Port O Call’s Person of the Year: Dr. Eloise Kailin, M. D., Environmental Medicine Pioneer

Port O Call is pleased to recognize Dr. Eloise Kailin as being a health-care practitioner who, for decades, searched for the actual root-cause of disease instead of merely prescribing a pill for symptoms.

For a lifetime of dedicated service to the American people and, more recently, her remarkable service to Clallam County, and, for all her work to protect and improve the health of the people as well as the preservation of our pristine local environment we are pleased to honor Dr. Kailin.

A Hundred Year War

For the past 100 years, there has waged a covert war in America. Not one fought with guns and bombs. The weapons in this war are words, money and political power. This long battle has both victories and victims. I am referring to the war in the American health care arena.

On one side are the practitioners who look at patient symptoms as being a disease process that requires an intervention. After appropriate diagnostic tests, the disease is labeled. Then the introduction of prescribed pharmaceuticals–aimed at alleviating the symptoms associated with that labeled ailment.

On the other side of this great divide are practitioners who understand health in the body is not a singular event. They understand that health is a dynamic state that flourishes in an optimal environment for both mind and body. When negative environmental factors exist, the body must adapt to that imbalance. Adaptation may create other maladies.

The goal of a health care provider, with this perspective, is to care for their patients over the long-term, seeking to identify the patient’s environmental stressors and correcting them before they turn into a disease process.

The current victor in this battle for the health-care dollar is the pharmaceutical industry, which spends millions convincing the public a drug is the answer to “dis-ease.” One evening of watching the nightly news will convince many of you.

Environmental Medicine

Environmental Medicine is the term used to describe the field of research and treatment from the premise that environment primarily determines an individuals’ state of health and/or disease. As our environment is degraded people face new health challenges.

Throughout her career, Dr. Kailin has been at the forefront of the battle to protect the public from the ever-growing threats to the human environment. Dr. Kailin began her medical career just prior to World War II, entering George Washington University Medical School in 1940. Her impressive list of accomplishments include graduation with honors, holding a professorship at Howard University Medical School, 28 years as an editor for the Journal of Allergy, and 48 years in private practice in Washington, D.C., Sequim and Blyn.

Clinical Research Still Paying Off

She is board certified as a specialist in allergy and immunology. Along the way she spent half her time on clinical research including the development of allergic antibodies in humans, a nationwide study of insect sting allergy and exposure to pollen, and microscopic observation of genetic material (the Barr body).

Electromyography before and after exposure to crystalline DDT was used to measure muscular weakness of patients with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and was also used to measure weakness from food allergy. She performed double-blind testing supplying objective evidence that plastic food containers adversely affected certain MCS patients.

Twenty-five of her articles were published in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of AllergyMedical Annals of D.C., Acta Cytologica, and Journal of American Medical Association, among many others.

Her research showed air pollution produces brain-fog and weakness in the MCS patients, culminating in her testifying at congressional hearings as the Clean Air Actwas being adopted.

She chaired the Air Pollution Committee for the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and subsequently chaired the Technical Committee on Air Pollution for Washington D.C. Metropolitan Council of Governments.

Birth of The Clean Air Act

When organic solvents polluted air and groundwater in the little town of Elkton, Md. and neighbors developed pancreatitis and leukemia she was called as state expert witness.

It was the first case brought under the Clean Air Act. The state won but the recycling plant was allowed to continue with “mitigating conditions.” Sadly, the pancreatitis progressed to cancer.

Not Quiet on the Western Front

Since moving to Washington State in 1971, Dr. Kailin continues to confront the environmental concerns evolving locally. There are many, including battles with PUD commissioners in the 1970’s over the ill-conceived proposal to locate a nuclear plant on the Miller Peninsula attempting to skirt an environmental impact statement.

The 70’s also brought a confrontation with county commissioners who tried to conceal their activities by holding secret meetings away from the courthouse. These offenders were recalled.

Other noted environmental battles include:

1. Ensuring the protection of shellfish beds during construction of the John Wayne Marina.

2. Turning back three separate proposals of the Northern Tier Pipeline as they attempted to build underwater oil pipelines on the shifting seabed of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and placing massive oil storage tanks along Ediz Hook.

3. The most recent, ongoing battle is to give the people of Port Angeles the right to un-fluoridated drinking water.

Clear and Present Dangers

It is one thing to recognize the clear and present environmental dangers pressed upon us by well-monetized corporations and suppressive government agencies. This is especially true when these organizations are actively working against the will of a well-informed public. However, it is quite another to be willing enough and brave enough to do something about it. You must work hard and be willing to do it for free.

An experienced environmental activist such as Dr. Kailin can predict when and how their efforts will be challenged, especially when the stakes are high. One must be willing to go up against people who are very intelligent, well-funded, and usually on the payroll of the government agency or corporation wishing to alter the environment. Sometimes even the local newspaper will be secretly working against your efforts.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Kailin is no stranger to pro bono work. She has been doing it most of her career. She is also familiar with suppression by people in power positions. She understands how the political system works in this country and can tell you in advance what the next step in the battle will be, much like a veteran battlefield commander.

Upcoming Birthday Wishes

Early in 2015 Dr. Kailin will celebrate her 96th birthday. Recently, she shared with Port O Call some of her insights and motivations. There is no indication she has any intention of slowing down in her quest to protect the environment from those who would further degrade it for profit or personal gain.

Her latest efforts find her focused on a proposal by the Navy to conduct military training exercises on lands next to Olympic National Park. A more difficult goal will be protection of children from radiation coming from electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers, and wi-fi radiation since an extensive and expensive system has been installed locally.

Canaries Suffer First

Studies show that 3 to 8% of the population is ultra-sensitive to electro-magnetic radiation (EMR). These people are referred to as “canaries,” since they are more aware and sensitive to their environment than most. The name canaries refers to birds used in deep mines who die as a signal to miners exposed to harmful gasses.

Dr. Kailin discussed the case of Helen Sears, whose reaction to electro-magnetic radiation illustrated clearly how it can affect quality of life. When Port Angeles’ citywide wi-fi was flipped on for the first time Sears immediately noticed physical symptoms such as loss of concentration, inability to sleep, dizziness, and fever. Away from Port Angeles these symptoms subsided, but recurred upon her return.

Sears’ complaints to the city fell on deaf ears. She was forced to move out of town. She was not alone in her complaints of new symptoms related to the wi-fi. Many others are affected. There are at least two peer reviewed double-blind studies giving credence to these complaints, yet expansion of wi-fi into all areas of our society continues. Only the canaries are affected symptomatically in the short-term, yet everyone is exposed to it. Long term effects are still unknown. Dr. Kailin believes the children are at risk for future health issues.

Facing Own Profession

When Dr. Kailin was asked about the challenges of making environmental issues real to her own profession, she acknowledged it is often difficult to know what to do with the information in a clinical setting. “Often, the doctor treating the patient cannot make the leap from symptom to cause. If the practitioner has the perspective of symptom control only, the root cause is often ignored,” she said.

She further states, “In our current system, the practitioners are playing an ‘authority game.’ They play without questions–by rules that are dictated to them. They merely parrot information because there can be consequences for asking the hard questions. If you don’t fall in line you are ostracized. I have spent my career looking for specific allergens as a root cause of the health issues rather than just treating the symptoms.”

“Professionally, I am a recognized authority on air pollution and have received respect for that and also awards for environmental work. But I did not receive many referrals from my colleagues for the many chemical-related health issues,” she continued.

She is proud of her double-blind research in the 60’s looking into problems with plastic containers. Many plastic-related health problems are documented as a result.

Motivation

When asked what keeps her motivated she seemed initially surprised at the question. Her answer is simple: “How do you feel good about your life if you don’t give back to your community? That is the purpose that keeps me going. I want to see people enabled to participate in the system. I want to see wi-fi away from schools. We need to protect people from unseen radiation. How do we encourage people to speak up? People speaking up is what matters. Bodies in chairs at meetings matter,” she said.

Next time you see Dr. Kailin addressing the council or the commissioners on the current threat to community health, step up and congratulate her. Let her know you appreciate her life-long mission to improve the health of young and old alike in our community.

For these, and many more reasons, Port O Call salutes Dr. Kailin as our first “Person of the Year.”

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