Physical Reaction to Triggering Agents

Chemical agents

Once inside the body, several defense mechanisms against chemical contaminants are set into motion. Most contaminants are transformed by enzymes present in our cells to facilitate their elimination in urine, stool, sweat, breast milk, or they are transferred to the hair and nails.

In the case of environmental sensitivities, it is suspected that these defense mechanisms do not work properly. Research continues on this subject.

Researchers are exploring many hypotheses in order to find a detailed explanation of what happens on a biological level. Although much research is taking place, there is no consensus in the scientific community yet. But several promising avenues are being explored, notably those looking into:

  •  Large amounts of accumulated chemical products in the body ƒ

  • A body’s compromised capability to transform and eliminate toxic substances ƒ

  • Over-excitation of parts of the brain which could trigger sensitivities

Biological agents

The biological agent most commonly linked to environmental sensitivities is mould. According to cer- tain studies, 14% to 30% of dwellings in Canada have problems with mould or excessive humidity. Moulds have spores that produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can be released into the air. Although moulds have been identified as being both initiating and triggering agents of environ- mental sensitivities, it is still unknown how they induce the illness. Their effects on health depend on the pathway and level of exposure, the type of mould and the susceptibility of the exposed individuals (state of health, age, etc.).

Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation includes a broad range of frequencies: low frequencies from power supply currents, radio waves, mircowaves, infrared and visible light, X-rays and cosmic rays. The biological effects of most of these frequencies are unknown. They have been associated with tinnitus (ringing in the ears), brain tumours, neuroma (tumours) in the auditory vestibular nerve, changes in brain glucose metabolism as a result of cellular phone frequencies, effects on the heart and lungs, as well as skin physiology.

Share you resources!

Persons suffering from environmental sensitivities generally have a vast amount of information as far as the resources available in the region.
Do you know understanding professionals who are aware of ES and can provide accommodation? The best places to buy healthy products or where to get services? Why not share your information?


UQAM - service au collectivitésTELUQ
Association pour la santé environnementale du Québec
Logo-Quebec invWith the financial support of the Ministry
of Education, Recreation and Sports (Québec)

Translation from French to English has been made possible in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage and ASEQ-EHAQgovcan-e-col