Toxicant‐Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) is a two-stage disease process initiated by a one-time major exposure, or a series of low-level chemical exposures (Stage I, Initiation). Affected individuals experience symptoms triggered by everyday chemicals, foods, and drugs that never bothered them before (Stage II, Triggering). Exposure examples include chemical spills, pesticides, cleaning agents, solvents, combustion-related products, drugs and medical devices, and indoor air contaminants associated with materials used in construction or remodeling.

Carl Grimes describes his acute exposures to different chemicals that initiated the TILT process for him.

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Common Symptoms

TILT-related symptoms may involve any and every organ system. Neurological symptoms such as memory problems, brain fog, and mood changes are common and often disabling. A particular initiating event (such as exposure to a sick building, Gulf War chemicals, or a pesticide) can result in intolerances that trigger multiple symptoms varying from person to person. Commonly-reported symptoms include:

  • difficulties with attention, memory and mood
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • allergy-like symptoms
  • migraines and headaches
  • fatigue and muscle pain

Common Triggers

Chemicals

Indoor air is the most common source of chemical exposures in many peoples lives. Moving to a new house or renovations to home or office often bring new furnishings, carpet, paint, synthetic fragrances, and pesticides.

Foods

Common foods often become triggers for people who are chemically intolerant. Examples include, corn, wheat, milk, eggs and commercial foods that may contain pesticides or other artificial ingredients.

Drugs

Various medications and medical devices also initiate and trigger TILT. Patients report that anesthetics, implants, antibiotics, chemotherapy and other medications cause them to become intolerant.