aldehy2.GIF (1421 bytes) Support Network for the Aldehyde and Solvent Affected



1.   To support each other by sharing knowledge and information (but to maintain confidentiality if requested)

2    To educate by promoting awareness and recognition of the effects of chemical exposure and chemically-induced illness.

3.   To liase with like-groups, both in New Zealand and overseas.

4.   To improve the status of members by representing to Government and disability agencies, the difficulties faced by those who have been disabled


SNFTAAS arose from the Marj Gordon Memorial Seminar, Chemical Sensitivity at Work in Medicine, Palmerston North, NZ, 15 March, 1997.  Marjorie Gordon was the first person to have her claim for x-ray chemical sensitivity accepted for workers’ compensation  by ACC, NZ, in 1983.  Her claim states: “Acute sensitivity to toxic effects of radiographic chemicals in the darkroom.  Now sensitive even to traces of the chemicals.  Considered permanently unfit radiography.”

Marjorie used her ACC payments to fund her research into x-ray chemicals and spent the rest of her life educating radiographers about the effects of the chemicals and the importance of safe handling and good ventilation.  She gave it the name “Darkroom Disease” and fought for many others affected around the world.

Marjorie died in February, 1996,  following complications from a car accident.  Pip (Phillippa) Martin is her daughter.  SNFTAAS aims to carry on her work - to help people affected by glutaraldehyde,  and  by the wider cocktail of harmful X-ray processing chemicals - including sulphur dioxide, acetic acid, potassium hydroxide, hydroquinone, diethylene glycol, 5-nitroindazole and by-products butyraldehyde,  toluene/benzene - (plus aerosols potentially containing these and other developer/fixer components).

Glutaraldehyde is also very widely used as a cold sterilant for medical instruments.  There are many other industrial uses.

NIOSH, (1987) lists glutaraldehyde as a solvent (although this classification seems to be debated) and the Network also aims to help those exposed to formaldehyde or other aldehydes and solvents.  So far inexplicably,  methyl-pentane has been found in the blood of  MRTs and nurses tested in the USA.  Some also have very high levels of n-hexane which is a worse neurotoxin.

Although the network initially focussed on the health industry’s use of glutaraldehyde,  many of the effects of toxic chemicals are similar and frequently those affected are accused of malingering; of it being “all in the mind”, pre-, mid- or  post-menopausal, stress related, or from depression or an “illness belief”.   Those affected are often misunderstood or ridiculed or subjected to enormous pressure to return to the work they love before they are able  (if at all).   Good neuropsychological testing is extremely important.  Other diagnostic “brain tests” are increasingly available.   The acceptance of cases of glutaraldehyde-induced neurotoxicity (GIN), or organic solvent neurotoxicity (OSN) by ACC, NZ, has made winning recognition for chronic effects (and therefore on-going compensation) considerably more clear-cut in New Zealand.

SYMPTOMS:  (most common first) include: headache, sore throat, voice change or loss, constant hhumph, catarrh, unexpected tiredness, fatigue, sore/watery/gritty eyes (may be related to Sjogren’s Syndrome), irritability, anxiety, depression, loss of concentration, short-term memory loss, reactions to other chemicals, dizziness, blocked nose, rhinitis, mouth ulcers, bad/metallic taste in mouth, lip sores, chest tightness, shortness of breath, chest pains, asthma, sinusitis, nasal discharge, nose bleeds, ulceration of nasal mucosa, itchy burning skin, rashes, dermatitis, aching joints and muscles, fibromyalgia, uncontrollable twitching, heart arrhythmias, palpitations, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, tinnitus, earache, pins and needles, numbness in fingers and toes, Raynaud’s Syndrome, menstrual irregularities, lack of interest in sex, pain/difficulty urinating.  Other areas of concern (though not covered in any surveys) include liver damage, vision problems, teeth and gum problems, cancers and reproductive effects.

For further information and a large annotated glutaraldehyde-related

Bibliography, check out our web site 

SNFTAAS is non-profit-making and relies on the efforts of volunteers to produce a  newsetter as time permits, compile an address list and on-going case histories of members,  to maintain a  bibliography of papers and published material related to the above chemicals.  Annual subscription is  $20 or a donation.  (Overseas cheques in any currency are fine.)




FIRST NAME(S)__________________________________


PHONE____________                        FAX_____________


CHEQUE  for    _____   enclosed   (payable to SNFTAAS)

SIGNATURE________________________________           DATE________


I wish my name/address to remain confidential:        YES              NO

(Optional):  My main chemical exposure arose because:



Please consider recording a fuller history for  SNFTAAS in an accompanying letter.

(State if you do not wish information to be circulated to other members.)


Phillippa Martin,  M.A (Hons), Dip Tchg.
Co-ordinator, SNFTAAS
Support Network for the Aldehyde and Solvent Affected
48 Martins Rd, RD 31, Manakau, Levin 5500, New Zealand
ph 06 3626 826    f 06 3626 859 

‘Neurotoxics not neurotics’

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"We are grateful for financial support from NZ Eastern and Central Trustbank, the Helen Graham Charitable Trust, The NZ Legal Services Board and the Marjorie Gordon Memorial Trust."