Why Exposure Monitoring Would Be Medically Validating

We (as a society) are facing unprecedented kinds of health problems and challenges that can easily (if you do any research) be explained by our 24/7 exposure to toxic chemicals in everyday products and materials, GMOs (and pesticides) in our “food” supply, and 24/7 exposure to unsafe levels of wireless radiation.

Harmful pollutants are now in our air, water, food, clothing, and you name it, it’s likely to be either made with toxic materials, or has 2nd or 3rd hand toxic chemical contamination from passing through a toxic environment. These exposures add up, and are messing with our health and well-being in ways that are not yet well-understood, but point to the urgent need to stop business as usual, and stop burdening our bodies with so many harmful pollutants that we were simply not designed to process.

There is money to be made by selling drugs, even if the drugs aren’t appropriate to the condition,  do nothing to heal what’s wrong, and often just make things worse, much worse.

Stephen Genuis is a researcher who has published many peer reviewed articles dealing with environmental health. In 2014 the official journal of the Canadian Family Physician published two of them. I shared the abstract from one of them last year.

I am going to “quote” extensively from the other article here, as most of you don’t follow the links, but will read what I have here.

Pandemic of idiopathic multimorbidity

Canadian Family Physician June 2014 vol. 60 no. 6 511-514

“Sitting among colleagues in the private room of a swank eatery, I recently had the pleasure of participating in a pharmaceutical industry–sponsored medical education event allegedly exploring the management of patients presenting to their health providers with multisystem health complaints.

The animateur for the evening—an eloquent orator with impressive credentials—raised the issue of the rising prevalence of patients who present with a laundry list of ongoing and seemingly unrelated persistent complaints often including headache, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, bloating, chemical intolerance,1 muscle aches, itchy skin, and so on.”

This is entirely (although not in it’s entirety) from the full article which is freely available on the web, or here (PDF).

“In an almost synchronized response, a hum of affirmation rose from the ranks. Yes, the doctors in attendance agreed that they were seeing more and more patients from all age groups with diverse health complaints,2 with little or nothing to find on physical examination and apparently unremarkable laboratory results.

The simultaneous coexistence of ongoing multisystem health complaints in a single person—sometimes referred to as multimorbidity—often presents a difficult clinical situation for physicians.6,7 In this month’s issue of Canadian Family Physician (page 533), Tymchak and I discuss the assessment and management of patients who present with otherwise inexplicable multisystem health complaints.

Exploring the origins of disease

Within the recent medical literature, there is increasing discussion of a paradigm shift in the understanding of the underlying origins of disease.

Rather than genomic predestination, considerable research over the past decade has begun to explore aberrations in the epigenome and exposome16 as potential source causes of a wide array of chronic afflictions and multimorbidity.14,17,18

With recent evidence in the past few years that 70% to 90% of disease is likely related to environmental determinants,19 the term exposome has emerged to refer to the totality of environmental exposures from conception onward that might be influencing health.

Exploration and appreciation of this domain is critical for assessing the origins of disease and understanding the source of the multimorbidity pandemic.19,20

Just as accrued toxic compounds originating from cigarette exposure are a well established cause of various health conditions, myriad toxicants originating from many other day-to-day exposures are now bioaccumulating in people and causing a multitude of health conditions.21

To facilitate convenience, comfort, safety, and efficiency, there has been the manufacture and release of many thousands of untested synthetic chemicals over the past few decades.

Extensive evidence published in various scientific and public health journals has recently verified that individuals from many population groups have experienced exposure to and bioaccumulation of numerous chemical toxicants from the air they breathe, from the food and drink they ingest, from vertical transmission, from dermal exposure, and from compounds injected or implanted into the body.

Furthermore, the emerging field of nanotoxicology, a new discipline exploring the potential biochemical havoc resulting from exposure to some nanoparticles,22,23 has served to bring further attention to the expanding realm of potential toxicants.

But just as the exposure problem from cigarettes, which was initially described by Delarue in the 1940s,24 was ignored for many years, the current exposure problem from innumerable domestic and occupational sources is also being ignored by many clinicians despite irrefutable and extensive evidence.

A foray into the recesses of the scientific literature reveals discussion of a condition called sensitivity-related illness34 (SRI), with description of a credible causal mechanism39 to account for much of the emerging pandemic of multisystem health problems.40

This condition results when toxicant accrual within the human organism—typically from exposure to adverse chemicals—induces a state of immune dysregulation and hypersensitivity resulting in physiological disruption within various organ systems.41–43

The pathogenesis relates to an intriguing phenomenon called toxicant-induced loss of tolerance,41,44 a finding that represents a considerable advance in medical science pertaining to the origins and mechanisms of disease.

The reaction is often most prominent in the first 12 to 24 hours after incitant exposure and will typically settle after 3 to 5 days if not retriggered.

Early evidence suggests that this toxicant-induced hypersensitivity is the underlying source of the allergy epidemic that has occurred in the past few decades.34


As the chemical revolution with resultant toxicant bioaccumulation is new, we are the first generation to experience and recognize this pathophysiological response to stockpiled contaminants. However, the tardiness with which knowledge translation occurs in health care is nothing new.

Despite the deference afforded to values such as creativity and critical thinking in science, it is also apparent that few medical professionals tolerate iconoclastic ideas. In fact, medical history shows that the conventional medical community is frequently recalcitrant in its opposition to findings that threaten the status quo.52,55,56

No matter how compelling the scientific evidence, most will reject the truth in favour of what they are comfortable or familiar with.52,56–58

The rejection of Delarue’s observations connecting smoking to lung cancer in the 1940s and 1950s24 and the resistance to Warren and Marshall’s evidence linking ulcer disease to Helicobacter pylori in the 1980s59 are recent examples of what one medical author metaphorically refers to as the “barriers to teaching old dogs new tricks.”56

With an apparently reflexive tendency to attribute unfamiliar presentations to psychogenic origins, many disorders in the past including Parkinson disease, asthma, ulcerative colitis, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, autism, and various other clinical entities have been dismissed as pathopsychological rather than pathophysiological.43

Despite the entertaining educational soiree with my colleagues, I wondered whether industry-sponsored medical education was the best means to keep physicians apprised of emerging scientific information.

If this approach to knowledge translation and the historical pendulum from research to clinical practice continue, we can expect it will take the usual 1 to 2 generations before health practitioners are familiar with the documented pathophysiological mechanisms and restorative approach to many cases of multimorbidity.

If so, countless individuals with apparently inexplicable multisystem complaints will needlessly suffer and receive an incorrect label of being psychiatrically disordered.

By the end of the evening, 3 things were evident: that the pandemic of idiopathic multimorbidity was real, that health care costs were escalating, and that the share price of antidepressant manufacturers would likely continue north for years to come.

This article has been peer reviewed.

For full article and references, you can download the PDF below

Genuis-Pandemic of idiopathic multimorbidity (PDF)

Dr. Stephen J. Genuis is Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry with research interests in environmental health sciences who works on clinical nutrition and elimination of persistent pollutants from the human body. He received the Commemorative Medal from the Governor General of Canada in recognition of significant contribution to this country. (University of Alberta)

From the Speakers’ Bureau of Alberta


Canadian Physician, Health Researcher, Author, Speaker and Musician.

Dr. Stephen Genuis is the author of three books as well as publications in diverse international medical journals including the Lancet, British Medical Journal, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Public Health, the American Board of Family Practice, and various others. As a clinician and researcher, he is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as in Environmental Medicine. In his Obstetric work he has delivered over six thousand infants and worked with teenagers in crisis for many years. In addition to writing and serving as an associate editor for a medical journal, he lectures extensively and reviews papers for several scientific journals on issues ranging from medical ethics to environmental health, from evidence-based medicine to reproductive technology, and from physician professionalism to medicine and cyberspace.

He served as the women’s health care physician for an inner city clinic, worked as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at a University teaching hospital for many years, and served as co-director of medical services in a hospital in West Africa. Included in his awards are the Commemorative Medal from the Governor General in recognition of significant contribution to Canada, the 1983 ‘Resident of the Year’ award chosen by the graduating medical class at the University of Alberta medical school, and a ‘Teacher of the Year’ award from the University of Alberta – where he serves as a clinical associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine. He plays piano and sings in a doctor’s band called DixieDocs and most importantly, he is Shelagh’s husband and his five kids’ “Pa”.

Dr. Stephen Genuis lectures in Canada and the United States on a wide variety of medical and ethical issues and presents to community gatherings, university audiences, government bodies and professional organizations. In addition, he enjoys discussing new and exciting scientific research to encourage and provide hope to individuals suffering from chronic physical and mental illness – his presentations are intriguing, thought-provoking and challenging. He is able to translate detailed scientific information into easy-to-understand and everyday language.

One response to “Why Exposure Monitoring Would Be Medically Validating

  1. Related (from 2009 – seems not much has changed anywhere):

    Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary

    The professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of cholesterol treatments.

    David Tian, 24, a first-year Harvard Medical student, said: “Before coming here, I had no idea how much influence companies had on medical education. And it’s something that’s purposely meant to be under the table, providing information under the guise of education when that information is also presented for marketing purposes.”

    The students say they worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years — including some criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias in research and publishing and false marketing claims — have cast a bad light on the medical profession. And they criticize Harvard as being less vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial conflicts by faculty members.

    Dr. Flier says that the Harvard Medical faculty may lead the nation in receiving money from industry, as well as government and charities, and he does not want to tighten the spigot. “One entirely appropriate source, if done properly, is industrial funds,” Dr. Flier said in an interview.”


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