Thursday, October 10, 2013

Clean Air For MCS Sufferers

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Introduced by T.G. Randolph in 1954, the term "chemical sensitivity" described the inability of the adaptive mechanism of the body to handle the intake of common environmental chemicals leading to allergic reactions. The condition, rejected at that time by the majority of academic physicians, was also referred as Chemical Injury or Environmental Illness. In 1987, Mark R. Cullen introduced the term "multiple chemical sensitivity" in journals of occupational medicine starting a long-lasting debate over chemical sensitivities.

In the last decade physicians noticed an increased number of what appears to be symptoms of allergic reactions in the general population. Difficulties in breathing, rashes, congestion, nausea, rashes, and others have been linked to non-naturally occurring chemicals in the environment.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is an adverse physical reaction to low levels of many common chemicals. The National Institute of Health has defined MCS as a “chronic recurring disease caused by a person’s inability to tolerate an environmental chemical or class of foreign chemicals.”

Many MCS sufferers react to airborne chemicals such as solvents, smoke, diesel, pet fur, dander or personal care products and complain of severe sensitivity or allergic reactions when exposed to very low levels of those pollutants.

The symptoms, triggers and diagnostic uncertainties of MCS are very similar with other health conditions where the environment is the common denominator. One such example is the "sick building syndrome” (SBS) where complaints like headache, decreased impulsion and irritation of the mucous membranes appear simultaneously in several persons in a building.

While it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause,  a wide range of possible triggers such as improper ventilation, offgassing of chemicals from building materials and maintenance products, bad odors, infrasound or unfavorable illumination have been linked to MCS symptoms.

Many symptoms of MCS are similar to other health conditions but the most common reactions include:
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness and Faintness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Irregular or Rapid Heartbeat
  • Muscle and Joint Pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Mood Disturbances - Depression/Anxiety/Irritability
  • Short-term Memory Problems
  • Asthma/Breathing Problems
  • Rashes
MCS reactions could be triggered by various chemicals, from perfume to vehicle exhaust, hydrocarbon based volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) being the common ingredients.
The most common chemicals linked to MCS symptoms are:
  • Pesticides (DDT, chlordane, lindane and dieldrin)
  • Exhaust fumes (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic hydrocarbons, suspended particles)
  • Perfumes (benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, a-pinene, g-terpinene and a-terpineol)
  • Paint fumes (acetone, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene derivatives)
  • Household Cleaning Products (diethyl phthalate, toluene, hexane, xylene)
  • Personal care products (cocoamide DEA, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, acetone, benzaldehyde)
  • Furniture and carpets (acetone, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene derivatives)
  • Cigarette smoke (ammonia, acetaldehyde, acetone, benzene, butyraldehyde, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxide and toluene)
MCS is a serious condition because of its physiological symptoms and social effects. MCS sufferers tend to become more isolated as they avoid being around people wearing perfume or deodorant, or in spaces where chemicals are used frequently for cleaning or maintenance.  People affected by MCS could lose their jobs due to their sensitivity to the chemicals in the work environment. Relationships could also be affected as the partner can’t understand or adapt to living without common chemical products.

Quatro Air AF400 Air Purifier
Because the symptoms of MCS are so diverse, there is no generic medical treatment to work on all those affected. The only thing doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists agree on is that avoiding the triggers is probably the best way to help MCS sufferers.

Using a high quality air purifier can provide significant relief by reducing the concentration of airborne chemicals or completely removing them.

In order to provide the best protection for MCS sufferers, Quatro Air Technologies (1.877.978.2876) offers a line of residential and commercial portable air purifiers combining medical-grade HEPA filters and 26 blends of chemical filtration media.

Contact one of our IAQ specialists today to find the right air purifier for you.

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