Aerotoxic Syndrome – Finding help and relief

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A few years ago, I received the following e-mail:

Wow… nice article on the ketogenic diet. Here is something you may wish to sink your teeth into… and maybe even be a help…

In late 2010 and early 2011 I inhaled fumes containing organophosphates through oil leaks in an engine. I have suffered incredible pain, nerve disorders, demyelination of brain CNS and PNS, suffered with vision, deaf in one ear and IBS like symptoms.

In 2013 through research, I increased my cholesterol intake substantially through MCT oil and organic butter. In 3 weeks a substantial amount of nerve issues went away. However I am still not well… my ear is still deaf… Our airline has very strict restrictions on social media. So you can not use my name nor can you use the airline’s name… however, this being a global issue, ALL airlines are affected… yes, every single one. It is a design fault in aircraft implemented in the early 1960s and never rectified.

The correspondent, let’s call him John, was referring to Aerotoxic Syndrome. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either, but apparently it is one of the biggest cover-ups in the airline industry. Last Friday, I shared John’s testimony on the Health & Wellness show at SOTT Radio Network, where my co-hosts and I discussed this topic.

Aerotoxic syndrome comes from “bleed air” into the cabins and cockpits that contain toxins. Bleed air is air that is forced into an airplane for breathing via engine turbine compression sections. Most cabin air is 60% bleed air and 40% recycled air. Pilots are subject to 100% bleed air, so they get hit the hardest from bleed air contaminants.

During the radio show, I remembered a testimonial from a clean-up worker at the Gulf Oil Spill. He quickly developed a bizarre neurological syndrome after getting exposed to the toxic cocktail from the oil spill. He travelled to Dr. Rea’s clinic in Dallas where he followed up a strict detox protocol with Far Infrared Saunas, and IV infusions of vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid and other nutrients. The amazing thing is that he recovered.

In fact, I would like to bring up some points that I wrote in The Day the Water Died: Detoxing after the Gulf Oil Spill.

Each one of us is different in our capacity to tolerate chemical pollution. We lose our tolerance to toxins when we are exposed to massive amounts of them or to smaller amounts over a long period to time. This is when even small amounts of toxic chemicals in drugs, food or environment that were previously tolerated, can, all of a sudden, trigger any imaginable disease and/or symptom that is not necessarily related to the initial symptoms of massive toxic exposure. It can trigger an exaggerated reaction, disproportionate to the minimal exposure. Traffic exhaust or cleaning solvents can make you sick, or even the cosmetics you use. Odor sensitivity is one of the main signs of chemical sensitivity.

Some people may experience digestive problems, back and joint pains, tiredness, sore muscles. Others may have mood swings or depression. Everyone is different, so even if individuals are exposed to the same toxins, each person can develop different diseases and symptoms that are unique to them and determined by genetic susceptibility, food intolerances and previous exposure to other toxic chemicals in the environment through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the homes we live in, etc. This individual response also accounts for the different length of time between an initial toxic event and the development of symptoms between individuals. A person with an unhealthy detox system might get sick very quickly, others can be relatively healthy for years before problems begin. Some may end up with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc. Or symptoms can manifest on neurodevelopmental problems in the unborn child of an exposed parent. Furthermore, any stress on your body further depletes its capabilities to heal from the initial trauma: accidents, psychological or emotional stress, etc.

Some people with chemicals like toluene, 2-methylpentane, and 3-methylpentane in their blood may have neurological symptoms such as short-term memory loss, headaches and imbalance; and heart arrhythmias or irregularities; gastrointestinal upset, gas, and bloating. Others don’t have symptoms at all. It all depends on the body’s previous toxic load, genetic vulnerability, nutritional status, etc.

Chemical-induced illnesses often result in impairment, sometimes bearable, but other times causing complete disability. Common symptoms of chemical sensitivity include:

-Ear, nose, and throat: sinusitis, polyps, tinnitus, vertigo, recurrent otitis (ear infections), rhinitis (runny nose), sore throat, cough.
-Neuropsychological: multiple chemical sensitivity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, migraines, seizures, poor memory and concentration.
-Cardiovascular: arrhythmias, hypertension, hypotension, Raynaud’s phenomenon.
-Respiratory: asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, Toluene diisocyanate hypersensitivity, wheezing, breathlessness nausea.
-Eyes: burning, stinging eyes.
-Skin: eczema, hives, other rashes, eruptions.
-Gastrointestinal: irritable bowel, reflux.
-Connective tissue, musculoskeletal: fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome, arthritis, lupus, muscle and joint pain.
-miscellaneous: chronic fatigue syndrome, gulf war syndrome, fluid retention.

Mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize diseases that are due to environmental toxicity of even very low levels of everyday chemicals. These ailments can manifest in a myriad of different ways including physical, mental or emotional symptoms. It is all too easy for a doctor to dismiss them as “all in your head”, when in reality most physicians are neither trained nor educated in environmental toxicity. Doctors tend to concentrate only on recent chemical exposures, and not on the toxic load we have accumulated throughout our lives. Medical treatment, which only hides the symptoms with drugs, is a totally incorrect approach. You don’t cover up chemical sensitivities, or add to them with chemicals in drugs. You must treat the root cause of the problem.

In fact, mainstream doctors are not only not trained in multiple chemical sensitivities and environmental medicine, they are woefully ignorant of nutrition and the crucial role it plays in health. Lacking the training to diagnose and treat chemically sensitive patients, doctors try to fit the symptoms to their limited knowledge. Doctors will often give a diagnosis of “delusional” for a real clinical manifestation of which they are simply unaware. This lack of education is partly due to the fact that critics of chemical sensitivity often have financial ties to the chemical and drug industries, and the traditional allergists, which then go on to sponsor medical education.

Chemical injury to our bodies is often mistaken for colds, flu, stress or other medical conditions. These symptoms can be the first signs of chemical exposure, but if doctors are not trained to diagnose occupational or environmental diseases that are the result of exposure to toxic chemicals, they dismiss them and thereby contribute to the under-reporting of the very real effects of chemical exposure. Despite this, there is scientific data that demonstrates that exposure to very low doses of certain chemicals can result in serious health problems including nervous system damage, reproductive disorders, endocrine disorders, immune system effects, and birth defects.

As Dr. Riki Ott explains: “Dr. Rea [expert in multiple chemical sensitivity] witnessed the slow emergence of chemical sensitivity as a new disease paradigm, and its slow acceptance within the scientific and medical communities, during his pioneering quarter century career in the field. Dr. Rea and his colleagues had dubbed this “the petrochemical problem,” because the increasing incidence of chemical sensitivity seemed to parallel the growth of the petrochemical industry and the increased use of synthetic products such as pesticides, plastics, food additives, synthetic textiles, and particleboard.” […] Environmental doctors such as Dr.Rea find themselves constantly pitted against legions of other physicians, primarily allergists and psychiatrists who believe that chemical sensitivity is psychological, a view that serves corporate interests and infuriates patients. Professional jealousies and rivalry from the traditional practices, inflamed by corporate lawyers, hamper understanding of the new disease process and hold patients and public policy hostage.”

After our radio show, I e-mailed my correspondent John about it and here is his update. Notice how similar his symptoms are to those exposed to petrochemicals:

Since we last spoke I have had some challenges. I had a massive fume event on the Boeing 777 although it did not have the characteristic odour that we are familiar with, so rather than putting my oxygen mask on, I tried to trouble shoot it. Ten days later I had a cardiac arrhythmia. Not understanding the characteristics of neurotoxin I did not put the two together for some months later when another doctor I correspond with sent me an article on organophosphates and arrhythmias. I then discovered that the odour that was apparent during that event was indeed from the oil but the sulphur had been burned off and therefore did not have “smelly sock” character. Further I discovered that the solvents ethyl-benzene, toluene, styrene and xylene are also neurotoxic, in the air and can also contribute to arrhythmias. 
A year later I returned to work but struggled with trigeminal neuralgia associated from nerve damage from the organophosphates, on the same side that I went deaf on in 2011… Although I am better, I am not well. I still suffer mild to moderate symptoms that I haven’t sought help for until now. In my particular case I have non-pattern cyclic recurrence of the following classic MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) symptoms which settle down (not disappear) during times of rest during disability leaves but flare upon return to work and re-exposures. 
[localized] skin redness
hives (what I previously called zoster)
recurrent fatigue
itching [ears and shins]
flushing & severe sweating
migratory joint & deep bone pain
headaches
tachycardia (racing heart rate)
eye pain
multiple chemical sensitivity (hypersensitive to perfumes/laundry detergents/hydrocarbons etc)
persistent body/tissue pain
difficulty exercising consistently due to flare ups
episodes of low body temperature
numbness & tingling in face and extremities
arms fall asleep (awaken in the night with asleep arms, not from pressure, i.e laying on them)
skin feels on fire (migratory, a times whole body)
unexplained anxiety
occasional night time gastric reflux 
sudden drops in blood pressure
presyncopal (orthostatic)
persistent diarrhea (more just loose stools)
cognitive impairment (not as apparent now)
sinus problems (excessive sinus mucus, post-nasal)
hoarseness, bordering laryngitis voice loss
chest pain (cardiac arrhythmia in 2015)
vision problems (mostly right eye fogginess)
poor sleep pattern, night wakefulness
hair loss
mouth and throat sores 
nausea
inflammation
thyroid problems (goiter, I take dessicated lyrothyronine)
unexplained weakness
shortness of breath
sunlight sensitivity
gastrointestinal pain, bloating
enlarged liver (?)
liver/bladder/kidney pain
frequent urination
neuropathic pain
unexplained bruising
malabsorption [of Vit D]
severe tinnitus and hearing problems (deaf in right ear and loss of hearing in left)

 

John thinks that exposure to neurotoxins may cause an aberrant mast cell activation. Some researchers say that exposure to organophosphates trigger both histamine and glutamate overproduction. Continuing with John’s report:

 

At that time I was suffering sterile sinus and bowel inflammation. He [researcher] suggested taking a Benadryl (diphenhydramine). I did and the issues disappeared over night. I stopped the Benadryl months later being concerned with long term use and had not taken it for a year or two. 
During this past Christmas season, after consuming a very high histamine diet, I developed a massive migraine that worsened over the next 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours my sinus started draining, then I recalled the Benadryl, took one 25 mg tablet and in less than an hour the pain subsided. It was then that I examined what I ate and drank… all high in histamines. Since then however, I have been plagued with some consistent MCAS symptoms such as itching skin on my shins and my ears; unexplained bruising; shortness of breath; frequent urination; flushing & chills; deep bone pain and MCS to name a few. I began a regime of two H1 antihistamines, diphenhydramine at night and fexofenadine hydrochloride or loratadine in the morning, in addition to 2000 mg of quercetin a day. It appears as though this is bringing everything under control.   In fact three nights I woke up with no tinnitus (which is normally severe).

 

Hopefully John and the multiple people afflicted with Aerotoxic Syndrome will find relief. According to the Association of Flight Attendants, 30 U.S. Airways aircraft on the east coast have been impacted in the past year by toxic airplane air. However, a flight attendant interviewed by WBTV was quick to point out that U.S. Airways is not the only airline to experience problems with toxic airplane air. Apparently, it is an industry-wide issue.
Those afflicted with Aerotoxic Syndrome might want to see about increasing their intake of healthy saturated fats because it acts as a healing superfood to stabilize the oxidative stress in your body triggered by toxic chemicals. In John’s case it was useful. I would also see about doing a detox protocol under the guidance of a health care provider as a priority. The toxic chemicals must and can be eliminated.

 

For more information, visit the Aerotoxic Association.
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Comments

  1. Alexander  February 7, 2017

    Now I get why the air in the plane made my sinuses worse. I’m thinking it’s about time people launches lots of class-action-suit against the entire airplane industry WORLD-WIDE. Their design is fucked, what they needs is to route the pipe from the engine to the OUTSIDE, it’s logical, or are they stupid? Or too cheap to bother? This went on for 50 or so years, it’s stupid, time to stop living in the dark ages, time to UPGRADES our planes to highest standards and stop being cheap about it. ALL OUR HEALTH IS IMPORTANT, not fucking dollars and cents, get them bean counters OUT. IF you don’t care about health but only about money, then I don’t want to buy ticket on YOUR stinky plane!!!!

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