All Products
View All
Air Tube Headsets

EMF Meters
View All
Dirty Electricity Meters
Radiofrequency (RF) Wireless Meters
Electric Field (AC) Meters
Magnetic Field (AC) Meters
Body Voltage Meter Kits

Services
View All
Phone Consultations
On-Site Inspection - Analysis - Remediation

Filters
View All
STETZERiZER Original
DNA Filters

Power Cables & Adapters
View All
Power Strips
Extension Cords
Device Cords

Networking
View All
Wired and WiFi Routers
Ethernet LAN Cables
Grounding Adapters

Books and Videos

Professional
View All
Pro Meters
Pro Meter Accessories
Pro Miscellaneous
ElectraHealth EMF Newsletter with The EMF Explorer's Exclusive Content, Promotions, Specials Signup

RISK-FREE
Your Stetzerizer Filter purchase is covered by a 60 day no questions 100% satisfaction guarantee!!!
60 - Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all Stetzerizer products!!!

Stetzerizer Filters do not wear out or ever need replacement. They are a one-time investment for a lifetime of healthier living.

Shopper Award



Would you prefer to make easy monthly payments on your order? We accept PayPal's Bill Me Later, allowing you 6 months interest free financing. Just place your order as normal, choose PayPal as the payment method, and follow the Bill Me Later link.

Home > Research Feed
 
< The Health Effects of Electrical Pollution  |  The Possible Role of Contact Current in Cancer Risk Associated With Residential Magnetic Fields >
 
The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities
 5/1/2007  by  Margaret E. Sears
Abstract: Approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities, and many more are somewhat sensitive to traces of chemicals and/or electromagnetic phenomena in the environment. People experience neurological and numerous other symptoms, and avoidance of triggers is an essential step to regaining health. The Canadian Human Rights Commission commissioned this report to summarize scientific information about environmental sensitivities. For those interested in the original scientific and technical literature, an annotated bibliography is available on request from environmentalhealthmed@gmail.com. This report addresses issues such as the definition and prevalence of environmental sensitivities; recognition by medical authorities; education and training within the medical community; origins, triggers and symptoms of sensitivities; impact of environmental sensitivities in the workplace; government policies and standards for building codes, air quality and ventilation as they affect individuals with environmental sensitivities; and guidelines for accommodation within the workplace. For people with environmental sensitivities, their health and ability to work rests with the actions of others, including building managers, co-workers and clients. Accommodating people with environmental sensitivities presents an opportunity to improve workplace environmental quality and workers’ performance, and may help prevent the onset of sensitivities in others.

Tags: Environmental Sensitivities, Electromagnetic Phenomena, Building Codes, Runny Eyes, Runny Nose, Headaches, Fatigue, Pain, Breathing Difficulty, Chronic Exposure, Public Policy, Law, Regulations, Biopsychosocial Model, Triggers, Workers' Performance

The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities
By: Margaret E. Sears (M.Eng., Ph.D.) May 2007

The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. This document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgement is made of the source.

Aussi offert en français sous le titre Le point de vue médical sur l’hypersensibilité environnementale

The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities
By: Margaret E. Sears (M.Eng., Ph.D.)

Executive Summary

People’s responses to factors in their environment vary enormously. For instance, we all know that blue-eyed red-heads are sensitive to sunshine, burning more readily than dark-skinned people. What may be less well known is that some people have debilitating reactions to other aspects of their environment, such as chemicals or electromagnetic phenomena.

This report was prepared to inform employers, service providers and individual Canadians about the medical aspects of environmental sensitivities. It reviews and summarizes the scientific literature on environmental sensitivities. For those interested in the original scientific and technical literature, an annotated bibliography is provided. The report reviews medical issues including recognition and awareness of environmental sensitivities; the range of symptoms and conditions associated with this condition; the development of scientifically sound diagnostic criteria; medical research and treatment; issues regarding building codes and practices that affect the accommodation of people with sensitivities; and the costs and benefits associated with accommodation in the workplace.

Approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities. They usually experience neurological impairments, and often experience other symptoms including runny eyes and nose, headaches, fatigue, pain and breathing and digestive problems. Environmental sensitivities may develop gradually after chronic exposure to relatively low levels of chemicals as seen in “sick buildings,” or suddenly after a major exposure to an environmental disaster or a chemical spill. This condition may be initiated by one or a combination of environmental factors such as mould, pesticides, solvents, chemicals off-gassing from carpets or furnishings, or electromagnetic phenomena.

Once a person has developed environmental sensitivities, reactions may occur to a broader range of factors, at levels of exposure that were previously tolerated and that cause little difficulty to many others. The symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposures, and resolve with avoidance of the environmental factor(s). The impact of environmental sensitivities on workers’ performance may range from mild (e.g. habituation to chronic exposures such that performance may be sub-optimal although not abnormal), to severe impairment such that work is impossible. Early recognition, environmental control, avoidance of symptom-triggering agents, removal of residual toxins from the body, and recovery of normal biological processes are key to regaining and maintaining health for people with sensitivities. However, susceptibility to sensitivities will be life long.

Internationally and in many Canadian government departments, recognition of environmental sensitivities is developing. Environmental sensitivities and related conditions are eligible for compensation by some Workers’ Compensation Boards, although there is marked inconsistency across Canada. Public policy, law and regulation are advancing to protect people from triggers of sensitivities, such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, fragrances and other chemicals in public places.

No-smoking, scent-free, pesticide-free, no-idling and least-toxic cleaning policies in health care and other public institutions are increasingly common, and the medical community is also advocating for broader policies and laws. Consensus is gradually building in the medical community and among academics, as well as in the general population, that many chemicals are not as harmless as we might have believed. The medical community is also increasingly acknowledging environmental sensitivities in medical education.

Modern medicine recognizes that the mind and body are intimately interconnected in the “biopsychosocial model” for health care. However, controversy continues regarding the physical or psychological roots of environmental sensitivities, with ramifications for both health care and workplace accommodation. Research indicates that sensitivities generally have physical causes, with many neurological and psycho-social factors interwoven. Successfully addressing physical symptoms with safe housing, workplaces, food and water may also alleviate psychological symptoms. This is necessary before other psychosocial interventions may be helpful.

Canadian statutes do not prescribe building standards that are protective for people with environmental sensitivities. Building codes focus on topics such as strength of structures. Measures impacting indoor environmental quality, such as building materials or de-gassing of buildings before they are occupied, are not addressed. Insofar as building codes and guidelines are perceived to be sufficiently protective of health and safety, they constitute barriers to research, development, implementation and mandating of safer materials and methods. “Green” guidelines incorporate a wide range of important environmental measures, but do not ensure that indoor environmental quality will be sufficient for people with sensitivities. More stringent guidelines have been developed for schools.

Accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities is an opportunity to improve environmental quality and workers’ performance, and to prevent the development of sensitivities in others. Sensitivities vary greatly from one individual to another, so the affected worker should be involved in determining accommodations to minimize potentially harmful exposures in the workplace.

Construction, renovation, repair and maintenance should be conducted to minimize the introduction of pollutants. Finishings, furnishings and equipment should contain low toxicity materials, have virtually no emissions, and be low-maintenance. Problems with structural dampness and moulds may be minimized with good design and construction. These considerations are increasingly important given the desire to conserve energy by reducing ventilation.

In addition to optimizing air quality and flow, ventilation systems must be maintained to avoid microbial contamination. Air filtration may play a role, but filters require frequent, routine maintenance. Least-toxic pest control that minimizes exposure to pesticides is effective and affordable.

Building and maintaining equipment and infrastructure to minimize exposure to electromagnetic radiation, fields and currents requires attention to detail and may entail limited one-time costs. Energy-efficient electrical equipment may (but not necessarily) increase radiofrequencies on electricity lines. Once recognized, however, these problems are amenable to engineering solutions. Health effects of unmeasured and uncontrolled parameters such as the quality of the electrical signal, radiofrequencies, locally elevated exposure levels and ground currents may have contributed to a lack of consensus in research regarding health effects of electromagnetic phenomena.

Workplace accommodation may include renovations, but some of the most important accommodations involve behaviour changes. These include the use of least-toxic cleaning and pest control practices, and avoidance of scented products. Unlike “built” accommodations such as ramps, accommodating people with sensitivities actively involves many people, such as employers, co-workers, others in the school or workplace, neighbours, etc.

There are high costs to society of not caring for people with sensitivities, and workplace environmental quality affects workers’ productivity, health and attendance. Building or renovating with a view to accommodating people with sensitivities is not usually more costly over the long term, in part because hard, durable surfaces that do not off-gas are longer-lasting and require less maintenance. Education and leadership for behaviour change in the workplace is not expensive. Thus, improving the environmental quality of the workplace is an economically sound decision, as well as the best option for workers’ health.

Table of Contents

Abstract

Executive Summary

I Introduction

II What are “environmental sensitivities”?
A Diagnostic criteria
B Prevalence
Summary

III Recognition and medical education
A Recognition
a) International recognition of environmental sensitivities
b) Recognition of environmental sensitivities by the Canadian federal government and national bodies
c) Recognition of environmental sensitivities by Canadian provincial bodies
Summary
B Awareness of environmental sensitivities by health care practitioners
a) Physicians’ organizations
b) Medical schools and continuing medical education
Summary

IV Initiating factors, triggers and symptoms of environmental sensitivities, and their impacts in the workplace
A Agents initiating the condition of environmental sensitivities and triggering reactions
B Symptoms
C Impacts of environmental sensitivities in the workplace
Summary

V Origins of environmental sensitivities
A The controversies
a) Physical or psychological origins
b) Allergy/role of the immune system
B Possible explanations
a) Chemical exposures
b) Neural sensitization
c) Receptor sensitization
d) Inflammatory cycle
e) Overload
Summary

VI Diagnosis and treatment of sensitivities
Summary

VII Building codes, regulations and guideline
A Building codes
a) International initiatives
b) Canadian federal initiatives
c) Provincial initiatives
d) Municipal measures and roles
Summary
B Indoor environmental quality
a) Air quality
b) Microbes - moulds and bacteria
c) Ventilation
d) Pest control
C Electromagnetic radiation and fields
a) Lighting
b) Electromagnetic radiation arising from the use of electricity
Summary

VIII Accommodating and preventing environmental sensitivities

A Environmental sensitivities and the workplace
a) Organization of the work space
b) Energy costs vs. ventilation
c) Buildings’ surroundings
d) Air quality inside vehicles
B Accommodation resources
a) Publications related to the workplace
b) Publications related to “green” buildings
c) Best practices - Accommodations for children in daycares and schools
C Costs and benefits of accommodations
Summary

IX Conclusions

Appendix A: Acronyms and abbreviations

Appendix B: Collaborators, people and organizations consulted

Appendix C: Resources

Appendix D: Thomson recommendations (1985) and progress to 2006

References

Tables

Table 1: Names used for aspects of environmental sensitivities and commonly overlapping conditions
Table 2: International recognition of environmental sensitivities
Table 3: Recognition of environmental sensitivities by the Canadian federal government and national bodies
Table 4: Provincial Ministry of Health recognition of environmental sensitivities
Table 5: Recognition of environmental sensitivities and possibly-related conditions on Workers’ Compensation Boards websites
Table 6: Typical agents that trigger reactions in susceptible individuals (and may contribute to initiation of environmental sensitivities)
Table 7: Environmental sensitivity symptoms/reactions
Table 8: International initiatives addressing environmental sensitivities in building
Table 9: Canadian national initiatives addressing environmental sensitivities in building

I Introduction

People’s responses to factors in their environment vary enormously. For instance, we all know that blue-eyed red-heads are sensitive to sunshine, burning more readily than dark-skinned people. What may be less well known is that some people have debilitating reactions to other aspects of their environment, such as chemicals or electromagnetic phenomena. Although there is a growing consensus in the medical community and society at large that chemicals in the environment are of concern, environmental sensitivities are neither universally recognized nor fully understood.

This report was prepared for the Canadian Human Rights Commission to examine, from a medical perspective, issues related to environmental sensitivities. The report begins by discussing the diagnosis of environmental sensitivities and conditions commonly occurring along with the range of medical conditions that may arise from environmental sensitivities. This is followed by an overview of the recognition of environmental sensitivities by international, federal, provincial and municipal bodies, and awareness of this condition among medical communities. The report then addresses the initiating factors, triggers, and symptoms of environmental sensitivities, with a focus on how environmental sensitivities affect the workplace performance of those who experience this condition. This is followed by a review of medical research into the initiation and manifestation of environmental sensitivities, and a discussion of how environmental sensitivities are diagnosed and treated. The final sections of the report examine how codes, regulations, policies and guidelines for construction address issues affecting environmental quality. Guidelines for the optimization of the indoor environment and accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities are presented, and the costs and benefits of protective measures are discussed. For those interested in the original scientific and technical literature, an annotated bibliography is available on request from environmentalhealthmed@gmail.com.

II What are “environmental sensitivities”?

The term “environmental sensitivities” describes a variety of reactions to chemicals, electromagnetic radiation and other environmental factors at exposure levels commonly tolerated by many people. These phenomena are not yet fully understood. In contrast, some toxic environmental agents such as

such as metals (e.g. lead, mercury), rock dusts (e.g. asbestos, silica), chemicals (e.g. hydrogen sulphide, dioxin) and biological agents (e.g. snake or scorpion venom) are better understood as to their ill effects on people.1

“Environmental sensitivities” does not describe a single, simple condition with a universal cause. Environmentally sensitive individuals link their symptoms to aspects of their environment such as being in a particular place or being exposed to one or more factors such as chemicals, biological materials or electromagnetic phenomena. Table 1 lists some terms that have been used to describe aspects of environmental sensitivities.

Adding to the complexity of the clinical picture are overlapping conditions, also listed in Table 1. Environmental exposures may not contribute to all these conditions in all patients, but one should be alert to the possibility that a range of factors may contribute to an individual’s ill health.

Table 1: Names used for aspects of environmental sensitivities and commonly overlapping conditions 2,3*
*compiled from literature,2,3 with input from collaborators

Given the complexities of the condition, the following section examines criteria for determining whether someone is experiencing environmental sensitivities.

A Diagnostic criteria

Diagnostic criteria are such that independent physicians would come to the same conclusion when examining a particular patient. This is important both for treatment purposes and for research.

With regard to multiple chemical sensitivity, thirty-four experienced North American physicians and researchers who had examined patterns of symptoms in thousands of people reached a consensus regarding criteria to establish a diagnosis:

• symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposure;
• the condition is chronic;
• low levels of exposure [lower than previously or commonly tolerated] result in manifestations of the syndrome;
• symptoms improve or resolve when the incitantsa are removed;
• responses occur to multiple chemically unrelated substances; and
• symptoms involve multiple organ systems.4

A systematic literature review confirmed the diagnostic criteria, and suggested that neurological symptoms could be an additional criterion.2 The consensus diagnostic criteria were also validated, as they identified those most and least likely to be affected among 2,546 patients in Toronto medical practices with high and low prevalence of patients with sensitivities. In the same study, a combination of four neurological symptoms also discerned people most likely affected by multiple chemical sensitivities: having a stronger sense of smell than others; feeling dull/groggy; feeling “spacey;” plus having difficulty concentrating.5 A pattern consistent with these diagnostic criteria is also reported for sensitivities to electromagnetic phenomena.6-8

B Prevalence

Diagnostic criteria are used by physicians to identify a health condition in individuals, and by researchers to determine the proportion of the population experiencing the condition severely enough to seek medical care. Some people with environmental sensitivities are less severely affected and may not seek care. This proportion of individuals in the population is generally investigated with more general questions about reactions to perfumes or other everyday chemicals.

In January 2007, Statistics Canada reported that 5% of Canadians (1.2 million people) suffer “medically unexplained physical symptoms,” including multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia and chronic pain.9

According to Statistics Canada’s 2003 National Population Health Survey (N=135,573),b the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed multiple chemical sensitivities was 2.4% in people aged twelve or older,9 and 2.9% in people thirty years of age or older.10 The 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses revealed that 3.6% of all Canadian nurses experienced chemical sensitivities (N=18,676).11 Prevalence in the general American population has been reported to range from 3.1%  doctor-diagnosed multiple chemical sensitivity in Atlanta, Georgia (N=1,582)12 to 6.3% doctor-diagnosed chemical sensitivity in a large California survey (N=4,046).13

Many more people experience less severe sensitivities. Self-reports of heightened sensitivity (feeling ill) on exposure to “everyday” chemicals in American populations ranges from 11% of 1,057 participants in a US national survey 14 and 16% in California,13 to 33% in rural North Carolina.15 It is unclear to what extent people experiencing less severe intolerances are at an increased risk of developing full-blown, debilitating environmental sensitivities. However, recent studies have revealed genetic links to sensitivities,16-22 and biochemical differences between people with sensitivities and “control” populations.23 Clinical experience shows that increasing chemical exposures are associated with increasing symptoms and reports of sensitivity spreading to more incitants.3,24

More women than men are affected by environmental sensitivities. Almost twice as many women as men experienced “sick building syndrome” in a German study,25 and approximately 60-80% of people diagnosed with environmental sensitivities in various surveys are female. 5,12,26-30

Environmental sensitivities affect all socio-economic classes, according to population-based surveys.12,29,30 The recent Canadian analysis indicates that people from a lower socio-economic class are more likely to report medically unexplained symptoms than are people from the highest socio-economic class.9 On the other hand, clinic-based and citizens’ groups surveys indicate that more highly educated or affluent people with sensitivities tend to seek medical care or self-help.5,27,28

Sensitivities may occur in anyone, even at an early age.31,32 Children’s respiratory, learning and behavioural difficulties may be associated with toxins passed on from the mother, as well as a variety of factors including pesticide exposure, indoor air quality and foods.13,33-39 Studies have revealed that the prevalence of environmental sensitivities increases with age. For example, the prevalence of medically unexplained physical symptoms (chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity) in Canadians increases with age from 1.6% of people aged 12 to 24 years, to 6.9% in people 45 to 64 years old.9 In a Statistics Canada survey of Canadian nurses, 1.4% of nurses younger than 35 years reported chemical sensitivities, which increased to 3.7% in nurses 35-44 years old, and 4.3% and 4.8% in successive decades.11 Similarly, in studies in Arizona, 15% of college students and 37% of elderly participants reported heightened sensitivities to chemicals.30,40 Increasing prevalence of sensitivities with age is relevant for the aging workforce, as well as for care of the elderly.

Unlike perfumes and moulds, electromagnetic fields are usually not perceived. Similarly, electromagnetic sensitivities, while plausible,41 are poorly recognized. The prevalence of electromagnetic sensitivities is estimated to be 1-3% of the population in various countries.42

Summary

Environmental sensitivities may contribute to a variety of conditions that have been associated with circumstances (e.g. sick buildings), populations (e.g. veterans), chronic symptoms (e.g. pain or fatigue) or initiating/triggering factors (e.g. “chemical injury” or “radiowave sickness”). Criteria established for diagnosis of chemical sensitivities provide a framework for physicians and researchers to examine environmental sensitivities related to chemicals. Although it is not as extensively studied, this pattern may also apply to sensitivities related to electromagnetic phenomena.

Studies to determine the proportion of the population that experiences varying degrees of environmental sensitivities rely upon identification of the condition. Diagnostic criteria would be reflected in the recently-reported prevalence of doctor-diagnosed sensitivities (approximately 1 million Canadians). Evidence is that up to a third of the population may be experiencing discomfort. Environmental sensitivities affect approximately twice as many women as men, and increase with age. Sensitivities may be associated with higher-risk occupations and they disproportionately affect the poor, while the wealthy are more likely to be treated.

III Recognition and medical education

Along with consensus regarding the diagnosis being established, recognition of environmental sensitivities by decision-makers and in medical education is also necessary.

This section examines recognition of environmental sensitivities by international bodies, by levels of government and agencies, and by the health care community in Canada.

A Recognition

a) International recognition of environmental sensitivities

International recognition

Numerous countries have recognized environmental sensitivities in a variety of manners.

Table 2: International recognition of environmental sensitivities
 

Classification of Diseases

The classification of diseases plays an important role in the recognition of and research into medical conditions.

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a long-standing, ongoing international effort to categorize all causes and manifestations of disease. It is compiled and regularly updated by the World Health Organization,47,48 and it is used as a basis for the provision of health care within Canada.

The ICD-9 includes some relevant categories such as Ill-defined conditions, Injury and poisonings, Late effects of poisoning due to drug and biological substances, Poisoning by drugs and biological substances, and Late toxic effects of non-medical substances. In the most recent version, ICD-10,49 “environmental sensitivities” is not listed, but the related conditions of Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia have now been included. Many other possibly related conditions are also listed, such as Arthritis due to hypersensitivity. In an update of the ICD-10, wood preservatives have been recognized as causing disease.48

The ICD is an ongoing project. Recent recognition of environmental causes of ill health, and conditions related to environmental sensitivities are good steps toward a more comprehensive system for the classification of diseases.

b) Recognition of environmental sensitivities by the Canadian federal government and national bodies

Table 3 highlights some initiatives taken by the Canadian federal government and national bodies.

Table 3: Recognition of environmental sensitivities by the Canadian federal government and national bodies
 

c) Recognition of environmental sensitivities by Canadian provincial bodies

Recognition of environmental sensitivities at the provincial level may translate into funding and access to optimum health care. Sensitivities may also be recognized with regulation of environmental agents such as pesticides, air pollution and scents, and through public education.

Provincial bodies

Ministries of Health

Physicians bill provincial ministries of health according to services rendered, and must note conditions treated. Some provinces still use the ICD-9, while others are gradually making the transition to the ICD-10. There is now a code for chronic fatigue syndrome in the Ontario diagnostic categories list, and a time-based service code. When the complexity of the condition necessitates time-consuming consultations, this allows the physician to bill accordingly.

Provincial bodies engage in anti-smoking, pesticide-reduction and scent-free initiatives, which benefit people with environmental sensitivities. Table 4 describes a few examples of these initiatives.

Table 4: Provincial Ministry of Health recognition of environmental sensitivities
 

Clinics researching and treating environmental sensitivities

In the mid 1980s, the government of Ontario appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Hypersensitivity Disorders, chaired by Judge George Thomson (“Thomson Committee”).60 The 1985 report produced by the Committee found that environmental (hyper)sensitivity was a significant problem requiring further research, and that patients were not having their needs met within the health care system. The Thomson Committee’s recommendations and subsequent progress are summarized in Appendix D. Following the Committee’s recommendations, the Ontario Ministry of Health funded the Environmental Hypersensitivity Research Unit at the University of Toronto in 1994, and opened the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in 1996 (www.womenshealthmatters.ca/Centres/environmental/index.html).

After a six-year pilot project,61 the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre was established at a permanent site in 1997 (www.cdha.nshealth.ca/facilities/nsehc/index.html). This facility is associated with Dalhousie University and includes Canada’s only environmental control unit for treatment and research.

Occupational health and safety – Workers’ Compensation Boards

Some provincial workers’ compensation boards recognize environmental sensitivities, but eligible conditions and nomenclature vary across jurisdictions. According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, as well as a discussion paper prepared for WorkSafeBC,62 a national framework common to all jurisdictions with respect to environmental sensitivities does not exist. Information about the recognition of environmental sensitivities by workers’ compensation boards is presented in Table 5.

Table 5: Recognition of environmental sensitivities and possibly-related conditions on Workers’ Compensation Boards websites
 

Note: While various websites offer some information about environmental sensitivities, the information may not be always easily accessible.

Municipal Public Health

Many public health departments provide advice regarding smoking, scents, pesticides and idling of vehicles. This advice may lead to policies and bylaws within municipalities. The following are some examples.

In Ontario, local public health departments address smoking, scents, pesticides and vehicle idling. Special consideration may be given to people with environmental sensitivities in the event that pesticides are sprayed against mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. Ottawa Public Health instituted a voluntary registry so that people with environmental sensitivities will receive increased notice should the city consider fogging with malathion in response to West Nile virus. Ottawa also has a safe public housing project for people with environmental sensitivities. The Region of Peel is studying fragrances from laundry facilities.

Many Canadian cities,d including most capitals, have anti-idling bylaws or policies (e.g. for vehicle fleets), idling-free zones (e.g. around schools) or educational initiatives. These are for both energy conservation and cleaner air.

Halifax was the first major Canadian city to enact a pesticide bylaw. As well, municipal employees who became sensitive to chlorine in public swimming facilities have been accommodated with changes in place of work.

Almost 130 cities in Canada now restrict the use of pesticides on private property, in part to protect people with environmental sensitivities.63

Calgary Public Health has no-scent, latex and pesticides policies. A ban on smoking in public places is coming in 2007. Unlike most Canadian provinces, Alberta does not have provincial no-smoking legislation.

Summary

Since diagnostic criteria for chemical sensitivity have been accepted internationally and in Canada, the recognition of environmental sensitivities at all levels of government has been steadily increasing. Environmental sensitivities and some related conditions are also eligible for compensation by some Workers’ Compensation Boards, although there is marked inconsistency across the country. Public policy and regulations are advancing to protect people from tobacco smoke, pesticides, fragrances, vehicle exhaust and other chemicals in public places, and to minimize risks of exposures to pesticides for people with sensitivities.

B Awareness of environmental sensitivities by health care practitioners

a) Physicians’ organizations

The mandate of the Canadian Medical Association is “To serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care” (www.cma.ca). The medical associations at the national and provincial levels do not formally “recognize” diseases, although they do engage in limited advocacy such as a resolution calling for banning of “weed and feed” type products.64 A 1995 letter on behalf of the Ontario Medical Association to the Ontario Ministry of Education Special Education Advisory Council urged that “multiple sensitivities syndrome” be recognized and dealt with as a disability and that environmental improvements be made to accommodate children with this special need. As well, articles have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on environmental sensitivities.65-68

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) is a national, private, non-profit organization that oversees the medical education of specialists in Canada. It notes on its website, “In recognition of employees who experience allergic reactions, asthma or migraine headaches due to chemical sensitivities, the Royal College supports a scent-free environment and requests that employees refrain from using scented products such as perfumes, aftershaves, air-fresheners, etc., during working hours.”

The Environmental Health Committee of the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) is taking the lead within the College of Family Physicians of Canada on environmental health, as well as in the World Organization of Family Doctors (globalfamilydoctor.com). Not only are environmental sensitivities recognized, they are carrying out education on diagnosis and treatment, as well as many other environmental health initiatives.

The Canadian Society of Environmental Medicine is a national organization for education, advocacy and research, and supports health care workers treating environmental sensitivities.

An important voice for environmental health in Canada is the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (www.cape.ca). This organization is composed mostly of physicians, who bring their health expertise to environmental issues.

b) Medical schools and continuing medical education

Environmental sensitivities have not historically been included explicitly in medical school curricula. Connections between environment and health are typically addressed under courses such as “Individual and Population Health,” with a couple of hour-long lectures during the entire medical education. An “exposure history,” a crucial step in diagnosing environmental sensitivities,65,69 is covered only in the context of occupational health, rather than as a core concept.

Continuing Professional Development or Continuing Medical Education is required for fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as for members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Credits are earned for courses, conferences and seminars. Diverse courses are available through numerous organizations, and individuals choose which to take. The OCFP offers Continuing Medical Education regarding environmental sensitivities and taking of a comprehensive patient history.

Workshops have also been part of the Annual Scientific Assembly of the OCFP for the past four years, and been included in the annual “Family Medicine Forum” sponsored by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. As well, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and Health Canada helped fund an Environmental Health Peer Presenter program for physicians, whereby physicians from various regions were trained to give seminars on environmental health to other health care professionals close to home.

In 2006, an Environmental Health Scholar was designated by the OCFP in each medical school in Ontario, in part to incorporate environmental health into the undergraduate medical curriculum.

Environmental sciences are increasingly popular in university education, with courses offered through many departments such as geography, engineering or sciences; some of these courses link to health sciences.

Summary

Awareness and recognition of chronic health conditions evolves over time, and on several levels. Initial reporting by a few patients and physicians leads to awareness, research and formal agreement regarding diagnosis. Further research explores causes, mechanisms, diagnostic tests and treatment strategies, which are then formally put into practice.

International, national, provincial and municipal governments have recognized conditions related to environmental sensitivities. This has led to funding for clinical health care programs and facilities. Public and political awareness are particularly important for conditions such as environmental sensitivities, because recognition of environmental causes has diverse implications for many interests in society.

The medical community is increasingly acknowledging environmental sensitivities in medical education. Scent-free and least-toxic cleaning policies, and advocacy for smoking, vehicle idling and pesticides policies and laws are increasing.

IV Initiating factors, triggers and symptoms of environmental sensitivities, and their impacts in the workplace

A Agents initiating the condition of environmental sensitivities and triggering reactions

People with sensitivities have individual susceptibilities to various environmental factors. As seen in Table 6, the more common agents that trigger reactions in susceptible people include pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as solvents, perfumes, formaldehyde and other petrochemicals, vehicle exhaust, moulds, pollens, foods, animal danders and electromagnetic phenomena. These may arise from the workplace structure, furnishings, equipment, exterior surroundings or cleaning products, or from co-workers and clients. Other aspects of the environment, including electromagnetic radiation, currents and fields, lighting, humidity, heat, cold and noise may also exacerbate environmental sensitivities.

Once people are initially sensitized to low levels of environmental factors, they may experience reactions triggered by a broader range of exposures if the condition is not recognized and addressed. In this two-stage process, environmental sensitivities may develop gradually with chronic exposure to relatively low levels of chemicals as seen in “sick buildings,” or suddenly after a major exposure to an environmental disaster or a chemical spill.

Table 6: Typical agents that trigger reactions in susceptible individuals (and may contribute to initiation of environmental sensitivities)3,28,60,70,71
 

* urea-formaldehyde insulation has been banned in Canada

** formaldehyde-containing glues are banned in new products in many countries including Europe, Japan and China

B Symptoms

Symptoms of environmental sensitivities are unique to the individual. Some possible symptoms are summarized in Table 7.

Sensitivity reactions to chemicals may vary for acute or chronic exposures. A single, isolated low-level exposure (e.g. perfume on someone several seats away in the theatre or bus, that is not obviously harming the wearer) may cause significant symptoms such as headache, confusion, breathing difficulties or loss of balance in a person with environmental sensitivities. These symptoms may take minutes, hours or days to resolve. However, regular exposure to something to which one is sensitive may lead to habituation or “masking,” and chronic ill-health that may even be accepted as normal.3 Habituation is also the reason why research into sensitivities would benefit from an environmental medical unit with high quality air, water, food and surroundings, so that affected people attain a “baseline” unmasked level of health.72,73 A study found that people with environmental sensitivities do not adjust as quickly as healthy volunteers to research situations, so deficiencies in trial design may explain inconclusive studies in the scientific literature.72,74

Table 7: Environmental sensitivity symptoms/reactions 5,60,75,76
 

C Impacts of environmental sensitivities in the workplace

Almost everyone with environmental sensitivities has neurological symptoms. Two concerns are that neurological symptoms may not be recognized (may be “masked”) when exposures are chronic,3 and that cognitive impairment may not be reported in the workplace where consistent mental acuity, strength and/or coordination are important for both executing one’s job and advancement. Other symptoms of ill health may make continued employment difficult.

Many people with environmental sensitivities end up changing their work, becoming under-employed or unemployed. This may be driven by lack of accommodation, and health may deteriorate as people face ongoing triggers in the workplace.28,77,78

Improving indoor environmental quality will potentially benefit many more people than the individual identified with sensitivities. Workers are more productive and general symptoms of “sick building syndrome” may improve when ventilation is improved 79-82 or a pollution source is removed from offices.83,84 Children are healthier and learn better when indoor environmental quality is improved in schools.8,85-87

Summary

Sensitivities may be initiated by a range of environmental factors and once the condition is initiated, reactions may be triggered by a broadening array of incitants. Environmental sensitivities may affect every system in the body, so multiple symptoms are possible, with variation among individuals. Neurological symptoms are almost universal. Common incitants are summarized in Table 6 and symptoms are summarized in Table 7. The impact of environmental sensitivities on workers’ performance may range from mild (e.g. habituation to chronic exposures such that performance may be sub-optimal, although not “abnormal”) to severe impairment such that work is impossible. The health and ability to work for those with environmental sensitivities rests with the choices and actions of others, such as building managers, co-workers and clients.

V Origins of environmental sensitivities

The subject of environmental sensitivities is replete with controversies over the causes and mechanisms. This section examines debates over physical versus psychological causes, and whether sensitivities are allergies. Various proposed mechanisms and toxicological roots of sensitivities are also explored.

A The controversies

One debate is focused on whether the origins of environmental sensitivities are psychological or physical. This was addressed extensively by Thomson in the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Hypersensitivities,60 noting that patients see “an attempt by physicians to take refuge in a psychiatric label whenever it is impossible to identify a biological cause for their illness.” Regarding the polarized debate he noted, “Those who see the illness as simply a psychological manifestation can be said to be as inflexible as those who see it as strictly a biological disorder.” Indeed, treating a patient from the neck-up or the neck-down is not consistent with the comprehensive biopsychosocial model used in medicine. This model recognizes that the body, mind and environment (social and physical) are all connected and important in determining wellness.88

a) Physical or psychological origins

Although nasal biopsies of people with multiple chemical sensitivities have revealed tissue abnormalities and greater numbers of nerve fibres,89,90 and symptoms induced by chemicals have been shown to be accompanied by elevated nerve growth factor,91 there are no consistently informative and non-invasive diagnostic tests (e.g. blood or urine tests) for environmental sensitivities. Consequently doctors base their diagnosis on patient-reported symptoms and triggers of sensitivities. Self-reporting is standard for psychological symptoms, bringing some to the conclusion that sensitivities may be psychologically based.92 This has broad implications for treatment, workplace accommodations, compensation and liability.93,94

In 2003, authors who have written extensively on the psychological basis of sensitivities analysed and discussed the body of research regarding environmental sensitivities. They examined the physical and psychological theories according to the Hill Criteria (strength of evidence, consistency/replication, specificity, temporality, biological gradient, plausibility, coherence, experiment and analogy). According to their analysis, the physical basis hypothesis failed every criterion while the psychological hypothesis passed every criterion.95,96 To reach this conclusion, they made assumptions about unreported results of other researchers, and re-analysed research data such as responses of people with sensitivities to inhalation challenges, neurological testing and brain imaging. The conclusions were also based upon classical understandings of toxicology (the limitations of this paradigm led to the formation of the National Center for Toxicogenetics within the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - www.niehs.nih.gov/nct/concept.htm).

Although some researchers believe that environmental sensitivities may have strictly psychological origins, a 1994 review of psychological studies found methodological and logical problems in the then-current psychological research.97 Environmental sensitivity reactions to inhalation challenges may mimic panic disorder, which is classified as a psychiatric condition.98,99 However, it is difficult to separate physiological from psychological anxiety responses.72 Neuropsychological tests that yield abnormal results among patients with environmental sensitivities also yield abnormal results among people with chronic fatigue syndrome100 and exposure to neurotoxicants.101 Moreover, the only test that identified people with environmental sensitivities relative to healthy individuals, was one complex test of verbal memory.101,102 Another recent study concluded that symptoms of heavy metal and solvent exposure were psychosomatic.103 This conclusion was based upon a lack of correlation between claims of sensitivities and contaminant concentrations in workers’ urine. However, this relationship may not be evident because heavy metals and organic pollutants accumulate in fat, organs and bones, and individuals have variable metabolism and excretion.104,105 This means that urine concentrations are not necessarily representative of body burdens.

Recent research with better defined patient populations concluded that psychiatric symptoms are more likely to stem from, rather than to cause, symptoms of environmental sensitivities.106,107 Development of sensitivities usually pre-dates symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with sensitivities, with 1.4% of patients identifying problems before the onset of sensitivities and 38% reporting the development of depression, anxiety and other symptoms after sensitivities became apparent.12 Although emotional and behavioural problems, including depression, are more frequently found in people with sensitivities and fibromyalgia than in the general population,100 psychological symptoms cannot be accounted for by psychiatric illness alone.108-111 People dealing with a poorly recognized chronic illness that affects their brain, impairs their quality of life and earning potential, and has impacts on family and friends, would be under psychological distress. They could be expected to report anxiety and depression.29,60,112

Adding to the complexity are recent findings that environmental factors such as pesticides and moulds have been shown to be associated with symptoms such as depression and anxiety.113-116

Other research shows that psychological interventions are not entirely effective. For example, cognitive -behavioural therapy, used to desensitize one to the fear of sensitivity to substances, only partially reduced symptoms in a single case.117 Medication and psychological interventions may be used to treat phobia or panic disorder,118 but for individuals with environmental sensitivities, lasting benefits have been achieved only by avoiding incitants.28 In a survey of 917 people with multiple chemical sensitivities, tranquilizers and antidepressants were the least effective therapy and caused harm28 (possibly because of a genetically-determined inability to metabolize them16). In another study, psychological treatment of medically unexplained physical symptoms provided no additional benefit compared to care by a general practitioner.119

Physicians seeking the most efficient and effective treatments have found that when people with environmental sensitivities were placed in an uncontaminated environment in which their physical symptoms resolved, their psychological symptoms also resolved.120 Successfully alleviating symptoms of sensitivities (with safe housing, workplaces, food, water, etc.) is necessary before other psychosocial interventions may be helpful.121 In a large patient survey regarding treatments, avoidance of incitants was reported to be the most effective strategy, followed by meditation and prayer to address the psychological aspects of the condition.28

People may be genetically pre-disposed to sensitivities. As a result of genetic polymorphisms, some bodies have less effective enzymes for detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs. This is more prevalent in patients with multiple chemical sensitivity16-19,22,55,122 and in Gulf War veterans who became ill.20,21 Interestingly, these genes are also more common in children who developed leukemia123 (the very young are particularly susceptible because the immature liver has low enzyme levels19). In multiple chemical sensitivity patients, a higher prevalence of a gene that has been associated with a biochemical basis for panic disorder has been found.124

This review indicates that physical factors contribute to environmental sensitivities. There remain many unanswered questions regarding sensitivities and the interplay between biochemical, neurological and psychological processes.125 It is important for society to come to a common understanding, in order to offer the most efficient, effective care to people with environmental sensitivities.

b) Allergy/role of the immune system

Labelling of environmental sensitivities as “being allergic to everything” has also engendered controversy, and the role of the immune system is an area of ongoing research. People with environmental sensitivities often experience runny noses and reactive airways, with asthma-like symptoms, but this is not necessarily classic allergy.

The lay person may consider “allergy” to be equivalent to “adverse reaction,” but medically speaking, “allergy” refers to a specific type of reaction in the body that induces inflammation. Allergies involve an immune reaction wherein exposure to an allergen (e.g. pollen, animal dander, bee venom, peanut protein) stimulates the immune system to produce immunoglobulin E antibodies. Re-exposure may induce a range of inflammatory symptoms from rash, hives, red eyes or runny nose, to asthma or life-threatening anaphylaxis. However, immunoglobulin E antibodies are not present in reactions to very low levels of formaldehyde.126,127 Nevertheless, people with environmental sensitivities may also have conventional allergies and indeed exhibit more allergies than the general population, with considerable overlap between asthma and multiple chemical sensitivities.14,15

Although sensitivities are not classic allergic responses, the immune system may nevertheless be affected. Anti-neural autoantibodies (antibodies that attack one’s own nerves) may develop in response to mouldy environments.128 Hyper-reactivity induced by scents and chemicals is accompanied by elevated nerve growth factor,90 and exposure to electromagnetic fields may affect immune response.6

B Possible explanations

a) Chemical exposures

In recent history, Canadians have been exposed to a rapidly expanding number of new synthetic chemicals, with over 23,000 not assessed for health effects.e In the workplace or elsewhere, chemicals may enter the body by ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin. People with environmental sensitivities frequently identify chemical exposures, either acute or chronic, as initiating their condition or “tipping them over the brink.”3,30,74 This is quite plausible because many people with sensitivities may be genetically less able to metabolize chemicals.16-19,22,55,122

Healthy bodily functions depend upon chemical (e.g. hormonal) as well as electrical signals to keep all systems (e.g. circulatory, digestive, endocrine, respiratory and nervous systems) working harmoniously. Foreign chemicals can mimic signalling chemicals such as hormones (e.g. estrogen, thyroid hormones, testosterone), thereby sending the wrong messages or blocking their transmission. Chemicals may also inhibit or stimulate production of enzymes, disabling or skewing important biochemical pathways. Developmental neurotoxicity is becoming increasingly important in understanding the roles of chemicals in human development.39,129

Natural or synthetic chemicals may also affect biochemical pathways and development via “epigenetics,” whereby genes are marked to be “read” or “silenced.” These changes may be passed to successive generations.130,131

After the 2001 World Trade Center collapse in New York, firefighters and workers were exposed to a multitude of substances of varying toxicities. Many developed severe breathing difficulties, as well as environmental sensitivities and other symptoms identified in Table 7.132 In the 9/11 example, there is a concern that conditions may be ineffectively treated as post-traumatic stress, whereas symptoms were reported to diminish or resolve when a sauna detoxification regimen with anti-oxidant and essential fatty acid supplementation133 was used to enhance elimination of contaminants.

Common synthetic chemicals have been measured in many tissues, at all stages of life.53,65,134-139 Biomonitoring (measuring contaminants in the body, as is done by the US Centers for Disease Control104) is an emerging area of research into relationships between contaminant levels, exposure levels and health risks.140

Canadian workers have varying body burdens of heavy metal and organic pollutants, and different natural abilities to metabolize and excrete chemicals, putting them at a wide range of risks of developing sensitivities or other health effects. Chemical sensitivities may predispose people to increased sensitivity to other factors such as electromagnetic radiation, and vice-versa.6,141

b) Neural sensitization

The high prevalence of neurological symptoms in people with environmental sensitivities led to interest in “kindling” within the nervous system. Kindling is a phenomenon whereby repeated low level exposures to chemicals, or electromagnetic currents or fields eventually cause symptoms at levels previously tolerated.142-144 In this process, neurochemical, behavioural, endocrine and/or immunological responses are amplified.

The limbic system is identified as a target for kindling. This is a basic part of the brain, governing autonomic functions that maintain biological homeostasis. It is involved with the sense of smell, sleep, emotions and behaviour, as well as learning and short-term memory. The limbic system can become sensitized to stressors, and once sensitized will react even to very weak stimuli,143,145 eliciting symptoms as seen in environmental sensitivities. The limbic system of the brain is affected directly from the nose via the olfactory nerve, and by inhaled chemicals that bypass the blood-brain barrier.

c) Receptor sensitization

The chemical and electrical signals that govern body systems involve “receptors.” When a normal body chemical such as a neurotransmitter binds with them, the receptor sites initiate cascades of reactions. These sites may become over-sensitized and initiate unwanted conditions when “activated” by contaminants such as volatile organic solvents, formaldehyde or mycotoxin.146,147 For instance, vanilloid receptors (which respond to capsaicin in hot peppers) have increased activity in people with Heightened sensitivity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAa) receptors, as well as an abnormal cholinergic system,f are implicated in chemical sensitivities.148,149 GABA is involved in neural transmission, affecting motor function, vision and anxiety (suggesting again a physiological link to psychological symptoms).

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are in the limbic system, as well as in many other tissues. Activation of NMDA receptors results in elevated nitric oxide and peroxynitrite (an oxidizing agent), which are prominent in inflammation.

d) Inflammatory cycle

It has been proposed that increased levels of peroxynitrite contribute to neurological sensitization, as well as to a cycle of chronic inflammation as seen in a range of diseases including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple chemical sensitivity.147,150 Mitochondria (the part of the cell where cellular energy is regulated), cellular membranes, and an important enzyme system for detoxification (cytochrome-P450) are all harmed by the elevated levels, with widespread biological consequences such as neurological disruption, pain, fatigue and organ dysfunction. This model also explains the clinically observed efficacy of the nitric oxide scavenger, vitamin B12, and various combinations of antioxidants in treating these chronic illnesses.

The inflammatory cycle theory offers a basis for hypothesis-driven research and development of treatments. It complements the theory that kindling may explain sensitization, and addresses not only the preponderance of neurological symptoms in environmental sensitivities, but also the broad range of other symptoms.150

e) Overload

The “General Adaptation Syndrome” model underpins modern medicine, describing how the body responds to “stressors” (e.g. chemical agents, vigorous exercise, emotional loss). If the stress does not kill, initially there is a “flight/fight” response, then a period of adaptation and then resistance to the stressor. Eventually, if the stress continues for long enough, or there is a sudden surge of stress, adaptive mechanisms are exhausted. This brings generalized breakdown of body systems and non-specific illness.151 Recognition of these universal bodily reactions to stressors of all types, which are mediated via the pituitary/hypothalamus/adrenal axis, spawned the science of psychoneuroendocrine immunology.152-154

Ashford and Miller described this scenario as “Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance” (TILT), a disease paradigm affecting a broad cross-section of society, including veterans of war, workers in many professions and trades, and children in poorly ventilated or maintained schools.3,73 This toxic overload is treated by reducing the number of stressors, including chemicals and allergens in the body, the surroundings, food and water, as well as electromagnetic fields, currents and radiation. Reduction of emotional stressors may also help.155

Summary

The balance of scientific evidence and experience indicates that environmental sensitivities generally arise from physiological causes, although there are many neurological and psychological consequences. Physiological responses to environmental factors vary greatly among individuals, and individuals’ experiences must play an important role in determining treatments. Once environmental factors initiating and triggering environmental sensitivities are addressed with safe housing, workplaces, food and water, then psychosocial interventions may assist people. The comprehensive biopsychosocial model of medicine, treating the body, mind and environment, is therefore the most appropriate and effective framework for treating environmental sensitivities.125 The most practical approach, which is consistent with the practice of modern medicine, is to minimize potentially harmful exposures in the workplace for the health of all workers. Once a person has exhibited sensitivities they will always be susceptible to recurrence. Even though they may well regain their health and productivity, this predisposition to environmental sensitivities is life-long.

VI Diagnosis and treatment of sensitivities

People with environmental sensitivities often consult several medical practitioners before their condition is recognized. When first seen, patients may be experiencing many symptoms, which are due to constant or frequently repeated exposure to environmental conditions that cannot be tolerated.

Physicians take a systematic approach to establishing connections between patients’ symptoms and their environment, because there is no single or definitive diagnostic test for environmental sensitivities. Investigation requires a complete assessment of the patient’s chronological health and exposure histories,65,69 a thorough physical examination and routine tests. Other possible conditions are ruled out, or are treated so that their contributions to ill health are minimized. Then, the consensus diagnostic criteria for environmental sensitivities,4 strengthened by discriminating symptoms,5 may be used to “rule in” the condition of environmental sensitivities, using a diagnostic checklist for physicians.65,156

The theory that an illness was caused by toxins might be strengthened if elevated levels are found upon chemical analysis of the blood, urine, hair or tissue. However, toxins are ubiquitous in our bodies, so information must be considered in the context of exposure history and symptoms. Conversely, not detecting a toxic chemical in the blood or urine is not evidence that it did not precipitate illness. The chemical may have been metabolized and excreted, or it may have been sequestered in fat, organs or bone and therefore be at lower levels in the blood or urine by the time they are sampled. Nevertheless, monitoring levels of toxic chemicals and biomarkers such as enzymes may play an important role in following patient progress. Establishing standard monitoring is necessary for other research regarding environmental sensitivities and for studies of methods to reduce body burdens (e.g. heat, exercise and medications such as chelating agents that will accelerate excretiong).132,133,157 Lack of availability and access to analytical expertise and services, as well as lack of funds to pay for tests, may limit the ability to identify and monitor biomarkers and toxin levels.

Once a diagnosis of environmental sensitivities has been established, there are a variety of strategies for treating and living with the condition.158,159 Avoidance of symptom triggers and removal of toxic chemicals stored in the body are key to treating environmental sensitivities. Safe housing, school or workplace, and food and water are top priorities. Drinking purified or spring water may lower exposure to water-based contaminants.160 Home and workplace cleanups/renovations, and possibly air filtration both at home and at work, may be necessary.

Food sensitivities are common in people with environmental sensitivities and may be managed with an elimination or rotation diet. One example of food intolerance that is commonly missed is celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten in many grains. It is assessed annually up to the age of 6 in Italy, but in Canada testing is not routine and may be preceded by months or years of symptoms. The delay between onset of symptoms (some of which are vague and may be missed by physicians) and diagnosis with a simple test leads to deterioration of health and well-being, and serious possible consequences including neurological problems and diabetes.161-164 As with the broader range of environmental sensitivities, celiac disease is chronic; the related malabsorption and “leaky gut” may lead to diverse toxicities; it is under-diagnosed; and the most effective and important treatment is gluten avoidance.

Once exposure to incitants is eliminated, helpful interventions include:

• treating gastrointestinal infections which, if untreated, can lead to absorption of internal toxins and large-molecule food antigens, or conversely, may lead to poor absorption of nutrients;

• regimens to enhance detoxification and elimination such as sauna and exercise therapy;

• reduction of heavy metal contamination using oral and intravenous chelation for toxic metals (shown to be safe to treat lead in children;165 it is currently in clinical trials for children with autism157,166);

• oral and intravenous vitamins;

• securing hormonal homeostasis, given that many of the toxins observed are endocrine disruptors;

• correcting biochemical irregularities;

• desensitization for foods and/or inhalants;

• psychological, social and spiritual support;

• occupational accommodation; and

• financial support for safe workplaces, housing, food and water.

Summary

Diagnosis of people with environmental sensitivities involves systematically identifying and treating conditions contributing to ill health, then determining if remaining symptom patterns meet the diagnostic criteria. Early recognition, avoidance of symptom-triggering agents, environmental control, treatments that may reduce residual toxins and recovery of normal biological processes are key to regaining health for people with sensitivities. Without safe food, water, shelter and workplaces, people with environmental sensitivities may become severely debilitated and unemployed.12,60,78

VII Building codes, regulations and guidelines

Canadians spend much of their time indoors, and environmental sensitivities generally stem from aspects of the indoor environment. Construction, furnishing and maintenance of the indoor environment is therefore critical to addressing environmental sensitivities.

Described in this section are governmental initiatives addressing construction as it affects people with environmental sensitivities. Guidelines and the scientific background regarding indoor environmental quality are also described, and the implications of construction and renovation for people with environmental sensitivities are explored. Scents, moulds and pest control are discussed. Pollution prevention is preferable, but will not be sufficient indoors, so ventilation is important to ensure indoor air quality. Finally, electromagnetic phenomena and sensitivities are discussed.

A Building codes

Building codes, the rule-books for construction of indoor environments, are the first place to look for standards that may address environmental sensitivities.

a) International initiatives

The need for improved laws, codes and initiatives affecting people with environmental sensitivities is being recognized and acted upon at the international level.

Table 8: International initiatives addressing environmental sensitivities in building
 

b) Canadian federal initiatives

Like the international community, various Canadian codes, regulations and guidelines recognize some form of environmental sensitivity. At the national level, these codes are not enforceable. They are, however, part of an overall framework that increasingly addresses the impact of environmental sensitivities on daily lives.

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, with expertise from industry, the regulatory community and general interest groups, develops and updates six model national codes for buildings: the Model National Building Code of Canada, the Model National Energy Codes for houses and buildings, as well as model codes for fire, farm buildings and plumbing. Codes for electrical, gas and oil installations are developed by the Canadian Standards Association.170 Model national codes provide guidance (much as the medical information published at the national level by the CIHI is advisory). They provide a minimum standard for structures and ventilation, and address fire and occupant safety, in the design and construction of buildings.170

Table 9: Canadian national initiatives addressing environmental sensitivities in building
 

c) Provincial initiatives

Provincial building codes must adopt the model National Building Code of Canada under provincial legislation, and may include other standards to reflect location conditions and practices. The provincial codes are enforced by building codes officers, as provinces may delegate authority to lower tiers of government.170

The Ontario Association of Architects has published guidelines addressing mould in construction and water penetration. They acknowledge that additional measures may be necessary to protect people with sensitivities.173

d) Municipal measures and roles

Municipalities can go beyond provincial codes in regulating or implementing more stringent building or use requirements (e.g. restrictions on building materials and methods of construction, or the discharge of perfumes and fabric softeners in air from clothes dryers). Institutions such as governments, schools or universities may follow guidelines for environmental design or institute specific provisions for their own buildings (e.g. University of Calgary’s no-carpet guidelinen or Lakehead University’s wireless-free policyo).

Summary

Canadian statutes do not prescribe standards that are protective for people with environmental sensitivities. Building codes focus on topics such as strength of structures, but they are silent on many issues impacting indoor environmental quality such as building materials or commissioning of the structure (de-gassing before being occupied). Insofar as building codes and guidelines are perceived to be sufficiently protective of health and safety, they may constitute barriers to stricter guidelines, and to research and development of safer materials and methods.

B Indoor environmental quality

Indoor environmental quality covers many concerns, including heat, light, air quality, noise and electromagnetic phenomena. A large scientific effort has been directed towards air quality.

Internationally, there are disparate air quality guidelines for a variety of chemicals that may be found in indoor air. The World Health Organization recently published guidelines that apply to Europe,174 but Canada does not have its own benchmarks for many of these same chemicals.175 Canadian employers have a duty under provincial occupational health and safety acts to take reasonable precautions to protect workers from substandard environmental quality, including air contaminants exceeding workplace guidelines. Guidelines also exist for residential buildings, but these are not enforceable by law. Workplace standards and guidelines are typically not stringent, to avoid being considered too costly or impractical in industrial occupancies.

The following is an overview of some concerns regarding indoor air quality. The origin of possible contaminants, and strategies to avoid or remediate them are discussed, with particular focus on moulds, scents, pest control and electromagnetic phenomena.

a) Air quality

Indoor air quality is affected by many potential contaminants:

• gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (e.g. myriad chemicals from carpets, furniture, building materials and paints, or gases given off by microbes);

• particles that may include smoke, heavy metals and other chemicals, pollen, skin flakes, bacteria, and mould particles and spores.

Excessive CO2 impairs well-being and is generally controlled with the addition of fresh air. Measuring CO2 is useful to gauge the adequacy of ventilation in a fully occupied building, but it does not reflect the many other air contaminants arising from the building and contents. Generally, facilities are not fully utilized around the clock, so 24-hour average CO2 levels will underestimate actual exposures and are not helpful.176 Health and well-being are related to the actual concentration of CO2, so real-time continuous monitoring over several days is necessary to determine peak concentrations. In office buildings without other sources of carbon dioxide (e.g. combustion appliances or air intakes close to sources of exhaust), CO2 measurement may also be a surrogate for occupant-generated pollutants. However, CO2 measurements cannot be usefully compared amongst buildings with different activities (e.g. cooking or combustion), concentrations of people, or practices with respect to scents or smoking.177

VOCs originate from a multitude of sources, including the built environment (materials used in construction, furnishings and equipment), scents from cleaning and personal care products, odours from food preparation and incoming air. Ninety chemicals have been identified as priority substances amongst approximately 2,300 chemicals found in indoor air.175,176,178 Canada does not have guidelines for many of them, but the issue is slated to be addressed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.179

Dust can contain asbestos, pesticides, organisms such as fungi and bacteria, heavy metals (e.g. lead), fragments of material from plastic products (including plasticizers, flame retardants and stain repellents), or animal products (e.g. cat dander, dust mites, etc.). These may cause infections, provoke allergies or sensitivities, or have toxic effects.

Air quality guidelines are based upon toxicity testing in laboratory animals, and some workplace sampling to determine human exposures. This system has several weaknesses, which explains why guidelines may not be sufficiently protective to ensure no adverse health effects for people with environmental sensitivities:

• Rats have detoxification enzymes that do not exist in people, so toxicity conclusions may not apply to humans;180

• Neurotoxicity (noted with the development of environmental sensitivities), particularly developmental neurotoxicity that might anticipate problems such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, may not be studied;129

• Research on workers is skewed by the “healthy worker effect.” In other words, workers who cannot tolerate chemicals will find other work. Thus, the self-selected group of employees would not include people with a predisposition to chemical sensitivities. Furthermore, avoiding obvious toxicities in healthy adults will not translate into protection for the unborn; and

• Guidelines address toxicity of a single chemical at a time, whereas the workplace may contain many chemicals and biological agents from work processes, carpets and furniture, people wearing perfumes, moulds, contaminants from equipment such as copiers, etc. Combined and synergistic toxicities are not addressed under this system.

Building materials and finishing

The first priority in optimizing indoor air quality is to minimize the pollutants added to indoor air from the building and its contents. Several authorities, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (www.cmhc.ca), the National Research Council of Canada (www.irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca) and the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)181 formally recognize this imperative.

A large number of chemicals in plastics, glues, paints, carpets, etc. may impair health, and formaldehyde is a particularly prevalent contaminant.182,183 Tolerated products include materials such as natural fabrics, wallboard without pesticide additives, woods (this has to be assessed individually), metal, ceramic tiles and cement products (concrete, grout, etc.) without toxic additives.

Inexpensive materials and furnishings may be associated with increased toxicities (e.g. formaldehyde-containing composite wood products). More durable materials tend to be better tolerated, so over the longer term, both costs and maintenance may be reduced and indoor air quality improved.

There is no Canadian assessment of building materials specifically focused on low toxicity for people with environmental sensitivities. However, CMHC has many publications including “Building Materials for the Environmentally Hypersensitive” and “Research House for the Environmentally Hypersensitive.” The Ecologo (www.environmentalchoice.com) designates environmentally preferable choices for over 300 types of products. Health is not the primary focus of this initiative (for instance, products might include scents), and the program does not recognize that sometimes the environmentally preferable action would be not to produce or purchase certain types of products (e.g. air “fresheners”).

Innovative interiors can be both aesthetically pleasing and good choices for the environmentally sensitive. However, every detail must be considered. For instance, in the case of cast concrete flooring in a housing project for people with sensitivities, the oil used to release the concrete from the forms was replaced with an alternative unscented lotion tolerated by individuals with sensitivities.

“Commissioning” involves a period of increased heating and ventilation to exhaust fumes from paints, wallboard filler, flooring and equipment. It is used to eliminate volatile materials to the greatest extent possible and should take place before spaces are occupied.184

Furnishings and Equipment

Furnishings and equipment contribute significantly to VOCs in indoor air, and may off-gas for extended periods of time.185,186 Equipment such as photocopiers, fax machines, laser printers and laminators also compromise the air quality in buildings as they emit dozens of air contaminants including VOCs, ozone and carbon black. Minimizing the toxic contaminants such as flame-retardants, plasticizers, heavy metals and solvents in electronics makes them both safer and easier to recycle.187 Specifications for electronics should indicate that higher frequencies not be introduced into the electrical wiring.8

Scents

After tobacco smoke, perfumes are one of the most noticeable air contaminants in public places and the workplace, and they are reported to cause difficulties for most people with environmental sensitivities.29,60,188 Fragrances are in personal care products, laundry and cleaning products, and can be in many other products such as tissues, wipes and other paper products. The ingredients may include any of approximately 4,000 plant or animal extracts or synthetic chemicals, with maybe 100 ingredients in a given fragrance.189 Fragrances now contain more synthetic chemicals, and are stronger and more persistent. Some ingredients are respiratory irritants, asthma triggers and neurological toxins. Some are listed as potentially causing cancer and birth defects.188-191 The ingredients are proprietary, and are not assessed for toxicity. Neither are they listed on labels, in the Workplace Health Information Management System (WHIMS), on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or under labelling requirements for personal care products.

“Scent-free” means that additional fragrance was not added to the product, but some cleaning products contain ingredients smelling of citrus or pine that can trigger sensitivity reactions and/or asthma. “Scent-free” products such as fabric softeners may contain neurologically active “masking agents,” added to cover the unpleasant odour of the active ingredient or contaminants. People with environmental sensitivities may also react to the “softener” ingredients themselves, which coat clothes, evaporate slowly and contaminate dust.

A wide range of organizations promote no-scent workplace policies,p including hospitals,q universitiesr and medical organizations, Health Canada and the Department of Justice, unions such as PSAC192 and CUPE, school boards, large facilities (e.g. the National Arts Centre) and the Lung Association.s

Scent-free policies may help stem the influx of people into the group of those who are extremely sensitive to chemicals. Adherence to such a policy is necessary for people with sensitivities because scents can linger for several washings of clothes and hair.

b) Microbes - moulds and bacteria

Moulds are increasingly recognized as serious contaminants in buildings, contributing to “sick buildings” and to environmental sensitivities.193-195 Moulds may also cause neurological and psychological disorders including depression.114,116 Moulds have other diverse effects on health, and more research is needed into their toxic effects.196 Spores and mycotoxins (toxic chemicals produced by moulds) cause inflammatory responses 197 and may lead to asthma, allergies and environmental sensitivities.194 Moulds may result in damage to the nervous system as they stimulate neural auto-antibodies, peripheral neuropathy, and neurophysiologic abnormalities.128 Remediation of mould problems will improve workers health, attendance and well-being.34,86,198-203 Those with environmental sensitivities should be relocated during mould remediation work.172

Greater awareness of bacteria in ventilation systems arose after Legionnaire’s Disease sickened 180 and killed 29 at a Philadelphia conference in 1976.204 Apart from their pathogenic potential, bacteria are a significant source of multiple adverse health effects and may be monitored along with moulds in indoor air.205

Moisture control is key to controlling microbes.172,173 Design considerations for modern mould-free interior spaces include architectural details, materials selection, and moisture control with ventilation.172,206 Information is available from the CMHC Healthy Home resource page,t from the Canadian Construction Association 172 and the Ontario Association of Architects.173 Following the hurricanes of 2005, the US Centers for Disease Control published a review concerning moulds and a summary of clean-up procedures regarding mould in buildings.207

Chlorine bleach is sometimes recommended to clean up residual mould.207 However, vapours may cause difficulties for people with allergies or environmental sensitivities,208-212 and this is not recommended as a routine practice by the US Environmental Protection Agency.213 A wire brush and trisodium phosphate or peroxide bleach (hydrogen peroxide) are effective. Another alternative approach that is less studied is to use beneficial organisms to eradicate moulds before final cleaning and renovations, and possibly to head off re-infestation.214 Although ultra-violet (UV) light technology is proven to disinfect water, it is not effective for moulds in air.u

c) Ventilation

Indoor air quality cannot be maintained without ventilation. Workplace materials and equipment produce various emissions; inhabitants emit carbon dioxide; and individuals and food give off odours. Ventilation is necessary to address these emissions, but it cannot supplant the overriding priority to minimize indoor air pollution arising from structures, fixtures, furnishings and equipment.

It is generally preferable to have natural ventilation with windows that open, but this is neither practical in inclement weather nor available in modern commercial buildings. Thus when air contaminants are generated from cooking, bathroom activities or photocopiers, a mechanical exhaust fan is the only effective method for removing the fumes. Furthermore, outside air will only enter a building if there is an air pressure difference between inside and outside, such as wind or “stack effect” (otherwise known as “chimney effect”). Therefore the design, operation and maintenance of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are critically important.215 Standards set in North America by ASHRAE216 do not guarantee optimum health. Improvements in well-being have been observed when the ASHRAE standard for ventilation was exceeded,76,79,83,217,218 as recognized in an ASHRAE position paper.181

Ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems are required to minimize condensation and collection of water (except in properly designed condensers for dehumidification). Maintenance of these systems is extremely important to prevent accumulation of dust and water, or growth of microbes.172

Renovations can lead to compromised HVAC performance, if proper attention is not paid to vent connections and airflow through the new layout (newly created walls and doors, and arrangement of furnishings). Vents may also be blocked with equipment, or by employees who perceive a draught. As well, ventilation systems designed and installed at times when there were lower ventilation requirements may require attention in order to improve indoor air quality.

Indoor levels of pollution generally exceed outdoor levels, so outdoor air is usually relied upon for ventilation to control indoor pollutants. During cool weather moisture is also controlled with drier outdoor air. External sources of air contaminants include vehicle emissions (including from parking garages), pesticides, wood smoke and exhaust from adjacent buildings.

Air filtration

High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are effective at removing dust and aerosols from ambient air, and may improve the health of people with allergies, asthma and environmental sensitivities.219 Unfortunately there are no regulations to standardize what can be labelled as a HEPA filter. Activated carbon and other media such as potassium permanganate filters effectively remove many but not all volatile organic compounds.

Filtration of intake air and within air handling may improve air quality. However, filters that are not maintained become a contaminant source, particularly during humid weather when microbes grow more readily.219-221

When supplied to many workers, multiple air filters can result in improved air quality and health parameters.82 During consultations, personal air filters within closed offices were identified as a common accommodation for office workers with environmental sensitivities in the UK.v This is not as desirable as ensuring higher quality air for all workers and does not improve access to the rest of the premises and facilities such as washrooms; however, personal air filters are certainly worthy of consideration as an accommodation, along with other actions.

d) Pest control

Pesticides are frequently implicated in initiation and triggering of sensitivities.3,30 Low activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which is inhibited by common insecticides, is linked to neurological dysfunction and immune suppression.222 The Ontario College of Family Physicians has recommended that people take all possible steps to minimize exposure to pesticides,223 and Canada’s pesticide assessment system was criticized in light of the re-evaluation of the herbicide 2,4-D.53

Fortunately, modern pest control does not require the use of most toxic chemicals. For instance, the experience in Ottawa hospitals is that aggressive, preventive maintenance and sanitation, non-toxic electronic insect monitoring and control, as well as traps with pheromones or baits have supplanted the 

spraying of toxic chemicals in food handling areas. Eliminating the conditions necessary for a pest to live and propagate (e.g. moisture and rotting wood), low-tech solutions (e.g. traps), and judicious and very limited use of least-toxic products that are approved for organic agriculture (e.g. borax or diatomaceous earth) have been sufficient. The most toxic chemicals such as organophosphate and carbamate insecticides are simply never used.w

The Pesticides Code in Quebec prohibits the use of common toxic pesticides on Quebec greenspaces, and pesticide bylaws are currently in various stages of implementation in over 130 cities, towns and villages across Canada.63 Many institutions, including hospitals and school boards, have also resolved not to use pesticides for landscaping. Scientific application of sound agronomic/horticultural principles results in healthy plants that resist diseases and insects, eliminating the need for pesticides.x

C Electromagnetic radiation and fields

“Electromagnetic radiation” covers a broad range of frequencies (over 20 orders of magnitude), from low frequencies in electricity supplies, radiowaves and microwaves, infrared and visible light, to x-rays and cosmic rays.224 Our limited understanding of the biological effects of the vast majority of frequencies gives reason for concern.225-230 Although there is still debate in this regard,231-233 tinnitus, brain tumours and acoustic neuroma are associated with cell phones and mobile phones.234-237

Communications and radar antennae expose those who live or work near these installations to their emissions. The radiation travels through buildings, and can also be conducted along electrical wires or metal plumbing. Wireless communications create levels within buildings that are orders of magnitude higher than natural background levels.238

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges the condition of electromagnetic sensitivity, and published a 2006 research agenda for radio-frequency fields.239 The WHO recommends that people reporting sensitivities receive a comprehensive health evaluation. It states: “Some studies suggest that certain physiological responses of EHS individuals tend to be outside the normal range. In particular, hyperactivity in the central nervous system and imbalance in the autonomic nervous system need to be followed up in clinical investigations and the results for the individuals taken as input for possible treatment.” Studies of individuals with sensitivities ought to consider sufficient acclimatization of subjects as recommended by Joffres for chemical sensitivities,72 as well as recognition of individuals’ wavelength-specific sensitivities. Reduction of electromagnetic radiation may ameliorate symptoms in people with chronic fatigue.240

It is worth noting that off-gassing of electrical equipment may also contribute to sensitivities.84 Different sorts of technology (e.g. various medical equipment, analogue or digital telephones; flat screen monitors and laptop computers or larger older monitors) may vary significantly in strength, frequency and pattern of electromagnetic fields.238

a) Lighting

Visible light is a narrow range of electromagnetic radiation. Light affects hormone levels, including cortisol and melatonin,241-244 which affects the ability to sleep, among other things. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), wherein some people are increasingly depressed and fatigued during the winter months, may be alleviated with increased exposure to certain wavelengths of light in the blue end of the spectrum.245 People with environmental sensitivities may be unusually sensitive to light, reacting positively or negatively. Natural or full spectrum, non-flickering light is often best, but individuals ought to be consulted since they may be adversely affected by bright light.

Fluorescent lighting, which is increasingly common and is promoted to save electrical energy, may cause increased radiofrequencies in the electrical supply and harm people with electromagnetic sensitivities. The flickering may also exacerbate sensitivities.246

b) Electromagnetic radiation arising from the use of electricity

There are four phenomena that emerge from the use of electricity: ground currents; “electromagnetic smog” from communications equipment; magnetic fields from power lines and specialized equipment; and radiofrequencies on power lines or so-called “dirty electricity.”

Ground currents

Ground current or “stray current” is electricity that is not contained in wiring; passing through the ground, building structures, plumbing, etc. Electrical current flows along the path of least resistance (e.g. through metal pipes or rods rather than through wood or concrete), with diverse health effects including behavioural, cardiovascular and reproductive problems (sterility and birth defects).247-249

On October 19, 2006, the Ground Current Pollution Act unanimously passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature. The Bill defines “objectionable current,”y establishes a time frame for utility companies to respond to and remedy complaints, and provides for the development and implementation of a plan to eliminate current that goes through the ground instead of through the neutral wire.

Low frequency electromagnetic fields

Extremely low frequency fields from high-voltage electrical supply lines have been associated with genetic damage250 and leukemia in children and may be considered an occupational carcinogen.251

One clear example of health effects from magnetic fields involved workers on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. When electrical current flows, a magnetic field is created (measured in Gauss), and when conductors (including biological tissues) are moved within a magnetic field, electrical currents are induced. Workers experienced headaches and cognitive impairment at a greater rate and severity with increasing exposure time and magnetic field strength.252 Workers with quicker movements, which would have caused greater induced currents, suffered greater health effects.

Telecommunications

The Royal Society of Canada reviewed the issue of health effects of radio-frequency transmissions for Health Canada in 1999, with updates in 2001 and 2004.56 The latest report summarizes and is consistent with positions taken by many other authorities in Britain, Europe and the USA (e.g. California). Regulations for telecommunications are based upon avoiding heating of tissue as a result of exposure to electromagnetic radiation. However, other biological phenomena are both plausible and observed at much lower exposure levels.7 The Royal Society concluded that even if the evidence is not clear that adverse health effects from lower exposures to radiofrequencies exist, there is a need for further research.55,56 There is growing evidence of cancers (particularly acoustic neuroma) associated with the use of mobile telephones.235,237,253,254 Given the seriousness of the adverse effects and the availability of alternative technologies, a precautionary approach is warranted.255

In 2006, based upon a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, the International Firefighters took the position that transmission facilities should not be located at fire stations.256 The growing plethora of wireless communication devices such as Internet, WiFi, cell phones, satellite radio, microwave transmissions, TV broadcasts, etc. are exposing the populace to more and stronger electromagnetic frequencies. Shielding may block electromagnetic radiation (but not magnetic fields). Buildings, geography, weather and immediate surroundings affect exposure from telecommunications by reflecting or focusing radiation, thereby creating elevated local levels. Measurements in Canadian cities are many times higher than the regulated levels.z Canadian regulations do not require labelling of emissions from communications devices. Use of alternative technologies (wire or fibre data transmission) is the most straightforward, feasible and effective measure to accommodate workers with electromagnetic sensitivities.

Radiofrequencies on power lines

Some emerging research regarding electromagnetic sensitivities focuses on the radio-frequency “noise” on power lines. This arises from problems in the wiring and from “chopping” of the 60-cycle signal in modern power-efficient and sophisticated electronics. Remediation of wiring and addition of low-cost tuned circuits to electrical equipment are two steps to address this problem. As a “band-aid,” Graham-Stetzer filters can be plugged into outlets to remove these high frequencies from the power lines. Using these filters to create an electromagnetically “cleaner” environment, improvements are reported for several health outcomes, including multiple sclerosis, behavioural problems and asthma in children in schools, and diabetes.8

Canadian standards for electrical equipment do not require testing for or limits on “dirty power.” The CSA requires most products to be assessed only for shock and fire hazard. Electromagnetic compatibility testing is required for ballasts on fluorescent lights and medical equipment and can be carried out at the request of manufacturers.

There is a lack of consensus in research regarding the health effects of electromagnetic phenomena. This may be due to methodological limitations including unmeasured and uncontrolled parameters such as the quality of the electrical signal, radiofrequencies, locally elevated exposure levels and ground currents.

Summary

One of the most effective and economical strategies for achieving healthy indoor spaces and good air quality is to minimize potential pollutants during construction and renovation. This includes the use of low-maintenance surfaces that do not off-gas, design and construction that minimizes dampness and moulds, and an air intake system that avoids ground-level air. Energy conservation concerns create pressure to decrease ventilation in sealed buildings, reinforcing the need to use materials, finishings and furnishings with low toxic and volatile inputs and emissions. Least-toxic construction, maintenance and pest control, and infrastructure that minimizes exposure to electromagnetic phenomena all require attention to detail and might entail minimal additional costs. Minimizing on-going sources of environmental factors that initiate and trigger environmental sensitivities such as perfumes, dusts and vehicle exhaust require education and policies, and appropriate maintenance practices.

VIII Accommodating and preventing environmental sensitivities

There is a growing recognition of the need for action to prevent and accommodate environmental sensitivities. Poor indoor environmental quality can affect other workers and reduce productivity; it also puts them at risk of developing environmental sensitivities. This section discusses additional details for consideration within the workplace, and some accommodation guidelines that are presently available. Costs and benefits of healthier workspaces are also addressed.

A Environmental sensitivities and the workplace

a) Organization of the work space

Employees must be able to access their workspace, the “tools for the job” such as office equipment, and amenities such as washrooms. Accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities should include good air quality, building, furnishings and materials standards, and maintenance practices in entranceways, hallways, elevators and stairways, washrooms and in the workspace. Areas with equipment that give off emissions (e.g. photocopiers, printers and faxes) should be separately ventilated. Outdoor clothing can be kept in closed closets with an exhaust. A meeting room can be designated along the lines of California’s “cleaner air room.” Wireless-free zones may improve both worker health and security of communications.

A 2006 report outlined that Canada allows the use of 60 pesticides that are banned elsewhere in agriculture, and has higher allowable residues and poorer monitoring of pesticides in food than many other nations.257 In the workplace attention could be paid to listing ingredients in cafeteria food. Filtered water is also important for people with environmental sensitivities.

b) Energy costs vs. ventilation

As the price of energy for heating and cooling rises, building owners and managers will feel increasingly pressured to reduce ventilation when buildings are not in use. Heat-recovery equipment may allow ventilation to be continued while constraining costs.258

Shutting down air exchange overnight and during weekends or holidays will lead to VOC build-up. This possibility reinforces the need to minimize off-gassing materials in the indoor environment. Filtration is a partial substitute for fresh-air makeup during those periods when buildings are not occupied, as long as there is no source of pollution such as combustion, which could lead to carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide accumulation.

Intermittent VOC build-up is undesirable, because the VOCs are absorbed by surfaces such as furniture and fabrics. Although air can be rapidly flushed, the absorbed VOCs give off more slowly, contributing to poorer air quality over an extended period of time.

c) Buildings’ surroundings

The workplace is no more isolated from its surroundings than are the workers from their environment. Landscaping, scents from neighbours’ laundry facilities and other outdoor air pollutants may all affect access to premises, as well as the quality of indoor air through ventilation.

Typically air intakes for buildings are located close to the ground because the furnace is in the basement. Debris, dust, soil moulds, and snow are drawn inside from these low lying air intake grills. Air intakes should not be close to sources of pollution such as loading docks and should be up high to avoid ground level contaminants.

Vehicle exhaust is particularly problematic. In October 2005, the Minister of Education for New Brunswick announced a province-wide idling ban for all school buses, the first provincial initiative of its kind in Canada, to protect health and save fuel.aa “Idling gets you nowhere” signs are gaining prominence in some jurisdictions, and no-idling policies are being instituted outside of entrances and in the vicinity of air intakes.

Proximity to high-voltage power lines and electrical transformers should be avoided, and electrical fuse or breaker panels should be located at a distance from workspaces. Power supplies / electrical wiring should be designed and maintained so that circuits are self-contained and balanced, and electricity is maintained in the wires. Minimizing exposure to radio-frequency radiation should be considered.

d) Air quality inside vehicles

Drivers of trucks and buses are regularly exposed to fuel and exhaust fumes, potentially putting them at risk of developing sensitivities. There is no requirement for school buses and delivery trucks to keep their engines idling, but some ambulances may be required to do so. The exhaust fumes can be extremely harmful to people with environmental sensitivities, putting them at greater risks during a health emergency. Avoiding exposure to exhaust could improve the prognosis for many people, particularly those with sensitivities.

Poor air quality in public transit also limits the mobility of people with environmental sensitivities, who are over-represented in the lower socio-economic groups.10 Masks with activated carbon may be used by some who have enough strength and sufficiently competent airways, to allow access to places with poor air quality such as public transit. However, these charcoal filters are costly, have limited effectiveness and life-span, and must be changed regularly (perhaps weekly). Anti-idling policies are very helpful, and alternative and highly fuel-efficient technologies such as hybrid vehicles should be considered.

B Accommodation resources

a) Publications related to the workplace

Four publications specifically addressing accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities in the workplace are:

• “Accommodating Employees with Environmental Sensitivities: A Guide to the Workplace” and “Accommodating Employees with Environmental Sensitivities: A Guide for Building Managers” by Leslirae Rotor, Elizabeth Hare and Debra Sine, posted at http://www.harepublishing.com

• “Understanding & Accommodating People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in Independent Living” by Pamela Reed Gibson, Ph.D. James Madison University, available from http://www.ilru.org/html/publications/bookshelf/MCS.html.141

• “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity at Work” (1997) is a guide by the Public Service Alliance of Canada for PSAC Members. It addresses recognition and tolerance issues, as well as details regarding accommodations. A scent-free guide, published in 1998, builds upon this guide.192

• “Environmental Hypersensitivity in the Workplace” (1994) by Bruce Small and Associates discusses the phenomenon of hypersensitivity and includes detailed lists of considerations and accommodations for people with chemical, biological and electromagnetic sensitivities.

The federal Department of Justice published “Policy on Accommodating Differences in the Workplace” (June 2001). This is a more general document that discusses the positive impacts of accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities.

The Canadian Society of Environmental Medicine published the two-volume guide “Environmental Health in Hospital (2001)” for hospital staff. It addresses pollution prevention and caring for the environmentally sensitive patient. The first volume contains detailed information regarding maintenance and practices, while the second volume focuses on patient care.

Workplace hygiene initiatives should include education and early action to minimize toxic exposures, as well as monitoring employees for environmental sensitivities, as described by the New Zealand Association of Hairdressers Inc.259 (In the US, 20% of hairdressers leave the profession for health reasons.260)

Assessment of electromagnetic phenomena in the workplace involves a variety of measurements and potential remediation,261 from correction of wiring in the building to use of alternative technologies.

Many guides and self-help websites discuss coping with environmental sensitivities. Some sources are listed in Appendix C.

b) Publications related to “green” buildings

Guidelines for the construction industry to improve both environmental impact and indoor environmental quality have been published by the Canada Green Building Council (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED).184 The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) also promotes a variety of environmental standards to address environmental concerns including energy efficiency and indoor air quality (www.boma.ca). Although these guidelines are not completely protective for people with environmental sensitivities, they do recommend some helpful steps to address several important environmental issues.

c) Best practices - Accommodations for children in daycares and schools

Some of the more detailed and stringent guidelines to improve indoor air quality and to minimize microbes and VOCs in indoor air have been the result of providing healthy environments for children. Citizens for a Safe Learning Environment (CASLE)bb exhaustively examined considerations for optimum indoor environments in institutions. Recently, the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment released “Playing it Safe: Service Provider Strategies to Reduce Environmental Risks to Preconception, Prenatal and Child Health.” The Partnership also provides a checklist that covers many factors impacting environmental sensitivities, which follows from its “Child Health and the Environment - A Primer.” cc Health Canada has developed “Tools for Schools” information to optimize environmental quality,dd although they are not as stringent as the citizens’ initiative. As of September 2006, New York State required “Green Cleaning” in schools, hoping to improve asthma and behavioural problems.ee

In order to accommodate or prevent sensitivities in children, similar issues are identified as for workplace accommodation. These include fragrance-free non-toxic cleaning materials; non-toxic learning materials (papers, books and writing materials); high quality ventilation and air purification systems; construction and maintenance to prevent mould; conducting all renovations with non-toxic materials and no carpets, renovating only when the children are not present, and conducting adequate off-gassing; maintaining a scent-free environment; organic and wholesome foods with no colourings, preservatives or artificial flavours; avoiding known sources of contamination such as paint containing lead; and strict least-toxic pest control methods both inside and outside, with a large buffer zone from more toxic pesticide applications (e.g. as required by the Pesticide Code of Québec).

C Costs and benefits of accommodations

An effective strategy for achieving healthy indoor spaces and good air quality is to minimize potential pollutants during construction and renovation. Energy conservation concerns will create pressure to decrease ventilation in sealed buildings, further reinforcing the need to use low-maintenance materials, finishings, furnishings and equipment that contain materials with low toxicity, and have few emissions. Healthy indoor environments for children in schools are cost-effective in terms of building construction and maintenance,262 and they lead to health and learning improvements.8,86,262,263 Workers’ health and productivity also improves with better indoor environmental quality.8,79,83,218,264-266

Costs of accommodation may include some renovation (e.g. to replace carpeting or furniture with tolerated materials), but some of the most important aspects of accommodation involve behaviour changes at the individual level. Accommodation may involve, for example, using less toxic cleaning products such as vinegar and hot water. The benefits that result in terms of improved worker productivity and student behaviour and learning8,79,83,218,264-266 make the choices regarding indoor environmental quality straightforward from an economic point of view.262

Summary

Accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities should involve the person affected. It requires evaluation of many aspects of the workplace environment. Documents discussing accommodations are available, as are resources regarding construction and renovation for people with environmental sensitivities. Health and productivity benefits far outweigh possible minimal extra costs of designing, planning, and acting to minimize factors in the workplace that would be harmful to people with environmental sensitivities. For people with environmental sensitivities, their health and ability to work rests with the actions of others, including building managers, co-workers and clients.

IX Conclusions

This report was prepared to inform employers, service providers and individual Canadians about the medical aspects of environmental sensitivities. It covers the range of symptoms and conditions associated with environmental sensitivities; recognition and awareness by international, national, provincial and municipal bodies; medical research, diagnosis and treatment; issues regarding building codes and practices that affect accommodation of people with sensitivities; accommodation guidelines; and their impact in the workplace.

People’s responses to factors in their environment vary enormously. Some people have debilitating responses to chemicals or electromagnetic radiation. They usually experience neurological difficulties and often have symptoms such as fatigue, burning eyes, headaches, trouble thinking and concentrating, nasal congestion, pain in various parts of the body, respiratory distress and gastrointestinal ailments. These may be accompanied by psychological symptoms. Symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposures, and resolve with avoidance of environmental factors that trigger symptoms. Environmental sensitivities may develop gradually after chronic exposure to relatively low levels of substances found in buildings with poor air quality (“sick buildings”) or suddenly after an exposure to an environmental disaster or chemical spill. This condition may be initiated by one or a combination of environmental factors such as mould, pesticides, solvents, chemicals (e.g. off-gassing from carpets or furnishings) or electromagnetic phenomena.

Once a person has developed environmental sensitivities, reactions may occur to a broader range of factors, at levels of exposure that were previously tolerated and that cause little difficulty to many others. The impact of environmental sensitivities on workers’ performance may range from mild (e.g. habituation to chronic exposures such that performance may be sub-optimal if not overtly abnormal), to severe impairment such that work is impossible. Sensitivities vary greatly from one individual to another, so the affected worker must be involved in determining accommodations.

Approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities and up to one-third of the population may experience discomfort due to factors in their environment. Early recognition, environmental control, avoidance of symptom-triggering agents, removal of residual toxins from the body, and recovery of normal biological processes are key to regaining and maintaining health for people with sensitivities. However, susceptibility to sensitivities will be lifelong.

Recognition of environmental sensitivities is developing internationally and in many Canadian government departments. Environmental sensitivities and related conditions are eligible for compensation by some Workers’ Compensation Boards, although there is marked inconsistency across Canada. Public policy, law and regulation are advancing to protect people from triggers of sensitivities, such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, scents and other chemicals in public places.

Consensus is gradually building in the medical community and among academics, as well as in the general population, that many chemicals are not as harmless as we might have believed and that their combined effects are unpredictable. No-smoking, scent-free, pesticide-free, no-idling and least-toxic cleaning policies in health care and other public institutions are increasingly common. Furthermore, the medical community is advocating for broader policies and laws and increasingly acknowledging environmental sensitivities in medical education.

Modern medicine recognizes that the mind and body are intimately interconnected in the “biopsychosocial model” for health care. However, controversy continues regarding the physical or psychological roots of environmental sensitivities, with ramifications for health care and workplace accommodation. The research indicates that sensitivities have physical causes, with many neurological and psycho-social factors interwoven. Successfully addressing symptoms of sensitivities, with safe housing, workplaces, food and water, may also alleviate psychological symptoms. This is necessary before other interventions may be helpful.

Canadian statutes do not prescribe building standards that protect people with environmental sensitivities. Building codes focus on topics such as strength of structures. Measures impacting indoor environmental quality, such as building materials or de-gassing of buildings before they are occupied, are not addressed. Insofar as building codes and guidelines are perceived to be sufficiently protective of health and safety, they constitute barriers to research, development, implementation and mandating of safer materials and methods. “Green” guidelines incorporate a wide range of important environmental measures, but do not ensure that indoor environmental quality will be sufficient for people with sensitivities. More stringent guidelines have been developed for schools.

Construction, renovation, repair and maintenance should be conducted to minimize the introduction of pollutants, and design and construction should minimize later problems with dampness and moulds. Finishings, furnishings and equipment should contain low toxicity materials, have virtually no emissions, and be low-maintenance. These considerations are increasingly important given the desire to conserve energy by reducing ventilation. In addition to optimizing air quality and flow, ventilation systems must be maintained to avoid microbial contamination. Air filtration may play a role, but filters require frequent and routine maintenance. Least-toxic pest control, minimizing exposure to pesticides, is effective and affordable.

Building and maintaining equipment and infrastructure to minimize exposure to electromagnetic radiation, fields and currents requires attention to detail and may entail additional initial costs. Energy-efficient electrical equipment might increase radiofrequencies on electricity lines. Once recognized, however, these problems are amenable to inexpensive engineering solutions. There is a lack of consensus in research regarding the health effects of electromagnetic phenomena. This may be due to methodological limitations including unmeasured and uncontrolled parameters such as the quality of the electrical signal, radiofrequencies, locally elevated exposure levels and ground currents.

Workplace accommodation may include renovations, but some of the most important accommodations involve behaviour changes. These include the use of least-toxic cleaning and pest control practices, and avoidance of scented products. Unlike “built” accommodations such as ramps, accommodating people with sensitivities actively involves many people, such as employers, co-workers, others in the school or workplace, neighbours, etc. With education and leadership, people successfully adjust to policies addressing smoking, personal care, building maintenance and foods.

Improving the environmental quality of the workplace promotes workers’ health and productivity and can prevent the development of sensitivities in others. Building or renovating with a view to accommodating people with sensitivities is not costly over the longer term; nor are education and leadership for behaviour change in the workplace.

Footnotes

a incitant: a factor in the environment that provokes symptoms

b N designates the number of people included in a research study

c ANSI/ASHRAE Addendum c to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia.

d Including Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Markham, Oshawa, London, Halifax, St. John’s and all of PEI and Quebec

e http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/brochure/index_e.html

f The cholinergic system is the part of the brain in which acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. This part of the brain is important for leaning and memory. It is damaged in Alzheimer’s Disease.

g A chelating agent binds with a toxic metal such as lead or mercury, and causes it to dissolve in the blood so that it can be excreted by the kidney and liver.

h ANSI/ASHRAE Addendum c to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia.

i Personal communication, Dr. Kartar Badsha, Environmental Law Centre, UK. (August 14, 2006)

j “Considering the diversity of indoor air contaminants and the range of susceptibility in the population, compliance may not be acceptable for everyone.” ASHRAE Standard 62, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air quality. American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia.

k ASHRAE® STANDARD, BSR/ASHRAE Standard 62.2P: Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia.

l www.ec.gc.ca/substances and www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca

m http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/index_e.html

n http://www.ucalgary.ca/ci/stewardship/flooring.html

o http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=f1c244c9-5634-484a-af13-c0c13b1dacc8

http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=38093&PageMem=1

p See for instance http://www.mcscanadian.org/pdf/scentfree2005.pdf

q Ontario hospitals with scent-free policies include: Toronto General Hospital; Women’s College Hospital, Toronto; Wellesley Hospital, Toronto; Lyndhurst Spinal Hospital, Toronto; Middlesex Hospital Alliance, Middlesex; Leamington District Hospital, Leamington; Grand River Hospital, Freeport Health Centre, Kitchener; Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus; Ottawa Hospital General Campus; Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa; Queensway-Carleton Hospital, Ottawa; University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa Health Research Institute; Kingston General Hospital; Hotel Dieu, Kingston; Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Orillia; Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital; North Bay General Hospital.

r Including Dalhousie, McMaster, Acadia, Memorial, St. Mary’s, Thompson Rivers, Mt. Allison and Malaspina Universities, and the Universities of Calgary, Toronto, Windsor, British Colombia, Prince Edward Island, Ottawa, Victoria, Saskatchewan, Waterloo and Guelph.

s http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/pollution-pollution/indoor-interieur/scents-parfums_e.php

t http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/co_001.cfm

u Unpublished tests conducted by Prof. Tang G. Lee, University of Calgary, April 1, 2001.

v Personal communication, Dr. Kartar Badsha, Environmental Law Centre, UK. (August 14, 2006)

w Doug Perkins, DPEnvironmental, pest management services for Ottawa hospitals, personal communication, July 30, 2006

x Frank Reddick, agronomist, Turflogic, personal communication, August 4, 2006

y “objectionable current flow” means any steady state of electrical ground current for five seconds or more on a grounding conductor or any other conductor that normally does not carry electric current, except for any temporary flow of electrical fault current that is caused by a phase-to-ground fault condition and that results from the performance of a grounding conductor’s protective functions regarding faults or lightning

z Dr. Andrew Michrowski, Ottawa, December 5, 2006 personal communication based upon his unpublished research completed for the CMHC.

aa www.elements.nb.ca/theme/Pollution05/NB%20Lung/Jane.htm

bb www.chebucto.ns.ca/Education/CASLE

cc All available at: http://www.beststart.org/resources/env_action/index.html

dd www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/air/tools_school-outils_ecoles/index_e.html

ee http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/facplan/greenclean.htm and http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/bldgadmin/environmental/GreenGuidelines.pdf

Appendix A: Acronyms and abbreviations

AChE Acetylcholinesterase (an enzyme in the nervous system and elsewhere in the body)

AEHA Allergy and Environmental Health Association

ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers

BOMA Building Owners and Managers Association

CASLE Citizens for A Safe Learning Environment

CHRC Canadian Human Rights Commission

CIHI Canadian Institute for Health Information

CMHC Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

CO2 carbon dioxide

GABAa gamma-aminobutyric acid

HEPA high efficiency particulate air [filter]

HVAC Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning

ICD International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems

IEQ Indoor environmental quality

IgE Immunoglobulin E

ME Myalgic encephalomyelitis

MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet

N Number of people included in a research study

NMDA N-methyl-D-aspartate

NRC National Research Council

OCFP Ontario College of Family Physicians

ppmv Parts per million by volume (as opposed to weight)

RCPSC Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

REACH Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (European legislation)

SAD Seasonal affective disorder

TILT Toxicant induced loss of tolerance

US United States of America

VOC Volatile organic compounds

WHIMS Workplace Health Information Management System

WHO World Health Organization

Appendix B: Collaborators, people and organizations consulted

This project would not have been possible without the knowledge, input and support of the following collaborators:

Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, BSc, M.D, DIBEM, FAAEM President Canadian Society of Environmental Medicine Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic (OEHC)

Linda Nolan-Leeming, President Allergy and Environmental Health Association - Ottawa www.aeha.ca

Dr. Stephen Genuis, MD, FRCSC, DABOG Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine University of Alberta

Mary de Bassecourt, Executive Director Allergy and Environmental Health Association - Ottawa www.aeha.ca

Dr. Brian L. Gibson, MD, FRCPC Occupational and Environmental Health Consultant LAMP Occupational Health Centre, Toronto. Associate Professor Department of Public Health Sciences University of Toronto

Bernard Olivier L'OEUF Pearl, Poddubiuk Architectes Montreal, Quebec

Dr. Tang Lee – University of Calgary Professor of Architecture (Building Science and Technology) Faculty of Environmental Design University of Calgary

Rohini Peris, President Allergy and Environmental Health Association – Quebec www.aeha-quebec.ca

Dr. Lynn M. Marshall, MD, FAAEM, FRSM Faculty, Departments of Family and Community Medicine University of Toronto and Northern Ontario School of Medicine Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto Co-Chair, Environmental Health Committee, Ontario College of Family Physicians

Dr. Barbara Powell, MD, CCFP, FCFP Primary care, family practice Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. John Molot, MD, CCFP, FCFP Environmental medicine, Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto Member, Environmental Health Committee Ontario College of Family Physicians

Phillip Sharp, DIP, ARCH, (POLY), OAA, MRAIC, RIBA Phillip Sharp Architect Limited Ottawa, Ontario

I am very grateful for the collegial cooperation of Cara Wilkie of bakerlaw, who carried out the related work examining legal issues. Janet McNeill’s editorial expertise was much appreciated, as was Olga Prin’s careful review of the French translation of the report. Many others who gave generously of their time and expertise, and provided historical materials, advice and encouragement are listed below. Others, not listed, who communicated with the author, are thanked for their interest and encouragement.

Louise Aubin - Peel Health, Peel, Ontario

Dr. Kartar Badsha - Environmental Law Centre, United Kingdom

Nancy Bradshaw - Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto

Art Connelly - Agent Orange Association of Canada

Brenda Croucher - Executive Director, Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada

Ed DiZazzo - Senior Advisor for Executives, Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX)

John Dwyer - Formerly with the Canadian Human Rights Commission

Dr. Magda Havas - Assistant Professor, Environmental & Resource Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Graeme Innes - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Australia

Jay Kassirer - Healthy Indoors Partnership, Canada

Dr. Kathleen Kerr - Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto

Dr. Andrew Michrowski - Planetary Association for Clean Energy, Ottawa

Bill McVeigh - Chair – Canadian Electrical Association EMF Task Group

Mark Mendell - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA

Doug Perkins - DPEnvironmental Consulting, Ottawa

James Raggio - Access Board, USA

Frank Reddick - TurfLogic Inc., Canada

Virginia Salares - Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Michael Small - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Australia

Dave Stetzer - Stetzer Electric Inc., Wisconsin, USA

George Thomson - Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Hypersensitivity Disorder (1985)

Appendix C: Resources

Allergy and Environmental Health Association – Ottawa - www.aeha.ca

Allergy and Environmental Health Association – Quebec (bilingual) - www.aeha-quebec.ca

American Academy of Environmental Medicine - www.aaem.com

American Industrial Hygiene Association - www.aiha.org

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America - www.aehf.com

Best Start - www.beststart.org

Beyond Pesticides - www.beyondpesticides.org

Canada Green Building Council - www.cagbc.org

Canada Employment Immigration Union - www.ceiu-seic.ca/page_1766.cfm

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment - www.cape.ca

Canadian Coalition for Health and Environment - www.cche-info.com

Canadian Coalition for Green Healthcare

Canadian Electricity Association - www.canelect.ca/en/home.html

Canadian Environmental Law Association - www.cela.ca

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation - www.cmhc.ca

CMHC “About your house” resource page - www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/co_001.cfm

Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (bilingual) - www.healthyenvironmentforkids.ca

Canadian Society for Environmental Medicine - www.eimed.ca

Centre for the Environment, University of Toronto - www.environment.utoronto.ca

Chemical Injury Information Network - www.ciin.org

Chemical Injury.NET - www.chemicalinjury.net

Children’s Health Environmental Coalition - www.checnet.org

Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa - www.healthyottawa.ca

Collaborative on Health and Environment (including Toxicant and Disease Database) - database.healthandenvironment.org

International Academy of Detoxification Specialists - www.detoxacademy.org

DPEnvironmental Consulting - www.magma.ca/~nandd

Electrical Pollution Solutions - www.electricalpollution.com

Electromagnetic Hazard & Therapy (UK independent newsletter) - www.em-hazard-therapy.com

ElectroSensitivity-UK - www.electrosensitivity.org.uk

ElektroSMOG NEWS (German) - www.elektrosmognews.de

EMFacts Consultancy - www.emfacts.com

EM Radiation Research Trust - www.radiationresearch.org

EMR Association of Australia - www.ssec.org.au/emraa

Environmental Defence – Toxic Nation (bilingual) - www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicnation

Environmental Health Clearinghouse - www.infoventures.com/e-hlth

Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital - www.womenshealthmatters.ca/Centres/environmental/index.html

Environmental Health Perspectives - www.ehponline.org

Environmental Law Centre (UK) - www.elc.org.uk

Environmental Protection Agency (US) Indoor Air Quality - www.epa.gov/iaq

Environment Canada - www.ec.gc.ca

FEB – The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive - www.feb.se

Fragranced Products Information Network - www.fpinva.org

Green Health Care - www.greenhealthcare.ca

Health Canada - www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Healthy Indoor Partnerships - healthyindoors.com

Human Ecology Action League - www.members.aol.com/HEALNATN/index.html

Institute for Environmental Health Sciences - www.niehs.nih.gov

Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (US) - www.niehs.nih.gov

International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety - www.icems.eu

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection - www.icnirp.de/pubEMF.htm

Invisible Disabilities Association of Canada - www.nsnet.org/idacan/index.html

Job Accommodation Network - www.jan.wvu.edu

Logic Alliance - www.logicalliance.ca

Mast Sanity (UK) - www.mastsanity.org

MCS Canadian Sources - www.mcscanadian.org

MCS Referral & Resources - www.mcsrr.org

MCSurvivors - www.mcsurvivors.com

ME/FM action network - www.mefmaction.net

ME Association of Ontario - www.meao-cfs.on.ca

Microwave News – a report on non-ionizing radiation - www.microwavenews.com

National Foundation for the Chemically Hypersensitive - www.mcsrelief.com

Next-up Organisation (regarding health effects of phone masts, based in France, multilingual) - www.next-up.org

Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre - www.cdha.nshealth.ca/facilities/nsehc/index.html

Ontario College of Family Physicians - www.ocfp.on.ca

Overgevoeligheid voor elektrische en elektromagnetische velden (Danish, with summaries in other languages) - www.electroallergie.org

Pesticide Action Network of North America - www.panna.org

Planetary Association for Clean Energy Inc. - www.pacenet.homestead.com

Powerwatch (UK) - www.powerwatch.org.uk

Research Information on the EMFRAPID Program 1994-1998 - www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/html/resinfo.htm

Stop Transmission Lines Over People - www.stop-emfs.ca

Sustainable Building Information System - www.sbis.info

The Chemical Sensitivity Foundation - www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org

The Guide to Less Toxic Products - www.lesstoxicguide.ca

The Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association - www.ideaireland.org

The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive - www.feb.se/index_int.htm

US Centers for Disease Control page of publications re: Electromagnetic fields - www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emf/

World Health Organization EMF research databases - www.who.int/peh-emf/research/database/en/index1.html

World Health Organization EMF topics - www.who.int/health_topics/electromagnetic_fields/en

Appendix D: Thomson recommendations (1985) and progress to 2006

[Report of the ad hoc Committee on Environmental Hypersensitivity Disorders 60]

This Committee was established in November 1984 at the request of then-Minister of Health for the Province of Ontario, Keith Norton to report on the prevalence, level of knowledge, and methods of diagnosis and treatment of “environmental hypersensitivity.” The Committee was also asked to outline possible approaches to investigating, treating or undertaking further research into such disorders.

 

References

(1) Amdur MO, Doull J, Klaassen CD. Casarett and Doull's toxicology: the basic science of poisons. 4th ed. 1991.

(2) Lacour M, Zunder T, Schmidtke K, Vaith P, Scheidt C. Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS)--suggestions for an extension of the U.S. MCS-case definition. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2005;208:141-151.

(3) Miller CS. The Compelling Anomaly of Chemical Intolerance. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001;933:1-23.

(4) Multiple chemical sensitivity: a 1999 consensus. Arch Environ Health. 1999;54:147-149.

(5) McKeown-Eyssen GE, Baines CJ, Marshall LM, Jazmaji V, Sokoloff ER. Multiple chemical sensitivity: discriminant validity of case definitions. Arch Environ Health. 2001;56:406-412.

(6) Johansson O. Electrohypersensitivity: State-of-the-Art of a Functional Impairment. Electromagn Biol Med. 2006;25:245-258.

(7) Bailey WH. Health effects relevant to the setting of EMF exposure limits. Health Phys. 2002;83:376-386.

(8) Havas M. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Electromagn Biol Med. 2006;25:259-268.

(9) Park J and Knudson S. Medically unexplained physical symptoms. Statistics Canada . 12-1-2007. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/82-003-XIE/2006001/articles/symptoms/82-003-XIE2006002.pdf available from http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/82-003-XIE/82-003-XIE2006001.htm

(10) Statistics Canada, Health Statistics Division. How healthy are Canadians? Health Reports - Supplement to Volume 16 catalogue no. 820003-XPE. 2006. Canadian Institute for Health Information. Health Reports. http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection/Statcan/82-003-S/82-003-SIE2005000.pdf

(11) Statistics Canada. Findings from the 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses. Statistics Canada . 11-12-2006. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/83-003-XIE/83-003-XIE2006001.pdf available from http://www.statcan.ca/cgi-bin/downpub/listpub.cgi?catno=83-003-XIE2006001

(12) Caress SM, Steinemann AC. A review of a two-phase population study of multiple chemical sensitivities. Environ Health Perspect. 2003;111:1490-1497.

(13) Kreutzer R, Neutra RR, Lashuay N. Prevalence of people reporting sensitivities to chemicals in a population-based survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999;150:1-12.

(14) Caress SM, Steinemann AC. National prevalence of asthma and chemical hypersensitivity: an examination of potential overlap. J Occup Environ Med. 2005;47:518-522.

(15) Meggs WJ, Dunn KA, Bloch RM, Goodman PE, Davidoff AL. Prevalence and nature of allergy and chemical sensitivity in a general population. Arch Environ Health. 1996;51:275-282.

(16) McKeown-Eyssen G, Baines C, Cole DE et al. Case-control study of genotypes in multiple chemical sensitivity: CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2, PON1, PON2 and MTHFR. Int J Epidemiol. 2004;33:971-978.

(17) Costa LG, Richter RJ, Li WF, Cole T, Guizzetti M, Furlong CE. Paraoxonase (PON 1) as a biomarker of susceptibility for organophosphate toxicity. Biomarkers. 2003;8:1-12.

(18) Furlong CE, Cole TB, Jarvik GP et al. Role of paraoxonase (PON1) status in pesticide sensitivity: genetic and temporal determinants. Neurotoxicology. 2005;26:651-659.

(19) Cole TB, Jampsa RL, Walter BJ et al. Expression of human paraoxonase (PON1) during development. Pharmacogenetics. 2003;13:357-364.

(20) Haley RW, Billecke S, La Du BN. Association of low PON1 type Q (type A) arylesterase activity with neurologic symptom complexes in Gulf War veterans. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1999;157:227-233.

(21) La Du BN, Billecke S, Hsu C, Haley RW, Broomfield CA. Serum paraoxonase (PON1) isozymes: the quantitative analysis of isozymes affecting individual sensitivity to environmental chemicals. Drug Metab Dispos. 2001;29:566-569.

(22) Schnakenberg E, Fabig KR, Stanulla M et al. A cross-sectional study of self-reported chemical-related sensitivity is associated with gene variants of drug metabolizing enzymes. Environ Health. 2007;6:6.

(23) Baines CJ, McKeown-Eyssen GE, Riley N et al. Case-control study of multiple chemical sensitivity, comparing haematology, biochemistry, vitamins and serum volatile organic compound measures. Occup Med (Lond). 2004;54:408-418.

(24) Miller CS, Gammage RB, Jankovic JT. Exacerbation of chemical sensitivity: a case study. Toxicol Ind Health. 1999;15:398-402.

(25) Brasche S, Bullinger M, Morfeld M, Gebhardt HJ, Bischof W. Why do women suffer from sick building syndrome more often than men?--subjective higher sensitivity versus objective causes. Indoor Air. 2001;11:217-222.

(26) McKeown-Eyssen GE, Sokoloff ER, Jazmaji V, Marshall LM, Baines CJ. Reproducibility of the University of Toronto self-administered questionnaire used to assess environmental sensitivity. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;151:1216-1222.

(27) Joffres MR, Williams T, Sabo B, Fox RA. Environmental sensitivities: prevalence of major symptoms in a referral center: the Nova Scotia Environmental Sensitivities Research Center Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2001;109:161-165.

(28) Gibson PR, Elms AN, Ruding LA. Perceived treatment efficacy for conventional and alternative therapies reported by persons with multiple chemical sensitivity. Environ Health Perspect. 2003;111:1498-1504.

(29) Caress SM, Steinemann AC, Waddick C. Symptomatology and etiology of multiple chemical sensitivities in the southeastern United States. Arch Environ Health. 2002;57:429-436.

(30) Caress SM, Steinemann AC. Prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivities: a population-based study in the southeastern United States. Am J Public Health. 2004;94:746-747.

(31) Shannon M, Woolf A, Goldman R. Children's environmental health: one year in a pediatric environmental health specialty unit. Ambul Pediatr. 2003;3:53-56.

(32) Woolf A. A 4-year-old girl with manifestations of multiple chemical sensitivities. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108:1219-1223.

(33) Bornehag CG, Sundell J, Hagerhed-Engman L, Sigsggard T, Janson S, Aberg N. 'Dampness' at home and its association with airway, nose, and skin symptoms among 10,851 preschool children in Sweden: a cross-sectional study. Indoor Air. 2005;15:48-55.

(34) Savilahti R, Uitti J, Laippala P, Husman T, Roto P. Respiratory morbidity among children following renovation of a water-damaged school. Arch Environ Health. 2000;55:405-410.

(35) Guillette EA. A broad-based evaluation of pesticide-exposed children. Cent Eur J Public Health. 2000;8 Suppl:58-9.:58-59.

(36) Meklin T, Potus T, Pekkanen J, Hyvarinen A, Hirvonen MR, Nevalainen A. Effects of moisture-damage repairs on microbial exposure and symptoms in schoolchildren. Indoor Air. 2005;15 Suppl 10:40-7.:40-47.

(37) Menzies IC. Disturbed children: the role of food and chemical sensitivities. Nutr Health. 1984;3:39-54.

(38) Grandjean P, Harari R, Barr DB, Debes F. Pesticide exposure and stunting as independent predictors of neurobehavioral deficits in Ecuadorian school children. Pediatrics. 2006;117:e546-e556.

(39) Grandjean P, Landrigan JP. Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals. The Lancet. 2006;DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69665-7.

(40) Bell IR, Schwartz GE, Peterson JM, Amend D. Self-reported illness from chemical odors in young adults without clinical syndromes or occupational exposures. Arch Environ Health. 1993;48:6-13.

(41) Huss A, Roosli M. Consultations in primary care for symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields--a survey among general practitioners. BMC Public Health. 2006;6:267.:267.

(42) Mild KH, Repacholi M, van Deventer E, and Ravanzzani P. Proceedings, International Workshop on EMF Hypersensitivity, Prague, Czech Republic, October 25-27, 2004. 2006. http://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/reports/EHS_Proceedings_June2006.pdf

(43) International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS). Benevento Resolution. International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) . 2006. www.milieuziektes.nl/Rapporten/BeneventoResolution.pdf

(44) European Parliament Press Service. Parliament adopts REACH - new EU chemicals legislation and new chemicals agency. Exp.Biol.Med.(Maywood.). 13-12-2006. available from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/064-1496-345-12-50-911-20061213IPR01493-11-12-2006-2006-true/default_en.htm

(45) Seidel HJ. Environmental medicine in Germany--a review. Environ Health Perspect. 2002;110 Suppl 1:113-8.:113-118.

(46) Danish Environmental Protection Agency and Danish Ministry of the Environment. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, MCS, Environmental Project no. 988, 2005. Danish Environmental Protection Agency . 2005. available from http://www.mst.dk/homepage/default.asp?Sub=http://www.mst.dk/udgiv/publications/2005/87-7614-548-4/html/helepubl_eng.htm

(47) World Health Organization. History of the development of the ICD. World Health Organization . 2006. http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/HistoryOfICD.pdf

(48) World Health Organization. Cumulative Official Updates to ICD-10. World Health Organization . 2006. http://www.who.int/classifications/committees/ICDCombinedUpdates.pdf available from http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/icd10updates/en/index.html

(49) Canadian Institute for Health Information. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Canadian Institute for Health Information . 2006. secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/en/downloads/ICD-10-CA_Vol2_2006.pdf

(50) Health Canada. Environmental Sensitivities - Drugs and Health Products Newsletter. Health Canada . 2005. available from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodpharma/activit/bulletin/tpd_dpt_bulletin02_2005_e.html

(51) Canadian Health Network. What is chemical sensitivity? Canadian Health Network.Canadian Public Health Agency . 2006. available from http://www.canadian-health-network.ca/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1003484&pagename=CHN-RCS%2FCHNResource%2FFAQCHNResourceTemplate&c=CHNResource&lang=En

(52) Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Health Canada. Proposed Acceptability for Continuing Registration. Re-evaluation of Malathion. PACR2003-10. Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Health Canada. 2003. http://www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/pdf/pacr/pacr2003-10-e.pdf

(53) Sears M, Walker CR, van der Jagt RHC, Claman P. Pesticide Assessment: Protecting Public Health on the Home Turf. Paediatr Child Health. 2006;11:229-234.

(54) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Indoor Air Quality: A Legitimate OSH Concern. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety . 2006. available from http://www.ccohs.ca/headlines/text27.html

(55) Byus CM, GlickmanBW, Krewski D, LotzGW, Mandeville R, McBride ML, Prato FS, and Weaver DF. A review of the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices. 1999. Royal Society of Canada, for Health Canada. http://www.rsc.ca//files/publications/expert_panels/RF//RFreport-en.pdf available from http://www.rsc.ca/index.php?lang_id=1&page_id=120

(56) Krewski D, Byus CV, Glickman BW, Habash RWY, Habbick B, Lotz GW, Mandeville R, McBride ML, Prato FS, Salem T, and Weaver DF. Recent Advances in Research on Radiofrequency Fields and Health: 2001-2003 A Follow-up toThe Royal Society of Canada Report on the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices, 1999 and update. Royal Society of Canada . 2004. http://www.rsc.ca//files/publications/expert_panels/RF//expert_panel_radiofrequency_update2.pdf

(57) Cunningham R. National and Subnational Legislation Requiring Enclosed Restaurants and Bars to be 100% Smoke-free. Ottawa Council on Smoking and Health . 20-7-2006. http://www.smokefreeottawa.com/2006-en/pdfs/smokefreevacations.pdf available from http://www.smokefreeottawa.com/2006-en/health-3.shtml

(58) Developpement durable, Environnement et Parcs Quebec. The Pesticides Management Code. Quebec - Developpement durable,Environnement et Parcs . 2006. available from http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/pesticides/permis-en/code-gestion-en/index.htm

(59) Santé et Services sociaux Québec. Plan d'intervention de protection de la santé publique contre le virus du Nil occidental 2006. Gouvernement du Québec, 2006 . 2006. http://intranetreseau.rtss.qc.ca et www.msss.gouv.qc.ca

(60) Thomson GM, Day JH, Ewers SE, Gerrard JW, McCourtie DR, and Woodward WD. Report of the ad hoc committee on environmental sensitivities. 1985.

(61) Jones D. Nova Scotia only province to provide clinic for "environmentally sensitive" patients. CMAJ. 1992;147:931-933.

(62) WorkSafeBC Policy and Research Division. Compensation for Occupational Asthma and Contact Dermatitis Policy and Research Division Discussion Paper. Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library owtlibrary.on.ca . 2006. http://www.owtlibrary.on.ca/Catalogued_PDF/ED%20284.pdf

(63) Christie M. Private Property Pesticide By-laws In Canada Population Statistics by Municipality. www.healthyottawa.ca . 2006. http://www.flora.org/healthyottawa/BylawList.pdf available from http://www.flora.org/healthyottawa/BylawList.pdf

(64) Canadian Medical Association. Policy resolution GC04-50 - Combined fertilizer / pesticides. 18-8-2004. available from 
http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dll?AC=GET_RECORD&XC=/dbtw-
wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dll&BU=http%3A%2F%2Fpolicybase.cma.ca%2Fdbtw-
wpd%2FCMAPolicy%2FPublicB.htm&TN=PubPol&SN=AUTO15679&SE=3096
&RN=0&MR=20&TR=0&TX=1000&ES=0&CS=1&XP=&RF=Public%3E+Table
DE&EF=&DF=Public%3E+DetailE&RL=0&EL=0&DL=0&NP=3&ID=&MF=wpe
ngmsgcmapolicypublicB.ini&MQ=&TI=0&DT=&ST=0&IR=680&NR=0&NB=0&
SV=0&BG=0&FG=000000&QS=Staff

(65) Marshall L, Weir E, Abelsohn A, Sanborn MD. Identifying and managing adverse environmental health effects: 1. Taking an exposure history. CMAJ. 2002;166:1049-1055.

(66) Robb N. The environment was right for Nova Scotia's new environmental health clinic. CMAJ. 1995;152:1292-1295.

(67) Rafuse J. Practical application of air-quality research incorporated in CMHC's research house. CMAJ. 1995;152:1310-1311.

(68) Gray C. Waiting list already 7 months long at Toronto's new Environmental Health Clinic. CMAJ. 1997;156:879-881.

(69) Ontario College of Family Physicians. Taking An Exposure History. http://www.ocfp.on.ca/english/ocfp/communications/publications/default.asp?s=1 . 2005.

(70) Miller CS, Prihoda TJ. The Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (EESI): a standardized approach for measuring chemical intolerances for research and clinical applications. Toxicol Ind Health. 1999;15:370-385.

(71) Rea WJ, Didriksen N, Simon TR, Pan Y, Fenyves EJ, Griffiths B. Effects of toxic exposure to molds and mycotoxins in building-related illnesses. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:399-405.

(72) Joffres MR, Sampalli T, Fox RA. Physiologic and symptomatic responses to low-level substances in individuals with and without chemical sensitivities: a randomized controlled blinded pilot booth study. Environ Health Perspect. 2005;113:1178-1183.

(73) Ashford N, Miller C. Chemical Exposures Low levels and High Stakes. 2nd ed. van Nostrand Reinhold. NY. Nelson Canada; 1998.

(74) Fox RA. The Environment and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Fall River, Nova Scotia,Canada. 2006. Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada. http://www.cdha.nshealth.ca/facilities/nsehc/studyEnvironmentAndES.PDF available from http://www.cdha.nshealth.ca/facilities/nsehc/studyEnvironmentAndES.PDF

(75) Saijo Y, Kishi R, Sata F et al. Symptoms in relation to chemicals and dampness in newly built dwellings. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2004;77:461-470.

(76) Bourbeau J, Brisson C, Allaire S. Prevalence of the sick building syndrome symptoms in office workers before and six months and three years after being exposed to a building with an improved ventilation system. Occup Environ Med. 1997;54:49-53.

(77) Gibson PR, Placek E, Lane J, Brohimer SO, Lovelace AC. Disability-induced identity changes in persons with multiple chemical sensitivity. Qual Health Res. 2005;15:502-524.

(78) Kassirer J and Sandiford K. Socio-Economic Impacts of Environmental Illness in Canada. 15-11-2000. The Environmental Illness Society of Canada.

(79) Wargocki P, Wyon DP, Sundell J, Clausen G, Fanger PO. The effects of outdoor air supply rate in an office on perceived air quality, sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms and productivity. Indoor Air. 2000;10:222-236.

(80) Fisk WJ, Rosenfeld AH. Estimates of Improved Productivity and Health from Better Indoor Environments. Indoor Air. 1997;7:158-172.

(81) Hodgson M, Brodt W, Henderson D et al. Needs and opportunities for improving the health, safety, and productivity of medical research facilities. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108 Suppl 6:1003-8.:1003-1008.

(82) Hedge A, Mitchell GE, McCarthy JF, Ludwig J. Effects of a Furniture-integrated Breathing-zone Filtration System on Indoor Air Quality, Sick Building Syndrome, and Productivity. Indoor Air. 1993;3:328-336.

(83) Wargocki P, Sundell J, Bischof W et al. Ventilation and health in non-industrial indoor environments: report from a European Multidisciplinary Scientific Consensus Meeting (EUROVEN). Indoor Air. 2002;12:113-128.

(84) Bako-Biro Z, Wargocki P, Weschler CJ, Fanger PO. Effects of pollution from personal computers on perceived air quality, SBS symptoms and productivity in offices. Indoor Air. 2004;14:178-187.

(85) Daisey JM, Angell WJ, Apte MG. Indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools: an analysis of existing information. Indoor Air. 2003;13:53-64.

(86) Mendell MJ, Heath GA. Do indoor pollutants and thermal conditions in schools influence student performance? A critical review of the literature. Indoor Air. 2005;15:27-52.

(87) Health Canada. Indoor Air Quality - Tools for Schools Action Kit for Canadian Schools. 2003. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/air/tools_school-outils_ecoles/tools_school-outils_ecoles_e.pdf

(88) Smith RC. The Biopsychosocial Revolution Interviewing and Provider-patient Relationships Becoming Key Issues for Primary Care. J Gen Intern Med 17[4], 309-310. 2002. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1495036&blobtype=pdf available from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1495036

(89) Meggs WJ, Elsheik T, Metzger WJ, Albernaz M, Bloch RM. Nasal pathology and ultrastructure in patients with chronic airway inflammation (RADS and RUDS) following an irritant exposure. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1996;34:383-396.

(90) Millqvist E, Ternesten-Hasseus E, Stahl A, Bende M. Changes in levels of nerve growth factor in nasal secretions after capsaicin inhalation in patients with airway symptoms from scents and chemicals. Environ Health Perspect. 2005;113:849-852.

(91) Kimata H. Effect of exposure to volatile organic compounds on plasma levels of neuropeptides, nerve growth factor and histamine in patients with self-reported multiple chemical sensitivity. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004;207:159-163.

(92) Interian A, Gara MA, az-Martinez AM et al. The value of pseudoneurological symptoms for assessing psychopathology in primary care. Psychosom Med. 2004;66:141-146.

(93) Ford CV. Somatization and fashionable diagnoses: illness as a way of life. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1997;23 Suppl 3:7-16.:7-16.

(94) Chang C, Gershwin ME. Indoor air quality and human health: truth vs mass hysteria. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2004;27:219-239.

(95) Staudenmayer H, Binkley KE, Leznoff A, Phillips S. Idiopathic environmental intolerance: Part 1: A causation analysis applying Bradford Hill's criteria to the toxicogenic theory. Toxicol Rev. 2003;22:235-246.

(96) Staudenmayer H, Binkley KE, Leznoff A, Phillips S. Idiopathic environmental intolerance: Part 2: A causation analysis applying Bradford Hill's criteria to the psychogenic theory. Toxicol Rev. 2003;22:247-261.

(97) Davidoff AL, Fogarty L. Psychogenic origins of multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome: a critical review of the research literature. Arch Environ Health. 1994;49:316-325.

(98) Leznoff A. Provocative challenges in patients with multiple chemical sensitivity. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997;99:438-442.

(99) Leznoff A, Binkley KE. Idiopathic environmental intolerances: results of challenge studies. Occup Med. 2000;15:529-537.

(100) Fiedler N, Kipen HM, DeLuca J, Kelly-McNeil K, Natelson B. A controlled comparison of multiple chemical sensitivities and chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychosom Med. 1996;58:38-49.

(101) Fiedler N. Neuropsychological approaches for the detection and evaluation of toxic symptoms. Environ Health Perspect. 1996;104 Suppl 2:239-45.:239-245.

(102) Fiedler N, Maccia C, Kipen H. Evaluation of chemically sensitive patients. J Occup Med. 1992;34:529-538.

(103) Bornschein S, Hausteiner C, Konrad F, Forstl H, Zilker T. Psychiatric morbidity and toxic burden in patients with environmental illness: a controlled study. Psychosom Med. 2006;68:104-109.

(104) Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . 2005. www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/3rd/pdf/thirdreport.pdf

(105) Baldwin DR and Marshall WJ. Heavy metal poisoning and its laboratory investigation. Ann Clin Biochem 36, 267-300. 1999.

(106) Araki S, Sakai T, Sato H, Kaneko T, Sakai R, Yokoyama K. [Multiple chemical sensitivities: case definition, etiology and relations to allergy, poisoning, psychogenic illness etc]. Nippon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 1999;46:769-778.

(107) Davidoff AL, Fogarty L, Keyl PM. Psychiatric inferences from data on psychologic/psychiatric symptoms in multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome. Arch Environ Health. 2000;55:165-175.

(108) Poonai NP, Antony MM, Binkley KE et al. Psychological features of subjects with idiopathic environmental intolerance. J Psychosom Res. 2001;51:537-541.

(109) Jason LA, Taylor RR, Kennedy CL. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivities in a community-based sample of persons with chronic fatigue syndrome-like symptoms. Psychosom Med. 2000;62:655-663.

(110) Aaron LA, Buchwald D. Chronic diffuse musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia and co-morbid unexplained clinical conditions. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2003;17:563-574.

(111) Aaron LA, Herrell R, Ashton S et al. Comorbid clinical conditions in chronic fatigue: a co-twin control study. J Gen Intern Med. 2001;16:24-31.

(112) Black DW, Doebbeling BN, Voelker MD et al. Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome: symptom prevalence and risk factors in a military population. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:1169-1176.

(113) Beseler C, Stallones L. Safety practices, neurological symptoms, and pesticide poisoning. J Occup Environ Med. 2003;45:1079-1086.

(114) Crago BR, Gray MR, Nelson LA, Davis M, Arnold L, Thrasher JD. Psychological, neuropsychological, and electrocortical effects of mixed mold exposure. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:452-463.

(115) Stallones L, Beseler C. Pesticide illness, farm practices, and neurological symptoms among farm residents in Colorado. Environ Res. 2002;90:89-97.

(116) Anyanwu E, Campbell AW, Jones J, Ehiri JE, Akpan AI. The neurological significance of abnormal natural killer cell activity in chronic toxigenic mold exposures. ScientificWorldJournal. 2003;3:1128-37.:1128-1137.

(117) Stenn P, Binkley K. Successful outcome in a patient with chemical sensitivity. Treatment with psychological desensitization and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Psychosomatics. 1998;39:547-550.

(118) Schmidt NB, McCreary BT, Trakowski JJ, Santiago HT, Woolaway-Bickel K, Ialongo N. Effects of cognitive behavioral treatment on physical health status in patients with panic disorder. Behavior Therapy. 2003;34:49-63.

(119) Kolk AM, Schagen S, Hanewald GJ. Multiple medically unexplained physical symptoms and health care utilization: outcome of psychological intervention and patient-related predictors of change. J Psychosom Res. 2004;57:379-389.

(120) Saito M, Kumano H, Yoshiuchi K et al. Symptom profile of multiple chemical sensitivity in actual life. Psychosom Med. 2005;67:318-325.

(121) Lacour M, Zunder T, Dettenkofer M, Schonbeck S, Ludtke R, Scheidt C. An interdisciplinary therapeutic approach for dealing with patients attributing chronic fatigue and functional memory disorders to environmental poisoning--a pilot study. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2002;204:339-346.

(122) Costa LG, Cole TB, Vitalone A, Furlong CE. Measurement of paraoxonase (PON1) status as a potential biomarker of susceptibility to organophosphate toxicity. Clin Chim Acta. 2005;352:37-47.

(123) Infante-Rivard C, Labuda D, Krajinovic M, Sinnett D. Risk of childhood leukemia associated with exposure to pesticides and with gene polymorphisms. Epidemiology. 1999;10:481-487.

(124) Binkley K, King N, Poonai N, Seeman P, Ulpian C, Kennedy J. Idiopathic environmental intolerance: increased prevalence of panic disorder-associated cholecystokinin B receptor allele 7. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;107:887-890.

(125) Miresco MJ, Kirmayer LJ. The persistence of mind-brain dualism in psychiatric reasoning about clinical scenarios. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163:913-918.

(126) Grammer LC, Harris KE, Cugell DW, Patterson R. Evaluation of a worker with possible formaldehyde-induced asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1993;92:29-33.

(127) Hasegawa M, Ohtomo M, Mita H, Akiyama K. [Clinical aspects of patients with MCS - from the standpoint of allergy]. Arerugi. 2005;54:478-484.

(128) Campbell AW, Thrasher JD, Madison RA, Vojdani A, Gray MR, Johnson A. Neural autoantibodies and neurophysiologic abnormalities in patients exposed to molds in water-damaged buildings. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:464-474.

(129) Welch DA, Christenson D, Penley L, Chan P, Scoggins P, Shapiro S, Coryell M, Smith W, and O'Grady J. Letter from the National Treasury employees Union to Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . 24-5-2006. http://www.peer.org/docs/epa/06_25_5_union_ltr.pdf

(130) Anway MD, Skinner MK. Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Endocrine Disruptors. Endocrinology. 2006;147:s43-s49.

(131) Crews D, McLachlan JA. Epigenetics, Evolution, Endocrine Disruption, Health, and Disease. Endocrinology. 2006;147:s4-10.

(132) Cecchini MA, Root DE, Rachunow JR, Gleb PM. Managing Chronic Illness in Patients. Health Status of Rescue Workers Improved by Sauna Detoxification. Townsend Letter The Examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2006.

(133) Schnare DW, Ben M, and Shields MG. Body Burden Reductions of PCBS, PBBs and Chlorinated Pesticides in Human Subjects. AMBIO A journal of the human environment 13, 378-380. 1984. http://www.rehabnz.co.nz/media2/ambio.pdf

(134) Younglai EV, Holloway AC, Foster WG. Environmental and occupational factors affecting fertility and IVF success. Hum Reprod Update. 2005;11:43-57.

(135) Younglai EV, Foster WG, Hughes EG, Trim K, Jarrell JF. Levels of environmental contaminants in human follicular fluid, serum, and seminal plasma of couples undergoing in vitro fertilization. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002;43:121-126.

(136) Swan SH. Semen quality in fertile US men in relation to geographical area and pesticide exposure. Int J Androl. 2006;29:62-68.

(137) Arbuckle TE, Schrader SM, Cole D et al. 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid residues in semen of Ontario farmers. Reprod Toxicol. 1999;13:421-429.

(138) Environmental Defence. Toxic Nation A report on pollution in Canadians. Environmental Defence . 2005. http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicnation/report/Rev_English%20Web.pdf available from http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicnation/resources/publications.htm#2

(139) Environmental Defence. Polluted Children Toxic Nation. A report on pollution in Canadian families. Environmental Defence . 2006. http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/reports/PCTN_English%20Web.pdf available from http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/reports/toxicnationFamily.htm

(140) Albertini R, Bird M, Doerrer N et al. The Use of Biomonitoring Data in Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessments. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114:1755-1762.

(141) Gibson, PR. Understanding & Accommodating People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in Independent Living. Independent living Research Utilization at TIRR . 2002. http://www.geocities.com/mcs_canadian/gibson.html available from http://www.ilru.org/ilnet/files/bookshelf/mcs/mcs1.html

(142) Gilbert ME. Does the Kindling Model of Epilepsy Contribute to Our Understanding of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001;933:68-91.

(143) Bell IR, Baldwin CM, Fernandez M, Schwartz GE. Neural sensitization model for multiple chemical sensitivity: overview of theory and empirical evidence. Toxicol Ind Health. 1999;15:295-304.

(144) Sorg BA, Willis JR, See RE, Hopkins B, Westberg HH. Repeated low-level formaldehyde exposure produces cross-sensitization to cocaine: possible relevance to chemical sensitivity in humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1998;18:385-394.

(145) Heuser G, Wu JC. Deep Subcortical (Including Limbic) Hypermetabolism in Patients with Chemical Intolerance: Human PET Studies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001;933:319-322.

(146) Pall ML, Anderson JH. The vanilloid receptor as a putative target of diverse chemicals in multiple chemical sensitivity. Arch Environ Health. 2004;59:363-375.

(147) Pall ML, Satterlee JD. Elevated Nitric Oxide/Peroxynitrite Mechanism for the Common Etiology of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001;933:323-329.

(148) Corrigan FM, MacDonald S, Brown A, Armstrong K, Armstrong EM. Neurasthenic fatigue, chemical sensitivity and GABAa receptor toxins. Med Hypotheses. 1994;43:195-200.

(149) Overstreet DH, Djuric V. A Genetic Rat Model of Cholinergic Hypersensitivity: Implications for Chemical Intolerance, Chronic Fatigue, and Asthma. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001;933:92-102.

(150) Pall ML. NMDA sensitization and stimulation by peroxynitrite, nitric oxide, and organic solvents as the mechanism of chemical sensitivity in multiple chemical sensitivity. FASEB J. 2002;16:1407-1417.

(151) Gabriel G. Hans Selye: The Discovery of Stress. BrainConnection . 2006. available from http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/selye#A1

(152) Nehlsen-Cannarella S, Fagoaga O, Folz J, Grinde S, Hisey C, Thorpe R. Fighting, fleeing and having fun: the immunology of physical activity. Int J Sports Med. 1997;18 Suppl 1:S8-21.:S8-21.

(153) Hiramoto RN, Rogers CF, Demissie S et al. Psychoneuroendocrine immunology: site of recognition, learning and memory in the immune system and the brain. Int J Neurosci. 1997;92:259-285.

(154) Hiramoto RN, Solvason HB, Hsueh CM et al. Psychoneuroendocrine immunology: perception of stress can alter body temperature and natural killer cell activity. Int J Neurosci. 1999;98:95-129.

(155) Marshall LM, Bested A, Bray RI. Tools to treat Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity. The Canadian Journal of CME. 2004;56-65.

(156) Ontario College of Family Physicians. Case Criteria Checklists (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). OCFP . 2003. available from http://www.ocfp.on.ca/english/ocfp/communications/publications/default.asp?s=1

(157) Soden SE and Lowry JA. Provocative urine excretion of heavy metals using meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) in children with autism. Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics (Bridge Grant) . 2006. available from http://www.cureautismnow.org/site/c.bhLOK2PILuF/b.1452295/k.9511/Sarah_E_Soden_and_Jennifer_A_Lowry_Childrens_Mercy_Hospitals__Clinics_Bridge_Grant.htm

(158) Krop JJ. Healing the planet one patient at a time A primer in environmental medicine. Alton ON Canada: KOS Publishing Inc.; 2002.

(159) Bested AC, Logan AC, Howe R. Hope and help for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; 2006.

(160) Bray R, Coates D, Marshall LM, Rizvi K, and Masson C. Water contaminants: Health effects on children. Children's Health and the Environment: Building capacity for policy development and facilitating policy change, A report to the Canadian Institute for Child Health. 2003. Canadian Institute for Child Health.

(161) Rashid M, Cranney A, Zarkadas M et al. Celiac disease: evaluation of the diagnosis and dietary compliance in Canadian children. Pediatrics. 2005;116:e754-e759.

(162) Accomando S, Cataldo F. The global village of celiac disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2004;36:492-498.

(163) Kitts D, Yuan Y, Joneja J et al. Adverse reactions to food constituents: allergy, intolerance, and autoimmunity. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997;75:241-254.

(164) Logan AC, Wong C. Chronic fatigue syndrome: oxidative stress and dietary modifications. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6:450-459.

(165) Chisolm JJ, Jr. Safety and efficacy of meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) in children with elevated blood lead concentrations. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2000;38:365-375.

(166) National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. An Investigation of the Efficacy of Mercury Chelation as a Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. National Institutes of Health . 2006. http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00376194?order=1

(167) Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Advisory Notes on Access to Premises. Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission . 2006. available from http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/standards/Access_to_premises/premises_advisory.html

(168) State of California - State and Consumer Services Agency. Building Standards Bulletin 2004-01. State of California - State and Consumer Services Agency . 11-4-2004. http://www.bsc.ca.gov/cd_qustns/documents/CBSC_bulletin2004-01.pdf

(169) National Institute of Building Sciences. IEQ Indoor Environmental Quality. 2005. National Institute of Building Sciences USA. http://ieq.nibs.org/ieq_project.pdf available from http://ieq.nibs.org/index.php

(170) National Research Council. Canada's Code Development System. National Research Council . 29-1-2002. http://www.nationalcodes.ca/ccbfc/ccds_e.pdf available from http://www.nationalcodes.ca/ccbfc/ccds_e.pdf

(171) Department of Health. Proposed residential indoor air quality guideline for moulds. Canada Gazette . 13-12-2006. available from http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2006/20061223/html/notice-e.html

(172) Canadian Construction Association. CCA 82 - Mould Guidelines for the Canadian Construction Industry. 2004. http://www.cca-acc.com/documents/electronic/cca82/cca82.pdf available from http://www.cca-acc.com/mould/

(173) Ontario Association of Architects. OAA Mould Control Practice Guide. Ontario Architects' Association . 2003. available from http://www.oaa.on.ca/client/oaa/OAAHome.nsf/PracticeBulletinByDate/714B32234DE278EB85256DAB00677847?Opendocument

(174) World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe Copenhagen. Air Quality Guidelines for Europe . WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No.91 [Second Edition]. 2006. http://www.euro.who.int/document/e71922.pdf

(175) Won, D., Magee, R. J., Yang, W., Lusztyk, E., Nong, G., and Shaw, C. Y. A Material emission database for 90 target VOCs. National Research Council Canada . 2005. http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/pubs/fulltext/nrcc48314/nrcc48314.pdf

(176) Shaw, C. Y., Won, D., and Reardon, J. Managing Volatile Organic Compounds and Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings – An Engineering Approach. RR-205. 2005. http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/pubs/rr/rr205/rr205.pdf available from http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

(177) Apte MG, Fisk WJ, Daisey JM. Associations between indoor CO2 concentrations and sick building syndrome symptoms in U.S. office buildings: an analysis of the 1994-1996 BASE study data. Indoor Air. 2000;10:246-257.

(178) Won, D., Lusztyk, E., and Shaw, C. Y. Target VOC List. National Research Council Canada . 2005. http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/pubs/rr/rr206/rr206.pdf available from http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

(179) Environment Canada. The Need for Immediate Action - Canada's New Clean Air Regulatory Agenda - Backgrounder. The Green LaneTM, Environment Canada's World Wide Web site . 19-10-2006. available from http://www.ec.gc.ca/press/2006/061019-3_b_e.htm

(180) Lindblad-Toh K. Genome sequencing Three's company. Nature. 2004;428:475-476.

(181) ASHRAE Board of Directors. Indoor Air Quality. American Society of Healthing, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.1791 Tullie Circle, NE • Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2305 • (404) 636-8400 • fax: (404) 321-5478 • www.ashrae.org . 10-2-2005.

(182) Kilburn KH. Indoor air effects after building renovation and in manufactured homes. Am J Med Sci. 2000;320:249-254.

(183) Reitzig M, Mohr S, Heinzow B, Knoppel H. VOC Emissions after Building Renovations: Traditional and Less Common Indoor Air Contaminants, Potential Sources, and Reported Health Complaints. Indoor Air. 1998;8:91-102.

(184) Canada Green Building Council. Green Building Rating System for New Construction & Major Renovations LEED Canada-NC Version 1.0. Canada Green Building Council . 2004. http://www.cagbc.org/uploads/FINAL_LEED%20CANADA-NC%201.0_Green%20Building%20Rating%20System.pdf available from http://www.cagbc.org/building_rating_systems/leed_rating_system.php

(185) Yura A, Iki M, Shimizu T. [Indoor air pollution in newly built or renovated elementary schools and its effects on health in children]. Nippon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2005;52:715-726.

(186) Molhave L, Dueholm S, Jensen LK. Assessment of Exposures and Health Risks Related to Formaldehyde Emissions from Furniture: a Case Study. Indoor Air. 1995;5:104-119.

(187) Greenpeace. Guide to Greener Electronics. 18-9-2006. http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/greener-electronics-guide.pdf available from greenpeace.org/electronics

(188) Bridges B. Fragrances and allergic reactions. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2001;14:400a-4401.

(189) Bridges B. Fragrance: emerging health and environmental concerns. Flavour Fragr J 17, 361-371. 2002. 17-1-2007.

(190) Anderson RC, Anderson JH. Acute toxic effects of fragrance products. Arch Environ Health. 1998;53:138-146.

(191) Lessenger JE. Occupational acute anaphylactic reaction to assault by perfume spray in the face. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2001;14:137-140.

(192) Public Service Alliance of Canada. PSAC Awareness kit on scent-free environments (Chemical Sensitivities - Environmental Illness). PSAC . 1998. http://www.psacbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/01/scent_free_web_e.pdf

(193) Small BM. Creating mold-free buildings: a key to avoiding health effects of indoor molds. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:523-527.

(194) Lee TG. Health symptoms caused by molds in a courthouse. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:442-446.

(195) Shoemaker RC, House DE. Sick building syndrome (SBS) and exposure to water-damaged buildings: time series study, clinical trial and mechanisms. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2006;28:573-588.

(196) Edmondson DA, Nordness ME, Zacharisen MC, Kurup VP, Fink JN. Allergy and "toxic mold syndrome". Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005;94:234-239.

(197) Vojdani A, Campbell AW, Kashanian A, Vojdani E. Antibodies against molds and mycotoxins following exposure to toxigenic fungi in a water-damaged building. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:324-336.

(198) Meyer HW, Wurtz H, Suadicani P, Valbjorn O, Sigsgaard T, Gyntelberg F. Molds in floor dust and building-related symptoms in adolescent school children. Indoor Air. 2004;14:65-72.

(199) Meyer HW, Wurtz H, Suadicani P, Valbjorn O, Sigsgaard T, Gyntelberg F. Molds in floor dust and building-related symptoms among adolescent school children: a problem for boys only? Indoor Air. 2005;15 Suppl 10:17-24.:17-24.

(200) Meklin T, Husman T, Vepsalainen A et al. Indoor air microbes and respiratory symptoms of children in moisture damaged and reference schools. Indoor Air. 2002;12:175-183.

(201) Straus DC, Cooley JD, Wong WC, Jumper CA. Studies on the role of fungi in Sick Building Syndrome. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:475-478.

(202) Ahman M, Lundin A, Musabasic V, Soderman E. Improved Health After Intervention in a School with Moisture Problems. Indoor Air. 2000;10:57-62.

(203) Ebbehoj NE, Hansen MO, Sigsgaard T, Larsen L. Building-related symptoms and molds: a two-step intervention study. Indoor Air. 2002;12:273-277.

(204) Centers for Disease Control.U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. Respiratory Infection - Pennsylvania. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 1997;46:49-56.

(205) Hirvonen M-R, Huttunen K, Roponen M. Bacterial strains from moldy buildings are highly potent inducers of inflammatory and cytotoxic effects. Indoor Air. 2005;15:65-70.

(206) Warsco K, Lindsey PF. Proactive approaches for mold-free interior environments. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:512-522.

(207) Brandt M, Brown C, Burkhart J, Burton N, Cox-Ganser J, Damon S, Falk H, Fridkin S, Garbe P, McGeehin M, Morgan J, Page E, Rao C, Redd S, Sinks T, Trout D, Wallingford K, Warnock D, and Weissman D. Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 55[RR08], 1-27. 2006. Centers for Disease Control. USA. available from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5508a1.htm

(208) Shusterman D, Balmes J, Avila PC, Murphy MA, Matovinovic E. Chlorine inhalation produces nasal congestion in allergic rhinitics without mast cell degranulation. Eur Respir J. 2003;21:652-657.

(209) Gorguner M, Aslan S, Inandi T, Cakir Z. Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome in housewives due to a bleach-hydrochloric acid mixture. Inhal Toxicol. 2004;16:87-91.

(210) Shusterman D, Murphy MA, Walsh P, Balmes JR. Cholinergic blockade does not alter the nasal congestive response to irritant provocation. Rhinology. 2002;40:141-146.

(211) Thickett KM, McCoach JS, Gerber JM, Sadhra S, Burge PS. Occupational asthma caused by chloramines in indoor swimming-pool air. Eur Respir J. 2002;19:827-832.

(212) Medina-Ramon M, Zock JP, Kogevinas M et al. Asthma, chronic bronchitis, and exposure to irritant agents in occupational domestic cleaning: a nested case-control study. Occup Environ Med. 2005;62:598-606.

(213) U.S.Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation Indoor Environments Division. Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. US EPA . 2007. www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/graphics/moldremediation.pdf

(214) Common Ground Collective. EM used to clean up mold. Common Ground Relief . 11-11-2006. http://www.commongroundrelief.org/em available from http://www.commongroundrelief.org

(215) Seppanen OA, Fisk WJ. Summary of human responses to ventilation. Indoor Air. 2004;14:102-118.

(216) Sherman M. ASHRAE's New Residential Ventilation Standard. ASHRAE Journal, January 2004. 2004. http://utwired.engr.utexas.edu/siegel/ARE381E_S06/references/ASHRAE62_2_sherman.pdf

(217) Bourbeau J, Brisson C, Allaire S. Prevalence of the sick building syndrome symptoms in office workers before and after being exposed to a building with an improved ventilation system. Occup Environ Med. 1996;53:204-210.

(218) Wargocki P, Lagercrantz L, Witterseh T, Sundell J, Wyon DP, Fanger PO. Subjective perceptions, symptom intensity and performance: a comparison of two independent studies, both changing similarly the pollution load in an office. Indoor Air. 2002;12:74-80.

(219) Abraham ME. Microanalysis of Indoor Aerosols and the Impact of a Compact High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter System. Indoor Air. 1999;9:33-40.

(220) Moritz M, Peters H, Nipko B, Ruden H. Capability of air filters to retain airborne bacteria and molds in heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2001;203:401-409.

(221) Clausen G. Ventilation filters and indoor air quality: a review of research from the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy. Indoor Air. 2004;14:202-207.

(222) Tarkowski M, Lutz W, Birindelli S. The lymphocytic cholinergic system and its modulation by organophosphorus pesticides. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2004;17:325-337.

(223) Sandborn M, Cole D, Kerr K, Vakil C, Sanin LH, and Bassil K. Ontario College of Family Physicians. Pesticides Literature Review. 2003. 27-8-2006. available from http://www.ocfp.on.ca/english/ocfp/communications/publications/default.asp?s=1#EnvironmentHealth

(224) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Questions and Answers - EMF in the Workplace. http://www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/html/Q&A-Workplace.html . 1996.

(225) Havas M. Biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic energy: A critical review of the reports by the US National Research Council and the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as they relate to the broad realm of EMF bioeffects. Environ Rev. 2000;8:173-253.

(226) Kheifets L, Repacholi M, Saunders R, van DE. The sensitivity of children to electromagnetic fields. Pediatrics. 2005;116:e303-e313.

(227) Goldsmith JR. Epidemiologic evidence relevant to radar (microwave) effects. Environ Health Perspect. 1997;105 Suppl 6:1579-87.:1579-1587.

(228) Hocking B. Microwave sickness: a reappraisal. Occup Med (Lond). 2001;51:66-69.

(229) Hocking B. Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma. Br J Cancer. 2006;94:1350-1353.

(230) Hocking B, Westerman R. Neurological effects of radiofrequency radiation. Occup Med (Lond). 2003;53:123-127.

(231) Kundi M. Re: "cellular telephone use and risk of acoustic neuroma". Am J Epidemiol. 2004;160:923-924.

(232) Schuz J, Bohler E, Berg G et al. Cellular phones, cordless phones, and the risks of glioma and meningioma (Interphone Study Group, Germany). Am J Epidemiol. 2006;163:512-520.

(233) Hardell L, Hansson MK. Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma: results of the interphone case-control study in five North European countries. Br J Cancer. 2006;94:1348-1349.

(234) Hardell L, Hansson MK, Sandstrom M, Carlberg M, Hallquist A, Pahlson A. Vestibular schwannoma, tinnitus and cellular telephones. Neuroepidemiology. 2003;22:124-129.

(235) Hardell L, Mild KH, Carlberg M. Further aspects on cellular and cordless telephones and brain tumours. Int J Oncol. 2003;22:399-407.

(236) Hardell L, Mild KH, Carlberg M, Hallquist A. Cellular and cordless telephone use and the association with brain tumors in different age groups. Arch Environ Health. 2004;59:132-137.

(237) Hardell L, Carlberg M, Mild KH. Case-control study of the association between the use of cellular and cordless telephones and malignant brain tumors diagnosed during 2000-2003. Environ Res. 2006;100:232-241.

(238) Institute of Biomedical Engineering Technology. Electromagnetic Interference: Causes and Concerns in the Health Care Environment. IBET is administered by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC) All professional Biomedical Engineering Technologists and Technicians registered with the ASTTBC are members of IBET. 2007. available from http://ibet.asttbc.org/

(239) World Health Organization. 2006 WHO Research Agenda for Radio Frequency Fields. World Health Organization . 2006. http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/rf_research_agenda_2006.pdf

(240) Maisch D, Podd J, and Rapley B. Changes in Health Status in a Group of CFS and CF Patients Following Removal of Excessive 50 Hz Magnetic Field Exposure. Journal of Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 21[1], 15-19. 2002. http://www.acnem.org/journal/pdf_files/21-1_april_2002/21-1-health_of_cfs_patients_on_emf_removal.pdf

(241) Arendt J. Melatonin and human rhythms. Chronobiol Int. 2006;23:21-37.

(242) Roberts JE. Update on the positive effects of light in humans. Photochem Photobiol. 2005;81:490-492.

(243) Kauppila A, Pakarinen A, Kirkinen P, Makila U. The effect of season on the circulating concentrations of anterior pituitary, ovarian and adrenal cortex hormones and hormone binding proteins in the subarctic area; evidence of increased activity of the pituitary-ovarian axis in spring. Gynecol Endocrinol. 1987;1:137-150.

(244) Rea MS, Figueiro MG, Bullough JD, Bierman A. A model of phototransduction by the human circadian system. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2005;50:213-228.

(245) Genuis SJ. Keeping your sunny side up. How sunlight affects health and well-being. Can Fam Physician. 2006;52:422-3, 429-31.:422-431.

(246) Kuller R, Laike T. The impact of flicker from fluorescent lighting on well-being, performance and physiological arousal. Ergonomics. 1998;41:433-447.

(247) Marks TA, Ratke CC, English WO. Stray voltage and developmental, reproductive and other toxicology problems in dogs, cats and cows: a discussion. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1995;37:163-172.

(248) Hultgren J. Small electric currents affecting farm animals and man: a review with special reference to stray voltage. I. Electric properties of the body and the problem of stray voltage. Vet Res Commun. 1990;14:287-298.

(249) Hultgren J. Small electric currents affecting farm animals and man: a review with special reference to stray voltage. II. Physiological effects and the concept of stress. Vet Res Commun. 1990;14:299-308.

(250) Mairs RJ, Hughes K, Fitzsimmons S et al. Microsatellite analysis for determination of the mutagenicity of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields and ionising radiation in vitro. Mutat Res. 2007;626:34-41.

(251) Mild KH, Mattsso MO, Hardell L, Bowman JD, Kundi M. Occupational carcinogens: ELF MFs. Environ Health Perspect. 2005;113:A726-A727.

(252) de VF, van DH, Engels H, Kromhout H. Exposure, health complaints and cognitive performance among employees of an MRI scanners manufacturing department. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2006;23:197-204.

(253) Hardell L, Mild KH, Carlberg M, Soderqvist F. Tumour risk associated with use of cellular telephones or cordless desktop telephones. World J Surg Oncol. 2006;4:74.:74.

(254) Schoemaker MJ, Swerdlow AJ, Ahlbom A et al. Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma: results of the Interphone case-control study in five North European countries. Br J Cancer. 2005;93:842-848.

(255) Maisch D. Mobile Phone Use: it's time to take precautions. Journal of Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmentl Medicine. 2002;21:3-10.

(256) International Association of Fire Fighters and Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine. Position on the Health Effects from Radio Frequency/Microwave (RF/MW) Radiation in Fire Department Facilities from Base Stations for Antennas and Towers for the Conduction of Cell Phone Transmissions. 2006. available from http://www.iaff.org/safe/content/celltower/celltowerfinal.htm

(257) Boyd DR. The Food We Eat. David Suzuki Foundation . 2006. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/files/SWAG/DSF-HEHC-Food1.pdf available from http://www.davidsuzuki.org/WOL/Publications.asp

(258) Indoor Environments Division Office of Radiation and Indoor Air Office of Air and Radiation United States Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Cost and IAQ Performance of Ventilation Systems and Controls - Project Report # 7 The Cost of Protecting Indoor Environmental Quality During Energy Efficiency Projects for Office and Education Buildings - Integrating Indoor Environmental Quality with Energy Efficiency. USA Environmental Protection Agency . 2000. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/resources/(2)%20Energy%20Cost%20and%20IAQ/Project%20Report%207.PDF available from http://www.epa.gov

(259) New Zealand Association of Hairdressers Inc. Guide to occupational safety and health for the hairdressing industry. 1997. http://www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/ipp/hairdressers.pdf

(260) Connecticut Department of Public Health - Division of Environmental Epidemiology & Occupational Health. Hairdressers and Work-related Respiratory Disease. 1998. http://www.dph.state.ct.us/Publications/BRS/EOHA/news898.pdf

(261) Bowman JK, Kelsh MA, and Kaune WT. Manual for Measuring Occupational Electric and Magnetic Field Exposures. NIOSH . 1998. available from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/98-154pd.html

(262) Kats G. Greening America's Schools Costs and Benefits. www.cap-e.com . 2006. http://www.cap-e.com/ewebeditpro/items/O59F9819.pdf

(263) Environmental Law Institute. Building Healthy, High Performance Schools: A Review of Selected State and Local Initiatives. Washington D.C.All rights reserved.ISBN# 1-58576-069-2, ELI project code 011404 . 2003. http://www.elistore.org/reports_detail.asp?ID=10925

(264) Pejtersen J, Brohus H, Hyldgaard CE et al. Effect of renovating an office building on occupants' comfort and health. Indoor Air. 2001;11:10-25.

(265) Chao HJ, Schwartz J, Milton DK, Burge HA. The work environment and workers' health in four large office buildings. Environ Health Perspect. 2003;111:1242-1248.

(266) WHO European Centre for Environment and Health. Strategic approaches to indoor air policy-making. World Health Organization . 1999. http://www.euro.who.int/document/e65523.pdf

< The Health Effects of Electrical Pollution  |  The Possible Role of Contact Current in Cancer Risk Associated With Residential Magnetic Fields >

Customer Reviews

more details
2 Personal Phone Consulting with Shaun Kranish - Owner of ElectraHealth.com Personal Phone Consulting with Shaun Kranish - Owner of ElectraHealth.com
$37.00
more details
3 Ethernet grounding adapter kit Ethernet grounding adapter kit
$29.97
more details
HF59B Meter / HFE59B Meter Kit - Professional RF Radiofrequency Meter by Gigahertz Solutions HF59B Meter / HFE59B Meter Kit - Professional RF Radiofrequency Meter by Gigahertz Solutions
$1,165.00
more details
Ethernet grounding adapter kit
$29.97
Premium shielded ethernet computer network Internet cable - 50ft
$29.97