by Leif Södergren

In the 1970 ies, in a factory in northern Sweden, around 40 factory workers showed some very strange symptoms. They became light sensitive and could not stand daylight, fluorescent lights, could not watch TV, symptoms quite similar to what electrically sensitive individuals show.. The factory had to close since the cause to the problems could not be found. Later it turned out that a epoxy paint powder had somehow gotten into the heaing system and the epoxy paint powder used to paint some details, had due to some mistakes made, been passing over a very hot surface and was spread in the ventilation system. The workers received workers compensation.

What is so interesting about this incident?

  1. The symptoms are very similar to ES patients who also cannot stand fluorescent light, computers and TVs, sometimes not stand daylight. These factory workers had not worked by a computer and the name Electricaal Sensitivity did not exist. Many workers are still very sensitive.. One factory worker was qouted in the TCO-newspapr recently:" If I go into a department store, I get a heat-feeling in my skin after 10 minutes. This lasts until the next day. These days I can watch TV. Before I could not stand the electric fan in the car and I could not stand perfume. That really killed me. These are interesting MCS/ES symptoms.
  2. The workers got workers compensation which ES patints are denied. 3. It turns out that microchips are made of epoxy. Besides the epoxy, computers and VDTs contain lethal flame retardants which are similar in effect to PCB, Phenol, Creosole, Toluen, Xylen, Ethylbensen, Styren as well as hundreds of more chemicals. (Spelling might not be correct). The question one might put is this: How important are chemicals from computers in the onset of Electrical Sensitivity? The problems for most ES patients have come when they got a NEW VDT. It is when it is new that the VDT gives off most chemicals. Is ES a secondary effect to MCS? What came first? The chicken or the egg? See articles below on flame retadants.
I would be interested in your reflections to the question abowe, your experiences regarding epoxy allergy and how it affects people and experiences in general on this subject of chemicals such as flame-retardants from computers.

One more thing: There is an article (Arch Dermatol vol 115, nov 1979: persistent Photosensitivity Following Occupational Exposure to Epoxy Resin by Herbert Allen MD and Kays Kaidbey MD. ) It would be interessting to follow up the case of the 8 pipefitters exposed to epoxy. Do they show any MCS/ES sympoms today? Were they sensitive to fluorescent lights and VDTs/Televison like the factory workers in Sweden?

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