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J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Mar;60(3):e152-e156. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001272.

National Prevalence and Effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

Author information

1
Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia; and Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), its co-occurrence with asthma and fragrance sensitivity, and effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products.

METHODS:

A nationally representative cross-sectional population-based sample of adult Americans (nā€Š=ā€Š1137) was surveyed in June 2016.

RESULTS:

Among the population, 12.8% report medically diagnosed MCS and 25.9% report chemical sensitivity. Of those with MCS, 86.2% experience health problems, such as migraine headaches, when exposed to fragranced consumer products; 71.0% are asthmatic; 70.3% cannot access places that use fragranced products such as air fresheners; and 60.7% lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace.

CONCLUSION:

Prevalence of diagnosed MCS has increased over 300%, and self-reported chemical sensitivity over 200%, in the past decade. Reducing exposure to fragranced products could help reduce adverse health and societal effects.

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