Severely incapacitated by chemically induced permanent injuries, a North Dakota woman is conducting national research and activism within the confines of her home, with far-reaching consequences and recognition.
Thirteen years ago, Cindy Duehring, a pre-med student in Seattle, was severely poisoned when her apartment was treated with pesticides that were applied directly to her belongings, saturating her furniture, clothing, and other items. The exterminator told Cindy that the chemicals were so safe "a baby could lick them off the floor." Shortly after the fumigation, Cindy experienced nausea, diarrhea, hypersalivation, blurred vision, fatigue, and muscle cramps. Several times the symptoms were so severe that she went to a 24-hour clinic, where she was diagnosed as having a severe flu virus. Cindy was experiencing the classic symptoms of organophosphate poisoning. Unfortunately, the poisoning was not diagnosed until months later, when an astute physician recognized the symptoms and ordered serial cholinesterase enzyme testing, but by then it was too late. Cindy later learned that the company was violating federal law by using these chemicals and that her clothing should have been disposed of as hazardous waste. The pesticides, 2 chemicals illegally combined by the exterminator, were known to cause massive bird kills when used on golf courses and sod farms, as well as to poison people, resulting in numerous chronic health problems, including multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Not knowing the effects of the pesticides used, Cindy wore her treated clothing. This incident changed her life forever. <snip>