Additional pollutants that may cause respiratory illness include sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, cigarette smoke, wood burning stoves and building-related illness.


  • 2-10% of the US population is chemically sensitive according to WebMD 
  • 30% of the elderly are sensitive to chemicals.
  • 40% of the general population may be affected, although they do not realize that their symptoms are related to “toxic” exposures in the home, school or work environments. After a long period of exposure to these toxins, individuals become much less tolerant to environmental exposures.
  • 60% of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, Fibromyalgia patients and Gulf War Syndrome patients are Chemically Sensitive.
  • Studies show that children are increasingly affected by fragrance allergies
  • Fragrance allergies affect 2 to 11% of the general population.

What are the symptoms of MCS?

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intolerance to heat or cold
  • Earache
  • Stuffy head or congestion
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Memory problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain and/or stiffness
  • Bloating or gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Mood changes

What can trigger these symptoms?

People with MCS identify many products as chemical triggers, including:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Perfume
  • Traffic exhaust or petrol fumes
  • Nail varnish remover
  • Newspaper ink
  • Hair spray
  • Paint or paint thinner
  • Insecticides
  • Artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives in food
  • New carpet
  • Flame retardants on clothing and furniture (such as mattresses)
  • Chlorine in swimming pools

What does this mean for you?

Although a common condition, most people do not recognize the symptoms as an issue caused by Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Often they do not understand what is causing the health issues that they are experiencing. Furthermore, many do not know that this syndrome can progress to neurological disease, autoimmunity and many other health problems. People struggling with MCS or Environmental Illness make dramatic changes in the lives they are living to try and limit their exposure to chemical triggers. Many office spaces, schools, and assisted living facilities have started to “go green,” and fragrance-free to accommodate those with chemical sensitivities. Try limiting your exposure to these triggers in your home by using organic and fragrance-free cleaning and products and laundry detergent, allergy-friendly bedding, and filter the air to reduce toxic particles in the air.