Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and effectiveness of the Quick Environment Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) in Japanese workers in specific buildings.
Methods: The survey was performed in 2004-2006 in Japan. QEESI (Japanese version) and a checklist on accumulation of fatigue developed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare were used in the examination of 410 workers in specific buildings. Three criteria of QEESI's "symptom severity", "chemical intolerance", and "other intolerance" were evaluated in this study. Clinical histories were also surveyed.
Result: Responses were obtained from 368 (89.8%) workers. The results showed that 132 (35.9%) individuals have been diagnosed as having allergy. Only two (0.5%) individuals were found to be MCS patients. There was no sick building syndrome patient. Applying the "high" criteria with QEESI to the standard of Miller and Ashford, we determined that only four (1.1%) individuals met all the three criteria, and 17 (4.6%) individuals met two of the three criteria. The QEESI score of allergy persons was higher than that of nonallergy persons. Among nonallergy persons, those who have a high score on accumulation of fatigue in the checklist showed a high score in QESSI.
Conclusions: These findings indicated that the QEESI score tended to increase with workload and be high in individuals with allergy. Therefore, careful consideration is required, when QEESI is applied for screening MCS patients in Japan.