Stephen Barrett is co-author of “Chemical Sensitivity: the Truth about Environmental Illness.” Of course, the truth is missing from the book.
Needless to say, the book was an attempt to convince mankind that Chemical Sensitivity is merely a matter of mental illness.. This, of course, is in contradiction to Barrett’s own writing, being that he once stated that there are legitimate cases where either repeated exposure to ambient levels of chemicals or brief high-level chemical exposure has medically harmed people. Of course, chemical & irritant sensitivity conditions are well identified in the medical field of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
None the less, the campaign of Barrett and his associates lost its last vestige of credibility with the 911 clean-up crew members who developed Small Airways Disease and Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome. Concerning this, the experts at Mt. Sinia in NYC discovered that it was the pulverized concrete dust, with all its alkalinity, which caused those specific respiratory diseases to develop. Those diseases consisted in sensitivity to a plurality of synthetic chemicals and naturally occurring ones, as well.
In Barrett’s relentless campaign which has shown itself to have been solely a money-making venture, he cited a 1999 position statement issued by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. The position statement is titled Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances, and the title refers to the claim that Environmental illness has no identifiable cause. This is deceptive, because Occupational Illness has easily identifiable causes, namely the chemicals, molds, and irritants in one’s place of work. Needless to say, the symptoms of Occupational Illness are often the same as the ones involved in Environmental Illness.
The odd thing about the AAAAI position statement is that it admits to the authentic existence of specific environmental illnessess. Yet, it denies the existence of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity so much so that its author(s) changed the name of the illness to Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance. However, IEI did not replace MCS at Johns Hopkins, Mt. Sinai, Central New York Occupational Clinic, Marshall University, and Cambridge Hospital.
Perhaps Barrett Should Have Read the Entire Text Before Citing It
As I previously stated, the irony to Barrett’s citing of the 1999 text, in order to strengthen his anti-MCS assertion, consists in the fact that the 1999 position statement expressly recognizes the existence of “true environmentally caused diseases.”
Within that same published text appears examples of such true environmental illnesses. The examples in the text include:
1) “hypersensitivity pneumonitis,”
2) “sick building syndrome,”
3) “reactive airways dysfunction syndrome.”
[The aforementioned diseases appear by name at the section nearest to the Summary. That section is titled,”Comparison with Other Illnesses.”]
In as much:
1) Stephen Barrett called Sick Building Syndrome “a fad diagnosis.” The AAAAI did not do so.
2) Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS) is regarded by the AMA as “a subset of Irritant-induced Asthma.” It’s a chemical sensitivity disease and a form of environmental illness. Yet, has the never-board-certified Stephen Barrett and his fellow propagandists ever acknowledged the existence of this particular form of chemical and irritant sensitivity disease in their writings?
3) Furthermore, a subset of Hypersenstivitiy Pneumonitis is Chemical Worker’s Lung. Now, the Stephen Barrett who has absolutely zero experience in internal medicine, zero experience in dermatology, zero experience in cytopathology, zero experience in immunology, and zero experience as a biochemistry professional has mocked the “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity” by name. But has he ever acknowledged that there exists Chemical Worker’s Lung … or Occupational Asthma due to Low Weight Molecular Agents?
The Chemical-bearing Agents that MCS patients Avoid Are the Same Ones which the AMA, AAAAI, and ALA Recognize as the Triggers of Asthma and Rhinitis
4) The 1999 position statement acknowledged the following:
“Certain environmental irritants, including some of those mentioned above, are recognized as triggers for patients with asthma and rhinitis.”
[The above-cited quote appears at the section titled, “Clinical Description of IEI.”]
The environmental irritants mentioned in the same section of the AAAAI’s 1999 position statement are:
– “perfumes and scented products, pesticides, domestic and industrial solvents, new carpets, car exhaust, gasoline, diesel fumes, urban air pollution, cigarette smoke, plas- tics, and formaldehyde.”
– “certain foods, food additives, and drugs”
– two things not claimed to trigger asthma and/or rhinitis.
In order to confirm that the above-mentioned things are recognized as asthma triggers by mainstream medical science, see:
Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals
Understanding Asthma – American Lung Association
Chemical Asthma Triggers and Irritants
Asthma Triggers: Gain Control (EPA site)
The above-cited web addresses are those of the American Lung Asso- ciation, the AMA, and the same AAAAI Barrett elected to use in his campaign to convince mankind that Chemical Sensitivity is nothing more than a psychological illness. In as much, count the number of chemical- bearing agents that the three mainstream associations regard as asthma triggers.
The AAAAI’s public education material on the subject of Occupational Asthma
Concerning the AAAAI that Barrett cited in his campaign to convince mankind that Environmental Illness is merely a matter of mental illness, it published an instructional website about Occupational Asthma. The AAAAI has already acknowledged that Occupational Asthma can be caused by a number of chemicals at nontoxic/ambient levels, afflicting a number of workers employed in a number of industries.
Acrylates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adhesive handlers
Amines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shellac & lacquar handlers
Anhydrides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plastic, epoxy resin users
Chloramine-T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Janitors, cleaning staff
Dyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Textile workers
Fluxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Electronic workers
Formaldehyde/glutaraldehyde . . . Hospital staff
Isocyanates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spray painters, Insulation installers; plastic, rubber, foam manufactory workers.
Persulfate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hairdressers
The same public education material of the AAAAI states:
“The cause may be allergic or nonallergic in nature, and the disease may last for a lengthy period in some workers, even if they are no longer exposed to the agents that caused their symptoms.”
“Inhalation of some substances in aerosol form can directly lead to the accumulation of naturally oc- curring chemicals in the body, such as histamine or acetylcholine within the lung, which in turn lead to asthma.”
“For example, insecticides, used in agricultural work, can cause a buildup of acetylcholine, which causes airway muscles to contract, thereby constricting airways.”
“Allergic occupational asthma can occur in workers in the plastic, rubber or resin industries following repeated exposure to small chemical molecules in the air.”
“If occupational asthma is not correctly diagnosed early, and the worker protected or removed from the exposure, permanent lung changes may occur and asthma symptoms may persist even without exposure.”
“Up to 15% of asthma cases in the United States may have job-related factors.”
“Isocyanates are chemicals that are widely used in many industries, including spray painting, insulation installa- tion, and in manufacturing plastics, rubber and foam. These chemicals can cause asthma in up to 10% of ex- posed workers.”
The aforementioned illustrates that Chemical Sensitivity, as it applies to asthma and rhinitis, is acknowledged as valid and authentic by the same AAAAI that Barrett elected to use, in order to support his assertion that chemical sensitivity is merely a psychological illness.
Stephen Barrett can mock the diagnostic title, Multiple Chemical Sensi- tivity, all that he wants to. It will not take away the fact is that chemical sensitivity has already been recognized in case specific form. Nor will it take away the fact that the sufferers of those case-specific forms of chemical sensitivity need to avoid the chemicals which exacerbate their medical conditions.
Avoidance and AMA (CSA) Report 4 (A-98)
Avoidance is not ‘detrimental.’ Nor is it nonsense. Avoidance is a medical necessity. And as it applies to asthma, the AMA has stated:
Regardless of the efficiency of clinician assessment and patient self-monitoring, if the patient’s exposure to irritants or allergens to which he or she is sensitive is not reduced or eliminated, symptom control and exacerbation rate may not improve. Formerly titled ‘Environmental Control,’ the key points in this area logically include efforts by clinicians to pinpoint causative agents and to provide specific advice on how to avoid or reduce exposures to environmental or dietary triggers and drugs that may provoke or exacerbate symptoms.” AMA Report 4, Council on Scientific Affairs (A-98)
You can read more of Patrick Pontillo’s writing over at The Blue Marble Album. The Blue Marble Album Originally a family & friends photo album, it was converted into a sampe site of the Pontillo articles, tutuorials, & pictorials which went reached the 2 million hit mark in 2015. The Blue Marble Album ended up predominately attracting those interested in the ecological and environmental articles posted here. The economics & political articles were placed at the 11th Hour Chronicles