Both your humble blogger and members of our esteemed commentariat sometimes give personal accounts of being on the actual or intended receiving end of financial, medical, and other grifts. This case study of Thermography for Health‘s unsound reliance on ozone falls in the category of “potentially useful shaggy dog story” and is an extra post today. If this isn’t the sort of thing that interests you, please skip over this offering and enjoy our regular programming. But if you have been so unfortunate as to encounter this stripe of Covid quackery, please pipe up in comments.
Thermography for Health is an alternative medical practice that is putting “patient” health at risk by adopting reckless and illegal low/no masking practices while Omicron is rampant in New York City.
This sort of “staff masking optional and sloppy even when done” is bad enough in terms of the hazards involved with imaging, as how close employees get to customers when providing this bread and butter service. But Thermography for Health also has a dental practice of sorts in the same space (the Thermography for Health site touts peridontal and “oral parasites” exams; I’m not sure if these staffers also provide general dentistry, say under a different “doing business as” identity). From the check-in desk I saw someone getting an oral treatment from a practitioner who was in the patient’s face with no mask on.
As you will see in more detail below, Thermography for Health falsely maintains they are not endangering patients with their poor safety practices because they are using ozone machines on premises.
Thermography for Health is also flouting New York State’s Covid-19 rules:
Any person, past their second birthday and medically able to tolerate a face covering, must wear an appropriate mask while in any indoor place, regardless of vaccination status. However, businesses and venues can choose to implement a vaccination requirement, requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry inside the business or venue. Whichever requirement is selected, it must apply to all within the business/venue’s capacity, including staff, patrons, visitors, and guests. A business and venue cannot do a “combination” requirement.
I can’t recall a single instance of our savvy readers, many of whom have been hard on the prowl for non-pharmaceutical interventions to increase their odds of not contracting Covid, ever mentioning ozone as a Covid protection. That is presumably because, if the thought had occurred to them, they discovered with minimal effort on search engines that it is a non-starter.
The use case for ozone with Covid is to bomb a sealed area that has Covid-contaminated air in it, say a room used by a Covid-positive patient after he has been discharged. The reason that hospitals and nursing homes don’t use ozone machines to try to zap circulating Covid is that the concentration of ozone needed to kill Covid is harmful to other living things. Running an ozone machine at a level humans can live with and pretending that the air is pure and masks are unnecessary is foolish and reckless.
The National Environment Agency of Singapore has done a great job of one-stop shopping on this topic. From its site, Technical Guidance On The Use Of Gaseous Ozone Against COVID-19 Virus:
In recent years, some ozone generators have been promoted as air cleaners for use in occupied spaces. However scientific evidence shows that ozone concentrations that are within safe health limits are likely to be ineffective for disinfection and the use of any effective ozone concentrations must preclude the presence of people and pets, including fish.
Specifically, the article shows that the concentration of ozone needed to deactivate a coronavirus: 120 ppb (parts per billion). By contrast, here are the limits for humans:
And the consequences of exceeding those levels:
Exposure to ozone can cause adverse health effects to the nose, throat and airways, with more severe health effects observed at higher levels. Exposure of 300 ppb of ozone may cause tightness in chest and throat as well as irritation of lung and throat within 30 min. Exposure of healthy individuals to 80 – 120 ppb of ozone over 6.6 hours has been associated with loss of lung function with cough and chest pain on deep inhalation, inflammatory responses associated with cellular and biochemical changes, and increased airway responsiveness to allergens and irritants15. A study indicated a decrement in lung function of children when exposed to ozone concentration as low as 60 ppb in the ambient air during a 4-week summer camp in Pennsylvania, US. Chronic exposure has been shown to cause irreversible obstructive airway disease in animals, while some studies showed similar effects to humans.
Now to the shaggy dog part of the story. I get breast thermography instead of mammograms because I have had far far far too many X-rays due to my frequent orthopedic injuries. Both my GP and OB/Gyn regard breast thermography as an acceptable diagnostic. However, if you’ve ever gone to “holistic” or alternative practitioners, they can be all over the map in terms of their general professionalism and their sense of boundaries….like bodyworkers who try to give you advice on diet when you didn’t solicit it.
I had gone to Thermography for Health when I lived in NYC and had not been wild about them. They were competent about the exam proper but were extremely condescending, adopting a cloying faux-parental mien (which is tone deaf in Manhattan given the number of women professionals here who take that sort of guff only when they are getting paid to do so) and aggressively trying to sell getting retested every three months. The desperation for additional revenue was palpable but I would get my results and get out. In Alabama, I had found an operator who was far more professional, but they were housed in a bigger alternative practice. The major domo retired and the thermography part relocated too far away to be practical.
So I was back in NYC over an urgent medical issue that I could not get handled in Alabama (and the docs here agreed it is pressing and I need to get an outpatient procedure in the next two months). Needless to say I have been in vigilante mode, super masked up, windows cracked open whenever there is a window to be had, regular gargling and nose-spraying, and going only to necessary appointments. I was overdue for the thermogram and mistakenly assumed that because Thermography for Health held itself out as being medically adjacent, its staff would be well masked, as was the case in every office I had been so far, particularly since this was Manhattan and there was even better mask discipline generally than before (more N/KN95s, huge decrease in masks below noses).
Not so. Neither woman behind the desk was wearing a high quality mask, and one had it not quite on her nose. The sitting area was empty, but I saw one of the presumed dental treatment rooms behind the reception area with the unmasked practitioner and started freaking out. Then I saw a two men walk through the waiting area, one with a procedure mask as a neck diaper, one with no mask at all.1
I was 3/4 of the way to aborting the appointment when the woman who was going to give me my exam appeared. She was pulling a procedure mask on her face as she walked towards me, a not great sign, and it wasn’t over her nose until I confronted her about the masking practices in the office and how they were endangering patients.
She started to treat me like a moron, the worst sort of PMC-tude from someone with no medical education or scientific credentials, asserting that they were using ozone and so the air was pure and safe and therefore masks weren’t necessary.
I had actually looked into ozone generators in early Covid, because I had rented heavy-duty ones to try to get the smell from a cigar-smoking tenant out of my apartment, and also recalled a time when they had been fashionable in alternative medicine circles. I had ascertained quickly that they would not be not effective. I called her out and said the research didn’t support her claims. She then tried, “Oh, there are lots of opinions, and that one is yours.” I said this wasn’t a matter of opinion but was well documented in medical and hospital sanitation research. She continued to act as if she knew better and any independent information was of no import. She also tried diverting by saying, “We are socially distant”. I said that guidance was badly outdated. She again acted as if she didn’t have to entertain what I was saying.
She then said if I didn’t feel comfortable she would not feel comfortable treating me, which in context was a power play, that if I didn’t shut up she’d withhold treatment. I said I wasn’t happy but I was here and I’d get the exam.
She then baited and switched me. I had booked a breast thermogram, which as you can see on their site is listed as the first thermography service and started to disrobe only for that. She insisted I peel down further so that she could take a thermogram of my entire torso. This on their site is listed as a completely different test, “Thermography Health Screening”. The patter there makes clear that this imaging screens all sorts of additional sites, like the intestines, kidneys, sex organs.
I said I had booked for a breast thermogram and that was all I wanted. She then said, “We don’t do it like they do in Alabama” implying alternative practitioners in Alabama are barefoot yahoos when this was the service I’d gotten from them previously and they were still hawking on their site. She insisted that the breasts were part of a system, that I needed to have imaging of my stomach and intestines and uterus to detect inflammation,2 as if inflammation in my gut could cause breast cancer!
I told her that was ridiculous, pulled my shirt back on in record speed and hiked out. These people have gone from being too obviously hungry for money but still manageable to rank charlatans. Stay away.
1 No one asked me for proof of vaccination, which means under New York State rules, everyone over two years old had to be masked except when eating or drinking.
2 It’s not hard to guess that the reason for pushing for the unnecessary and more extensive imaging were the dietary supplements on display in the waiting area, that in addition to charging more for the “Thermography Health Screening,” they also hoped/intended to push supplements to treat various supposed abnormalities. One of the reasons whole body CAT scans have fallen out of fashion is they would detect various oddities, but there was no clinical base line for knowing if they were pathologies, or simple harmless deviations from normal.