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Chemical Poisoning information on chemicals and solvents

#1 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 15 September 2003 - 01:58 PM

Ten-year wait for medical report

06 February 2003

A former timber treatment operator has waited nearly 10 years to receive written verification from Occupational Safety and Health that his cancer is work related and caused by the arsenic mixture used to treat timber.

OSH general manager Robert Hill conceded the error concerning the case of Bay of Plenty man Bob Dargaville is "the longest I've known".

A lifetime timber worker, Mr Dargaville was verified by OSH's chemical panel on December 13, 1993 as having contracted his nasal cancer through handling and exposure to the chemical mixture of copper, chromium and arsenic. He has subsequently had cancer of the lymph nodes in his throat.

Mr Dargaville did not learn that a decision had been made till till early 1997 and despite numerous requests did not receive written verification till till January 23 this year in a letter from Mr Hill. In the interim Mr Dargaville had been turned down by ACC twice and had to live on an invalid's benefit of about $175 a week for the past 10 years.

Mr Hill said that had he been in Mr Dargaville's position and known of the decision, he would have used the panel's verification in lodging a claim with ACC. As a result of the mistake, Mr Hill has ordered an internal audit of notification systems.

The secretary to the panel failed to follow the process of sending the decision to Mr Dargaville, his doctor and the Tauranga office of OSH with whom he was dealing.

"There has been an unacceptable level of service and feedback we should have given to Mr Dargaville," Mr Hill said.

The minutes of the chemical panel's meeting were found late last year shortly after a request by The Dominion Post under the official information act for all case notes relating to Mr Dargaville. A similar request was placed with ACC on claims Mr Dargaville had lodged with it. Both sets of documents show an amount of non-communication and a lack of initiative by and between the two government departments.

Wellington lawyer John Miller, who specialises in ACC cases, believes the verification would carry significant weight with any claim Mr Dargaville had made or will now lodge with ACC. He describes the panel as "high-powered" and their decisions as authoritative. If ACC failed to acknowledge the claim there is a strong case to take to the district court, he said.

In assessing Mr Dargaville's condition OSH northern regional medical officer Dr Evan Dryson was unconvinced of the claim and referred it to the chemical panel on July 26, 1993. It appears ACC has used Dr Dryson's report summary as one of the reasons to decline his claim. That report summary contained the line "refer to chemical panel" but ACC made no attempt to seek the panel's findings.

Once Mr Dargaville became aware of the panel's findings in 1997 a letter was sent to the panel's head, Bill Glass, on April 8, 1997 and again on November 23, 2001 by OSH's Tauranga office. Neither letter prompted a reply from Professor Glass about the 1993 decision.

Mr Dargaville is now deciding whether to resubmit his case to ACC. Should he be successful he will have to repay the benefit he has received and pay the highest tax rate on back payments as they will be made in a lump sum.,2106,224338...89a7144,00.html

#2 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 15 September 2003 - 04:31 PM

Solvent-induced neurotoxicity

Posted Image

(January/February 1996)

Aucklander David Duke used to leave work in a state of bliss. He’d walk from work to the bus stop marvelling at the trees and the sky and the clouds, feeling wonderful.

Duke was stoned. Not on illicit drugs or alcohol, but on the solvent vapours he was breathing in the course of his work as a screen printer.

These days Duke suffers from such crippling headaches it takes him 20 minutes to psych himself up to lift his head off the pillow. His partner Helen talks of his “wicked” mood swings - affectionate one moment, then threatening to pack his bags and leave the next. Minor irritations provoke unwarranted reactions. Duke himself believes his violent mood swings have cost him several relationships over the years.

His memory is affected too. He forgets what he was about to say or what he went into a room to get. He’ll come off the phone only to forget who he was just speaking to. In recent months he’s noticed himself becoming clumsy and uncoordinated at work, dropping things and struggling with small tasks like fitting the ink knife into the rim of the tin.

For the 14 years of his career as a screen printer, Duke has been exposed to a daily cocktail of solvents, often in factories with little or no ventilation, with little or inadequate personal protection (like the household rubber gloves which disintegrated on impact with the chemicals).

Not that he had any idea that the chemicals so integral to his trade may have been compromising his health, other than a vague feeling that “this stuff stinks and it’s making me spin out.”

Now it appears likely that those chemicals will cost him his trade. He has suspected solvent-induced neurotoxicity, a condition brought on by years of cumulative exposure to organic solvents. His GP has told him he looks like a textbook case, and he has recently been put through a raft of neuropsychological tests to assess such functions as short-term memory, reaction time, attention span and ability to learn new material, which will help determine with reasonable certainty whether his ill-health is indeed a result of solvent-induced neurotoxicity.

A rising epidemic

It’s been estimated that 100,000 New Zealand workers are regularly exposed to organic solvents in the course of their work.

Few industries are entirely free of these extraordinarily useful chemicals. They are used in a diverse range of industries, including boatbuilding, joinery, shoemaking, dry cleaning, painting and plastics. They are used to thin, dissolve and clean a wide range of other substances, such as oils, fats, resins and paints. They are present in paints and paint strippers, glues, inks, dyes, textiles, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

Many are highly volatile, evaporating readily at room temperature. Many are highly toxic, and can enter the human body both through the lungs and the skin.

The head of Worksafe Australia’s professional education programme, Professor Wai-on Phoon, recently predicted an epidemic of solvent-induced illness of similar proportions to OOS and asbestos-related diseases.

That prediction may sound sensationalist, but it is a fact nonetheless that workers in New Zealand are falling ill as a result of years of solvent exposure. OSH’s Notifiable Occupational Disease (NODS) Register has the case notes of 222 workers with suspected solvent-induced neurotoxicity. Of these, 157 have been referred to a specialist OSH panel for review. So far, 42 of the 157 have been confirmed as having chronic solvent-induced neurotoxicity.

The list of 42 includes eight printers, three boat builders and two dry cleaners, as well as paint retailers, a chemical worker, an aircraft maintenance worker, a sailmaker, a shoemaker, a vinyl layer, a scotchguard applicator, and a caretaker. Nineteen of the 42 are from the panelbeating and spray painting industry - by far the largest single group on the list.

All of the workers affected have been exposed to organic solvents for several years. The average length of exposure is 18 years, and although the range is from four to 35 years, only four workers have had exposure history of less than nine years. Forty of the workers are men and two are women.

All 42 have been diagnosed according to an international classification system as having Type 2B neurotoxicity. What this means in plain language is that they not only have overt symptoms such as fatigue, irritability and mood swings, but also impaired brain functioning as measured by neuropsychological testing. They will have memory, concentration and coordination difficulties, and their ability to learn new material will be damaged.

If the international research is any guide, some of them will not recover, even after their exposure to solvents ceases.

As with many occupational disorders, these symptoms are often invisible to all but those closest to the victim. The worker isn’t physically maimed, there are no scars or artificial limbs or wheelchairs to underscore the physician’s diagnosis. It’s tempting to write off the victim of neurotoxicity as a mere malingerer.

But that cynical conclusion ignores the intensity and pervasiveness of the symptoms. Stress may make even the best of us tired and grumpy and irritable with the kids, but once the stress comes off we’re OK again.

Not so the sufferer of neurotoxicity, who will experience a long-term deterioration that attacks the quality of life and relationships, and undermines the ability to cope with stress.

Devastating symptoms

Dr Evan Dryson, OSH Northern Region medical officer and chair of the specialist panel reviewing the neurotoxicity cases referred to in the NODS Register, says the symptoms can be devastating to the lives of sufferers. “Loss of memory, mood changes, in-coordination, inability to plan - these are caused by diffuse injury to the brain and they are intensely disabling and destructive to people’s lives.”

They are insidious symptoms that creep up slowly on the victim, with the worker often totally unaware that his or her exposure to solvents may be the cause.

The onset of chronic neurotoxicity is described as follows. “Initially the symptoms may disappear over weekends and holidays, but over a period encompassing years they will become chronic. In the end they will typically be perceived by the individual as a fundamental change in personality.

“Patients will complain about their inability to work, to participate in social activities, to function sexually and to manage relationships. They do not remember what to bring or where to go. They stop participating in organised activities and playing music or cards or doing any other hobby they used to like and in which they may have been skilful. In many cases they are accompanied to the physician by a spouse because they have severe memory deficiencies and because they are afraid.” [Source: Rosenstock L and Cullen M (eds). Textbook of Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine. W.B.Saunders & Co, 1994, p.774]

Dryson says marriage breakup appears to be more common among suffers, though there are no figures to confirm that. However, Dr Jenni Ogden of Auckland University’s Department of Psychology has observed that many workers suffering from neurotoxicity seek help only in response to a crisis at work or in their marriage arising from their changed personality, extreme fatigue and memory problems, rather than from any specific concern about the effects of the solvents they are working with.

In many cases workers have already been prescribed anti-depressants or sleeping pills by GPs who’ve failed to make the link with the workplace. Some swallow multi-vitamins in the hope they will act as a pick-me-up. Safeguard was even told of one factory where workers were taking anti-histamines to help them breathe in the solvent-laden air, but which were then making them fall asleep on the job.

Because of the insidious nature of the symptoms and lack of awareness among workers, Dryson believes the cases reported to the NODS represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg, and that there are many more workers with neurotoxicity who have not been identified.

Levels of exposure

So what of the workplaces that these 42 confirmed cases of neurotoxicity have come from? As part of the process of reviewing each case, OSH hygienists made an assessment of the level of exposure to which the worker had been subjected. In many cases this was based largely on an interview with the worker; in some cases historical data measuring the level of solvent fumes in the atmosphere was available.

The conclusion drawn was that the workers had not been employed in Dickensian sweatshops. In the case of the 19 spraypainters - by far the most significant group on the list - Dryson describes their workplaces as “pretty much typical of New Zealand spray paint shops.”

Set against the Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) - the guidelines published by OSH aimed at defining the limits for airborne substances in the workplace - Dryson says the levels of solvent exposure were “not excessive”. He says the panel started out with the expectation that sufferers would be from workplaces with exceptionally high levels of exposure, but by and large workplaces are not exceeding the WES. “In our opinion people are being affected in New Zealand at levels below the WES.”

It is impossible to rule out the possibility that the workers were affected as a result of much higher levels of exposure in previous years, when less was known about the damaging effects of solvents. But equally likely is that the sum total of their exposure over many years has resulted in their condition.

Dryson’s view that workers are being affected at levels below the WES has major implications for employers who see the WES as a near dividing line between safe and unsafe practice.

It also gives renewed fuel to the view within OSH that the significance of the WES should be toned down and employers encouraged to aim for the absolute goals of elimination, isolation and minimisation of the hazard.

“The aim has to be to get the lowest possible level of exposure,” says OSH senior occupational hygienist Andrea Eng. “Theoretically the only safe level of exposure is no exposure, because the WES may protect the majority of people but they won’t protect everybody.”

Despite the confirmation of 42 cases of neurotoxicity now in front of OSH, there is no suggestion of any employers being prosecuted. Ironically, because of the inherent difficulties of proving an absolute causal link between the chemical exposure and the eventual ill-health, OSH operations manager Geoff Wilson believes the WES would be taken as the standard in any potential prosecution.

The other inherent difficulty in prosecuting such cases is the gradual onset of neurotoxicity, with workers likely to have been exposed in a number of workplaces. In such instances, which particular employer could be held culpable?

The 42 workers registered with the NODS represent relatively advanced cases of neurotoxicity. Below that level again are workers who display less severe symptoms and who are likely to fully recover when they leave the job or strictly control their exposure.

Christchurch occupational physician and OSH medical adviser Dr Bill Glass sees many such cases. These are the workers who may experience a range of overt symptoms such as moodiness, feelings of intoxication at the end of the day, tiredness, diminished work performance, and intolerance to alcohol, but whose condition is not considered chronic and who often recover over the weekends and holidays.

It’s impossible to know how many such cases come to light each year. Although ACC accepts chemical poisoning claims on their merits, it has no statistical category for solvent-induced neurotoxicity and was unable to provide Safeguard with a figure.

Glass says that while in such cases there may be no long-term damage done, the impact on the worker and his family while they are experiencing the symptoms can nevertheless be disastrous. He likens the effect on family and work to alcoholism - “except solvents are more toxic”.

He says the families of such workers, who have to come to live with the bad tempers and irritability of their husbands and fathers, sometimes comment on the radical improvement once the worker leaves the job or retires.

Worker understanding ‘almost non-existent’

Despite the mounting evidence in recent years of the health risk posed by solvents, Ron Halewood, health coordinator for the Printing, Packaging and Media union, believes worker understanding of solvents is still “almost non-existent”.

Workers commonly have no knowledge of the chemical makeup of the solvents they work with every day, identifying only with the trade name of the product. Employers’ knowledge isn’t much better, and the situation is made worse by the fact that management of health and safety in many workplaces is “fragile”, with inadequate support and training given to health and safety representatives.

“Workers have a notion that chemicals endanger their health,” says Engineers Union health and safety coordinator Hazel Armstrong, “but they don’t specifically know how, or what quantities or length of duration they would have to be exposed. And very few employers go that next step to monitoring the air quality and then getting that information to staff.

“The majority of workers that I come across are aware that there is a fume or a dust in the air, but they don’t know exactly what is the component of that fume and nor, upon enquiry, does the employer.” She says in the absence of any regular monitoring of exposure levels, “the reality is that we don’t actually know what’s going on.” Regular monitoring, she believes, should be mandatory, and more effort made to ensure material safety data sheets are both available and understandable to workers.

She notes there has never been a prosecution in the area of chemical poisoning, and says until there is, the general statutory requirements such as the provision of ventilation and clean air will be “meaningless”.

Armstrong says to a large extent the problem of solvent-related illness has been concealed from unions because workers often don’t see the link between their ill-health and the workplace. “Because it’s crept up on them slowly they don’t see it as a union issue.”

The macho Kiwi male syndrome may also have a lot to answer for. David Duke talks of a “she’ll be right” attitude during his years as a screenprinter. Anyone who complained of the fumes or the chemical smell was labelled a “wuss and a blouse”. He says workers also resist wearing personal protection such as respirators because they are restrictive and uncomfortable, and perceived as an impediment to the job.

Employer ignorance

Industry leaders admit employers are often as ignorant as the workers. Warren Johnson, chief executive of Printing Industries New Zealand, believes the level of knowledge in the workplace has improved significantly, but in some areas there is an unwillingness to face up to the problem.

“A large part of the management structure of any industry is trade-based management. They come out of the industry and their attitude is ‘I’m 50, I’ve worked in the trade for 30 years and it hasn’t killed me, so therefore it ain’t a problem’.

“I can assure you that that philosophy does exist, and that’s what you’ve got to work on. What you have to do is start working on people as they come into the system.

“If you put yourself in the position of Mr Four-Man Printing Shop in Alexandra, what does he know about Workplace Exposure Standards? The quick answer is - nothing. His printing factory stinks, but so does everyone else’s. He’s never had his place monitored, and he wouldn’t know what you were talking about. It isn’t that he doesn’t care. It’s just that he’s uneducated.”

However, Johnson says in the last two to four years attitudes have changed. “I think the rank and file Kiwi used to think you had to have major doses of chemicals to impair somebody, but now people are realising that severe harm can be caused by drip feeding.”

Nevertheless, he estimates that workers in as few as a quarter of all printing companies are using personal protection to any significant degree. “Respirators are still a rarity. People are still commonly using bib overalls with nothing underneath. And gloves are still used primarily to keep hands clean rather than for safety.”

He says probably only 20 percent of companies have extraction systems to remove vapours from the workplace, and no more than 20 of his organisation’s 500 members would have ever had any atmospheric monitoring done.

Tim Lambert, chief executive of the Motor Body Builders Association, which represents the panelbeating industry, is not surprised workers from his industry dominate the confirmed cases of neurotoxicity on the NODS register. He attributes the problem largely to the “back yarders” - small panelbeating shops which don’t have a spray/bake booth and use spray paints in the open workshop, and which lack a properly ventilated paint mixing room.

He estimates up to 2500 workers in this industry are involved in the spraying and wiping down of cars with solvent-based products. Based on his estimate that 60 percent of shops are spraying in the open workshop, it seems reasonable to conclude that more than 1500 workers could be at risk of excessive solvent exposure in that industry alone.

He says the situation is not helped by the artificial market in which his industry operates, whereby insurance companies effectively cap the amount panelbeaters are able to charge for repairs. For many operators, that’s seen as an excuse not to invest in the capital equipment needed to bring their businesses up to scratch.

Environmental specialist Paul Heveldt of Royds Consulting believes that although there’s been an improvement in workplace standards, there’s still a long way to go. “As a generalisation you could say that the gross problems are by and large taken care of. People are aware that you need to limit exposures, but having said that, people don’t seem to be particularly concerned to reduce exposures to the lowest practicable level. If they can reduce exposures to, say, below the WES, they will be satisfied with that.”

Some areas of industry are attempting to put their house in order. Toyota New Zealand’s Christchurch plant, for instance, actively aims to minimise solvent exposure to the lowest possible level. The hazards surrounding solvents are drummed into the workers and regular monitoring is done to check vapour levels in the atmosphere.

Manders Ink in Auckland, the country’s largest supplier to the printing industry, has moved away from a number of solvents targeted for elimination by the Printing Industry Health and Safety Society, including methylene chloride, toluene, xylene, benzene, methyl ethyl ketone, and glycol ethers. Technical manager Fred Crook says there has been a move towards wash-up products based on vegetable oils and citrus extracts, and customer wanting to buy any of the ‘nasties’ are sent elsewhere.

But he says the alternative products are more expensive and less efficient that those based on organic solvents, deterring many printers from making the switch.

Stemming the tide

So how to stem the tide of this ‘new asbestos’? What should industry be doing to protect its employees from the destructive effects of solvents?

Bill Glass, after years of campaigning for greater recognition of the solvent hazard, is clear as to what needs to be done.

. Greater awareness among workers and employers of the hazards and the symptoms.
. Regular medical surveillance and greater use of biological monitoring tools such as worker blood tests. (Blood tests give a reading of the worker’s actual uptake of solvents - unlike air monitoring which takes no account of skin absorption.)
. Greater use of local and general ventilation systems, and properly fitted body and respiratory protection.
. Substitution of solvents where possible.
. Greater use of questionnaires to establish whether workers are experiencing symptoms.

It’s taken 14 years as a screen printer and the cruel reality of ill health to make David Duke aware of the hazards of solvents. He’s now got a pretty clear idea of the importance of things like clean air and respirators and the right sort of gloves.

How many more cases like Duke’s will there have to be before the 100,000 workers exposed to solvents can really be considered safe?


#3 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 15 September 2003 - 09:45 PM

Profile of Patients with Chemical Injury and Sensitivity

Grace Ziem(1) and James McTamney(2)

1 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
2 Clinical Psychologist, Lutherville, Maryland

Patients reporting sensitivity to multiple chemicals at levels usually tolerated by the healthy population were administered standardized questionnaires to evaluate their symptoms and the exposures that aggravated these symptoms. Many patients were referred for medical tests. It is thought that patients with chemical sensitivity have organ abnormalities involving the liver, nervous system (brain, including limbic, peripheral, autonomic), immune system, and porphyrin metabolism, probably reflecting chemical injury to these systems. Laboratory results are not consistent with a psychologic origin of chemical sensitivity. Substantial overlap between chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome exists: the latter two conditions often involve chemical sensitivity and may even be the same disorder. Other disorders commonly seen in chemical sensitivity patients include headache (often migraine), chronic fatigue, musculoskeletal aching, chronic respiratory inflammation (rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, asthma), attention deficit, and hyperactivity (affected younger children). Less common disorders include tremor, seizures, and mitral valve prolapse. Patients with these overlapping disorders should be evaluated for chemical sensitivity and excluded from control groups in future research. Agents whose exposures are associated with symptoms and suspected of causing onset of chemical sensitivity with chronic illness include gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, pesticides (especially chlordane and chlorpyrifos), solvents, new carpet and other renovation materials, adhesives/glues, fiberglass, carbonless copy paper, fabric softener, formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, carpet shampoos (lauryl sulfate) and other cleaning agents, isocyanates, combustion products (poorly vented gas heaters, overheated batteries), and medications (dinitrochlorobenzene for warts, intranasally packed neosynephrine, prolonged antibiotics, and general anesthesia with petrochemicals). Multiple mechanisms of chemical injury that magnify response to exposures in chemically sensitive patients can include neurogenic inflammation (respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary), kindling and time-dependent sensitization (neurologic), impaired porphyrin metabolism (multiple organs), and immune activation. -- Environ Health Perspect 105(Suppl 2):417-436 (1997)
Key words: multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neuropsychological tests, toxic encephalopathy, autoimmunity (or autoimmune diseases), immune activation, acquired disorders of porphyrin metabolism (or porphyria), chemically induced, pesticides, solvents, respiratory inflammation


This paper is based on a presentation at the Conference on Experimental Approaches to Chemical Sensitivity held 20-22 September 1995 in Princeton, New Jersey. Manuscript received at EHP 6 March 1996; manuscript accepted 26 November 1996.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of B. Cook with record retrieval, G. Smith and C. Prigg with typing and data entry, and A. Donnay with editing and designing tables and figures. Donnay also provided many invaluable suggestions and assistance with the content of the manuscript.
Address correspondence to Dr. G. Ziem, 1722 Linden Avenue, Baltimore MD 21217. Telephone: (410) 462-4085. alternate phone (410) 448-3319. Fax: (410) 462-1039.
Abbreviations used: AAL, Antibody Assay Laboratory; ALA-D, aminolevulenic acid dehydratase; CD, cluster of differentiation; CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome; conA, concanavalin A; CpgO, coproporhyrinogen oxidase;; EEGs, electroencephalograms; ISL, Immunosciences Laboratory; MCS, multiple chemical sensitivity; NK, natural killer cell; PbgD, porphobilinogen deaminase; PHA, phytohemagglutinin; SPECT, single photon emission computed tomography; WAIS-R, Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised.


#4 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 15 September 2003 - 10:01 PM

Doctor tells inquiry sterilising chemical caused three miscarriages



A tearful Northland doctor has told a ministerial inquiry that a workplace chemical caused her to miscarry three times. :angry:

Kaitaia GP Linda Boyle was among several health professionals who claimed exposure to dangerous workplace chemicals had ruined their lives and careers.

The allegations surfaced at a ministerial inquiry, before barrister Denis Clifford in Whangarei, into the management of the chemical glutaraldehyde, other aldehydes and solvents in workplaces. Northland hospitals used glutaraldehyde to sterilise surgical equipment and in radiology departments.

This week Dr Boyle said she went from practically running her own practice to being able to work only one half-day a week.

She had been pregnant when she returned to her practice to find that glutaraldehyde had been introduced as a sterilising agent. She later went into premature labour, but the baby, now 9, survived.

In tears, Dr Boyle described how she had since miscarried three times. Subsequent tests showed that one of the foetuses had genetic abnormalities.

Former Kaitaia Hospital radiographer Dianne Phillips, 48, said she had regularly used the chemicals at work. Her first signs of the illness occurred in 1990. The next year she tried to get conditions in the radiology department improved.

As her condition worsened her GP, Linda Boyle, gave her three months off work until the department was improved. On her return to work, she found that not all the improvements had been done.

She quit her job at the end of 1991 after ACC accepted her claim.

Former radiology nurse Andrea Hartnell said a neuropsychological assessment revealed that she now had a mental age of a 13-year-old.

The inquiry is to submit its report to Labour Minister Margaret Wilson by May 30.



#5 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 12:24 PM

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - The End of Controversy

Martin Pall.

[email protected] phone: 509-335-1246
Go to: Fibromyalgia
Go to: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), where people report being
exquisitely sensitive to a wide range of organic chemicals, is almost always
described as being "controversial." The main source of this supposed
controversy is that there has been no plausible physiological mechanism for
MCS and consequently, it was difficult to interpret the puzzling reported
features of this condition. As discussed below, this is no longer true and
consequently the main source of such controversy has been laid to rest.
There still are important issues such as how it should be diagnosed and
treated and these may also be allayed by further studies of the mechanism
discussed below.
The descriptions of MCS made by a several different research groups
are remarkably consistent. MCS sufferers report being hypersensitive to a
wide variety of hydrophobic organic solvents, including gasoline vapor,
perfume, diesel or jet engine exhaust, new or remodeled buildings where
building materials or carpeting has outgassed various solvents, vapors
associated with copy machines, many solvents used in industrial settings,
cleaning materials and cigarette and other smoke. Each of these is known to
have volatile hydrophobic organic compounds as a prominent part of its
composition. The symptoms of MCS sufferers report having on such solvent
exposure include multiorgan pain typically including headache, muscle pain
and joint pain, dizziness, cognitive dysfunction including confusion, lack
of memory, and lack of concentration. These symptoms are often accompanied
by some of a wide range of more variable symptoms. The major symptoms
reported on chemical exposure in MCS are strikingly similar to the chronic
symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and may be explained by
mechanisms previously proposed for the CFS symptoms (1). Perhaps the best
source of information on the properties and science of MCS is the Ashford
and Miller book (2). Many individual accounts of MCS victims have been
presented in an interesting book edited by Johnson (3). Most MCS sufferers
trace their sensitivity to chemicals to a chemical exposure at a particular
time in their life, often a single, high level exposure to organic solvents
or to certain pesticides, notably organophosphates or carbamates. Some MCS
cases are traced to a time period where the person lived or worked in a
particular new or newly remodeled building ("sick building syndrome") where
the outgassing of the organic solvents may have had a role in inducing MCS.
One of the most interesting examples of MCS/sick building syndrome occured
about 15 years ago when the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency remodeled
its headquarters and some 200 of its employees became chemically sensitive.
The obvious interpretation of this pattern of incidence of MCS is that
pesticide or high level or repeated organic solvent exposure induces cases
of MCS. This interpretation has been challenged by MCS skeptics but they
have, in my judgement, no plausible alternative explanation.
MCS in the U. S. appears to be surprisingly common. Epidemiologists
have studied how commonly MCS occurs in the U. S. and roughly 9 to 16 %
having more modest sensitivity. Thus we are talking about perhaps 10 million
severe MCS sufferers and perhaps 25 to 45 million people with more modest
sensitivity. From these numbers, it appears that MCS is the most common of
what are described as "unexplained illnesses" in the U. S. Those suffering
from severe MCS often have their lives disrupted by their illness. They
often have to move to a different location, often undergoing several moves
before finding an tolerable environment. They may have to leave their place
of employment, so many are unemployed. Going out in public may expose them
to perfumes that make them ill. They often report sensitivity to cleaning
agents used in motels or other commercial locations. Flying is difficult due
to jet fumes, cleaning materials, pesticide use and perfumes.

read the rest of the article here:

#6 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 12:50 PM

New Zealand sawmill workers’ health problems caused by chemical poisoning
By John Braddock

19 August 2002

A survey released last month of 60 former New Zealand sawmill workers and families of deceased workers found many suffering a wide range of illnesses, including cancer. The report blames chemicals commonly used at sawmills until the late 1980s for the chronic illnesses.

Sawmill Workers Against Poisons (SWAP) commissioned the study, which was carried out with the support of the Environment Ministry and Bay of Plenty region health authorities. The sawmill workers established SWAP in 1996, after years of frustration and lack of action by authorities over their accumulating health problems.

Most had worked at the Carter Holt-owned Whakatane Sawmill, which shut down in 1988, forcing many into long-term unemployment. Although SWAP members had all previously been involved in the Wood Industries Union, the unions used the fact that the men were no longer dues-paying members to wash their hands of the case.

SWAP initially took its case to the Vietnam Veterans Association, and discovered a “plethora” of international research linking chemicals prevalent in the wood industry to chronic long-term health problems. Because most of the workers were Maori, SWAP then obtained the support of the NZ Maori Council to sponsor the research.

The report, compiled by social science researcher Gwenda Monteith Paul, found that a large number of the former workers had symptoms associated with exposure to the organic chemical Pentachlorophenol (PCP). The symptoms included high blood pressure, depression, dermatitis, mood swings, blood disorders and cancer. Twenty-eight families of mill workers who had died were interviewed and it was found that the major cause of death was cancer, followed by strokes and heart disease—13 of the men had cancer at the time of death. The average age of the 28 deceased workers was 61 years.

Wives of workers surveyed had similar patterns of illnesses and symptoms, although not as severe as the men. Thirty-eight per cent of the women had experienced a miscarriage, well above the national average of 15 to 20 per cent. The report suggests that the wives may have been exposed to PCP through the common practice of hand and wringer-washing of husbands’ work clothes, which were saturated on a daily basis with PCP and other chemicals. Workers’ households also often used treated timber in their open fireplaces before closed fireplaces were installed in the early 1980s.

Forty-seven families reported respiratory problems among children and grandchildren, while 35 families reported eczema, dermatitis and other skin problems. Hearing, sight, birth defects and learning difficulties were also prevalent. The report cites a 1996 Canadian study of 20,000 offspring of sawmill workers, which discovered increased risks of congenital abnormalities of the eyes and genital organs, as well as higher incidence of spina bifida. The Canadian study concluded that its findings supported an hypothesis of inter-generational “male-mediated developmental toxicity”.

PCP was widely used in the timber industry for years as a cheap treatment for sapstain, a fungal infection commonly found in softwoods such as pine. It is an organic chemical produced by reacting chlorine gas with phenol. The process creates a number of toxic impurities such as tetrachlorophenol, hexachlorobenzene and several types of dioxins and dibenzofurans. The main route of absorption is through the skin. Some of the more chronic health effects, including cancer and diabetes, do not appear until long after exposure. The sawmill workers were constantly exposed to PCP as they mixed chemicals and handled wet, treated timber.

Concerns about PCP use surfaced in the New Zealand wood industry in the mid-1980s. This led to sawmill owners carrying out urine tests on workers. However, common practice was to move affected workers to temporary duties in less exposed areas for a few weeks if the tests showed a level of PCP contamination considered too high. Little information was given to the men regarding the results of the tests, nor was there ever any direction given to up-grade protective measures. The men who worked with the chemicals had little or no idea of what the testing was about.

The provision and management of protective clothing was completely inadequate throughout the industry. Not one participant reported that they were told how to use the clothing provided or the purpose or importance of using any of it. Men who were allocated glasses or masks to do certain jobs found that they either did not fit properly or misted up. None of the men reported ever being told that protective clothing and gear was to guard against chemical exposure. The report observes: “Without proper information and instruction it probably increased the amount of exposure as men continued to wear chemical soaked clothes and gloves”.

In 1987 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) circulated a paper warning about the toxicity of PCP. While it identified the main short-term effects of too much exposure, such as nausea, vomiting and headaches, and some of the longer-term dangers including liver and kidney problems, it specifically ruled out cancer. PCPs were banned for use in the timber industry in 1998-9. In 1990, primarily due to concerns about PCP in the environment, a national task force was established to investigate PCP and other chemicals. As a result, the NZ Pesticides Board stopped the use of PCP in agricultural sprays. It was not until 1996 that OSH finally produced a report into the timber industry, which unequivocally concluded that exposure to PCP in the workplace had caused serious short and long-term health effects.

Despite the mounting evidence, the Whakatane workers consistently failed to gain any recognition or compensation through the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)—a “stumbling block”, according to the report, that remains to this day. A number of the men applied to ACC for work-related illness compensation. One applied twice on the basis of a medical report, which confirmed that his illness was caused by inhaling chemicals. All claims were rejected with the exception of one worker who receives minor travel costs to attend treatment sessions.

SWAP has obtained a medical opinion saying that ACC has defined the level of proof required for compensation so strictly that it is almost impossible to get the corporation to accept that workers’ continuing ill-health is related to chemical exposure. The time lapse between working with the chemicals and the appearance of cancers makes it scientifically impossible, at this point, for the workers to conclusively prove—according to ACC criteria—that such illnesses are directly related to exposure to PCPs.

With no ACC recognition, the former workers, many of whom are on social welfare benefits, find it very difficult to access the health care that they need, in particular specialist care. In the words of the report, appeals to doctors and health authorities have consistently met with “at best” little or no response, and at worst “ridicule”.

The report recommends that all ex-sawmill workers from the Whakatane, Kawerau, Kinleith and Waipa sawmills and their families be given free health care, with specific attention given to dioxin testing. The group is lobbying for free health care for those with chemical-related illness, and before the recent election sent copies of the report to the Labour government.

SWAP spokesman Joe Harawira told the World Socialist Web Site that replies had been received from Prime Minister Helen Clark and Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia. However, Ruth Dyson, the minister in charge of ACC, claimed that the report failed to conclusively prove a link between the prior contact with PCP and the workers’ health problems. Harawira said it was obvious from a television interview with Dyson that she “hadn’t even read the report”.

The workers were intending to boycott a meeting convened on August 9 by Bay of Plenty regional and local authorities in response to the report. The organisers were not prepared to have SWAP attend on an equal footing, wanting them rather to “just say the [Maori] prayers at the beginning of the meeting and again at the end”. Instead, SWAP convened a counter-meeting at a different venue.

Harawira also described how the unions had initially worked with SWAP to raise awareness of the health problems associated with PCPs. However, in 1996 during the course of the filming of a documentary by Ninox Films, “differences of opinion” arose with the unions, prompting them to pull out of the project. According to Harawira, the unions had their own agenda—closely aligned to protecting the interests of the company.

SWAP is currently campaigning with Greenpeace to have all remaining contaminated sites cleaned up, including 25 dumps in the Whakatane area. Greenpeace has criticised the government’s 2001 dioxin action plan because it concentrates on minor issues such as regulating dioxin in incinerators, backyard burning of rubbish, treated wood and copper wire recycling. The plan ignores the key requirements of the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty to which the Labour government is a signatory. The convention promotes the outlawing of dioxins in pollution-causing industries and calls for health and environmental damage caused by major contaminations to be addressed.

#7 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:01 PM

TRADE SECRETS - Documentary on the Chemical Industry

TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT is an investigation of the history of the chemical revolution and the companies that drove it – and how companies worked to withhold vital information about the risks from workers, the government, and the public. Journalist Bill Moyers and producer Sherry Jones rely on an archive of documents the public was never meant to see –- documents that reveal the industry's early knowledge that some chemicals could pose dangers to human health that were not disclosed at the time.

But the documentary also reports a much larger story – a never- before-told account of a campaign to limit the regulation of toxic chemicals and any liability for their effects.

Today, every man, woman and child has synthetic chemicals in their bodies. No child is born free of them. Are they safe? Does anyone know? What is the industry doing to keep us fully informed about the health and safety effects of chemicals? These are the crucial questions raised by the documentary and addressed in a panel discussion moderated by Bill Moyers in the program's final half hour.

Website is reccommended reading, the actual documentary, not seen in New Zealand although a number of people have the documentary on vcr tape, is a shocking expose' that we should have all been told about. :angry:

have a look here:

#8 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:02 PM

Recent research has revealed that glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde and its aqueous solution formalin which are all used for embalming pose a much greater risk to workers’ health and the environment than was previously thought.

The research carried out by a team in Essex found that:

workers exposed to formaldehyde face an increased risk of developing cancers of the nose, pharynx and lung
those working in some areas of hospitals, mortuaries and funeral services face as much as a 30% greater risk of developing these cancers
exposure to formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde, even where extra ventilation is provided can also cause coughs, chest tightness and heart arrhythmias
effects of long-term exposure can include bronchitis, body tissue destruction, brain damage, lung damage and impaired co-ordination.
Research team leader, Dr Kit Barrow said. "The extraordinary thing is that nobody seems to be taking these risks very seriously." "While there are health and safety regulations which apply where formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde or formalin are used, even where they are properly enforced, they leave workers perilously close to the threshold of serious harm."

#9 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

  • Group: Guests

Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:03 PM

Cancer risk for funeral workers
Published: 13 May 2003

Recent research has revealed that glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde and its aqueous solution formalin which are all used for embalming pose a much greater risk to workers’ health and the environment than was previously thought.

The research carried out by a team in Essex found that:

workers exposed to formaldehyde face an increased risk of developing cancers of the nose, pharynx and lung
those working in some areas of hospitals, mortuaries and funeral services face as much as a 30% greater risk of developing these cancers
exposure to formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde, even where extra ventilation is provided can also cause coughs, chest tightness and heart arrhythmias
effects of long-term exposure can include bronchitis, body tissue destruction, brain damage, lung damage and impaired co-ordination.
Research team leader, Dr Kit Barrow said. "The extraordinary thing is that nobody seems to be taking these risks very seriously." "While there are health and safety regulations which apply where formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde or formalin are used, even where they are properly enforced, they leave workers perilously close to the threshold of serious harm."

#10 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:05 PM

EU is urged to act over deadly chemicals
14/05/2003 - 11:47:23

A call for moves to reduce exposure to both very persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals has been signed by more than 60 top independent UK and European scientists, according to WWF, the global environment network.

The chemicals are synthetic, highly toxic, remain in the atmosphere for many years and can be carcinogenic.

The scientists also want action to cut exposure to hormones or endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Publication of the declaration marks the launch of WWF’s Chemicals and Health Campaign in partnership with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) and a strategic initiative with The Co-operative Bank.

Draft EU chemicals law – currently the subject of an official internet consultation by the European Commission – presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure a safer future for wildlife and people, said WWF.

However, the environmental group and the NFWI fear that the draft legislation is weak and will not meet their demands, nor those of the scientists.

WWF and NFWI are calling for very persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals (vPvBs) and hormone disrupting chemicals (EDCs), to be properly regulated and replaced where safer alternatives exist, or banned where necessary.

The scientists have also gone on record to state that for both these groups of substances there should be a requirement to use safer alternatives where available.

Gwynne Lyons, WWF Toxics Science and Policy Advisor, said: “It is illogical to permit the continued use of chemicals that can build up in our bodies, or chemicals that can disrupt our hormones when safer alternatives are available.

“Yet that is exactly what new draft European legislation is seeking to do.

“It seems that the costs to health are yet again being sidelined, while industry lobbying for “business as usual” takes centre stage.”

WWF’s investigative research reveals widespread contamination and mounting fears that chemicals may be linked with rising rates of certain cancers, birth defects and effects on children’s immune system.

Up to 300 man-made chemicals have been found in humans, and it is believed that most if not all humans, are contaminated with persistent industrial chemicals. :blink:

Wildlife is also affected, including polar bears, seals, peregrine falcons, flounder and beluga whales. :unsure:

Helen Carey, National Chairman of NFWI said “This research makes alarming reading.

“The WI has long been concerned about the impact of chemicals and the hidden costs to future generations.

“We must strive to make certain that those chemicals which have been proven to harm man, wildlife or the environment are phased out with as little delay as possible.

“We need to ensure that the chemicals which surround us are safe to use and hold no hidden risks for our children and grandchildren.”

WWF said exposure to chemicals that can be passed from mother to child in the womb and chemicals that can disrupt hormones, are a major worry because there is a broad picture of disturbing trends in many diseases. :angry:

Hormone-related cancers have increased dramatically in recent years. :huh:

#11 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:07 PM

Scientist chokes on Kaitaia mill report



People living near a Kaitaia mill should be given personal air pollution kits to monitor chemical discharges whenever the mill produces thick, black smoke and bad smells, says a Ministry of Health review.

The review - which challenges a company-funded study clearing the Juken Nissho triboard mill only two months ago - also recommends long-term monitoring of discharges from the mill using time-lapse video.

The company's health-impact assessment, undertaken for Juken Nissho by Auckland public health specialist Dr Francesca Kelly, found in March that there was only a low-level health risk to people in Kaitaia who lived close to the mill.

But an environmental scientist's review last month of the assessment's findings casts doubt on its results, says the Northland Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jonathan Jarman.

Although the review, by Dr Alistair Bingham, praises the Kelly assessment, which examined the effects on human health of emissions during wood-processing operations at the mill, it also says doubts remain.

"The main problem with the assessment is that it is mainly based on assumptions," Dr Jarman said yesterday.

It used data based on typical emission levels to air from the mill which had been estimated by a computer modelling program.

"Unfortunately, very little of the health-impact assessment was based on what is actually happening to the air around the triboard mill," said Dr Jarman.

"One of my concerns is what happens when there is a problem at the mill."

These problems usually involve wood-processing production "upsets" on occasions, when thick smoke, haze or odour suddenly come from the plant and continue until the "upset" is fixed.

Dr Jarman said the review by Dr Bingham, a health consultant contracted to the ministry, was critical that the assessment contained no evidence about the frequency or duration of these mill "upsets".

No attempt had been made to gauge their significance.

"At the end of the day, you can't be entirely certain that there aren't going to be any health effects," Dr Jarman said.

Juken Nissho commissioned the assessment more than two years ago.

It was part of a deal under which Northland Health dropped its appeal against resource consents for the company's expanded mill operations in Kaitaia if the company conducted a health-impact assessment of the local community.

Dr Jarman sought the recent review of the assessment from the ministry because Northland has no top-level air-pollution specialists.

Dr Bingham also made several recommendations for Northland Health, the Northland Regional Council - which is the main regulatory agency involved - and for the company.

Dr Jarman described the review's recommendations as sensible. Northland Health was now checking to see how easily they could be carried out.

The recommendations include provision of personal, commercially available passive monitoring devices for residents to check formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide levels during periods of perceived adverse emission exposure.

Dr Bingham also recommends the regional council consider time-lapse video monitoring of plant discharges, assess black smoke discharges and continue to evaluate general ambient air quality in Kaitaia using long-term monitoring programmes.

The review recommends the company should assess likely adverse health effects on people from pollutant materials discharged at maximum rates of processing emissions, rather than at the typical rates studied in the assessment.

Dispersion modelling runs should be repeated for discharges of fine, particulate material and formaldehyde at maximum rates of emission suggested in the review.

Kaitaia's community and mill liaison group is expected to meet soon to discuss Dr Bingham's review and recommendations.

The story so far

* Many Kaitaia residents believe that air pollution from the nearby Juken Nissho triboard mill has given them serious health problems.

* A health impact report in March - paid for by Juken Nissho in exchange for permission to go ahead with its expansion plans - found only a low-level health risk.

* But a Ministry of Health review says the report did not consider production "upsets" at the mill which produced thick smoke, haze or odour.

What happens now

* The review says residents should be given their own pollution meters to check levels of formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide during these episodes.

* It also suggests the council should use time-lapse video to monitor discharges from the mill.

#12 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 17 September 2003 - 01:49 AM

Toxic Substances Put One in Five EU Workers at Risk

STRASBOURG, France, May 16, 2003 (ENS) - Twenty percent of employees in European Union member states, some 32 million people, are exposed to carcinogenic agents at work, and even more inhale fumes and vapors for at least a quarter of their working time. To address these risks, the first pan-European campaign to raise awareness of dangerous substances in the workplace was launched on Tuesday at the European Parliament.

Campaign organizer, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, aims to educate companies about the risks and regulatory duties regarding employee exposure to chemicals, biological agents, and other dangerous substances at work.

The agency says that for substances with known toxicological risks, as few as 12 percent of firms that use them comply with risk prevention regulations. In addition, 20 percent of Safety Data Sheets supplied by manufacturers of hazardous substances contained errors.

The campaign will take place in the 15 current EU member states as well as the 10 future member states that will join the EU next April. It will culminate in the European Week for Safety and Health at Work in October 2003, whose motto is "Dangerous Substances - Handle with Care." Safety and health institutions, trade unions, company managers and employees will all take part.

Hans-Horst Konkolewsky is director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Photo courtesy European Parliament)
Agency Director Hans-Horst Konkolewsky says the European Week for Safety and Health at Work has developed into "the largest safety and health event in our region, including not only the 15 EU member states but also all candidate countries and all EFTA [European Free Trade Association] countries."

Konkolewsky said that in many cases safe substitutes for dangerous substances exist, such as replacements for organic solvents. If this is not possible, exposure can be eliminated or reduced through efficient control measures, he said. "We hope to communicate these messages along with a lot of good practice information to workplaces all across Europe where dangerous substances are handled."

For the purposes of the campaign, a dangerous substance is defined as any liquid, gas or solid, chemical or biological, that poses a toxicological risk to employees' health, excluding radioactive, inflammable and explosive substances. These risks can occur through either direct or indirect contact with the toxic, for example through touching contaminated surfaces.

Workers on this demolition job in Newcastle, England are exposed to dangerous concrete dust. (Photo courtesy FreeFoto) :angry:

Cancers, asthma and neuro-psychiatric problems are some of the illnesses that can be caused by the 100,000 chemicals and biological agents marketed in the European Union, according to the safety agency. :angry: :angry:

Two-thirds of the 30,000 most commonly used chemicals in the EU have not been subjected to full and systematic toxicological tests, the agency said. Only new chemicals notified since 1981 must undergo these tests, although the EU is developing a strategy to systematically assess chemicals that were in existence before then. :unsure:

“Dangerous substances contribute significantly to the 350 million days :unsure: lost through occupational ill health in the EU and to the seven million people suffering from occupational illnesses,” says Anna Diamantopoulou, European commissioner for employment and social affairs.

“The Agency's campaign, together with EU initiatives, including our recent White Paper on a Strategy for a Future Chemicals Policy, are important steps in dealing with this severe, but often hidden, problem.” :huh:

Citing research that shows four percent of all cancers are work related and that 10 percent of employees contract eczema, the agency said one-fifth of EU employees are exposed to known or suspected carcinogens, such as benzene in fuel and crystalline silica in construction materials.

Twenty-two percent of workers inhale fumes and vapors for at a least a quarter of their working time, including organic solvents, wood dust and welding fumes, the agency says.

Sectors most at risk range from construction and agriculture to printing, cleaning, health care and automotive mechanics.

Embalmers are exposed to hazardous chemicals (Photo courtesy MCC)
Dangers extend even to the funeral industry. A research team based in Essex, UK announced findings on Monday which show that glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde and its aqueous solution Formalin, used worldwide for embalming, pose greater problems to health and to the environment than is generally thought.
Workers exposed to formaldehyde, a colorless and invisible gas, face a significantly greater risk of cancers of the nose, pharynx and lung than average, and those working in some areas of hospitals, mortuaries and funeral services have as much as 30 percent greater risk of developing these cancers.

Read the FULL article: worth the read, consider what we are not told here

in New Zealand!!!

#13 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 17 September 2003 - 02:03 AM

Press release

Bill Moyers is to be warmly commended for his March 26 program "Trade Secrets".

This PBS Special will document the chemical industry's conspiracy in denying information on the grave cancer risks to hundreds of thousands of workers manufacturing the potent carcinogen vinyl chloride (VC) and its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) product.

As newsworthy is the fact that there is a decades-long track record of numerous such conspiracies involving a wide range of industries and chemicals, besides VC. These conspiracies have resulted in an escalation in the incidence and mortality of cancer, and chronic disease, among workers and the general public unknowingly exposed to toxics and carcinogens in the workplace, air, water and consumer products--food, household products, and cosmetics and toiletries.

This misconduct involves negligence, manipulation, suppression, distortion and destruction of health and environmental data by mainstream industries, their consultants and trade associations, notably the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA). These practices are so frequent as to preclude dismissal as exceptional aberrations and, in many instances, arguably rise to the level of criminality as illustrated below:

· Suppression of evidence from the early 1960's on the toxicity of VC by Dow Chemical, and on its carcinogenicity from 1970 by the VC/PVC industry and the CMA. Based on these findings, a blue ribbon committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science charged in 1976 that: "Because of the suppression of these data (by the CMA), tens of thousands of workers were exposed without warning--to toxic concentrations of VC".

· Suppression of evidence since the 1930's on the hazards of asbestos, asbestosis and lung cancer, by Johns-Manville and Raybestos-Manhattan, besides the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. This information was detailed in industry documents dubbed the "Asbestos Pentagon Papers", released at 1978 Congressional Hearings.

· Suppression by Rohm and Haas of information, known since 1962 but not released until 1971, on the potent carcinogenicity of the resin bischloromethylether. This resulted in deaths from lung cancer of some 50 men, many non-smokers and under the age of 50.

· Suppression of carcinogenicity data on organochlorine pesticides: Aldrin/Dieldrin, by Shell Chemical Company since 1962; Chlordane/Heptachlor, by Velsicol Chemical Company since 1959; and Kepone, by Allied Chemical Company since the early 1960's.

· Falsification in the early 1970's of test data on the drug Aldactone and artificial sweetener Aspartame by Hazleton Laboratories under contract to G.D. Searle Company.

· Falsification and manipulation by Monsanto since the 1960's of data on dioxin, and its contamination of products including the herbicide Agent Orange, designed to block occupational exposure claims and tightening of federal regulations. This evidence was detailed in 1990 by Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Criminal Investigation which charged Monsanto with a "long pattern of fraud" and with reporting "false information" to the Agency.

· Fraudulent claims by Monsanto since 1985 that genetically engineered (rBGH) milk is indistinguishable from natural milk. These claims persist despite contrary evidence.

· Monsanto's reckless marketing in 1976 of plastic Coke bottles made from acrylonitrile, a chemical closely related to VC, prior to its testing for carcinogenicity and migration into the Coke. The bottles were subsequently banned after acrylonitrile was found to be a potent carcinogen contaminating the Coke.

· Destruction of epidemiological data on ethyleneimine and other chemicals by Dow and DuPont. This was admitted at 1973 Department of Labor Advisory Committee meetings in response to challenges to produce data on whose basis industry had falsely claimed that these chemicals were not carcinogens.

· Destruction of test data on drugs, food additives, and pesticides as admitted in 1977 by Industrial Biotest Laboratories, under contract to major chemical industries.

· Failure of the mainstream cosmetics and toiletry industries to warn of the wide range of avoidable carcinogenic ingredients, contaminants and precursors in their products used by the great majority of the U.S. population over virtually their lifetimes.

(For supporting documentation of the above charges, see the author's: Testimony on White Collar Crime, H.R. 4973, before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee, 12/13/79; The Politics of Cancer, 1979; and The Politics of Cancer, Revisited, 1998.)

Hopefully, the public and the media will be outraged by this longstanding evidence of recklessness and conspiracies, graphically reinforced by Moyers' program. The public and the media should finally hold industry accountable, and demand urgent investigation and radical reform of current industry practices besides governmental unresponsiveness. The Moyers' program has already galvanized formation of a coalition of grassroots citizen groups, "Coming Clean", to demand more responsible and open industry practices, including phasing out the use and manufacture of toxic chemicals.

Criticism should also be directed to the multibillion dollar cancer establishment--the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society--for their failure to warn Congress, regulatory agencies and the general public of the scientific evidence on the permeation of the totality of the environment with often persistent industrial carcinogens thus precluding corrective legislation and regulation, besides denying workers and the public of their inalienable right-to-know.

NOTE: PRNewswire, the nation's largest newswire service, who has released Cancer Prevention Coalition's numerous press releases for the last five years, refused to issue this release on "legal grounds".

DATE March 23, 2001

SOURCE Cancer Prevention Coalition

CONTACT: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition and Professor environmental and occupational medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago, 312-996-2297;[email protected];

#14 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 17 September 2003 - 02:32 AM

Executive Summary

In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG).
In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721°F in just five minutes under the same test conditions (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446°F. At 680°F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000°F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.

Full website:

#15 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 17 September 2003 - 02:34 AM

Chronic Fatigue and Organophosphate Pesticides in Sheep Farming: A Retrospective Study Amongst People Reporting to a UK Pharmacovigilance Scheme

1 Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Road, Aberdeen AB25 2ZP; 2 Institute of Occupational Medicine, 8 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh EH8 9SU, UK

Received 21 October 2002; in final form 31 January 2003

The Department of Health has recently published a report from the CFS/ME Working Group which concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be recognized as a chronic illness.

Symptoms consistent with CFS are often reported by people who consider their health has been affected by exposure to pesticides, but the Working Group concluded that this type of exposure is not a common trigger for the syndrome.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) collects self-assessed reports of ill health in humans associated with veterinary medicines under their Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme.

The reporters have mainly been sheep farmers.

These reports were used to investigate the possible relationship between chronic fatigue (CF) and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming

#16 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 17 September 2003 - 02:36 AM

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
MAY 2003

Cleaning Products and Work-Related Asthma

JOEM 45:5 pp 556-563

Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD, Mary Jo Reilly, MS, Donald P. Schill, MS, CIH, David Valiante, CIH, Jennifer Flattery, MPH, Robert Harrison, MD, MPH, Florence Reinisch, MPH, Elise Pechter, MPH, CIH, Letitia Davis, ScD, Catharine M. Tumpowsky, MPH, Margaret Filios, RN, ScM

To describe the characteristics of individuals with work-related asthma associated with exposure to cleaning products, data from the California-, Massachusetts, Michigan-, and New Jersey state-based surveillance systems of work-related asthma were used to identify cases of asthma associated with exposure to cleaning products at work.

From 1993 to 1997, 236 (12%) of the 1915 confirmed cases of work-related asthma identified by the four states were associated with exposure to cleaning products.

Eighty percent of the reports were of new-onset asthma and 20% were work-aggravated asthma. Among the new-onset cases, 22% were consistent with reactive airways dysfunction syndrome.

Individuals identified were generally women (75%), white non-Hispanic (68%), and 45 years or older (64%). Their most likely exposure had been in medical settings (39%), schools (13%), or hotels (6%), and they were most likely to work as janitor/cleaners (22%), nurse/nurses' aides (20%), or clerical staff (13%).

However, cases were reported with exposure to cleaning products across a wide range of job titles.

Cleaning products contain a diverse group of chemicals that are used in a wide range of industries and occupations as well as in the home.

Their potential to cause or aggravate asthma has recently been recognized. Further work to characterize the specific agents and the circumstances of their use associated with asthma is needed.

Additional research to investigate the frequency of adverse respiratory effects among regular users, such as housekeeping staff, is also needed. In the interim, we recommend attention to adequate ventilation, improved warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets, and workplace training and education. :unsure:


Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD
Michigan State University
117 West Fee Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1315
Email: [email protected]

#17 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 20 September 2003 - 09:35 PM

Contaminated cash sickens in Tapanui19 September 2003

A Blue Mountain College fundraising raffle turned into a sickening experience for several people after cash became contaminated with a powerful insecticide.

Tapanui woman Barbara Hanna spent a miserable weekend in July with flu-like symptons, unaware she had handled raffle money accidentally contaminated by dioxacarb.

Police yesterday warned people to be wary of where they stored money after tests by the ESR toxicology department revealed money collected during a Blue Mountain College fundraising raffle contained dioxacarb.

The incident happened about two and a half months ago but Mrs Hanna, the college principal's secretary, remembers it well.

Mrs Hanna said yesterday she was handed a bundle of money on a Thursday. It was from a raffle being run by the college to raise funds for a ski trip.

She recalled noticing a strong garlic-like smell at the time but thought nothing more of it and put the money in the college safe for the weekend, with other raffle money that had been handed in.

That weekend Mrs Hanna suffered from a "terrible stomach" but did not connect it with the money, thinking it was just a tummy bug, she said.

"I was miserable all weekend." She banked all the raffle money the following week and did not think anything more about it until she was contacted by police after bank staff became ill.

No children at the school had been in contact with the contaminated money, Mrs Hanna said.

Detective Andrew Thomson, of Gore, yesterday confirmed the bank raised the alarm.

"It was noted the money had a pungent aroma and caused people who came into contact with it to become quite nauseous and suffer flu-like symptons," Mr Thomson said.

The contaminated money, about $700, was immediately sealed.

"Fortunately all of the money was intercepted and destroyed prior to being circulated back into the community," he said.

Police contacted people believed to have contributed to the initial batch of contaminated money but were unable to determine where the contamination happened.

Police were convinced the contamination was accidental.

It probably happened when a container with traces of the insecticide was used to store the money, Mr Thomson said.

Dioxacarb was used on farms up until the 1970s.,00.html

#18 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*

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  Posted 23 September 2003 - 03:58 PM

Sensitivity forces woman to seek toxin-free home

Last Updated Mon, 08 Sep 2003 18:28:19

PORTUGAL COVE, NFLD. - A couple in Newfoundland and Labrador are building a special house to keep themselves safe from cosmetics, perfume, detergents and cleaners.

Judie and Loyal Squires are rushing to finish their dream home on half an acre of land in Portugal Cove. Built without glue or fibreglass, and with as few chemicals as possible, the house is unique in the province.

Four years ago, Judie developed what doctors call Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, meaning her system gets overloaded by toxins. Read the article here:

Judie, 27, used to apply several perfumes and deodorants. Now perfumes, cleaners and car exhaust are like invisible enemies that can bring on hives or cause her throat to close.
"Anybody who knew me from the past wouldn't believe that this is me now because I was the type person I wouldn't even go through the door without makeup and getting prettied up," said Judie.

Her husband, Loyal, has to live a chemical-free life, too. He's like her filter from the rest of the world.

Loyal said they've tried to eliminate chemicals from their lives, but it is difficult when his co-workers wear perfume and cologne. He needs to shower as soon he steps inside their home, and he often wears gloves.

Inside their house, the couple use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning and they avoid scented products altogether. Judie wears mostly cotton and they eat only organic foods.

Judie can't have visitors and she rarely leaves the home.

site to visit: The Pesticide Debate:

Last year, Judie wasn't told a neighbour had sprayed pesticides. The chemicals drifted over to the Squires' cars and into their apartment.
"I was three days in and out of consciousness, throwing up, can't breathe, can't swallow, I kept filling up with mucus," she recalls. "My eyes get this film over them and that lasts for weeks."

The Squires want pesticides to be banned as they are in some other Canadian cities. They also want to raise public awareness of the potential dangers of chemicals, and do away with the perception that she is some kind of "allergy freak."

The couple look forward to a healthier life in their new home. They hope to move in by October.

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  Posted 23 September 2003 - 04:00 PM

Perfume industry on the attack in Halifax
Last Updated Wed Jun 21 16:01:49 2000

HALIFAX - The province of Nova Scotia has become a battle ground in the war between fragrance makers and those who say scents make them sick.

Opponents to perfumes say the products are being made with carcinogens
On Tuesday, the Scented Product Education and Information Association of Canada (SPEIAC) -- which represents the cosmetics, perfume and toiletries industries -- launched a month-long campaign aimed at clearing up what it calls perfume "myths and misinformation."

The group chose Halifax for the campaign because the city launched a "no-scent encouragement program" in 1996, urging people not to wear fragrances to help reduce illness and discomfort suffered by those with scent allergies or asthma.

The city does not have a ban or by-law against fragrance, as many news sources erroneously reported earlier this year when a Halifax student was suspended from school for wearing scent.

RELATED: Teen may face charges for too much Aqua Velva
The perfume industry says the anti-scent campaign is a bad one. "The anti-scent policies -- both formal and informal -- that are prevalent in the Halifax area appear to be based on an appalling lack of factual information," SPEIAC spokesman Carl Carter told a news conference Tuesday.

But that's not the way Betty Bridges sees it. She's a nurse from Virginia who suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and worries about the chemicals used to make scented products. She says the ingredients are no longer natural, but are made with carcinogens and irritants.

"A lot of these chemicals are absorbed into the body. They are stored in fat tissue. They are found in breast milk."

The industry disputes that. They say evidence shows there is no danger from fragrance products. Charles Low is with the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. He says scents are safe but people who wear perfumes or aftershave should use them sparingly.

"Our message is that people need to be responsible in their use of fragrances and scented products so as not to give offence," Low says.

Low says the idea is to keep smells within what he calls a "personal scent circle." That means not wearing anything that someone can get a whiff of more than an arm's length away.

That notion is lost on Albert Donnay who supports the restrictions.

"Everybody knows when they get into an elevator with somebody who put too much perfume on this morning, the perfume stays behind when that person gets off the elevator. There is no such thing as a scent circle. It's a scent trail."

Donnay says that trail includes chemicals and irritants that are not just "offensive" to some Canadians. They make them sick.

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  Posted 23 September 2003 - 04:03 PM

The Argument

The House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development heard from many delegations during its hearings. It heard from many of the same groups that have debated the issues before city councils across the country.

Among the arguments against pesticides heard by the committee:

The Ontario College of Family Physicians, the Canadian Public Health Association and the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada said pesticides affect neurological development, reproduction, growth, and the functioning of the immune and endocrine systems

A U.S. National Cancer Institute survey found that children with leukemia are six times more likely to come from homes where pesticides were used

Children are most at risk of developing problems because they play on lawns and pesticide residues can enter through their skin. Their smaller size and weaker immune systems make them especially vulnerable

A good deal of this information has surfaced in recent years. But most of it had not been incorporated into the Pest Control Products Act, which regulates pesticides in this country. That's because the act had not been revised since it was passed by Parliament in 1969; it had only been amended from time to time. McLellan's announcement of March 21, 2002, would result in a major revision.

"That means that many chemicals available today entered the market before stricter guidelines were brought in," the report's authors say. "And many other chemicals haven't even been reviewed since 1969." Canada's 30-year-old pesticide management system "is no longer acceptable," the report's authors conclude.

The committee urged the federal government to immediately:

stop approval of new products designed for cosmetic uses
re-evaluate all pesticides approved before 1995 based on today's stricter standards
phase out all pesticides for which safer alternatives exist
fund more research on the impact of pesticides on our health and our environment
modernize legislation already in place
allow consumers better access to information on pesticides so they can make informed decisions.
In the end, McLellan pledged to review chemicals and set up a registry of chemicals so Canadians could be better informed about the risks of common lawn chemicals.

Politicians across the country have heard lots of worrying information about pesticides, but there's still no hard proof linking them to ill effects, when used as approved.


A very common phenoxy herbicide, 2,4-D, found in products like Killex and many weed 'n feed mixtures is suspected of stimulating cancer development, delaying fetal development, and promoting mutations. Unfortunately, very little is known about the long-term effects of phenoxy herbicides on mammals. More research is desperately needed, the report concludes.

Organophosphates in common insecticides such as Diazinon, Malathion and Dursban kill by interfering with the nervous system. They inhibit the enzymes needed for proper functioning of the central nervous system, causing dizziness and sometimes convulsions that may lead to death. A number of chronic effects of carbamate exposure have also been reported, including lowered sperm counts, reduced fertility and lower haemoglobin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Association recently announced a ban on Dursban, citing its potential health risks to children. Canada says it likes the approach the Americans are taking and will follow suit

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