Are All Those Chemicals Making You Sick?

Did any of you see the story on ABC's 20/20 this past Friday on the new and growing field of clinical ecology? I'm always disappointed when the stories are as completely one-sided as this one was. The focus of this story was the chemically sensitive individuals living in specialized housing in California, government subsidized to the tune of $800 a month. The TV news magazines seem to go for anything that may smell of wasted government monies. It must help their ratings; why else would they do it? To uncover the truth?

I would like to tell the other side of that story. A young doctor in the early 1950s with a promising future ahead of him by the name of Theron Randolph, specializing in immunology/allergy, found that he was disappointed with what he could offer his patients with the available standards of care during that era. He dared to challenge the existing system and would hospitalize his worst patients in the allergy ward­­ removing all outside stimulation, meaning all food stuffs except purified water, allowed no contact with anything except non-allergic natural elements­­ cotton, wood, stainless steel and baked enamel painted surfaces for 48 hours.

The results he had using this approach were phenomenal. A simple program of avoidance soon gave Randolph a reputation for helping those who could not be helped. His simple methods were not well accepted by his colleges and Randolph was ousted from the downtown Chicago allergy clinics and stripped of hospital privileges in spite of his brilliant discoveries.

Out of this came the birth of the other branch of allergy/immunology known as Clinical Ecology. He went on to establish The Randolph Clinic and wrote several books on his work. He was nominated for the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in the late 1980s and is well known and respected as a humanitarian ahead of his time by people and holistic physicians alike around the world. To this day, Randolph's clinic is still alive and well and still helping people from around the world.

Having been a patient of Dr. Randolph's in the early 90s. I can only say that I was treated professionally and, although I was sick with Lyme Disease and didn't know it, he helped speed my recovery by helping me see how chemicals had played a role in my then somewhat fragile immunity.

My story is a classic example of a patient at The Randolph Clinic. Using intensive detective work including a comprehensive history-taking from childhood, this is what they discovered. My parents moved into a new home when I was just three. My mother moved her beauty salon home and my brother essentially had an unvented chemistry lab in the basement. At the age of three, one's immunity is not fully developed so I was sick frequently. My cell memory, (our cells do remember or they would not be able to reproduce themselves) "imprinted" on those chemicals and to this day when I go to the salon I can stay long enough to get a trim and leave. The smells from the hair colorings and permanent waves give me headaches and a list of other symptoms. Knowing this and simply not exposing myself to those chemicals and certain other chemicals allows me to go about my life in a healthy, normal way.

I have given out the name and address of the Randolph Clinic to various clients of mine who have had stories of working in sick buildings or other stories that seemed to me to have a strong possibility that chemical sensitivity had played a major role in their symptoms. And for those who sought out help at the clinic, they have come away feeling improved and had hope that they could conquer their problems and live a normal life.

If you would like to read more about chemical sensitivities or Dr. Randolph's work and life, three of his best books are available in the Galesburg Public Library.

Randolph is deceased now­­ but not forgotten by me or thousands of others. If you're out there listening, Theron Randolph, thank you again from the bottom of my well body and heart.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Copy to John Stossel ABC Television, 20/20.

This article posted to Zephyr online August 29, 1997
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