Friday, October 23, 2009

Are people reacting to hand sanitizers?

I got a message the other day from someone who reacts very badly to some of the hand sanitizers we are seeing everywhere these days. I have not heard much in the way of bad reactions, but those things are so common now that even a tiny percent of people being hurt by them will add up to a lot. Here is the gist of her message:

I would like to hear from anyone who has suffered anaphylaxis or any other adverse health effects from exposures to hand sanitizers now widely used in medical clinics and hospitals to fight swine flu and other bacteria and viruses. Contact me at "mcscherie at"

If you contact her about this, please post to this blog too, and maybe I will put something in our magazine Our Toxic Times. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The WayBack Machine

They say that anything that gets onto the internet never really goes away. It is stored or archived somewhere. One of those somewheres is "the Wayback Machine" at where you can find past web pages for almost any web site.

I used it for our own site,, looking for an item from several years ago. And after a couple clicks, there it was -- the CIIN site from 2006.

If you are doing research on the internet, and it looks as if a page or site you know used to be there, give The Wayback Machine a try. But be careful; it can be a lot of fun and can pull you in for long stretches.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Exposures and emotions

Just a short note about something we at Chemical Injury Information Network already know. When a person inhales a chemical, it goes up the nose, hits the olfactory bulb, and goes straight to the brain. No messing around with the blood-brain barrier.

In the brain, the chemical reaches the hippocampus, very important to logic and emotion. As a practical matter, this means that exposures can leave a person with volatile emotions and impaired logic ability – just about the worst combination at the worst time.

Chemical sensitivity, or MCS, comes with a lot of emotional pain. It can help if people understand that the heightened emotions they feel under exposure are not really theirs – they are artificially produced and will ease off as the exposure wears off.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Stop saying "chemical free"

We in the chemical injury community need to stop saying "chemical free" when we mean toxin free. The whole world is made up of chemicals -- including our own bodies -- so to say we are trying to live "chemical free" makes no sense to the normal community. It makes us look as if we are simply afraid of the modern world, or worse, just plain nuts.

Within the MCS community saying "chemical free" is understood; it is usable short-hand because we know what it is supposed to mean. When dealing with the normal world, say "toxin free" or possibly "toxicant free" and sound more science-based rather than phobia-based.