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Toxicol Ind Health. 1999 Apr-Jun;15(3-4):386-97.

A controlled comparison of symptoms and chemical intolerances reported by Gulf War veterans, implant recipients and persons with multiple chemical sensitivity.

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  • 1Department of Family Practice, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 78284-7794, USA. millercs@uthscsa.edu


Using the Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (EESI), a standardized instrument for measuring chemical sensitivity, we obtained and compared ratings of symptoms, chemical (inhalant) intolerances, other intolerances (e.g., drugs, caffeine, alcohol, skin contactants), lifeimpact, and masking (ongoing exposures) in five populations: multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) patients who did (n = 96) or did not (n = 90) attribute onset of their illness to a specific exposure event, patients with implanted devices (n = 87), Gulf War veterans (n = 72), and controls (n = 76). For each patient group, mean scores on the first four scales were significantly greater than for controls. MCS patients reported avoiding more chemical exposures (were less masked) than the other groups. Across groups, for a given level of symptoms, as masking increased, mean scores on the Chemical Intolerance Scale decreased. In contrast, mean scores on the Other Intolerance Scale appeared to be less affected by masking. These findings suggest that some patients with antecedent chemical exposures, whether exogenous (chemical spill, pesticide application, indoor air contaminants) or endogenous (implant), develop new chemical, food, and drug intolerances. Reports of new caffeine, alcohol, medication, food, or other intolerances by patients may signal exposure-related illness. Masking may reduce individuals' awareness of chemical intolerances, and, to a lesser degree, other intolerances.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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