Clinical report

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23 suppl 3:69-73    pdf

Clinical features of multiple chemical sensitivity

by Levy F

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) could be called a phenomenon rather than an illness. No single widely accepted test of physiological function can be shown to correlate with the symptoms presented by the patients.In addition to allergy and asthma, patient history can include various "illnesses", and the "diagnosis" is often made by the patient, usually alone or with the help of clinical ecologists. This paper reports the experiences from a department of occupational medicine. More than 80% of the patients were women and solvent exposure was the most common cause of chemical intolerance reported by the patients. Many patients also reported psychosocial stressors. The patients also showed mood disorders with irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression, often with thoughts centered around different organ symptoms. The symptomatology of MCS is still nonspecific and in no way diagnostic of a specific illness or a medically acceptable syndrome. It may indicate many other conditions, both organic disease and psychopathology.