Social economic factors and the risk of multiple chemical sensitivity in a Danish population-based cross-sectional study: Danish Study of Functional Disorders (DanFunD)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a rare multisystem and poly-symptomatic disease characterised by a report of various somatic symptoms attributed to inhalation of volatile chemicals in usually harmless doses. The aim was to explore four selected social factors and the risk of MCS in the general Danish population.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional general population-based study.

SETTING: The Danish Study of Functional Disorders was conducted from 2011 to 2015 which included 9656 participants.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 8800 participants were included in analyses after observations with missing data on exposure and/or outcome were excluded. A total of 164 cases fulfilled the questionnaire criteria for MCS. Of the 164 MCS cases, 101 reported no comorbid functional somatic disorder (FSD) and were included in a subgroup analysis. A total of 63 MCS cases fulfilled the criteria for at least one additional FSD, this subgroup was not included in further analysis. The remaining study population without MCS or any FSD were regarded as controls.

OUTCOME MEASURES: We used adjusted logistic regression to calculate OR and 95% CIs of MCS and MCS without FSD comorbidities for each social variable separately including education, employment, cohabitation and subjective social status.

RESULTS: We found an increased risk of MCS among the unemployed (OR: 2.95, 95% CI: 1.75 to 4.97), and a twofold increased risk of MCS among individuals with low subjective social status (OR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.08 to 3.70). At the same time, 4 years or more of vocational training were protective of MCS. No significant associations were observed among MCS cases with no comorbid FSD.

CONCLUSION: Lower socioeconomic status was found to be associated with a higher risk of having MCS but not with MCS without FSD comorbidities. Due to the cross-sectional design of the study, we cannot determine whether social status is a determinant or a consequence of MCS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere064618
JournalBMJ Paediatrics Open
Volume13
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)e064618
ISSN2399-9772
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity/epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Social Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Economic Factors
  • Denmark/epidemiology

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