Chemicals in the Air: A Public Health Danger?

About a decade ago, I was riding in an elevator in a hospital complex and I heard two doctors speaking in hushed tones about an air freshener. I thought that was weird. One of them said to the other, “In twenty years we will see how much damage this Febreeze does to millions of people. It’s a bad mix of chemicals.” I thought nothing of it, then. Now I have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). So, today, I used MEDLINE to see if what these doctors said was true. It is true, in spades! From cleaners, to air fresheners,  to chemically loaded buildings, chemicals are everywhere!MCS Cemcial Danger

My opinion? It turns out, people with MCS could do the general public a favor by helping them to identify and remove chemicals that can damage the human central nervous system, alter hormone levels, damage the lungs, liver, and heart, and more. Enforcement of LEED building air quality standards in schools and medical complexes would help millions, just in the USA. People with MCS could help everybody keep air quality high. Call me crazy, but I’d love to see businesses built around this concept. Everybody would win at the end.

FREE FULLTEXT J Toxicol Sci. 2015;40(5):535-50. doi: 10.2131/jts.40.535.

Characterization of air freshener emission: the potential health effects.

Kim S1, Hong SH, Bong CK, Cho MH.

Abstract: Air freshener could be one of the multiple sources that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the indoor environment. The use of these products may be associated with an increase in the measured level of terpene, such as xylene and other volatile air freshener components, including aldehydes, and esters. Air freshener is usually used indoors, and thus some compounds emitted from air freshener may have potentially harmful health impacts, including sensory irritation, respiratory symptoms, and dysfunction of the lungs. The constituents of air fresheners can react with ozone to produce secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde, secondary organic aerosol (SOA), oxidative product, and ultrafine particles. These pollutants then adversely affect human health, in many ways such as damage to the central nervous system, alteration of hormone levels, etc. In particular, the ultrafine particles may induce severe adverse effects on diverse organs, including the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Although the indoor use of air freshener is increasing, deleterious effects do not manifest for many years, making it difficult to identify air freshener-associated symptoms. In addition, risk assessment recognizes the association between air fresheners and adverse health effects, but the distinct causal relationship remains unclear. In this review, the emitted components of air freshener, including benzene, phthalate, and limonene, were described. Moreover, we focused on the health effects of these chemicals and secondary pollutants formed by the reaction with ozone. In conclusion, scientific guidelines on emission and exposure as well as risk characterization of air fresheners need to be established.

Eur Respir Rev. 2015 Mar;24(135):92-101. doi: 10.1183/09059180.00000714.

Volatile organic compounds and risk of asthma and allergy: a systematic review.

Nurmatov UB1, Tagiyeva N2, Semple S2, Devereux G2, Sheikh A3.

Abstract: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous domestic pollutants. Their role in asthma/allergy development and exacerbations is uncertain. This systematic review investigated whether domestic VOC exposure increases the risk of developing and/or exacerbating asthma and allergic disorders. We systematically searched 11 databases and three trial repositories, and contacted an international panel of experts to identify published and unpublished experimental and epidemiological studies. 8455 potentially relevant studies were identified; 852 papers were removed after de-duplication, leaving 7603 unique papers that were screened. Of these, 278 were reviewed in detail and 53 satisfied the inclusion criteria. Critical appraisal of the included studies indicated an overall lack of high-quality evidence and substantial risk of bias in this body of knowledge. Aromatics (i.e. benzenes, toluenes and xylenes) and formaldehyde were the main VOC classes studied, both in relation to the development and exacerbations of asthma and allergy. Approximately equal numbers of studies reported that exposure increased risks and that exposure was not associated with any detrimental effects. The available evidence implicating domestic VOC exposure in the risk of developing and/or exacerbating asthma and allergy is of poor quality and inconsistent. Prospective, preferably experimental studies, investigating the impact of reducing/eliminating exposure to VOC, are now needed in order to generate a more definitive evidence base to inform policy and clinical deliberations in relation to the management of the now substantial sections of the population who are either at risk of developing asthma/allergy or living with established disease.

Copyright ©ERS 2015.

Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2009 May;64(3):689-98.

[Risk factor for lifestyle and way of living for symptoms of sick building syndrome: epidemiological survey in Japan]. [Article in Japanese]

Nakayama K1, Morimoto K.

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association among symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS). Self-reported questionnaire and indoor environmental surveys of newly build dwellings in Japan were conducted.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The questionnaire included items on symptoms of SBS and lifestyle, and an indoor environmental survey (i.e., mold, mites, and volatile organic compounds (VOC)) was conducted in family rooms of dwellings in Japan (Sapporo, Fukushima, Nagoya, Osaka, Okayama, and Kitakyusyu), from 2004 to 2007.

RESULTS: Data from Osaka in 2004 indicated significant odds ratios for symptoms of SBS for questionnaire items on renovation, air freshener, carpet, use of benzin, use of thinner, use of coating materials, moldiness, smell of house, and feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours. Significant odds ratios were noted for total CFU, Auerbasidum genus, Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus sp., Aureobasidium pullulans, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Fusarium sp., Penicillium sp., Rhodotorula minuta, and Wallemia sebi. Concerning concentrations of VOCs, TVOC, limonene, o,m-tolualdehyde, 2-pentanone, tetrachloroethylene, n-decane, and n-heptane are significantly higher in those who have symptoms of SBS. Significant odds ratios were indicated for questionnaire items on smell of house, stuffiness, moldiness, fustiness, dampness, water leakage, and feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours from data of six areas in Japan in 2004. Continuous data analysis of Osaka from 2004 to 2006 suggested that improvement of symptoms of SBS might be due to lifestyle modification.

CONCLUSION: Mites, molds, VOCs, renovation, moldiness, stuffiness, feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours, carpet use, benzin, thinner, and coating materials, increase the risk of developing symptoms of SBS, whereas modification of lifestyle and ways of living factors might alleviate them.

 

Environ Int. 2016 Mar;88:288-98. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.12.021. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Environmental factors in the development of autism spectrum disorders.

Sealey LA1, Hughes BW1, Sriskanda AN1, Guest JR1, Gibson AD1, Johnson-Williams L1, Pace DG2,Bagasra O3.

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are highly heterogeneous developmental conditions characterized by deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and obsessive/stereotyped patterns of behavior and repetitive movements. Social interaction impairments are the most characteristic deficits in ASD. There is also evidence of impoverished language and empathy, a profound inability to use standard nonverbal behaviors (eye contact, affective expression) to regulate social interactions with others, difficulties in showing empathy, failure to share enjoyment, interests and achievements with others, and a lack of social and emotional reciprocity. In developed countries, it is now reported that 1%-1.5% of children have ASD, and in the US 2015 CDC reports that approximately one in 45 children suffer from ASD. Despite the intense research focus on ASD in the last decade, the underlying etiology remains unknown. Genetic research involving twins and family studies strongly supports a significant contribution of environmental factors in addition to genetic factors in ASD etiology. A comprehensive literature search has implicated several environmental factors associated with the development of ASD. These include pesticides, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents,air pollutants, fragrances, glyphosate and heavy metals, especially aluminum used in vaccines as adjuvant. Importantly, the majority of these toxicants are some of the most common ingredients in cosmetics and herbicides to which almost all of us are regularly exposed to in the form of fragrances, face makeup, cologne, air fresheners, food flavors, detergents, insecticides and herbicides. In this review we describe various scientific data to show the role of environmental factors in ASD.
Clin Dev Immunol. 2013;2013:623812. doi: 10.1155/2013/623812. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Indoor volatile organic compounds and chemical sensitivity reactions.

Win-Shwe TT1, Fujimaki H, Arashidani K, Kunugita N.

Abstract: Studies of unexplained symptoms observed in chemically sensitive subjects have increased the awareness of the relationship between neurological and immunological diseases due to exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, there is no direct evidence that links exposure to low doses of VOCs and neurological and immunological dysfunction. We review animal model data to clarify the role of VOCs in neuroimmune interactions and discuss our recent studies that show a relationship between chronic exposure of C3H mice to low levels of formaldehyde and the induction of neural and immune dysfunction. We also consider the possible mechanisms by which VOC exposure can induce the symptoms presenting in patients with a multiple chemical sensitivity.

 

MCS Video: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Past, Present, Future

MCS Video Introduction to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

 

MCS video aside, imagine you were seated comfortably among friends at a restaurant, until a waiter came up to your table to ostensibly make you all more at ease, and cleaned your table. You suddenly start choking due to the cleaner your server used, and you are forced to run out of the restaurant, ruining your fun evening. Worse still, this kind of situation happens more often than not. Maybe you have MCS.

What is MCS?MCS Video

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic medical condition and syndrome characterized by symptoms that the affected person attributes to low-level chemical exposures to commonly used chemicals, as presented in the above MCS Video. Commonly attributed substances include scented products, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, smoke, petroleum products, and paint fumes.

Apparently, MCS is partly a disorder of the limbic region of the brain, and can be treated by Low Dose Antigen therapy or nutraceuticals. In the future it may be treated with brain stimulation techniques other than ECT which only works a few days after it is given.

The Evidence

As the movie about multiple chemical sensitivity above states, Australia, Germany (2000), Austria (2001), Japan (2009), Switzerland (2010), Denmark (2012), Spain and Canada (2014) all recognize Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a medical condition.  As of December 2015, There are 336 articles pertaining to “mcs chemical sensitivity” on MEDLINE. It makes one wonder why the most powerful association of doctors in the world does not endorse MCS as a disorder. It would make things a whole lot easier for those with MCS in America, if the AMA would change their position, and it would surely save lives. Even the venerable Financial Times (UK) gives it more attention than the AMA. Let’s hope the AMA changes its tune before more Americans die unnecessarily.

MCS News as of June 21st, 2016

The Mainstream press in the English language is starting to cover Chemical Sensitivity. The following are a few articles on MCS in the news published so far in 2016, listed in reverse chronological order. MCS Video

Again, MCS is NOT a psychological disorder, it is a disorder of the limbic  (olfactory) system in the brain and other organ systems. MCS is being accepted by many first world countries as we collectively have more chemical exposure due to industrialization. Notice above, even the venerable Financial Times, UK has published an article about MCS.

In Spain and Latin America MCS is more accepted by the medical community as a legitimate physical medical disorder, and not as a psychological disorder.  Indeed, Spain is one of the most progressive governments in the world when it comes to helping people with Environmental Illnesses. In Spain people with MCS are protected by the law. See SQM (Sensiblidad Quimica Multiple) in the Spanish News.

In search of an MCS Cure

This article is not the opinion or recommendation of City Voices or it’s staff. And, I, William Jiang, will assume no liability for any use or misuse of the following information because I am not a doctor, I am a medical librarian. Now, my story…

Last year I had ECT otherwise known as electroconvulsive therapy because of a positive therapeutic report in the Journal of ECT. The brain stimulation of the ECT did help the MCS about 90%, so I was on to something, however the improvement lasted only one week, not worth the damage being done by the ECT. It turns out that in part, MCS is a limbic system disorder. Later, I read about how in one of the Scandinavian countries they also had tried transcranial magnetic stimulation for MCS. However the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation did not reach the limbic system, because of the shallow stimulation of the magnets. About ten years ago vagal nerve stimulators debuted for depression and epilepsy. But, who wants a surgery to get an implant into their head? Not me. That being said, vagal nerve stimulation may help MCS for the same reason ECT helped my MCS.

However, there are relatively new vagal nerve stimulators which are NOT implanted. This is exciting news.  I am going to list the three brain stimulation machines which are available after this text that possibly could help sufferers in the very near future. Some of these devices are only available in Europe. However I wanted to share the exciting news that there may be effective and relatively safe treatments on the horizon that are not hocus-pocus.

  1. Indicated for Headaches: Gammacore
  2. Indicated for Epilepsy NEMOS
  3. No indication, but used in American clinical trials: Net-1000 Auri-Stim Medical, Inc. 

If anybody does decide to try any of these brain stimulation machines, please post here and share the positive news!

 

 

 

Journal Article: Experiences of persons with multiple chemical sensitivity with mental health providers

Experiences of persons with multiple chemical sensitivity with mental health providers

Authors Gibson PR, Lockaby SD, Bryant JM

Published 6 April 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 163—172Pamela Reed Gibson, Sharon D Lockaby, Jenna Michele Bryant
Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA


Abstract:
In this paper, we summarize the results of an online survey of persons in the United States with chemical intolerance/multiple chemical sensitivity who sought help from mental health providers, including counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others. Respondents reported on their most recent contact with a provider, describing reasons for the contact, accommodations requested and received, and suggestions for how the experience could be more helpful. Overall, though clients were accommodated in small ways, some received no accommodation, and many felt that the providers needed to be more knowledgeable regarding chemical intolerance. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of providers becoming more aware of multiple chemical sensitivity and more willing to make their services accessible to these clients.

Keywords: multiple chemical sensitivity, chemical sensitivity, chemical intolerance, emerging disability, contested illness

MCS News (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)

MCS News

The Mainstream press in the English language is starting to cover Chemical Sensitivity. The following are a few articles on MCS in the news published so far in 2016, listed in reverse chronological order. MCS News

MCS is NOT a psychological disorder, it is a disorder of the limbic  (olfactory) system in the brain and other organ systems. MCS is being accepted by many first world countries as we collectively have more chemical exposure due to industrialization. Notice, even the venerable Financial Times, UK has published an article about MCS. For more MCS information see my article: Why is the American Medical Association missing the diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

In Spain and Latin America MCS is more accepted by the medical community as a legitimate physical medical disorder, and not a psychological disorder.  Indeed, Spain is one of the most progressive governments in the world when it comes to helping people with Environmental Illnesses. In Spain people with MCS are protected by the law. As of May 4th, 2016 there are more than 60 articles about SQM (Sensibilidad Quimica Multiple or MCS) in the Spanish-language press, or about six times the amount of coverage of MCS in the English Press.

Why is the American Medical Association missing the diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Imagine you were seated comfortably among friends at a restaurant, until a waiter came up to your table to ostensibly make you all more at ease, and cleaned your table. You suddenly start choking due to the cleaner your server used, and you are forced to run out of the restaurant, ruining your fun evening. Worse still, this kind of situation happens more often than not. Maybe you have MCS.

What is MCS?MCS AMA

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic medical condition and syndrome characterized by symptoms that the affected person attributes to low-level chemical exposures to commonly used chemicals. Commonly attributed substances include scented products, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, smoke, petroleum products, and paint fumes.

Apparently, MCS is partly a disorder of the limbic region of the brain, and can be treated by Low Dose Antigen therapy or nutraceuticals. In the future it may be treated with brain stimulation techniques other than ECT which only works a few days after it is given.

The Evidence

It turns out that Australia, Germany (2000), Austria (2001), Japan (2009), Switzerland (2010), Denmark (2012), Spain and Canada (2014) all recognize Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a medical condition. There are 336 articles pertaining to “mcs chemical sensitivity” on MEDLINE. It makes one wonder why the most powerful association of doctors in the world does not endorse MCS as a disorder. It would make things a whole lot easier for those with MCS in America, if the AMA would change their position, and it would surely save lives. Even the venerable Financial Times (UK) gives it more attention than the AMA: see article. Let’s hope the AMA changes its tune before more people die unnecessarily.

MCS Cure?

MCS Cure? The best Strategies of a Former Medical Library Chief and MCS Survivor

I am a medical librarian, not a doctor. The advice below does not take the place of that of your doctor. I will not take any liability from any use or misuse of this information. Consult your doctor to discuss your individual case.

  1. LDA  Therapy 
  2. Glutathione 
  3. Taurine 
  4. DHEA
  1. LDA Therapy–  Low-Dose Antigen therapy is effective in about 60% of people with multiple chemical sensitivities. It does not help everyone. It did not help me. I feel it can be worth trying. LDA Therapy  was created by Dr. Schrader in the United States. In the therapy the doctor injects a mix of toxicants into the skin in miniscule amounts. In New York City I have used Dr. Marjorie Ordene. She takes Medicare, so you know she is legitimate, not only because I said so. I found her to be a comptetent and compassionate physician. To find an Environmental Medicine practitioner who does the LDA therapy in your area, click here.MCS Cure
  2. Glutathione– increased glutathione in the brain and body is necessary for many people to heal from multiple chemical sensitivities. Many people take medications that drain the brain and body of glutathione, the most important antioxidant in humans. One of the best ways to increase glutathione levels in the body and  brain is to take grass fed cows whey. Personally, I like Tera’s Whey.
  3. Taurine –  many people with multiple chemical sensitivities are b6 deficient. When the vitamin is deficient in an individual it may be useful to supplement with Taurine.  Why? Check out my article about Taurine,  here.
  4. DHEA – use as needed. DHEA is a hormone that can help people with multiple chemical sensitivities. Use it with caution. Do not take DHEA for more than one week straight with at least two weeks in between “to rest”.

Therapeutic doses will vary according to the individual. Try to use the lowest dose that works for you, to avoid complications. I do not have any financial connection to any of the strategies I list. Salud!.

Nutrition and MCS

From: http://www.diet-and-health.net/Diseases/ChemicalAllergies.htmlNurition and MCS

The best article I have seen regarding nutrition and MCS is the article above. The skinny is the following: “Supplements suggested below will reduce the inflammation and hopefully improve the metabolism of these chemicals. The nutrients such as Taurine, B1, B5, Glycine, Methionine, B12, and Folate need to be taken regularly to improve tolerances to chemicals.”

To see the rest of this article about nutrition and MCS check out the link above. I’ve personally had some improvement just supplementing with taurine. I just started a b complex and eating a bowl of lentils daily for the Molybdenum. We’ll see how things go.