Symptomatology and etiology of multiple chemical sensitivities in the southeastern United States.

2002 SM Caress and AC Steinemann
State University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia 30118, USA. scaress@westga.edu
Stanley M. Caress – State University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia
Anne C. Steinemann
Caitlin Waddick – Georgia Institute of Technology Graduate City Planning Program, Atlanta, Georgia

Abstract

A questionnaire was administered to individuals who had reported a hypersensitivity to common chemical products in an earlier epidemiological study in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area. The questionnaire investigated the nature of the symptoms and factors that potentially initiated hypersensitivity and subsequently triggered reactions. Also examined were associated lifestyle modifications and the relationships of hypersensitivity with other illnesses.

The authors found that a majority of hypersensitive individuals (52.2%) experienced either “severe” or “somewhat severe” symptoms. The most common triggers of symptoms were cleaning products (88.4%), tobacco smoke (82.6%), perfume (81.2%), pesticides (81.2%), and car exhaust (72.5%).

Only 1.4% of the subjects had a prior history of emotional problems, whereas 37.7% developed such problems after the emergence of their hypersensitivity.

Lifestyle modifications varied; 76.8% changed their household cleaning/personal hygiene products, 47.8% began using water and/or air filtration systems, and 13% found it necessary to change residence. Although hypersensitivity was more common in females than males, the condition affects individuals in all categories of race/ethnicity, age, household income, and educational level.

ARTICLE RESOURCES:

Caress SM, Steinemann AC, Waddick, C (2002).  State University of West Georgia (2002). Symptomatology and etiology of multiple chemical sensitivities in the southeastern United States. Full Study. Archives of Environmental Health; Sep/Oct 2002; 57, 5; ProQuest Medical Library, pg. 429. University of Washington.

Caress SM, Steinemann AC (2002). State University of West Georgia (2002). Symptomatology and etiology of multiple chemical sensitivities in the southeastern United States. Excerpt. Archives of Environmental Health. 2002 Sep-Oct;57(5):429-36. PubMed.gov. PMID: 12641185 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE].

SM Caress. Stanley M. Caress. Environmental Studies, University of West Georgia, Pafford 128, Carrollton, Georgia, USA

AC Steinemann. Anne C. Steinemann. Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Public Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.