MCS Denier: EPIC Take-down #1

Herman Staudenmayer: The erroneous presumptions in his research undertaking that anti-MCS propagandists waved like a national flag.

Whenever you scald your tongue on hot tea, your tongue will still feel the scalding sensation, if you drink cool water shortly after having been scalded.  There’s a similar phenomenon in the lives of the chemically sensitive. It’s called masking.

The failure to consider this phenomenon was the fatal error in a 1980s test that ended up being obsessively used in the anti-MCS propaganda of a retired psychiatrist who once said that he was the media,  even though he was never a household name. In his attempt to convince mankind that Chemical Sensitivity is merely a mental illness, the Stephen Barrett who never examined any chemical sensitivity patient repeatedly cited a “research undertaking” which was conducted in Denver during the 1980s.  The test is formally titledDouble-blind provocation chamber challenges in 20 patients presenting with “multiple chemical sensitivity.”

The article which detailed the research undertaking was published on August 18, 1993. The research team who conducted that test consisted in psychologist Herman Staudenmayer (Ph.d),  allergist John Selner (MD), and chemist Martin P. Buhr (Ph.d).  I was told by someone very well known in the Chemical Sensitivity world that Herman Staudenmayer appeared as a brooder, to state it politely.

The title of the test is misleading, in that it was not based on standard challenge testing, such as the methacholine challenge test which measures changes in  FEV1.   Rather, the Staudenmayer test was subjective testing;  the type of testing that Barrett condemned as invalid.   So, we see another instance of hypocrisy in the psychiatrist of early retirement.

Incidentally, FEV1 is the measurement of Forced Expiratory Volume after one second of exhaling.  In addition, pulmonary experts, from my experience, will not allow severely sensitive people to take the methacholine challenge test, in fear that they “might not recover” the ability to breath.  For example, an Ivy League trained pulmonary expert forbid me to take the test.  In the State where I was at the time, the law only permitted pulmonary specialists to order methacholine testing.    

Background in Brevity

1) The test consisted in 145 occasions where a test subject had sent into his/her chamber an injection of air.  The test subject was then instructed to discern if whether or not the injected air was accompanied by a chemical agent.  Each of the twenty test subjects participate in at least one “provocation challenge.”

2) The challenges were divided into two types:

a) active challenges, 

b) sham challenges. 

Eighty-eight of the provocation challenges were categorized as “sham” challenges, and they were recorded as injections of chemical-free air. The other fifty-seven challenges were defined as “active” challenges, each of which was recorded as the injection of chemical-bearing air.

3) The sham challenges came in two forms:

a) clean air injected alone,

b) clean air accompanied by an aromatic agent.

4) The active challenges also came in two forms:

a) the injection of an airborne chemical alone,

b) an airborne chemical accompanied by an aromatic agent.

5) The aromatic agents were called “maskers.”

Maskers used in the “Staudenmayer Test” included:

a) anise oil,

b) cinnamon oil,

c) lemon oil,

d) peppermint spirit (10% oil and 1% leaves.)

6) The overall result of the test, as recorded by the research team, goes as follows:  “Individually, none of these patients demonstrated a reliable response pattern across a series of challenges.”  The conclusion was that persons diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity are merely psychologically ill.

The Invalidating Feature of that Test

The maskers that Barrett cited in his anti-MCS propaganda as having been used in the “Herman Staudenmayer Test” are known triggers of adverse reactions in susceptible persons. That is to say, the maskers were chemical-bearing agents.

Concerning anything aromatic, keep in mind that the AMA, the world renown Mayo Clinic, the American Lung Association, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology each recognize, in publicly accessible print, that “strong odors” can be triggers of adverse upper and/or lower respiratory reactions in susceptible people, simply because they are strong odors.   This has included anise oil, cinnamon oil, lemon oil, and peppermint spirit.

The Chemical Ingredients in the Sample List of Maskers used in ‘the Staudenmayer Test’ that were Alleged to be Chemical free

Concerning the sample list of maskers used in the “Staudenmayer Test,” observe the following:

Anise Oil:

– An active ingredient in it is anethole.

– Anethole’s chemical composition is C10H12O.

– Its CAS No. is 104-46-1.

– It is a known trigger to those adversely reactive to it.

– In fact, Anethole is known as p-1-propenylanisode.

– It is also known as 1-methoxy-4-(1-propenyl)benzene.

– Thus, anise oil is a chemical-bearing agent.

In all occasions where anise was used as a masker in a clean air injection, a chemical-bearing agent was being injected into the test subject’s chamber. Therefore, to have recorded such an injection as one of chemical-free air was to have recorded a falsehood.

Cinnamon Oil:

Along with being a “strong odor,” cinnamon oil is a bearer of aldehyde. In fact, the naturally occurring trans-cinnamaldehyde unassistedly becomes benzaldehyde in the presence of heat. In as much, to have recorded a cinnamon oil air injection as a chemical-free one was to have recorded yet another falsehood.  Cinnamon oil is a chemical-bearing agent.

Lemon Oil:

The most prevalent constituent in lemon oil is the monoterpene, limonene, aka 4-isopropenyl-1-methyl-cyclohexene.   Limonene develops a potent sensitizing capacity when oxidized, and it’s a reputed skin sensitizer.   In addition, a Swedish research undertaking recorded the following:   “Bronchial hyperresponsiveness was related to indoor concentrations of limonene, the most prevalent terpene.”  Lemon oil also includes the same alpha-pinene that was implicated in oil of turpentine allergy.


This aromatic agent is the bearer of Methyl Salicylate, and as is shown below, it is among the salicylate allergy triggers.   It’s also the bearer of the following sensitizing agents:   (a) alpha-pinene, (b) phellandrene, and (c) limonene.   It’s also the bearer of (d) methone, (e)  menthofurane, (f) and methyl acetate.

Now, as far as concerns methyl salicylate, Supplement 5 of the Journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, 1999 / Vol. 14, states:

Of note, methyl salicylate carries the same warnings as oral salicylates and has the potential to cause Reye’s Syndrome in children with flu-like symptoms, as well as adverse reactions in those with aspirin allergy, asthma, or nasal polyps.”

In as much, to record an airborne injection of peppermint spirit as a chemical-free one, is to record yet another falsehood.


The research team gave no consideration to the the masking of sensitivity responses; a phenomenon attributed to the involvement of Ca2+ calmodulin phosphatase calcineurin and the ensuing dephosphorylation that it induces.  Phosphorylation is explained in the following text:

Barrett’s Predictable Response to the Test

As is to be expected, in an article written by him, Barrett recommended that clinical researchers conduct more tests likened to the one conducted by Staudenmayer and his colleagues; anise oil, cinnamon oil, and all.

You should be able to conjecture why he advocated Kangaroo Court research.

Written by Patrick Pontillo at the blog Blue Marble Album. Gratefully reprinted at The Labyrinth with full copyright permission 2015

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. […] canaries reacted to carbon monoxide, the miners didn’t abuse them, tell them they were psychiatrically ill or refuse them proper food and shelter; they took notice and acted […]

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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