Part 1: Diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? What is MCS and How Did You Get It? Did Your Perfume or Lotion Cause It?

Lotion and chemical products labelsYou haven’t been feeling well for a very long time.  You just don’t have the energy you used to have, your allergies seem to act up all the time, your headaches have become chronic, your joints and muscles hurt most of the time for no reason, and sometimes you have this tight feeling around your chest for no apparent reason.  You’ve gone to your doctor, who ran some basic blood work, and told you nothing was wrong, you don’t have Mono, you don’t have Lyme’s Disease, etc.  You think you’re crazy, but on a deeper level, you know you’re not making this stuff up, you really do feel terrible.  You continue searching for a diagnosis, maybe even going to a holistic doctor or an environmental physician.  Neither of these doctors think you’re crazy.  Instead, you’re  diagnosed with Multiple Chemical sensitivity, also called MCS.  Now you need to know what is MCS, how did you get it, and what can you do to feel better?

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) is a medical condition characterized by debilitating chemical sensitivities.  This is a very difficult diagnosis to make, and should only be diagnosed by a trained physician, such as an environmental physician.  Multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS, as it is sometimes referred to, is still under debate for some in the medical communit.  Some doctors question whether it exists, while others acknowledge that this is a medical disorder triggered by exposures to chemicals in the environment. This often begins with a short-term, severe chemical exposure, such as a chemical spill, including household cleaners, or a longer-term low level  exposure, such as a poorly ventilated office, vapors or skin exposure from your weekly used home cleaning products, perfumed body care products & perfumes

After the initial exposure, low levels of chemicals found in everyday materials such as soaps, detergents, cosmetics, perfume and newspaper inks can trigger physical symptoms in persons with multiple chemical sensitivities.

People who are/have become chemically sensitive are made sick/sicker by exposures to chemicals, even at very low levels,  found in many common products such as pesticides, perfumes, body lotions, shampoos, perfumes, new carpets, air “fresheners,” new paint and building materials, and many household cleaning and laundry products, including dryer sheets. Most of these chemicals will make everyone sick at high levels, but for chemically sensitive people, exposures to even small amounts of these substances can cause symptoms.

What is MCS:  The inflammation most chemicals cause result in aching and pain of your joints and muscles. This can easily be confused with “fibromyalgia”, which is just a Latin word for aching muscles, tendons, etc, or arthritis.  Any of the damaged areas can be painful. This can also be experienced and interpreted as nerve pain of sharp stabbing or tingling/burning type.  Additional symptoms include weakness or clumsiness of arms or feet, decreased sensation on the face, arms and legs, change in sense of smell or taste, slowness in carrying out daily activities, trembling of hands, and dizziness or problems with balance, feeling of a band around your head, sweating for no obvious reason, shortness of breath without exertion, heart fluttering/palpitations, ringing in the ears/tenacious, general exhaustion loss of sexual interest, diarrhea/constipation/stomach pains and loss of appetite or nausea, feeling irritable, impatient or restless, feeling depressed, rapid changes in mood, feeling of detachment, lack of drive, lack of interest in social activities and difficulty controlling anger, mood changes, loss of to memory and concentration, feeling confused when you try to concentrate, difficulty in concentrating, difficulty remembering what you have read or seen on TV, forgetting what you were going to say or do, difficulty remembering names and dates, having to write notes to remember things. difficulty falling asleep, broken sleep, waking up too early.  People who have been exposed, wether genetically or in adult hood are said to have a Chemical Illness.   Detoxification impairment is common in people with chemical sensitivity and chemical illness, making in much, much harder for you to get rid of, or “detoxify” your body of these stored chemicals.

If many of these symptoms occur in you or someone you know, especially a child, evaluation for chemical illness , MCS, is needed.  The more symptoms involved and the more frequently they occur, the greater the risk.  Act before disability occurs.  Check out other web site sections to find out what chemicals you are or might have been exposed to.


Our body needs energy for every single thing, from cell reproduction inside our bodies, to digging a hole done consciously on the outside of our body.  Without energy, we would die. Free  radicals can and will also attack fat cells, called lipids, lipid membrane and phospholipids. This can cause severe damage to our cells, called mitochondria, the cell structures that generate energy for every single body function.  Thus the body has impaired function of brain cells, nerve cells and heart cells (which require high energy for normal function), as these 3 areas have a high lipid (fat) layer, so chemicals are basically “drawn” to these areas of our body.  Energy damage impairs all body functions. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • low body temperature
  • ability to produce hormones
  • ability to absorb nutrients
  • ability to generate digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid for digestion
  • ability to make proteins for cell repair and maintenance
  • ability to generate new cells
  • ability to replace aging or damaged cells
  • ability to maintain proper bone structure and density
  • every other body function including impaired ability to detoxify.

I encourage you to read an article in the Washington Post on Toxic chemicals in your cosmetics and beauty products  here

Fragrances are not just pleasant odors, PDF

Fragrances are toxic chemicals you breathe and absorb through your skin.  Fragrance chemicals in fabric softeners, laundry detergents, perfumes, personal care products, lotions, body oils and many other products contribute to health problems and environmental damage.  Fragrances Are Not Just Pleasant Odors (brochure)

Fetal Prenatal Exposure:  A large New York Hospital (Columbia) is doing a study on MCS and pregnant women, “During pregnancy, the pollutants can cross the placenta and expose the developing fetus. Exposure beginning in the womb can result in delays in cognitive development, asthma and other respiratory symptoms, obesity and metabolic disorders, or changes at the molecular level that could increase children’s cancer risk. Children in the CCCEH study cohort are representative of children living in other urban areas, particularly underserved populations that are disproportionately exposed to harmful pollutants.”

This study has found that:  “Pregnant women and their babies are exposed to multiple common pollutants in air that can harm fetal and child growth and development, affect respiratory health, or increase cancer risk.   During the heating season, there is a significant difference between the indoor and outdoor nonvolatile PAH levels. These seasonal differences in concentrations may be due to increased use of fossil fuels during the heating seasons, mixing of emissions sources and different weather conditions. The semi-volatile PAHs averaged higher in the indoor air as compared to outdoor air.”  “PAH were detected in 100% of the personal air samples and PAH-DNA adducts were detected in 42% of cord bloods. The pesticide chlorpyrifos, was detected in 100% of air samples and 71% of cord bloods collected between 1998 and 2001. 40% of children were prenatally exposed to.

Phthalates were detected in 99%-100% of maternal personal air samples. Levels of phthalate exposure were generally higher among CCCEH cohort women than among women of reproductive age (18-40 years) sampled through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).   Within the NYC cohort, BPA was detected in over 90% of maternal urine samples. BPA was detected in over 95% of the children’s samples, with greater concentrations of BPA found in children at both ages 3 years and 5 years than in mothers.   Concentrations of PBDEs were found in a majority of maternal cord samples from women who were pregnant during the September 11th attacks at theWorldTradeCenter. Most women had at least one PBDE subtype above the limit of detection, with prevalence for the three most common types ranging from 59.5%-81.4%.”   “CCCEH research has shown that prenatal exposures to PAH, pesticides, secondhand smoke, and PBDEs are linked to reduced fetal growth and developmental problems in young children. These findings have important implications for health and learning ability because early developmental delays and attentional/behavioral problems such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can affect later school performance.

PAHs”  Prenatal exposure to PAH reduced birth weight and head circumference in African-American babies born to women who were more highly exposed to the air pollutants. Several studies have reported that reduction in head circumference at birth or during the first year of life correlates with poorer cognitive functioning and school performance in childhood.

Children with high prenatal exposure to PAH had significantly lower test scores at age 3 on the Bayley test for cognitive development and were more likely to be developmentally delayed.

Prenatal exposure to PAH at levels encountered in NYC air can adversely affect child IQ scores at 5 years of age. After adjustment for potential confounders, highly exposed children had Full-scale and Verbal IQ scores that were 4.31 and 4.67 points lower compared to less exposed children. These reductions are similar in magnitude to the effects of low-level lead exposure.

Pesticides:  Prenatal exposure to two household pesticides, chlorpyrifos and diazinon, which transfer easily from the mother to her fetus, reduced birth weight by an average of 6.6 ounces — the equivalent of weight reduction seen in babies born to women who smoked.

Children prenatally exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos were significantly more likely than children exposed to low levels to experience delay in both psychomotor and cognitive development, and to show symptoms of attentional disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and pervasive personality disorder at age 3. High exposure was also associated with a 6.5 point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index and a 3.3 point decrease in the Mental Development Index in 3 year olds. Although the EPA banned residential use of chlorpyrifos in 2001, this pesticide is still widely used in agriculture.”

Cancer Risk:  This study is finding that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is associated with genetic damage in babies before they are born. This type of genetic damage has been generally associated with increased cancer risk later in life.

I’ll stop here, as the study is lengthy, and I think you get the picture.

Unfortunately, neurological, immune system  and reproductive functions in adults as well as children are often damaged by chemicals that have already been thoroughly studied and known to be toxic to humans, yet are still in our everyday products.  Additionally, all fat soluble chemicals can enter the brain, and chemical brain damage can quickly and readily damage both endocrine (reproductive) and immune function. This is discussed in great detail in Chemical Brain Injury, by Dr. K. Kilburn, Van Nostrand Reinhold, and the layperson’s version, Endangered Brain, Dr. K. Kilburn, Princeton Scientific Publishing.  Both books are out of print but can be located online.

“Research indicates that children have up to a six-fold excess risk of developing leukemia when pesticides are used in the home and garden”. Article referenced: Environmental  Health Perspectives 110:955-960

Neurologic Damage in Children is Increasing

17% of school children now suffer from neurologic disorders developing in the uterus and/or infancy/childhood. Within a decade there has been an increased diagnosis of autism by almost ten fold. Studies of early lead exposure show increase of later Alzheimer’s. Attention deficit/ hyperactivity increased by 2 ½ times and a two-fold increase of children with learning disorders. Two-thirds of high volume chemicals in the US have not been tested for neurotoxicity. Environmental Health Perspectives Jan 2006.

A diet of organic food (grown without pesticides) significantly reduces body levels of toxic pesticides. Environmental Health Perspectives Jan 2006

 What does that mean?  It means the indoor air in these women’s’ homes, and most likely your home,  was more contaminated with “air pollution” then the outdoor air!!! 

When used in liquid from, various petroleum-derived chemicals are called solvents. When they evaporate, they are called “volatile organic compounds” or VOC’s.  A study of children showed both school and home sources of body solvent levels in children. Sources include “air fresheners” or “deodorizers” which are pleasant smelling petroleum-based chemicals that enter the body quickly and easily. The results indicated that not only evaporating chemicals were significant sources, but that substances absorbed through the skin, such as in cosmetics, creams, soaps, lotions, oils, etc. were likely also significant factors.  These solvents can go to the brain, nerves, and cell membranes, where they can persist for months or years, sometimes never being cleared from the body. (Environmental Health Perspectives March 2005)

Did Your Perfume or lotion Cause this problem?  HOW WERE YOU EXPOSED? Chemicals in lotion and other personal care products

I’m going to focus this part of the article on perfume and perfumed body products, which are used by amost every man and woman and child.

~There are undisclosed cancer agents in baby products!  How infuriating and upsetting is that?

Many of these products are fragrance industry products. The fragrance industry lobbied to be exempt from the law to disclose ingredients to the user, the public or their doctors! A bill to disclose cancer-causing chemicals in baby products was defeated (and opposed by the chemical industry). The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that the fragrance industry uses up to 3000 ingredients, predominantly synthetic, some 900 of which were identified as toxic. However, the industry is not required to disclose ingredients of fragrances and perfumes on their labels due to trade secrecy considerations. The FDA supports this non-disclosure on the grounds that “consumers are not adversely affected — and should not be deprived of the enjoyment” of these products.  For more information on cancer-causing chemicals and safer alternatives, visit the Cancer Prevention Coalition. To continue the effort to stop the poisoning of our children, contact your senator(s) and congressperson(s).

~Phthalate chemicals in toys have been banned by the European Union.

Phthalates are chemicals that cause hormonal disturbance and liver effects. They are widely used in various plastics to make the plastics more soft, despite the availability of alternatives. When sucked or chewed by children, phthalates in toys and other children’s plastics are swallowed. The phthalates are also widely used in medical equipment, including many oxygen masks, medical tubing, transfusion IV bags, etc. These unnecessary uses expose babies, children and individuals who are already ill to additional harm. (Article from Environmental Health Perspectives, January 2005.  Also see Phthalates in the Hazardous Chemicals section of this web site.)

~More danger in scented products.

Scented products contain chemicals that cause significant health risk. Recent research shows that synthetic musk chemicals in scented products interfere with the ability of body cells to defend themselves against toxic compounds, and this effect can last for days. (Article from Environmental Health Perspectives, January 2005).   “Fragrances are now used in almost every cleaning, laundry, and personal-care product on the market. Since people have been using perfumes for hundreds of years. It’s reasonable to wonder why the problem of using scents has surfaced only recently. Until the 20th century, perfumes were made from natural ingredients derived directly from plants and animals, and as fragrances became cheaper and more widespread, they also became more synthetic. The National Academy of Sciences reports that 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. We have been brainwashed by the industry to feel we must cover up our natural scents with toxic chemicals. Many of the same chemicals in perfumes are the same chemicals that are in cigarette smoke.

“Smelling Good But Feeling Bad, Synthetic Perfumes, Colognes and Scents Are Turning Up Noses,” Green Living Your Health, and “The Health Risks of Perfume and Other Scented Products,” – March 2002  Author’s comment: These effects from scents can surface days after the exposure, and many people do not connect the strong perfume/cologne smell on the lady or gentleman next to them at the opera to their headache or upset stomach days later

One of the big toxic offenders is perfume and other scented products. Did you know that many of the ingredients in your perfume are the exact same ingredients found in gasoline???!! The scary thing is that the perfume industry is not regulated at all, and they can put any number of chemicals in fragrance without revealing what those chemicals are, and how they affect humans.

~PAHs are a group of chemicals released into the air during the incomplete burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, coal, and other organic substances. Secondhand tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals, some of which are known to be cancer-causing.

~Chlorpyrifos are a toxic pesticide that can be inhaled following the use of spray pesticides indoors, and young children have greater exposure because they spend more time on the floor where pesticides are commonly applied. Plastics and other consumer products contain chemicals such as BPA and phthalates that can mimic or block natural hormones and thus are capable of disrupting early development.

~PBDEs are widely used flame retardant compounds that are applied to textiles, building materials, and electronic equipment and are thought to have endocrine disrupting effects. Exposure to pest allergens from cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents can cause serious allergic and asthmatic reactions. Because they co-occur in the urban setting, these contaminants may have cumulative and even interactive effects.

Toxic Cosmetic Ingredient List website

DEET repellent is neurotoxic

Insect repellents containing DEET are commonly used by children and adults. They quickly enter the blood stream by penetrating the skin. Severe illness such as toxic brain damage (encephalopathy) and seizures have been reported after use of DEET on children. Numbness or burning sensation can also occur. These are symptoms of toxic changes in the brain and nervous system.  Death can also occur from sprays, lotions, towelettes, etc. (Article from American Journal of Industrial Medicine, January 2005.)

Chlorpyrifos and cancer

Chlorpyrifos, a very toxic and widely used organophosphate (nerve gas family) insecticide in theUnited Statesis known to cause damage to the brain and nervous system.  A recent study of pesticide applicators showed increased lung cancer with chlorpyrifos exposure.  Chlorpyrifos is still used on turf (e.g., golf courses etc.), warehouses, ship holds, boxcars, factories and food processing plants. There are 800 registered products containing this poison. Article from Article from Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2005.


“Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children in the United States, with more than 12,000 new cases diagnosed each year — most commonly leukemia. The disease develops from multiple factors interacting, such as environmental pollutants, genes, nutrition, and immunologic and socioeconomic status. However, we don’t know exactly how most cancers develop; for example, scientists and physicians do not know how more than 90 percent of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia develops.

CCCEH scientists are finding that chronic prenatal exposure to air pollution (PAHs) from fuel burning is linked not only to developmental delay and asthma, but also to increased cancer risk. Results indicate early genetic damage which can lead to increased cancer risk. The developing fetus is so vulnerable because of low-functioning detoxification enzymes, lower DNA repair efficiency, and rapid cell proliferation. DNA damage can result in decreased exchange of oxygen and nutrients. Environmental insults during this critical stage of development set the stage not just for greater health problems in childhood, but for cancer and chronic diseases over a lifetime”.   Approximately 40 percent of babies in the study were born with DNA damage associated with carcinogenic PAHs.

What Do We Know About Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

It is known that chemicals cause many human diseases. Some of the chemicals that have been documented to be dangerous to human exposure are listed below.  These common chemicals known to make you sick, are toxic, and have been known to cause Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).  Check the products in your home for any of these, and if you can, throw those products out!  Please very specifically check your perfumes and perfumed products.  Fragrance free or unscented does not guarantee they do not contain fragrance chemicals: they imply they have no perceptible odor. A product labeled “unscented” may contain a masking fragrance. If fragrance is added to a product to mask or cover up the odor of other ingredients, it is not required to be put on the label. A product must be marked “without perfume” to indicate that no fragrance has been added. Ninety-five percent of the chemicals used in fragrances are petroleum-based synthetic compounds.

Six hundred or more chemical ingredients may be used in a single scent, and ninety-five percent of chemicals used in scents are derived from petroleum. Many chemicals used in scents (many designated as hazardous waste disposal chemicals) cause allergies and irritation, as well as cancer, nerve damage, and birth defects. Petroleum chemicals in perfumes are less expensive than the natural ingredients, so guess which one you get? Buy unscented or fragrance-free household products and cosmetics. Even pet products should be fragrance-free, such as kitty litter which may be perfumed.  {“I Smell a Rat,” in the book, “Living Healthy in a Toxic World,” David Steinman 1996}

Studies inCaliforniacould not find an air filter able to remove perfume particles from the air and have been able to prove that everyone in the building was reacting in some manner to the elevated chemical levels. Studies such as this are revolutionizing people’s ideas about safety and personal hygiene. It is no longer what you choose to do or use, it is what other people are forcing on you through the environment.  {“Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity,” MCS – Immune, 1996}

Even if you choose unscented products, they may still contain fragrances that could trigger a rash or allergic reaction. In a product is labeled “unscented” there may actually be “blocking” fragrances used in the manufacturing process to cover up unpleasant ingredient odors. “The product has no scent that you can smell, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t fragrances in it.” explains Amy Newburger, MD, Prevention’s dermatology advisor and Associate Professor of Clinical Dermatology atColumbiaUniversityinNew York City.  {“When ‘Unscented’ Labels Are True,” Prevention magazine, Aug. 2001}

By its own admission, the fragrance industry has tested less than half of the 3,000 raw materials it uses.{theFDACenterfor Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of Cosmetics Fact Sheet, 1995}. {“Industry Motivation: Personal Rights or Profits,” Our Toxic Times, July 2000}

Many Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for common perfumes and cosmetic ingredients specifically warn: “irritant,” “do not inhale vapors,” and “avoid contact with skin.” These same ingredients are then mixed together and sold as creams, lotions, and perfumes. Even if you are reading labels carefully, it still may be impossible to determine all of the ingredients in a product because the vast majority of cosmetic and body care manufacturers do not prepare all the ingredients in their products themselves. For example, a company that uses vitamin A may be using BHT as a preservative, but if a body care item obtains this vitamin A to use in its product it is not required to include BHT in the ingredients. The preservative BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) can cause allergic reactions and toxicity, and may convert some ingested substances such as oral contraceptives, into toxic or cancer-causing chemicals. Perfume is composed of many of the same toxic chemicals found on the EPA’s and CERCLA’s hazardous waste lists, and one or all of which in combination with one another, cause when inhaled: “central nervous system disorders, dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs and GI tract, kidney damage, headache, respiratory failure, ataxia, and fatigue, among other symptoms and illnesses,” Material Safety Data Sheets on each chemical confirm these findings. Many of the chemicals in perfumes have been shown to cause serious health problems and death in animals.  “In 1989, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recognized 884 poisonous substances (many synthetically derived from petrochemicals) from a list of 2,983 chemicals used in the fragrance industry capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, allergic respiratory reactions, skin and eye irritations. According to the National Institute of Health, in view of the escalating incidence of cancer, as well as a 58% increase in asthma over the past decade, this information is crucial.”

“Did you know that benzaldehyde, a chemical known to cause kidney damage in humans is used in fragrances, and that benzyl acetate used in fragrances is linked to a cause of pancreatic cancer? That ethyl acetate is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list known as a carcinogenic, causing kidney and liver failure and it is used in fragrances?”

{“Food For Thought, Colognes – Perfumes – Pesticides, Are They Slowly Killing You?” by columnist David Lawrence Dewey, – Oct. 1999}   Fragrances are now being used in almost every cleaning, laundry, and personal-care product on the market. We also inhale the chemical fumes which then go straight to our brains where they can do major harm.  A product labeled “unscented” may contain a masking fragrance, and if the fragrance is added to a product to mask or cover up the odor of other ingredients, it is not required to be put on the label. Most fragrances have not been tested for safety.  {“Fragrance Sensitivity,” – April 2002}

There are more than 1,000 body fragrances on the market today, according to The Fragrance Foundation, and scents are now added to many commercial products ranging from cleaning products to tissues, from candles to diapers.

The FDA’s office of Cosmetics and Colors does not require an approval process or pre-market clearance for perfumes or cosmetics containing fragrance. The manufacturer is simply required to list the collective term “fragrance” in the ingredients, a term that usually means a complex mixture of chemicals.  Fragrance is a common indoor air pollutant, and synthetic fragrance compounds accumulate in human tissue and are found in breast milk. TheInstituteofMedicineplaced fragrance in the same category as secondhand smoke in triggering asthma in adults and school age children. According to the latest information from the National Institute of Health, 26.3 million people in theU.S.have been diagnosed with asthma.   Here are some principal chemicals found in scented products and the health risks that can be involved:

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES in our household products known to cause Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

  • Acetates: Irritants which also effect the central nervous system
  • Acetone — when inhaled, it can cause mild central nervous system disturbances such as dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, slurred speech, and drowsiness. It can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
  • Alpha-pinene — can be a moderate irritant to skin, eyes, and mucus membranes.
  • Alpha-terpineol — can cause excitement, loss of muscular coordination, hypothermia, central nervous system and respiratory depression, and headache
  • Acrylic Resins: Sensitizers and irritants
  • Arsenic: Found in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and various alloys
  • Asbestos–causes mesothelioma, an unusual tumor of the linings of the chest and abdominal cavity, lung cancer, asbestosis, and an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer
  • Benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, camphor, ethanol, and others. Most fragrance chemicals are not tested for safety
  • BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) can cause allergic reactions and toxicity, and may convert some ingested substances such as oral contraceptives, into toxic or cancer-causing chemicals
  • Carbonless Copy Paper: Known to cause irritation in the respiratory tract and skin
  • Carbon Monoxide: Recent scientific research shows body damage at very low levels of carbon monoxide, suggesting there is no known safe level of carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Carpets: Emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which are neurotoxins and respiratory irritants
  • Chemical Mixtures: Toxic interactions can result from exposures to multiple solvents or petroleum-chemicals
  • Chlorinated Inorganic Compounds: Include household bleach and swimming pool chemcials
  • Chlorpyrifos/Dursban: Are potent organophosphate neurotoxins used in pesticides, which can cause long term, persistant neurologic and neurotoxic damage to humans
  • Combustion Products: Include auto and truck exhaust, oil and gas furnaces, propane grills, anything that burns can cause lung, heart, and genetic damage
  • Consumer Products: Many can induce or exacerbate significant respiratory effects. Copper: Inhaling copper dust or fumes can result in changes in the lungs that resemble silicosis
  • Cyclohexane: Solvent, varnish and paint remover, and used in the manufacture of nylon
  • Diazinon: Potent organophosphate pesticide neurotoxin that disrupts the nervous system by interfering with nerve transmitters
  • Dichlorobenzene (paradichlorobenzene): Used in most modern mothballs as a replacement for naphthalene
  • Dibromochloropropane–causes infertility in men
  • Diesel: Can increase repiratory inflammation, cause lung disease, and brain impairment
  • Dimethyl Ether: toxic to the brain
  • Epoxies: Irritants and sensitizers
  • Formaldehyde: Very common in building and consumer product, and can cause asthmatic and other symptoms
  • Glycol Ethers: Solvents used in many products, including paints, degreasers, cosmetics, and perfumes
  • Hexane (n-hexane): Solvent used in gasoline, shoes, furniture finishing products, and many other products
  • Hydrogen Sulfide: Highly toxic and flammable gas produced as a by-product of oil refineries and other industries
  • Isocyanates: Respiratory sensitizer, which can cause asthma
  • Isofenphos: Highly toxic organophosphate pesticide, which can cause long-term nervous system damage
  • Kepone–causes infertility in men and neurological disorders
  • Malathion: Highly toxic organophosphate pesticide, which can cause long-term nervous system damage
  • Methanol: Methyl alcohol, which, in the body, breaks down into more toxic formic acid and formaldehyde
  • Methyl Bromide:  A highly toxic fumigant
  • Methylene Chloride: Solvent used in many ways, including as a degreaser, paint remover, and in the coffee decaffeination process
  • Mineral Spirits: Used commonly as a mild solvent and paint thinner, can induce persisting fatigue
  • Naphtha (see Petroleum Distillates): Solvents used in many industrial processes and consumer products
  • Organophosphates: Developed byGermanyin WWII as nerve gas agents, now used in insecticides
  • Organotin Compounds: Used in making PVC, wood preservation products, and as biostats
  • Particle Exposure: Such as from diesel can cause lung irritation, and, if small enough, can enter the blood stream
  • Perfume Scented Products and Chemical Injury: Perfume, Scented Products and Chemical Injury:
  • 95% of the ingredients in fragrances are synthetic petrochemicals, among which are irritants and neurotoxins as shown by the EPA. 
  • An analysis of six different mainstream perfumes by Scientific Instrument Services, released in November 1998, identified over 800 ingredients with distinctive patterns for each perfume. These ingredients include a wide range of volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals which are thus a significant contributors to indoor air pollution.
  • Perchlorethylene [Tetrachloroethylene]: Central nervous system depressant used in dry cleaning and as a degreaser
  • Peracetic Acid: An antimicrobial and bleaching agent
  • Permanent Press and Other Formaldehyde Treated Fabrics: Can cause dermatitis and eczema; eye, nose, and throat irritation; and headaches
  • PestControl: Information on safe pest control for your workplace, home, and schools.
  • Pesticides and Immune Effects: Include immune impairment, altered estrogen metabolism, and neuromuscular changes
  • Pesticides and Chemical Injury: The increased risk from pesticide exposure of cancer, auto immune disease, sensitization, brain damage, hormonal effects, as well as exposure symptoms
  • Phenol: Uses include manufacture of weedkillers, synthetic resins, drugs, and antiseptics, and is highly toxic to the brain
  • Piperonyl Butoxide: Added to pesticides to make them more toxic
  • Propylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether: Used as a solvent in making inks, dyes, stains, cellulose, acrylics, and other products, with liver damage resulting from repeated exposure
  • Pyrethrin Pesticides: Potent sensitizers of the skin and respiratory tract, and in the brain can cause convulsions
  • Pyrethroids: Pesticides which can over-excite the nervous system, altering the function of the nerves and brain
  • Sick Buildings: Indoor air pollution that leads to illness
  • Toluene/Xylene: Solvents, which the body has great difficulty metabolizing and eliminating
  • Toxic Pollutants, Science, and Corporate Influence: Concerns ambient air standards for toxic pollutants
  • Trichloroethane (1,1,1-Trichloroethane): Compound responsible for ozone depletion
  • Tobacco smoke–the major cause of lung cancer,P00480/

Exposure to certain chemicals may cause reactions similar to those experienced with allergies. Chemicals that may cause sensitivity may include synthetic and natural substances found in:  Air freshener sprays, pumps and reed sticks; Body lotion; Body oils; Carpeting; Plastics; Perfumes; Plants; Paint; shampoos; Cigarette smoke, just to name a few.

There are many other chemicals under investigation and the problem continues to grow because of the ever increasing production of organic chemicals.  Fifty four percent of the personal care products violate safety recommendations.

Nearly 70% of all products reviewed were found to have products tainted with impurities that may be linked to cancer and other health problems.

Over the course of monitoring the cosmetics industry, the FDA has banned a mere 9 personal care products!

Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity may, and often do resemble other medical conditions. Always consult a properly trained doctor for a correct diagnosis!

The list above is just a few alarming substances found in your personal care products, whose damage may accumulate over time and cause you to wake up one day with a serious long term health problem that you didn’t see coming.

Interestingly, the New CDC Policy Limits the Use of Fragranced Products in All CDC Facilities Nationwide

In June 2009, the CDC implemented a new indoor environmental quality policy for all its facilities. This policy prohibits, among other things:

Incense, candles, or reed diffusers

Plug-in or spray air fresheners

The policy also states: “[The] CDC encourages employees to be as fragrance-free as possible when they arrive in the workplace. Fragrance is not appropriate for a professional work environment, and the use of some products with fragrance may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.”  Click here to download the entire 13-page CDC policy.

Recent Research from Chemical Sensitivity Foundation Board Member Dr. Anne Steinemann.  CSF Board member Dr. Anne Steinemann, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Public Affairs at the Universityof Washington, has recently published important research documenting the presence of a large number of toxic chemicals in widely used fragranced products, including detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners, disinfectants, cleaning products, shampoos, and other household and personal-care products.  Read more about Dr. Steinemann’s research 


  • A.        air purity, air pollution, air filters, air purifiers, amalgam, asbestos, asbestosis, autism, allergy, allergies, atopy, atopic issues, atopic eczema, asthma, APEO, aspartame, aluminium, antibiotics, anti-depressants, air conditioners, anti-bacterials, aquagenic pruritis, aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, artificial musk, allergens, algae, alcohol, avoidance, alkanolamines, ayurvedic products/principles, auto deodorizer, acupuncture, aromatherapy, Auro paints, air travel,
  • B.         bacteria, brominated compounds, boron, borates, borax, breathing problems, bodycare products, benzene, bleach, bisphenol, bio-accumulators, borneol, benzyl benzoate, batteries, boilers, buying organic, biocides, Biosis, Biofa, butane,
  • C.        crystals , crystal healing, crystal therapy, cosmetics, cars chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, CFIDS, chlorine, consumer products, chloramines, cleanliness, chemicals, charcoal, candida, carpets, car smell, CSIRO, chemical sensitivity, carbon monoxide, carcinogens, chlorine dioxide, clean air, caffeine, creosote, cresols, camphor, central heating, conservation, CAT, Centre for Alternative Technology, chlorinated hydrocarbons, coalescents, congeners, car deodouriser, car deodorizer, car filter, CFS book, chlorhexidene, clotrimazole, Crown, canesten, chi, chlorinated sugars,
  • D.        dioxins, dentistry, drinking water, detergents, dust mites, diazepam, DIY products, dishwash liquid, dechlorinators, water dechlorinating salts, Danish painter’s syndrome, dyes, dandruff, dander, dehumidifier, dichloromethane, DCM, DDT, diesel, DEA, diethanolamine, water dechlorinator, deodorizer dothiepin, dulux,
  • E.         EMR, ELF, electromagnetic radiation, eczema, E numbers, environmental illness, E.I., ethylene, epoxy, Ecos paints, environmentalism,
  • F.         fluoride, flame retardents, food intolerance, fabric treatments, fresh food, food combining, food additives, formaldehyde, fridges, food colours, flour improvers, flaky skin, fossil fuels, fibreglass, fumes, fungi, fragrances, fluoride-free toothpowder, formaldehyde donors,
  • G.        gas, geopathic stress, GWS, gulf war syndrome, glycols, GM, genetically modified, green issues, green building store, glues, glue sniffing,
  • H.        homes, heavy metals, herbicides, homoeopathy, hormone disruptors, handwash, headache, humidify, humidifier, hormone mimic, harvest mites, HDRA, homeopathy, holzweg paints, hexachlorophene,
  • I.          inks, insulation, isocyanates, itchy skin, indoor pollution, in-car pollution, immunisation, IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, ironing, ironing board cover, irritants, itchy scalp, intolerance, ICI,
  • J.          jeyes fluid, jabs, janitorial supplies, jelly, jewelry, jojoba, juniper, juice,
  • K.        kaolin, kava kava, kelp, keratin, ketone, kevlar, ki,
  • L.         lead, laminates, latex, lino, linoleum, laundry, low level ozone, laureth, livos paints, lindane, lead glazes, limonene,
  • M.        mobile phones, mobile phone masts, mercury, microwaves, MDF, migraine, migraine types, migraine remedy, M.E., magnet therapy, myalgic encephalomyelitis, MCS, multiple chemical sensitivity, moths, moth repellants, mothballs, MMR, M.E. books, molecular sieves, multani mitti, mutagenic, mutation, musk, microparticulates, mould, mould spores, migraine relief, migraine triggers, mimic, moss, methylene chloride, methanol, mannitol, metoclopramide, motilium, multiple chemical sensitivity,
  • N.        nickel, naptha, naphthalene, new car smell, nano particles, nano technology, noxious fumes, noxious chemicals, natural products, natural handwash, natural dishwash liquid, nicotine, nuclear power, natural alternatives, “nasties”, natural cosmetics, natural paints, natural toothpowder, nystatin,
  • O.        organophosphates, organic issues, organic food, organic clothing, organic products, organic paints, ozone, orange oil, organic credentials, office, office machines,
  • P.         plastics, packaging, plastic toys, PVC, polyvinyl chloride, PCB’s, pesticides, pet allergy, phenylalanine, paper, PVFS, paint, post viral fatigue syndrome, phthalates, probiotics, paraffins, pruritis, perfumes, plasticizers, pollen, pollutants, pot pourri, polystyrene, paint strippers, psoriasis, photocopiers, preservatives, phosphates, personal air-purifier, PVFS books,
  • Q.        quartz, quartz crystals, quorn,
  • R.         radon, refrigerators, respirable particulates, recycling, radiation, radioactivity, radiators,
  • S.         soap, solvents, sweeteners, saccharin, salt, sugar, sleep, saturated fats, skin, SAD, seasonal affective disorder, shampoo, sick building syndrome, sensitizers, symbiosis, smog, sweat rash, static, static ions, static electricity, scents, styrene, sustainability, Soil Association, spreading, skin problems, stinging eyes, sorbitol, SLS, SLES, sodium lauryl sulphate, surfactants, stabilisers, syndets, synthetic detergents, silica, silicates, smells,
  • T.         tetra, tetra masts, tap water, toothpaste, terpenes, turpentine, tartrazine, toxicity, toxic fumes, toxic chemicals, tidal power, trihalomethane, true allergy, TEA, triethanolamine,
  • U.        UV, ultra-violet radiation, uranium, UKROFS,
  • V.        varnish, VOCs, vaccines, valium, vinyl, volatile organic compounds, vinyl chloride, viruses, vegans, vegetarians, vastu, vaastu products/principles,
  • W.       wood fibres, water, water filters, water purity, westernized ailments, wind power, woodworm treatment, wearable air-purifier,
  • X.        X-ray, xylitol, xanthan gum,
  • Y.        yellow tartrazine, yeasts,
  • Z.         zeolite, zero tolerance, zu,

Treatment for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
Treatment for MCS usually involves avoiding the chemicals that produce symptoms. This can be quite difficult, since chemicals are ever-present in modern life. The most severely affected find that they are virtually imprisoned in their homes (where they can more easily control substance exposures) due to the effects of MCS.  Fortunately, most MCS patients aren’t this severely affected, although they must still use extreme caution when encountering chemical exposures.

Patients must undergo a laborious process of finding out which chemicals must be avoided by first eliminating them from their environment and then introducing them, one by one, to test their effects. Since many MCS patients report food intolerances, an elimination dietcan be very helpful in pinpointing particular food sensitivities.It is often necessary for MCS patients to remove offensive materials (such as carpeting or stained cabinetry) and furnishings (such as old bedding and upholstered furniture) from their homes, replacing them with things that are made specifically for the chemically sensitive. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but may help MCS patients can function to the best of their ability.

Some providers also recommend detoxification treatments, such as saunas. However, if you are one of the many MCS patients with orthostatic intolerance, use caution because warm environments are known to worsen those symptoms. Nutritional supplements and exercise are other treatments offered by MCS specialists.

PDF of doctors & resources for MCS patients

Please use this list of resources article  to learn more about proper diagnosis, symptoms and causes of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.


This article is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.

~~ there is no price on human life and health ~~

~~ Become an Educated Consumer ~~

~~ Read Labels, Ask Questions ~~

~~ Don’t Use OTC Cleaning Products That Don’t List Which Toxic Chemicals Specifically Are In It ~~

~~ Don’t Take “NO” For an Answer If You Feel Sick ~~


Tammy Baile, Young Living Essential Oil Distributor, New JerseyTammy Baile Young Living Essential Oils Distributor # 1156558 I'm looking forward to helping you get "on with living" in a happy, healthy, chemical and pain-free way as I, my family and our pets have. Contact Tammy Order essential oils and wellness products here!

About Tammy Baile

For the first time in years I awake refreshed and ready to start the day. I no longer awake feeling like I've already run the Boston Marathon and dreading getting out of bed,  hobbling to the coffee pot.  Make no mistake, I don't run to the coffee pot, but now I can walk upright, without pain or with minimal managable pain, instead of walking hunched over holding onto the walls to get me there.  I'm currently using many different Young Living Essential Oils for aromatherapy as well as a holistic organic alternative treatments. My personal history has been grounded in medicine for the last 29 years, since the age of 20.  Before I became disabled with Systemic Lupus (SLE), I was a nurse, paramedic & EMT.  After a severe cervical spine issue resulting in a spinal fusion with a full Titanium shoulder,  I took my vast wealth of knowledge in medicine,  became a Medical Paralegal, where I worked until my Systemic Lupus became so severe that I am now permanently disabled for the last 11 years.  I live at the beautiful Jersey Shore,  as a single mom of a wonderful supportive 12 year old daughter. The Thieves products have also been a godsend for me.  I love using a "green" cleaner   that actually works!  We use the Thieves household cleaner for every cleaning job in our house now including mold, and the Thieves waterless hand sanatizer is with me at all times.  I have used the Thieves foaming hand soap and Thieves Essential Oil  to clean and subsequently heal severe cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds in our horse that everyone told me would require a vet visit, stitches & antibiotics.  No stitches or antibiotics were needed for our horse.  I've also successfully managed the horses hoof Thrush with Thieves foaming hand soap.  The Thrush was completely gone after just one application. I hope my articles, knowledge, experiences, and tips provide a wealth of information for you and your family on your wellness path. Contact me if you have questions or need assistance ordering. Order Here!

2 thoughts on “Part 1: Diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? What is MCS and How Did You Get It? Did Your Perfume or Lotion Cause It?

  1. Miche
    August 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    HI Tammy, that’s a great article you’ve written there. I do believe that using perfume can cause a person to be chemically sensitive, in my case at the least. I have written about it here Fragrances are making my life awful and I really want people to know that this could happen to them.

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