Chemical Pollution  and Allergy  

An article in the British Medical Journal  Vol. 328, Feb 2004 recognises  the public concern relating to environmental  chemical  exposure and the reported effects on health. After reviewing the literature and considering the effects that chemicals may play in the development of human illnesses the authors consider that  75%  of most  cancers are attributable to environmental  and lifestyle factors.   Included in these factors are both electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and synthetic chemicals exposures. Some chemicals are known as hormone disrupters as are some frequencies of EMR.  Both agents  cause biological  activity  which in turn can reasonably be seen to have  adverse effects on the  health of the affected system.  There are many debilitating and incapacitating  conditions which are prevalent in the community other than cancer, that are  having an adversely impacting on the individual, the family unit and the community as a whole. These conditions can be found to be closely associated with either a  chronic or a severe exposure to chemical pollution  and or electromagnetic radiation. It is this close association of adverse  health effects with either or both chemicals or EMR that  is the focus of concern for many people.  

Chemical pollution pervades all aspects of life from conception onward. Dr Judy Ford (Geneticist) has  published material on this topic. (See Ref section).   Children with behaviour problems often show signs of  chemical intolerance.

After many years of  being ignored, to the  detriment of  the health of many people  the condition known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is now listed  in Germany as a definite clinical entity.  We trust other countries will soon  follow suit.

MCS  affects  approximately  15% of the US population  according to one unofficial  source  and the results of the South Australian Government Inquiry into MCS may reveal similar figures in this country, if empirical evidence  of  the incidence of MCS is any guide.

From North America  comes news that  MCS is taken seriously and  municipal bans have been  set on the use of fragrances in public. Found in a regional  newsletter “ It is no longer considered  considerate or correct to wear perfume aftershave or  cologne to the office or cinema, religious services  or social events, where people with  fragrance  sensitivities or allergies  may be.  Similarly,  in Nova Scotia  fragrances are banned on public transport.

A great deal has been written and published by health professionals  and lay people on the effects of  chemical sensitivity. The reader is encouraged to seek out  reliable publications.  Dr  Doris Rapp  has recently published a book. 

From a book by Pamela  Reed  Gibson  Ph.D.,  James Madison University  USA :

“ In multiple  chemical  sensitivity (MCS)  a person develops  markedly negative  reactions  to everyday chemical  exposures.   These include exposures  to pesticides in buildings, gardens, on our food and on pets;  chemical  cleaners; petrochemical heating systems; paints; perfumes; industrial emissions and a myriad of others.” And further….

“The condition of MCS develops in two stages, induction and triggering. In induction some contact with chemicals causes the  person to sensitize to at least one class of chemicals. This contact can be one large exposure such as a chemical spill or pesticide application or  it can be a low-level, ongoing exposure  such as  one might experience in a workplace with poor ventilation combined with  (photo) copy fumes,    perfume, and chemical cleaners.  After induction,  the person develops  sensitivity  to the  chemical that was involved in the (initial)  exposure  and to other related chemicals.  Thereafter  the person will respond with  symptoms  when exposed to  any of this class of chemicals.   This is called ‘triggering’  The sensitivities  developed  are usually  more or less permanent. Although  the kind and intensity of reactions  tend to spread over time,  to other related  chemicals.”   Gibson calls for  greater  understanding for MCS patients and for health  practitioners to provide a chemically clean environment, (waiting rooms) free of  fresh paint, pesticides, smoke and perfume, forced air petrochemical heat, chemical cleaners and other toxic agents. Contact details:

Pamela Gibson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
James Madison University
MSC 7401
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
540-568-6211, ext. 6195

In the interest of achieving and maintaining good health  it is necessary to become aware of, and avoid wherever possible, all sources of environmental pollution.  Both artificial electromagnetic field radiation and the ‘fallout’ from the use of  artificial chemicals  create a form of pollution both individually and in combination.  The  synergistic effects of these two  multi dimensional agents cause far greater reactions than each would alone.   The word multi dimensional is an apt description as EMR encompasses a multitude of frequencies  just as the chemical pollution contains a multitude of  chemical compounds and the carriers for those compounds which have been found to be equally as  hazardous to health.  Radiation (EMF/R) and toxic chemicals, in  their  many forms and in combination,   have the potential to cause and or promote adverse health effects ranging from mild irritation to neuro-degenerative diseases  and  some forms of cancer.

Case Reports:

Pseudo Arthritis and Diesoline Fumes and EMR

In one case X-rays to  determine a diagnosis of osteo-arthritis could not find sufficient tissue damage to explain the degree of pain  the patient reported. The cause was found to be   the inhalation of diesel  exhaust fumes in the workplace (which also caused constant headaches) and  the electric field associated with a  high powered sewing machine. Another example of the EMR chemical connection.   

These reports illustrate the distinct probability that many  conditions than could be symptoms of the EHS syndrome. Where there is an absence of knowledge of the  fact that EMR has the potential to cause effects that present as a  pseudo-condition,  errors are bound  to occur. Education of the public and professions  of this biological hazard is imperative.

Following are the contributions of two  allergy patients.   The  strategies they have employed to reduce reactions and  overcome the problem have also been used successfully by  others. 

Aware that  the sensitivity responses to  chemical substances are  an  individual matter  both these contributors consulted their health professional prior to making any changes  in their use of products or remedies listed  here. 

While  we await  scientific studies  to provide the answers  - once again -  personal experiences counts.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)  

At the time of writing,  the author has experienced at first hand the effects of unavoidable  inhalation of air borne vapours of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the residue  of a  timber varnish.  Before avoidance action could be taken acute awareness of a strong odour, though   not unpleasant,   became quite overpowering. Within minutes a prickling sensation developed in hands  & on  inspection the swelling of  all joints in  hands and wrists became obvious.  Mind dulling  and extreme tiredness followed  and  immediate action was necessary to neutralise this reaction. In this instance  the remedy used was the TRI SALTS  alkalising powder,  which had a swift action reducing the symptoms to nil.

As reported by one Multiple Chemical Sensitivity sufferer. “ When first confronted with the idea that our symptoms could be the result of sensitivities to chemicals in our environment, the task of dealing with this seems daunting.  Hopefully the following information will make it less so.” 

The first thing is to find out what you are dealing with, read the recommended books on the subject.    (See: Recommended Reading list in Reference section.)  

Some of these books may be out of print – try your local library.    A caution that needs to be stressed again and again:  We do not all react in the same way to a substance to which we are sensitive.  I may react by fainting, someone else may get a headache and another you may develop  a rash.  Do not assume that because you do not have the same symptoms as another person that you do not have a problem with that substance.

Symptom List

“MCS can affect any organ system including respiratory, digestive, neurological, endocrine, urinary, cardiovascular, or immune. The most common  symptoms from one study were tiredness/lethargy, difficulty in concentrating  muscle aches, memory problems and long term (chronic) fatigue (CFS).” ( P. Reed  Gibson )

Below is a list of symptoms compiled by SafeWork :

General Effects

Appetite loss;  





Motor Effects






lack of co-ordination; 

reflex abnormalities;

Sensory Effects;  

Impaired color vision;  

night blindness; 

increase olfactory and auditory threshold;  

ringing in the ears; 


equilibrium changes; 

dizziness; pain and tactile disorders; 

tingling; numbness; 

increased cold sensitivity.

Cognitive Effects:  

Concentration impairment; 


memory problems; 


learning; and speech impairments;  

mental slowing; reduced initiative; 



Mood and Personality Effects.  

Sleep disturbances; 





sexual activity loss; 


(Modified  from WK Arger 1986 Source; International Labour Office; Encyclopedia of Occupational  Health & Safety.)

The following symptom list is in addition to the  WorkSafe list and are the symptoms as reported  by  one individual.  The list is by no means complete as just about any symptom may be traced to  food  or electrical sensitivity.

Swelling of different parts of body

Sweating unrelated to weather, exercise or menopause.


Racing Pulse

Food cravings



Headache including migraine


Mouth ulcers

Bad breath

Nasal catarrh and throat clearing


Irritable bowel

Aching muscles and joints

Fainting and blackouts

Panic attacks


Inappropriate anger and violence

Nervous tension

Mental confusion




Exposure to electro magnetic radiation may cause various symptoms. Reactions to other substances may cause sensitivity to electrical appliances or  the reacting person may cause interference to appliances, a well documented fact. 

Battery operated watches becoming erratic or stopping

Feeling unwell, confused etc. when around computers etc.

Electrical appliances not operating normally when a sensitive  person is within the vicinity of the appliance, particularly personal; computers.

Some simple first steps to take to help reduce offending items in the home are:

Use bicarbonate of soda  in place of chemically based  scouring products in bathroom and kitchen.

Pest control is another problem and leaflets are available from the Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals Committee - phone (02) 9247 8476. Total Environment Centre Sydney Australia.  Or contact  Systems Pest Management, a company specialising in low or non-toxic pest control - phone (02) 9564 1614. Sydney Australia.

The use of a water filter is often a big step in improving health but many people do not tolerate the resins found in some filters.  Look more for charcoal and/or ceramic filters available from some health food stores.  There are companies who specialise in water filtration (see your yellow pages phone book).

Booklets which itemise  products suitable for the allergic/sensitive person are available from The Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity  Support and Research Association  (AESSRA)

Low Pollution and Travel Guide: $A6.00; send cheques or stamps to D. South c/o 5 James Street, Rye, Victoria Australia.

Natural  and Non-toxic; contains list of useful  products and services; Send cheque for   $A6.00  to AESSRA Inc, PO Box 298, Ringwood,  Victoria  3234 Australia. 

"The Green Consumer Guide" by John Elkington and Julia Hailes with Choice Magazine and Australian Conservation Foundation.

"A-Z of Chemicals in the Home" choice books by the Total  Environment Centre are two books that will give you further information and alternatives.

This information is meant as an initial guide and further reading and experience will give more information to continue on your road to better health.

People often ask what are the symptoms of chemical or food sensitivity.  They are many and varied BUT at all times other medical conditions MUST be eliminated before assuming that the problem could be due to environmental sensitivity.

Compiled by Helen Breakspear, Sydney Australia.

Sources of Home Pollution



            Gas - Oil - Kerosene  

2.         FURNISHINGS

Polyesters - Polyurethanes - carpet - plastics - particle board - rubber underlay - rubber           backed curtains – plastic foam - electric blankets.



Detergents - disinfectants - bleaches - plastics - other cleaning agent cooking odours



            Dust mite - moulds - animal hair.





            Perfumes - soaps - shampoos - cosmetics - hair sprays - deodorants - after

            shave etc.



Aerosols - tobacco smoke - printed items - garden chemicals - fence treatments - insulation - paints - glues - varnishes etc.  

General Cleaning  Suggestions


Refrigerator:  to freshen use an open box of bicarb soda.

Sinks:  flat soda water makes stainless steel shine.

Tiles: wipe over with white vinegar.

Paintwork: use 1 tablespoon borax dissolved in boiling water and added to soapy water.

Stoves: while oven is still warm, wipe with a damp cloth.  Soak racks in a solution of Amway LOC in very hot water.  Washing soda and steel wool can be used.  Stove tops can be kept clean with bicarb soda sprinkled on a damp cloth.

Drain Pipes: to clear use a handful of bicarb soda and 1/2 glass of vinegar.

Saucepans:: for burnt saucepans cover with vinegar and a layer of cooking salt.  Leave overnight, bring to the boil and simmer 10 minutes then wash when cool  OR sprinkle with bicarb soda and let stand OR  simmer a strong solution of cream of tartar and enough water to cover for 15 - 20 minutes.  


Bath and hand basin are kept clean with bicarb soda sprinkled on a damp cloth.  Shine by wiping over with white vinegar.

Tiles wipe over with white vinegar.

Shower base and screens are cleaned with bicarb soda and scourer.

Toilets are cleaned with 1 cup white vinegar.  It is even better if left all night.  Stained bowls would need a scour with bicarb soda first.

Mirrors may be cleaned with a mild borax solution then polished with a dry cloth.

Extra bath cleaners 1 tablespoon cream of tartar and few drops hydrogen peroxide OR equal parts of borax, cream of tartar and a few drops hydrogen peroxide.  


1.         Infection particularly viral.

2.        Heavy chemical exposures, most noticeably pesticides and occupational   exposures

3.         Prolonged stress and bereavement.

4.         Massive trauma such as car accidents.

5.         Hormonal disturbances - particularly those associated with pregnancy  and after  delivery, often after second baby

6.         Premature introduction of foods in infancy.

7.         Insect stings

8.         Drug treatment including antibiotics.

9.         Abrupt weight loss

10.       Extensive irradiation.

A family history of allergic disorders is clearly important.



                        Petrol fumes


                        Food additives

                        Diesel fumes



                        Municipal Water

                        Natural gas



                        Tobacco smoke  



                        Terpenes e.g. Pine Oil

                        Pesticides and herbicides







                        Carpet glues

                        Pesticide residues in foods

If a patient is in category 1, it is not uncommon to develop further sensitivities unless an effort is made to minimise chemical exposures, and avoid infection.


Water Filters

Use only filtered water and for  drinking  and cooking.  Use a water filter on the shower rose to avoid chlorine and other water additives while showering.  -  the large area of the skin will absorb a considerable amount of chlorine from  a shower.    

Indoor Plants 

If you can tolerate plants in the house `this can be a means of improving indoor air quality.  Due to  the  chemically polluted atmosphere in the space capsules of space craft and the effect it had on the astronauts, in 1989  the United States Space Agency –NASA, conducted an extensive  study which found that particular plants absorb the  airborne pollutants of formaldehyde, trichlorethelene and benzene.   These chemicals are used in the production of the spacecraft equipment  and many products used  in furnishings and fittings in home, schools  and offices and contribute to the ‘sick building syndrome’.   The NASA study   lists  the  plants  useful in  controlling the outgassing of the three chemicals mentioned here.

Formaldehyde is  found in plywood, clothing, paper goods, furniture, carpeting. Symptoms of  exposure; headaches, eye irritation, asthma (prolonged exposure). Plants to use;  Philodendron, spider plant, golden pothos, corn plant, chrysanthemum and mother in laws tongue (sansevaria) 

Benzene is found in synthetic fibres, gasoline, plastics, inks, oils, detergents, tobacco, smoke, and rubber. Symptoms of exposure;  irritation of eyes, skin, headaches, loss of appetite. The plants to use; English Ivy, dracena marginata, janet craig, peace lily, gerbera daisy and warnecki.

Trichloethelene is  found in inks, paints, varnishes, lacquers, adhesives and  dry cleaning. 

This chemical is known  to be  a potent liver carcinogen.   Plants to us;  peace lily, gerbera daisy, warnecki. Chrysanthemum, dracena marginata  

Close windows at night when mould spores are released.  Pollen is released from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. ( Southern Hemisphere )

Keep car windows closed while in a polluted area.

Clean interior of car with white vinegar.  Plastic causes a film to build up in cars.  Particularly when new. It is recommended that MCS, EHS and CFS people consider when purchasing a vehicle that a three year old car interior will be less polluted than a new car.

Use electricity, not gas or oil. (observe EMR avoidance - distance of  1metre)

Do not use plywood particle board or pine.

Avoid having  flowers in the house.

Avoid contact with pets.  

When you go out, shower and shampoo your hair before retiring to get rid of pollens, petro-chemicals, tobacco, fumes etc.

Keep bedroom as dust free as possible.  Avoid  stuffed toys, wall hangings and fussy furniture.

Avoid having carpets if possible.

Use cotton, linen, wool, silk rayon or hemp  instead of synthetic fabrics.

Damp mop and dust.

Chemicals in clothing can often be removed by washing in bicarbonate of soda or borax and rinsing with vinegar.

Filter drinking water.

Suggested Remedies : used successfully by the  contributors and others.  

Please remember  -  check with your health practitioner for the suitability of any remedy  for a particular case. 


Sodium bicarbonate      3 parts

Potassium bicarbonate   2 parts

Calcium carbonate        1 part

Ask you pharmacist  


Remedy used  for reactions

1 teaspoon bicarb soda with 2 glasses water

1 hour later 1000mg Vitamin C (1/4 teaspoon = 832 mg.)

1 hour later 1 teaspoon bicarb soda with 2 glasses water.

Pesticide Reaction  Remedy

A solution of 2 teaspoons bicarb soda dissolved in 1 cup boiled water is made.  Using  a washed, clean drop bottle, 5-6 drops was  instilled into each nostril.  The remaining solution  was drunk followed by 1 cup water and 1 gm Cal. C an hour later.  The source of this remedy  recommended that the bicarb can be  taken every 4 hours, until reaction clears.  Cal C can also be taken every 4 hours.

Compiled by Myra Kynuer Sydney Australia.


            "Not All In My Mind"  © by Richard Mackarness

             “Chemical Allergies” © 1990  Pan Books Ltd London

            "Chemical Victims" by Richard Mackarness

            "Dr. Mandell's 5 Day Allergy Relief System" by Dr. Marshall  Mandell   and Lynne Waller Scanlon

            "Allergies: Your Hidden Enemy" by Theron G. Randolph MD. and Ralph W Moss Ph.D.


Crumpler Dianne CHEMICAL CRISIS © 1994    Scribe Publications Pty Ltd

Alexander.,  Phillip (author)  ©  (1997) IT COULD BE ALLERGY AND IT   CAN BE    CURED

             Publisher Ethicare  Pty Ltd ., Dee Why, 2099 NSW  


Allergy And Environmental Sensitivity and Research Association Inc.,  (AESSRA) A Self Help  and  Information Group.  Contact details : PO Box 298, Ringwood, Vic 3134   Website :     Email:  aessra@medscape

CHECNET   A USA based organization dedicated to the prevention of non-genetic childhood cancer  and other environmentally caused childhood diseases.


362 Kent Street,  Sydney, NSW   2001  Phone: 02 9299 5599

Dr Judy Ford. Geneticist

Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D.  © 1992

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide (New Harbinger Publications, 2000)                   

Associate Professor of Psychology at James Madison University USA.   MSC 7401,  

Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807,   540-568-6211, ext. 6195  


PO BOX 29629 ATLANTA 30359 USA

E.I. SYNDROME © 1995 (Environmental Illness ) S.K. Publishing PO Box 40101 Sarasota, S.L 34242 

Sherry A. Rogers, M.D.   TIRED OR TOXIC ? © 1990  BLUEPRINT  FOR HEALTH   Prestige Publishers  Box 3161   3502 Brewerton Road Syracuse NY 13220

THE NATURAL HOUSE BOOK © 1990  Pearson David  Publisher, Angus & Robinson


Publisher Kangaroo Press  Pty Ltd   Kenthurst NSW  

HEALTHY HOME BOOK 1997  John Warde ©

Published by Times Books A Div Random House Inc  NY