Studies estimate that 16% of Americans exhibit symptoms of chemical sensitivity. Roughly 6% of those meet the established criterion for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). MCS is a chronic condition that affects multiple organ systems, not specific to any gender, age, socioeconomic group, or nationality. The onset can be gradual as a result of chronic low-level exposure, or sudden as a result of a single acute toxic exposure. Damage may be permanent and irreversible. The primary recognized treatment is avoidance of all chemical exposures.

Many everyday products may contain unregulated chemicals that are neurotoxins and may trigger a reaction from low-level exposures, including personal and laundry care items, perfumes, colognes, lotions, deodorants, hair dyes, scented candles, air fresheners, cleaning products, plastics, carpet, vehicle exhaust, herbicides, and pesticides. Some people with MCS have been shown in studies to have slow detoxification systems that hinder the breakdown of these substances. Symptoms from exposure can range from minor annoyances to life-threatening reactions. Other conditions that are frequently comorbid with MCS include chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

The mission of MCS America is to gain respect and understanding for the many men, women, and children suffering with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), toxic/chemical injury (TI/CI), and other related disabilities through brochures, printed materials, newsletters, support groups, public awareness campaigns, and lobbying for the full recognition of MCS in the medical and legal communities while promoting mutual respect between fellow human beings and encouraging all members of the MCS community to participate and create a world in which there is no threat of toxic injury.

MCS America wants the same recognition for MCS that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently granted to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. MCS is particularly significant when one considers that this condition impacts an estimated 16% of the population as opposed to 7% who are affected by diabetes, which most Americans are familiar with, costing billions in treatments, lost income due to missing work, and absenteeism from school.

Janice Trease, Chapter Coordinator for MCS Nebraska, a subsidiary of MCS America, notes that even though the Midwest is not heavily populated, she sees signs of MCS around her every day. Some sufferers are not aware of their own condition in the early stages and resources are scarce in Nebraska. A sufferer of MCS herself, she travels 150 miles to Missouri, the nearest treatment center, for medical care. "Chemical sensitivity affects every aspect of my life. Every contact must be closely monitored. MCS requires hyper-vigilance to avoid an unexpected exposure that can cause severe life-altering reactions," said Trease.

Trease looks forward to the day when MCS is fully researched and recognized. Her all time favorite quote by Schopenhauer is "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is regarded as self evident." She says it will be a great day to celebrate when the scientific community confirms the biomarkers for MCS and the community regards it as self-evident.

Nebraska residents interested in joining MCS Nebraska and participating in a discussion group may apply at:

MCS Nebraska Support Group.

For more information, referrals, and resources on MCS Nebraska, see the MCS Nebraska subsidiary website at MCS Nebraska.

For more information on MCS America, see MCS America.

To join MCS America for support, information, and activism, apply at: MCS America Members Support Group.

To subscribe to MCS America News, a monthly newsletter, send an email to subscriptions@mcs-america.

About the Author

Lourdes Salvador is a writer and social advocate based in Hawaii. She is a passionate advocate for the homeless, having worked with her local governor to open new shelters and provide services to the homeless in a new approach to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for victims of multiple chemical sensitivity. Since 2006, she has been the president of MCS America and a featured monthly writer for MCS America News. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005. She also serves as Partner, Environmental Education Week and Partner, Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE). For more information about Lourdes and her advocacy work, please visit:,, and

Copyrighted © 2007 Lourdes Salvador