Association Briefs

Clinical Ecology: Irritant or Cure? An American College of Physicians committee seems to have had an allergic reaction to clinical ecology, a field of research based on the contention that certain people are sensitive to synthetic chemicals at very low doses. According to the committee, which published its review in the July 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, clinical ecology lacks “definition,” uses “procedures of no proven efficacy,” and conducts studies that ar

The Scientist Staff
Sep 3, 1989

Clinical Ecology: Irritant or Cure?

An American College of Physicians committee seems to have had an allergic reaction to clinical ecology, a field of research based on the contention that certain people are sensitive to synthetic chemicals at very low doses. According to the committee, which published its review in the July 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, clinical ecology lacks “definition,” uses “procedures of no proven efficacy,” and conducts studies that are “seriously flawed.” Abba Terr, principal author of the paper, says “people have given up their homes and families have broken up” because of the recommendations of clinical ecologists. Terr also points out that what clinical ecologists treat as an allergy may be another, potentially more serious illness.

Lacrosse, Wis., clinical ecologist David L. Morris says that the paper is focused too much on the "reactions of a few individuals” who have “an ax to grind.”...

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