Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month. The excerpt below was originally published in the February 2013 newsletter.
You may know someone with intolerances to seemingly low levels of chemicals. They may no longer be able to work, go to school or engage in everyday activities like driving or grocery shopping. Although everyone gets exposed to chemicals such as pesticides, solvents and those associated with new construction and remodeling, only a subset of exposed individuals develop multi-system symptoms. These symptoms are best described as TILT- “Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance”. There are no biomarkers for these intolerances, as there are for allergic sensitivities (e.g. skin prick test for dust mite allergies).
There is a lot of confusion regarding the illness, and still much is unknown. The resource that I turn to when working with clients with chemical intolerances is a website maintained by Dr. Claudia S. Miller M.D., M.S. Dr. Miller is an industrial hygienist, allergist and now professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Texas School of Medicine.
Dr. Miller’s website is designed for two groups: individuals who may suffer from chemical intolerance and the professionals they consult.
Filled with scientific publications and current commentary, the site’s centerpiece is free access to the QEESI, the most widely used questionnaire to evaluate chemical susceptibility and intolerance. This 50-item published, peer-reviewed questionnaire lets individuals record the severity of their symptoms, and their chemical, food and medication intolerances. By providing your clients with access to this website you can help help them determine whether they are chemically intolerant and facilitate their communication with doctors. Of course, patient confidentiality precludes requiring this of clients; they should download the questionnaire, fill it out and share it with their doctors, preferably along with an indoor air evaluation you provide.
The site provides an interpretation sheet for the QEESI, as well as Dr. Miller’s published, peer-reviewed papers on chemical intolerance and several blog posts. Chemical intolerance is a fascinating area and I have made it a personal goal to learn more.
To visit the February 2013 IAQ Website of the Month, visit this link: DrClaudiaMiller.com.