Evidence is mounting that many of the illnesses Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors are suffering may have an immunological origin. It appears personnel were immunologically sensitised by unprotected exposure to chemicals, in use by the Irish Army Air Corps, that are recognised skin & respiratory sensitisers.
Whist the sensitising effects on skin & respiratory system are well known we suspect that harm continues after the sensitising chemicals penetrate further than than the skin or lungs and are likely having an effect upon the central nervous system, digestive tract and other body systems.
Sensitising chemicals such as Isocyanates, Trichloroethane or some of the components of JetA1 fuel initially provoke the immune system into a response. This response is remembered by the immune system and once sensitised every subsequent exposure in the day to day built & working environment elicits an immune system reaction.
See a full list of currently known chemical sensitisers in use in the Irish Army Air Corps here.
With this in mind we suspect that some of the symptoms many survivors are suffering such as anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, chronic idiopathic pain, insomnia & irritable bowel syndrome may all be linked to the body’s immune response to common chemicals in daily use as well as some food additives.
Avoiding these or mitigating exposure with PPE may allow the restoration of some quality of health for affected survivors or may indeed prevent occurrences of life threatening episodes issues like Hypersensitive Pneumonitis or Hypokalemia which have had colleagues on deaths door in recent times.
It bears pointing out that many very serious auto-immune diseases have already been diagnosed in a number of personnel and their children so our obvious recommendation is to continue treatment for these conditions with your doctor or consultant as before.
We mention specifically anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, chronic idiopathic pain, insomnia & irritable bowel syndrome because we now suspect they they may be symptoms of a related underlying immunological condition of mechanism unknown at this point in time.
Suspected Chemical Triggers
The below is a list of chemicals in day to day use that we believe may be capable of causing immunological responses to personnel who have been sensitised by exposure to known skin or respiratory sensitisers.
|Candles - Paraffin based & scented.||Mood lighting & fragrances.||Switch to unscented bees wax based candles. Paraffin is a petroleum product with toxic combustion products.|
Nail Varnish Remover
|Avoid or apply outdoors.|
|Diesel||Boats, trucks, cars.||Minimise inhalation & spills whilst refueling. Ensure adequate ventilation when working in confined areas. Clean up spills properly & quickly. Wear appropriate PPE to minimise skin exposure & inhalation|
|Turbojet, Turbofan, Turbo prop aircraft and some piston aircraft. Used in some militarys as an alternative for diesel in land vehicles. Kerosene is also used in home heating systems.||Minimise inhalation & spills whilst refueling. Ensure adequate ventilation when working in confined areas. Clean up spills properly & quickly. Wear appropriate PPE to minimise skin exposure & inhalation|
|Fragrances||Aftershaves, air fresheners, body sprays, perfumes.||Avoid or find natural alternatives such as essential oils. Do not use or store in bedrooms.|
|Aircraft, boats, cars, chainsaws, generators, lawnmowers, strimmers.||Minimise inhalation & spills whilst refueling.
Ensure adequate ventilation when working in confined areas.
Clean up spills properly & quickly.
Exercise caution when making 2-stroke mix.
Wear appropriate PPE to minimise skin exposure & inhalation.
|Household Chemicals||Bleaches, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, oven cleaners & window cleaners.||Investigate safest alternatives. Cut down on usage. Air rooms after using.|
|Hydrocarbon Based Lubricants such as 3 in 1 oil, WD40||Lubrication & unseizing of parts.||Clean up spills properly & quickly. Wear appropriate PPE to minimise skin exposure and inhalation. Minimise use inside your home. Do not use or store in bedrooms.|
|Paints||Decoration / Repair||Investigate safest paints available. Minimise inhalation & spills whilst painting. Ensure adequate ventilation when working in confined areas. Clean up spills properly & quickly. Wear appropriate PPE to minimise skin exposure & inhalation. Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate to eliminate residual fumes.|
Be proactive, read safety literature, mitigate exposure with PPE & ventilation. Investigate safer alternatives and don’t use lingering chemicals in bedrooms where you will get a long exposure during sleep. Air your home, work & car regularly especially during hot or sunny weather as many polyurethanes plastics & foams off-gas when their temperature is raised.
Suspected Dietary Triggers
The below is a list of food additives that we believe may be capable causing immunological responses to personnel who have been sensitised by exposure to known skin or respiratory sensitisers. These ingredients are widely used as preservatives and flavour enhancers.
|Mono Sodium Glutamate|
Also known as E621
|Synthetic additive used as a flavour enhancer in crisps, gravies, ready meals, sauces.||AVOID. Known to cause asthma attacks in asthmatics. Contains salts of Glutamic Acid.|
E Numbers E150x and E22x
|Used as a preservative in wines, ciders, meats.||Difficult to avoid in processed meats like burgers, puddings & sausages. Read ingredients and test see if you can tolerate. Avoid cider & wine if you are intolerant. Most craft beers & most spirits appear to be sulphite free. Beware of sulphites in sweets such as Trebor Softmints and Haribo Marshmallows as it is used as a preservative in glucose syrup.|
|Yeast Extract||"Natural" additive used as a flavour enhancer in crisps, gravies, ready meals, sauces.||AVOID. Essentially MSG manufactured by a different process but containing same Glutamic Acid in it's free form.|
Be proactive reading ingredients and avoid the additives mentioned if you find you are intolerant due to sensitisation.
High Histamine Food Triggers.
If indeed chemically sensitised personnel are suffering an immune response to chemical triggers in their food, then one of the responses of the immune systems is to trigger histamine production. It therefore stands to reason that that it makes sense to consider avoiding or limiting foods that either trigger histamine production (histamine liberators) or actually contain high levels of histamine themselves.
Below is a list of foods some have found to exacerbate their symptoms.
|Chocolate & Cocoa||Histamine Liberator||It's always the nice stuff.|
|Histamine Liberator||Be careful with these juices too.|
|Matured Cheeses||High Histamine Food||Soft cheeses like mascarpone are OK|
|Nuts||Histamine Liberator||A very healthy food but known to cause gastric upset among survivors|
|High Histamine Food||Fish caught & gutted immediately should have low histamine levels.|
|Saurkraut||High Histamine Food||A great food for enhancing your gut microbiota but not if you are trying to reduce histamine|
|Tomatoes||Histamine Liberator||Again a very healthy food but known to cause gastric upset among survivors|
|Vinegar||High Histamine Food|
|High Histamine Food||Again a very healthy food but known to cause gastric upset among survivors|
For a more comprehensive insight into food Histamine Intolerance issues we have found the below website useful. Please note medicine in Ireland does not recognise histamine intolerance as an illness however it appears to be recognised in most German speaking countries.
A number of personnel have discovered independently that anti-histamines can play a part in mitigating some of the symptoms suffered after a trigger chemical or food exposure.
Over the counter generic Cetirizine dihydrochloride tablets have so far shown to be safe & effective. Some personnel are taking them routinely once a day, some are splitting a tablet to take half in the AM and half in the PM whilst some are using antihistamines when they feel the onset of a symptom.
If you do plan to take anti-histamines on a regular basis please be sure to relay this information to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it is safe for you to do so. This is just in case you may already be on medication that can have unwelcome interactions with anti-histamines.