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Media Articles - 2000s

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16 December 2003
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Kelly Preston: A Mother's Crusade

Montel Williams Show (Paramount TV)
March 12, 2003

Announcer: Actress Kelly Preston, married to superstar John Travolta. She's here to share the dramatic story of their son's mysterious illness.

Ms. KELLY PRESTON (Actress & Activist): It seemed like flu symptoms. He had rashes all over his body.

Announcer: Doctors didn't know why their two-year-old son was dying.

Ms. PRESTON: And we just prayed that he would be OK. No, I'm fine.

Announcer: The shocking cause: a common household item that can be found in your home. Find out how Kelly's fighting to protect you and your kids. A Mother's Crusade. Don't go away. That's coming up right now on MONTEL.

MONTEL WILLIAMS: Welcome, welcome, welcome, and thank you so much for joining us today. You know, you have seen my guest that's on the show today in such great movies as "Space Camp," "52 Pick-Up," "Twins," "The Experts," "Waiting to Exhale," "Jerry Maguire," "From Dusk Till Dawn." Think I'm done? No. Watch this. "Addicted to Love," "Jack Frost," "For the Love of the Game" and "Battlefield Earth." And she's also a devoted mother and champion of a cause that is making sure that your home and children are safe at all times.

Please welcome Ms. Kelly Preston to the show.

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, thank you.

WILLIAMS: How are you? Good to see you.

Ms. PRESTON: I'm so well.

WILLIAMS: Here, have a seat. Thank you. Jeez. For you.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Jeez. Have a seat. Have a seat.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much for being here.

Ms. PRESTON: Well, thank you for having me.

WILLIAMS: You know, normally I have big stars that come to the show every now and then and they come and they--they want to talk about this--the movie and this and that and the other. But you came here today for a very important reason. And I'm glad you're here. And that was to share what a lot of other mothers and a lot of us who are at home with children ways to keep our kids safe, correct?

Ms. PRESTON: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: And this is because of something that happened to you in your own family, right?

Ms. PRESTON: Yes, with our son Jett.

WILLIAMS: Your son Jett. And I should say when you said 'our son,' you know, Kelly is married to John Travolta, you know. You know.

Ms. PRESTON: The greatest guy in the world.

WILLIAMS: You know. And we're going to talk a little bit about that a little later on because I--I have one big question for you about being married to him. But I'll make you wait to get that one. I've got a huge, big question about that one, all right?


WILLIAMS: But you had your son--What?--in 1992?

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: 1992. He's 10 years old now.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: All right. Now when--after he was home for a little while--everything was fine initially, right?

Ms. PRESTON: Everything was fine. He was perfectly healthy. And when he was about two years old, he became very, very ill, but it seemed like flu symptoms.

WILLIAMS: So what did you--what did you see? You saw high fever?

Ms. PRESTON: High fever. When I took him to the doctor on about the third or fourth occasion, his fever in the doctor's office went up to 105. They had to bring it down. It was really scary. He had rashes all over his body. His lymph nodes were swollen.

WILLIAMS: You said this was the third visit. What happened on the first visit? When you went the fir--the first time, what did the doctor say to you about your son?

Ms. PRESTON: She put him on antibiotics...


Ms. PRESTON: ...and just said that he was just sick. He had some sort of virus and that he would be fine.

WILLIAMS: He'd be fine. So you take him back home. You're waiting for the symptoms to kind of subside.

Ms. PRESTON: To abate, and they didn't. He just kept getting sicker and sicker.

WILLIAMS: Take him back to the second doctor.

Ms. PRESTON: No. It was the same doctor. I just kept going back saying, 'What's going on?' What's--you know, and finally she looked into her physician's reference and said, 'I think he has something called Kawasaki syndrome.'

WILLIAMS: Why don't you explain to our audience what it is?

Ms. PRESTON: Kawasaki syndrome is a--a disease that--they don't know how you acquire it, they're not sure if it's viral, if it's through chemicals. And it causes swelling in the organs, so your heart can swell, different important organs can swell. And it affects--it can affect anybody. But it--primarily in the ward that we had him in--I rushed him to the hospital. They did all of the tests. They said, 'Indeed, we think he has Kawasaki syndrome.' And the entire ward was filled with children with Kawasaki syndrome, something I'd never heard of.

WILLIAMS: And now this is something that--that can last a lifetime, also, correct? Or some...

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm, can affect them for life.

WILLIAMS: Can affect them. But you found out--what brought this on in your son?

Ms. PRESTON: I believed--I asked every--once he was out of the woods, because we thought at one point we were going to lose him and the doctors said that, you know, 'The next 24 hours is critical.' And once he was out of the woods and he was fine, they'd given him a gamma globulin IV and low doses of aspirin.

WILLIAMS: But as a mom, you're sitting here...

Ms. PRESTON: No, it was horrifying.

WILLIAMS: ...first they tell you something--your child's got Kawasaki syndrome. I'm serious, a--as a father, taking my babies to the--to the--to the doctors, they've said things before. I'm telling you, I've sat there and just cried like a baby.

Ms. PRESTON: No, it's awful. It's awful.

WILLIAMS: OK. So they tell you that. You're waiting. What happened? They put him on the drip?

Ms. PRESTON: They put him on the drip. They--and we just waited with him and, you know, prayed that he would be OK. No, I'm fine. But he--he became fine until--at that moment, I spoke with all the other parents to find out--they gave us a questionnaire, 'What have you done? You know, has he been exposed to this, that?' Every single parent had checked yes to--that they had cleaned their carpets...

WILLIAMS: Hear this.

Ms. PRESTON: ...with chemicals.

WILLIAMS: They had had their carpets cleaned or they had cleaned them car--their carpets themselves with chemicals. Of course, your son, at age two, crawling around.

Ms. PRESTON: Is crawling on the floor. And they say that it's completely fine, you're safe. It--and it's people--it--it's not just children. It's the elderly, it's people in general, because they say, 'Well, once it dries after four to five hours, it's fine. It's fine.' It's not fine. It gases off continuously.

WILLIAMS: And there's residual laying there. Not everybody will be affected by a chemical like this the same way. You know, a lot has to do with people's individual immune systems, but we also have to remember that children's immune systems are not completely formed.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: Even though they get the mother's immune system when they're born, they are not completely formed. They are forming. They are getting used to things in the environment.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: And it's tough enough just walking around breathing in the air.

Ms. PRESTON: And their bodies are this big, so they're absorbing, whether it's through the chemicals in the carpet or chemicals that you use to clean in your home or the water or the air, they absorb per pound far more than we do. So they're far more susceptible.

WILLIAMS: It took Jett--the first day they had him on the drip, how long did it take for him to--like, just to start settling down for--the temperatures were stable?

Ms. PRESTON: It was a couple of--well, his temperature they had got down and they would keep down. And then it took a couple of days before he was out of the woods.

WILLIAMS: Out of the woods.

Ms. PRESTON: And then he was fine.

WILLIAMS: And then is there a residual effect that you see?

Ms. PRESTON: He has allergies, and at one point he had a very severe asthma attack. And that's another thing. Asthma is up. There's five million kids with asthma.

WILLIAMS: And we see the rate of asthma going up...

Ms. PRESTON: It's skyrocketing.

WILLIAMS: ...every single year. More and more children are being diagnosed with asth--with asthma. More and more adults...

Ms. PRESTON: Adults.

WILLIAMS: ...who have lived their entire lives asthma-free are all of a sudden coming down with asthma.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: So it's--and I'll even throw out a little thing because I know you had asked my producer about this, but it's like with the illness that I have, you know, 10, 15 years ago, you never saw this illness reported above 350,000 people. I have MS.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: Three hundred thousand people in the country, in this--in the United States of America supposedly have had MS for the last 30 years. The number never went up, by the way. Even when I got diagnosed, it still stayed at 300,000. It didn't go to 300,001. It stayed at 300,000.

Ms. PRESTON: Interesting sort of reporting.

WILLIAMS: I know. So I started--I know. So I started asking questions about this and had a poll done myself by the Zogby corporation that ended up coming back saying that over 2.75 million Americans today suffer from this disease, whereas 15 years ago, doctors only thought less than 250,000 people suffered from it. We're getting that number reconfirmed right now by Gallup.


WILLIAMS: But the truth of the matter is illnesses like this which are immune dis--dis--immune disease or immune system diseases are on the rise.

Ms. PRESTON: Nervous system diseases and...

WILLIAMS: Nervous system disease.

Ms. PRESTON: ...lupus, cancer. It's not just childhood ill--illnesses, too. It's illnesses in adults.

WILLIAMS: You know, let me do this. Let em take a little break. When we come back, let's talk a little bit about how Jett's doing now.


WILLIAMS: Because it took a while for you to get him through the woods period, but you also did something I think--which I think is pretty ingenious. You went and tried to detox him, correct?

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: And there's a detoxification program you went through.


WILLIAMS: Let's talk about it. Let's take a break. We'll be back right after this.

Ms. PRESTON: (From "Not Under My Roof," courtesy CHEC) Since babies spend a lot of time on the floor, there are all sorts of things that they breathe that we don't. See the world the way your baby does. This is your baby's crawl zone. They breath four inches from the ground. Carpets trap all kinds of residues. Wood or linoleum floors with area rugs that you can wash are healthier.


WILLIAMS: We are talking today to mother, actress, celebrity, but let's go back to mother because I really think that's part of--that's the reason why you're here.

Ms. PRESTON: The most important, yeah.

WILLIAMS: And most important. When it came to Jett, after he got out of the woods, I'm sure you had to--to consider maybe this toxin is still in him and it's just not affecting him.

Ms. PRESTON: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: OK. So what did you do initially when you got him home?

Ms. PRESTON: Initially we--I actually had a friend of mine who's here today, an environmental scientist and a toxicologist, go through our home and tell us exactly what was going on in the home. It wasn't only the carpet. We had a lot of cleansers under the sink. We were using all sorts of chemicals. There was a vent that was coming into the house. We were living on a golf course.

WILLIAMS: Wait, let's talk about that vent coming into the house.

Ms. PRESTON: Pesticides. Yeah.

WILLIAMS: The vent coming into the house was actually blowing right into the house, right into Jett's room.

Ms. PRESTON: Into his bedroom--into his bedroom, exactly.

WILLIAMS: Excuse me. And you lived on a golf course, so therefore, all the chemicals that would be...

Ms. PRESTON: Pesticides.

WILLIAMS: ...pesticides, all of the fertilizers, all that junk.

Ms. PRESTON: Which I didn't realize. And I thought, 'Gosh, they're--they're so gorgeous and green, it looks so beautiful.' He'd seen somebody spraying there during the day and he befriended him. He said, 'What are you doing?' And he said, 'Oh, nothing. I'm'--I mean, really befriended him. He said, 'Don't tell the neighbors because they'd get upset, but we come in at night between 3 and 4 in the morning and just douse the grounds with tons of pesticides.'

WILLIAMS: But with Jett, you started him on a program that I think is talked about in this book by L. Ron Hubbard. It's "Clean--Clear Body and Clear Mind."

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: Why don't you tell us a little bit about this?

Ms. PRESTON: Well, this is a p--program that's detailed in the book. We basically store all of these chemicals and poisons and toxins that you breathe, eat, you know, that you're around constantly. Radiation from the sun, you store it in your fatty tissues. And over the years it builds up, and this is a program of how you can detoxify it completely and purify your body. It's brilliant.


Ms. PRESTON: It's so brilliant. And the stories in here are so fascinating, of people, painters going in and having colors come out of their skin. But people who are not sick at all having--I had Novocain and I had a lot of dental work. I lived in Hawaii. I was born and raised in Hawaii, so I had a lot of sun. I had my entire mouth get numb again for an hour and a half in there, the Novocain came out. Different drugs that I had used, the radiation from the sun. I had a bathing suit when I was seven years old--this is completely true. I had a bathing suit that I thought was so cool with holes in the side and a hole in the center.

WILLIAMS: At seven?

Ms. PRESTON: At seven, yes. It was ver--I mean, it wasn't risque, but it was like cool. You know, I thought it was really cool. And I got a sunburn in it. And 20 years later, I had this same sunburn come out in my skin, the entire sunburn.

WILLIAMS: Well, let me just read a little bit. 'The 20th century brought miraculous changes in technology and industry. Again and again, science refashioned or outwitted nature to improve our health and comfort, so we thought. This assault is massive. With the ma--with the multitude of synthetic chemicals in use and new chemicals introduced each day, there is no way to avoid--to avoid exposure to toxins, pesticides, drugs, residues and chemicals that come to you in food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe.' This book will also tell you how to clean this out of your system.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: She's going to give everybody in this audience a copy of this

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS ...she paid for herself when you leave at the end of the day.

But, you know, yes, there--there are some people out there that have helped you understand this. But I--I've got to back up a little bit because I can't have you here and not ask you some questions.

Ms. PRESTON: You can ask me questions.

WILLIAMS: ...(Unintelligible) about that big question I had to ask you...


WILLIAMS: ...about you and John. But how the devil could you be married to a man who says, 'All right, baby, we've got to go to Florida. Come on,' and you go to the airport, you sit in the back seat with your children and let him go sit up front and fly the plane?


WILLIAMS: I thought, if you were my wife and said, 'I'm going to go fly you somewhere,' I'd be saying, 'I'll see you in Florida, baby girl.' No.

Ms. PRESTON: But you know what?

WILLIAMS: No, I'm playing.

Ms. PRESTON: He is--he has been a pilot for over 30 years. He's got eight jet ratings. He now has a rating for a 747.

WILLIAMS: Oh, my goodness.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. But I--I--I...

Ms. PRESTON: He's an amazing pilot. I'd actually rather fly with him than any other pilot on the planet.

WILLIAMS: I can imagine that. Yeah, you know, let's back up, because, you know, you had--back in the day, you started in this business, let's see, first when you were a child.

Ms. PRESTON: A few years ago, a couple of years ago.

WILLIAMS: I'm not going to say when. You know, back in the day...


WILLIAMS: know, back, when I was--I was probably in college when you was--were born.

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, good. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: I'm trying to be a nice guy.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you, really nice.

WILLIAMS: That's me. All right, so...

Ms. PRESTON: We're probably exactly the same age.

WILLIAMS: Oh, no. I'm a little older than you, a lot older than you. But anyway, after high--in--you--you were born--where were you born, first?

Ms. PRESTON: In Hawaii, born and raised.

WILLIAMS: In Hawaii. And your parents spent some time in the Middle East.

Ms. PRESTON: In the Middle East. We lived in Iraq for a year. When my parents got separated and divorced, I lived in Australia for a year with my mom and my brother. Actually for almost two years.

WILLIAMS: Two years. And then you ended up going back to Hawaii.

Ms. PRESTON: Back to Hawaii, graduated from high school.

WILLIAMS: And during high school, now were you into acting and--and music and the arts?

Ms. PRESTON: I was. I was into the arts and into performing and I had done a lot--I was starting to do a lot of commercials.


Ms. PRESTON: A lot of Japanese commercials, some national commercials that had come.

WILLIAMS: And then I heard you were in competition for a role--for a role that you got called back to a couple of times, right?

Ms. PRESTON: Which one?

WILLIAMS: Was it "Blue Lagoon"?

Ms. PRESTON: Yes. Yes.

WILLIAMS: Are you kidding me? Now, wait. Think about this for a second. It--who--it--who was that other lady that got the part? What's her name?

Ms. PRESTON: Brooke something--I'm not sure.

WILLIAMS: Brooke somebody. I'm sorry, she's a friend of mine. Brooke
Shields got the part.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: I'm not knocking you, Brooke. But it could have been Kelly. You could have been that little girl swimming around in the water.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly, like a fish.

WILLIAMS: Like a fish.

Ms. PRESTON: Well, I wasn't an actress then. I--I wasn't an actress. They pulled me out of PE and sent me to LA and--on a picture. And I screen tested, and it was either going to be a well-known girl, a celebrity girl, Brooke Shields and another guy, you know, Chris Atkins...


Ms. PRESTON: ...or an unknown girl and a more well-known guy.

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. And...

Ms. PRESTON: And it obviously was Brooke.

WILLIAMS: ...they picked--but you know what? Now some might say...

Ms. PRESTON: No, but it was good.

WILLIAMS: It was good. It was good for her career. But it was also good for yours.

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: Let me take a break. When we come back, let's talk about how good it was for her career. We'll be back right after this.

Ms. PRESTON: (From "Not Under My Roof," courtesy CHEC) Have you ever thought where your shoes have been? It's a scary thought. We walk outside and bring home all sorts of junk on the soles of our shoes right into our living room. So leave your shoes at the door, or at least wipe them on a door mat.


WILLIAMS: So again, welcome Kelly Preston to the show.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: I do have to go back just a bit because, you know, I started reading stuff about you and I thought this was so cute. And I won't--I won't mention some of your former boyfriends, like you know...

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, my God.

WILLIAMS: Can I? Can I? No, well...

Ms. PRESTON: You can, I mean...

WILLIAMS: OK, well, the only reason I mention this...

Ms. PRESTON: It's fun.

WILLIAMS: because I know John said something to you about it. That's what I was told. So--I mean, she used to go out with like, you know, George Clooney, you know, couple of guys like that. And then one day--because you had met John before this.

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: So you guys kind of hit it off on the movie set once, right? Kind of got a little close.

Ms. PRESTON: Yes, very much. Yes.

WILLIAMS: Very much so. But then you became distant.

Ms. PRESTON: No, it was because we couldn't get together at that time.

WILLIAMS: Ah, so you went out with Charlie Sheen for a little while.

Ms. PRESTON: Af--yeah, for a year.

WILLIAMS: For a year, and you--then George Clooney. And then you were invited...

Ms. PRESTON: For a year.

WILLIAMS: a--to a party at someone's house.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah, Kirstie...

WILLIAMS: Kirstie...

Ms. PRESTON: ...Alley.

WILLIAMS: ...Alley. Well, I know her, too. I know Kirstie. And she just decided, you know, she wanted the two of you to be together, right?

Ms. PRESTON: She's always wanted us together. So she sat us next to each other at the table, and Johnny kept whispering to me, 'I really want to talk to you after dinner. Will you come back to my room or I'll come back to yours, you know, I just want to talk to you about something.' So I did, and he said, 'Are you over...'

WILLIAMS: You know who.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah. And I wa--because we had been broken up for months. And I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'Well, would you like to try being boyfriend and girlfriend?' And I said, 'Yes.' It was so sweet. He's so sweet.

WILLIAMS: Come on, that's--that's why I wanted her to talk about that.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Everywhere ...(unintelligible) says--listen, you know what? I had--I was very fortunate, was it two years ago? I attended a fund-raiser in Los Angeles called a Race to Erase--which is one of the biggest fund-raiser for MS held by Nancy Davis, who--her foundation. And I had a chance to stand, honestly--you've got to--before I show you this picture, you've got to get this. On the stage with the likes of Kelly and her husband and several other celebrities. But the thing that was the trip was over on the piano was Stevie Wonder. Do you remember this?

Ms. PRESTON: It was so fantastic.

WILLIAMS: And Stevie Wonder was up here jamming, and guess what? We all got to sing with Stevie Wonder. Take a look at this picture right here. There you go, Montel, John and Kelly. Do you kn...


WILLIAMS: Isn't that so great? That's a great picture. I have that picture hanging in my office.

All right, so enough of this. Let's go back to just trying to figure out how to help people understand what's going on in your home. You have worked with a toxicologist, Mr. Michael...

Ms. PRESTON: Wisner.

WILLIAMS: ...Wisner. Mr. Michael Wisner. Pl--I tell you what, let's welcome him to the show.

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, good.

WILLIAMS: Welcome Michael to the show.

Mr. MICHAEL WISNER (Toxicologist): Hi.

WILLIAMS: How are you, sir?

Mr. WISNER: Hi, Montel.

WILLIAMS: Nice to meet you.

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, hi.

Mr. WISNER: Hi, Kelly. How are you?

WILLIAMS: Please, have a seat. When--when did you start working in this as a field?

Mr. WISNER: Well, about 20 years ago, myself and a research foundation started looking at how to get chemicals that store in the human body--you know, everybody watching today for the US EPA has as many as 250 known toxins stored in the body's tissue. And we're seeing compelling evidence--as I think you mentioned earlier on the show--this is contributing to increases in certain types of diseases.

WILLIAMS: When Kelly approached you and said, 'Look, you know, my son has this bizarre thing, Kawasaki syndrome,' what did you tell her first?

Mr. WISNER: My God, you know. And I said, 'Lookit'--you know, Kelly called me and said, 'Would you go look at the house?' So I said, 'You bet.' And so while I've always ex--I--my area of expertise has been human chemical exposure, internal exposure, I s--I've learned a great deal about the things that you can get exposed to from the home. So I went up and looked at Kelly's home for her and John.

WILLIAMS: And when you take a look at her--I mean, how could we, you know, the--the average person know that, OK, the soap that I have on the table--we're not going to talk about individual products...

Mr. WISNER: Sure.

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: ...but how do I know what's bad and what's good. And what could be sending off some sort of fume that's in the air that my child could run through or I could run through? How do I know?

Mr. WISNER: Well, you know, you don't have to, like, get paranoid. OK, that's the first thing I tell people, you know.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah, we're not here to scare anybody.

Mr. WISNER: You know, you live--we live in a chemical world and it's enhanced our quality of life in many ways. OK, but there's obvious things. I think Kelly mentioned your shoes. You track 40 percent of the lead, which is a neurotoxin, toxic to our brain, our children's IQ...

WILLIAMS: And let's make sure we--let's talk about this because we hear reports all the time about lead poisoning for children, how you want to keep your children away from lead. Schools across the country have been closed when they find just a sp--the slightest amount of lead...

Mr. WISNER: Right.

WILLIAMS: the paint on the walls. So go ahead. So we can actually track this into our house?

Mr. WISNER: Well, the majority of lead that you and our family--our families are exposed to we walk in our shoes from the outside street grit. Because air pollution, vehicular, industrial exhaust goes up in the air, comes down and we walk on it. And we walk it into our home on our shoes. So I tell people--and this has actually been studied. If you leave your shoes at the door and just have house shoes or house slippers, just like the Japanese have done for centuries, you'll reduce your family's lead exposure by 40 percent for free.

Ms. PRESTON: Forty percent.

WILLIAMS: Amazing.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah. It's a very simple thing to do.

WILLIAMS: That's--that's just putting slippers by the door...

Mr. WISNER: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: ...coming in and leaving your shoes. Well, you know, we sent Michael to my manager's house, Melanie McLaughlin's house, to see if he could find anything up there. Take a look at this.

(Excerpt from videotape)


Ms. MELANIE McLAUGHLIN (Montel's Manager): Hello.

Mr. WISNER: Michael Wisner.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Hi, Melanie McLaughlin. Come on in.

Mr. WISNER: Nice to meet you, Melanie. Great house.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you. Thank you.

So, Michael, I heard you were the right guy for the job to tell us if our home is safe or not. I have a four- and six-year-old and I have another baby on the way in a few months. And...

Mr. WISNER: Congratulations.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you. And three dogs in the house, so I want to make sure it's safe for them, too.

Mr. WISNER: Sure. You know, one thing I realized here is that you have all this carpeting. A square foot of domestic carpeting can have as many as 10 million microorganisms.


Mr. WISNER: It--it's a great place for things to grow. How do you clean it?

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: We have our--our own steam cleaner.

Mr. WISNER: Uh-huh.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: We clean it probably once a month with chemicals.

Mr. WISNER: Those chemicals that are used to clean and spot remove, they can be very harsh.


Mr. WISNER: They are absolutely associated with certain kinds of, oh, nerve problems and--and...

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Sure. They actually give me a headache.

Mr. WISNER: Exactly.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Is there something that I can do to make it safer for the family?

Mr. WISNER: Absolutely. I mean, there's a couple of things. Number one, have a vacuum that has what's called a HEPA filter.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: OK. I have that.

Mr. WISNER: A high energy filtration on the exhaust...


Mr. WISNER: that when you do carpet, it's not blowing bad stuff out the heat exhaust in the air.


Mr. WISNER: Secondly, when you do clean it, only use a natural soap...


Mr. WISNER: ...mainly carpet cleaner without any chemicals.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: This is the kitchen.

Mr. WISNER: It's great. This is a great cooking range. If you run a gas range for one hour at 350 degrees, you are producing as much pollution in terms of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide as you'll get on a real smoggy day in LA.


Mr. WISNER: OK. So when you're cooking with a gas range, you've got a lot of cooking, it's the holidays and so forth, make sure the vent fan's on full go.


Mr. WISNER: OK, and I--even in the winter, I would crack the window a little because, really, the solution is sh--is ventilation.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: This is our pantry. We keep food and a lot of our cleaning supplies stored in here because we buy in bulk.

Mr. WISNER: You get an A plus.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Oh, great.

Mr. WISNER: This is impressive, like, you have non-toxic-containing mildew removal which is like using natural substances to kill mid--mildew rather than harsh chemicals.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Right.

Mr. WISNER: I don't see anything in here that concerns me at all. I mean, it's just a really good job.

So how old is the swing set?

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: It's about seven years old.

Mr. WISNER: Seven years.


Mr. WISNER: The way that this wood has been treated for years is with hexavalent chromium and arsenic.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Arsenic? Isn't that poisonous?

Mr. WISNER: It is. What they did was, the government allowed the use of arsenic and--and chromium as a wood preserver. The problem was that loophole created wood preservatives on products that started being used in the home. If you ever replace--replace any of the wood here, you want to just check it to make sure if it was treated with chromium or arsenic, that you seal it.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Right.

Mr. WISNER: Because if you seal the wood or paint it, then--then there's no dermal absorption that the child can get onto his hands.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: So how'd my house rate?

Mr. WISNER: Well, it actually rates very well.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Oh, great.

Mr. WISNER: I would give it--definitely, I'd give it a B plus to an A minus.


Mr. WISNER: I mean, you did so many things right.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Thank you very much. Thank you for your time.

Mr. WISNER: Really nice to meet you.

Ms. McLAUGHLIN: Nice meeting you.

WILLIAMS: I'll tell you what, Michael, let me take a little break, and when we come back, you can tell me what you found at m--at my manager's house. So I'll talk to her about managing her life. I'll take a break. We'll be back right after this.

Ms. PRESTON: (From "Not Under My Roof," courtesy CHEC) Ah, fresh air. Between sleeping and playtime, your baby can spend more than 12 hours a day in her room. So open up a door or window and keep the fresh air coming in.


WILLIAMS: All right. So, Michael, what did you find at Melanie's house? And I will tell you something, my manager Melanie is sitting over in her office right now watching this from afar because...

Ms. PRESTON: Uh-oh, she's biting her nails.

WILLIAMS: ...this is the last place she ever wants to be in front of a camera. But what did you find at her house?

Mr. WISNER: Well, you know, I'll tell you. I found a lot more things right than wrong. I was impressed. I mean, the first thing...

WILLIAMS: She deserves one of those.

Mr. WISNER: I felt like the--I--I felt like the toxic police, you know. But as we drove down the--the road to her house, the first thing I noticed was there's no power lines, none. Because power lines, particularly those big high tension wires, they can give off electromagnetic frequencies, radiation just like you hear from the cell phone. If you have those right next to your house, not a good thing.

Ms. PRESTON: Radiation stores, too.

WILLIAMS: I got to talk to you about...

Mr. WISNER: Sure.

WILLIAMS: ...well, since you went there, let's go there before you complete what happened at Melanie's house--the phone. I--you know, you hear all kinds of things, whether or not it's safe, it's not safe, cell phones--I--I--this bugs me to no end. I put the cell phone to the side of my head and that cell phone starts to heat up my ear.

Ms. PRESTON: Hot, yeah.

Mr. WISNER: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: Now, I'm sorry. It's like a microwave. Am I microwaving my brain? Because I'm telling you, I'm trying to get a little wire thing, but then I hate that because you're walking down the street, you look like you're talking to the air. 'Hello, yeah, well, cool.' You look like you're crazy.

Mr. WISNER: Well, let me say this. I mean, the--there's various studies, OK. But it comes back to the whole subject of toxins, too. It's like, lookit, if you can reduce exposures in the things you do in daily life, better. We're not all perfect. You know, so if you made five mistakes a day eating bad stuff and you read--you read "Clear Body, Clear Mind," you read books on it and you make two mistakes, that's 1,500 less mistakes a year.

Ms. PRESTON: Absolutely.

Mr. WISNER: OK, so it adds up.

Ms. PRESTON: And then you can also do the program. I mean, I'm telling you. We were talking about it at break.

WILLIAMS: During break, sure.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah, that you get--you can--it's not just for really sick people. It's for people who are well, who just want to feel better, be more alert. My memory--my memory--I wasn't as forgetful. I was brighter. I was clearer. I could think better. I was more energetic. I mean, I was really healthy. And then afterward, it was--life was different. I tasted things more. I smelled them better. Yeah, it's really interesting.

WILLIAMS: Well, it clearly identifies it. There are chemicals in our environment that can lower your IQ...

Ms. PRESTON: Mm-hmm.

Mr. WISNER: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: ...that can make your ba--throw your balance off, make you a little fatigued, get you a little bit more crampy, all kinds of things.

Mr. WISNER: Well, you know, all the science aside, you know, because we've done all the studies, but the truth of the matter is we looked, clinically, medically, at 3,000 well people doing this detoxification program, like you and me, Kelly, the audience, right? And we studied them. And we saw increases in IQ, reaction time, immune system functions. And I can't describe this as a scientist, but they were just happier. They were j--they just thought more clearly.

WILLIAMS: Well, again, the book is "Clear M--Clear Body, Clear Mind," by L. Ron Hubbard. Go out and pick up a copy. Before we introduce our next guest, which is really just a--a follow-up to exactly what we're talking about, I want you to take a look at this.

(Excerpt from videotape)

CLAUDIA (Was Poisoned By Chemicals Used To Dry Clean Blankets): I've been telling my story, and finally, someone listened. In 1995, I became very ill. I had ringing in my ears, leg spasms and severe dizziness. The doctor said I was having feminine problems and sent me home. Years passed, and the symptoms got worse. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't breathe. My heart would race and I thought I was going to die. The doctors said I had bronchitis and sent me to bed. No one knew it was my bedroom that was killing me.

(End of excerpt)

WILLIAMS: No one knew it was my bedroom that was killing me. Please welcome Claudia to the show.

Claudia, when did you very first start feeling sick--feeling ill?

CLAUDIA: Years ago. I have two--two wool blankets that I had dry cleaned. And I would go back and forth between here and Colorado and have them both dry cleaned. And I started getting sick in--in bed. I'd get dizzy and I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. And...

WILLIAMS: The first time you went to a doctor--because, I mean this is--this is the thing that I hear so often when patients go in and doctors don't understand the ideology or what's going on. They just immediately think hypochondriac, in your head. But when you first walked in...

CLAUDIA: Absolutely, right?

WILLIAMS: ...that's what you got.

CLAUDIA: Absolutely. In the beginning, I was told, 'Oh, it's--it's female things. You're probably going through pre-menopause.' And then they'd send me home, or they'd try to give me some kind of hormones or something. And then later, as the symptoms got worse and worse, it--it got to the point where I was going into tachycardia. I couldn't breathe. My--my--my lungs weren't working. My heart was stopping. I went to emergency...

WILLIAMS: But you were seeing a doctor? You're seeing a doctor over and over.

CLAUDIA: I--yes.

WILLIAMS: And what did the doctor say again? And I--and we're not saying his name so you can say--and I know this was--this was--was extremely frustrating for you.

CLAUDIA: I--in--first he said I was in, not that many words, a hypochondriac. And then the second time this year, when I went back saying 'Something in my bedroom is killing me, I need--I need help,' he took me--walked me down the hall and put me in a room because I was in spasms. The chemicals had gotten me to a point where it'd done such nerve damage, I couldn't walk. I couldn't talk. I didn't know who my husband--I knew I was married but I didn't know what my husband looked like or--or what the house looked like. And he--he--he said, 'You know, you have been chemically poisoned.' Because I believed that. I believed something in the bedroom--he said, 'And you just sit here because there's no anti-toxin--until it works its way out.' And then he went and called my husband and told him that I was psychotic. Or he didn't know--my husband called and said, 'Why didn't she come home?' He didn't call him. And he said, 'Your wife is psychotic.'

WILLIAMS: Psychotic. You later found out that you do have a level of chemical in your body from the dry cleaning that's--What?--like 1,000 times higher than what most people would ever come in contact with?

CLAUDIA: Well, I don't know how high in my body you could say, but I know that I--it was dry cleaning. I had it--my blanket tested because I had to prove my integrity that--because my husband after that questioned everything I did. And the blanket came back 20--six months after it was dry cleaned, it came back 27 times the toxic that the--the standard for perc, which is so toxic that it has to be taken from dry cleaners in haz-mat men and that's in our--that's in all our dry cleaning--all of our dry cleaning.

WILLIAMS: And since you started the plan--you're also on this detoxification program, no?

CLAUDIA: Thank God. It saved my life. I was--I would be dead. Four--eight weeks ago, I was on my death bed. I couldn't breath the air inside my house. It turned to chemical--multiple chemical sensitivity, so I could not breathe the air outside my house. I would black out if I got near a dry cleaners. A block from a dry cleaners and I started doing this (imitates being dizzy) and I couldn't breath and it--it causes--this glue to come out of me and it--it--it glues your throat together and my nose together and I would wake up gasping for air because everything's blocked. And through the program, I see it coming out again and it does it.

Ms. PRESTON: It came out through her skin.

WILLIAMS: You can even see--I guess after you started this program, you could see through the sweat, when you wiped your skin, that chemical...

CLAUDIA: It's black.

WILLIAMS: ...the chemical is in her sweat coming out. And this is now proven.

Mr. WISNER: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: She was at toxic a level.

Mr. WISNER: Well, she was exposed to perchloroethylene, which is a common dry cleaning chemical. I always tell people, you know, don't have them bag your dry cleaning. Go to a green or--green dry cleaner. Don't use that stuff. But Claudia was exposed to that at high levels and that chemical stores in the human fat tissues.

CLAUDIA: There was a point where I was actually sleeping in my car because I couldn't breathe the air inside and I couldn't go out and breathe the air outside and there was no where that I could go because...

WILLIAMS: I--I'm with you. And I--I'll tell you something. Not everyone will have this reaction.

Mr. WISNER: Right.

WILLIAMS: But can you just imagine being at home and taking your child to and from the doctors once a week, twice a week, three times a week, trying to figure out what's wrong and a lot of--unfortunately, a lot of doctors and medical professionals are not trained in this area.

Mr. WISNER: The National...


Mr. WISNER: ...Academy of Sciences published a report just a few years ago and said 85 percent of doctors--good doctors are inadequately trained to diagnose a chemical toxic exposure.

WILLIAMS: Wow, that says enough right there. We'll take a break. We'll be back right after this.

(Graphic on screen)




WILLIAMS: I mean, Michael, there could be so many people sitting out there right now watching this show, and...

Mr. WISNER: Right.

WILLIAMS: ...I'm not trying to get--to scare anybody. This is not a scare tactic. We're just trying to make you think about your environment.


WILLIAMS: A lot of you at home have your entire houses carpeted and you've been running that stupid thing that you bought down at the corner drugstore...

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: ...back and forth, pouring this big bottle in the back of it and just doing the floors every day. And your children are running around on the floor and you wonder why kids are catching colds.


Mr. WISNER: Well, that--you know, we use pesticides in the home that we don't need to kill bugs. There's many--a hundred safe ways to do it.

Ms. PRESTON: You can use boric acid.

Mr. WISNER: Boric acid will kill bugs. You don't have to spray pesticides, you know. And then the detoxification program, I mean, that's a survival kit in--in the 21st century chemical world we live in, you know.

Ms. PRESTON: For anybody, no matter...

Mr. WISNER: For anyone.

Ms. PRESTON: ...if the person's sick.

Mr. WISNER: You know, it's just something we need to--to look into doing.

WILLIAMS: Well, let's talk a little bit more about those alternatives then.

Mr. WISNER: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: You were saying that, you know, everybody uses--I won't say the name of the product, but you know alcohol-based or chemical-based solvents to clean the countertops.

Mr. WISNER: Oh, yeah.

WILLIAMS: What's the best way to clean the countertop?

Mr. WISNER: Kelly is probably--you know, she's become almost more expert in this than I. She's a--on the board of directors of the--of a foundation that's...

Ms. PRESTON: Children's Health and Environmental Coalition. I'm on the board of directors. I'm their national spokesperson. But there's so many non-toxic alternatives available on the market. There's also baking soda, vinegar. There are so many different things that you can...

WILLIAMS: But, you know l--let's--let's...

Ms. PRESTON: You can buy things. You can make things. If you--if you have carpets and you've been cleaning them with chemicals, just steam clean them a couple of times with hot, hot water, you will smell the exact same chemicals coming out of your carpet. It's so--it does--they don't go away. They don't drift off.

WILLIAMS: And you would recommend that, you know, maybe it's time that we stop doing the full wall-to-wall carpeting thing.

Mr. WISNER: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: And start just getting an area rug but keeping those floors open so that you're not having something that's a trap.

Ms. PRESTON: It's a...

Mr. WISNER: We had four people come to us who've built a home, their dream home in New Hampshire, two children--three children, a colonel in the Army. And they finally put in the new carpet for their dream home. They got totally sick. They didn't know what it was. Finally they were told, just like Claudia, 'You 're crazy. It's psychosomatic.' It's this and that. They went to a doctor in Boston who tested the carpet with mice and within one hour, all the mice died. And these people were sick. And they came to HealthMed and we put them through the detoxification program and they're well to this day.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah, they're all well. The children, the adults, everything.

Mr. WISNER: The adults.

WILLIAMS: Makes you cr--start to think. And that was because that particular lot of carpeting was not cured appropriately.

Ms. PRESTON: Yes, it didn't dry.

Mr. WISNER: Yes. The latex backing wasn't cured fully and it off-gassed chemicals, like Kelly is talking about, and it made them ill.

Ms. PRESTON: I still have some carpeting, but what I've done is--well, if you buy, you buy natural fibers and then you let it cure. You let it dry outside for a couple of weeks. It will gas off and then you g--if you still--if you have carpeting, there are ways around it. Or just do it without chemicals.

WILLIAMS: Real quick. Cleaning the kitchen 101, you said baking soda and what else?

Ms. PRESTON: Lemon, vinegar. There's--but there's also products that you can buy. There are amazing products on the market that clean beautifully and non-toxic.

WILLIAMS: Non-toxic. So we should start looking for those and start demanding those kind of products now out of those people who are making a fortune. And we've been--you have been spending probably billions and billions and billions of dollars making people rich off of chemicals. If you stop spending that money, they will develop a product that you'll buy.


WILLIAMS: So start buying the products that are green and I'll guarantee you, you'll start seeing ones on the shelves start to change from being non-green to being green.

Ms. PRESTON: Exactly.

Mr. WISNER: You're right.

Ms. PRESTON: And fresh lemon scent doesn't mean that, 'Oh, this one's natural.'


Ms. PRESTON: You know? It may still have a lot of chemicals in it. Buy the ones that are natural.

WILLIAMS: You've got it. Let me take a little break. We'll be back right after this.


WILLIAMS: Well, please welcome the executive editor of Health magazine, Ms. Liz--Lisa Delaney. Welcome her to the show. Come on up here, Lisa. Because see, she knows nothing about this. And you wanted to do something. Wh--you--you know, you ever see--you ever see a celebrity kind of sweat a little bit. I said, 'We have this huge surprise for you and I'm not telling you what it is.' It's a su--no, tell her what it is.

Ms. LISA DELANEY (Health Magazine): Kelly, we--we are so honored to be able to present to you Health magazine's first Power Of One award and we named it the Power Of One award because it's--it's really to recognize individuals who are really making a difference in the wealth--the health and well-being of others--other people. And we just really are honored to be able to give this to you today.

Ms. PRESTON: I'm honored. Thank you so much. Wow. Thank you.

Ms. DELANEY: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Beautiful.

Ms. PRESTON: Wow. That is so beautiful.

WILLIAMS: Turn that around so we can take a peek.

Ms. PRESTON: It's gorgeous.

WILLIAMS: Thank you. Here, you sit up here. Sit down. Take my seat.

Ms. DELANEY: Right there. Wow.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, take my chair. You bring gifts like that, you can take my chair.

Ms. DELANEY: Thank you.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you so much.

Ms. DELANEY: You're welcome.

WILLIAMS: You know, I--I know, when this show is all over, people are going to say, 'Well, Montel, you just did something that just--that's gonna do nothing but scare people and, you know, it's not right.' I'm going to get letters from, you know, the environmental--not the environmental people, from corporations that make all kinds of chemicals saying, 'That was really unjust what you said.'

Ms. PRESTON: Uh-huh, exactly.

WILLIAMS: But now let's tell the truth. It's not about scaring. All it is is about making us all concerned consumers, making us aware of what's going on in our homes, making us aware of what's going on with our children. And I will tell you, they still have not figured out--and I'm going to say it this way because I don't care what people think. They have not figured out what causes the disease that I have. This is the year--it is now 2002. This disease was first identified back in 1836. Now in the last two years, doctors have found out more about it, but no one knows what causes it. And there have been a lot of concerns around the world for environmental causes to illnesses like mine which is an immune disease disorder but also a neurological disorder. And when we talk about toxins that affect people neurologically, who knows, this could be part of my problem.

Ms. PRESTON: Absolutely.

CLAUDIA: Absolutely.

Ms. PRESTON: Toxins, chemicals, mercury is a big one. Mercury toxicity we were talking about.


Ms. PRESTON: This program, the Clear Body, Clear Mind, the purification program, would be brilliant for you. I--I real--you know, we were talking about it on the break.

WILLIAMS: We spoke about it. I'm going to tell you, I--I may have to figure out a way to do this and then I'll tell you whether or not I feel better. I'll figure it out.

Mr. WISNER: There you go.

WILLIAMS: I've got to get the time to do it and I will. Let me do this--let me take a little break, again. And when we come back, Kelly's got to tell us what's coming up because we're almost out of time.


WILLIAMS: Got a lot of stuff coming up. I'm just--gonna throw one out there. Did you know this lady's in the new movie "The Cat in the Hat" working with wa...

Ms. PRESTON: With Mike Myers.

WILLIAMS: ...with--my kid--with Mike Myers. But, you know, my kids, that's all they want to see. So I can't wait. Let's take a break. We'll be back right after this.


WILLIAMS: So a lot of exciting things are coming up. I did mention that, "The Cat in the Hat" with Mike Myers. But you're--you're like one of the bus--busiest women in Hollywood.

Ms. PRESTON: Well, not really. But I do have another couple movies. I have "A View from the Top," with Gwyneth Paltrow coming out as well, and "American Girl" that I just shot in London.

WILLIAMS: Just finished that.


WILLIAMS: And that will be--these will all be released within the next year, you think?

Ms. PRESTON: "Cat in the Hat" will be in a year and the other two will be probably February and March that ar--area.

WILLIAMS: You know, I--you know, we have--you have two children.

Ms. PRESTON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Right? You have Jett and you have Ella.

Ms. PRESTON: Ella. Ella Bleu.

WILLIAMS: Ella Bleu.

Ms. PRESTON: She's two and a half.

WILLIAMS: And going to be working on another one in between?

Ms. PRESTON: Not right now, but absolutely I'd love to have another baby. I love--I love being pregnant and I love having children.

WILLIAMS: Let me take a break. We'll be back right after this.


WILLIAMS: Well, we are out of time, so I want to thank all of our guests for being here today. Thank you so much for coming and sharing and helping us all stay safe.

Ms. PRESTON: Yes. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thanks to Kelly, everyone in our audience, like I said earlier, will be leaving with a copy of "Clear Body, Clear Mind." And, you know, as you read the book, maybe you can't do the program right now but think ahead. Start thinking about trying to reduce those things that are toxic to us. It--the mo--more you reduce them, the better you will feel. There's no ifs, ands or buts.

Ms. PRESTON: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: I think that's a fact. Since I was diagnosed, I've tried my best to do that in my own way and I know that's what keeps me going.

Ms. PRESTON: That's wonderful. And those at home who would like to get the book, you can log on the Web site, or I know that Borders has it and...

Mr. WISNER: Waldens.

Ms. PRESTON: ...Barnes & Nobles...

Mr. WISNER: Barnes & Nobles.

Ms. PRESTON: ...Waldens. There's major bookstores that you can buy it from.

WILLIAMS: So go to the local bookstore an--near you. And, Kelly, we wish you so much luck...

Ms. PRESTON: Oh, thank you.

WILLIAMS: ...and--and success in the future.

Ms. PRESTON: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much for being here. And, Michael, thank you. I may have you come back because I've got a lot of friends of mine--even if you don't do the show, I've got some friends of mine, I'd love for you to just go over to the house and say, 'Could you clean that mess up?'

Mr. WISNER: Oh, yeah.

WILLIAMS: You know what I mean? And it might not be toxic, but it's toxic to me. All right.


WILLIAMS: I'm out of time. Join us on the next MONTEL.