Sick Building Syndrome (cont.)
In this Article
Why Is MCS Controversial?
Multiple chemical sensitivity is controversial. Many experts and major medical organizations -- such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology -- have stated that the connection between the patient's symptoms and environmental exposures are speculative and evidence of disease is lacking. The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs believes that multiple chemical sensitivity should not be considered a recognized clinical syndrome. Yet some doctors and many people suffering with unexplained symptoms believe that it is.
So far, medical experts have not found a clear cause, test, or treatment for MCS. More research may be needed. It is clear that many people are suffering because of their symptoms and frustrated because they don't know how to get help.
How Common Is MCS?
Studies show that women between the ages of 30 and 50 are more likely to develop the symptoms. Symptoms are also more common among military personnel, particularly Gulf War veterans.
What Causes MCS?
There is no question that high doses of some chemicals make people sick and that irritants such as pollution and cigarette smoke worsen conditions such as asthma. What isn't as clear is how very low levels of chemical exposure affect us.
Experts can only speculate about the causes of these symptoms. Some speculate that it is an immune response similar to allergies. Others say that the symptoms stem from an extreme sensitivity to certain smells. It's possible that conditions such as depression and anxiety play a role.
Reviewed on 6/3/2011
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