NIVA Environmental intolerances

Environmental Intolerances

23rd – 25th of September 2015
Imperial Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark

For Professionals and experts in occupational and environmental health, for example: physicians, psychologists, industrial hygienists, nurses and researchers etc., policy makers

About this course

Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), including multiple chemical sensitivity, building-related symptoms and electromagnetic field sensitivity, is a common health problem in occupational environments. It is also associated with hypersensitivity to smell and sensitivity to noise. Without support from health care, those affected may endure recurring symptoms leading to avoidance behavior and life restriction. Recent advances in the understanding of this phenomenon have enabled new prospects for prevention, recognition and treatment. Interesting new data will be presented and discussed by Europe’s leading experts.

Price information

The price of the course consists of the course fee of EUR 500
and the day package of choice.

Day package I

This package includes:

  • conference facilities and technical equipment
  • course material
  • coffees, lunches
  • dinners and the social program on Tuesday.

We strongly encourage you to take part in the social program, as this is a vital part of the NIVA course experience. We believe in the power of networking (between people) and strive to create an inspiring possibility for that through the social program.

The total price of the course is EUR 950 (course fee EUR 500 + day package fee EUR 450).

EUR 450

Day package II

This package includes:

  • conference facilities and technical equipment
  • course material
  • coffees and lunches.

Kindly note that the day package II does not include dinners nor the social program.

The total price of the course is EUR 700 (course fee EUR 500 + day package fee EUR 200).

EUR 200


26th – 28th of October 2020 at Hotel Hanaholmen, Espoo, Finland.

To book a room from the block kindly make the reservation directly to the hotel by email to using the booking code “NIVA” (available until 2.10.2020).

Single The room price for a single standard room is EUR 115/night (including breakfast, morning sauna and access to the pool) and the price for a double room EUR 134/night (including breakfast, morning sauna and access to the pool). room: 128 €/night (including breakfast).

The block reservation will be available until 2nd of October 2020.

EUR 115 – 134 / night

Course objectives

To define IEI
To update the understanding of this prevalent phenomenon
To present the mechanisms of IEI, noise and smell hypersensitivity
To improve clinical characterization and evaluation of patients with IEI
To present intervention studies
To discuss treatment and rehabilitation possibilities – successes and failures
To address prevention of and early intervention in IEI in order to decrease work disability
To promote the detection and diagnosis of IEI
Questions sent to participants beforehand will be addressed; for example Are environmental sensitivities becoming more prevalent? Do IEI symptoms progress? How reversible are they?

General course fee information

The courses and workshops vary in price. Please note that the course fee does not cover meals or accommodation. The course fee and day-package fee are invoiced after the registration deadline. Travel arrangements Please refrain from booking any tickets until we have confirmed the course. The confirmation, which will be sent after the registration deadline, will include detailed information on the payment of the course fee and day-packages, as well as information on accommodation options and practical arrangements. Please note that you are not insured by NIVA.

Subject background

Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), including multiple chemical sensitivity, building-related symptoms and electromagnetic field sensitivity, is also a common health problem in occupational environments. Sixteen epidemiological studies from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and recently also Finland (unpublished) have shown a high prevalence of IEI, with adverse consequences for daily living and work ability. The large range (0.2-28%) of prevalence may be explained by the variance in IEI -definitions. The prevalence is lower when WHO and MCS diagnostic criteria or doctors’ diagnoses are required. These conditions may lead to individual suffering and high societal costs due to decreased work capacity, sick leave and early retirement. The burden of those affected increases when social, medical and official bodies do not recognize the condition.

In recent years, new knowledge regarding IEI has emerged. One of the plausible mechanisms underlying IEI is central sensitization, which enables the development of strategies for prevention, characterization, treatment and rehabilitation. International consensus supports finding a common definition of IEI for different environmental sensitivities, which would exclude the direct causal explanation of environmental exposures (but recognize symptom triggers) and include psychological mechanisms, for example, conditioning. The evidence raises the relevance of individual interpretation associated with environmental exposures, and the fact that many factors affect individual reactions; for example, health-risk perception and distress increase reactions to low-level chemicals sensed by olfaction. A challenging area of interest is the possibility of IEI in situations when known exposures provoke symptoms and health effects such as irritation, infections and respiratory dysfunction associated with indoor air and water-damaged buildings. In these cases, IEI may also explain the discrepancy between subjective symptomatology and objective findings, and in many instances, the chronicity of the condition.

Nationally, actions to resolve the problems involving IEI are ongoing. National ICD-10 criteria for IEI were first set in Germany (T78.4), Austria (T78.4), Japan (T65.9), and later in Denmark (R68.8A). A diagnosis proposal is currently under approval in Finland (R68.81). This will enable follow-up, guidelines for health care personnel, characterization, treatment and rehabilitation. One priority is to recognize the indoor air-related chronic symptoms not explained by medical conditions. The common goal is to regain well-being and work ability, which calls for information on best practices and the education of health care professionals, industrial hygienists and psychologists. Better understanding of IEI also increases our competence to manage functional disorders, common causes of symptoms, and reduced well-being.


Hetherington L, Battershill J. Review of evidence for a toxicological mechanism of idiopathic environmental intolerance. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2013;32(1):3-17.
Berg ND, Linneberg A, Dirksen A, Elberling J. Prevalence of self-reported symptoms and consequences related to inhalation of airborne chemicals in a Danish general population. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2008;81:881-7.
Palmquist E, Claeson AS, Neely G, Stenberg B, Nordin S. Overlap in prevalence between various types of environmental intolerance. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014;217(4-5):427-34.
Söderholm A, Söderberg A, Nordin S. The experience of living with sensory hyperreactivity-accessibility, financial security, and social relationships. Health Care Women Int. 2011;32(8):686-707.
Skovbjerg S, Johansen JD, Rasmussen A, Thorsen H, Elberling J. General practitioners’ experiences with provision of healthcare to patients with self-reported multiple chemical sensitivity. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2009;27(3):148-52.
Skovbjerg S, Hauge CR, Rasmussen A, Winkel P, Elberling J. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to treat multiple chemical sensitivities: a randomized pilot trial. Scand J Psychol. 2012;53(3):233-8.
Tran MT, Skovbjerg S, Arendt-Nielsen L, Christensen KB, Elberling J. Transcranial pulsed electromagnetic fields for multiple chemical sensitivity: study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Trials. 2013;14:256.
Rubin GJ, Hillert L, Nieto-Hernandez R, van Rongen E, Oftedal G. Do people with idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields display physiological effects when exposed to electromagnetic fields? A systematic review of provocation studies. Bioelectromagnetics. 2011;32(8):593-609.
Hillert L, Jovanovic H, Åhs F, Savic I. Women with multiple chemical sensitivity have increased harm avoidance and reduced 5-HT(1A) receptor binding potential in the anterior cingulate and amygdala. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54781.

Course lecturers

Aki Vuokko

Christos Baliatsas

Hille Suojalehto

Irene Van Kamp

Jesper Eberling

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