Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Chemical Exposure as a Factor in CFS

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to toxic chemi­cals rules out a diagnosis of CFS. How­ever, a recent study of 22 people who met the CDC criteria for CFS, and 17 peo­ple who had CFS symptoms but whose history of chemical exposure precluded a CFS diagnosis, found that there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of their blood level of chlorinated hydrocarbons, notably HCB and DDE.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons, also known as organochlorines, are chemical com­pounds formed by a carbon-to-chlorine bond. HCB is a widely used pesticide and DDE is a byproduct of the metabolism of DDT, another common pesticide. Both the CFS group and the group with CFS symptoms and known chemical exposure had significantly higher organochlorine levels than the control group of 34 non-CFS subjects. The researchers concluded that toxic chemical exposure may play a causal role in CFS. They also concluded that the CDC's exclusion of a toxic expo­sure history from the criteria for CFS is not valid.

Source: Dunstan, R. H., et al. "A Preliminary Investigation of Chlorinated Hydrocarbons and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Medical Journal of Australia 163:6 (September 18, 1995), 294-297.

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