|Demarle Silpat® silcone/fiberglass non-stick cooking sheet|
I am writing this while setting in our dining area, just off the kitchen, typing this with a splitting headache, beginnings of fibromyalgia, congestion, growing nervousness and topical itching spreading across my upper torso and stomach.
I am MCS (mutliple chemical sensitive). I have been for nearly 12 years. Though I am nowhere as troubled by incursions as I once was, mainly due to NAET treatments and franky, isolating myself from exposures to chemicals.
My body has begun to stabilize; again able to buffer against chemical incursions so that, as long as my exposure is kept to within tolerable limits, I avoid serious setback. But my sensitivity is as intense as ever.
My wife recently purchased a Demarle cooking sheet, at an 'At Home' party sponsored by a friend. I had no idea what the party was about - other than a 'cooking party'. I was not attending the party, mostly because, due to the MCS, I must severely curtain my contact with groups and unknown environments.
As we pulled away, after picking my wife up from the 'cooking-party', my wife began telling me about the 'wonderful' product she had been introduced to and how 'amazing' it was for baking. I asked what it was made from: she said, spun fiberglass, coated with cooking-grade silicone. She then told me she had ordered a cooking sheet and a cake pan.
It was probably a good thing it was dark in the car. She couldn't see the grimmace on my face.
I asked one question and did not ask another. Those who know any MCS family/relationship/person, understand the 'tension' that can rise when, 'once again' -- the questions begin.
My question I asked," Did you smell anything 'non-food'; chemical; acrid?" She said no. My wife does not have near the sensitivity I do in sensing odors, but she is alert. So, I felt, 'OK, this might not be a problem.'
The question I did NOT ask, "Did the host mention anything about 'burn in'? I wish I had.
Had I asked that I would not be setting here with a growing sense of malaise washing over my growing headache and body pains.
She mentioned the 'host' said there were no VOC's. I am not a practicing scientiest, but have worked in several accompanying positions with many scientists, in a number of fields:chemistry and physics; engineering; applied sciences; natural sciences. I've also been long involved in the industrial and commercial end of business. One of the reasons why I eventually went MCS.
So I know a good deal about VOC's, volatile organic compounds. These are what 'off-gas' when a material is heated. This is a grave concern to the MCS person. And the first thing I thought of when this product came to my attention. As I found out later, the only thing the company says about 'VOCs', is that they clain there are no VOC's given off in the manufacturing of their products. Nothing is said about any 'VOC off-gassing' in the USE of their products.
I should have said, 'No thank you. I don't think this will work. It's not worth the risk'. But I have to say this so often. This is a serous personal and social problem MCS people face.
We are to leave early in the morning for a weekend with friends and our son and his family: our only grandchildren. IF this is a 'fragg' - then I will be sick for the next 48 hours, at least. IF not, no worry; just a temporary ill-feeling; bummer of an evening, but juice for this article. But, I seriously doubt this is a mere 'ill-feeling'. The pattern fits an all too familiar scenario. IF it's a really bad 'fragg', we won't be going anywhere.
I began a search on the product Demarle shortly after the conditions began manifesting this evening. Yes, this is something I should have done the very moment I heard what my wife had ordered; but I did not. I get so sick and tired of being on 'constant vigilance as a chemical-detective. Again, a real problem for the fraternity of MCS sufferes. That won't happen again.
I find the Demarle is a French company, started back in 1965, by A. Guy Demarle. The product that he invented, has revolutionized the baking industry. No doubt it has been greatly responsible for our access to so many types of well-baked breads. But of course, we really don't need to eat as much 'grain-product' as we do .. but that is a whole other can-o-worms.
Suffice it to say, a company that has made such advancements in the cooking and baking industry; being quite responsible for many profit margins and incomes - is NOT going to just role over and cease - because they produce a product that is harmful to a few: though a growing few: people. This is the nature of business.
In my research this evening I came across a blog post, on a blog called, GREEN YOUR WAY, with an artical titled, Is Silicone Bakeware Really Safe?. The article written by Katie, was posted November 7, 2011.
It was a resonably well written article and it tried to address the issue of the title. But, the author eventually admitted she, in-the-end, wrote another x-number word article that didn't say anything new on the topic: Is Silicone Bakeware Safe. There are a number of Internet links on this subject. Some are interesting. A few are worthy of reading. Most are rants and raves with nothing more than vitriol and not worth clicking on. Still I found the article a useful piece. For no other reason than to highlite the real problem.
If one cannot produce deep, repeated, authoritative empirical data that - in the minds of Government, Law, Commerce and the Boardroom - that the product in question is a proven problem, then 'forgetaboutit'. Move on. Drop it. There is no problem. Case closed.
Empirical data is treated with the class of a diety. Nothing can be valid unless there is acceptable - to the 'knowing class' - empirical, scientifically derived data. Nothing else is valid. It may be of interest to discussion, but not in decision making.
That really does not sit well on my already very discombobulated nervous system.
Empirical evidence? No, I can't say I have that. Not in any form an official science-official would accept.
But ... A very bad - and growing, worsening headache; aching muscles and joints; burning/itching sensation and overall nervous condition that makes it really hard to concentrate and not make typing mistakes? Yes. I have a lot of that.
My wife began baking her 'granola' on that Silpat sheet at 8:15PM EST GMT -5. At 8:14PM EST GMT -5, I felt just fine. At 8:16PM EST, GMT -5, from inside the downstairs bathroom, with a strong exhaust fan running, I got a whiff of what I can best describe as a 'thin line of an acrid hot-chemical smell'. I know the time, as I was looking at my phone at the moment. Before 8:20PM EST GMT -5, my headache began. Early signs of a fibro-attack began under a minute later. Then roughly 3 minutes later the itching and burning, wrapped in the nervousness, began.
At 8:27PM EST GMT -5, I walked into kitchen saying, 'Turn on the fan!' NO, I was not calm or nice. I was in pain. My wife had not even noticed the 'thin line of an acrid hot-chemical smell'. I am not surprised. It was masked for her by the cooking granola smells. By the time she cleared the food off the sheet and took it out to the garage, 10 more minutes had passed. The entire house -for me- was inundated.
It's 31F outside. I opened an upstairs window and turned a large fan to blow OUT. It ran for over 30 minutes. The house cooled down. But the smell? It persists. If I go outside, I will NOT be able to return.
It is now, 12:35PM EST GMT -5 and the physiological conditions persist and are elevating. This is not a good sign. Ten plus years of experiene tells me I am in the early stages of a 'major Fragg'. The next 48-72 hours will be very painful.
Empirical data? Maybe not.
But I'd sure love to have a collection of those scientists who say this product is safe and free from any environmental dangers, stand in front of me right now. As I could provide them with a descent replication of Michael J. Fox, during the mid-years of his 'Spin City' TV show. Nervously moving about, near-uncontrollable... and have them tell me that it's purely subjective and merely anectdotal.
Maybe if I puked on their shoes, they'd feel a bit less egotistical and truly 'see' that clinical evidence of my suffering, is actually quantifiable empirical data.
Then again, data is always subject to analysis. But at least they'd have the stench of that puke to forget ... wouldn't they..?