It’s not unheard of to share an office or classroom with someone who politely requests you change your fabric softener or maybe not splash on your cologne or perfume quite so heavily each morning – or at all, if you please. These people may have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, brought on by exposure to mold.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is an allergy-like problem that has been steadily gaining awareness over the past few years. It’s not new, and it’s not overly rare. Approximately 5 to 25 percent of Canadians are affected to one degree or another, but the government and medical science only recognized it as an actual illness in the early 2000s.
Mold and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is thought to be caused by significant exposure to mold as well as other chemical pollutants or allergens. In the past, toxic mold exposure in the home or workplace has lead to the development of MCS in healthy adults – something a mold inspection would catch before it resulted in this serious illness.
While mold allergies can be severe and exposure to toxic mold can lead to serious illnesses and respiratory issues, the repercussions of MCS are much more significant – many have to quit their jobs, stop going out in public and wear full-face air purification masks on airplanes.
The Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
MCS is sometimes thought of as an allergy – the immune system overreacting to a foreign pollutant – but they’re not the same. The symptoms are very different and more extreme than most seasonal or environmental-related allergies, and include gastrointestinal issues, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and muscle pain. Even worse, areas that are thought of as clean or sterile are often teaming with indoor air quality issues that will affect those with MCS, like hospitals for example, which use alcohol, disinfectants and various cleaners religiously. These cleaners, such as hand sanitizer, hurt indoor air quality just as much as fabric softeners, scented candles, perfumes, smoke, aerosols and other scented products. If even a small amount of any of these products are present in an enclosed space, it may render a person affected by MCS unable to even step foot inside.
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