• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Effects of neurotoxic chemicals


Senior Member
The author of this article, Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross, has done a lot of good work in terms of research on neurotoxic effects of chemical, and increasing awareness of the neurological damage that some environmental chemicals can cause.

The article is dedicated to Elizabeth Sigmund (1928–2017), who I spoke to on the phone 12 years ago, just after I had a nasty chronic exposure to organophosphate pesticides, when a bottle of malathion pesticide had been spilt in my home (malathion is particularly nasty when spilt indoors, because as it decomposes, it becomes 1000 times more toxic).

Elizabeth Sigmund was very kind and very helpful at that time, the only person I was able to get any useful information from. By contrast, the UK Health Protection Agency who I also contacted did not offer any help, and gave me no useful information at all.

Studies in Scotland showed that farmers using organophosphate-based sheep dip have a 4 times higher prevalence of ME/CFS than the national average. Ref: 1


Senior Member
Chronic fatigue syndrome following a toxic exposure.
Racciatti D1, Vecchiet J, Ceccomancini A, Ricci F, Pizzigallo E.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a clinical entity characterized by severe fatigue lasting more than 6 months and other well-defined symptoms. Even though in most CFS cases the etiology is still unknown, sometimes the mode of presentation of the illness implicates the exposure to chemical and/or food toxins as precipitating factors: ciguatera poisoning, sick building syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, exposure to organochlorine pesticides, etc. In the National Reference Center for CFS Study at the Department of Infectious Diseases of 'G. D'Annunzio' University (Chieti) we examined five patients (three females and two males, mean age: 37.5 years) who developed the clinical features of CFS several months after the exposure to environmental toxic factors: ciguatera poisoning in two cases, and exposure to solvents in the other three cases. These patients were compared and contrasted with two sex- and age-matched subgroups of CFS patients without any history of exposure to toxins: the first subgroup consisted of patients with CFS onset following an EBV infection (post-infectious CFS), and the second of patients with a concurrent diagnosis of major depression. All subjects were investigated by clinical examination, neurophysiological and immunologic studies, and neuroendocrine tests. Patients exposed to toxic factors had disturbances of hypothalamic function similar to those in controls and, above all, showed more severe dysfunction of the immune system with an abnormal CD4/CD8 ratio, and in three of such cases with decreased levels of NK cells (CD56+). These findings may help in understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in CFS.