Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). She was a passionate advocate for the homeless and worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who serve them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week, a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air.
Researchers Confirm Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is Poisoning, Not Allergy
by Lourdes Salvador
Researchers from Japan have confirmed that multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is not an allergy.
Rather, MCS is a condition in which individuals suffer with symptoms when exposed to low levels of toxic chemicals in the environment. Several studies have shown that people with MCS are unable to break down these toxicants efficiently, a function the liver normally serves.
Researchers suggest that patients having allergic diseases may easily suffer from MCS at the same time or MCS may strengthen symptoms of allergic diseases. And though MCS and allergies may both occur in some people, they do not both occur in all people with one or the other condition.
Individuals who visited a specially built facility for Sick House Syndrome were examined in the study. Allergic rhinitis was the most popular allergic disease in the possible cases of MCS.
The key is understanding which is which so that proper targeted treatments may be selected. Testing is critical to making a proper diagnosis.
There are two types of reactions that may occur to the same chemical in different individuals:
- Chemical Allergy
- Toxicity (MCS)
In chemical allergy, the individual is actually allergic to the chemical and immunoglobulin E (IgE) is elevated. This is the type of reaction that would most readily respond to treatments such as low dose antigen therapy (LDA), nambudripad allergy elimination technique (NAET), and other allergy desensitization techniques.
In MCS, IgE is not elevated and the reaction is not allergic in nature. Often the reaction is of a toxic nature and results in neurological symptoms as opposed to typical allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and inflammation.
This neurological effect is what makes MCS disabling. The lack of IgE (allergy) renders MCS irresponsive to such treatments as LDA and NAET. Avoidance of chemical triggers is essential to maintaining functional capacity. This is often difficult to achieve as fragrances and chemicals which have neurotoxic effects are all around us.
It may appear that MCS is improving from allergy treatments in individuals who suffer from both allergies and MCS. When the allergic condition improves, it is not impacting the MCS condition as severely. The converse may also be true.
The most important information this study provides is confirmation that MCS symptoms are not easily treatable with allergy remedies. This also negates the perception that individuals with MCS overreact to what ails everyone. MCS is, based on studies showing impaired detoxification, quite literally, more attuned to chronic poisoning.
Hasegawa M, Ohtomo M, Mita H, Akiyama K. [Clinical aspects of patients with MCS - from the standpoint of allergy]. Arerugi. 2005 May;54(5):478-84.