These chemicals can cause chemical sensitivity in some people. Many cleaning products also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can irritate the lungs and worsen symptoms for people who are sensitive to chemicals. An official website of the United States Government The. Gov means it's official.
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Fenyves, Bertie Griffiths and John Laseter For the past 16 years, doctors and scientists at the Dallas Environmental Health Center have had the opportunity to observe more than 20,000 patients who had problems with chemical sensitivity. These patients were studied under varying degrees of environmental control. This experience is unique in the world and has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters, and books on this topic. We would like to share our findings with the participants of the National Academy of Sciences Committee for the Study of Chemical Sensitivity.
To demonstrate proof of cause and effect of environmental influence on an individual's health, several important principles and facts must be understood. These principles include those of total body burden (burden), adaptation (masking, acute toxicological tolerance), bipolarity, and biochemical individuality. Each principle will be discussed separately. Induced by the internal or external environment, it is a change in the homeostasis (steady state) of bodily function with the adjustment to a new reference point.
Selye was among the first to describe this compensatory mechanism, 33 Due to adaptation or tolerance, the patient's total body burden may increase undetected because the perception of a cause-and-effect relationship is lost. Without apparent correlated symptoms, repeated exposures can continue to damage your immune and enzymatic detoxification systems. In these maladapted individuals, there is a high reproducibility of these provoked reactions, which allows the physician to acquire solid scientific information. The biochemical individuality of the response is the uniqueness of the individual, 39 This uniqueness of the response depends on the different amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and immunological and enzymatic detoxification parameters with which an individual is prepared to deal with insults from pollutants.
These variations determine an individual's ability to process the harmful substances they encounter. They also contribute to the intensity of their reaction to toxic exposures and to their susceptibility to chemical sensitivity. Therefore, a group of people can be exposed to the same contaminant. A person may develop arthritis, sinusitis, diarrhea, cystitis, asthma, and one may remain apparently intact.
Some people, for example, are born with significantly lower amounts of specific enzymes (it may represent 75%, 50%, or even 25% of the norms). Their response to environmental stimuli is usually considerably weaker than that of those born with 100% detoxifying enzymes and normal immune parameters. Examples include babies with phenylketonuria or people with transferase deficiency, who do well until they are exposed to environmental triggers and then damage occurs. There are more than 2,000 metabolic errors from genetic transmission, suggesting that the majority of the population will have at least one abnormality.
41 Laseter has shown that toxic volatile organic chemicals bioconcentrate in the fetus, increasing the acquired burden in some infants, 42 It is well known that some people acquire their toxic load at work or in their homes, 42 This changes with different seasons and weather conditions, leading to varying effects and responses over time. Great care must be taken in evaluating each patient, who may show unique clinical responses due to their specific biochemical individuality. As an example, it is well known that not all patients will have all of the reported symptoms associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Likewise, each patient exposed to the same environmental pollutant will react with their unique symptom complex.
Because this vital fact isn't well understood, many studies are wrong when evaluating that person's wrong signs and symptoms. Propagation is a secondary response to contaminants that may involve new inciters or new target organs. Spread involving new inducers occurs when the body has developed a greater sensitivity to an increasing number of biological inhalants, toxic chemicals, and foods in ever smaller doses. At this point, the overload becomes so exhausting that minimal toxic exposure to any substance may be sufficient to trigger a response, or autonomous activation may occur.
For example, initially a person may be harmed by a pesticide and, finally, their pathological process is triggered by exposure to a myriad of toxic chemicals and foods, such as phenol, formaldehyde, perfume, beef, lettuce, etc. The spread can occur for many reasons. It may be due to a failure of the detoxification mechanisms (oxidation, reduction, degradation and conjugation) caused by toxic overload, or it may be due to the depletion of the nutrient fuels of the enzyme or coenzyme, such as zinc, magnesium, all B vitamins, amino acids or fatty acids. This exhaustion may explain a growing inability to detoxify and respond appropriately.
The blood-brain barrier or peripheral cell membranes of the skin, lungs, nasal mucosa, and gastrointestinal or genitourinary systems can be damaged, allowing previously excluded toxic and non-toxic substances to penetrate areas that increase the risk of damage. Immune or pharmacological release mechanisms can be so damaged that they are triggered by many toxic and, finally, non-toxic substances (such as food), in addition to the specific substance to which they intended to respond. It is well founded that antigen recognition sites can be altered or destroyed by an overload of contaminants. Hormonal dysregulation (feedback mechanisms) can occur, allowing for even greater sensitivity.
Unlike patients who experience increased sensitivity to multiple triggers, some chemically sensitive patients may have an isolated organ involved in the disease process for years, only for the dysfunction to spread to other organs as their resistance mechanisms break down. This type of spread from one to the other or from multiple terminal organs allows the progression of hypersensitivity and the possible appearance of a disease with a fixed name. The phenomenon of change is the change of response from one terminal organ to another. This usually happens acutely, but it can happen over a much longer period of time.
This phenomenon was first described by Savage in the 1700s. He observed that when mental patients were at their worst, they usually had a remission of asthma or sinusitis. When they were mentally better and cared for in the outpatient clinic, they had a much higher incidence of sinus problems and asthma. Randolph and most other environmentally oriented doctors have also observed this phenomenon.
At the EHC-Dallas, we have observed similar cases in our patients and, in fact, we take this phenomenon into account when evaluating the outcome of therapy. By looking at thousands of controlled challenges in the environmental unit, we have seen that the responses of the target organs of many of our patients change to several different responses over an extended period (e.g. Ex. We have often seen, for example, transient brain dysfunction followed by arthralgia, followed by diarrhea, followed by arrhythmia.
The therapy may appear effective, even when a contaminant hasn't been completely eliminated. In this case, a new set of symptoms may begin that indicate that the response to a contaminant has simply moved to another terminal organ. This phenomenon frequently occurs when symptom-suppressing drug therapy or inadequate environmental manipulation is used. For example, a patient's sinusitis can be treated with medication (e.g.
But later on, since the cause has not been eliminated, you may develop arthralgia and eventually arthritis, or your colitis may have disappeared only later and develop cystitis. This lifelong progression of the disease need not occur if the phenomenon of change is recognized during the initial evaluation. To avoid this, people and doctors simply need to be aware of seemingly unrelated events. For example, it is often claimed that a child will overcome a problem when, in reality, a complex of symptoms dissipates only to be replaced by a new set of symptoms.
For example, a child may have recurrent ear infections. Over time, these symptoms may disappear, but nocturnal enuresis may occur. Over time, enuresis may stop, but the child may develop asthma. These changes in health may seem totally alien; in this case, however, they are commutation phenomena.
The situation of an adult who sprays pesticides in their home and then visits a neurologist with headaches and a rheumatologist with symptoms of arthritis is similar. Both the doctor and the patient often fail to recognize the relevance of these apparently disparate symptoms as part of a larger pattern that requires further investigation. Current data confirm the view that standard methods for the determination of chemical inducers may no longer be effective, 7,8,36,1 Concluding that sensitivities can be produced from subthreshold and picomolar quantifications of chemical substances, it has been found that standard procedures, such as skin puncture or scratch tests, often fail to demonstrate positive reactions that would otherwise be verifiable. Recent literature confirms the harmful effects of chemical inducers, such as formaldehyde44,45, phenol,45,46 some pesticides,7 chlorine,47 and petroleum alcohol.48 Commonly used chemicals such as glycine,9,49 DDT, toluene and turpentine,50,51,52 and drugs such as hydralazine have been found to induce an advanced pathological process, 53 A number of known metals have also been found to be incriminated, including nickel, cobalt and chromized aluminum, 54, aluminum, 55, mercury, 56 and platinum, 57 Other chemical inducers Common environmental components include xylene, 58 different acrylates, 59 and acrylated prepolymers, 60 benzyl peroxide, carbon tetrachloride, 61 sulfates, 62 dithiocarbamates, 63 and diisocyanates.
In developed countries, the incidence of many chronic diseases, in particular cardiovascular diseases, is associated with water characteristics, such as purity and mineral content. 13 Hardness, or lack of it, is linked to heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. 13 Theorized protective agents found in hard water include calcium, magnesium, vanadium, lithium, chromium, and manganese. Other adverse agents include the metals cadmium, lead, copper and zinc, which tend to be found in higher concentrations in soft water.
Nitrates in water (usually from fertilizers) pose an immediate threat to children younger than three months due to the production of methemoglobin,65 and sulfur can also cause reactions in susceptible patients. Many examples of water pollution exist and have been documented, such as Times Beach (Missouri), with winter floods that spewed oil contaminated with dioxins used 20 years ago, the Love Canal area of Niagara, Waterbury (Connecticut) and Middleboro (Kentucky) 69. In many cases, deadly materials have accumulated for years in landfills and landfills. In the United States, some 80,000 toxic waste wells and ponds contain chemicals ranging from carbon tetrachloride to discarded mustard gas pumps. 68 These leftovers, which slowly escape from their burial sites, directly contaminate our groundwater.
Contaminated groundwater is present in 347 of the 418 worst chemical landfills in the country, and it's probably happening in the rest.  Laseter7 and 70 others have demonstrated that a virtual organic chemistry laboratory exists in most drinking water. In the early 1980s, California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Nova Scotia, and Pennsylvania condemned dozens of public water supply wells due to contamination by trichloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene. 71 Fuel tank leaks contaminated nine Kansas public water supplies in 1981,71 New Mexico officials identified 25 cities where hydrocarbons and solvents contaminated groundwater, 71 Only the analysis of New Orleans drinking water revealed the presence of 13 halogenated hydrocarbons.
Chloride, which is added to many wastewater treatment plants, can also react with organic matter in water to form chlorinated hydrocarbons, many of which are also known to cause cancer. Copper sulfate, aluminum sulfate, and fluoride are other important pollutants that can increase overall body burden. 68 More than a thousand different toxic chemicals have been found in public water supplies, including pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, and polychlorinated biphenyls, just to name a few. A recent study found that skin absorption contributed 29 to 91% of the total body dose of pollutants (from water), with an average of about 64%.
The contamination of our urban food supplies is the result of the widespread use of food additives, preservatives, and dyes in growing, manufacturing, and processing. Practically all commercially grown and prepared foods contain pesticides and herbicides, 79.9 The literature abounds with reports on chemical sensitivities to many additives, 80,81 Reactions to contaminants complicate the study of food sensitivity, requiring a more precise definition of the nature of the inciter, not only as found in food, but also in air and water. Bell has reported hives and immune changes due to exposure to various food additives. It should also be considered when studying secondary food sensitivity, which occurs due to contaminant overload in chemically sensitive people.
Therefore, three factors should be considered when evaluating the total food load. These are contamination by man-made contaminants, the natural toxic effects of foods, and food sensitivities. If all three factors are not taken into account in the chemically sensitive patient, a very defined case of chemical sensitivity can be colored or nullified. There are many reports of sensitivity to chemicals in textiles, including synthetic acrylic fibers, 114 polyester yarn finishes, 115 epoxy resins and synthetic clothing, 116. Products such as starch spray for fabrics can also be considered toxic to chemically sensitive people.
117 For whom, even the metallic buttons on blue jeans can cause reactions to nickel, formaldehyde-44 in synthetic products, or tetrachloroethylene, in dry-cleaned clothes, can also cause problems. The very construction of many homes can be dangerous for the chemically sensitive patient. Data suggest that the chemicals contained in wood preservatives (e.g. In addition, sensitivity to cold and heat36 and to contaminants in household water supplies has been associated with symptoms ranging from hives to severe respiratory distress.
Natural gas, heating and stoves, and common or termite-proof insecticides in homes can be the main factors affecting chemical sensitivity. These potential sources of contaminants must be taken into account when developing studies on chemical sensitivity. In our experience, if building and home environments are not evaluated prior to challenge tests, challenge studies are often invalid for the diagnosis of chemical sensitivity. Type I hypersensitivity is usually mediated by the IgE mechanism in the vessel wall.
Classic examples are angioedema, hives, and anaphylaxis due to sensitivity to pollen, dust, mold, or food,136 or some chemical substances such as toluene diisocyanate. Ten percent of the patients with immune disorders and chemical sensitivity treated at the ECH-Dallas seem to belong to this category. Non-immune activation of the cell and vascular wall can occur. Complement can be directly triggered by molds, foods, or toxic chemicals139 and mediators such as quinines, postaglandins, etc.
These reactions then cause vascular spasms, with subsequent hypoxia and release of lysozymes, which also causes more spasms, hypoxia, etc. Eventually, terminal organ failure will occur. The activation of enzymatic detoxification, mainly in the liver and respiratory systems, plays an important role in the elimination of contaminants. However, it occurs to a lesser extent in all systems.
Biotransformations of foreign compounds have considerable variability, depending on genetic factors, age, sex, nutrition, health status, and dose size. The metabolism of foreign compounds usually occurs in the microsomal fraction (smooth endoplasmic reticulum) of liver cells. Some biotransformations are not microsomal (redox reactions involving alcohols, aldehydes, and ketones). There are basically four categories of biotransformation: oxidation, reduction, degradation and conjugation.
The diagnosis of chemical sensitivity can now be made through a combination of the following history, a physical examination, immune tests including IgE and IgG, supplements, subgroups of T cells & B, blood levels of pesticides, organic compounds, heavy metals (intracellular), and sometimes objective brain function tests. Anti-pollutant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione, peroxidase, and catalase, have been found to be suppressed in chemically sensitive substances. Vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies and excesses, amino acid deficiency, and impaired lipid and carbohydrate metabolism have been observed. Organophosphate levels are only positive within 24 hours of exposure and don't help much.
Laboratory tests for pentachlorophenols and organic solvents, such as hexane and pentane, are also available, as are herbicide levels. In general, volatile organic hydrocarbons are found in a large proportion of chemically sensitive patients. Its presence indicates a recent exposure or a failure in the enzymatic detoxification system. Those found in more than 500 chemically sensitive patients include benzene, toluene, trimethylbenzene, xylene, styrenes, ethylbenzene, chloroform, dichloromethane, 1, L, -trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and dichlorobenzenes.
Metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum are sometimes found in the intracellular contents of some chemically sensitive patients. These are again found in 10% of patients. Fat biopsies have been preferred in many patients, with more than 100 different compounds studied. Often, there is more in fat than in the blood (in some cases, such as organochlorine insecticides) and more in the blood than in fat, as is the case with substances such as 2-methylpentane and 3-methylpentane.
Skin biopsies of hematomas and petechiae reveal perivascular lymphocyte infiltrates around the vessel wall in chemically sensitive patients. Challenge tests can be performed sublingually or intradermally. The efficacy of these tests is now well established, as numerous studies (several double-blind) have been conducted 4,47,142,24,143,144,145. These studies need to be done, since 80% of chemically sensitive people are sensitive to food. Blind intradermal exposure to chemicals can now be done with terpenes, petroleum-derived ethanol, glycerin, formaldehyde, phenol, perfume, and newsprint, so producing symptoms will help establish the patient's chemical sensitivity.
At EHC-Dallas, more than 200,000 intradermal chemical tests have been performed under environmentally controlled conditions. They are very reliable, especially because they meet the positive criteria for reproduction of signs and symptoms, growth of hives, and negative response to placebo. The inhalation challenge is another method for diagnosing chemical sensitivity, which is performed under varying degrees of environmentally controlled conditions. For best results, an anodized aluminum and glass cabinet is used to control the dose at room temperature of any toxic chemical in a hospitalized and environmentally controlled environment.
Some studies carried out at our center, under strictly controlled conditions in an environmental unit, showed significant findings (4 S, D. These tests have been used on more than 3,000 patients with an accuracy greater than 99%. Similar studies can be done in the office, although the controls are much more difficult and many more reactions to the placebo are found. This is because environmentally controlled conditions are generally much more difficult to achieve and patients are often studied in a masked or adapted state, in which symptoms may not be perceived.
With inhalation challenges, blood levels, immune parameters, metabolic changes, and sign and symptom scores can be measured and plotted. The philosophy and techniques of environmental medicine developed over the past 25 years offer a means to scientifically research and treat patients affected by pollutants. This approach provides doctors with valuable and accurate information in the search for optimal health for these environmentally sensitive patients. It is clear from several research studies that certain cleaning products are toxic, but not all of them “react” in the same way.
Some people will have symptoms immediately or soon after exposure, but others will develop health effects later on without knowing that they came from the cleaning product. This is very worrying because it is difficult to link and, therefore, many people, both consumers and scientists, are not clear about what the connection is. By using natural cleaning products, improving ventilation, using protective equipment, and cleaning frequently, people with chemical sensitivities can maintain a clean and safe home environment. If cleaning your home is too difficult, consider hiring a professional cleaning service that specializes in using natural, low-toxic cleaning products.