Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten Years of Addressing Children's Health through Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Ten Years of Addressing Children's Health through Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Devon Payne-Sturges and Debra Kemp

Abstract in PDF

This EHP-in-Press article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. The EHP-in-Press articles are completely citable using the assigned DOI code for the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process. Environ Health Perspect doi:10.1289/ehp.11390 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 30 September 2008]

The full version of this article is available for free in PDF format.

Effects of improved home heating on asthma in community dwelling children: randomised controlled trial.

BMJ. 2008 Sep 23;337:a1411. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1411.Click here to read Links

Effects of improved home heating on asthma in community dwelling children: randomised controlled trial.


He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago, Wellington, PO 7343, Wellington South, New Zealand. philippa.howden-chapman@otago.ac.nz

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether non-polluting, more effective home heating (heat pump, wood pellet burner, flued gas) has a positive effect on the health of children with asthma. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Households in five communities in New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: 409 children aged 6-12 years with doctor diagnosed asthma. INTERVENTIONS: Installation of a non-polluting, more effective home heater before winter. The control group received a replacement heater at the end of the trial. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was change in lung function (peak expiratory flow rate and forced expiratory volume in one second, FEV(1)). Secondary outcomes were child reported respiratory tract symptoms and daily use of preventer and reliever drugs. At the end of winter 2005 (baseline) and winter 2006 (follow-up) parents reported their child's general health, use of health services, overall respiratory health, and housing conditions. Nitrogen dioxide levels were measured monthly for four months and temperatures in the living room and child's bedroom were recorded hourly. RESULTS: Improvements in lung function were not significant (difference in mean FEV(1) 130.7 ml, 95% confidence interval -20.3 to 281.7). Compared with children in the control group, however, children in the intervention group had 1.80 fewer days off school (95% confidence interval 0.11 to 3.13), 0.40 fewer visits to a doctor for asthma (0.11 to 0.62), and 0.25 fewer visits to a pharmacist for asthma (0.09 to 0.32). Children in the intervention group also had fewer reports of poor health (adjusted odds ratio 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 0.74), less sleep disturbed by wheezing (0.55, 0.35 to 0.85), less dry cough at night (0.52, 0.32 to 0.83), and reduced scores for lower respiratory tract symptoms (0.77, 0.73 to 0.81) than children in the control group. The intervention was associated with a mean temperature rise in the living room of 1.10 degrees C (95% confidence interval 0.54 degrees C to 1.64 degrees C) and in the child's bedroom of 0.57 degrees C (0.05 degrees C to 1.08 degrees C). Lower levels of nitrogen dioxide were measured in the living rooms of the intervention households than in those of the control households (geometric mean 8.5 microg/m(3) v 15.7 microg/m(3), P<0.001). A similar effect was found in the children's bedrooms (7.3 microg/m(3) v 10.9 microg/m(3), P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Installing non-polluting, more effective heating in the homes of children with asthma did not significantly improve lung function but did significantly reduce symptoms of asthma, days off school, healthcare utilisation, and visits to a pharmacist. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials NCT00489762.

PMID: 18812366 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Fibromyalgia syndrome in the general population of France: A prevalence study.

Joint Bone Spine. 2008 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Fibromyalgia syndrome in the general population of France: A prevalence study.


Rheumatology Department, University Hospital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome in the French general population. METHODS: A validated French version of the London Fibromyalgia Epidemiology Study Screening Questionnaire (LFESSQ) was administered via telephone to a representative community sample of 1014 subjects aged over 15 years, selected by the quota method. A positive screen was defined as: (1) meeting the 4-pain criteria alone (LFESSQ-4), or (2) meeting both the 4-pain and 2-fatigue criteria (LFESSQ-6). To estimate the positive predictive value of LFESSQ-4 and LFESSQ-6, this questionnaire was submitted to a sample of rheumatology outpatients (n=178), who were then examined by a trained rheumatologist to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of FM according to the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria. The prevalence of FM in the general population was estimated by applying the predictive positive value to eligible community subjects (i.e., positive screens). RESULTS: In the community sample, 9.8% and 5.0% screened positive for LFESSQ-4 and LFESSQ-6, respectively. Among rheumatology outpatients, 47.1% screened positive for LFESSQ-4 and 34.8% for LFESSQ-6 whereas 10.6% were confirmed FM cases. Based on positive screens for LFESSQ-4, the prevalence of FM was estimated at 2.2% (95% CI 1.3-3.1) in the French general population. The corresponding figure was 1.4 % (95% CI 0.7-2.1) if positive screens for LFESSQ-6 were considered. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that FM is also a major cause of widespread pain in France since a point prevalence of 1.4% would translate in approximately 680,000 patients.

PMID: 18819831 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Working memory performance is correlated with local brain morphology in the medial frontal and anterior cingulate cortex in fibromyalgia patients

Brain. 2008 Sep 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Working memory performance is correlated with local brain morphology in the medial frontal and anterior cingulate cortex in fibromyalgia patients: structural correlates of pain-cognition interaction.


Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg and Clinic for Rheumatology, Asklepios Kilinikum Bad Abbach, Bad Abbach, Germany.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder of unknown aetiology, characterized by chronic widespread pain, stiffness and sleep disturbances. In addition, patients frequently complain of memory and attention deficits. Accumulating evidence suggests that FM is associated with CNS dysfunction and with an altered brain morphology. However, few studies have specifically investigated neuropsychological issues in patients suffering from FM. We therefore sought to determine whether neuropsychological deficits found in FM patients may be correlated with changes in local brain morphology specifically in the frontal, temporal or cingulate cortices. Twenty FM patients underwent extensive testing for potential neuropsychological deficits, which demonstrated significantly reduced working memory and impaired non-verbal long-term memory (limited to free recall condition) in comparison with normative data from age- and education-matched control groups. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to evaluate for potential correlations between test results and local brain morphology. Performance on non-verbal working memory was positively correlated with grey matter values in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, whereas performance on verbal working memory (digit backward) was positively correlated with grey matter values in the supplementary motor cortex. On the other hand, pain scores were negatively correlated with grey matter values in the medial frontal gyrus. White matter analyses revealed comparable correlations for verbal working memory and pain scores in the medial frontal and prefrontal cortex and in the anterior cingulate cortex. Our data suggest that, in addition to chronic pain, FM patients suffer from neurocognitive deficits that correlate with local brain morphology in the frontal lobe and anterior cingulate gyrus, which may be interpreted to indicate structural correlates of pain-cognition interaction.

PMID: 18819988 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Fibromyalgia subgroups: profiling distinct subgroups using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. A preliminary study.

Rheumatol Int. 2008 Sep 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Fibromyalgia subgroups: profiling distinct subgroups using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. A preliminary study.


Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Axe Douleur CRC-CHUS, 3001, 12e Avenue Nord, Sherbrooke, QC, J1H 5N4, Canada, juliana.barcellos.de.souza@usherbrooke.ca.

The main goal of this project was to identify the presence of fibromyalgia (FM) subgroups using a simple and frequently used clinical tool, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). A total of 61 women diagnosed with FM participated in this study. FM subgroups were created by applying a hierarchical cluster analysis on selected items of the FIQ (pain, fatigue, morning tiredness, stiffness, anxiety and depressive symptoms). We also tested for group differences on experimental pain, psychosocial functioning and demographic characteristics. Two cluster profiles best fit our data. FM-Type I was characterized by the lowest levels of anxiety, depressive and morning tiredness symptoms, while FM-Type II was characterized by elevated levels of pain, fatigue, morning tiredness, stiffness, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Both FM subgroups showed hyperalgesic responses to experimental pain. These results suggest that pain and stiffness are universal symptoms of the disorder but that psychological distress is a feature present only in some patients.

PMID: 18820930 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Feasibility and effectiveness of an aerobic exercise program in children with fibromyalgia: Results of a randomized controlled pilot trial.

Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Sep 29;59(10):1399-1406. [Epub ahead of print]

Feasibility and effectiveness of an aerobic exercise program in children with fibromyalgia: Results of a randomized controlled pilot trial.


The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial of a 12-week exercise intervention in children with fibromyalgia (FM) and to explore the effectiveness of aerobic exercise on physical fitness, function, pain, FM symptoms, and quality of life (QOL). METHODS: FM patients ages 8-18 years were randomized to a 12-week exercise intervention of either aerobics or qigong. Both groups participated in 3 weekly training sessions. Program adherence and safety were monitored at each session. Data were collected at 3 testing sessions, 2 prior to and 1 after the intervention, and included FM symptoms, function, pain, QOL, and fitness measures. RESULTS: Thirty patients participated in the trial. Twenty-four patients completed the program; 4 patients dropped out prior to training and 2 dropped out of the aerobics program. Better adherence was reported in the aerobics group than in the qigong group (67% versus 61%). Significant improvements in physical function, functional capacity, QOL, and fatigue were observed in the aerobics group. Anaerobic function, tender point count, pain, and symptom severity improved similarly in both groups. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to conduct an exercise intervention trial in children with FM. Children with FM tolerate moderate-intensity exercise without exacerbation of their disease. Significant improvements in physical function, FM symptoms, QOL, and pain were demonstrated in both exercise groups; the aerobics group performed better in several measures compared with the qigong group. Future studies may need larger sample sizes to confirm clinical improvement and to detect differences in fitness in childhood FM.

PMID: 18821656 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Family factors, emotional functioning, and functional impairment in juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome.

Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Sep 29;59(10):1392-1398. [Epub ahead of print]

Family factors, emotional functioning, and functional impairment in juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome.


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio.

OBJECTIVE: Family factors and emotional functioning can play an important role in the ability of adolescents with juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) to cope with their condition and function in their everyday lives. The primary objectives of this study were to determine 1) whether adolescents with JPFS and their caregivers differed from healthy age-matched comparison peers and their caregivers in terms of emotional distress and functional impairment; 2) whether there were any differences in the family environment of adolescents with JPFS compared with healthy comparison peers; and 3) which individual-, caregiver-, and family-level variables were associated with functional impairment in adolescents with JPFS. METHODS: Participants were 47 adolescents with JPFS recruited from a pediatric rheumatology clinic and 46 comparison peers without chronic illness matched for age, sex, and race. Participants and their caregivers (all mothers) completed a battery of standardized measures administered in their homes. RESULTS: Adolescents with JPFS had greater internalizing and externalizing symptoms than healthy comparison peers. Mothers of adolescents with JPFS reported twice as many pain conditions and significantly greater depressive symptoms than mothers of comparison peers. The JPFS group also had poorer overall family functioning and more conflicted family relationships. In adolescents with JPFS, maternal pain history was associated with significantly higher functional impairment. CONCLUSION: Increased distress and chronic pain are evident in families of adolescents with JPFS, and family relationships are also impacted. Implications for child functional impairment and the need for inclusion of caregivers in treatment are discussed.

PMID: 18821640 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

NEWS: Jury holds pesticide appliers responsible for chemical drift

Jury holds pesticide appliers responsible for chemical drift

SANTA CRUZ - In a victory for the state's organic farmers, a Santa Cruz County jury awarded a North County grower $1 million in damages after ruling that a pesticide company violated the farmers rights when its chemicals drifted with the fog onto organic crops.

As a result, Jacobs Farm, which raises organic culinary herbs on about 120 acres in Wilder Ranch State Park, can continue to grow on that land free from chemical drift. In addition, organic farmers statewide can seek redress should pesticides, even those applied properly, somehow end up on their plants. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Negotiating the diagnostic uncertainty of contested illnesses: physician practices and paradigms.

Health (London). 2008 Oct;12(4):453-78.

Negotiating the diagnostic uncertainty of contested illnesses: physician practices and paradigms.


City University of New York, USA. dswoboda@york.cuny.edu.

In the absence of scientific consensus about contested illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), and Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), physicians must make sense of competing accounts and develop practices for patient evaluation. A survey of 800 United States physicians examined physician propensity to diagnose CFS, MCS, and GWS, and the factors shaping clinical decision making. Results indicate that a substantial portion of physicians, including nonexperts, are diagnosing CFS, MCS, and GWS. Diagnosing physicians manage the uncertainty associated with these illnesses by using strategies that enhance bounded rationality and aid in thinking beyond current disease models. Strategies include consulting ancillary information sources, conducting analytically informed testing, and considering physiological explanations of causation. By relying on these practices and paradigms, physicians fit CFS, MCS, and GWS into an explanatory system that makes them credible and understandable to them, their patients, and the medical community. Findings suggest that physicians employ rational decision making for diagnosing contested illnesses, creating a blueprint of how illnesses lacking conclusive pathogenic and etiological explanations can be diagnosed. Findings also suggest that patients with contested illnesses might benefit from working with physicians who use these diagnostic strategies, since they help manage the complexity and ambiguity of the contested illness diagnostic process and aid in diagnosis. In addition, findings provide a window into how emerging illnesses get diagnosed in the absence of medical and scientific consensus, and suggest that diagnosing physicians advance the legitimacy of controversial illnesses by constructing the means for their diagnosis.

PMID: 18818275 [PubMed - in process]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Evidence of Inflammatory Immune Signaling in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Pilot Study of Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood

Aspler A, Bolshin C, Vernon S, Broderick G.  Behavioral and Brain Functions, 2008 4:44 (26 September 2008)
ResearchEvidence of Inflammatory Immune Signaling in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Pilot Study of Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood. 
Abstract (provisional)

Genomic profiling of peripheral blood reveals altered immunity in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) however interpretation remains challenging without immune demographic context. The object of this work is to identify modulation of specific immune functional components and restructuring of co-expression networks characteristic of CFS using the quantitative genomics of peripheral blood.
Gene sets were constructed a priori for CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, CD19+ B cells, CD14+ monocytes and CD16+ neutrophils from published data. A group of 111 women were classified using empiric case definition (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and unsupervised latent cluster analysis (LCA). Microarray profiles of peripheral blood were analyzed for expression of leukocyte-specific gene sets and characteristic changes in co-expression identified from topological evaluation of linear correlation networks.
Median expression for a set of 6 genes preferentially up-regulated in CD19+ B cells was significantly lower in CFS (p=0.01) due mainly to PTPRK and TSPAN3 expression. Although no other gene set was differentially expressed at p<0.05, patterns of co-expression in each group differed markedly. Significant co-expression of CD14+ monocyte with CD16+ neutrophil (p=0.01) and CD19+ B cell sets (p=0.00) characterized CFS and fatigue phenotype groups. Also in CFS was a significant negative correlation between CD8+ and both CD19+ up-regulated (p=0.02) and NK gene sets (p=0.08). These patterns were absent in controls.
Dissection of blood microarray profiles points to B cell dysfunction with coordinated immune activation supporting persistent inflammation and antibody-mediated NK cell modulation of T cell activity. This has clinical implications as the CD19+ genes identified could provide robust and biologically meaningful basis for the early detection and unambiguous phenotyping of CFS. 

Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism.

J Neurol Sci. 2008 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism.


Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland, USA; CoMeD, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may result from a combination of genetic/biochemical susceptibilities in the form of a reduced ability to excrete mercury and/or increased environmental exposure at key developmental times. Urinary porphyrins and transsulfuration metabolites in participants diagnosed with an ASD were examined. A prospective, blinded study was undertaken to evaluate a cohort of 28 participants with an ASD diagnosis for Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) scores, urinary porphyrins, and transsulfuration metabolites. Testing was conducted using Vitamin Diagnostics, Inc. (CLIA-approved) and Laboratoire Philippe Auguste (ISO-approved). Participants with severe ASDs had significantly increased mercury intoxication-associated urinary porphyrins (pentacarboxyporphyrin, precoproporphyrin, and coproporphyrin) in comparison to participants with mild ASDs, whereas other urinary porphyrins were similar in both groups. Significantly decreased plasma levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), cysteine, and sulfate were observed among study participants relative to controls. In contrast, study participants had significantly increased plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG) relative to controls. Mercury intoxication-associated urinary porphyrins were significantly correlated with increasing CARS scores and GSSG levels, whereas other urinary porphyrins did not show these relationships. The urinary porphyrin and CARS score correlations observed among study participants suggest that mercury intoxication is significantly associated with autistic symptoms. The transsulfuration abnormalities observed among study participants indicate that mercury intoxication was associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased detoxification capacity.

PMID: 18817931 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is Air Dangerous to Health

Is Air Dangerous to Health

Breathing air is a necessity of life. We cannot live without air. But new
research from the University of Michigan shows that a breath of fresh air
comes at the price of increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Particulate matter air pollution is the 13th leading cause of morality. Air
pollution has been associated with numerous cardiovascular diseases, heart
failure, and stroke.

PDF Version: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg40.pdf

Assualt and Battery by Perfume

Assault and Battery by Perfume

A woman was arrested by the police for assaulting her medical provider with
perfume. The assault resulted in the provider's hospitalization and a
subsequent deterioration of health. According to reports, the woman said
she had sprayed on extra perfume to hide her smoking habit from the doctor.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg38.pdf

Chelation Works for Autism

Chelation Works for Autism

An average of 30% of twenty-six thousand parents surveyed independently
report that their child experienced some improvement from pharmaceutical
drugs. There are no reports of cures from such treatment. Another 30% of
children become worse with drug treatments. Drug therapy clearly is of
little value.

Yet, 74% of parents report chelation has improved their child. Only 3%
reported a worsening of the child's condition from chelation. Clearly
chelation has a far better track record than pharmaceutical interventions.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg3637.pdf

Chemical Allergy Diagnostic Biomarkers

Chemical Allergy Biomarkers

While Fukuyahma and his colleagues found a way to detect allergies from low
levels of chemicals using elevated lymphocytes and surface antigen
expression of B cells as biomarkers for what they claim is multiple chemical
sensitivity (MCS), much is left unproven.

These studies do not address whether people who are experiencing the toxic
effects of chemicals, as opposed to allergy, would also experience elevated
lymphocytes and B cell antigens. The typical MCS incitants were not

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg333435.pdf

Online Support Groups Helpful

Online Support Groups Helpful

Being diagnosed with a disease can be devastating. Some diseases, like
diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple chemical
sensitivity (MCS) can even be life-altering.

In the early days post-diagnosis, patients often feel alone in their plight.
Many communities lack support groups and physicians. Medical staff are too
busy to deal with more than the bare medical necessities. Patients, thus,
are left to fend for themselves so far as coping and learning the ins and
outs of their disease process.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg2526272829303132.pdf

Fragrance Sickens Several Men and Eleven Students

Fragrance Sickens Several Men and Eleven Students

A woman named Patches was arrested in July and charged with second-degree
battery for spraying several men with the cologne she was selling. Police
say her fragrance made two of the men pass out.

In September, eleven students and a bus driver from the McLaughlin Middle
School in New Hampshire were taken by ambulance to the hospital and treated
for vomiting and shortness of breath after being overcome with fragrance
from a student's perfume.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg2324.pdf

You're Diagnosed with MCS, Now What?

You're Diagnosed with MCS, Now What?

Being newly diagnosed with any disease requires thought, change, and
adjustment during a time when one may not be feeling their best. Few
diagnoses steal life away from the living like multiple chemical sensitivity
(MCS). Indeed, many cannot imagine a worse predicament to be in.

Here are some commonly asked questions, coping strategies, and information
for those with a new diagnosis and seasoned sufferers alike.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg1516171819202122.pdf

MCS Community Spotlight on Harold I. Zeliger, PhD

Community Spotlight on Harold I. Zeliger, PhD

What encouraged you to write your new book, "Human Toxicology of Chemical
Following the 2003 and 2004 publications I was contacted by scientists and
physicians who had questions about specific mixtures and mechanisms for the
action of mixtures. I had been thinking about writing the book as a way to
respond those inquiries, when I was contacted by William Andrew about
writing one.

Read More: http://mcs-america.org/October2008pg11121314.pdf

Key Words: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Medical Treatment

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Medical Treatment

The most asked question by patients new to MCS is often, "How do I get better?"  Information on MCS can be as difficult to find as a qualified medical provider.  Summarized here are the most common treatments and considerations.
Most qualified physicians recommend one or more of the following basic treatments for MCS:
1.      Chemical Avoidance
2.      Chemical Free Housing
3.      Nutrient Therapy
4.      Sauna Therapy & Detoxification

[Sick building syndrome]

Harefuah. 2008 Jul;147(7):607-8, 662.

[Sick building syndrome]


[Article in Hebrew]

Over the past 50 years, a new man-made ecosystem has developed--the controlled indoor environment within the sealed exterior shells of modern non-industrial buildings. Emitted toxic volatile compounds from building materials, furnishings, and equipment, and inappropriate ventilation (resulting from the need to reduce expenses) contribute to reduce indoor air quality (IAQ), which has considerable potential to affect public health. Consequently, health problems related to this ecosystem have emerged. "Building-related illnesses" (BRI) refers to a group of illnesses with a fairly homogeneous clinical picture, objective abnormalities on clinical or laboratory evaluation, and one or more identifiable sources or agents known to cause infectious, immunologic, or allergic diseases. The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to refer to a heterogeneous group of work-related symptoms--including irritation of the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat, headache, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. These are considered illnesses because of the occurrence of symptoms, even though affected workers do not have objective clinical or laboratory abnormalities and causative agents cannot be found. The clinical symptoms of SBS, although not life-threatening are disruptive: they reduce productivity and increase absenteeism from work. Noteworthy, the association of symptoms with psychosocial factors does not mean that "the problem is all in the workers' heads". The results of psychological testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers are similar. To improve IAQ and reduce symptoms of SBS adequate ventilation and fresh air, which will reduce volatile compounds, maintaining thermal comfort (with humidity not exceeding 60%), and adequate lighting should be ensured.

PMID: 18814520 [PubMed - in process]

Clothing as a Contributor to IAQ Problems

Clothing as a Contributor to IAQ Problems

When people think of things that contribute to indoor air pollution,
clothing does not usually come to mind. However, there are several ways in
which clothing contributes to poor indoor air quality.

See link above for full article.

MCS Disorder and Environmental Illness as Handicaps by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

From the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)


Legal Opinion: GME-0009


Index:  9.207

Subject:  MCS Disorder and Environmental Illness as Handicaps

Full Text At:  http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/lops/GME-0009LOPS.pdf


                     March 5, 1992


MEMORANDUM FOR:  Frank Keating, General Counsel, G


FROM:  Carole W. Wilson, Associate General Counsel for Equal Opportunity and Administrative Law, GM


SUBJECT:  Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder and Environmental Illness as Handicaps


VI.  Conclusion


MCS and EI can be handicaps under the Act.  This position is consistent with the statutory language, the weight of judicial authority, the interpretation of other Federal agencies, and the Act's legislative history.  HUD also has been consistent in articulating this position on prior occasions.  Thus, HUD's current interpretation seems correct, and there appears to be no compelling reason to change it now.

Pathologies of the Diagnostic Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): Psychiatry Handbook Linked to Drug Industry

Psychiatry Handbook Linked to Drug Industry
"The D.S.M. is used to diagnose a wide range of mental disorders. More than half of the task force members who will oversee the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s most important diagnostic handbook have ties to the drug industry, reports a consumer watchdog group."

"The Web site for Integrity in Science, a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, highlights the link between the drug industry and the all-important psychiatric manual, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

"The American Psychiatric Association allows members who work on the upcoming fifth edition of the handbook to accept money from drug firms."
Pathologies of the Diagnostic Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

Pathologizing people who are dissimilar as mentally ill gives unreasonable and unprecedented power to those who chose conformity. Interestingly the real illness is often not experienced by the person who is living their life as they see fit, but rather the person who fears someone who is brave enough to live life as they see fit. Many mental illnesses are figments of our vivid imagination. Labeling choices and behaviors as disorders only causes harm in the long run. Choice and behavior is relative to the differences in human beings, their nature, their intelligence, and their personalities rather than mental illness.

Americans have an obsession with classifying and labeling every behavior as abnormal. However “many psychiatric "conditions" exist only as labels in the minds of psychologists” (Null, 2002). If everyone has a mental disorder they could be institutionalized and controlled like good little soldiers marching in a perfect line with uniforms on all moving at the same time, with the same haircut, the same polished shoes, the same goals, and the same objectives like a line of identical controlled robots. “You'll find that any normal behavior can be diagnosed as mental illness, and any adverse reactions to environmental influence, peer pressure and social unrest has earned a psychiatric label. If you don't wake up on time, if you sleep poorly, if you drink coffee or smoke cigarettes, or if you give up these things, if you stutter, if a child fidgets or loses things or can't wait their turn in a game, if you've ever been intoxicated, if you've had trouble with arithmetic or with grammar or with punctuation or writing expressively - all of these are now considered mental illnesses according to psychiatrists. Even teenagers who argue with their parents are, according to the DSM IV, suffering a mental disorder called oppositional defiance disorder” (Null, 2002). The DSM is premeditated to maximize conformity, promote pharmaceutical sales, and minimize individuality.

Perhaps most astounding is that symptoms of real physical illnesses such as malaise, fatigue, heart palpitations, dizziness, loss of energy, and pain are often used to make diagnoses of mental illness. For example, there is a DSM code for “pain disorder”. This leaves a window of opportunity open for a doctor to make a diagnosis of “pain disorder” if he is unable to find a cause for the pain. Most often the case is that not every test has been run because it is too time consuming, expensive, or the insurance will not pay for it. What authority allows such fallacious diagnoses? The DSM does!

The DSM is designed for power, control, and increased psycho-pharmaceutical revenues. It has more weaknesses than strengths. It is controversial because the DSM is the authoritative tool the powerful can use to exercise control over the masses and drug the country into oblivion. This generates huge profits for pharmaceutical companies and helps to raise campaign contributions for politicians.

In a recent news article Jeanne Lenzer (2004) comments “the president's commission found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children.” Lenzer (2004) also confirms “Drug companies have contributed three times more to the campaign of George Bush”. “The medical and educational establishments are conducting a skyrocketing campaign to get kids, and their parents, to "just say yes" to brain-altering pharmaceuticals, with the drug of choice being Ritalin” (Null, 2002).

The DSM is published by the American Psychological Association to provide guidelines to diagnose mental disorders (Wikipedia, 2006). The DSM lists codes that practitioners use to bill insurance companies and collect statistics on conditions. Each code has a specific set of criteria by which a practitioner can diagnose a patient. The intention was to streamline the field and provide consistent, uniform, and objective terms through a multiaxial system. The belief was that all practitioners would reach the same diagnosis for a patient in this uniform system.

According to Wikipedia (2006) “the criteria and classification system of the DSM are based on a process of consultation and committee meetings involving primarily psychiatrists. Therefore, the content of the DSM does not reflect all opinions on the subject of psychopathology, emotional distress and social functioning. Nor are there any objective, biological verifiable standards to which it adheres. The criteria, and the way they are applied by individual clinicians are at least to some extent influenced by cultural variables and are periodically altered to reflect the contemporary social landscape. What is and what is not considered a mental disorder changes over time. For example, prior to a psychiatric plebiscite in 1973, homosexuality was listed in the DSM as a diagnosable mental illness.”

Deconstructive critics assert that DSM invents illnesses and behaviors” (Wikipedia, 2006). The criteria for an illness in the DSM are subject to misinterpretation. For example the DSM code 300.82 is known as undifferentiated somatoform disorder. Clearly a somatoform disorder is another way for a doctor to say, “It’s all in your head”. Simply because a doctor cannot find a cause for chest pain does not mean there is not a cause for the pain that went undetected. All the therapy and psychobabble in the world to convince the patient he is not ill will not remove an artery blockage that a physician overlooked. In the long run therapy would only harm the patient as he became convinced he is mentally ill and begins to ignore important symptoms.

Physicians learn in medical school that 50 – 60 % (Ray & Oakley, 2003) of patients they will see do not have a physical disorder that can be treated by medicine but rather they present with a psychological disorder. Forty million people (Null, 2002) in the United States are diagnosed with depression. The DSM invents illnesses that are nonexistent by classifying normal behavior and human development as mental dysfunction.

In addition “it is also known that the diagnosis of some mental disorders is influenced by gender role expectations. That is, while diagnostic criteria do not mention gender, clinicians diagnose women's and men's behavior in different ways (Wikipedia, 2006). Clinicians own viewpoints can get in the way of an accurate diagnosis. A man who acts meek, shy, and compliant to the women in his life may be considered mentally ill while a woman would not. “Sexist values result in a higher rate of mental illness labeling for men, supposedly the more powerful social category, and less for women, who are generally powerless” (Keel, 2005). The way the DSM is classified does not allow for appropriate differences in gender role expectations nor does it discuss the etiology of supposed illness.

In Myth, Stereotype, and Cross-Gender Identity in the DSM-IV, Wilson & Hammond (1996) attack the DSM and the ridiculous issues that created classifications such as "transvestic fetishism". One has to wonder what good purpose the DSM was designed to serve.

Health insurance will not pay for services unless a diagnosis is made and a DSM code is provided. Labeling people with an illness can be counterproductive and actually cause more harm than good. If an individual is told they have anxiety disorder it will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Years of therapy can do more harm than good when no real illness is present.

If we relied on the classifications in the DSM every person in the world would have a diagnosable mental illness. The pharmaceutical companies will make more money and support physicians through bonus programs to make these diagnoses.

The bottom line is if we make a choice or behavior wrong by psychologizing it, we give power to those who choose conformity and institutionalize otherwise mentally healthy people who choose a unique path. Sadly the DSM has no business in treatment with its current classifications. It is merely a tool used to label a person and bill insurance companies. Labels are hurtful and can alter a person’s psyche for the worse. There are other more effective methods of billing that could be arranged such as time billing. The world would be a much better place if doctors found out what was really wrong with people and allowed people to make individual choices.

The sad reality is doctors make more money when people stay sick. Pharmaceutical companies make more money when we take drugs for non-existent illnesses, often causing real damage. Many psycho-pharmaceuticals are known to cause violent and suicidal behaviors. In other words, they create mental illness rather than treat it. The discrimination created by labeling those who chose or require different orientations that suit them is criminal.


American Psychiatric Association (2000). DSM-IV-TR Arlington: American Psychiatric Association

Keel, Robert (2005). Mental Disorder: The Medicalization of Deviance.

Retrieved March 24, 2006 from: http://www.umsl.edu/~rkeel/200/mendisor.html

Lenzer, J. (2004). Bush Plans to Screen Whole US Population for Mental Illness. BMJ Publishing Group. Retrieved March 24, 2006 from: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/328/7454/1458

Null, G. (2002). Pathologizing Life. Retrieved March 25, 2006 from: http://www.garynull.com/Documents/PathologizingLife.htm

Ray, C. & Oakley, C. 2003. Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. 10th Edition.

New York: McGraw-Hill Companies

Wikipedia (2006). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Retrieved on March 21, 2006 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

Wilson, K. & Hammond, B. (1996). Myth, Stereotype, and Cross-Gender Identity in the DSM-IV. 21st Annual Feminist Psychology Conference. Retrieved 3/25/2006 from: http://www.transgender.org/gidr/kwawp96.html

Second article reprinted in entirety with permission.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Perinatal Exposure to Low-Dose BDE-47, an Emergent Environmental Contaminant, Causes Hyperactivity in Rat Offspring

Perinatal Exposure to Low-Dose BDE-47, an Emergent Environmental Contaminant, Causes Hyperactivity in Rat Offspring


Suvorov A, Girard S, Lachapelle S, Abdelouahab N, Sebire G, Takser L.

Département d'Obstétrique Gynécologie, Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Qué., Canada.

Neonatology. 2008 Sep 18;95(3):203-209.

Background: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are a group of environmental contaminants increasing in North America. Few data are available on neurobehavioral effects at low-dose exposure. Objectives: Our goal in the present study was to evaluate whether low-dose BDE-47, which is the most abundant PBDE in human samples, affects the neurobehavioral development of rats. Methods: Dams were exposed to vehicle or low-dose BDE-47 (0.002, 0.02 and 0.2 mg/kg body weight) each 5 days from gestational day 15 to postnatal day (PND) 20 by intravenous injections. Spontaneous locomotor activity of pups was assessed using the open field test on PND 15, 20 and 25. Sensorimotor coordination was assessed using a RotaRod on PND 30. Results: Exposure to BDE-47 increased locomotor activity of pups. Developmental landmarks and sensorimotor coordination were not influenced by exposure to BDE-47. BDE-47 content in adipose tissue of exposed rats was similar to that known for human populations. Conclusion: These results indicate neurodevelopmental disruption induced in rats by BDE-47 at levels found in the human population.


Dishonest Pastor "Preys" on the Chronically Ill

In a recent document, a pastor claims he can cure multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) "for a fee" because it is "a simple emotional fear reaction".

Now most don’t doubt that spirituality can help a person cope with the very real fear that the presentation of a legitimate toxic situation produces when one goes into “flight or fight” - a natural reaction that motivates us to protect ourselves. But, this pastor has mixed up the simple difference between a realistic and legitimate fear and a phobia, which is a perceived threat that is unrealistic.

The pastor further claims that the “flight or fight” fear reaction "is" the MCS symptoms that MCSers suffer from. Yet, MCS symptoms such as seizures, loss of speech, respiratory distress, and headache are not even close to being the same as a mere flight or fight reaction in which adrenaline is released increasing the heart rate and giving one the energy to fight or run.

In some cases, flight or fight reaction may be present in the face of a looming toxic threat, but “curing” the alarm reaction will not stop the toxicological MCS reaction that is physiologically mediated.

In fact, denying the flight or fight response may place an individual in direct danger by encouraging lack of action instead of taking the necessary precautionary measures to avoid a bad MCS reaction. Since MCS is progressive, each exposure builds on the ones prior.

Ongoing brain and organ damage has been shown in MCS that can result in end organ failure. It is crucial that avoidance be practiced much like someone with a peanut allergy must avoid peanuts or risk their life if they eat an innocent peanut which most of us enjoy as part of our childhood lunch. The fact that peanuts don't affect everyone in the same way does not mean they are not dangerous or risky to consume.

Knowing that anaphalaxis and possible death will occur, it is logical that a person with a peanut allergy would panic and go into "flight or fight" and become fearful if they accidentally consumed a peanut, especially when their airway is closing and breathing is becoming impossible. Fear i s natural is such a situation and motivates a person into action.

Claiming that a peanut allergy is fear based because of visible outward symptoms of "normal" panic in the face of a life-threatening situation is voodoo medicine. Worse, it would put lives at risk. Much the same, a person with MCS is put at risk by ignoring important warning signs and purposely "walking out" into exposures, as this pastor suggests they do.

Upon providing many studies and supporting evidence for the physiological cause of MCS, the pastor was unswayed. Yet, when asked for proof in the way of studies that have shown the “hundreds” he claimed he cured were actually diagnosed with bona fide MCS prior to healing and were tested as negative for MCS, or in remission, post healing, the pastor could provide no proof. As a matter of fact, he failed to so much as respond.

When asked where these “cured” people are and whether they could be interviewed, the pastor did not answer.

Why have the "healed" not come forth in joy to share their healing? Are they even alive and well? Do they even exist? Or are they figments of a greedy pastor's vivid imagination to boost his self grandeur and wallet at the expense of the chronically ill? Surely one would share their miracle and shout from the rooftops if they were suddenly "healed" from a progressive lifelong chronic illness that results in disability and ultimate death.

The key is that the past won't, or perhaps can't, reply when asked for proof. It just goes to show that we need to be on the lookout for money making schemes, even pastors that "prey" on the sick and desperate for profit.

Key Words: multiple chemical sensitivity, chemical sensitivity, chemical sensitivities, multiple chemical sensitivities, MCS, EI, environmental illness, sick building syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, FM, CFS, mold illness, clinical ecology, alternative medicine, environmental medicine, neuropathy, encephalopathy, toxic, chemical

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NEWSLETTER: MCS America News - October 2008

October 2008, Volume 3, Issue 10


Entire PDF Edition: http://mcs-america.org/october2008.pdf  (View, Download, and Print)
NEW!  Entire Online Edition:
http://mcs-america.org/mcsanewsoctober2008.htm   (View as a Webpage)


Direct Links to Articles Inside This Issue:

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Medical Treatment
Community Spotlight on Harold I. Zeliger, PhD
You're Diagnosed with MCS, Now What?
Fragrance Sickens Several Men and Eleven Students
Online Support Groups Helpful
Chemical Allergy Biomarkers
Chelation Works for Autism
Assault and Battery by Perfume
New Relief for MCS and Severe Allergy Sufferers

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities America




Copyrighted © 2008  MCS America


Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Beleaguered, Part 3

From: MCS America News, Volume 3, Issue 3, April 2008.

Over the past two months, a basic overview of the industry disinformation campaign against multiple chemical sensitivity was presented. Last month we examined the pharmaceutical industry’s influence. This month we will examine the chemical and insurance industry’s influence.

Thomas Orme, Ph.D., a proponent for the insurance industry, was seriously concerned about multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in 1994. However, his concern was not for those being injured by toxic chemicals, but rather that the injured were requesting that insurance companies cover the cost of treatment and were seeking payment through worker's compensation and Social Security Disability programs when they became disabled.1 He was also fearful of the injured pressing for workplace and housing accommodations under the American’s with Disabilities Act.1

Orme addressed the American Council on Science and Health saying, "The economic implications (of multiple chemical sensitivity) for many industries and insurance programs are potentially catastrophic. Unless the problem is properly addressed, the millions of dollars now changing hands through claims and lawsuits will become billions, wreaking havoc with many industries and insurance programs and ultimately raising costs to all consumers.” 1

Indeed, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) does have a financial impact, much like that of any other health condition. However, MCS is also a direct threat to the profits of the chemical industry because the products the industry sells are the very toxicants that cause chemical injury and lead to MCS. And that was Orme's biggest fear.

Rather than working on tighter chemical regulations to ensure public safety and reduce costs by reducing the numbers injured, Orme's idea of "properly addressing" MCS was to simply claim MCS was a "perceived" allergy, a somatization that was not real and therefore required no costly treatment or accommodations.1 Chemical companies continued to injure others in the name of corporate profits, a classical case of corporate crime. Corporate crime is the unethical and/or illegal harm to the public by private and public interests.

Claims for insurance were labeled as "false claims" and providers who treated MCS were to be labeled as "pseudoscientific practices that constitute a serious problem in our society.1 Unfortunately, industry has significant funds to spread this disinformation to protect their financial interests. Though fading into the truth, some of these ideas are still alive and well today.

On March 20, 2008, ABC Nightline covered the story of Dr. William Rea, who runs the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas.2 Rea, who treats patients with multiple chemical sensitivity, was set up by an insurance company through a false complaint filed with the Texas Medical Board (TMB).3 The TMB is now attempting to strip him of his license.3

The Los Angeles Times covered a story on Deborah Rice, an award winning toxicologist who was terminated from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expert panel on fire retardants under pressure from the chemical industry.4 Rice’s research studied low doses of the flame retardant in question and found neurological effects in lab animals. Labeled as “biased”, Rice was dismissed from the panel for speaking out for public safety after the American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group for the chemical industry, complained to a top-ranking EPA official.4

The Environmental Working Group also uncovered pro-industry panelists, raising questions as to conflicts of interest.4 However, Rice has not been reinstated. A firm contracted to evaluate the reproductive hazards of chemicals for the National Toxicology program was fired when it was discovered that the firm had financial ties to over four dozen chemical companies.4

Those who speak out to protect the public and treat the injured in honest appraisal have been systematically quieted since 1990 when the American Chemistry Council (previously the Chemical Manufacturers Association) set out to prevent the recognition of MCS through physicians to avoid loss profits.5 The corporate crime that manufacturers of pesticides, textiles, fragrances, and other chemicals have engaged in has one sole purpose… to make MCS go away and protect their profits.

Slowly but surely the sheer numbers of people with MCS, and those who treat them, are making progress to generate awareness of the real cause of MCS… chemical toxicants that cause injury. With ever growing numbers, industry attempts to silence the truth is being uncovered. It is only a matter of time before intelligent citizens begin to wonder why all the biological studies on MCS are not mentioned or labeled as “unscientific”, while weak claims to psychological origin are made without supporting scientific evidence… the sincerest form of quackery.


1. Thomas Orme, Ph.D. MCS: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The American Council on Science and Health. 1994.
2. Controversial Clinic for the 'Chemically Sensitive'. ABC Nightline. March 20, 2008.
3. Rea, W. State Board Patient Letter. Multiple Chemical Sensitivities America. September 14, 2008. Retrieved on March 28, 2008 from http://mcs-america.org/StateBoardPatientLetter.htm.
4. Cone, M. Outspoken scientist dismissed from panel on chemical safety. Los Angeles Times. February 29, 2008.
5. McCampbell, A. Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Under Siege. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. January 2001.

Copyrighted © 2008 MCS America

Key Words: multiple chemical sensitivity, chemical sensitivity, chemical sensitivities, multiple chemical sensitivities, MCS, EI, environmental illness, sick building syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance, fibromyalgia, chronic fatiuge, FM, CFS, mold illness, clinical ecology, alternative medicine, environmental medicine, neuropathy, encephalopathy, toxic, chemical

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