Navy Shooter Exposed to Brain Toxins As 9/11 Rescuer, Possibly Made Electrically Sensitive

    Dr. Dean¹s post includes links as well as a references list.

    ³Dr. Dean is dedicated to finding and treating the cause of disease, which is often rooted in the environment. She is board certified in environmental medicine and internal medicine. She is president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.²



This is not the blog post I had planned to write. However, I believe this information is vitally important to share and discuss.

Several news outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post, reported last week that Aaron Alexis, the navy yard shooter, was driven by delusions and a belief that he was being controlled and influenced by electromagnetic waves.  According to Reuters, Alexis suffered from insomnia and reportedly “felt vibrations through his hotel room wall”.


Was Aaron Alexis delusional? Did he feel affected by electromagnetic waves? It is entirely possible that he was afflicted with what millions of people suffer from every day – toxicity and electromagnetic sensitivity.


How does someone become toxic and electromagnetically sensitive – to the point of being driven over the edge? For Aaron Alexis, it most likely started with a severe toxic exposure he would have received on 9/11.

Reportedly, he was leaving the subway when the first World Trade Center tower collapsed and rushed in to rescue people from the rubble.  He couldn’t sleep for three days. Over the years, he sought help for insomnia, ending up in an emergency room as recently as August 28, 2013.

The toxic cloud that Aaron Alexis and other first responders at the World Trade Center were exposed to contained several chemicals that are known neurotoxins including jet fuel, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), solvents, and heavy metals (lead and aluminum)¹,². In fact, many of these toxins are  neuropsychiatric toxins that cause impairment in psychological performance, personality changes, and insomnia.3-6  Jet fuel exposure can even cause slow, steady personality changes over the years progressing to anxiety and hyperreactivity.7

We know that 9/11 first responders have a 15% increased cancer risk8, likely due to toxin exposure.  Toxic brain syndrome is just a different manifestation of the same chemical exposure. Aaron Alexis was most likely suffering from undiagnosed and untreated neurotoxicity. Unfortunately, this diagnosis was probably not considered in his treatment and care.


Many of the toxins Aaron Alexis was exposed to on 9/11 not only create brain toxicity, they can lead to the development of electromagnetic sensitivity to computers, cell phones, wifi and other low-level electromagnetic fields. Organophosphates found in jet fuel and heavy metals are some examples of toxins Aaron Alexis was exposed to that would set the stage for for him to develop electromagnetic sensitivity.


Electromagnetic sensitivity manifests differently in different individuals. Sensitive people often experience heart arrythmias, migraines, pain syndromes, fatigue.  They also can experience debilitating sleep disturbances and insomnia.9,10 A 2001 survey done in Switzerland showed sleep disorders, nervousness and distress to be among the most common complaints associated with EMF exposure.11   Think Aaron Alexis.

Electromagnetically sensitive patients also report experiencing pulsations and vibrations in their bodies with exposure to electromagnetic fields, not unlike Aaron Alexis.  Electromagnetic field measurements often confirm that there are fields that patients are feeling and reacting to.

Aaron Alexis was a computer programmer. He would have been exposed to low level electromagnetic fields for hours on a daily basis. He most certainly was experiencing brain toxicity and had been exposed to toxins that could have made his nervous system hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields – unable to sleep, feeling vibrations, driven over the edge.  Is it possible that Alexis was delusional not because of a psychiatric condition, but was neurotoxic and electromagnetically sensitive? 


It is important to understand the root cause of illness so that individuals can receive help before catastrophe and tragedy happen.

Anxiety, insomnia, mood and personality changes have environmental based causes and need environmental medical treatment and care.

Here are some steps you can take to find the cause and get help if needed.

~ Take the survey that starts on page 15 of the Austrian Medical Association’s Diagnosis and Treatment of EMF syndrome guidelines

~ Check out the Environmental Exposure History created by Dr. Lynn Marshall, MD available through the Ontario College of Family Physicians. This is the foundation of the environmental medical history used by environmental physicians. It often reveals environmental exposures that, over time, can cause disease and negatively impact your health.

~ Get help – you can find doctors in your area trained in environmental medicine through the American Academy of Environmental Medicine at

Dr. Dean is dedicated to finding and treating the cause of disease, which is often rooted in the environment. She is board certified in environmental medicine and internal medicine. She is president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.


[1] Case Report: Lung Disease in World Trade Center Responders Exposed to Dust and Smoke: Carbon Nanotubes Found in the Lungs of World Trade Center Patients and Dust Samples. Wu M., et al. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2010 April; 118(4):499-504.

[2] Biomonitoring of Chemical Exposure Among New York City Firefighters Responding tothe World Trade Center Fire and Collapse. Edelman, P., et al. Environmental Health Perspectives.2003 December; 111(16): 1906-1911.

[3] Benzo(a)pyrene-induced acute neurotoxicity in the F-344 rat: role of oxidative stress. Saunders, CR. et al. Journal of Applied Toxicology. 2006 September-October; 26(5): 427-438.

[4] Behavioral effects of long term exposure to organic solvents. Hanninen H, et al. Scand J Work Environ. & Health. 1976 December; 2(4): 240-255.

[5] Toxic trace metals in the mentally ill patients. Stanly PC, Wakwe VC. Niger Postgraduate Med J. 2002 Dec; 9(4): 199-204

[6] Sleep disturbances and exposure to organic solvents. Lindelof B, Almkvist O, Gothe CJ. Arch Environ Health. 1992 Mar-April; 47(2): 104-106.

[7] Neurospychiatric symptoms in workers occupationally exposed to jet fuel – a combined epidemiological and casuistic study. Struwe G, Knave B, Mindus P. 1983 March; 67(s303): 55-67.

[8] Cancer incidence in World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers, 2001-2008. Solan S, et al. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2013 April; 121: 699-704.

[9] AAEM position paper on electromagnetic and radiofrequency field effect on human health. Dean AL, Rea WJ, Smith C, Barrier A. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. 2012 April.

[10] AAEM recommendations regarding electromagnetic and radiofrequency field exposure. Dean AL, Rea WJ. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. 2012 July.

[11] Symptoms of ill health ascribed to electromagnetic field exposure – a questionnaire survey. Roosli M, et al. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 Feb; 207(2): 141-50.

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