Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS is your response to certain chemicals and substances in the world around us. Responses vary in severity from coughing to asthma attacks and beyond. The effects of MCS symptoms can be greatly reduced by using air purifiers in the home and by wearing a face mask when outside the home. Additional relief from symptoms may be found by using quality personal care products, cleaning products, and organic bedding.
Helpful Information on MCS
|MCS FAQ||MCS & Indoor Air Quality||Dr. Gilbere on MCS & Food Allergies|
|Check Your Labels for Chemical Irritants||Toxic Chemicals in Your Deodorant||Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide|
|Allergy Relief Bedding Buying Guide||Air Purifier Buying Guide|
What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
A woman sits next to you on the bus wearing a lovely but strong fragrance. Your eyes begin to burn and water, and then come the sneezes. The same reaction occurs as you get off the bus and walk past a man spraying flowers with a pesticide. This is MCS.
According to Christiane Tourtet, Coordinator for the Global Recognition Campaign for MCS, multiple chemical sensitivity (also known as multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome or environmental illness) is an "increasingly alarming world-wide public health problem caused by our toxic environment" in the form of a "debilitating chronic medical condition characterized by extreme sensitivities to chemicals."
MCS can develop after exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, household cleaning products, air fresheners, deodorizers, glues, carpets, building materials, paint, ink, emissions from copying machines, automobile exhausts, cooking fumes, gasoline, wood burning, perfumes, scented products, carbon paper, candles, incense, dry-cleaning, shampoos, beauty products, and other personal care products.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Symptoms
Reactions to chemicals in our environment may be immediate or delayed. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, neurological problems, joint pain, short-term memory loss, visual changes, dysfunction of senses, loss of smell, sinus congestion, burning eyes and throat, nausea, digestive problems, fatigue, numbness, tingling, convulsions, irregular heart beat, behavioral changes, and rhinitis. With such a range of symptoms, MCS can often be misdiagnosed.
MCS and Indoor Air Quality
Formaldehyde and other toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter the air you breathe from carpets, plastics, insulation, adhesives, and other building materials. Pesticides, lawn chemicals, household cleaners, and other dangerous chemicals also make their way into the air in your home. The right air purifier will remove these toxic chemicals... but the wrong air purifier can actually contribute to the problem. See Multiple Chemical Sensitivity & Indoor Air Quality for more information.
MCS and Personal Care Products
We live in an increasingly toxic world. If you're sensitive to the synthetic chemicals found in many personal care products or worried about their long-term affects on your health, you can prevent reactions and decrease your toxic load by using irritant free and safe personal care products. Vanicream skin care products offer an excellent solution for those looking for an alternative to department store brands made with harsh chemicals. Developed and manufactured in the U.S., Vanicream and Free & Clear products exclude a long list of common chemical irritants that are common in main stream brands.
MCS and Diet
For most people, the food that they ingest is a primary source of chemical exposure. For many people, eating organic and non-genetically modified food can make a big health difference. Many grocery stores, farmers markets, and even warehouse shopping clubs have a wide variety of organic foods. And while it is far from perfect, look for labels that say "Organic" and not just "natural" or "all natural". Not all terms and claims are regulated the same by the FDA. MCS sufferers tend to suffer more from food sensitivities and food allergies. Organic food sales have been steadily increasing for the past 20 years or so and have recently skyrocketed. To learn more about how the food you eat can affect your MCS, see Dr. Gloria Gilbere's interview on Food Allergies and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Survival
As with allergen avoidance, the key to MCS survival is to avoid exposure to the substances that trigger symptoms. Some people are sensitive to so many different chemicals that they do not allow any synthetic materials in their home; even all of their furniture is natural and organic. Most MCS sufferers, however, can pinpoint the specific chemicals to which they're sensitive and take steps to avoid them. Many chemically sensitive people find relief by sleeping on organic cotton bedding. Modern textiles are often treated with formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that can cause reactions in many people.
For the purest, most natural sleep available, relax on a Royal-Pedic Organic Cotton Mattress. The 100% organic Peruvian cotton is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and the mattress is custom built without formaldehyde, glues, dyes, resins, polyurethane foam, or synthetic latex. Customers who are sensitive to petrochemical emissions from treated fibers love this mattress. The Pure-Rest line of natural mattresses are another ideal option for chemically sensitive individuals..
Air purifiers will remove chemicals from the air in your home. In addition, HEPA vacuum cleaners, and allergy masks will protect your lungs from chemicals outside of your home. Many people with MCS have thrown out their synthetic cleaning chemicals altogether and switched to steam cleaning to destroy allergens and germs. Vinegar mixed with water also makes an excellent natural cleaning solution as does lemon juice.
Remember, whenever you are exposed to synthetic chemicals, they enter your body whether you're sensitive to them or not, and MCS can develop at any time. We recommend that people avoid exposure to toxic chemicals whenever possible. Avoidance of toxic chemicals will help your immune system stay healthy.
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