Friday, September 19, 2008

Best Post of June, 2008: Pathologists and lab techs beware!

The choice for the Best Post of June '08 was an easy one, since I had only one post that month! Here it is:

I’m glad to be back in the blogosphere and will mark my return by noting a report brought to my attention by Dr. Chad DeFrain. According to an article in the May 28, 2008 issue of JAMA (299:20, p 2375-6), formaldehyde exposure seems to be a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The author reports on data presented at this year’s American Academy of Neurology meeting in Chicago. (I attended that meeting, but missed this presentation. I must have been sitting by the hotel pool!) In any case, the link between formaldehyde exposure and ALS is based on a large prospective cohort study by Dr. Marc Weisskopf and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers found a more than 4-fold increase risk of ALS among those who reported formaldehyde exposure over a course of more than ten years. Physicians were among the at-risk occupations for formaldehyde exposure. I suppose pathologists would be particularly vulnerable. If you look on the container of 10%-buffered formalin solution you use to fix your specimens, you’ll see that it is composed of 4% formaldehyde. Other at-risk occupations include laboratory technicians, morticians, firefighters, beauticians, and others. Yikes!


Rich Murray said...

tobacco, alcohol drinks, and aspartame all expose people to methanol, formaldehyde, and formic acid: Rich Murray 2008.09.20

formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines, the first case series, Sharon E Jacob-Soo, Sarah A Stechschulte, UCSD, Dermatitis 2008 May: Rich Murray 2008.07.18
Friday, July 18, 2008

Dermatitis. 2008 May-Jun; 19(3): E10-1.
Formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines: a possible connection.
Jacob SE, Stechschulte S.
Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.

Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been linked to pediatric and adolescent migraines.

Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized into formaldehyde in various tissues.

We present the first case series of aspartame-associated migraines
related to clinically relevant positive reactions to formaldehyde on patch testing. PMID: 18627677

formaldehyde from many sources, including aspartame, is major cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis, SE Jacob, T Steele, G Rodriguez, Skin and Aging 2005 Dec.: Murray 2008.03.27
Thursday, March 27, 2008

"For example, diet soda and yogurt containing aspartame (Nutrasweet),
release formaldehyde in their natural biological degradation.

One of aspartame's metabolites, aspartic acid methyl ester, is
converted to methanol in the body, which is oxidized to formaldehyde
in all organs, including the liver and eyes. 22

Patients with a contact dermatitis to formaldehyde have been seen to
improve once aspartame is avoided. 22

Notably, the case that Hill and Belsito reported had a 6-month history of eyelid dermatitis that subsided after 1 week of avoiding diet soda. 22"

Avoiding formaldehyde allergic reactions in children, aspartame,
vitamins, shampoo, conditioners, hair gel, baby wipes, Sharon E Jacob, MD, Tace Steele, U. Miami, Pediatric Annals 2007 Jan.: eyelid contact dermatitis, AM Hill, DV Belsito, 2003 Nov.: Murray 2008.03.27
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sharon E. Jacob, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Dermatology)
University of California, San Diego 200 W. Arbor Drive #8420, San
Diego, CA 92103-8420
Tel: 858-552-8585 ×3504 Fax: 305-675-8317;

Dermatitis. 2008 Jan-Feb;19(1):9-15.
Systemic contact dermatitis.
Jacob SE, Zapolanski T.;
Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.

Systemic exposure to allergens resulting in a cutaneous eruption is
known as systemic contact dermatitis (SCD).

Once sensitization occurs, varying exposures to antigens via multiple
routes (including transepidermal routes, intravenous or intramuscular
routes, inhalation, and ingestion) can result in systemic flare.

This article highlights the different categories of common
contactants, metals, medications, and plants, exposure to which leads
to SCD.

A comprehensive approach that takes into account all possible routes
of exposure is essential in diagnosing SCD and in helping patients
successfully avoid their allergens. PMID: 18346390

"We present a case of a medical student who presented with
erythematous eczematoid plaques on her trunk and legs and fine
vesiculation of her scalp, 3 weeks after starting anatomy class.

Of note, she routinely washed her face and arms after leaving the
anatomy lab, but remained in her scrubs for the rest of the day.

Formaldehyde and Quaternium-15 positive reactions in the same patient.
[ photo ]"

"Our patient underscores the importance of appropriate patch testing
and education.

Once we identified the allergy to formaldehyde and quaternium-15, we
provided patient education materials regarding the common and not-so-
common locations of these chemicals and cross-reactors.

We also gave the patient information on avoidance and safe
alternatives (see Table 5).

Fortunately, with technical advances, this student completed the
anatomy section via electronic learning tools.

By avoiding formaldehyde, including anatomy lab, FRP in her shampoo
and cosmetics, and aspartame in her diet, this patient dramatically

As with all contact dermatitides, the mainstay of treatment for
allergic contact dermatitis is avoidance." Skin & Aging Journal
ISSN: 1096-0120 - Volume 13 - Issue 12_2005 -
December 2005 - Pages: 22 - 27

Allergen Focus:
Focus on T.R.U.E. Test Allergens #21, 13 and 18:
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
-- By Sharon E. Jacob, M.D., Tace Steele, B.A., [now MD] and Georgette
Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H.
[ photo ]

The Eczema Center
Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego
8010 Frost Street, Suite 602, San Diego, CA 92123
or call... (858) 966-6774

Sharon E. Jacob , MD
Dr. Sharon E. Jacob is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and
Medicine (Dermatology) at the University of California, School of
Medicine and Rady Children's Hospital.
She earned her medical degree from the Temple University, and
completed dermatology training at the University of Miami and advanced
contact dermatitis training at New York University (NYU).
She has been board certified in dermatology.

Dr. Jacob's clinical interests include atopic and contact dermatitis
and education.
She is considered a national expert on chemical sensitivities in the
skin and has published more than 45 journal articles, book chapters
and abstracts on this topic.
In 2005, Dr Jacob was the first to present contact dermatitis data on
U.S. pediatric patients to the American Contact Dermatitis Society

She has received an excellence in teaching award from the University
of Miami Dermatology and the Clinical Research Award from the ACDS.
She is an active reviewer for the following medical publications
including Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Pediatric
Dermatology, Dermatitis, and the Archives of Dermatology.
Dr. Jacob also serves on the medical board of the Inflammatory Skin
Disease Institute and the Skin and Aging Journal.

Dr. Jacob enjoys taking care of children and their families and is an
advocate for children's dermatologic health.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) -- better known as eczema -- is the most common
chronic skin disorder seen in infants and children.
In fact, the prevalence of this condition has risen dramatically
during the last three decades.
Currently, 15% to 20% of children in the United States are expected to
experience this condition sometime during their lifetime, compared to
7% around 1960.

The negative impact of eczema is profound and insidious.
It affects both the patient who suffers from it and that patient's
family members, and it does so on two important levels -- physical and


Inflamed, itchy rashes can involve any and all of the skin surfaces
and are frequently complicated by skin breakdown and bacterial, viral,
and fungal infections.

It is linked to the development of life-long allergic conditions,
including asthma, food allergies, and rhinitis.

Any level of AD is extremely uncomfortable and, at times, painful.
Individuals with moderate to severe disease report that eczema hugely
disturbs their sleep and impacts performance of daily activities,
including adverse effects on school, sports activities, work, and peer

In studies, individuals with eczema reported more negative impact on
quality of life than those with insulin-dependent diabetes!


Patients and their families experience considerable emotional
distress, anxiety, and embarrassment because of people's response to
this illness.

In fact, the emotional scarring on both patient and family members may
outlast eczema's physical effects.

Parents especially suffer because it is difficult for children
experiencing this condition to understand that their parents cannot
make the torment go away.
The stress of caring for these children is even greater than parents
caring for a child with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Patients experience considerable discrimination and social isolation
because of this illness.
People often stare, shiver with disgust or step back in fear from
those who have this condition.
The end result for patients: A life-time of struggle with their sense
of worth and self esteem. lecture
with photos

similar levels of daily formaldehyde and formic acid, causes of birth
defects, come from cigarettes, aspartame, and dark wines and liquors
-- folic acid protects most people: Rich Murray 2008.07.15
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"A smoker who goes through one pack a day will smoke 7,300 cigarettes
a year, inhaling the equivalent of nearly 1 gram of formaldehyde

That's about 2.5 mg daily formaldehyde intake for 20 cigarettes, over
the 2 mg USA FDA alarm level for formaldehyde in average 2 liters
daily drinking water, while a single 12 oz can of diet soda also
results in about 2 mg formaldehyde toxic products in the body,
including formic acid, a notorious cause of birth defects.

Dark wines and liquors usually supply even more methanol, which the
body always turns into formaldehyde and formic acid -- the major cause
of "morning after" hangovers.

High levels of folic acid, a safe, affordable vitamin in fruits and
vegetables, largely prevents formaldehyde and formic acid toxicity in
most people.

It is certain that high levels of aspartame use, above 2 liters daily
for months and years, must lead to chronic formaldehyde-formic acid

Fully 11 % of aspartame is methanol -- 1,120 mg aspartame in 2 liters
diet soda, almost six 12-oz cans, gives 123 mg methanol (wood
alcohol). The methanol is immediately released into the body after
drinking .
Within hours, the liver turns much of the methanol into formaldehyde,
and then much of that into formic acid, both of which in time are
partially eliminated as carbon dioxide and water.

However, about 30 % of the methanol remains in the body as cumulative
durable toxic metabolites of formaldehyde and formic acid -- 37 mg
daily, a gram every month, accumulating in and affecting every tissue.

If only 10 % of the methanol is retained daily as formaldehyde, that
would give 12 mg daily formaldehyde accumulation -- about 60 times
more than the 0.2 mg from 10 % retention of the 2 mg EPA daily limit
for formaldehyde in drinking water.

Bear in mind that the EPA limit for formaldehyde in drinking water is
1 ppm, or 2 mg daily for a typical daily consumption of 2 liters of

formaldehyde and formic acid in FEMA trailers and other sources
(aspartame, dark wines and liquors, tobacco smoke): Murray 2008.01.30
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The FEMA trailers give about the same amount of formaldehyde and
formic acid daily as from a quart of dark wine or liquor, or two
quarts (6 12-oz cans) of aspartame diet soda, from their over 1 tenth
gram methanol impurity (one part in 10,000), which the body quickly
makes into formaldehyde and then formic acid -- enough to be the major
cause of "morning after" alcohol hangovers.

Methanol and formaldehyde and formic acid also result from many fruits
and vegetables, tobacco and wood smoke, heater and vehicle exhaust,
household chemicals and cleaners, cosmetics, and new cars, drapes,
carpets, furniture, particleboard, mobile homes, buildings, leather...
so all these sources add up and interact with many other toxic

methanol impurity in alcohol drinks [ and aspartame ] is turned into
neurotoxic formic acid, prevented by folic acid, re Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome, BM Kapur, DC Lehotay, PL Carlen at U. Toronto, Alc Clin Exp
Res 2007 Dec. plain text: detailed biochemistry, CL Nie et al.
2007.07.18: Murray 2008.02.24
Sunday, February 24, 2008

opportunities re BA Magnuson, GA Burdock et al., Aspartame Safety
Evaluation 2007 Sept., Critical Reviews in Toxicology:
Rich Murray 2008.07.11
Friday, July 11, 2008

"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority, to enjoy peace,
joy, and love by helping to find, quickly share, and positively act
upon evidence about healthy and safe food, drink, and environment."

Rich Murray, MA Room For All
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 new primary archive
group with 133 members, 1,555 posts in a public archive
group with 1,135 members, 22,907 posts in public archive

HurricaneFEMA victim said...

In February 2008, CDC/FEMA acknowledged levels of formaldehyde as high as .95+ppm in FEMA trailers. These trailers were occupied by 100s of thousands of unsuspecting hurricane Katrina and Rita survivors, including children for 2.5 years. As early as fall 2005, FEMA and OSHA were aware of the present dangers of formaldehyde and did little to protect their unsuspecting victims. RVs, manufactured housing and common constructed homes use engineered wood products (plywood/particle/chip board) and other products that contain formaldehyde. Cheap engineered wood products used an alcohol base formaldehyde glue that off-gasses in humid conditions and/or when in contact with moisture. Victims can suffer from chronic illness and may risk future health issues. Now FEMA will begin using DOD aircraft to expose these victims to aerial spraying of Dibrom/Naled; this compound was designed a nerve agent weapon, but is being used to control mosquitoes in Louisiana. Many of the Katrina/Rita survivors remain in South Louisiana area and/or still occupy toxic FEMA trailers. FEMA remains unaccountable. What effect will this agent have victims’ health that has been exposed to long term low levels of formaldehyde?

gcolvin said...

Brian, I see that your Abraham Lincoln Outfit is back, oy vey!

gcolvin said...

love your blog, keep up the good work in gods contry

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