Multiple chemical sensitivity can include a wide range of symptoms, which some people link to their environment. It’s also known as “environmental illness,” “sick building syndrome,” or “MCS.” Your doctor may call it “idiopathic environmental intolerance.”
The symptoms people report is wide-ranging. They include a headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rash, diarrhea, bloating, gas, confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; in broad terms, it means an unusually severe sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to many different kinds of pollutants including solvents, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke, and “chemicals.”
The problem is ongoing, ie. chronic, and not a “one-off” event. The same symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposure to the same triggers. The patient is affected by many different triggers. The patient improves when triggers are absent.
This disorder is often the late stage diagnosis for Pilots and Flight Attendants due to repeated low dose residual or even multiple Fume Events. It surfaces and causes many health complications which can be triggered from a wide array of causes such as toxic dyes, vapors and chemicals from uniform pieces as suffered with at American Airlines. These crew will have relapses from common items which never bothered them in the past. They will now often endure horrific and disabling effects when exposed to items such as chemical deodorizers like Febreze, certain perfumes, deodorized air in hotels or casinos, household cleaners, pesticides in the home or onboard the aircraft. Some will even begin having extreme reactions to simple barbicide used to disinfect combs and brushes at barber shops and hair salons.
Their world becomes a new unexpected minefield of products that can create surprise toxic reactive events. These responses can include body rashes, welts, severe respiratory distress, disorientation, blurred vision, vertigo, ringing in the ears, nose bleeds, migraines, nausea, nerve pain and even temporary unconsciousness. This is why Flight Attendants need to take special care in monitoring and documenting their level of exposure to Fume Events and their frequency. As this is the main reason why some Cabin Crew have more severe reactive symptoms compared to their fellow counterparts with the same type of exposures.
Knowledge is Power
Link: MCS Fume Event
Link: Environmental Resource