DI 24515.064 Evaluation Of Specific Issues — Environmental Illness
“Clinical ecology” or “environmental medicine” (as it is now called) is an approach to medicine that ascribes a wide range of symptoms to exposure to numerous common substances in the environment. Recent publications by clinical ecologists have suggested that chemicals cause toxic damage to the immune system. However, there is no indication that individuals with a clinical ecology diagnosis of chemical sensitivity have immune deficiency, immune complex disease, autoimmunity, or abnormal functioning of their immune systems.
The principal clinical ecology procedure in diagnosing sensitivity to a chemical or food is the provocation-neutralization technique, in which the patient records symptoms occurring during a 10-minute period immediately following the administration of a test dose of a chemical, food extract, or allergen applied either as a sublingual drop or by subcutaneous or intracutaneous injection. Symptoms are “neutralized” by injecting or applying sublingually a lower dose of the same test substance. The results are based solely on the subjective report of symptoms by the patient.
In claims alleging disability due to environmental illness, it is often difficult to identify abnormal signs and laboratory findings which can be associated with the alleged symptoms. Therefore, in evaluating claims based on environmental illness, all of the claimant's symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings must be considered to determine if there is a medically determinable impairment and the impact of any impairment on the claimant's ability to work. This evaluation should be made on an individual case-by-case basis to determine if the impairment prevents substantial gainful activity.