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A national population study of the prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivity.

2004 SM Caress and AC Steinemann
State University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia 30118, USA.


The authors conducted a telephone survey of 1054 randomly selected individuals within the continental United States to determine the prevalence of chemical hypersensitivity and the medical diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in the American population. The etiology and symptomatology of MCS also were investigated.

Results produced a 95% confidence level and a +/-3% margin of error. The authors found that 11.2% of Americans reported an unusual hypersensitivity to common chemical products such as perfume, fresh paint, pesticides, and other petrochemical-based substances, and 2.5% reported they had been medically diagnosed with MCS.

Additionally, 31.1% of those sampled reported adverse reactions to fragranced products, and 17.6% experienced breathing difficulties and other health problems when exposed to air fresheners. Although chemical hypersensitivity was more common in women, it affected individuals in all demographic groups studied.


Caress SM, Steinemann AC. State University of West Georgia (2004). A national population study of the prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivityArch Environ Health. 2004 Jun;59(6):300-5. PMID: 16238164 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE].