Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Definition of MCS via Johns Hopkins:

Multiple chemical sensitivity is under debate in the medical community at this time. Some healthcare providers question whether it exists and whether the underlying illness is not medical but rather psychiatric, and that the symptoms are caused by anxiety. Others acknowledge it as a medical disorder triggered by exposures to chemicals, electromagnetic forces, or other environmental triggers. This often begins with a short-term, severe chemical exposure, such as a chemical spill, or a longer-term exposure.

It is reported that once exposed, low levels of chemicals found in everyday materials, such as soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and newspaper inks, can trigger physical symptoms in people with multiple chemical sensitivities.

(source: Hopkins Medicine)


While the jury is still out on all the causes of MCS, it’s generally agreed upon that acute exposure to a high level of a toxin, (in my situation it was black mold), causes residual sensitivity to extremely low levels of toxins. That residual damage and sensitivity is MCS.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is serious business. It’s laughed off and written off by those not affected by severe sensitivity. I’ve been teased. I’ve had loved ones show obvious frustration when I can’t enter certain buildings. Others

get annoyed when I beg them not to use scented detergent or perfumes. Telling someone that I can’t enter their home because of particular fragrance or mildewy smell is awkward and humiliating.

But people who don’t have MCS don’t understand how painful and debilitating our reactions can be. When I encounter a trigger I can have migraine level headaches and feverishness for 24 hours or more! Is that really worth someone else’s car smelling like fake flowers?

It doesn’t eliminate the awkwardness of navigating day to day situations, but this section should give you some resources to help educate those around you.