(written by Dr. Albert Robbins, Jacki's Environmental Physician, in response to Governor Bush's Proclamation (see bottom of page) declaring May 7-13, 2000 "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week" in the State of Florida – used by permission)
What is most sad… about the allergy explosion and the rise in asthma in modern nations… is that allergic individuals are not properly warned about personal exposures that aggravate the allergies and that are generally "masked" or not suspected: The patient doesn't know that his/her personal care products are affecting him/her until he/she unmasks or avoids these exposures.
Remember that these allergic individuals are "hypersensitive," which means that they are reactive to a far lower level of air pollutant exposure than the general population. They are not aware that their own personal care products increase their reactivity.
Couple that hypersensitivity with the current fact that most of us are exposed to a wide number of VOC's… volatile organic compounds… chemical smells or gases such as perfume, fragrance, aerosol sprays, skin lotions, colognes, polishes, smelly chemical cleaning products, fabric softeners, dry cleaning fluids, scented detergents and soaps that we sometimes carry with us all day long on our skin, hair, clothing, and even in our handbags and autos.
Adding insult to injury, the allergic patient is not properly warned to meticulously avoid many of these chemical irritant products by their own physicians. This then leads to a need for more medications to stabilize the allergic individual for long periods of time and the risk of progression of the allergic disease, as well as the risk of developing side effects from the medications.
To add more insult to injury, doctors and nurses who don't understand the dilemma of the "chemically hypersensitive" contribute to the problem by labelling those allergic people who avoid aggravating chemical exposures as "psychiatric cases" and by labelling physicians like myself, who warn the allergic to avoid certain chemical exposures, as "quacks."
Even more difficult… once the allergic patient begins to help himself by choosing the correct hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products and environmental controls… is convincing family and friends not to make them sick by bringing them around obnoxious chemical exposures.
For these reasons, I believe that I have a tremendous responsibility to warn my patients and other allergic individuals of the obvious neglect by most physicians to warn patients about proper environmental controls in addressing allergic diseases. There is too much emphasis on medication to control symptoms and not enough emphasis on prevention of allergic reactions.
I wrote this poem for my patients to emphasize this key point:
(Chemair © Copyright 5/9/00 Albert Robbins)
Now asthma's on the rise everywhere
While agents of disease hide in our air.
I hate to burst the chemical industry's bubble,
But the chemicals are here
So I must warn you double.
If Paul Revere were here, he'd say, "Beware
of breathing man-made chemicals in the air."
Most doctors don't know that they don't know,
So the victims aren't aware
They have a chemical foe.
The red tape in medicine hides the truth
While polluted indoor air affects our youth.
Sick buildings are so new we don't have answers.
There's a silent chemical invasion
of immune disease and cancers.
Neurotoxins mess with our kids' brains.
Is it environmental, or am I insane?
Ritalin creates convenience moods;
Sherlock Holmes would be shocked
We missed the environmental clues."