Why do some people get sick when they are exposed to chemicals, mold, pesticides or drugs? What caused some people to die from black mold exposure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and others survive unscathed? How come not everyone in Minamata, Japan experienced paralysis after years of exposure to industrial wastewater from the nearby chemical factory?
Claudia S. Miller, MD, MS, allergist, immunologist and tenured Professor at the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio developed a new theory of disease to explain this phenomenon. Her mission is to discover the underlying environmental causes of disease to increase prevention, hasten diagnosis and jump-start effective treatment. Her work has led to a new theory of how we get sick through chemical exposure, Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance or TILT. Her hypothesis: that exposure to a chemical leads to a loss of tolerance for general chemical exposure in sensitive individuals. Subsequent exposure to any chemical then may trigger disease.
Not everyone will develop TILT when exposed to chemicals, but those who do experience very different symptoms. Some of the 8 most common symptoms are the following:
1. Difficulties with memory and concentration
5. Mood changes such as extreme irritability and depression
6. Gastrointestinal problems such as Crohns, Colitis
7. Respiratory problems such as asthma
8. Skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema
How do we know that chemicals can cause illness? Much in the same way we now understand that bacteria may cause infection. However, chemically-induced disease is a bit more complicated. To help you understand how and why we get sick, here’s the 3 major theories of disease.
1. Germ Theory: The first theory to be discovered, it involves a “germ” (virus, bacteria, etc.) entering the body, multiplying and causing symptoms. This theory only involves only one step- the germ exposure and resulting sickness.
2. Immune Theory: The second theory to be discovered, it allowed us to understand how allergies and autoimmune disorders develop. This theory is more complex and involves two steps. First, a biological antigen such as pollen or poison ivy results in antibody formation. Second, re-exposure to the same antigen produces symptoms previously unseen in the person due to the development of antibodies.
3. TILT: The most recent medical theory of disease implicates chemicals as the causal agent. This theory was previously unrecognized because prior to World War II there were very few chemicals in production. With the rise in chemicals used in agriculture, food production, industry, etc., TILT is increasingly common. TILT involves three stages
· Initial exposure to a chemical, which causes a tolerance failure
· Symptoms triggered by foods, drugs and other low-level exposures
· And finally masking which hides the causal relationship between the exposures and triggers.
Toxic Chemical Exposure at Google: Could Lead to Cancer and Birth Defect
A few weeks ago, Google announced that for at least 2 months employees in the Mountain View office were exposed to high levels of a toxic chemical, trichloroethylene, or TCE, used in the production of computer chips. Over 1,000 employees work in the Google office in Mountain View, which is where computer chip manufacturers such as Intel Corp. and Raytheon Co. dumped large quantities of TCE in the 1960s and 1970s. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified the dumping ground as a Superfund site, a hazardous waste area that the federal government promised to clean up. While the EPA removed more than 100,000 pounds of TCE since 1989, 85 businesses continue to set up shop in the area, putting thousands of people at risk.
A routine air sampling at Google registered an extraordinarily high TCE level on November 21st, and the analysts notified the EPA as required. Despite the fact that this dangerous chemical is carcinogenic and can lead to birth defects in the fetuses of pregnant women, none of the employees noticed a difference in the atmosphere. No one knows how long TCE permeated the building at a toxic level. No one knows how the chemical may affect the Google employees.
Digestive Health Ann Arbor: How we can help with TILT
Since the chemical-industrial transformation of our society post- WWII, we are more exposed than ever to new biochemical substances. While the chemicals in cleaning supplies, paint, food, and drugs do serve our needs in some regards, the health risks often weigh more heavily than the benefits. However, since toxic chemicals such as TCE are a reality we must face, we encourage you to pay close attention to symptoms and seek help as soon as possible. Not only food allergies, but TILT, can lead to a leaky gut and result in respiratory, mood, skin and other symptoms. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we can uncover your food or chemical sensitivities, create a plan for removing them, and help you to recover true health and wellness.
Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life. Please visit our website at www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.