Your head hurts all the time. You can't sleep at night. You have no energy; you can barely breathe sometimes; you have a strange taste in your mouth; you're developing hives and itches. Everything about your body seems to be collapsing. Doctors tell you there's nothing wrong with you, that it's all in your mind, but you know there's something terribly amiss. Finally, somebody tells you what you've suspected all along: you're allergic not to any one specific thing, but to everything—to all the chemicals that the modern world puts into your air, your water, your environment. All this is overloading your system and making it fall apart. Not even your home is safe. Mainstream doctors don't generally recognize this, you're told, but in a fast-developing medical underground, it's a hugely important disease: you've got Environmental Illness (EI), also known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), "20th century disease," or "chemical AIDS."

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