Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
There are has been an increase in the chemicals in our environment since WWII, leaving us now with 88 thousand unregulated chemicals in our daily lives. Women are exposed to 127 chemicals just getting ready in the morning using their regular shampoo, perfumes, hair products, lotions and makeup. No wonder it is estimated that 70 to 80% of chemical sensitivity sufferers are female1! Exposure can also come from paints, carpets, furniture, plastics, clothing, personal body products, household cleaning products, Xenobiotics, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and pesticides. Exposure to all chemicals can trigger an increase in inflammation2 which can explain the varied symptoms that come with this syndrome. The increase of chemicals in the environment has lead to a dramatic health decline in those who are overexposed, and for those who are sensitive.
Multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) is a syndrome characterized by symptoms displayed by the affected person after low-level exposure to chemicals, or after a dramatic high exposure (such as a chemical spill). Most of us are exposed to chemicals on a low level in our daily lives, although some are more susceptible to symptoms than others. According to different studies, about 15% of the world’s population are reporting sensitivities to chemicals1,3. The full extent of why this happens to some more than others is not known. Some believe it can be linked to dramatic high exposure leading to sensitivity2, genetics4, or other illnesses or situations that leave the body toxic and weak like Lyme Disease, Heavy Metal toxicity, mold toxicity5 or other conditions. There are very few guidelines medical doctors have to treat this condition, leaving many patients without proper care or symptom management6.
Symptoms of MCS may vary from person to person, but can include fatigue, pain, fibromyalgia7, breathing and lung difficulties, electric hypersensitivity, autoimmunity8, neurological symptoms (nerve pain, seizures, etc), dizziness, nausea, skin conditions (eczema, rashes, hives, itchiness), elevated liver enzymes, thyroid problems, increased occurrence of colds and flus, noise sensitivity9, brain fog, digestive discomfort (gas, bloating, cramping)10, headaches, migraines, weight loss or gain, fainting, anxiety and depression11 and more.
This syndrome can be isolating, as some sufferers become home bound due to the amount of chemicals and fragrances in the everyday world and the severity of their symptoms. Chemical sensitivity is not always this severe, although many others find themselves avoiding certain stores that have high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that come from the off gassing of the products sold in the store. Others find they just need to avoid certain perfumes and products, or ask for some changes in their work environment.
At Ananta Health our first approach is to make sure our environment is safe for those with MCS. We only use natural products to clean our office, and our staff avoids the use of perfumes. With half the staff also sensitive to chemicals, we take the utmost care to protect our patients. After a patient is assessed on the BioMeridian, a treatment plan is then set in place. Any factors that can be contributing to stress in the body are addressed, including digestive problems, Lyme Disease, heavy metal toxicity, mold toxicity, electromagnetic exposure and Genomics. The patient’s plan is individual for their situation, including diet and lifestyle changes as well as herbs and supplements. The management of MCS is a life long journey, but with careful care, the symptoms can be managed and reduced making living in our toxic world more tolerable.
(1) Lipson, J.G., Doiron, N. (2006, August 27).Environmental Issues and Work: Women with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16844671
(2) Fukuyama, T., Ueda, H., Hayashi, K., Tajima, Y., Shuto, Y., Saito, T.R., Harada, T., Kosaka, T. (2008, July 30). Detection of Low-Level Environmental Chemical allergy by a Long-term Sensitization Method. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18571882
(3) Salvador, L. ( 2011, June 11). World Health Organization Meeting on MCS and EHS. Retrieved from http://www.ei-resource.org/columns/mcs-america/world-health-organization-meeting-on-mcs-and-ehs/
(4) De Luca, C., Scordo, M.G., Cesareo, E., Pastore, S., Mariani, S., Maiani, G., Stancato, A., Loreti, B., Valacchi, G., Lubrano, C., Raskovic, D., De Padova, L., Genovesi, G., Korkina, L.G. (2010, November 1). Biological Definition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from Redox State and Cytokine Profiling and not from Polymorphisms of Xenobiotic-Metabolizing Enzymes. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20430047/
(5) Rea, W.J. (2016, September 1). History of Chemical Sensitivity and Diagnosis. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27383867
(6) Vishwanatha, K., Palmquist, E., Nordin, S. (2015, April 27). Extent and Orientation of Coping in Chemical Intolerance. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25921478
(7) De Luca, C., Raskovic, D., Pacifico, V., Chung Sheun Thai, J., Korkina, L. ( 2011, July 1).The Search for Reliable Biomarkers of Disease in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Other Environmental Intolerances. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155329/#b153-ijerph-08-02770
(8) Karlson, E.W., Watts, J., Signorovitch, J., Bonetti, M., Wright, E., Cooper, G.S., McAlindon, T.E., Costenbader, K.H., Massarotti, E.M., Fitzgerald, L.M., Jajoo, R., Husni, M.E., Fossel, A.H., Pankey, H., Ding, W.Z., Knorr, R., Condon. S., Fraser, P.A. (2007, January). Effect of Glutathione S-transferase Polymorphisms and Proximity to Hazardous Waste Sites on Time to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Diagnosis: Results from the Roxbury Lupus Project. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17195228
(9) Heinonen-Guzejev, M., Koskenvuo, M., Mussalo-Rauhamaa, H., Vuorinen, H.S., Heikkilä, K., Kaprio, J. (2012, September 14). Noise Sensitivity and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Scales: Properties in a Population Based Epidemiological Study. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23117535
(10) Ståhlberg, L., Palmquist, E., Nordin, S. (2016, July 7). Intolerance to Environmental Chemicals and Sounds in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Explained by Central Sensitization? Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27387510
(11) Cui, X., Lu, X., Hisada, A., Fujiwara, Y., Katoh, T. (2015, March 20). The Correlation Between Mental Health and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survey Study in Japanese Workers. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25500796
Hay fever is said to affect the masses, it is estimated that 20% of the population suffers from this type of allergy. Hay fever is an allergic response to airborne substances such as pollen, or mold that occurs mostly in the spring and throughout summer months. Reactions to these substances can be in the form of watery itchy eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, headaches and fatigue. Common treatment for hay fever is the use of anti-histamines that will lessen the allergic response. These over the counter medications can have unfortunate side effects leaving the user with a list of other symptoms.
Dr Risk and Dr. Kohlman use BioMeridian testing to determine stress in the body, as well as food and environmental sensitivities that can be contributing to the histamine response in hay fever. Other factors that can increase hay fever symptoms are diet, candida, parasites, metal toxicity and other stress factors. Generally, a treatment plan deals with all the contributing factors, life style changes and careful management during spring when hay fever symptoms are at their worse.
Having a flood or leak in a house can seem to be an inconvenience just when having to clean it up, or fix damages. The long lasting effects of water damage, unfortunately is often not spoken about. Toxic Mold is one cause of an environmental illness, which can result from a flood or leak within the home. Sometimes flooding or leaking is so minimal or hidden it leaves the home owner unaware that there is a problem. Not everyone is aware when they are exposed as it can be from a multitude of places such as their work, school, or a new exposure at home.
Mold can sometimes be apparent by signs of a “musty” smell in the affected area, or yellow water marks on a ceiling or wall from a flood or leak. If moisture is detected on windowsills or walls, or if black mold is visible, these are signs that there is a problem. These areas should always be investigated by a professional mold remediation company. It is not recommended to undertake mold removal yourself, as if done incorrectly, can leave you and your family more vulnerable. “Black Mold”, as it is often called, is caused by Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra), and other fungi that can cause this problem are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus.
Mold reproduces by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye, and creates a mycotoxin, which is a defense against the fungi’s enemies. Mycotoxins are toxic to humans and animals1, and can cause a host of health problems. It is not uncommon for those with Lyme Disease to be extremely sensitive to exposure, or to link their initial decline in health to mold exposure. Those who have had mold exposure can often look back and see a decline in health after a flood in their house or office. Exposure is not safe for anyone, although there are those who are more sensitive including those with Lyme Disease, asthma, children, the elderly as well as those who have a compromised immune system, and compromised genetics for detoxification.
Common symptoms of mold toxicity include: Respiratory illnesses2, sinusitis3, rhinitis4, asthma5, shortness of breath, sore throat, immune dysfunction6, swollen lymph nodes, cough, skin rashes and hives, reddening of eyes, allergies (environmental and food), allergy to mold, fatigue, lethargy, dizziness, light headedness, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, seizures, blood pressure irregularities, bleeding in lungs, urinary tract infections (UTI) or problems urinating, chronic granulomatous disease7, osteomyelitis8, neurological symptoms6, sensitivity to sound and light, pain in liver and other internal organs, hair loss, dirt or metal like taste in the mouth, fibromyalgia, joint pain, muscle pain and tension, numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, burning, unusual shooting (ice pick-like) pains, night sweats, anxiety, depression, headaches, difficulty learning, ADHD, disobedience, poor memory6, moodiness, personality changes, addictions, inappropriate speech content (verbal abuse, swearing), decreased speech speed or smoothness, decreased coordination, stress with transition or change, social deficits (making others uncomfortable), new aggressiveness, increased dependence in a child or adult, infertility, miscarriage, abnormal PET and SPECT exams, and edema, swelling or abscesses on the brain9,10,11.
At Ananta Health, our first step is to perform BioMeridian testing to determine the overall inflammation and health picture. If you have been exposed to mold, the source must be identified. Sometimes the mold is still present, and sometimes the exposure was in the past. If the mold is present in the environment, then a mold remediation company should be contacted. The next step would be to make an individual plan for the patient addressing inflammation and immunity by incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet, herbs and supplements needed to treat the infection. If you feel you have been exposed to mold, then please contact our office.
(1) Bennett, J.W., Klich, M. (2003, July 16). Mycotoxins. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164220/
(2) Government of Canada. (2016, January 12). Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline: Moulds. Retrieved from http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/publications/healthy-living-vie-saine/mould-moisissure/index-eng.php
(3) Foshee, J., Luminais, C., Casey, J., Farag, A., Prestipino, A., Iloreta, A.M., Nyquist, G., Rosen, M. (2016, August 6). An Evaluation of Invasive Fungal Sinusitis Outcomes with Subsite Analysis and use of Frozen Section Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27272979
(4) Arikoglu, T., Batmaz, S.B., Coşkun, T., Otag, F., Yildirim, D.D., Kuyucu, S. (2016, May 28). The Characteristics of Indoor and Outdoor Fungi and their Relation with Allergic Respiratory Diseases in the Southern Region of Turkey. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27236446
(5) Madureira, J., Paciência, I., Cavaleiro-Rufo, J., de Oliveira Fernandes, E. (2016, July 27). Indoor Pollutant Exposure Among Children with and without Asthma in Porto, Portugal, During the Cold Season. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27464657
(6) Rea, W.J., Didriksen, N., Simon, T.R., Pan, Y., Fenyves, E.J., Griffiths, B. (2003, July 7). Effects of Toxic Exposure to Molds and Mycotoxins in Building-related Illnesses. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15143852
(7) Waqas, M., Zafar, S., Rehman, T., Riyaz, M., Bari, M.E., Idrees, R. (2016, May 30). Cerebral Aspergillosis and Pulmonary Tuberculosis in a Child with Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27308089
(8) Dotis, J., Roilides, E. (2004, March 8). Osteomyelitis due to Aspergillus Spp. in Patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease: Comparison of Aspergillus Nidulans and Aspergillus Fumigatus. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14732328
(9) Garg, N., Devi, I.B., Vajramani, G.V., Nagarathna, S., Sampath, S., Chandramouli, B.A., Chandramuki, A., Shankar, S.K. (2007, July-September). Central Nervous System Cladosporiosis: an Account of Ten Culture-Proven Cases. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921658
(10) Huang, W.M., Fan, Y.M., Li, W., Yang, W.W. (2011, August 18). Brain Abscess Caused by Cladophialophora Bantiana in China. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21852529
(11) Tauber, S.C., Eiffert, H., Kellner, S., Lugert, R., Bunkowski, S., Schütze, S., Perske, C., Brück, W., Nau, R. (2014, August 5) Fungal Encephalitis in Human Autopsy Cases is Associated with Extensive Neuronal Damage but only Minimal Repair. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23517274