Daily Gasp 03.18.13

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Wood Smoke…
beware it can be quite harmful

I sit here on the couch writing this latest Daily Gasp, doing just that, gasping.  I have had light chills and fever, body aches, a nasty headache and a most unusual sore throat, for the past 48 hours.  All due to wood smoke.

But I’m ahead of the story.  Let me take you back to where it started; Why and How I got here and most important, HOW to prevent the same situation for reoccurring.

Over the past couple of months, we have been noticing a disturbing smell in our house.  The smell of hot dust. You know the smell. The one you get when you turn on a lamp – that has set undisturbed for some time  – after the bulb warms, the collected dust heats us creating a distinctive odor without any smoke or flame.  Because the odor diffuses quickly it is very difficult to track down the origin.

Each time I sensed the odor – and I did so quickly – I would rush between outlets, feeling each cover and equally feeling all the areas of wall around each outlet for warmth. Nothing. Grabbing up power strips to smell and touch.  Nothing. Only the pungent smell. The more we sought to find the source, we were able to determine that the source had to be downstairs, but that was as far as our investigation went.

A most annoying and frightening mystery.  The premonition of the condo burning was not pleasant.

We awoke as normal on Friday morning last, to a cooler than normal house. The furnace, we found out, was not working.  I called and was able to get a repairman out that morning.  After a couple of hours of troubleshooting and repair, he announced, ‘it should work’..  And it did all day Friday.  But again we awoke Saturday morning to no heat.

It wouldn’t have been too bad, had the weather report held with what was forecast at midweek. But, alas, it didn’t! The weather and temperature took a very seasonally strange turn toward COLD!  Wind. Temperatures with highs in the low-20’s and windy, made for a rather miserable time.

We were not going to be home, so we just ignored the cooling house and figured we could ‘hold-out’ until Monday; in order to keep from paying for ‘weekend HVAC repairs’.  Besides – we had the little fireplace to ‘knock-the-chill-0ff’.  It wasn’t a problem since we’d it for the last couple of years – off-and-one – with no negative problems.  Cool ..! We’ll just light-up the fireplace and enjoy some romantic, old-time comfort.

Famous last words ….

The Turn of the Tide

I did just that. Prepared the fire, as I had done many dozens of times before.  I grew up on a farm. For years we heated with wood heat, from a stove.  My parents moved from the farm and built a new house with a fireplace and woodstove insert. I knew all about building a fire and what wood to use.  What I was not prepared for was the result of inhaling wood smoke as an MCS sufferer.

The fire started and the heat was rolling out.  Ohhhh! It was nice and welcome.  For roughly 6 hours we enjoyed the familiar and cozy warmth of a wood fire.  Then the wind began to blow.  By 10 PM the wind was blowing about 20 mph with gusts to 40+. That was when I noticed the puffing of smoke out of the fireplace doors.

This wasn’t something of too much concern, since most fireplaces have ‘backdraft’ problems when wind gusts get too strong. Past experience told me it would be ‘smokey smelling’ but that would dissipate rapidly and then we’d be back to normal.

But it didn’t work that way.  Shortly after the smoke began to roll out the doors, I began to become quite congested.  Soon after a headache began. Within an hour I was into full-blown MCS FRAGG!  Fibromyalgia. Chills. Headache. Cough. Rash. Foggy-brain. The whole shebang!

By this time I had managed to extinguish the fire. But the damage was done.  And we had to open the windows and doors in an attempt to air the condo out.  Well after about 2 hours, my wife could no longer stand the cold and we had to shut the windows.  For her the smell of smoke was gone. For me it was imprinted upon my olfactory like an indelible tattoo.  The saga had begun.

Sunday I awoke more in the realm of the dead-walking, than in the living. I could barely move – and chose not to.  Bedridden except for mandatory bathroom trips.  My wife was both angry and perplexed.  We had never encountered this reaction before.  And what were we going to do, if the furnace could not be fixed soon and the temps -constantly falling- were not looking to warm up for several days.

Showering would have been an exercise in masochistic insanity.  But since my wife had to go to work on Monday, we needed heat! But the fireplace was a total ‘NO WAY’.  I was in bed all day; in and out of a state of pain induced confusion.  I was no help and going south fast.

Fortunately the HVAC pros were able to come early on Monday and finally fix the furnace.  As it turned out the cause of the problem was ‘factory-based’ – so the repair was covered under warranty. But that was the only good part of the whole ordeal.

I don’t know how I will react to wood smoke from this point forward, but I can say for sure, I will be avoiding it at all cost.

UPDATE  04.20.13 —-

Over the past month I have encountered wood smoke:  a) outside the condo from others burning wood in their fireplaces;  b) while walking;  c) driving down the road – in each case, the reactions – thought not as severe, have all had the same results: it make me sick.  Just the slightest smell is all it takes to set the MCS FRAGG into motion.  In this case.. it may be a pseudo-MCS; smell induced memory, in which neuroplasticity is at play; that is the true culprit. Regardless, the smell-of-woodsmoke induces an MCS FRAGG reaction.  I have not allowed myself to go far enough into a FRAGG incident to see it the results equal that night with the fireplace. And frankly, I am not that self-experimental and don’t have that much desire to know.  It happened once – and that was enough for me.

More ‘casual-causal’ observations will be needed to draw a full conclusion. In the meantime… I am avoiding ALL wood smoke.

Just one more thing, which I enjoyed before-MCS, I have now lost.   MCS is a tragedy to life.

YOSAKIME

Daily GASP 03.01.13

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Demarle Silpat® silcone/fiberglass non-stick cooking sheet

Empirical evidence is what is needed to ‘prove’ the danger of anything. Empirical data is hard to come by when huge amounts of money are involved. It seems to clog up the common and good sense orifices of society.

I am writing this while setting in our dining area, just off the kitchen, typing this with a splitting headache, beginnings of fibromyalgia, congestion, growing nervousness and topical itching spreading across my upper torso and stomach.

I am MCS (mutliple chemical sensitive). I have been for nearly 12 years. Though I am nowhere as troubled by incursions as I once was, mainly due to NAET treatments and franky, isolating myself from exposures to chemicals.

My body has begun to stabilize; again able to buffer against chemical incursions so that, as long as my exposure is kept to within tolerable limits, I avoid serious setback. But my sensitivity is as intense as ever.

My wife recently purchased a Demarle cooking sheet, at an ‘At Home’ party sponsored by a friend. I had no idea what the party was about – other than a ‘cooking party’.  I was not attending the party, mostly because, due to the MCS, I must severely curtain my contact with groups and unknown environments.

As we pulled away, after picking my wife up from the ‘cooking-party’, my wife began telling me about the ‘wonderful’ product she had been introduced to and how ‘amazing’ it was for baking. I asked what it was made from: she said, spun fiberglass, coated with cooking-grade silicone. She then told me she had ordered a cooking sheet and a cake pan.

It was probably a good thing it was dark in the car. She couldn’t see the grimmace on my face.

I asked one question and did not ask another. Those who know any MCS family/relationship/person, understand the ‘tension’ that can rise when, ‘once again’ — the questions begin.

My question I asked,” Did you smell anything ‘non-food’; chemical; acrid?” She said no. My wife does not have near the sensitivity I do in sensing odors, but she is alert. So, I felt, ‘OK, this might not be a problem.’

The question I did NOT ask, “Did the host mention anything about ‘burn in’? I wish I had.

Had I asked that I would not be setting here with a growing sense of malaise washing over my growing headache and body pains.

She mentioned the ‘host’ said there were no VOC‘s. I am not a practicing scientiest, but have worked in several accompanying positions with many scientists, in a number of fields:chemistry and physics; engineering; applied sciences; natural sciences. I’ve also been long involved in the industrial and commercial end of business. One of the reasons why I eventually went MCS.

So I know a good deal about VOC’s, volatile organic compounds. These are what ‘off-gas‘ when a material is heated. This is a grave concern to the MCS person. And the first thing I thought of when this product came to my attention.  As I found out later, the only thing the company says about ‘VOCs’, is that they clain there are no VOC’s given off in the manufacturing of their products. Nothing is said about any ‘VOC off-gassing’ in the USE of their products.

I should have said, ‘No thank you. I don’t think this will work. It’s not worth the risk’. But I have to say this so often. This is a serous personal and social problem MCS people face.

We are to leave early in the morning for a weekend with friends and our son and his family: our only grandchildren. IF this is a ‘fragg’ – then I will be sick for the next 48 hours, at least. IF not, no worry; just a temporary ill-feeling; bummer of an evening, but juice for this article. But, I seriously doubt this is a mere ‘ill-feeling’. The pattern fits an all too familiar scenario.  IF it’s a really bad ‘fragg’, we won’t be going anywhere.

I began a search on the product Demarle shortly after the conditions began manifesting this evening. Yes, this is something I should have done the very moment I heard what my wife had ordered; but I did not. I get so sick and tired of being on ‘constant vigilance as a chemical-detective.  Again, a real problem for the fraternity of MCS sufferes. That won’t happen again.

I find the Demarle is a French company, started back in 1965, by A. Guy Demarle.  The product that he invented, has revolutionized the baking industry. No doubt it has been greatly responsible for our access to so many types of well-baked breads.  But of course, we really don’t need to eat as much ‘grain-product’ as we do .. but that is a whole other can-o-worms.

Suffice it to say, a company that has made such advancements in the cooking and baking industry; being quite responsible for many profit margins and incomes – is NOT going to just role over and cease – because they produce a product that is harmful to a few: though a growing few: people.  This is the nature of business.

In my research this evening I came across a blog post, on a blog called, GREEN YOUR WAY, with an artical titled, Is Silicone Bakeware Really Safe?. The article written by Katie, was posted November 7, 2011.

It was a resonably well written article and it tried to address the issue of the title.  But, the author eventually admitted she, in-the-end, wrote another x-number word article that didn’t say anything new on the topic: Is Silicone Bakeware Safe. There are a number of Internet links on this subject. Some are interesting. A few are worthy of reading. Most are rants and raves with nothing more than vitriol and not worth clicking on.  Still I found the article a useful piece.  For no other reason than to highlite the real problem.

Empirical data. 

If one cannot produce deep, repeated, authoritative empirical data that – in the minds of Government, Law, Commerce and the Boardroom – that the product in question is a proven problem, then ‘forgetaboutit’. Move on. Drop it. There is no problem. Case closed.

Empirical data is treated with the class of a diety.  Nothing can be valid unless there is acceptable – to the ‘knowing class’ – empirical, scientifically derived data. Nothing else is valid.  It may be of interest to discussion, but not in decision making.

That really does not sit well on my already very discombobulated nervous system.

Empirical evidence? No, I can’t say I have that. Not in any form an official science-official would accept.

But … A very bad – and growing, worsening headache; aching muscles and joints; burning/itching sensation and overall nervous condition that makes it really hard to concentrate and not make typing mistakes? Yes. I have a lot of that.

My wife began baking her ‘granola’ on that Silpat sheet at 8:15PM EST GMT -5. At 8:14PM EST GMT -5, I felt just fine. At 8:16PM EST, GMT -5, from inside the downstairs bathroom, with a strong exhaust fan running, I got a whiff of what I can best describe as a ‘thin line of an acrid hot-chemical smell’. I know the time, as I was looking at my phone at the moment. Before 8:20PM EST GMT -5, my headache began. Early signs of a fibro-attack began under a minute later. Then roughly 3 minutes later the itching and burning, wrapped in the nervousness, began.

At 8:27PM EST GMT -5, I walked into kitchen saying, ‘Turn on the fan!’ NO, I was not calm or nice. I was in pain. My wife had not even noticed the ‘thin line of an acrid hot-chemical smell’. I am not surprised. It was masked for her by the cooking granola smells. By the time she cleared the food off the sheet and took it out to the garage, 10 more minutes had passed. The entire house -for me- was inundated.

It’s 31F outside. I opened an upstairs window and turned a large fan to blow OUT. It ran for over 30 minutes. The house cooled down. But the smell? It persists. If I go outside, I will NOT be able to return.

It is now, 12:35PM EST GMT -5 and the physiological conditions persist and are elevating. This is not a good sign. Ten plus years of experiene tells me I am in the early stages of a ‘major Fragg’. The next 48-72 hours will be very painful.

Empirical data? Maybe not.

But I’d sure love to have a collection of those scientists who say this product is safe and free from any environmental dangers, stand in front of me right now. As I could provide them with a descent replication of Michael J. Fox, during the mid-years of his ‘Spin City’ TV show. Nervously moving about, near-uncontrollable… and have them tell me that it’s purely subjective and merely anectdotal.

Maybe if I puked on their shoes, they’d feel a bit less egotistical and truly ‘see’ that clinical evidence of my suffering, is actually quantifiable empirical data.

Then again, data is always subject to analysis.  But at least they’d have the stench of that puke to forget … wouldn’t they..?

YOSAKIME

Daily Gasp: 02.01.2012

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PCB DANGERS | Very much prevalent and causing serious trauma

 

This report from yesterday (01.31.12) in the Environmental Health Perspectives, Above The Fold (daily news briefing) reported on a new study of a special cohort of babies in Slovakia.  The results are beyond troubling.

 

Basic assessment:  Mother’s who have higher levels of PCB congenersin their blood samples, delivered babies with significant thymus gland volume at birth. Further monitoring of the babies showed a consistently higher loss of thymus volume.

 

And the last line from the Abstract is the most concerning to the human community: with special interest to the MCS community:

 

“Implications regarding impaired immunologic maturation or long-term clinical implications remain to be determined.”

Once again, it’s what we don’t know that is most worrying.

 

But what we do know is simple:  We have dumped untold millions of tons of chemicals into our planet’s system without having a clue as to the eventual outcomes.  One one word is left to describe such a lame action: INSANE.  Sheer insanity.

 

YOSAKIME

 


Read the full abstract here:
Pre- and Postnatal Polychlorinated Biphenyl Concentrations and Longitudinal Measures of Thymus Volume in Infants

 

Daily Gasp: 01.21.2012

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MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity)is a condition I have lived with for now, just over 12 years. And due to the nature of the condition, will live with, for the rest of my life.

Really sad part: It did not have to be this way.

MCS is a very serious health erosion problem for those who suffer daily from the loss of immune stabilization, due to synthetic chemical exposure; as well as myriad of other ‘modern society’ conditions.

What many are totally unaware of is this: MCS is already affecting each and every person: those who are reading this and those who are not. No one is immune from it’s reach.It’s a time bomb. Steadily ticking; with your number rolling up; whether you’re aware or not.

Educate yourself about MCS.

  • Know what it is;
  • How it hits;
  • Why it hits;
  • Whom it hits.
  • But most important – learn how you CAN AVOID getting hit.


I’m reminded to post this because I just read this article: http://www.photozz.com/fizz/24603903.aspx

Very well stated; with stats that will no doubt surprise many. And sadly, those stats aren’t the half of the reality.

Got questions or comments: talk to me at http://YOSAKIME.wordpress.com/. Be proactive – your future will thank you.

YOSAKIME

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