Residents moved into Ecology House this fall to escape the chemicals that had made them ill. Instead, they got more of the same - headaches, pain and sleepless nights.

Resident Jan Heard sleeps with her head near an open window at the building, the nation's first federally subsidized housing complex for people with chemical sensitivities.Dorothy Robertson has taken to sleeping outside on her patio or at a friend's home. Marta Sonnen- blick sleeps on her bathroom floor.

"This was a miracle and now it's a nightmare," Heard said. "They have just let us sit here and get sicker."

The complex houses people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity-Environmental Illness, a puzzling disorder in which people become allergic to a wide range of substances from perfume to cleaning solvents.

In its most extreme form, the illness can cause temporary paralysis from just a whiff of perfume or from being near electrical appliances. For some sufferers, smelling ammonia, shampoo, roses or a new carpet can cause what appears to be a drunken stupor.

Each one-bedroom apartment in Ecology House's 11-apartment complex comes with a high-powered ventilation system, water filtration systems, tile floors, metal kitchen cabinets and no fluorescent lights. The idea is to make everything sterile.

But all eight residents say the unsealed concrete walls are making them sick.

Sonnenblick, a registered nurse, said there are dozens of safe sealants available, though she noted that people can react differently to each one.