Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Chemical Sensitivities

** Fibromyalgia Support Group speaker for our March meeting was, Tamara Ciszczon, a member of our group, and a molecular biologist, who is a veritable fountain of information on toxins and chemicals as they pertain to potential and possible sensitivities in those with chronic illnesses.

Many of those with Fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses, are sensitive to chemicals - both inhaled and ingested. Like everything else with Fibromyalgia, there are degrees of this sensitivity, and there are specifics as to just what particular chemicals will cause what particular symptoms due to that sensitivity. Because some people's sensitivites are so severe and so many, and because of Tamara's biology and chemistry background, she has spent years of time and effort studying these chemicals and the potential they have to create symptoms. She had even put many years and effort in studying baubiology, which is a European movement about how to live in harmony with nature. This was necessary because if you are chemically sensitive in a world full of chemicals which provide us with our everyday creature comforts and cleaning necessities, it becomes quite necessary to use and live with natural products, rather than the toxic chemicals found on the open market.

This evening Tamara specifically spoke about chemicals in and around the home that may cause sensitivities to those with Fibromyalgia, or any other condition for that matter. But one can also have chemical sensitivities without any other condition to go with it - a stand alone condition as it were.

Tamara shared with us information about a chemical called Chloridane, which literally wipes out your immune system. It had been used around 1987-1990 as insecticide sprays for termites, freely sprayed all around outside and inside homes at the time. It is an oganophosphate, which will never break down and disipate indoors, it must be physically removed. Sunlight is the only thing that can break it down - and that takes years. Symptoms? Dyspnea (difficulty breathing), wheezing, peripheral muscle weakness, skeletal muscle weakness, anxiety, twitching muscles, abdominal cramps and more...Google "organophosphates" for more. To find out if this chemical is lurking in your older home, you can call and have an air-quality test done. Realtors usually have names of companies who do this type of testing.

VOC's were discussed. Volatile Organic Oils. These are things like paint thinners, listerine, carbon monoxide, nail polish remover, turpentine, etc. I don't know about anyone else, but these things bothered me BEFORE Fibromyalgia. But now these things actually seem to literally change my body, creating all sorts of havoc when I'm around them, so I make a point of keeping them out of my life!

The "cides" were discused. Germicides, insecticides, algicides, etc that we may even have under the sink in the kitchen or bathroom. These are household cleaners. The common cleaners that are available everywhere to disinfect and clean your home, kitchen counter tops, bathtub and toilets. Think about it. These items are STRONG chemicals. If they are in the house, you are getting them in your system everytime you breathe them in. If you feel it necessary to use any of these items, please, at least use a face mask - this will help dissipate some of the effect. (My husband sometimes uses pain thinners in the basement, and swears he can't smell them. I DO. I use a face mask and stay out of the basement. Sometimes I even leave the house!)

There are many natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, Seventh Generation cleaners, and others. And of course, there are the Shaklee Products, which are about the only household cleaners and items that Tamara can use. In fact she was so taken with them that she became a Shalee Dealer! See her contact information below.

There was so much to tell us that I'm afraid I cannot possibly do her justice. She talked of Sick Building Syndrome, of synthetic materials like plastics and rubber, of contrast medical dyes when having medical tests done, of heavy metals in the home, as well as the teeth - amalgam fillings in her teeth for example - and aluminum pots and pans and cast iron,and teflon (ugh).

She recommended we have the metal amalgam fillings in our teeth be considered as an unwanted chemical in our bodies and as a possible sensitivity causing physical issues! She recommended using stainless steel pots and pans, or glass. Aluminum in deodorants may be a factor as well. There are several brands which are readily available without aluminum in them. You are rolling or spraying this aluminum under your arms, directly onto your lymph nodes, where absorption is a matter of fact! Switch now! Tom's of Maine, Jason, Shaklee, Crystal and other companies make aluminum-free deodorants. A build-up of heavy metals can create all sorts of medical issus and some of them are not reversible!

When discussing chemicals and their potential and possible dangers we are talking about affecting your body in so many ways. In those of us with Fibromyalgia, these symptoms can show up as sinus blockage, watery eyes, runny nose, or as headaches or migraines, or anxiety or "fuzzy thinking" and disorientation, or as stomach issues with gas and cramping, or muscle pain issues or stiff neck and/or sore neck and shoulder areas. Certain illnesses related to these types of sensitivities range from allergies to Parkinson's Disease, asthma to Sick Building Syndrome and much more...Please be aware and take care!

For more information about his topic you can contact Tamara via her website at