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The Truth about Environmental Illness
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Ronald E. Gots, M.D., Ph.D.
Many Americans believe that exposure to common foods and chemicals
makes them ill. This book is about people who hold such beliefs
but are wrong. Their misbeliefs can be very costly-to health and/or
pocketbook-not only for them, but for employers, insurance companies,
and others who pay indirectly. Ironically, these accusations are
being made at a time when our food supply is the world's safest
and our antipollution program is the best we have ever had.
This 220-page book spotlights the "environmental"
conditions for which diet and/or chemical exposure are falsely
- Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a term used to describe
people with numerous troubling symptoms they attribute to foods,
airborne chemicals, and a long list of other alleged "stressors."
Many such people are seeking special accommodations, applying
for disability benefits, and filing lawsuits claiming that exposure
to common foods and chemicals has made them ill. Their efforts
are supported by a small cadre of physicians who use questionable
diagnostic and treatment methods.
- Candidiasis hypersensitivity is a diagnosis based on the
far-fetched notion that multiple common symptoms result from
allergies to the common yeast Candida albicans. Its promoters
claim that more than eighty million Americans suffer from such
- Sick building syndrome is a term used to describe nonspecific
symptoms -- for which no single cause can be identified -- that
arise where indoor air quality is under suspicion.
- Hyperactivity in children has been blamed on both dietary
factors and chemical exposure in school. These claims are made
by MCS promoters and by advocates of the Feingold diet.
- Mercury-amalgam toxicity is said to be a problem for everyone
with "silver" tooth fillings. Promoters of this concept
claim that significant amounts of mercury escape from the amalgam
and poison the body and can cause multiple sclerosis and a long
list of other health problems. The authors debunks these claims
and tell how the leading anti-amalgamist had his dental license
- Gulf War syndrome is a controversial though ill-defined condition
said to involve thousands of Gulf War veterans.
Many recipients of these diagnoses wind up being financially
exploited as well as mistreated. In addition, insurance companies,
employers, educational facilities, homeowners, other taxpayers,
and ultimately all citizens are being burdened by dubious claims
for disability and damages.
Review by David Bloomberg
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