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Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists
Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists was co-founded in May 2004 here in Lawton by Dr. Dale B. Smith from the Allergy, Ear, Nose and Throat Institute. The story of how this company came to be involves medical curiosity, serendipity, solving of a medical mystery and possibly even divine guidance.
Nasal polyps associated with chronic sinusitis have long been one of the most vexing problems for otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat surgeons). Try as they might, otolaryngologists have not been able to eradicate nasal or sinus polyps even with surgery. One day in 1998, Dr. Smith was seeing a patient who had moved here from New York with a history of over 30 surgeries done for nasal polyps. She needed yet another surgery which Dr. Smith did completely using endoscopic surgery. Seeing the patient approximately three days postoperatively, Dr. Smith was confounded by the quick regrowth of the polyps that he had previously removed. It was on that day that Dr. Smith decided that polyps were not truly curable with surgery alone. What else was needed to control this seemingly relentless recurrence of polyps, remained a mystery.
During residency, Dr. Smith had done research on the connection of nasal polyps and allergies. Although it was commonly believed at that time that polyps and allergies were somehow connected, the research of Dr. Smith and others failed to prove any such relationship. Dr. Smith had obtained a Masters Degree, prior to being accepted into medical school at the University of Notre Dame. There, he was involved in studying allergic responses that differed from typical hayfever responses. He learned that the body was capable, under the genetic influences of various factors, with mounting delayed allergic responses. These more complex reactions were not able to be detected on routine allergy skin testing. Only specific research blood tests were able to detect such delayed reactions to various allergens.
Seeing that patient on that fateful day in 1998, Dr. Smith was stuck that perhaps nasal polyps and allergies were indeed related but the allergic reaction was a more complex delayed reaction such as he had studied in the past. If this were indeed true, this would be compatible with the lack of detection of these allergies on routine skin testing. Dr. Smith was already using the latest blood samples for detecting hayfever-type allergies but, to his knowledge, routine testing for such a delayed reaction was not yet available outside the research laboratory.
Furthermore, understanding these delayed reactions involving very large, complex molecules, Dr. Smith summarized that the most common allergy irritants that would fit this description would, indeed, be mold. Based on this knowledge and to some degree, due to frustration knowing this patient had tested negative on all routine allergy tests including molds, Dr. Smith decided to truly practice medicine that day. He empirically placed the patient on allergy immunotherapy to most of the common molds.
To this day, Dr. Smith is convinced that God sent this patient and guided his thoughts to allow what happened next. Although the patient was quickly filling her nose once again with polyps just a few days after surgical management; shortly after beginning the allergy immunotherapy, the polyps disappeared. Dr. Smith quickly called a research laboratory in Baltimore and discovered that they had a scientist who was working on a blood sample for delayed (IgG) reaction to mold. Dr. Smith got on a plane and flew to Baltimore with a sample of his patient's blood. Amazingly, while no allergy was detected on routine (IgE) testing for allergy, the patient's tests were wildly positive for IgG testing. Now Dr. Smith had a way to check all of his polyp patients for delayed mold allergy and to safely start them on allergy injections.
But as destiny would have it, not all of the patients responded as quickly or as completely as this first patient. What would be the difference between patients? Dr. Smith then read an article on research from the Mayo Clinic regarding mold present within the noses of patients with polyps. Could there be a connection between mold exposure, this delayed reaction and nasal polyps? Dr. Smith arranged to meet with the researcher from the Mayo Clinic. Clearly, they had determined that there was a very complex reaction, probably allergic, inside the nose to mold spores that seem to be inciting polyps in the patients that they had studied. So could it be that here was yet another piece to the puzzle of why some patient's develop polyps and why not all patients immunized against mold have their polyps disappear? Dr. Smith began doing an environmental analysis on all of his polyp patients and discovered that the majority of the patients with polyps were, indeed, school teachers. It is well known that most of the schools in this area have flat roofs and have leaked when it has rained so if there was mold in the school. Could this be the reason for the increased incidence of polyps in school teachers?
After researching mold remediation in buildings, it was clear that the chemicals used to kill mold often caused the patients to have severe side-effects. In search of a more natural method to remove the mold, Dr. Smith was led to a pharmacist in Colorado.
It seems that this pharmacist, while working with some natural seed extracts in his home basement, discovered that mold growing on the plates was inactivated by the seed extracts. This seemed like a very similar story to that of Dr. Flemming's discovery of penicillin just after World War II in England when contaminating mold was found to kill bacteria in Petri dishes. Realizing that a natural product would inactivate mold and that this could be potentially helpful to patients, this pharmacist began work on utilizing commercial seed extracts in mold contaminated buildings. He had already formed a company that was doing remediation of buildings with these natural seed extracts when Dr. Smith arranged to fly to Colorado to meet with him.
Using the technology developed in Denver, Dr. Smith helped form Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists here in Lawton. Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists uses state of the art mold detection methods and natural plant extracts to remediate homes and commercial buildings contaminated with mold spores. Dr. Smith also learned to use diluted forms of these seed extracts to compound nasal sprays to inactivate mold in the noses of his patients.
Now, using a combination of environmental testing and remediation done with Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists along with allergy treatment for molds using allergy injections and nasal sprays, Dr. Smith is much more able to control polyps in his patients.
Jeff Bookout, who has been in charge of testing and treatment with Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists since the business was formed, now owns and manages this well-respected company. Jeff Bookout and Dr. Smith have conducted lectures at the Vo-Tech regarding the evaluation of homes and commercial buildings. This has been well attended by local school authorities, home builders, businessmen and realtors. Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists has evaluated and treated numerous local homes, office buildings, schools and Fort Still government facilities since the company was formed. A member of the Lawton Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Bookout, and Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists, continues to receive referrals for possible building contamination with mold from Dr. Smith and other physicians as well as home builders and realtors.
Evaluation and treatment by Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists:
Whether referred by Dr. Smith, a previous customer, local members of the business trade, or from an internet search, each request for professional advice or services is given individual attention by Jeff Bookout. Jeff is easily reached on his cell phone for consultation with individuals and businesses. He will arrange to meet with the requesting party to evaluate the potential mold problem and to begin evaluation.
Evaluation is done personally by Mr. Bookout using a combination of mold detection methods and state of the art infrared moisture detection camera systems. The results of these tests are evaluated by Mr. Bookout in consultation with a professional PhD mycologist at an accredited mycology lab. This collaboration allows the client to receive a formal written description of the problem found and outlining the recommended solutions.
Treatments of the building usually involve methods of stopping water leaks, reducing moisture and inactivating or removing the mold. The mold treatment itself, usually involves "fogging" of the building with a natural plant-based extract that inactivates mold growth. Rarely some mold is so pervasive it requires mechanical removal. Fogging of the building requires the occupant to evacuate the building for 24 hours but the product fogged into the building is safe for pets, plants, electronics and all surfaces so there is minimal disruption to homes or businesses with this treatment.
Licensed, bonded and insured, Jeff Bookout with Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists, continues to serve clients with distinction over these years. Evaluation and treatment is complete, affordable and guaranteed to solve the mold problems when the treatment plan is followed. Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists offers unique treatment with natural products rather than chemicals offered by other companies. This, along with the comfort that this treatment is natural and was developed by a pharmacist, endorsed and used by leading physicians and conducted by a local expert, allows each client to have a piece of mind in consulting with Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists.