examples of severe chemical injurY FROM DR. ZIEM’S PATIENTS
Pesticides have induced more toxic encephalopathy, reactive airway disease and other disabling chemical illness among the patients of Dr. Ziem than any other single category of chemicals. These include but are not limited to chlordane, organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids and interior use of pyrethrin. Please consult the Hazardous Chemicals section of this website for more information on individual categories/types of pesticides. Also see Pesticides and Immune Effects on this website.
Pesticide-induced illness has occurred not only with illegal misapplication, but also with legal application. It is important to remember that laws always lag behind science, and that laws and regulations are influenced by politics not just science. We would all like a government that truly protects us, but we do not have this. While it is important to correct the undue influence of financially interested parties on government decision-making, government policies will always lag behind scientific knowledge.
Learn about any chemical substance before using it in your home, ask your employer about what pesticides are used and urge less toxic controls. Do the same with your landlord or condo management.
It is obviously imperative that nontoxic pest control be utilized in all schools: there is no place for use of any substance that is neurotoxic or potentially neurotoxic in a learning environment. There is no place for the use of neurotoxic pesticides and chemicals in places where individuals have little control, such as apartments, condominiums, workplaces.
Chemicals Used to "Clean" or "Restore" the Home/Work Environment
The young healthy patient working out of his home had a modest soot contamination which soiled clothing, furniture, etc. He did not develop any symptoms from this exposure (although carbon monoxide could have been involved with increased risk of later sensitization). (see Combustion Products under Hazardous Chemicals, this website).
Very extensive use of solvents, including but not limited to many chlorinated solvents were used to "clean" stuffed furniture, clothing, drapes, bedding and numerous porous home surfaces. After this chemical contamination, he developed increasingly severe respiratory and neurologic symptoms with ever-increasing fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal aching secondary to inflammation, impaired detoxification and other forms of chemical injury. Diagnostic failure to recognize the cause of this problem at an earlier stage led to continued exposure with the development of total disability and current severely painful, debilitating chemical illness.
Dr. Ziem has other patients who developed disability with such "cleaning/restoration" chemical misuse, rather than replacing contaminated substances and surfaces. This includes patients disabled from chemical use on air-conditioning intake (for spraying a few eggs that had been thrown at the system as a prank), chemical use for skunk odor, chemical use for house odor following burning a pot on the stove, etc.
Dr. Ziem considers restoration type cleaning with hazardous chemicals gross harmful misuse of chemicals, especially any chemicals that are petroleum or coal-derived and/or respiratory irritants to "clean/restore" surfaces or address "odor" problems. Such work must be done using nontoxic methods.
It is entirely possible that individuals who have suffered some of these "odor" problems being “remediated” could be at increased risk from further chemical exposure, and the use of petroleum or coal-derived chemicals and/or chemicals which are irritants when evaporating constitutes serious chemical misuse.
Unwarranted Use of "Air Fresheners/Deodorizers"
Gross overuse of these chemicals has induced illness in some of Dr. Ziem's patients and exacerbated illness in the vast majority of individuals with chemical injury. Such "air fresheners"/"deodorizers/odor masking chemicals" are typically petrochemical derivatives, many are neurotoxic and create repeated respiratory irritation. Such irritation allows easier entry of chemicals directly into the brain through the nose. Even some natural substances that leave strong odors are irritants to some individuals.
Chemicals do not "freshen" the air: they merely mask an odor. Adequate ventilation is necessary for fresh air. Nontoxic cleaning of restrooms, etc., food cleanup in food preparation areas, trash enclosure and removal in airtight containers that are pest proof without chemical use is a healthy way of effective odor control.
Unnecessary Use of Chlorinated Chemicals
Dr. Ziem has many disabled patients from exposure to unnecessary use of Clorox and other chlorine containing chemicals. Such chemicals interact with organic debris (mold, soil, etc.) and generate chloroform and other neurotoxic and respiratory irritating compounds.
Examples among Dr. Ziem's patients include patients disabled by swabbing floors with diluted Clorox. People do not develop disease from walking on floors and such use of any germicidal agents has no public health benefit with the possible exception of inside an operating room. Even there, much less toxic approaches than chlorinated compounds are effective.
Use of chlorine compounds in indoor pools has created occupational illness among teachers whose offices were located near the pool, and exacerbate respiratory problems already present in other building occupants. Less toxic control of pool, spa algae growth information is available through Greenpeace, (www.greenpeace.org) which has launched a long-needed approach to developing less toxic alternatives to the unnecessary use of chlorinated products.
Be aware that products containing bromine are even more toxic than those containing chlorine, and that iodine containing liquid chemicals used to control algae, etc. is more toxic than either bromine or chlorine. Bromine used in such a manner creates bromoform, and iodine in such a manner creates iodoform. Chloroform from chlorine chemicals, bromoform and iodoform are all toxic to the brain, the liver and irritating to the respiratory tract. Less hazardous approaches are also available for ensuring safe drinking water for campers and in case of emergency: filters, bottled water, boiling, certain ultraviolet devices: contact Greenpeace for safer alternatives (www.greenpeace.org).
Toxic and/or irritating germicidal agents are unnecessarily used on toilet seats and in toilet bowls, with the mistaken impression that this prevents the transmission of disease. As long as people do not touch toilet seats without washing their hands, or children touch or lick toilet seats, there is no public health basis for use of such germicidal agents on toilets or toilet seats. Infectious organisms do not enter the body through the skin, nor do they jump out of toilet water to enter the body. Such use creates an occupational hazard for persons applying these toxic substances, increases respiratory and other illness exacerbation/symptoms in persons using such restrooms, and serves no public health purpose.
Combustion Product Exposure
Dr. Ziem has multiple patients who developed chronic disabling toxic encephalopathy, reactive airway disease and other chemical injury including but not limited to severe fatigue and aching secondary to excessive combustion product exposure. This has included vehicle idling in warehouses, loading docks both in workplaces and vocational-technical areas of schools as well as improperly ventilated garage and service station repair facilities. It is also included improperly maintained gas furnaces where there was potential for release of combustion products into the building space. Another child was disabled because of a gas hot-water heater located near her bedroom and unknowingly leaking combustion products into her sleeping area.
Welding and soldering combustion products have induced illness among numerous patients of Dr. Ziem. These release not only carbon monoxide and usual combustion products, but also the components of the welding and soldering materials as well as materials being welded. This includes a very wide range of occupations and hobbies, ranging from heating metals for craft and glass design, steel and industrial welding, hobby welding and soldering, electronics assembly and welding, and other forms.
Chemicals and Hazardous Substances Used in Ducting and Other Heating and Ventilation Equipment
Some ductwork is lined with fiberglass, or other fiber-form (“fibrous”) substances. This is a porous surface to which volatile chemicals cling and itself releases breathable fibers which cause respiratory and lung damage. There is no need for any fiberglass or any chemical lining inside of ventilation ductwork or in the path of air flow for ventilation systems. Necessary insulation should be least toxic materials and wrapped around the outside in a manner in which they cannot enter the airflow stream of the HVAC system.
Chemical cleaning of ductwork often creates hazards. There is no need to "sterilize" the interior of ductwork: air is not sterile and the body has defense mechanisms. Less toxic devices can be used as necessary, such as certain ultraviolet light devices and certain filters constructed of safe nontoxic materials. Steam cleaning can also be utilized as well as steam cleaning with nontoxic materials and using extension brushes. Proper ventilation design is necessary to facilitate safe cleaning.
Some hotels and other facilities use air fresheners in the HVAC system. Always inquire about this prior to use of any hotel and in your apartment, workplace and school. This is a hazardous unnecessary process.
Chemicals do not" freshen" the air. It is important to remember that the fragrance industry has wrongly been exempted from revealing ingredients it uses, even to doctors! This means that scented products and fragrances can contain neurotoxins, cancer agents and a wide variety of hazardous chemicals without any legal requirement that these substances be listed on the label or disclosed to the user. This process is wrong! Work for healthier laws and regulations.
Other Hazardous and Unnecessary Germicidal Use
Glutaraldehyde (closely related to formaldehyde) is still used as a sterilizing agent in some medical facilities. This has led to severe disabling chemical illness in multiple patients of Dr. Ziem and creates an unnecessary hazard. There are nontoxic methods for sterilizing medical instruments that should be utilized instead.
Formaldehyde and/or phenol are still utilized as "preservatives" for biologic specimens ranging from grade school and high school dissection to medical school cadavers. Much of this instruction can be conducted in other nontoxic ways. Dr. Ziem has multiple patients whose chronic disabling chemical illness originated as instructors where use of formaldehyde, phenol or other toxic specimens was required by the school system.
Dr. Ziem has many, many chemically injured and disabled people from the unnecessary use of solvents. Some of this was exposure with solvent use as "cleaning" when other methods are
safer. Wherever solvents are used, evaporation will occur because solvents evaporate. Even those described as "nonvolatile" evaporate: they just evaporate more slowly. This means they enter the breathing zone, typically cause respiratory irritation most profound in the nose, causing nasal inflammation and allowing even more easy access of chemicals from the nose to the brain. Recall that there is no barrier between the nose and the brain: CHEMICALS BREATHED IN THE NOSE GO DIRECTLY TO THE BRAIN.
Hazards in Health Care Facilities
Tragically, health care facilities are subject to all of the chemical hazards of usual buildings. In addition, there is excessive and unnecessary use of germicidal agents, when nontoxic agents such as borax and green soap would adequately suffice. Green soap should be seriously considered as an operating room scrub and data compared from the medical literature determine its effectiveness.
X-ray development fluid and laboratory analytic chemicals have induced severe disabling illness in patients of Dr. Ziem. Spills and leaks can and do occur and all measures should be undertaken for least toxic chemical use and maximum protection from any leak and spill with regular inspection and maintenance scheduled and mandated.
Operating rooms expose surgical and anesthesiology personnel to chemical anesthetics. Every attempt should be made to utilize the least toxic anesthesia and utilize maximum controls that absolutely minimize any leak potential and adequate operating room exhaust ventilation provided. Various scientific inquiry into the effectiveness of acupuncture is necessary. Dr. Ziem has personally witnessed acupuncture utilized as the sole anesthetic in open chest operations (where the patient was awake, in obviously no pain, and talking to the operating room personnel), and other surgical procedures for which chemical anesthesia is still widely used. While not all surgeons/anesthesiologists for all patients may be able to utilize this approach, more open-minded scientific inquiry is needed for effective pain control and relaxation which still promotes maximum health.