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Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)  involves an unusually severe sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to numerous pollutants including solvents, Volatile Organic Compound, perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke, “chemicals” in general. Environmental triggers can include pollen, house dust mites, and pet fur & skin.

There is much debate in the medical fraternity as to whether such a syndrome exists, but it is a very real experience for sufferers, who may have to move away from the city into a low chemical environment until they can recover.

Why does it occur? It is thought to arise after a person detoxification systems is overwhelmed by toxic load. This can take the form of acute exposure (e.g. poisoning by eating heavily contaminated seafood), or chronic low grade exposure such as long term use of personal care items (like make-up and perfume), exposure to work chemicals (paints, solvents and glues), medication use and inhalation of occupational toxins (like dust,  carpets chemical out gassing, building materials etc.)

How do you treat MCS?

  • Investigate – there are many tests to check liver detox capacity, environmental chemical exposure and oxidative stress levels. Tests include those done in regular labs like liver and kidney function tests, those done in functional labs like Functional Liver Detox profile, Environmental Chemical exposure tests, Hair mineral analysis (to screen for heavy metal exposure), and oxidative stress test using a CR300. Genetic profiling can identify people who are genetically predisposed to not eliminating toxins as effectively as others. Some practitioners use live blood testing to visually assess what is happening in the patient’s blood.
  • Avoid – minimise exposure to environmental chemical as much as is feasible. Eat organic foods grown without pesticides, drink purified water and ensure personal care items and cleaning products are free of harmful chemicals. Ensure your environment is supportive (see reference 2 below)
  • Detoxify – there are specific programs to gently release chemical burden for the body. Some  naturopaths supervise personalised Detox programs and prescribe products to effectively eliminate a client’s toxic burden. Far Infra red saunas may be of benefit.
  • Support – counselling and emotional support is essential to give hope and effective resolution for sufferers. Nutritional support to replace required minerals, vitamins and nutrients is essential.

For sufferers, MCS is real entity that can be helped with the right investigations, treatment and support.


  1. http://sevencanaries.com.au for suppliers and tips on low chemical living
  2. http://www.buildingbiology.com.au – see 10 tops tips on the front page of this website
  3. http://www.buildingbiology.com.au/index.php/Biology/healthy-home-healthy-family.html A great book to read by Nicole Biljsma to keep your home and family healthy
  4. alldegreesofhealth.com.au An Melbourne based Wellness Centre with trained professionals, diagnostic tests, Far Infra red sauna and range of testing options to identify and correct underlying imbalance.

Article by Doreen Schwegler, BApSc (RMIT), DipApSc (SSNT). Doreen is a Functional Medicine Practitioner, Naturopath and Natural Fertility Specialist in Essendon Melbourne

Live Blood Testing26/5/16