Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - An Overview

Source: Diagram by S. Genius Sensitivity-related illness: The escalating pandemic of allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity.pdf

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) or TILT describes a cluster of a wide range of "non-specific" symptoms that is worsened by stress and exposure to stimuli and chemicals. Common symptoms include: fatigue, headaches, digestive upsets, heart palpitations, memory and concentration difficulties, joint and muscle aches and pains, mood disturbances and more.

MCS is now experienced by around 1% of the populaton with 16% of the population reporting chemical sensitivities on regular basis. (SA Health, NSW Health, US studies by Caress and others). Everybody experiences a heightened responses to chemicals sometimes e.g. medicine side effects, hangover from alcohol.

According the Dr Claudia Miller TILT (her name for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) is connected to many illnesses

Source: Article Dr Claudia Miller 2003

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) seems to be a consequence of a very high total stress load that is the cause of and a consequence of: dysautonomia (imbalances to the autonomic nervous system), neurogenic inflammation and heightened NMDA activity and glutamine, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), liver detoxification impairment, severe adrenal fatigue (hypocortisolism/hypoadrenia) and very severe sensitisations (changes) to the pain and survival regions of the nervous system, in particular the limbic (emotional) region of the brain, the thalmus (brains pain centre) and the nociceptor sensory nerves which are found all over the body and communicate pain and potential danger back to the brain via the spinal column.

Sensitisations turn up the volume on pain, emotional distress and responsiveness to chemicals and stimuli including: noise, light, temperature changes, multi-activity, bright flashing colors, smells, mold and more.

Everyone experiences "sensitisations", however they are not as severe as those experienced by people with MCS and they generally have an opportunity to reverse because they are not stuck on a self perpetuating toxic, inflammatory, stress (TIS) Loop.

Or for the more scientifically minded amongst you the NO/OONO inflammatory disease cycle postulated by Biochemist Dr Martin Pall

Diagram 2 by Dr Martin pall updated NO/OONO disease cycle (The Tenth Paradigm)

Treatment of MCS in its earlier stages prior to neuropathy (injury to the nervous system) or whilst in the phase in which intermittent chemical sensitivities are occurring is a lot simpler than addressing more severe MCS and can most likely be achieved by using the guidelines provided by RESHAPE FOR HEALTH

However, for people with more severe MCS who are literally in "an on-going crisis (which can go on for years and ultimately result in organ shut down if not intervened"), treatment which must involve chemical and stimuli reduction (Dr Grace Ziem) becomes a lot trickier due to the level of chronic stress adaptions that have occurred, hypocortisolism, severe liver detoxification impairment and what Dr Randolph Theron (who was a Chicago Allergist and the father of Environmental medicine) the "unmasking process." Which in summary means that if you try to reduce chemicals (food and environmental) or stimuli too quickly (given your individual level of intolerances and adaptions) you are likely to experience very severe withdrawal symptoms, cravings and even some "addictive behaviours" and even some very severe immune intensifications and a heightening of sensitivities and sensitisations for a period of time. To manage the "unmasking" process ALL TREATMENT, CHANGE AND REDUCTION whether it be chemical, stimuli or stress needs to be managed carefully and slowly. How to do this is discussed in the RESHAPE FOR MCS AND FEEL MUCH BETTER book. (Coming soon)

1. .Pall M.L.(2007) Explaining “Unexplained Illnesses”: Disease Paradigm for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromylagia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Gulf War Syndrome and Others. Harrington Park (Haworth) Press, New York.
2. .Engaging with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)- London 2003 Malcolm Hooper PhD, B Pharm, C Chem, MRIC Chief Scientific Advisor to the Gulf War Veterans
3. ."Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS): What It Is, What It Is Not, And How It Is Manifested – Sheila Bastien, Ph.D.":
4. What Causes Multiple Chemical Sensitivity – MCS Research from James Madison University
5. Public Health Fact Sheet Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) – SA Health Department
6. Canberra Hospital and Health Services Standard Operating Procedure
7. .WA Department of Health, Improve Access for People with Disabilities with in Public Hospitals and Community Health Services Discussion Paper by Harry Clark MCS Society of Australia
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9. .Gibson, P. R., Elms, A. N. M., & Ruding, L. A. (2003). Perceived treatment efficacy for conventional and alternative therapies reported by persons with multiple chemical sensitivity. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111, 1498-1504.
10. Understanding Chemical Intolerance: Information Concerning Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Gulf War Illness
11. Understanding & Accommodating People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in Independent Living by ?Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D.?James Madison University
12. Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance-An emerging theory of disease Miller CS. Environ Health Perspect 1997 Mar;105 S:445-453.
13. Empirical approaches for the investigation of toxicant-induced loss of tolerance Miller CS, Ashford NA, Doty R, Lamielle M, Otto D, Rahill A, Wallace L. Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Mar;105(2):515-519.
14. Chemical Sensitivity by Sherry A Rogers MD Prestige Printing
15. Grace Ziem, M.D.,DR. P.H. “Allergies and chemical reactions”
16. .Grace Ziem, M.D.,DR. P.H. (2003) Endocrine Changes in Patients with Chronic Illness Following Chemical Exposure.
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18. .Grace Ziem, M.D.,DR. P.H. Toxic Encephalopathy
19. .Martin L. Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences,Washington State University and Research Director, The Tenth Paradigm Research
20. Allergy, Sensitivity & Environmental Health Association Qld Inc (ASEHA Qld Inc) - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A 1999 Consensus
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23. Bell, I., Rossi, J., Gilbert, M., Kobal, G., Morrow, L., Newlin, D., Sorg, B., Wood, R. "Testing the Neural Sensitization and Kindling Hypothesis for Illness from Low Levels of Environmental Chemicals." Environmental Health Perspectives 105, Suppl. 2 (1997):539-547.
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26. Cullen, M.R. “The Worker with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities: An Overview.” Occupational Medicine 2 (1987): 655-68.
27. Heuser, G., Mena, I., Alamous, F. "Neurospect Findings in Patients Exposed to Neurotoxic Chemicals." Toxicology and Industrial Health 10, nos. 4-5 (1994):461-571.
28. Heuser, G., Mena, I. "Neurospect in Neurotoxic Chemical Exposure. Demonstration of Long-Term Functional Abnormalities." Toxicology and Industrial Health 14, no. 6 (1998):813-827.
29. Meggs, W.J. "Neurogenic Switching: A Hypothesis for a Mechanism for Shifting the Site of Inflammation in Allergy and Chemical Sensitivity." Environmental Health Perspectives 103, no. 1 (January 1995):54-56.
30. Miller, C.S. "Possible Models for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Conceptual Issues and Role of the Limbic System. Advancing the Understanding of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity." Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics. Toxicology and Industrial Health 8, no. 4 (1992):181-202.
31. Dr Sarah Myhill Chemical Poisoing – general principles of diagnosis and treatment
32. Chemical Sensitivity By William J. Rea Chemical Environment, Chemical Sensitivity, Allergic And Toxic Responses, Causes Of Chemical Sensitivity, Manifestation Of Chemical Sensitivity, Factors Influencing The Onset Of Chemical Sensitivity
33. The Search for Reliable Biomarkers of Disease in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Other Environmental Intolerances Chiara De Luca,1,* Desanka Raskovic,1 Valeria Pacifico,1 Jeffrey Chung Sheun Thai,2 and Liudmila Korkina1.

For full bibliography click here