Part 1 of 4
The following is based on “The Study & Protocol As Approved by The UCSF Medical School CHR.” That’s where you will find the citations, footnotes and scientific details. Also, please note that “Chemicals of Emerging Concern” is synonymous with a subset of “Environmental Chemicals.”
Every study starts with unanswered questions. The main question underpinning the Stealth Syndrome Study was:
“Could the act of removing environmental chemicals (ECs) from known everyday food, beverage and other exposures, affect the outcomes of standard health markers, such as the blood tests hospitals run every day?”
But getting to that main question came only after other questions popped up.
Why? Part 1
Why had no causal connection had ever been established between low levels of environmental chemicals and human harm?
That question haunted us after three years of analyzing the scientific literature for the Stealth Syndromes Project.
Why? Part 2
Why no causal connection? Because there had never been a human study.
Why? Part 3
Why had there never been a human study? Because of ethical concerns over exposing people to potentially harmful chemicals. (See Of Mice, Humans & Ethics.)
Why? Part 4
What’s the big deal over having a human test with exposing people to the same chemicals that they consume every day? And which the FDA says is safe? We still have no answer to that, and it’s not a testable hypothesis for our study. For more: Why Have Regulators Failed To Regulate?
Why? Part 5
How could we conduct a test on humans that was ethical?
Those questions led to our original question (above). But to conduct a scientific trial, that question needed to be phrased as a testable hypothesis. The hypothesis of the Stealth Syndrome Study was:
The controlled and stepwise elimination of environmental chemicals known as Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) from the test subject environment will result in measurable changes in serum and urine concentrations of specific chemicals and standard clinical health biomarkers attributable to each class of CEC-containing product.
The Correlation/Causation Conflict Conundrum
Remember that science is rarely as precise as non-scientists have come to expect and frequently falls short of what scientists would like.
Our testable hypothesis is that we can establish a causal relationship between removing a CEC/EC from a human’s environment and a change in a blood profile the medical and scientific community trust as an indication of health.
So, the hypothesized causal connection is: “lower CEC/EC exposure causes changes in urine and blood samples in ways that are established indicators of health.”
Implicit in the hypothesis is that the health indicators will change in ways that indicate an improvement in health. That is not a certainty. This is because the health indicators chosen for the study may not be sensitive enough to produce statistically significant results. That’s an inherent risk in a first-of-a-kind investigation like this one.
Even if the study provides support for the hypothesis — this study will not be able to scientifically state that, “CEC/EC exposure causes cancer, obesity, Type II Diabetes, etc.
However, if the hypothesis is supported, the study can move causation ahead by a great leap — to the point that it may be accurate to state that “CEC/EC exposure causes established changes in trusted medical health markers which are indicators or associates of cancer, obesity, Type II Diabetes, etc.”