Chemical Sensitivity

Chemical sensitivity is a physiological or neurobehavioral response that occurs in an individual following exposure to a chemical at levels that would not affect the vast majority of people. Multiple Chemical—this is one of the many names (including environmental sensitivity illness, chemical AIDS, etc.) that have been given to a poorly defined condition, or set of conditions, that are broadly characterized by multi-system symptoms—often without observable physical findings or laboratory abnormalities—believed to be associated with repeated exposure to specific biological, chemical, or physical agents.

The scientific basis for managing people with this syndrome has yet to be established by investigative activities that withstand critical peer review. Scientific and clinical evidence for a particular pathophysiologic mechanism is lacking for these disorders.  


Recognizing that chemical sensitivity is an issue that is not well understood, the University of Minnesota will evaluate each reported incidence of chemical sensitivity on an individual basis. Supervisors of reporting employees should seek evaluation help promptly from the Disability Resource Center and Department of Environmental Health and Safety at:

  • Disability Resource Center
    180 McNamara Alumni Center
    200 Oak Street SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    - U Students: (612) 626-1333
    - U Employees: (612) 624-3316 


  • Department of Environmental Health and Safety
    Neil Carlson, Industrial Hygienist
    Thompson Center for Environmental Management
    501 SE 23rd Avenue 
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    (612) 626-6002 
    [email protected]