A study was conducted comparing health characteristics among groups of persons suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) with differing sensitizing exposures and the general population. Subjects with MCS originating from exposure to industrial organic solvents, organophosphate pesticides, or chlorine-dioxide (10049044), or from sick building syndrome and 60 members of the general population were surveyed. Significantly more MCS subjects reported their current health as being "fair" or "poor", that their health status had changed, that they had been disabled, that their social lives were limited, that they were sick for more than 32 hours during the previous week, and that they experienced more than nine symptoms at least weekly during the last 2 months compared with referents. In addition, these patients reported an increased percentage of specific symptoms of each body system surveyed. MCS subjects also reported significantly more altered tolerances to odors, allergens, foods, alcohols, and medicines compared with the general population. MCS subjects were significantly more likely to attribute illness to chemical exposures on a daily basis and to have evidence of longstanding somatic complaints or complaints of sickliness in childhood. MCS syndrome was associated with elevated negative affect scores which correlated significantly with the presence of illness. Few, if any, significant differences were identified between the four groups of MCS subjects.
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