Saf Health Work.  2018 Dec;9(4):473-478. 10.1016/j.shaw.2018.03.001.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in Chemical Laboratory Workers

Affiliations
  • 1Health & Safety Office, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain. juan.perezc@umh.es
  • 2Department of Pathology and Surgery, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain.
  • 3Department of Health Psychology, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is an acquired disease which etiology remains unknown. It is characterized by the development of sensitivity to certain chemical products. Most of the hypotheses formulated to explain the syndrome associate it to a previous exposition to some kind of volatile chemical. University researchers in chemical laboratories suffer a phenomenon of multi-exposition to chemical agents at low concentration during long periods of time although in an irregular form. Many of these chemical agents have similar properties to those suspicious of causing MCS. This article studies the prevalence of MCS in laboratory researchers.
METHODS
The study group is university researchers in chemical laboratories. The control group was obtained from administrative personnel who work in the same universities and therefore, are not exposed to chemical products from the laboratories, but have the same exposition to the rest of environmental polluting agents from the area and from the buildings of the university. In this study, it is used the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) (sensitivity of 92%/specificity of 95%).
RESULTS
The results showed that the prevalence of MCS for the university researchers is not related to exposition by inhalation to multiple chemical agents, at low concentration.
CONCLUSIONS
The results disagree with one of the main etiological hypotheses of MCS, which is based on the existence of hypersensitive people, who presents a response after prolonged expositions to very low concentrations during a long period of time.

Keyword

Chemical intolerance; Chemical laboratory; Laboratory worker; Multiple chemical sensitivity
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