The story of a Florida attorney who nearly died from a mystery illness borne in a high-rise office building.
Bell, a former organized crime prosecutor, harrowingly details the sinister malady that robbed him of his livelihood and nearly his life. He first began experiencing symptoms in 1988 while working high above Fort Lauderdale in a newly constructed office building. The author’s youthful aspirations included aiming high for the U.S. Senate, but his plans took a detour with family life, child-rearing, and a potentially deadly new health problem. Episodes of shortness of breath, waves of nausea, and vertigo became more prevalent and vexing, and though diagnosed and treated for pneumonia and a fungal throat infection, the inexplicable symptoms continued, morphing into an all-encompassing sickness that perplexed medical specialists. With some diligent research, Bell eventually began correlating his deteriorating health to a human poisoning condition called “sick building syndrome,” which surfaced in the 1970s when buildings were sealed to conserve energy. The author was eventually forced to exist in a sterile bubble as his sensitivity to chemicals and airborne irritants increased and radical detoxification efforts failed. Though his marriage collapsed during his crisis, things did improve once he began treatment for lesions on his brain, doubtlessly exacerbated by exposure to toxins. Though Bell’s life span and vitality have been severely compromised by this ordeal, he educates and forewarns others by citing several intriguing cases of environmental poisoning involving black mold, neighborhood pesticides, and an unregulated toxic waste dump. All of these examples reinforce the new career direction he now takes in advocating for victims of environmental and chemical injury. His frustration with the current lack of governmental awareness and action is clearly evident, though Bell does his part in generously sharing pages of lifestyle modifications geared toward detoxifying the home and one’s lifestyle.
An important cautionary memoir about the dangers of everyday chemicals and environmental toxicity and its lethal consequences.