Our current understanding of what constitutes dangerous levels of toxic exposure is changing with advances in science, medicine, and technology. Increasingly, we are learning there are no “safe” levels.

First responders during chemical disasters are often unknowingly exposed to hazardous substances. Often, they only become aware of this many years later, and face lingering and debilitating illnesses from their exposures. This page is designed as a resource for potentially exposed workers and their families, but can also be used by other victims of toxic exposures.

Have you recently been exposed to a disaster where you’ve been told by government officials or industry representatives that the exposure levels are safe? But your body is telling you otherwise?

Have you recently been told by government officials or industry representatives that you could move back into your home after a disaster because exposure levels were safe? But your body is telling you otherwise?

Have you developed new-onset intolerances to many chemicals like fragrances, tobacco smoke, the soap aisle in a grocery store, the “new” smell in furniture or cars, paints and cleaning agents, the tire area in big box stores, pharmaceutical drugs, or even your favorite foods like pizza or chocolate and your favorite beverages containing caffeine or alcohol? Listen to your body.

Take a Free Health Assessment Test

The Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI), is a validated tool used by clinicians and researchers all around the world. 


Your body knows if it has been exposed, whether from chemicals released during a disaster or from a steady drip of daily exposures. Documenting your exposure history with QEESI can help your doctor determine how to treat the underlying body systems to reduce the symptoms and long-term harm. As part of your medical records, QEESI can show you and your doctor if the treatments or home practices (living moving back after a disaster) are working. Non-invasive, immediate tangible results, and it's free.

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Can my doctor tell the difference between a true allergy and a chemical, food, or drug intolerance?

Ask, but probably not. The medical understanding of how our cells respond to ANY level of toxic chemical is relatively new.

About thirty percent of U.S. adults are chemical intolerant and most are unaware of why they are sick. There are still no reliable lab tests for chemical intolerances. However, chemical intolerances can be identified through a careful exposure history and self-assessment. Since this is new to most doctors, you must be your own advocate!

What chemical exposures are most likely to precede onset of chemical intolerances?

Chemicals derived from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), their combustion products, and/or synthetic organic chemicals are one category of chemicals that initiate chemical intolerances. Examples include pesticides, vehicle exhaust, cleaning products and paints with solvents (as opposed to water-based products), pharmaceutical drugs, indoor air contaminants from fragrances, new furniture, or remodeling projects. Another category is biological toxicants often due to particles and vapors from toxic molds or algae. 

What can I do to make my home safer for myself and family?

Use common sense. Avoid exposure to substances that may be causing the intolerances. This is especially important for couples planning to have a baby and for kids in early childhood.



Hebei Spirit Oil Spill Memorial Museum in Taean, South Korea, was dedicated to volunteer cleanup workers in 2017. 

ALERT dedicates this page to volunteer and other emergency responders  everywhere.

Hebei Spirit Oil Spill Memorial Museum in Taean, South Korea, was dedicated to volunteer cleanup workers in 2017.
Photo by Riki Ott.

Free Toxic Trespass Training Toolkit

Learn How to Identify and Prevent Chemical Illness

Teach yourself and others with the Toxic Trespass Training Teacher’s Manual and powerpoint slides

Watch a video of creators of this curriculum discussing it

The Toxic Trespass Training was created in, with, and by fence-line and environmental justice communities. Our team worked with an alliance of oil-spill survivors, academics, trained first responders, local residents, and community organizers in Houston, Mobile, and Coden, Alabama. Read the background >>

Learn how to gather and organize your health and exposure history and work with your Healthcare Provider to accurately diagnose and treat chemical illness with the Health Advocacy Guide.


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