Dirty Books

Share This Post

Dirty Books

The article below prompted me to ask a few questions of my more medially trained staff and members.  First – the “gross factor” is over the top – however it did make me rethink a few things… First, let’s take a look at the article.

‘What can we do that has never been done before?’ our colleague Stijn Van de Voorde must have thought when he struggled to fill his programme. The programme maker then instructed two university professors to examine the ten most borrowed books at the Antwerp lending library. The findings were pretty surprising.

The experts are active in the fields of bacteriology and toxicology. Their findings are revealing.

All ten books including Dimitri Verhulst’s Flemish bestseller ‘De helaasheid der dingen’ and Jommeke comic strips tested positive for cocaine.

Toxicologist Prof Jan Tytgat of the Catholic University of Leuven: “The levels found won’t have a pharmacological effect. Your consciousness or behaviour won’t change as a result of reading the tomes.”

 However, people tested after reading the book would test positive for cocaine.

Prof Jan Tytgat: “Today’s testing methods are so sensitive that traces of the drug originating from a contaminated book will be found in your hair, blood and urine.”

Two books E.L. James ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and Pieter Aspe’s ‘Tango’ showed traces of the herpes virus. The virus causes cold sores and may be transmitted via sexual activity.

Readers should not be alarmed. Concentrations of the virus found were so low that they do not pose a danger to our health.

Let’s first begin with the subject of the sensitivity of tests.  I know many people who have  tested positive for substances and  have been found to have trace amounts.  The persons are made to swear an oath that they were not and are not drug users but still, the tests come out positive.  Yet in testing there is an immediate negative inference that based upon an amount, any amount, if found that – adjusting for metallization – the tested subject must have ingested the illegal substance ‘X’ weeks ago.  The assumptive error is that this person’s environment is otherwise free of the illegal substance or contamination and that only by their proactive abilities had they come into contact with the substance.  I think this proves once and for all that with über sensitive tests one is more likely to get a false positive.  After all what are the tests for? They are not to see if someone has been exposed to drugs but to see if they are using drugs. Thus any positive results immediately infers that the subject is a user.

A similar problem has been happening with cashiers working in stores that handle large bills and a lot of them at that. Large bills have been found to have traces of cocaine on them. The cashiers, because of their constant contact with the bills, have tested positive for cocaine usage and not for exposure – as they should have been.

Law enforcement is quick to accuse a person of drug usage and the police go onto to test the rate the person might metabolize the cocaine to estimate the approximate date of usage / ingestion. No doubt an extreme and unfair system for certain people working in certain fields

The second issue is about people with compromised immune systems.  Conditions such as;  lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, crohn’s disease, or even a drug impaired immune systems such as those with transplants or taking a form of immune therapy suppressor medicines should cause us to take special care.  Our charges come in all forms shapes and sizes as well as medical conditions.  If any of our charges have a compromised immune system we should know about it.  Once informed we can take special measures such as spraying down a car with disinfectant – well prior to use.  Wipe down surfaces commonly touched by many and rarely cleaned objects such as door knobs, car door and luggage handles.  Even something as simple as having a few disinfectant wipes to wipe down the arm of a chair or around an airplane seat all lowers the possibility of our charge becoming ill.   Also, looking at home or a destination of travel to see if there is a general outbreak of colds or flu and suggesting a mask is temporarily worn.

I was not aware of how careful many of these people-with compromised immune systems- are until I spent time with a man who had a kidney transplant.  He was very cautious, did not touch door knobs, refused to shake hands and wore a mask in public.  I thought him a bit odd until I asked “Are you germaphobe?”  He was kind in his answer and said that with a kidney transplant – he had to take immune suppressor drugs to prevent tissue rejection but also any cold or flu could quickly turn to pneumonia and in fact had done so twice before.

Compromised immune systems can happen for many reasons but all the reasons have in common a person who will suffer greatly when and if they get sick. – Let’s keep them well.

This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA. http://www.ibabodyguards.com

More To Explore