Appendix E

Treatment Efficacy

This appendix is a complete reprint of our study of treatments tried by 917 persons with MCS. The abstract is printed below. You can also access the entire article at

Reprinted from Environ Health Perspect 111:1498-1504 (2003)

Perceived Treatment Efficacy for Conventional and Alternative Therapies Reported by Persons with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Pamela Reed Gibson, Amy Nicole-Marie Elms, and Lisa Ann Ruding

School of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA


Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a condition in which persons experience negative health effects in multiple organ systems from exposure to low levels of common chemicals. Although symptoms experienced from particular chemicals vary across persons, they are generally stable within persons. The sensitivities often spread over time, first to related chemicals and then to other classes of chemicals. This study examined self-reported perceived treatment efficacy of 101 treatments used by 917 persons with self-reported MCS. Treatments examined included environmental medicine techniques, holistic therapies, individual nutritional supplements, detoxification techniques, body therapies, Eastern-origin techniques, newer therapies, prescription items, and others. The three most highly rated treatments were creating a chemical-free living space, chemical avoidance, and prayer. Both creating a chemical-free living space and chemical avoidance were rated by 95% of respondents as helpful. Results for most therapies were mixed. Participants had consulted a mean of 12 health care providers and spent over one-third of their annual income on health care costs. We discuss this drain on personal resources and describe respondents' attitudes toward the possibility of healing from MCS. Key words: chemical hypersensitivity, chemical injury, environmental allergy, environmental illness, environmental sensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity. Environ Health Perspect 111:1498-1504 (2003). [Online 9 April 2003]

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