Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes

Our team at the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share free access to a book:

Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes” (2nd edition, 1998).

The book, which explores the issue of chemical intolerance, is authored by Nicholas A. Ashford and Dr. Claudia S. Miller, allergist/immunologist, professor emeritus, and leader of the Hoffman TILT Program at UT Health San Antonio.

“Thanks to our publisher—John Wiley & Sons, Inc.—we are able to offer free online access to Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes, the 440-page book that led to international recognition of chemical intolerance,” Miller said. “The title was prophetic. The stakes today have only grown higher with many more exposed individuals developing Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), explained for the first time in this book, which has been referred to as a ‘landmark’ (American Public Health Association Newsletter) and a ‘milestone’ (Chemical and Engineering News). The Journal of the American Medical Association urged: ‘Clinicians and policymakers would do well to read and heed the advice of this book.’ The Journal of Risk Analysis called it ‘… groundbreaking and accessible…balanced and scholarly…essential reading for risk assessors, physicians, psychologists, attorneys concerned with toxic torts, public health officials, regulators, government decision makers, medical and environmental researchers, as well as laypersons.'”

In the book, Ashford and Miller wrote:

“We are increasingly convinced that low-level chemical sensitivity offers scientifically testable hypotheses and may signal an emerging new theory of disease: toxicant-induced loss oftolerance (TILT),” they wrote. “This theory posits that a single high-level exposure, as in a chemical spill, or repeated lower level chemical exposures, as in a “sick” building, may cause certain susceptible persons to lose their prior natural tolerance for various chemicals, foods, and drugs. Subsequently, very low levels of these and chemically unrelated substances trigger symptoms, thus perpetuating illness.”

Read the full book.

How chemically sensitive are you?

Answer these three questions from the Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI):

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!