Scand J Public Health. 2009 Aug;37(6):621-6. Epub 2009 May 1.
Skovbjerg S, Brorson S, Rasmussen A, Johansen JD, Elberling J.
Danish Research Centre for Chemical Sensitivities, Department of
Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, Denmark. SINSKO01@geh.regionh.dk
BACKGROUND: Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a descriptive term
covering symptoms attributed to exposure to common airborne chemicals. There
are no internationally accepted criteria, but it has been suggested that MCS
is a chronic and disabling condition. However, details of the impact of MCS
on everyday life are limited.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the impact of MCS on everyday life, strategies for
managing the condition, and experiences with healthcare management.
METHODS: A focus group study was conducted, including two interviews with a
sample of six women and six men between 27 and 78 years of age, a duration
of MCS of at least 1 year, and with different occupational conditions.
RESULTS: MCS may severely influence different aspects of everyday life,
including lifestyle, social relations, and occupational conditions. Avoiding
common airborne chemicals was the most prevalent coping strategy, which
implied creating a chemical-free living space and limiting social
activities. Experiences with healthcare management were overall reported as
negative in terms of not receiving acknowledgement of the reported symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: MCS may have serious implications for daily functioning.
Further research on individual consequences and the social and psychological
factors that may be associated with MCS is needed in order to add to our
understanding of this condition and to the provision of more satisfactory
PMID: 19411319 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]