What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)? The Mystery Unveiled

Have you noticed that you seem to have allergy symptoms in situations where others are perfectly fine? 

Multiple chemical sensitivity aka MCS could be the culprit.

Read on to learn what it is and how to know if you have it. 

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is essentially a condition that has existed for hundreds of years and has continued to gain recognition in the medical field.

It is essentially a very low tolerance of various common chemicals that most people would not cause a reaction in most people. 

scientist checking for multiple chemical sensitivity under microscope

What are the Symptoms MCS?

The symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) include the following:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Wheezing & breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Headache & dizziness
  • Muscle & joint pain
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rashes
  • Poor memory and concentration

As you can see, the symptoms vary dramatically and could easily be attributed to several other potential diseases. The symptoms are also closely related to those of allergy sufferers. 

Symptoms collected from

woman feeling sick

Do I Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?

There is a huge question mark around MCS. While there are many who suspect that they have multiple chemical sensitivity, it is still quite difficult to diagnose. 

This is because the condition shares symptoms with various other diseases, which makes it difficult to isolate.

However, there are some promising ways to identify it such as the following:

  • Intradermal and Sublingual
  • Inhalation
  • Transfer Factor
  • Pupilography
  • Posturography

Most of these testing techniques involve exposure to low doses of certain chemicals to gauge the reaction of subjects. 

Check out this article if you suspect you might have multiple chemical sensitivity.

Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Real?

The scientific and medical communities are confused. 

The reason is that many people report these symptoms, but they often don’t have tangible, physical reactions that can be attributed to the mysterious disease. 

It’s important to understand that patients’ perspective about their disease can actually affect how severe the disease is.

However, this does not mean that “it’s all in your head.”

It simply means that it is possible to make the condition worse by obsessing over it. Simply making some solid choices that will decrease your exposure to synthetic chemicals and moving forward is the best bet.

The symptoms seem to be real, but the cause is unknown. 

MCS patients lack clear, effective treatments, and many people don’t understand or believe their condition, which makes it even harder. There are always those who prey on the confused such as pseudoscience practitioners. 

If you suffer from MCS, be sure to remain objective and realize that although you’re not sure what is happening in your body, it doesn’t mean that somebody else does. 

woman confused reality

What Can I Do if I Think I Have It? 

As always, the absolute best thing you could do is to speak with your doctor. 

However, if you’re looking for ways to avoid having the allergic attacks that can be so debilitating, there is some helpful information about living with MCS.

According to

Exposures to pesticides and solvents are most implicated in causing MCS. The types of substances that typically trigger symptoms in people with MCS are synthetic chemicals, such as those found in pesticides, plastics, and fragrances (most are manufactured from petrochemicals) and petrochemicals themselves, such as fuels and solvents extracted from crude oil or coal tar.”

This suggests that moving away from artificial chemicals, in general, is a wise move. 

  • Swap chemical-based detergents for plant-based ones
  • Swap plastic containers for glass ones
  • Swap non-stick pans for classic safe pans
  • Swap chemical-filled deodorant, makeup, soap, etc. for plant-based ones
  • Swap perfumes for plant-based essential oils 
  • Swap candles for an essential oil diffuser 


Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is a difficult disease all around. It’s difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, and difficult to live with. The symptoms of MCS are very similar to allergies, making it a very difficult disease to identify. There are tests you can do to find out if you have it, and there are things you can do to improve your situation.  

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