Schifferle and the other residents suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a chronic condition not broadly recognised by the medical community. Those afflicted, however, believe it is sparked by low-level exposure to chemicals in things such as cigarette smoke, pesticides, scented products and paint fumes.
Twelve of the 15 apartments in the earth-coloured building in a remote part of Leimbach, on the outskirts of Switzerland’s largest city, have already been rented since it opened in December.
Many occupants also suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, in which electrical circuits and radiation from wireless equipment make them equally ill.
“It makes me weak, anxious, I can’t breath, my lungs hurt, and I get dizzy,” says Schifferle, who suffers from both conditions.