Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Treatment
Public Health Issues in Medical Evaluation and Care of MCS Patients
Many physicians are uncertain how to approach the evaluation and care of persons who have multiple symptoms that attribute to low-level chemical exposure. Although medical approaches and therapies differ considerably because of differing beliefs about MCS by physicians, all individuals who report suffering from chemical sensitivities should receive a competent, complete medical evaluation and compassionate, understanding care. The goal of this care should be to promote health without causing additional harm. Individuals should not be subjected to ineffective, costly, or potentially dangerous treatments. Appropriate care for well-characterized medical and psychological illnesses should not be withheld or delayed. The ramifications of recommending functional changes in workplace or home settings should be carefully considered.
The identification of MCS is based largely on the patient’s description of the symptoms and the relationship of these symptoms to environmental exposures. The evaluation of an individual for MCS should, therefore, begin a complete and detailed history, including a comprehensive exposure history. The ATSDR/NIOSH Case Study in Environmental Medicine—Taking An Exposure History (ATSDR, 1992) is a useful guide for physicians unfamiliar with taking an environmental exposure history.
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