My name is Sharon and I was injured at work. I was an operating supervisor (RN) overseeing at least 18 staff members. They started to get sick so I researched the situation with staff's input and discovered that the culprit was most likely a disinfecting solution we were using to process instruments for certain procedures. I reported it to management who seemed to ignore our concerns and fears. I eventually call OSHA. They did not help. Management was royally upset with me and my job requirements changed and I was forced to work with the chemical for sometimes 8 hrs.a day. Now I understand the regulations are changing and staff should only be required to work with it for a maximum of 15 minutes.

When I left at least 30 staff members had ill effects-two were terminated (myself included) and some are still working sick. During this time one of my concerns were the women who were pregnant. The chemical crosses the placenta barrier and two of the women's children now are presenting with problems.

It was a nightmare to go through. Never would have believed management could have been so cruel. For ex. One women who was pregnant was sent to work with the chemical when she went to the department she started to throw up. When she reported this to management they just laughed at her. 

The following is a list of my symptoms:

1. Flu like symptoms ranging from achy joints and muscles to extreme exhaustion. I find I fell best in the
afternoon around 2 o'clock 

2. B/p elevation with shooting pains in my left chest. associated with skipped beats and a pounding pulse.

3. Burning and tearing of my eyes 

4. Burning sensation in throat with occasional shooting pains and  mucous

5. GI upset. Ranging from belching, reflux and diarrhea. A relative stayed with me approximately 10 days she used a scented powder for her body. I experienced diarrhea the entire time she stayed with me when she left my diarrhea cleared

6. Labored breathing and discomfort

 7. I lose my sensation of smell if I am around an obnoxious odor for a period of time (approx. 15 minutes) ex. exhaust fumes in a major city 

 8. When I am strongly irritated I develop paresthesia of both my  upper extremities

9. Sores don't seem to heal as quickly 

10. Urgency and frequency when highly irritated

11. Rashes develop and linger for a long period of time. One such rash (dermatitis) developed in January and to date my left leg still is achy). While traveling my left leg was engorged and redder than my right leg. I have enclosed some pictures.

Each year I get better with more and more strength hoping to prevent others from getting sick. A friend and myself have started a national support group called WASTE (Workers Against Senseless Toxic Exposure). Here is our website.  WASTE Workers Against Senseless Toxic Exposure



Barbara R.

I led a normal life until the age of 21 when a landlord "bombed" my apartment in Austin Texas, where I was pursuing graduate studies, with a Dursban fogger to combat a sand flea infestation.  It was done without my advance knowledge and I cleaned up the residues, handling contaminated possessions as I laundered and washed my belongings, having been told no danger existed.  Perfectly healthy until that day, I begin suffering recurrent respiratory infections over the next seven years with high fevers every 8-10 weeks which required antibiotics to reduce fevers of 102-105 degrees.  During this period I also worked in school settings where exterminators used Dursban every month leading to chronic, low level exposure. Finally, in 1984, another landlord in New York decided to "fog" a room in my apartment without my advance knowledge to combat carpenter ants in his building.    I arrived home as this was in process.  Following that exposure (Dursban, once again), I collapsed for a period of 1 month and lost my tolerance for most foods and liquids.  Subsisting on two foods items, I gradually began to recover as doctors puzzled over the occurrence as well as my history without linking the episodes to pesticide exposure, the only significant variable in my medical history.

While I eventually returned to work, I became increasingly intolerant of many chemicals commonly encountered in day to day life as time went on. Today I can no longer travel on public conveyances, eat most foods, read newsprint and magazines, encounter persons/places contaminated by perfumes, tolerate pesticides of most categories, swim in or drink chlorinated water, tolerate most drugs, wear synthetic materials, tolerate ambient cigarette smoke etc.  I can only work with the grace of an accommodation plan to permit me to avoid contact with these items as well as others  to which I developed severe allergies such as mold. Despite my constant vigilance, I am ill several times each week due to ambient exposure to the these ubiquitous chemicals and toxins in the environment. 

We MUST end the casual use of poisons in our day to day lives. Our bodies were not meant to be used as processing plants for the destruction of absorbed toxins for the greater ease of life for a demanding consumer market and the profit of chemical manufacturers. There are rational alternatives to most of these toxins and we must foster a climate in which the next generation is not prey to the development of immune disorders and multiple chemical sensitivity disorder from such exposures.

Barbara R.


Cindy Duehring,  (1962 - 1999)

Researcher, Activist, Writer, Editor
1997 Right Livelihood Award Winner

Cindy Duehring, 36, internationally known researcher, activist, and pesticide victim, died at her home in Epping, ND, on June 29, 1999, from injuries and complications sustained from severe pesticide poisoning in 1985.

Cindy was born to Donald and Jan Froeschle on August 10, 1962, in Bismarck, ND. In 1985, while studying pre-med in Seattle, WA, Cindy was severely poisoned by an illegal application of pesticides that were sprayed directly on her clothes.

She started her organization, Environmental Access, in 1986 with the intent of making chemical health research available to anyone who needed it. After marrying Jim Duehring on July 10, 1988, they moved to Epping, ND, into a specially built home. That same year, through Environmental Access Cindy worked with the residents of nearby Williston to create a safe and effective vector control program.

Cindy changed the name of her organization in 1991 to the Environmental Access Research Network (EARN) and expanded the scope of its activities, including publishing the Environmental Access Profiles and building one of the finest private chemical health libraries in existence.

In 1994, Cindy merged EARN with the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN) becoming CIIN Vice-President, a member of the Board of Directors, and Director of Research. That move formalized a partnership with Cynthia Wilson, Executive Director of CIIN, that had begun in 1990. Also in 1994, Cindy and Cynthia wrote The Human Consequences of the Chemical Problem.

After serving as managing editor of the short-lived Informed Consent, Cindy worked through EARN to edit and write Medical & Legal Briefs. The first issue was published in July 1995 and was an immediate hit. The bi-monthly newsletter was aimed at educating doctors and attorneys about the health hazards of toxic chemicals.

Over the years, Cindy received numerous awards for her outstanding contributions to MCS health issues. Cindy’s achievements culminated in her winning the Right Livelihood Award in 1997. (The RLA is considered the alternative Nobel Prize.) At that time, Dr. Gunnar Heuser wrote, “As her physical boundaries and freedom of movement have narrowed the limits of her living, her spirit has taken wings and expanded across the nation and beyond. She has become a resource for interested professionals as well as for the chemically injured and patients with MCS throughout the world.”

Cindy is survived by her husband, Jim, her parents Donald and Jan Froeschle, and her sister Lynn Froeschle.

At the request of Cindy’s family, memorials should be sent to The Cindy Duehring MCS Research Fund, PO Box 301, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645.

Kathy M.

It is March, 2000.  I am a 56 year old woman.  Three years ago I was struggling to concentrate, struggling to walk around town, waking up for hours in the middle of the night and knowing I could not plan to do anything on Saturdays because I was too spaced out, too enervated after a week at work to do anything productive.  I also knew that when the office manager wore certain perfumes I would be unable to accomplish any work and sit there red faced with my head on the desk.  If you had asked me what I thought was going on I would have told you that I was weak willed, too fussy, and must not know what the secret to a normal life was—only because there was nothing wrong according to all standards I knew.  I was just left wondering if I could make it to work one more day.

Luckily I had a bent for alternative medicine and chiropractors from the beginning.  These people knew my symptoms and worked to help me (and still do) but finding out about “THE CHEMICAL CONNECTION” did not come from them.  It came…all in one week…from my brother and my friend.  My brother got me an air purifier and my friend gave me a book on plants that used the strange word…MCS…what was that again…oh…multiple chemical sensitivity.  Thus started the research.

It would not be entirely impossible that my chemical problem was generated by various electromagnetic radiation exposures over the years—from household electromagnetic-fields to radio waves to microwaves to x-rays.  The one thing I am most suspicious of is that I had a small “white noise” machine by my bed for the last 10 years.  Now that I measure it with a gaussmeter it was exposing my head to a good shot of EMF’s nightly for 10 years.  Add to that all the hours sitting close to a computer screen and it adds up to quiet a bit of radiation.

If I had about $30,000 I would implement some of the fantastic healing measures available, including the Hal Huggins method of amalgam removal (an exacting regimen that must be applied exactly to ensure success), and the L. Ron Hubbard method of body purification through sauna and vitamins (another rather exacting regimen that must be applied exactly to ensure success).

As part of my research I located an environmental toxicologist and thought I would at least get a diagnosis and possibly some help in implementing a strategy to regain my health.  He was running some kind of a scam (fraudulent or deceptive operation) whereby if you thought you had MCS you were automatically crazy.  He did not do any testing and made fun of the fact that my face was red.  He worked for Rutgers University and I would not be surprised if his funding was coming from the chemical companies.

The books by Dr. Sherry Rodgers have been a great help.  I have wondered what hope the future holds for my condition.  According to Dr. Rogers if the body is given a total rest from chemicals and allergens and the immune system built back up there is a lot of hope. 

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Last updated 9/25/01