CENTER ON BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE

BODY-MIND CONNECTION

ENVIRONMENTAL INTOLERANCES and TOXINS

Environmental Intolerances and Toxins-Chemical:  Research Article
Environmental Intolerances Menu

Chemical Sensitivity/Chemical Injury And Life Disruption
   
CITATION:  Gibson, P.R., Cheavens, J., Warren, M.L. (1996). Chemical Sensitivity/Chemical Injury And Life Disruption. Women & Therapy, 19 (2), 63-79.

ABSTRACT:  This paper describes life disruption associated with chemical sensitivity using data collected in an ongoing study of 305 persons (80.3% female) self-identified as having environmental illness (El), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), or chemical injury (CI). Having MCS was associated with reported difficulty in work, finances, quality of available medical services, access to public space and resources, relationships, and with considerable personal distress. Many of the respondents reported experiencing the loss of livelihood, home, and mobility due to living with an unrecognized illness/disability with little medical or social support. Helping professionals are in positions to offer their clinical skills to provide help and support to this population, so a discussion of clinical implications is provided.

References

Ashford, N.A., & Miller, C.S. (1991). Chemical exposures: Low levels and high stakes. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Barshay, J.M. (1993). Another strand of our diversity: Some thoughts from a feminist therapist with severe chronic illness. Women & Therapy, 14, 159-169. Also printed as a chapter in M.E. Willmuth & L. Holcomb (Eds.). (1993). Women with disabilities: Found voices. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc. Bascom, R. (1989). Chemical hypersensitivity syndrome study. Prepared at the request of the State of Maryland Department of the Environment in response to 1988 Maryland Senate Joint Resolution 32.

Bell, I.R. (1982). Clinical Ecology: A new medical approach to environmental illness. Bolinas, CA: Common Knowledge Press.

Brown, L.S. (1994). Subversive dialogues: Theory in feminist therapy. New York: Basic.

Cullen, M.R., Pace, P.E., & Redlich, C.A. (1992). The experience of the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinics with multiple chemical sensitivities [Special Issue]. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 8(4), 15-20. Proceedings of the AOEC Workshop on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Dager, S.R., Holland, J.P., Cowley, D.S., & Dunner, D.L. (1987). Panic disorder precipitated by exposure to organic solvents in the work place. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(8), 1056-1058.

Davidoff, L.L. (1991, November). Multiple chemical sensitivities: Research on psychiatric/psychosocial issues. Paper presented at the symposium Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and the Environment Ill: Diagnosis and Therapy at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, Atlanta, GA. Esten, G., & Willmott, L. (1993). Double bind messages: The effects of attitude towards disability on therapy. Women & Therapy, 14, 29-41. Also printed as a chapter in M.E. Willmuth & L. Holcomb (Eds.) (1993). Women with disabilities: Found voices. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc. Expert Panel on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. (1993). Facilitator s report. Convened by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR), April 13-14, Annapolis, MD.

Fiedler, N., Maccia, C., & Kipen, H. (1992). Evaluation of chemically sensitive patients. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 34, 529-538. Friedman, L. (1993). Survival. Women & Therapy, 14, 19-27. Also printed as a chapter in M.E. Willmuth & L. Holcomb (Eds.). (1993). Women with disabilities: Found voices. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc. Gibson, P. (1993). Multiple chemical sensitivities/environmental illness: Invisible disabilities. Women & Therapy, 14, 171-185. Also printed as a chapter in M.E. Will muth & L. Holcomb (Eds.) (1993). Women with disabilities: Found voices. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.

Heuser, G., Wojdani, A., & Heuser, S. (1992). Diagnostic markers of multiple chemical sensitivity. In Multiple chemical sensitivities: Addendum to biologic markers in immunotoxicology. National Research Council, Washington, DC: National Academy Press (pp. II 7-138).

Kipen, H., Fiedler, N., Maccia, C., Yurkow, E., Todaro, J., & Laskin, D. (1992). Immunologic evaluation of chemically sensitive patients [Special Issue]. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 8(4),125-136. Proceedings of the AOEC Workshop on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

Lewith, G.T., & Kenyon, J.N. (1985). Clinical ecology: The treatment of ill-health caused by environmental factors. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Thorsons Publishers Limited.

Miller, C.S. (1992). Possible models for multiple chemical sensitivity: Conceptual issues and role of the limbic system. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 8(4), 181-202 [Special Issue]. Proceedings of the AOEC Workshop on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

Paulsen, M. (1993, November/December). The politics of cancer: Why the medical establishment blames victims instead of carcinogens. Utne Reader, 81-89. Randolph, T.G., & Moss, R.W. (1982). An alternative approach to allergies. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Rippere, V. (1983). The allergy problem: Why people suffer and what should be done. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Thorsons Publishers Limited. Rogers, 

S.A. (1990). Tired or toxic? Syracuse, NY: Prestige Publishers. Ross, G.H. (1992). History and clinical presentation of the chemically sensitive patient [Special Issue]. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 8(4), 21-28. Proceedings of the AOEC Workshop on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Ziem, G.E., & Davidoff, L.L. (1992). Illness from chemical "odors": Is the health significance understood? Editorial. Archives of Environmental Health, 47(1), 88-91.