At 11:40 02/09/97 -0500, you wrote:
>> The produce manager at a food cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin is
>> desperately trying to find out why she and many of her staff have
>> been suffering from serious rashes on their hands and arms over
>> the past few years or more.
>Some quick thoughts from one of the resident
>chemical-health-stuff-watchers (that's a technical term).
>1. Some people's skin reacts to, or develops a reactivity to, oxalic
>acid, which is found in some leaves.
>2. Bristly leaves (like squash) can tattoo the skin with whatever
>happens to be on the bristles--plant toxins, mold spores, bug feces,
>chemical drift. These can provoke reactions or reactivities.
>3. People whose skins are often wet can develop additional problems;
>any potential reactive substances (plant toxins, mold spores, bug
>feces, chemical drift) are soaked into the skin and basically kept in
>The winter I spent as a sandblaster on the Delaware River waterfront,
>I thought my skin would dissolve, and not from the sand. At the time
>we chalked it up as "river rash," which is what my father and others
>who worked at the shipyard who often had it, called it. I now figure
>it was the combination of constant dampness (sweat *and* air) and the
>chemicals and crap coming off the lab benches and other stuff we were
>blasting. And who knows what the hell else.
>4. Some pesticide residues induce rashes in some people.
>Increasingly, however, MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) don't
>report acute or nontoxicological effects, so they're hard to track or
>identify. Which is why some people choose to avoid them altogether,
>5. It could be some combination of all of the above--interactions
>between different substances. Including interactions with body care
>My experience with this stuff is it's often hard to find ONE cause of
>such body-reactions because there generally isn't ONE cause. (That's
>the classical toxicology model--one cause, one reaction, one LD50.)
>But sometimes there are ways of reducing the overall load on a body
>that lead to improvement of acute *or* chronic health problems.
>Sometimes the only ONE place to start is the symptom itself--in this
>case the skin rash--and learn more about how to support the body's
>healing of the symptoms. It takes detective work. I personally
>found that when I cleaned up my entire physical and environmental
>act--to take the maximum possible load off my body--a lot of chronic
>reactivities went away.
>These folks might want to contact environmental medicine/clinical
>ecology folks for advice. The Community Pharmacy offers contacts.
>The Human Ecology Action League and the folks in Evanston who publish
>"The Canary" newsletter might also have leads.
>Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
>Center for Integrated Ag Systems
>UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
>Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
>The course was intense. Picture if you will a
>common kitchen funnel. Stick it in the top of
>my head and drop a car in it. --Mister 3D
David, Heather, and Matthew Hine
Atkins Rd, Cawongla
via Kyogle, NSW, Australia 2474
ph/fax: 61 066 337162.