Creative Outrage – Book Review by Helke Ferrie

By Helke Ferrie                                             Publication Date July 2013

Creative Outrage – A Medical Journalist Reports on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Current Medicine, by Helke Ferrie, KOS Publishing, April 2013 – online only for free from

It is not normally the case that authors review their own books, and it is even more unusual to review a book whose entire first print run disappeared for recycling within weeks of its launch. This is what did happen to my new book Creative Outrage. It was launched April 5 and its entire print run disappeared May 22 for recycling. This happened at my request. It exists now only in cyberspace as a free PDF on my website.  There my previous two books, which sold out quickly in their printed versions, are also available for free: Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health (2004) and What Part of No! Don’t They Understand? Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse (2008).

So, what happened? Authors don’t usually kill their books at birth. Well, what happened was, quite literally a great stink. That requires explanation, which might also be a little helpful to increase awareness of environmental illness.

Back in the mid-90s, while completing my master’s degree in physical anthropology at U of T, I became seriously ill with a neurological disorder known as Myasthenia gravis characterized by blurred vision, slurred speech, severe muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and worst of all: unpredictable partial paralysis of the thorax muscles thereby compromising breathing; intubation is the treatment in  severe episodes. I was forced to abandon my PhD plans and hire help because I was no longer able to drive or push a vacuum cleaner.

Standard medicine calls MG “idiopathic”, i.e. of no known cause.  During the many months spent mostly horizontally, I had a lot of time and that lead to a passionate, coldly determined refusal to accept the concept of “idiopathic”. (Creative Outrage starts with a discussion of the difference between hot and cold rage and how to make legitimate rage more effective.) Being founding members of Pollution Probe, one of its newsletter caught our attention with an article describing a source of pollution as being found in one’s mouth, namely in amalgam fillings. The research source cited was Professor Boyd Haley of Kentucky University, then working for the World Health Organization’s toxicology research projects. He was quoted in that newsletter stating that many neurological illnesses are caused by heavy metal poisoning from dentistry, and Myasthenia gravis was specifically mentioned as an example. I called him up, and Dr. Haley directed me to the International Academy for Oral and Medical Toxicology (IAOMT). A Toronto member dentists replaced my 17 “silver” fillings with biologically compatible resin, and within weeks I was able to drive, read, talk properly and best of all – breathe.

Mercury, as was discovered at Sweden’s Karalinska Institute, is stored throughout the body and its excretion half life can be as long as  30 years. A doctor trained by the American Academy for Environmental Medicine measured the amount of accumulated mercury in my body, using a test developed by the World Health Organization, and followed chelation protocols originally developed by the US Navy after WW II for those neurologically injured sailors who had been exposed to heavy-metal containing ship’s paint. And so I recovered my health.

However, during the time of my treatment, my toxicology-literate physician, Jozef Krop of Mississauga, was then in the midst of a disciplinary investigation lasting more than a decade, initiated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario who had charged him with “diagnosing and treating multiple chemical sensitivity” (MCS).   While admitting that patients improved through the use of the international treatment protocols in which Dr. Krop was trained and finding no patients harmed, the CPSO, nevertheless, chose to find him “guilty” and reprimanded him essentially for really being up to date medically.

During those trial years, the CPSO did not table a single scientific paper contradicting the MCS diagnosis and treatments, while Dr. Krop’s defense tabled more than 120 mainstream published supportive research papers, some key ones from Canadian universities. Ironically, on the day of that arbitrary guilty finding, June 19, 1999, one of the world’s premier medical schools, Johns Hopkins, published its consensus statement on MCS signed by a long list of researchers and clinicians from all over the world.  In 2007, Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal published its medical and legal opinions, ruling that MCS is a scientifically sound diagnosis, that Canadian law requires accommodation for MCS-afflicted citizens, and that treatment should be covered by Medicare.

Ever since the First World War, it has been known that the most potent nerve toxins enter the body through breathing, the route also of dental mercury poisoning. People whose immune systems are compromised, often originally initiated by toxic dentistry or garden pesticides, can become ill just filling their gas tanks. Newsprint, until it switched to vegetable inks, aftershave lotion, perfume, garden pesticides often emulsified with mercury, most powdered laundry detergents, many cosmetics, aluminum-containing deodorants, and more, can cause migraines, vertigo, seizures, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease; the mainstream medical literature on these discoveries and the treatment protocols developed for these environmentally caused injuries is vast.

The CPSO’s decade-long prosecution of Dr. Krop  – from which only the industries causing MCS could have benefited (which are usually the same industries that make the most toxic pharmaceuticals) -  required huge sums of money for his defense; it was successful to the point of stopping the CPSO’s initial aim of revoking Dr. Krop’s license, and the nonstop publicity resulted in making MCS a household word. (For details of this trial, see “The Kafkaesque Conviction of Dr. J. Krop”, p. 155 ff in my 2004 book Dispatches …free online.)

Dr. Krop’s entire defense was paid only from donations towards which I decided to contribute by starting KOS Publishing Inc. It is named after the island Kos on which Hippocrates was born – the first physician to examine the causal relationship between environment and food on health and disease. In antiquity the gods were blamed for disease causation which Hippocrates and his school rejected as superstition; today the idea of idiopathic causation has taken over from the gods, and both are equally inscrutable and both constitute intellectual copouts. However, today the research and clinical results in environmental medicine have exposed the myth of idiopathic causation. My first publication was a primer in environmental medficine for patients and doctors by Dr. Jozef Krop, Healing the Planet One Patient At A Time, now in its third printing. It raised the funds needed at that point. More titles on environment and the politics of medicine followed, mostly written by doctors working in environmentally and nutritionally related fields such as psychiatry, asthma, infertility, and Lyme disease – the most recent title being my own Creative Outrage.

Now imagine this: after 16 years of writing about environmental toxicology and its relevance to medicine in many venues and publishing books on this subject, my own latest title arrives on my desk reeking of gasoline and glue solvents.  My office was Toxic Vapor Central in minutes. Opening a copy of my book caused, for the first time in more than a decade, symptoms of MG to return transiently and I was also hit by a blinding headache. My physician husband rushed to the rescue and piled all those boxes on the porch outside.

Once we had determined that indeed all copies were contaminated and the entire shipment was not fit for exposure to human beings, I took myself on a tour of bookstores and sniffed hundreds of books at random – and I found that not one smelled like mine. Inquiries with the Quebec-based printer predictably led to steadfast denials, and assurances that the most stringent environmental standards were being followed. Meanwhile, several copies had already gone directly to reviewers – one reported a seizure, the others called or wrote to say they got headaches; all had identified the source without hesitation immediately. Given that many of my customers tend to be environmental activists or chemically injured people, my book would have been rather like a chemical smart bomb deployed on them. Interestingly, I met with no resistance when refusing to pay for the printing. Legal action, while supported by the 2007 Human Rights decision and the existence of subsequent case law, would have been very time consuming and spiritually exhausting. So I went for the more creative approach: I decided to make it available for free. Also, at age 65 I prefer to spend my time writing another book rather than go to court.

Creative Outrage has prefaces by medical health activists including former Health Canada regulator Dr. Shiv Chopra, whose Corrupt to the Core – Memoirs of A Health Canada Scientists I published in 2009. My book covers the most current regulatory issues and their impact on the nation’s health; the problems our life support systems face from biotechnology, environmental toxins, and electromagnetic fields; a large section treats the known causes of cancer and new, non-toxic treatments; another section focuses on the toxicity of pharmaceutical drugs and what to do about them; it ends with a celebration of the successes stemming from “navigating the mine fields cheerfully”. The book is  exhaustively sourced and annotated to help patients find help.  The resource sections will hopefully delight those fighting for the primacy of human health over corporate priorities as these sections are intended to be manuals for activists.

So, the book that reeked harmful neurotoxic chemicals, long abandoned by most  newspapers and the publishing industries, wafted up from that noxious past we once took for granted and provided a reminder of how far we have actually come  – seeing such chemical stench used to be the norm in print materials and now is very rare. It is, of course rather ironic that an MCS activist like myself would be hit with this blast from the past. Oddly, my book may now reach a much wider public than a mere print run could have done. It is my  gift. Please accept and enjoy.

Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer who lives in Alton, ON, and can be reached at Feel free to request source material pertaining to statements made in this review; most can be found in Creative Outrage.


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