All posts by Khaly Castle

The Bleed

(This is a repost of an article written by Khaly Castle with Erik Johnson, and originally published on Blog on 9/21/2011.)

Aerotoxic Syndrome is a fairly recent term, to describe a fairly recent phenomenon – long or short term illness that is attributed to cabin air that has been contaminated with atomized chemicals.

According to Wikipedia, with the exception of the Boeing 787, the air in a jet or turboprop cabin is supplied by “bleed air” from the aircraft’s engines. By most accounts, the air is approximately half bleed air, and half recirculated air. Although most aircraft cabins have filters for the recirculated air, the bleed air is not filtered.

Bleed air has the potential to be contaminated by a multitude of chemicals, not the least of which is TCP (tricresyl phosphate), from the synthetic lubricant oils used. This can happen when there is a seal leak, or when reservoirs are overfilled. TCP is an organophosphate, deemed to be linked to neurological damage when ingested.

According to a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Up in the Air: New Worries About “Fume Events” on Planes” the FAA recorded over 900 “fume events” between 1999 and 2008. “But some airline-worker unions believe that contamination events are underreported by airlines and pilots.”

In the last blog post, (And Now For Something Completely Different) we talked about the toxin potential to human health that appears to be inherent in nanoparticles.  Basically, the surface excitability of a material that is reduced to nanosize is greatly enhanced, giving nanoparticles the ability to “glom onto” biotoxins and other particles, and transport them to the human brain.

We talked about “Steering Immunostimulation By Particle’s Size: Nanoparticles and Human Health”, which deals with the idea that the human immune system differentiates between viral and bacterial pathogens based on size, and as a result, pathogens or toxins that are introduced to the system in nanosize are treated to a viral immune response.

We also talked about the fact that molds can act as nanoparticle factories, metabolizing nanoparticles and then spitting out plumes of even smaller nanoparticles, and in some cases how the mold toxins themselves have been attached to the new smaller nanoparticles.

This makes toxic mold a particularly compelling model for this hypothesis, as not only is it adding its own toxic elements to the nanoparticle soup, it is actually capable of breaking nanoparticles down to even smaller size and emitting them in plumes, even further increasing the potential for this dynamic.

But let’s bypass the mold factor completely for a moment.  It’s an added factor that makes the nanoparticle delivery system even more confounding and dangerous, but even without it,…. Houston, we have a problem.

There are numerous studies out there that one can pull up regarding nanoparticle content in aircraft engine emissions.  Most agree that, as one study put it, “aircraft engines emit a considerable amount of insoluble sub-0.1 μm sized combustion aerosol particles” Petzold, Aviation Particle Emissions and Airport Air Quality, June 14, 2005.

That being the case, let’s bang that against the 2007 annual report issued by The Committee on Toxicity, a committee that evaluates chemicals for their potential to harm human health, for various government departments and regulatory authorities in the UK.  This report covers a variety of toxic topics, including nanoparticles, the COT addendum to joint statement of the committees in Toxicity, Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity on Nanomaterial Toxicology.

Item number 11 is of particular interest:

For pharmaceuticals it has been shown that incorporation into nanoparticle formulations can greatly influence the biodistribution (and hence toxicity) of included chemicals. Indeed the intention behind many such formulations is to facilitate drug delivery across tissue barriers. There is little evidence that the biodistribution of other chemicals not physically included in the original formulations, but accidentally present in the body at the same time as the nanoparticles, can be so influenced.

However there is at least a theoretical possibility that freshly generated nanoparticles with reactive surfaces could significantly bind and alter the biodistribution of other xenobiotics. Such effects would not represent nanoparticle toxicity per se, but would represent a consequence of co-exposure.

”Reactive surfaces could significantly bind and alter the biodistribution of other xenobiotics”

This is exactly what we’ve been talking about.  If, for instance, TCP would normally have to be ingested in quantity in order for its neurotoxic effect to establish damage in the human body, but instead was delivered directly to the brain via binding to nanoparticles, then we are talking about a whole new and potent delivery system of xenobiotics – One that would not require “massive quantities” to see effect.

So while it may not appear that enough xenobiotics were being introduced into your airplane cabin via the “bleed air”, the fact that nanoparticles can grab these toxins and upload them to the brain, bypassing normal avenues of immune response, changes the game completely.

This is the exact same mechanism that we were talking about in the last blog, except that we were talking more about biotoxins from mold.  As Erik Johnson pointed out in one of his communications to the W.H.O., the Saratoga Springs manual noted surges of fungal pathogenesis that could not match what they knew about mycotoxins.  Dr. William Croft called the effects “radiomimetric”.  In the case of Aerotoxin illness, we have a different toxin possibly being subjected to the same hypothesis of delivery to the human brain as we did with mold toxins in the last article.

Dr. Sarah Myhill, CFS/ME expert in the UK, is also the medical advisor to the Aerotoxic Association.  She goes into more detail in her paper Aerotoxic Syndrome – The Poisoning of Airline Pilots, Cabin Crew, and Passengers, that is possible on any airflight, where she discusses the effects of bleed air and its contamination with not only TCP, but an accompanying range of volatile organic compounds and heavy metals from the engine itself. 

All of this is dire enough.  What we are proposing is simply the additional nanoparticle factor.  If we take what we already know about fume events and factor in the nanoparticle delivery-mechanism potential, we may be looking at a ready explanation for why toxic assault is happening at such increasingly devastating levels.

Again, this paradigm is not being proposed “instead of” XMRV, or instead of any other current pathogen trail.  There is no reason to think that there is only one dynamic at play here.

But Erik Johnson observed the effect of transcendent-toxic-pathogenesis at the inception of CFS, noted its uncanny similarity to Aerotoxic syndrome, and the application the nanopathology hypothesis appears to possess potential to demystify at least some portion of these otherwise inexplicable phenomena.

This effect still screams for research. It may be a dynamic that reaches far beyond CFS and encompasses a new look at human health issues on a very broad scale.

And now for something completely different!

– Monty Python

(This is a repost of an article written by Khaly Castle with Erik Johnson, and originally published on 9/15/2011 at Blog)

Steering Immunostimulation By Particle’s Size: Nanoparticles and Human Health

What on earth does that mean?

Let’s talk about a paper that was prepublished in “Blood – Journal of the American Society of Hematology” in March 2010, entitled “Particle size and activation threshold:  a new dimension of danger signalling”, Rettig et al.  (For more detail, please click on the link to read the entire paper.)

This research article starts by describing the innate immune system in basics.  The innate immune system works by detecting danger signals, or molecules that originate from invaders and disturbed or abnormal cells.

It goes on to document the three forms of nucleic acid that are recognized by the immune system, and how they are recognized by Toll Like Receptors.  When those receptors are activated, the immune response is initiated.  Cytokines and co-stimulation molecules are produced, and certain homing and chemokine receptors are upregulated.

Then, the paper shows that there is a difference in how the innate immune system responds when the “invader” is reduced from micro- to nano-particulates.

This is a major concept to get one’s head around.

The “Particle size” paper documents that nanoparticles, but not microparticles, induce interferon-alpha production in human cells.  Research suggests that the plasmacytoid predendritic cells (pDC), which are critical mediators linking the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, selectively take up nanoparticles, while monocytes require a larger amount of “danger signal” to be fully activated.

Both pathways stimulate the immune system the same way..but the difference seems to be that nanoparticles induce an interferon-alpha response, while microparticles induce production of TNF-alpha.

A little bit about nanoparticles:

In nanotechnology, a number of physical phenomena occur when the size of a system is reduced to nanoscale.  Quantum effects become dominant when the nanometer size range is reached.  This is  known as the “quantum realm”. There can be an increase in surface area to volume ratio, and acceleration of ion transport.   The properties of materials change as nanosize is reached and the percentage of atoms at the surface of a material becomes significant.

Although nanotechnology is a subject of bitter debate amongst scientists regarding the safety of usage, there are a multitude of studies which indicate that there are dangers to both the environment and to human health.  Most of these dangers are due to the high surface-to-volume ratio, which can  make the particles very reactive.  Nanostructured Materials, by Jackie Yi-Ru Ying.

For instance, a recent study looked at the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on human immune cells, and found that the smaller the nanoparticle, the more increased the cytotoxicity.  Mechanisms of toxicity involve the generation of reactive oxygen species, with monocytes displaying the highest levels, and the degree of cytotoxicity dependent on the extent of nanoparticle interactions with cellular membranes.  Hanley et al, The Influences of Cell Type and ZnO Nanoparticle Size on Immune Cell Cytotoxicity and Cytokine Induction.

Some interesting factoids about mold and nanoparticles…


Aspergillus fumigatus is a common mold that is typically found in soil and decaying matter.  It readily becomes airborne.  It is one of the most common Aspergillus species to cause illness in individuals with compromised immune systems.  For these people, Aspergillus fumigatus can become pathogenic, causing a range of symptoms and diseases.  It also produces cytotoxic mycotoxins.

In nanotechnology, it has been discovered that by using the natural processes of biological systems, Aspergillus fumigatus can be used as a nanoparticle factory.  The synthesis process was quite fast and silver nanoparticles were formed within minutes of silver ion coming in contact with the cell filtrate, claims the Bhainsha study from 2006, Extracellular biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus

….and sewer sludge

When legislation went into place to curtail the practice of dumping sewage waste into the ocean, a new practice emerged.  Sewer sludge got renamed fertilizer, and got dumped on farmer’s fields under the guise of recycling.

According to the EPA, sewer sludge consists of “volatiles, organic solids, nutrients, disease-causing pathogenic organisms, heavy metals and inorganic ions, and toxic organic chemicals from industrial wastes, household chemicals, and pesticides.”  In other words, you name it, it’s in there, including nanoparticles.  And, Aspergillus fumigatus is a common byproduct of sewer sludge.

For more reading on this, try starting with The Real Dirt On Sewer Sludge, by Wendy Priesnitz

What does this have to do with CFS?  Maybe nothing.  More likely, maybe everything.

When  I say CFS, I mean the entity that got named CFS…the Incline outbreak.

Here is an excerpt from a recent communication between Erik Johnson, Incline Village survivor, and the W.H.O.:

During the 1985 Incline Village “mystery illness” it seemed that common household molds were suddenly having a devastating effect on all of us.

Everyone knew it, everyone noticed this, but it was ENTIRELY attributed to changes in the immune function of patients due to infection, and NEVER on the possibility that something in the ambient atmosphere might have potentiated the toxicity of fungal-products from common molds.

I have been telling everyone for 25 years that I have had BETTER results by treating mold “as if it were Plutonium” than anything I have seen from the most aggressive chemotherapy aimed at viral or bacterial infections.

This is how I came to be known as “The Mold Warrior”.
”Mold Warriors” by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker. Chapt. 23 “Mold at Ground Zero for CFS”.

In my military career as a launcher specialist for “The Neutron Bomb”, I was trained to look for what DOESN’T happen after a neutron strike: A LOSS of immune function which leaves one susceptible to nearly anything, as opposed to consequences arising as a normal consequence from normal infection.

That is exactly the type of effect that I witnessed during the 1985 Tahoe Mystery Malady:   An inexplicable loss of immune function that appeared to correlate to environmental locations.

I have read that fungi serve as “bionanofactory” for biosynthesis of nanoparticles.

It seems to me that mold does not normally have access to fine metallic particulate matter which can be processed into “ultrafine” nanoparticles, as “modern pollution” did not exist.

These metallic nanoparticles are known to affect the microglial cells and induce CP450-decoupling” with the subsequent production of Reactive Oxygen Species, which is entirely consistent with CFS.

The activities of humans have dramatically changed the potential for contact between fungi and ubiquitous airborne metallo-particulates.

If mold is capable of what the article below [refers to this article .] says mold is doing… and is converting ambient atmospheric fine metal particles into even smaller nanoparticles… the global environment is in deeper trouble than anyone suspects.

The inception of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome just might have been the cautionary warning for nanoparticulates that nobody heeded.
– Erik Johnson

In further communications with the W.H.O., Erik Johnson made the following statements:

In the Saratoga Springs manual, the hints of a sudden surge in fungal pathogenesis is mentioned in several places where the effects matched nothing in THEIR mycotoxin literature. Dr William Croft, who published the first peer reviewed abstracts on trichothecene toxicity in the United States, said the effects were “radiomimetic”.

IAQ experts Pierre Auger and Harriet Burge agree that T2 (trichothecene) mycotoxins fall short of achieving this level of illness.

My own experiments with mold samples suggests that there are special times when this effect blazes forth with an intensity and magnitude that causes a “hit and run” effect upon the neuro-immune system which baffles physicians trying to identify a toxic substance.

To the best of my ability to discern, these times correspond to the ion-shift of the atmosphere.

Several years ago, I saw an abstract which described the capability of certain molds and bacteria to act as biosynthesizers of nanoparticles.

My speculation is that the mutation discovered by Dr Shoemaker has resulted in the conjugation of this resistance-property by various powerful “toxin forming” molds, which are now capable of withstanding the antimicrobial effects of human-introduced ubiquitous metal particulates, and processing them into extremely hazardous “nano-plumes”.

This resistance trait emerged in the late 1970’s, just prior to the incredible surge in unexplained-illness such as Gulf War, Fibromyalgia, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, as well as massive increases in autism, Parkinsons, MS, and ALS.

The CFS epidemic strangely centered upon north Lake Tahoe, and oddly spared an almost identical demographic at south Lake Tahoe, only twenty miles away.

I believe that the emergence of “CFS” in such an otherwise pristine area represents the “canary” of a much larger ambient environmental alteration.

The reasons for which might be a special condition of application of ultrafine silver particles to this specific region.

During the 1980’s, the local ski resorts embarked upon an illegal and untested campaign of intense cloud seeding with silver iodide. Many environmentalists were concerned that in addition to the approved mountaintop dispersers that were strategically placed upwind, that private aircraft were covertly targeting every storm from and potential precipitation heading toward the resorts.

My speculation is that this intense seeding is responsible for gradually increased resistance in the microbial terrain of north Lake Tahoe, which combined with the newly potentiated indoor toxic molds, resulted in “spot colonies” of extremely hazardous molds which emitted nano-plumes and manifested in unprecedented immune suppression that ALLOWED people in these environments to acquire the opportunistic infections which might otherwise have been warded off, resulting in “clusters” of unexplained illness and the inception of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
-Erik Johnson

Further Food for Thought

From the Fresno Bee:  Shower of toxic particles threatens Valley air by Mark Grossi, July 14, 2010

(Last I checked, the link was broken, but it was  There is reference to the entire article with a partial reprint here:

A mysterious shower of microscopic chemicals near a Fresno shopping center could be the first evidence of a broad, undetected assault on the lungs of San Joaquin Valley residents.

If confirmed in other Valley cities, it means many thousands of people are daily breathing these cocktails of chemicals — known as ultra-fine particles — that corrode and damage lungs.

The plume in Fresno probably spreads over many square miles, not just the Fashion Fair area where they were discovered, said UC Davis atmospheric scientist Anthony Wexler, who detected the pollution.

Sensitive, expensive equipment is needed to detect and study ultrafine pollution. Science is only now defining the possible problem.

Wexler revealed Fresno’s midday rise in microscopic pollution last month at an air-quality conference, saying he and others will continue studying them to determine the source and extent of the plume.

Researchers also must figure out what’s in the particles and more clearly define the possible health threat. It may be years before local, state and federal officials can develop a cleanup strategy.

The particles are so small that 1,000 of them would fit across the width of a human hair. For years, science has known that such particles exist, but they are thousands of times smaller than previously studied particles in dust, soot and diesel smoke.

Health problems from such pollution were detailed last month in a study on allergic asthmatics, whose lungs are inflamed to the point that only a small amount of pollen, animal hair or other allergens can trigger a crippling attack.

The findings from Dr. Andre Nel, a UCLA medical researcher, were published by the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

“If there is a surge in ultra-fine pollution particles, it makes twitchy airways even more twitchy,” he said. “It results in a much lower threshold of allergens to create an asthmatic response or an attack.”

These specks can come from volcanoes or ocean spray, but they also come from printer toner, vehicle exhaust and chemical reactions in the air. Fresno’s particles may come from traffic and other pollution vapors.

The site near Fashion Fair is not far from Highway 41, Shaw Avenue and many businesses and restaurants, so there could be many different contributors to the pollution.

Wexler said he suspects the particles form after pollution gases accumulate in the air each day, though there could be a particular source spewing the particles.

But he said it’s a good bet that the problem is not just isolated in the Fashion Fair area. Thousands of Fresno residents may be exposed to the particles.

Is this midday rise in pollution occurring in other Valley cities? It’s possible, said Wexler. This kind of pollution also has been detected in other places, such as Pittsburgh, which has problems with particle pollution.

The Valley is known nationally for particle pollution. In the American Lung Association’s latest rankings, Bakersfield and Fresno-Madera were the country’s two worst places for short-term bouts of particle pollution.

The ranking applied to fine-particle pollution, which includes the smallest specks that Wexler discovered near Fashion Fair.

Researchers in Southern California say the tiny particles contain 1,000 or more different substances. The particles tend to grow larger, accumulating many toxic chemicals from the air.

In the UCLA study, Nel showed the chemical debris corrodes and injures the lungs, and the body responds with inflammation. He said it could possibly cause problems for even those with healthy lungs, but he has only studied asthmatics.

For asthmatics, Nel said conventional treatment does not address the problems created by pollution. He said science would have to alter medications, using the kind of antioxidant chemicals found in broccoli and other natural sources to combat the lung injuries.

Nel said such a treatment needs to be developed soon because there is evidence that ultra-fine pollution is becoming a problem in many places, and asthma is on the rise worldwide.

”The particles are increasing in the industrialized Northern Hemisphere,” he said. “They are being spread on the wind from city to city, country to country and even continent to continent.”

The reporter can be reached at or (559) 441-6316.

Let’s put it together and see what we get.

Is mold capable of acting like a nanofactory, spitting nanoplumes into the air?  And can these nanoplumes carry nanoparticles that are subsequently laced with biotoxins such as tricothecene toxins?  Have nature and mankind collided to create a perfect delivery system for highly toxic particles to be shuttled across cell walls and through the blood/brain barrier?  If so, that would certainly create an immune system open to the uptake and residence of name-your-pathogen.

It certainly seems to be a paradigm screaming for research.

And just for fun, try this:

Silent Spring

“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence – Paul Simon, Sounds of Silence