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Using Solvent Testing to Identify Exposure Sources

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Session #8 of 8 
Annual Updates in Environmental Medicine Conference
"Environmental Causes of Common Chronic Neurological Problems
Headaches to Parkinsonism" 

Using Solvent Testing to Identify Exposure Sources

Presented by Laura Fletcher, MD

A solvent is a substance--usually a liquid-- used to dissolve another substance into solution. Many of these liquid solvents are created through organic chemistry and easily evaporate becoming volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Because so many product manufacturing processes, cleaning products, and combustible fuels contain solvents in their mix, we come into contact with them every day in the air we breathe as well as by skin contact and ingestion. In this talk we will review the classes of solvents considered most toxic to human health and discuss their neurological effects. Detoxification of solvent chemicals by the human body and the susceptibility of one individual versus another to solvent toxicity (based on genetic polymorphisms) will be explained. The current industrial uses of each of the most toxic organic solvents will then be discussed and we will create a list of potential products and environments that can lead to solvent exposure. Using currently available blood solvent testing, we will learn to detect patterns of solvent exposure that help us identify the potential sources of that exposure. Once the potential sources have been identified, they can be further investigated through surveys of the patient’s home, habits, or workplace and then removed or remediated.


Laura Fletcher, MD 

Laura Fletcher completed her undergraduate studies in Human Biology at Stanford University and worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, prior to attending Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She completed an emergency medicine residency in South Central Los Angeles and has been a board certified Emergency Medicine physician for the past ten years currently practicing part-time at a community hospital in San Diego County. Dr. Fletcher has been involved in the field of environmental medicine since 2006 when she took a year off of practicing medicine to research the health of the built environment and start the company Healthy Homes and Communities in Berkeley, California. She also became interested in the toxins found in our food supply and decided the only way to be sure of its health and nutrition was to grow it herself. Over the past five years she has planted five hundred fruit trees and vines on her farm in Rainbow, California. Dr. Fletcher is currently developing an environmental medicine testing and screening service available to patients through the website

Purchase Includes:

  • 30-day access to recording
  • Lecture slides and handouts (if applicable) are yours to keep
  • CE Certificate - 1.00 General Credit Hours by the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine (OBNM)