I (and others on this forum) have spent some time debating the possible causes of Crohn's. Today, I found a great article about
autoimmune diseases in general. They are increasing dramatically all over the world, and in the USA today, 1 in 12 persons has an autoimmune disease.
The author of the article, Donna Jackson Nakazawa, says she believes that industrial chemicals and/or pollutants are the cause. Down below the main article, in the Questions & Answer section, she writes:Nakazawa: There are thousands of probable autogens we have not yet studied. Eighty thousand chemicals have been approved for use in our environment. Every year 1700 new chemicals are approved -- that's an average of five a day. Have scientists studied the effects on our bodies of all these chemicals? No. However, those chemicals that have been researched -- in occupational studies and in studies of lab animals -- have been shown to play a role in triggering autoimmune reactions. For example, mice exposed to pesticides -- at levels four-fold lower than the level set as acceptable for humans by the EPA -- are more susceptible to getting lupus than control mice. Mice that absorb low doses of trichloroethylene (TCE) -- a chemical used in industrial degreasers, dry-cleaning, household paint thinners, glues and adhesives -- at levels deemed safe by the EPA, and equal to what a factory worker today might encounter, quickly develop autoimmune hepatitis. And low doses of perfluorooctanoic acid, a breakdown chemical of Teflon that can be found in 96 percent of humans tested for it, impair the development of a proper immune system in rats.
We know from occupational studies in humans that these chemicals impair our immune systems in dangerous ways. In 2007, scientists from the National Institutes of Health announced -- after studying 300,000 death certificates in 26 states over a 14-year period -- that those who worked with pesticides, textiles, hand painting, solvents (such as TCE), benzene, asbestos, and other compounds were significantly more likely to die from an autoimmune disease than people who were not exposed. Other recent studies show links between working with solvents, silica dust, asbestos, PCBs and vinyl chloride and a greater likelihood of developing autoimmune disease.
I know that I have been exposed to a number of nasty chemicals on the job. Years ago, I worked as a mechanic, and was exposed to all sorts of solvents and degreasers, which I often got on my hands. Of course, more insidious are chemicals that get into our food, water and the air. You can never really know just what you've been exposed to.
The entire article can be found here
Crohn's since 1988
Post Edited (ozonehole) : 3/19/2008 9:34:07 AM (GMT-6)