CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY AND/OR EMR SENSITIVITY
Pollution and Allergy
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Doris Rapp has recently
published a book.
book by Pamela Reed Gibson Ph.D.,
James Madison University USA
sensitivity (MCS) a person develops markedly
to everyday chemical exposures.
These include exposures to
pesticides in buildings, gardens, on our food and on pets;
petrochemical heating systems; paints; perfumes; industrial emissions and a
myriad of others.” And further….
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
are usually more or less
permanent. Although the kind and
intensity of reactions tend to
spread over time, to other related
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
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
(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.
Pseudo Arthritis and Diesoline Fumes and EMR
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
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.
are the contributions of two allergy
strategies they have employed to reduce reactions and
overcome the problem have also been used successfully by
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.
we await scientific studies
to provide the answers -
once again - personal
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
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.
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.”
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.)
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.
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
is a list of symptoms compiled by SafeWork :
General Effects :
Motor Effects ;
lack of co-ordination;
Impaired color vision;
increase olfactory and auditory threshold;
ringing in the ears;
dizziness; pain and tactile disorders;
learning; and speech impairments;
mental slowing; reduced initiative;
Mood and Personality Effects.
sexual activity loss;
from WK Arger 1986 Source; International Labour Office; Encyclopedia of
Occupational Health & Safety.)
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
of different parts of body
unrelated to weather, exercise or menopause.
catarrh and throat clearing
muscles and joints
anger and violence
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
operated watches becoming erratic or stopping
unwell, confused etc. when around computers etc.
appliances not operating normally when a sensitive person is within the vicinity of the appliance, particularly
simple first steps to take to help reduce offending items in the home are:
bicarbonate of soda in place of
chemically based scouring products
in bathroom and kitchen.
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.
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).
which itemise products suitable for
the allergic/sensitive person are available from The Allergy and Environmental
Sensitivity Support and Research
Pollution and Travel Guide: $A6.00; send cheques or stamps to D. South c/o 5 James Street, Rye,
and Non-toxic; contains list of useful products and services; Send cheque for $A6.00 to
AESSRA Inc, PO Box 298, Ringwood, Victoria
Green Consumer Guide" by John Elkington and Julia Hailes with Choice
Magazine and Australian Conservation Foundation.
of Chemicals in the Home" choice books by the Total Environment Centre are two books that will give you further
information and alternatives.
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,
Sources of Home Pollution
Gas - Oil - Kerosene
Polyesters - Polyurethanes - carpet - plastics -
particle board - rubber underlay - rubber
backed curtains – plastic foam - electric blankets.
KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY PRODUCTS
Detergents - disinfectants - bleaches - plastics -
other cleaning agent cooking odours
Dust mite - moulds - animal hair.
PESTICIDE AND HERBICIDE RESIDUES
BATHROOM AND TOILET PRODUCTS
Perfumes - soaps - shampoos - cosmetics - hair sprays - deodorants -
Aerosols - tobacco smoke - printed items - garden
chemicals - fence treatments - insulation - paints - glues - varnishes etc.
to freshen use an open box of bicarb soda.
flat soda water makes stainless steel shine.
wipe over with white vinegar.
use 1 tablespoon borax dissolved in boiling water and added to soapy water.
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.
Pipes: to clear use a handful of bicarb soda and 1/2 glass of vinegar.
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.
and hand basin are kept clean with bicarb soda sprinkled on a damp cloth.
Shine by wiping over with white vinegar.
wipe over with white vinegar.
base and screens are cleaned with bicarb soda and scourer.
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.
may be cleaned with a mild borax solution then polished with a dry cloth.
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.
LEADING TO IMMUNE SYSTEM DAMAGE
Infection particularly viral.
chemical exposures, most noticeably pesticides and occupational
Prolonged stress and bereavement.
Massive trauma such as car accidents.
5. Hormonal disturbances - particularly those associated with pregnancy and after delivery, often after second baby
Premature introduction of foods in infancy.
Drug treatment including antibiotics.
Abrupt weight loss
family history of allergic disorders is clearly important.
SENSITISATION TO CHEMICALS
Terpenes e.g. Pine Oil
Pesticides and herbicides
Pesticide residues in foods
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.
WAYS TO AVOID ALLERGIES
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.
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.
found in inks, paints, varnishes, lacquers, adhesives and
This chemical is known
to be a potent liver
carcinogen. Plants to us;
peace lily, gerbera daisy, warnecki.
windows at night when mould spores are released.
Pollen is released from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. ( Southern Hemisphere )
car windows closed while in a polluted area.
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.
electricity, not gas or oil. (observe EMR avoidance - distance of
use plywood particle board or pine.
having flowers in the house.
contact with pets.
you go out, shower and shampoo your hair before retiring to get rid of pollens,
petro-chemicals, tobacco, fumes etc.
bedroom as dust free as possible. Avoid
stuffed toys, wall hangings and fussy furniture.
having carpets if possible.
cotton, linen, wool, silk rayon or hemp instead
of synthetic fabrics.
mop and dust.
in clothing can often be removed by washing in bicarbonate of soda or borax and
rinsing with vinegar.
Suggested Remedies : used
successfully by the contributors
Please remember - check with
your health practitioner for the suitability of any remedy
for a particular case.
bicarbonate 2 parts
CALCIUM ASCORBATE POWDER
used for reactions
teaspoon bicarb soda with 2 glasses water
later 1000mg Vitamin C (1/4 teaspoon = 832 mg.)
later 1 teaspoon bicarb soda with 2 glasses water.
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
REFERENCES and READING
"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
"Allergies: Your Hidden Enemy" by Theron G. Randolph MD. and
Ralph W Moss Ph.D.
Crumpler Dianne CHEMICAL CRISIS © 1994
Scribe Publications Pty Ltd
Scribe Publications Pty Ltd
Phillip (author) © (1997)
IT COULD BE ALLERGY AND IT CAN BE
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 : http://www.vicnet.au/~aessra Email: aessra@medscape
A USA based organization dedicated to the prevention of non-genetic
childhood cancer and other
environmentally caused childhood diseases. http://www.checnet.org
362 Kent Street,
Sydney, NSW 2001 Phone:
02 9299 5599
Dr Judy Ford. Geneticist http://ww.egs.com.au
Reed Gibson, Ph.D. © 1992
Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide (New Harbinger Publications, 2000)
Associate Professor of Psychology at James Madison University USA.
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807,
540-568-6211, ext. 6195 email@example.com
FRAGRANCE & HEALTH
PO BOX 29629 ATLANTA 30359 USA
© 1995 (Environmental Illness ) S.K. Publishing PO Box 40101 Sarasota, S.L
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
HOW TO BUILD A CHEMICIAL-FREE
HOUSE Janet Forster.© 1994
Publisher Kangaroo Press
Pty Ltd Kenthurst NSW
HEALTHY HOME BOOK 1997
John Warde ©
Published by Times Books A Div Random House Inc NY