Sick Building Syndrome (Environmental Illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)
What Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is also called "environmental illness" or "sick building syndrome." It refers to a variety of non-specific symptoms reported by some people after possible exposure to chemical, biologic, or physical agents. Some say that levels of exposure generally considered safe for most people can have an effect on a few.
The symptoms people report are wide-ranging and not specific. They include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rash, diarrhea, bloating, gas, confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes.
People who have the symptoms may blame them on a major event, such as a chemical spill. Or they may point to long-term contact with low levels of chemicals at work, perhaps while working in an office with poor ventilation. Reported triggers include tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chorine, and countless others.
Reviewed on 6/3/2011
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