Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)

A rapidly emerging phenomena

The mechanisms of MCS are not understood under the modern medical knowledgebase, but it is mostly known that MCS is not simple allergy and that it is triggered by exposure to human made TOXIC chemicals, especially:


Medical Adhesive

It's estimated that roughly 96 percent of people who suspect they have an allergy to medical adhesives do not have an allergy per se. Rather, their skin is irritated by chemicals in the adhesives. This condition, known as irritant contact dermatitis, appears virtually identical to an allergic skin reaction.[1]

Of the 0.3 percent of people that report a skin reaction to medical adhesives, just 4 percent are known to have allergic contact dermatitis which is the result of the irritating substance triggering an immune response within the body that expresses itself at the site of skin contact. In contrast, irritant contact dermatitis is caused by direct irritation of the skin at the site of contact and does not involve an allergic reaction. Roughly 80 percent of all contact dermatitis is the irritant type.

Typically the irritants are volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) which means that people with MCS and others can be affected by the adhesives just by breathing in the chemicals. So contact is not necessary to cause a dermatological, respiratory or neurological reactions in such cases, depending on the degree of sensitization of the person to the particular toxin.

Adhesives in floor coverings

The chemicals in adhesives, like the chemicals in paints and perfumes, are VOCs.

Emissions of VOCs from building products adversely affects indoor air quality.[2]

In the early 1990's solvent based adhesives for floor coverings were changed to water-based dispersions.[3] Instead of low boiling solvents such as methanol and toluene, high boiling components such as Phenoxy ethanol, miscellaneous glycols and glycolethers were used. These high boiling and polar components have been identified as a major source of problems caused by glued carpets. Due to their low vapor pressure, the high boiling components diffuse only very slowly from the adhesive through the textile floor covering, but can cause long-term indoor air pollution.

During the last decade the complaints about odours and emission of volatile organic compounds from these fitted carpets have increased dramatically, causing a major problem for indoor air quality , and for people suffering from MCS, as this degree of toxicity is life threatening for them and so renders them unable to work in such environments.

Supermarket label glue

Then there's the glue of packaging labels at the supermarket which

"may be contaminated by a highly toxic chemical in the same class of toxicity as mercury, asbestos and hydrochloric acid. It could cause organ failure and even death in high doses."

"The chemical, which is in the highest toxicity category because it poses a 'particularly severe risk to health', is found in high levels on some of the sticky labels placed on packages of fresh meat, vegetables, tubs of sauce and other foodstuffs."

"... researchers ... studied four different acrylic adhesives commonly used on food labels. They examined in detail 11 compounds found in the glues, four of which seeped through the packaging. Three of these had low toxicity while the remaining compound belonged to the highest risk category."[4]

So the risk of ingesting dangerous hormone-mimicking chemicals like BPA and phthalates when you eat food packaged and/or stored in plastic containers, is compounded by the sticky labels on those packages, which may also be leaching potent toxins into your food.


BPA - an Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Significant Disease and Dysfunction[5]

BPA stands for bisphenol-A and is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA was first created by a Russian chemist in 1891. By the 1930s, it was found to mimic the effects of estrogen in the human body. Still, it found its way into industry, as a chemical that could produce strong, resilient and transparent plastics.

Endocrine disruptors found in plastic products, electronics, cleaning products, and even food, are similar in structure to natural sex hormones such as estrogen, thereby interfering with their normal functions, as stated in a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

"There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another;...interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones."

BPA - a 13 Billion+ a year market linked to obesity

The BPA market was valued at over $13 billion in 2013, and sales are set to expand 5 percent annually.

"...scientists suggest that might be offset by a large, hidden cost: its impact on human health.

To date, there have been around 1,000 animal studies on BPA, and the vast majority show that it causes or is linked to many health problems, from alterations in fertility to increased risk for cancers and cardiovascular problems to impaired brain development"[6]

Frederick Vom Saal's and Wade Welshons' experiments turned up the first hard evidence that miniscule amounts of BPA caused irreversible changes in the prostates of fetal mice. Their findings have led to a ban on BPA-laden baby bottles in Canada, mounting support for a similar ban in the U.S., and major retailers pulling plastic products off their shelves, as well as a consumer run on glass baby bottles and a blizzard of scientific reports, raising increasingly disturbing questions about the chemical's dangers even at the trace levels to which people are routinely exposed.

Patricia Hunt, a geneticist at Washington State University has said:

"...exposure to low levels of BPA - levels that we think are in the realm of current human exposure - can profoundly affect both developing eggs and sperm.[7]

Hunt became intrigued with BPA following a laboratory accident in 1998 when she was studying eggs from normal and mutant mice. She said:

"all of a sudden, the control data went completely crazy and the eggs from perfectly normal females were showing us something really bizarre - stronger abnormalities than we were seeing in the mutants." [8]

Hunt's search for lab contaminants led to a temporary lab aide who had washed the plastic cages and bottles with a caustic floor detergent, unleashing enough BPA into the control animals' food and water to scramble the chromosome alignment in their eggs.

Because BPA is a known endocrine disruptor it has also been strongly linked with increased fat formation and risk of obesity in adults.[9]



Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D. and nutritionist, says mercury, aspartame, chlorine and fluoride - among others - are causing such maladies as Alzheimer's, nervous disorder Parkinson's and the well-known Lou Gehrig's disease.[10]

These days most educated people know to avoid mercury and even aspartame, but avoiding chlorine and flouride can be a problem when it has been added to the water supply.

The trigger toxin which began my MCS was chlorine, which was always in the water supply where I lived in Lismore, NSW, Australia as well as in the large backyard swimming pool which was my job to upkeep. But once I became sensitized to chlorine, I quickly became sensitized to polybrominated flame retardants and then the rest of the "eleven hazardous chemicals which should be eliminated"[11].


Flame Retardants

Polybrominated flame retardants, on the other hand, became a compulsory additive to all furniture components, bedding, nightwear, curtains, plastics[12], and electrical/electronic equipment in USA in 1975[13],Canada, Australia [14] and NZ in 2003[15] - even though experiments show they do not work - but not in textiles in Asia and Europe[16] where it has been banned.

This coincides with the incidence of MCS' exponential rise in diagnoses in the countries where flame retardants became compulsory, and that's partly because it has a half life of 50,000 years, so washing it out of a contaminated item is not going to happen. For instance according to The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and Statistics Canada[17], between 2005 and 2010 the rates of people diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) rose by 31%.

"Flame retardant chemicals have been linked to serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays, reduced IQ scores and behavioral problems in children, hormone disruptions, and various forms of cancer. Flame retardant chemicals were identified as one of 17 "high priority" chemical groups that should be avoided to reduce your risk of breast cancer. They are known to accumulate in breast milk, and can be transferred to your baby in utero. Children born of women who were exposed to high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) during pregnancy, had on average a 4.5 point decrease in IQ. Such children are also more prone to hyperactivity disorders."[18],[19]

Flame-retardant chemicals were banned in the EU because a) treated items catch on fire and b) they make fires more deadly because they give off higher levels of toxic carbon monoxide, soot, and smoke than an untreated object. These three things are more likely to kill you than a burn might.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were voluntarily withdrawn from the American market in 2004, but there are still many products on the market that were manufactured before that time. These products continue to release PBDEs into your environment.

For those millions of people with MCS it is impossible to sleep in the same room with flame retardant contaminated items such as exposed electrical wiring, the TV, carpet, curtains, bed, bedding and night clothes, to name some 'essentials'.



Acrylic paints typically include a range of biocides to protect the latex, which can include arsenic, phenol, copper, formaldehyde, disulphide, carbamates, permethrin and quaternary ammonium compounds, the first four of which are found in the OSHA List of Hazardous Chemicals which means they are dangerous to all people and animals in the long term, but in the short term they are life-threatening to people and animals with MCS.

Fortunately, since lead has been removed from paints, they have gotten a lot less toxic over the last 25 years, but most paints still emit harmful vapors, such as VOC's, formaldehyde and benzene. These types of fumes can be released daily for about 30 days after application. However, there are "low-VOC" or "no-VOC" paints available now which is good news for those sensitive to such odours.

Typical Paint Ingredients

A useful place to start when looking for a safer way to paint, and to find the Typical Paint Ingredients Chart. This link will take you to all kinds of useful information to guide you towards a healthy environment, at home or in the workplace.


Perfumes and fragrances

Perfumes and fragrances in bodycare products are made up of dozens of chemicals containing solvents similar to those used in adhesives, as well as benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, and central nervous system disorders.

The EPA tested fragrances for chemicals in 1991 and found a list of the following toxic perfume chemical ingredients:

  • Acetone,
  • Benzaldehyde,
  • Benzyl acetate,
  • Benzyl alcohol,
  • Camphor,
  • Ethanol,
  • Ethyl acetate,
  • Limonene,
  • Linalool, and
  • Methylene chloride.

Each of these toxic chemicals is listed on the OSHA List of Hazardous Chemicals, and the list above is by no means complete. Among still other hazardous chemicals, perfumes and fragrances also contain:

  • Parabens: Synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release.
  • Phthalates: Another synthetic preservative that's carcinogenic and linked to reproductive effects (decreased sperm counts, early breast development, birth defects) and liver and kidney damage.
  • Synthetic musks: These are linked to hormone disruption and are thought to persist and accumulate in breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, and the environment.
  • [20]

When you purchase a fragrance, it could contain any number of the 3,100 or so stock chemical ingredients used by the fragrance industry. What blend is in what you buy, is impossible to know from the label. Laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and analyzed by EWG, found a total of 38 chemicals not listed on the labels in 17 name-brand fragrances (such as Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Bath & Body Works, Old Spice, Calvin Klein, and more).

"To make matters worse, FDA lacks the authority to require manufacturers to test cosmetics for safety, including fragranced products, before they are sold to consumers. As a result, people using perfume, cologne, body spray and other scented cosmetics like lotion and aftershave are unknowingly exposed to chemicals that may increase their risk for certain health problems."[21]

So while those millions who have been diagnosed with MCS must avoid chemical perfumes in order to function at all, everyone will benefit from keeping clear of them since the tipping point of becoming sensitized to any toxic chemical depends only on prolonged exposure to it.

On the bright side, making your own perfume from pure essential oils, or buying a blend from a trusted source, can have the most profound therapeutic benefit, especially if you choose pure essential oils which contain high amounts of phytosteroids, which are essential if you are over 25.

See my Androgynae soap for a synergistic blend of 7 essential oils that has come down to us from the ancient Egyptians. To make their timeless perfume, just blend all 7 oils, mixing first from the base notes up through to the head notes, and then carefully stir the blend into pure alcohol or vodka and store in a dark place, undisturbed, for a week.

Or you can do as I do and add a 10% (1 in 10 parts) to pure aloe vera gel, or snail and aloe gel. Using it daily means you are giving your system a daily top up of vital phytosteroids and many other phyto-nutrients, as the skin will carry the oils to where they can be used by the cells and bloodstream. But you can use any pure essential oils you like, as long as you choose 1 or more from all three notes to achieve a balanced blend.



Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) - Industrial Strength Gender-Bender

DEHP and two other phthalates: benzyl butyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate, are affected by a proposed EU ban. The EU already prohibits use of these three compounds in children's toys.[25]

Phthalates are used as plasticizers in everything from vinyl flooring to detergents, hoses, raincoats, adhesives, air fresheners, and toys - and even in some soaps, shampoos, lotions and nail polish.[26]

They are also used as food additives and as "inert" ingredients in pesticides. Phthalates are one of the groups of "gender-bending" chemicals causing males of all species to become more female.[27]

These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters, just to name a few.[28] Scientists believe phthalates are responsible for a similar pattern in humans as well, and are linked to enlarged prostate glands, breast cancer and uterine fibroids, as well as impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)[29] to name a few.

Medical devices can contain 20 to 40 percent Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) by weight and IV tubing can contain up to 80 percent. DEHP, a type of phthalate, is not bound to the vinyl, it leaches into the solutions that come into contact with the tubing or bag, and goes directly into the patient.[30]



PVC - The Poison Plastic

As already mentioned above, one of the more serious hazardous chemicals in plastics is BPA, another is phthalates just covered, but they are only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, when it comes to PVC plastic, sometimes called the poison plastic[22] because it contains the motherload of harmful chemicals. PVC releases more dangerous chemicals than any other plastic, which includes dioxins, vinyl chloride ,ethylene dichloride[23] , lead, cadmium, organotins (TBT) and phthalates. There's no safe way to manufacture, use or dispose of PVC products.

"Three plastics have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure: polycarbonate, which leaches bisphenol A; polystyrene, which leaches styrene; and PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which break down into vinyl chloride and sometimes contains phthalates that can leach."[24]

Polycarbonate Plastic

Polycarbonate water bottles are drowning the earth in toxic waste and will be for hundreds and thousands of years to come, even if we all woke up tomorrow as to who is running the world into disaster for their pleasure and for money, because polycarbonate bottles take hundreds and thousands of years to degrade, while all the time releasing the proven endocrine disruptor BPA, along with dioxins, into the environment and the oceans. Bottles made with Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) will never biodegrade. So even thinking of recycling them into something useful is a big mistake, especially anything under the sun, like a greenhouse, or any kind of house[25] because the sun is known to cause plastics to off-gas their toxic load[25].


Tributyltin (TBT)

Tributyltin maleate, an organotin compound, was banned from use as a microbiocide which was added to paint for 40 years as a biocide in anti-fouling paint, commonly known as bottom paint, and which was applied to the hulls of ocean going vessles.

In 2008 the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships of the International Maritime Organization banned it because it slowly leaches out into the marine environment where it is highly toxic to a wide range of organisms.

"Tributyltin (TBT) pollution is of serious concern as it has led to collapse of whole populations of organisms.....and its long half life of about 2 years and it often bonds to suspended material and sediments, where it can remain and be released for up to 30 years."[31]

But it is a cheap and it seems that the accumulated supplies needed a use, so in 2008 it was made compulsory to add it to all bed linen in the USA, Canada, Austalia and NZ and probably further (I am still checking these facts at the time of writing this).

In 2000, Greenpeace stated that it found traces of it in disposable diapers in Germany. The Organotin Environmental Programme (ORTEP) Association tested "every kind of diaper" to verify the results, and they found no TBT, which is hardly surprising considering they were investigating themselves.

In 2011 Greenpeace called to have TBT listed as a 'priority hazardous substance' under EU regulations that require measures to be taken to eliminate its pollution of surface waters in Europe.

Tributyltin has been known to cause fat-cell production and can affect the liver and immune system.[32]

One of the ways it does its damage to humans is that it is a cholinesterase inhibitor which causes me to dump sugars. In other words it could partly explain the explosion of pre diabetic and full blown diabetes and obesity in those countries especially since then.

Symptoms of Poisoning with Organotin Compounds:

  • Irritation of skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
  • Central nervous system toxicity: Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sometimes convulsions and loss of consciousness.
  • Photophobia and mental disturbances.
  • Epigastric pain.
  • Elevated blood sugar leading to glycosuria in some cases.

In my case, my diagnosed Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (ANA's) were impacted by almost daily consumption of a small amount of salmon for 2-3 years from 2004-2007, which I undertook in an attempt to improve my choline and Omega-3 levels. But the neurotransmitter acetylcholine was impacted, presumably by the TBTs, such that I began to emit a most unusual odour, which means eating any seafood now causes that strange odour after 3-6 hours, and it lasts for 12-16 hours.

Strangely enough, my LDLs [34] became elevated for the first time following that king salmon addiction.

Hopefully my acquiescence to stop eating seafood will lift the sensitivity; its been 3-4 years since I've had any, and I'm hoping that a HFLC diet (high fat low carb) that I've been on for 3 years now, will fix the LDL problem. However, since discovering "the straight dope on cholesterol" [35] which is an interesting blog by Peter Attia, M.D., I am in the process of re-evaluating the LDL problem. I'm due for another blood lipid test which might be a bit interesting.

Nonetheless, TBT seems to affect all the seafood around here, which is New Zealand, so how are the other more densely populated countries faring as a result of the bottom paint toxification of the waters?


Vinyl Floors

Flexible vinyl or padded play-mat floors often used in day cares and kindergartens, are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). As already mentioned PVC contains phthalates, or "plasticizers," which are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and resilient. This makes the vinyl easier to store and lay, but they are one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters so far discovered.

A new study conducted by Swedish researchers[36] found levels of certain phthalates were higher in the urine of babies that had PVC flooring on their bedroom floor. There is plently of anecdotal evidence which gives it a name for killing caged birds who lived briefly in rooms newly floored with vinyl.

With me, it causes severe stinging and watering of my eyes and severe epigastric pain if I am in a room, or even adjacent to one with vinyl, during the day. It takes about one and half hours for the stinging and watering eyes and the severe epigastric pain to abate, once I go to bed at night in a vinyl and tributyltin free room, on such days I'm exposed to vinyl floors for more than an hour or so. TBT is used as a stabilizer [37] in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring.


  1. ^ As reported in the January-February 2008 issue of "Dermatitis: Contact, Atopic, Occupational, Drug,"

  2. ^ US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA's) Office of Research and Development's "Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study" (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985). EPA

  3. ^ "Volatile Organic Compounds from Adhesives and their Contribution to Indoor Air Problems" Roland F. Augustin, Heinz-Gerd Bittner, Helmut

  4. ^ Researchers from the University of Zaragoza, Spain and Valérie Guillard, an expert in food technology at the University of Montpellier, France. Results published in RSC's Journal of Materials Chemistry, May

  5. ^ "Bisphenol A, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, and brain development" Neuropathology 2012; 32, 447-457

  6. ^ Frederick vom Saal, researcher at University of Missouri, Columbia.

  7. ^ EWG

  8. ^ Ibid.

  9. ^ Dr. Mercola BPA health effects

  10. ^

  11. ^ Greenpeace eleven-flagship-hazardous-chemicals

  12. ^ Hazardous substances in plastic materials

  13. ^ flame-retardant-law-is-about-to-change

  14. ^ Brominated flame retardants

  15. ^ Fire Research Report - Costs and benefits of regulating Fire Safety performance of upholstered furniture in NZ

  16. ^

  17. ^ Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  18. ^ Dr. Mercola toxic-flame-retardants

  19. ^ TB-117-2013 Implemented 2015ConsumerSheet V1 Edited 081516. Including list of manufacturers that claim to offer furniture without flame retardants Revised 9 November 2016

  20. ^ Dr. Mercola toxic-perfume-chemicals

  21. ^

  22. ^ PVC Factsheet The poison plastic

  23. ^ EPA ethylene dichloride

  24. ^ environmental breast cancer links plastics/

  25. ^ DEHP is among the first six compounds that the EU is phasing out under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) program.

  26. ^ gender bending chemicals found to feminise boys

  27. ^ EU bans penis-shrinking chemical DEHP

  28. ^ Ibid

  29. ^ Ibid.

  30. ^ Ibid.

  31. ^ Tributyltin

  32. ^ 5 Artificial Chemicals That Can Make You Fat

  33. ^ Source for Group Symptoms: Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, 5th edition, U.S. EPA, Chapter 15.

  34. ^ cholesterol levels chart

  35. ^ The Eating Academy

  36. ^ "PVC flooring is related to human uptake of phthalates in infants." Authors F. Carlstedt, B. A. G. Jönsson, C.-G. Bornehag. First published: 18 June 2012 Phthalats in PVC flooring

  37. ^ TBT as a stabalizer in PVC