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Re: A bit of history, for those new to the anti-dioxin move

  Hi, Harriet,
         I'm gratified that you would quote me regarding the introduction of
  plastics into industrial chemicals and products.
        There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that something really
  quite odd is going on with respect to asthma, diesel exhaust, incinerators,
  and dioxin (or maybe other organochlorine by-product, but dioxin is the most
  potent of them...). The dioxin air emissions from incinerators are primarily
  carried clinging to microscopic and sub-microscopic particulates. Diesel
  exhaust is also known to contain dioxin, and the pattern of dispersion is
  likely to be the same. As you know, the incidence of asthma in cities in
  general and incinerator cities specifically has skyrocketed, to the point
  where 1/3 of the kids have asthma and many adults are developing it as well.
  There are many possible scenarios, for instance:
  1. Dioxin interferes with the immune system. That much is known. The immune
  system also has something to do with the Ah receptor, but the research is
  sketchy. General immune system depression (to common colds and flu) is a
  common symptom of dioxin exposure. It is also a common affliction of
  "modern" allergy/asthma sufferers. Maybe there is a connection or
  correlation there.
  Whatever it is, breathing sub-microscopic particulates with dioxin molecules
  clinging to them cannot be good for one's lungs.
  2. Dioxin causes dysplasia - the growth of a type of cells that don't belong
  in the place where they are growing. (An example is endometriosis, for which
  dioxin is a known cause and, I believe, the only known cause). I have heard
  of stomach acid cells growing on the lining of the esophagus.
  At least one researcher has found a correlation between stomach acid
  irritation and asthma. Another possible avenue of research.
        In the city, asbestos is also a factor. Its irritative potential is
  magnified by orders of magnitude when there are also aromatic hydrocarbons.
  I hope this helps...
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Harriet Rosenberg <hrosenbe@yorku.ca>
  To: Jon Campbell <jon@cqs.com>
  Cc: Multiple recipients of list <dioxin-l@essential.org>
  Date: Thursday, November 27, 1997 4:16 PM
  Subject: Re: A bit of history, for those new to the anti-dioxin move
  >I am joining a discussion on asthma and dioxin which may have long since
  >petered out.But I am very interested for personal reasons.
  >My academic and political interest for many years has been in
  >social and political struggles of women in toxic politics. 9 months ago, i
  >was diagnosed as having asthma. living in polluted downtown Toronto and
  >having a mother who had adult onset asthma, I thought I knew pretty much
  >why i contracted this horrible disease. But in reading more about it, I
  >agree with whoever wrote about it not just being a problem of respiration
  >of bronchial irritants. Jon Campell's discussion of the industrial
  >revolution  makes sense to me. It would make  sense
  >that introducing plastics incineration into the picture would alter the
  >If dioxins and furans act as endocrine system hormones, might they not
  >also disrupt other hormones in the body? My understanding is that the body
  >reads certain triggers as dangerous and sends out a lot of histamines,
  >create a lot of thick mucous in the lungs which restricts breathing. How
  >does this reading occur? Could it be affected by dioxins/furans as ah
  >receptors are affected?
  > What  are histamines? An article on asthma epidemic in Time said they
  >were hormones. My doctor says not.
  >The conventional treatment to control asthma is inhaled corticosteroids
  >which work to depress the immune system and to prevent the "over-reaction
  >response " which stops the over-production of histamines. I think...
  >Actually the literature on asthma is confusing. There is another  body of
  >lit that connects it to underproduction of CO2 in the lungs as well as the
  >discussion already cited about the inspiration of various pollutants which
  >act to mechanically irritate the lungs.
  >Any further thoughts anyone?
  >Harriet Rosenberg
  >Health and Society Programme
  >Social Science Division (Arts)
  >York University
  >Note New E-Mail Address: hrosenbe@yorku.ca
  >On Sun, 10 Aug 1997, Jon Campbell wrote:
  >>  Hi,
  >> Those are precisely my thoughts on the subject. I have
  >> been thinking
  >> about the fact that, in the early part of the
  >> Industrial Revolution, when
  >> London, New York, Liverpool, and other early industrial
  >> cities were
  >> thick with smoke, the amount of bronchial asthma in the
  >> population
  >> was still very, very small. Lots of emphysema, lots of
  >> lung cancer,
  >> but few reports of asthma, whose symptoms are very
  >> specific
  >> (not chronic lung insufficiency, but acute
  >> sensitivity). There were
  >> also lots of incinerators - one in virtually every
  >> apartment building -
  >> burning everything imaginable (but NOT organochlorine
  >> plastics,
  >> because there weren't any!) SOMETHING
  >> in "modern" smoke is interfering in some way with the
  >> bronchial
  >> immune response. Again, this is a complete surmise, a
  >> total
  >> guess, that organochlorines (not even necessarily TCDD)
  >> might be involved. Of course, Sam and Alex, you might
  >> be
  >> right about heavy metals. Those were also absent in
  >> turn-of-the-century
  >> smoke. ...
  >> By the way: to Sam and Alex:
  >>  I hope you two didn't take my disagreement
  >> with you about GP sampling the wrong way. I have a
  >> great
  >> deal of respect for your contributions both to this
  >> mail-list
  >> and also to the environmental movement in general. I
  >> just
  >> disagree about whether extraordinary (read: illegal)
  >> means
  >> are occasionally justified. And we needn't beat the
  >> stuffed
  >> horse about it more...
  >> Thanks,
  >> Jon
  >> -----Original Message-----
  >> From: Rebecca Leighton Katers <cwac@execpc.com>
  >> To: Multiple recipients of list
  >> <dioxin-l@essential.org>
  >> Date: Saturday, August 09, 1997 7:45 PM
  >> Subject: Re: A bit of history, for those new to the
  >> anti-dioxin move
  >> Regarding the question of a possible dioxin and asthma
  >> link:
  >> My understanding is that asthma is more than just
  >> a response to air pollutants entering the lungs.
  >> It's the result of an immune system malfunction.
  >> While evidence of a direct breathing response to
  >> dioxin may not be in the literature --- dioxin
  >> and other chlorinated organics are suspected of
  >> damaging the immune system.
  >> Isn't it possible that dioxin's damage to the immune
  >> system is making people more vulnerable to
  >> developing an asthma response to other
  >> pollutants?
  >> Rebecca Leighton Katers
  >> Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin
  >> 2220 Deckner Avenue
  >> Green Bay, WI 54302
  >> Phone:  414-468-4243
  >> Fax:  414-468-1234
  >> E-mail:  cwac@execpc.com