Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.


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One Reason for the Allergy Explosion
and the Increase in Asthma

By Albert F. Robbins, D.O., M.S.P.H., F.A.A.E.M.
Board Certified: Preventive Medicine/Occupational - Environmental Medicine

(CHEMAIR copyright 5/9/00 ALBERT ROBBINS)


What is most sad ... about the allergy explosion and the rise in asthma in modern nations ... is that allergic individuals are not properly warned about personal exposures that aggravate the allergies and that are generally "masked" or not suspected! The patient doesn't know that his/her personal care products are affecting him/her until he/she unmasks or avoids these exposures.

Remember that these allergic individuals are "hypersensitive" which means that they are reactive to a far lower level of air pollutant exposure that the general population. They are not aware that their own personal care products increase their reactivity.

Couple that hypersensitivity with the current fact that most of us are exposed to a wide number of VOCs ... volatile organic compounds ... (chemical smells or gases such as perfume, fragrance, aerosol sprays, skin lotions, colognes, polishes, smelly chemical cleaning products, fabric softeners, dry cleaning fluids, scented detergents and soaps) that we sometimes carry with us all day long on our skin, hair, clothing and even in our handbags and autos.

Adding insult to injury, the allergic patient is not properly warned to meticulously avoid many of these chemical irritant products by their own physicians. This then leads to a need for more medications to stabilize the allergic individual for long periods of time and the risk of progression of the allergic disease as well as the risk of developing side effects from the medications.

To add more insult to injury, doctors and nurses who don't understand the dilemma of the "chemically hypersensitive," contribute to the problem by labeling those allergic people who avoid aggravating chemical exposures as "psychiatric cases" and by labeling physicians like myself who warn the allergic to avoid certain chemical exposures as "quacks."

Even more difficult ... once the allergic patient begins to help himself by choosing the correct hypoallergenic fragrance free products and environmental controls is convincing family and friends not to make them sick by bringing them around obnoxious chemical exposures.

For these reasons, I believe that I have a tremendous responsibility to warn my patients and other allergic individuals of obvious neglect by most physicians to warn patients about proper environmental controls in addressing allergic diseases. There is too much emphasis on medication to control symptoms and not enough emphasis on prevention of allergic reactions.

I wrote this poem for my patients to emphasize this key point:


    Now asthma's on the rise everywhere
    While agents of disease hide in our air
    I Hate to burst the chemical industry's bubble
    But the chemicals are here
    So I must warn you double

    If Paul Revere were here he'd say beware
    Of breathing manmade chemicals in the air
    Most doctors don't know that they don't know
    So the victims aren't aware
    They have a chemical foe

    The red tape in medicine hides the truth
    while polluted indoor air affects our youth
    Sick buildings are so new we don't have answers
    There's a silent chemical invasion
    Of immune disease and cancers

    Neurotoxins mess with our kids brains
    Is it environmental or am I insane?
    Ritalin creates convenience moods
    Sherlock Holmes would be shocked we missed
    the environmental clues

    ©Dr. Albert F. Robbins
    Board Certified Occupational/Environmental Physician

# # #

Rekeyed with permission -- from faxed copy on letterhead
by barb wilkie; (EHN) 5/9/00


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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. EHN brings you topics on this page that need your immediate attention The URL for EHN's homepage is