Do you ever walk into a room only to be hit with a wall of odor from someone who decided to bathe in perfume? Or how about walking into a smoker’s house? Most people are sensitive to some type of airborne chemical, but people who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) are extra sensitive to a large number of chemicals in very small quantities.
MCS – A Frustrating Condition
MCS is not recognized as a true medical condition. Further, there are people who will say that MCS is a psychosomatic response. But those who suffer from MCS *really* suffer. Some of the symptoms of MCS include nausea, headache, scratchy throat, itching eyes, runny nose, sleepiness, dizziness, abdominal cramping, joints aching, ear aches, confusion, etc. Some substances that often cause MCS are tobacco smoke, incense, scented products such as candles or perfume, petroleum products and plastics, paint fumes, synthetic fabrics, deodorants, hair sprays, and pesticides. Typically these sensitivities develop after low-level long term exposure or a large dose of chemical exposure all at once. Individuals who are forced to work in ‘sick buildings’ with a great deal of mold and chemical contaminants, often end up suffering from MCS. It is estimated that up to 15% of Americans suffer from MCS.
How Is MCS Treated?
While there are medical treatments that seem to work for patients with MCS (i.e. SSRIs), one of the main forms of treatment is avoidance of the known irritants. Sometimes these cannot be avoided. We are very much a ‘chemical’ society and rely on a great deal of chemical substances, some of which we are completely unaware until sensitivities arise. Since the irritating chemicals are volatile and airborne, one of the best ways to help a patient with MCS is to provide them with a high quality air purifier.
Those who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities and who want to decrease the presence of chemical odors in their environment need an air purifier that combines an adsorbent material such as zeolite or activated carbon with natural fiber screens and no solvents or glues. Activated carbon and zeolite are materials often used to absorb chemicals, odors and gases. The more absorbent material contained in the air purifier, the cleaner one can expect the air to be.
The Airgle AG950 air purifier is an example of an air purifier created specifically for MCS sufferers. This air purifier contains a full 15 pounds of activated carbon that absorbs volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as xylene, benzene and toluene. The activated carbon also absorbs tobacco smoke, paint fumes, cooking gas and building material fumes. Normal everyday odors are also eliminated by this air purifier. With 15 pounds of activated carbon, the available absorbent surface area is very large (an estimated 125 acres).
However, for MCS suffers, it may not be enough to just eliminate tangible odors. MCS has a strong connection to asthma and allergies as well. Air purifiers that are effective for MCS must also contain a good HEPA filtration unit in order to eliminate particulate matter from the air. The Airgle AG950 air purifier is a good example of this combination technology. The HEPA filter contained in this unit is medical grade and is rated 99.991% efficient. It will filter particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air. Other harmful particles are also eliminated from the air such as pet dander, mold spores, dust and pollen. This unit does not use ozone and is not constructed with materials that might emit an odor when in use.