Are You Sensitive to Chemicals?

When it comes to chemicals, just being around them can lead to all sorts of problems in the body. Here are some common chemical sensitivities, their causes, symptoms and treatments. Here are a few guidelines:

- You are affected even by small doses or low levels of the substance
- Repeated exposure to the substance makes your symptoms worse
- When the substance is removed from your surroundings, you begin to feel better

If this sounds like you and something that you are dealing with now, maybe one of the following substances could be your culprit.

* MSG – A common substance used as an additive in foods. It is just like salt and can also be used to flavor or season food.

* Solvents – These are substances found in household cleaners. They are used to strip away dirt, grease, lime scale and rust to name a few.

* Aldehydes – One of the best known is formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde. Both are used in the medical field as a preservative and a chemical cleaner respectively. Formaldehyde can also be found in wood products used in furniture in your home, adhesives and carpeting.

* Hydrocarbons – Used in the oil production industry, burning them produces energy that we use every day to heat our homes. This substance is also used in road paving, heaters and other places where the smell can affect those with chemical sensitivities.


There are a wide range of symptoms for people with chemical sensitivities. Some of the more common are headaches, sore throat, breathing problems/asthma, skin irritations, muscle aches and pains, seizures, rashes and fatigue. These vary depending on the length and type of exposure, whether there is actual contact with skin, mucus membranes or internal organs.


Treatment begins by ferreting out the cause of the symptoms that you are experiencing. If you get better when you are in one place and worse in another, that is an indication that there is something in that environment that is causing your symptoms.

Avoid certain substances and conditions in your home. For instance, stay away from cigarette smoke, synthetic fibers in furniture and carpeting, as well as foods that contain high mineral levels like mercury in fish. Keep a fresh air environment in your home. Try to remove as many contaminants as you can, or remove yourself from that environment as much as possible.