MCS Chemistry For Non-Chemists

I do not have a very thorough knowledge of chemistry, but through trial and error, I have managed to learn what some of the "danger words" are for MCS people. Here, in a printable pocket edition that you can carry in your wallet, are some of the chemical names that should make you prick up your ears when you read them on a label. If anyone has any additions they would like to add, please pass them on. Consider this to be a "work in progress." This list is by no means comprehensive, but just gives the most commonly found items:

Prefixes used at the beginning of a name:
METHYL-
PROPYL-
PENTYL-
BUTYL-
ETHYL-
VINYL-
PHENOL-
ACETA-

Suffixes used at the end of a chemical name:
-ENE
-ANE
-ENYL
-YNYL
-DIENYL
-ALDEHYDE

Common chemical names that you are likely to read on a label:
BENZENE (solvent for paints and inks)
PROPANE (campstoves, grills)
METHANE (swamp gas, landfills)
PROPYLENE GLYCOL (used in frozen foods and pills, skin creams)
TOLUENE (found in many shopping malls and clothing stores)
XYLENE
NAPHTHALENE (mothballs, deoderizers cakes)
ETHANOL (drinking alcohol)
METHYLENE BLUE (used in some medical tests as a dye)
BUTANE (used in cigarette lighters)
ACETYLENE (used in welding torches)
ACETATE (used in many drugs)
SUCCINATE, SUCCINIC ACID (used in many drugs)
EPOXY (glue)
VINYL (used in just about everything from cars to CD holders)
FORMALDEHYDE (preservative in clothing and in laboratories, in mattresses, and in particle board in trailers)
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL (rubbing alcohol)
ACETONE (nail polish remover)
KEROSENE (heating stoves)
NATURAL GAS (used in home heating and cooking--some areas of the country use this more than others)
POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (used in pills)

There are many, many more chemicals (specifically, hydrocarbons) that could cause you trouble. This list is intended to be used as a quick reference only--if you see something that you suspect may be a hydrocarbon based on the information in this list, ASK a pharmacist. It is not my intention to condense a college course on biochemistry into one page; I'm sure there are omissions. The actual spelling of a chemical may vary slightly from what is shown on this list; if it looks suspicious, ASK QUESTIONS! The reference book used for this list the the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 74th edition. If your doctor gives you a hard time about MCS not being a "legitimate" illness, ask him/her to look at ICD codes #981 and all the sub-categories for that number, along with #987.x (there are numerous appropriate numbers here). This is an illness that is as valid as diabetes or leukemia, and it gets a number for billing just like those diseases. If you go to website http://66.17.18.109/flashcode/home.jsp, you can research this for yourself, and/or print out a copy for your health care provider.

This site has a traditional catalog of non-toxic items, but it also has a glossary of toxic products. I recommend taking a look at this part of the Lifekind Products website to learn about unsafe chemicals: Lifekind Products Glossary of Toxic Chemicals.

In case anyone thought that perfumes are all rose oils and lavendar sprigs, take a look at this website. It lists SOME of the chemicals used in the vast majority of perfumes. You'll never look at perfumes the same way again! Fragranced Products Information Network

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