• Wat is MCS ?
    MCS staat voor Multiple Chemical Sensitivity ofwel Meervoudige Chemische Overgevoeligheid.
    Mensen met MCS worden letterlijk ziek van alledaagse chemische stoffen en geuren.

T.M. Dantoft, J. Elberling, S. Brix, P.B. Szecsi, S. Vesterhauge, S. Skovbjerg

Background: Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a medically unexplained condition characterized by reports of recurrent unspecific symptoms attributed to exposure to low levels of common volatile chemicals. The etiology of MCS is poorly understood, but dysregulation of the immune system has been proposed as part of the pathophysiology.

Objective: To compare plasma levels of cytokines in Danish MCS individuals with a healthy, sex- and age-matched control group.

Method: Blood samples were obtained from 150 un-exposed MCS individuals and from 148 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Plasma concentrations of 14 cytokines, chemokines and growth and allergen-specific IgE were measured. All participants completed a questionnaire including questions on MCS, psychological distress, morbidities and medication use at the time of the study.

Results: Plasma levels of interleukin-1b, -2, -4, and -6 were significantly (P < 0.001) increased in the MCS group compared with controls, tumor necrosis factor-a was borderline significantly (P = 0.05) increased and interleukin-13 was significantly decreased (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: MCS individuals displayed a distinct systemic immune mediator profile with increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interleukin-2 and inverse regulation of Th2-associated cytokines interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 suggestive of low-grade systemic inflammation, along with a deviating Th2-associated cytokine response not involving IgE-mediated mechanisms.

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Grace Ziem and James McTamney

Patients reporting sensitivity to multiple chemicals at levels usually tolerated by the healthy population were administered standardized questionnaires to evaluate their symptoms and the exposures that aggravated these symptoms. Many patients were referred for medical tests. It is thought that patients with chemical sensitivity have organ abnormalities involving the liver, nervous system (brain, including limbic, peripheral, autonomic), immune system, and porphyrin metabolism, probably reflecting chemical injury to these systems. Laboratory results are not consistent with a psychologic origin of chemical sensitivity. Substantial overlap between chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome exists: the latter two conditions often involve chemical sensitivity and may even be the same disorder. Other disorders commonly seen in chemical sensitivity patients include headache (often migraine), chronic fatigue, musculoskeletal aching, chronic respiratory inflammation (rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, asthma), attention deficit, and hyperactivity (affected younger children). Less common disorders include tremor, seizures, and mitral valve prolapse. Patients with these overlapping disorders should be evaluated for chemical sensitivity and excluded from control groups in future research. Agents whose exposures are associated with symptoms and suspected of causing onset of chemical sensitivity with chronic illness include gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, pesticides (especially chlordane and chlorpyrifos), solvents, new carpet and other renovation materials, adhesives/glues, fiberglass, carbonless copy paper, fabric softener, formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, carpet shampoos (lauryl sulfate) and other cleaning agents, isocyanates, combustion products (poorly vented gas heaters, overheated batteries), and medications (dinitrochlorobenzene for warts, intranasally packed neosynephrine, prolonged antibiotics, and general anesthesia with petrochemicals). Multiple mechanisms of chemical injury that magnify response to exposures in chemically sensitive patients can include neurogenic inflammation (respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary), kindling and time-dependent sensitization (neurologic), impaired porphyrin metabolism (multiple organs), and immune activation.

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Stanley M. Caress and Anne C. Steinemann

In this review we summarize the findings of a two-phase study of the prevalence, symptomatology, and etiology of multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). We also explore possible triggers, the potential linkage between MCS and other disorders, and the lifestyle alterations produced by MCS. The first phase of the study consisted of a random sampling of 1,582 individuals from the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area to determine the reported prevalence of a hypersensitivity to common chemicals. In this phase, 12.6% of the sample reported a hypersensitivity. Further questioning of individuals with a hypersensitivity indicated that 13.5% (1.8% of the entire sample) reported losing their jobs because of their hypersensitivity. The second phase was a follow-up questioning of the respondents who initially reported hypersensitivity. In this phase, we found that individuals with hypersensitivity experience a variety of symptoms and triggers. A significant percentage (27.5%) reported that their hypersensitivity was initiated by an exposure to pesticides, whereas an equal percentage (27.5%) attributed it to solvents. Only 1.4% had a history of prior emotional problems, but 37.7% developed these problems after the physical symptoms emerged. This suggests that MCS has a physiologic and not a psychologic etiology. Key words: chemical injury, environmental illness, MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities, TILT, toxicant-induced loss of tolerance.

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Pamela Reed Gibson, Amy Nicole-Marie Elms and Lisa Ann Ruding

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a condition in which persons experience negative health effects in multiple organ systems from exposure to low levels of common chemicals. Although symptoms experienced from particular chemicals vary across persons, they are generally stable within persons. The sensitivities often spread over time, first to related chemicals and then to other classes of chemicals. This study examined self-reported perceived treatment efficacy of 101 treatments used by 917 persons with self-reported MCS. Treatments examined included environmental medicine techniques, holistic therapies, individual nutritional supplements, detoxification techniques, body therapies, Eastern-origin techniques, newer therapies, prescription items, and others. The three most highly rated treatments were creating a chemical-free living space, chemical avoidance, and prayer. Both creating a chemical-free living space and chemical avoidance were rated by 95% of respondents as helpful. Results for most therapies were mixed. Participants had consulted a mean of 12 health care providers and spent over one-third of their annual income on health care costs. We discuss this drain on personal resources and describe respondents’ attitudes toward the possibility of healing from MCS. Key words: chemical hypersensitivity, chemical injury, environmental allergy, environmental illness, environmental sensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity.

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Drs. M.P. Verheuvel

Meldpunt Gezondheid en Milieu, voorheen Meldpuntennetwerk Gezondheid en Milieu (1994-2012)Stichting Gezondheid en Milieu (1987-2003)

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