Chemical Toxicity & Sensitivity | We Are All Polluted | Surviving 9/11
I developed sensitivities to multiple chemicals after the terrorist bombings of 9/11. While I had had numerous exposures in the three or four years prior to 9/11, such as teaching in a school with a coal burning furnace and living above a dental lab, I had always been able to bounce back. I had been blessed with a strong constitution through all of my decades of active living and teaching in New York City. However, with these toxic dust exposures after 9/11, my total toxic load was too high and I couldn’t rebound.

After 9/11, I suddenly developed bronchitis and flushing and itching of my skin. Food allergies soon developed after that, and then sensitivities to any chemicals I breathed or came into contact with.  I became depressed over all these sudden limitations, and began to go from doctor to doctor,
trying to find someone who could help me.

First I went to a rheumatologist, who thought I had some kind of connective tissue autoimmune disorder, and gave me Prednisone for the next seven months.  It didn’t help my symptoms, and my face swelled from the steroids and stayed swollen for over two years.  I felt awful and looked awful, too.  Then I tried allergists, but I didn’t seem to test allergic according to traditional standards.  Why was I always flushing and itching?  No one knew.

I finally heard of an alternative gynecologist who performed tests and found that I had exceptionally high levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium.  Interestingly, many rescue workers who helped us after 9/11 also have this chemical profile.  While this doctor was able to diagnose my heavy metal problem, he couldn’t adequately treat it. Oral chelation and acupuncture for a full year didn’t seem to help my symptoms.  I went to a doctor (Dr. Morrison in New York) who specializes in intravenous chelation, and fortunately his treatment was successful in helping me to feel better.  By the fall of 2005, four years after 9/11, I thought I had turned the corner.

The principal at the school where I taught was promoted that year and her replacement proceeded to have all the school hallways painted with very odorous oil paint, and new carpeting was laid in every room where I taught.  Automatic air fresheners were installed in all the bathrooms.  Everything around me seemed to be outgassing and I became extremely ill.  I could no longer work; I could barely move.

I went to a doctor in New York who was an expert in chemical sensitivities, but I got worse.  Now I could no longer tolerate the air in my beloved Manhattan.  I was going to have to find a new place to live.  As I followed various leads, one woman with a house for sale in Arizona told me there was a wonderful environmental doctor in South Carolina who had saved her life.  His name was Allan Lieberman.  I stored this information away—after all, South Carolina is a long way from New York City and not known for its clean air like Arizona.

By the end of the summer, I began to worry that I might die if I didn’t do something drastically different.  I asked the doctor who had helped me through intravenous chelation about this Dr. Lieberman, and he said, “Oh he was my mentor!  He’s a gentle, brilliant man.”  If only he had told me months before!

In short order, I gave up my rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan, donated my clothes and furniture to charity, and bought a used car—to begin the adventure of driving after all these years without a car.  I headed to South Carolina.

Everyone at The Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine was exceptionally kind and caring.  They were so nice that I thought this couldn’t be real!  (I am a New Yorker.)  I soon found out that they were genuine.  Just as a principal sets the tone of his school, a doctor sets the tone of his office.  The employees were like Dr. Lieberman and I loved it!  I thrived in this atmosphere.

I went through the Program for Biodetoxification, with their saunas 4 hours per day, massages, intravenous treatments, and energy treatments.  I saw The Center’s excellent nutritionist.  She devised a special diet for me and I began to re-gain my lost weight.  This was quite a feat as all previous attempts to gain weight only made me sicker.  Dr. Lieberman tested my hormones and began some natural hormone replacement.  Now I was no longer depressed for the first time in years.

I was on a mission to get well and used every tool The Center had available.  Their Oxygen Therapy program didn’t change my oxygen blood gas levels, but my energy soared.  I did allergy testing at The Center and their allergy extracts helped me with food and chemical sensitivities.  I can now pass someone wearing perfume and I don’t become ill--amazing considering my reactivity before.

I have continued the maintenance measures as instructed and am writing this as I get ready to leave South Carolina to go back to New York (but not the City). The staff members have become like family to me and I feel so blessed to have the security of The Center to turn to when I need it.  So many people have told me they owe their life to The Center.  Now I count myself among them.

To learn more about the science behind The Center’s Biodetoxification Program, read “We Are All Polluted:  The Role of Biodetoxification in Overcoming Illness.”

To read more in-depth testimonials from patients who have benefited from treatment at The Center, click here.


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All material provided on the Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine web site is for educational purposes only. Access to the web site does not create a doctor-patient relationship nor should the information contained on the web site be considered specific medical advice for any person, patient and/or medical condition. Consult a physician regarding the application of any opinions or recommendations from this website, for any symptom or medical condition. Dr. Lieberman specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, that is or may be incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, resulting from use or application pertaining to any of the information provided on the web site.