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Severe sensitivity to household chemicals leaves GTA man homeless for the holidays





Oliver Zhang wants one thing for Christmas: a home he can actually live in. 

The IT professional, who’s in his late 40s, suffers from environmental sensitivities so severe that he has had to move 70 times in the past three years.

“When the triggers come, I have to move again,” he told CBC Toronto. “Your life’s just totally destroyed.”

His triggers are common indoor chemicals and the scents that many of us take for granted — carpet deodorizers, air fresheners and even paint.

Within two hours of exposure, he says, he’s in unbearable pain — from stomach aches to tightness in the chest and lower pelvic discomfort — and must leave.

Even being inside a hospital is painful.

After a desperate search to find a home where he can live a healthier life, Zhang finds himself relying on community services for a place to stay. He has managed to find a mental-health crisis shelter in midtown Toronto that did not set off his symptoms. 

Earlier this month, he had a sitdown meeting with administrators at the facility, who reluctantly agreed to let him sleep there on a temporary basis. As soon as all the beds are needed for people in crisis, he will have to go. 

When that day comes, Zhang fears he’ll have no choice but to live on the streets. 

The strain of his fruitless search for a suitable, chemical-free home is plain in his demeanour. He speaks jerkily and is easily distracted.

“I almost do not have a life,” he says. “I couldn’t enjoy [time with] with my mother;  taking good care of my kid . . . For the past three years, I couldn’t take him indoor swimming, or see his indoor [piano] performances.”

Dr. Lynn Marshall has been treating Zhang for just under a year. She says people with multiple chemical sensitivities/environmental sensitivities ((MCS/ES) can recover with prolonged protection from the airborne chemicals that trigger their illness. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Zhang’s disorder is known to the medical community as multiple chemical sensitivities/environmental sensitivities ((MCS/ES).

The Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto specializes in treating people with the disorder. But those treatments are limited, according to Dr. Lynn Marshall, who has been seeing Zhang for just under a year.

“As well as the patient being very frustrated, I as a doctor am very frustrated too,” she said. “He had tears in his eyes because he couldn’t go anywhere with his son. I can’t help that.”

So how do you treat someone with MCS/ES?

“Teach him how to avoid the things that really trigger his symptoms,” she says, because that’s the first step toward recovery. But it can be a long road, she says. “We can’t say how long it will take any individual.”

Zhang’s condition is so severe that he needs to wear an air filter just to take public transportation. (Oliver Zhang)

Meanwhile, Marshall says the problem seems to be growing.

She works a limited amount of time at the WCH clinic, but she’s seen increases in her workload in recent years.

“Our waiting list is over a year,” she says. “I hate that. But that’s what it is … So many people requiring assistance, requiring diagnosis.”

Marshall points to federal statistics that show 800,500 people were diagnosed with MCS country-wide in 2010, up by 13.5 per cent from 2005.

In Ontario alone, there were 292,700 people diagnosed with MCS by a health care professional in 2010, she says.

This province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care launched a task force on environmental health in 2016. It’s job is to find new ways to treat people with MCS/ES.

Results expected in 2019

The ministry wouldn’t speak with CBC Toronto, but in an emailed statement, ministry spokesperson David Jensen said:

“Phase 2 of the task force, now underway, will consist of developing a set of recommendations for a system of care for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities /Environmental Sensitivities as well as for research, and both professional and public education. The government looks forward to receiving the report in 2019.”

In Quebec, where more than 180,000 people live with the condition, sufferers aren’t waiting for help from their provincial government.

An artist’s rendition of a housing project being developed in Quebec specifically for people with MCS/ES. It will eventually house 40 families in the Laurentian Mountains. (Ecoasis)

The Environmental Health Association of Quebec (EHAQ) is in the midst of establishing a colony in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal specifically for sufferers of MCS/ES.

It’s called Ecoasis and will include four structures, each of which will contain 10 affordable housing units. Ultimately, 40 families will live there, according to EHAQ founder Rohini Peris.

It’s part of a larger parcel of land that was donated to the group for a housing project.

Visitors will be screened before entry

Each unit will be specifically designed to include none of the most common triggers that affect people with MCS/ES. 

Visitors will be screened to ensure that the housing project isn’t contaminated with some of the most widespread triggers, such as perfumes or cigarette smoke.

Peris suffered from MCS/ES for more than 20 years.

Her condition eventually subsided in 2016 after she and her family were careful to eliminate as many chemicals and other stressors from her living environment.

‘It could happen again’

“I don’t have it anymore, but my biggest concern is that I don’t know what I’m going to walk into when I walk into a mall. I don’t know what chemicals are present,” Peris said.

“This happened to me one time. It could happen again.”

Recovery will likely also be the outcome for Zhang, Marshall says.

But until then, Zhang’s hunt for a home continues while he lives on disability payments from his former job.

He’s worried his time at the mental-health crisis shelter may be ending soon, and about where his next stop might be. 

“Winter is coming,” Zhang said.


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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high





(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine





(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states





In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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