Individuals who do not have environmental sensitivities themselves sometimes have a hard time imagining how something as seemingly innocuous as an air freshener, could be so uncomfortable or debilitating for others.
Although more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of what is happening within the bodies of environmentally sensitive individuals, there is already more than enough research to necessitate that complaints of chemical injury be taken seriously.
1) There is a growing body of research that demonstrates that some individuals metabolize chemicals less well than others.
2) It is also well known that some individuals have been subject to greater total toxic exposures over the course of their lifetimes than others. Not only is it theoretically possible that someone with extremely high levels of toxins in their body might react differently to additional toxic stress than someone else might; but there is also a growing scientific understanding that combinations of chemicals within bodies might have negative synergistic effects.
4) A growing body of scientific evidence shows that many of the stressors that environmentally sensitive individuals report as problematic are actually toxic, biotoxic, endocrine-disrupting, or potentially immunologically stressful.
5) Little is actually known about the safety of most of the tens of thousands of new chemicals introduced into our environment in recent decades, and what kind of harm they might cause individually or synergistically. New studies are published regularly that indicate that specific chemicals are more harmful, at lower levels of exposure, than previously believed.
6) Recent decades have seen an explosion in the rate of individuals reporting to have developed a variety of health disorders that are suspected to be caused or exacerbated by environmental stressors. Furthermore, the sheer enormity of the number of individuals reporting to be sensitive to toxic, biotoxic, and immunological stressors; indicates that something significant is going on.
7) There is a small (and growing) body of research indicating that multiple chemical sensitivity has a physiological basis (see MCS Research List); and a large (and growing) body of research indicating a number of other health disorders are linked to the same sorts of toxic exposures.