There's some very interesting material along these lines in Edward Tenner's
book, "Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended
Consequences." Also, in Dr. Doris Rapp's research and publications (she can
be reached at <[log in to unmask]>). And also in the anti-vaccination websites.

Hope that serves as a start ....


At 05:07 PM 7/11/2005, you wrote:

>Hi all -
>A couple of years ago I noted with interest research that was beginning to
>show that the "sanitized" housecleaning that characterized the 1950's
>Levittown type American suburban home was NOT, in fact, healthier for the
>kids.  Given that I myself grew up with asthma, allergies, in a
>disinfection-fetishizing suburb, and oddly enough got over all of it once
>I left home (no laughing, now) and immersed myself as a field scientist in
>a lovely, dirt- and pollen-laden world  --  I found this very interesting
>research.  I'm also, in my dissertation, writing about our historical
>values of dirt-as-disease, that kind of thing -- BUT I CAN'T FIND THESE
>REFERENCES!  aaargh.  Please help:
>There was at least one study comparing the exposure of Amish & other
>rural/farm kids to dirt, dust, outdoor pathogens with respect to
>incidences of asthma ... maybe some other allergies.  The results
>indicated that early childhood exposure to low levels of various
>environmental allergens stimulated a healthier immune system than a
>fastidiously clean indoors life.  Furthermore, that the extensive use of
>harsh housecleaning chemicals might actually stimulate, instead of health,
>a rash of health problems (as it were) -- including asthma.
>I also have seen references to at least one medical journal article
>specifically proposing that early childhood exposure to environmental
>pathogens is necessary to stimulate the complete formation of the immune
>My U is not a medical school and doesn't subscribe to many medical
>journals.  Most of our faculty vanish for the summer.  I can order
>articles once I know the citations, but can't do a decent search.
>Can anyone refer me to specific studies demonstrating benefits of wide
>childhood exposure for healthy immune systems and/or lower immune-system
>disease rates?    (esp. asthma)
>Thanks immensely!!!
>Claudia Hemphill
>Environmental Science Program
>University of Idaho
>Moscow, Idaho