» Indoor Health Matters

Toxic Chemicals in Laundry Products

Posted by John on September 30th, 2008

Laundry detergents are supposed to get clothes clean, right? While detergents clear away soil and stains, too many of them leave behind chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment. Continue reading

Air Pollution and Sperm Quality

Posted by John on September 29th, 2008

We already know that air pollution can cause premature birth and damage the lungs of growing children – and now a study suggests that air pollution may interfere with your ability to have children.

Ahmad Hammoud of the Univesity of Utah found that fine particle pollution – which peaks in December, January, and February – causes a drop in sperm motility one to two months later. (It takes sperm between two to three months to mature.) Continue reading

Vacuum for Allergy Relief

Posted by John on September 28th, 2008

allergy vacuums“If you suffer from allergies and asthma, vacuuming does more than make your home look better,” writes respiratory therapist Shane McGlaun at “It can be as important as taking medications to control your condition. Vacuuming is an essential part of limiting exposure to asthma and allergy triggers, such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen and other allergens.”

McGlaun says that allergy sufferers should look for HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners so that allergens are not returned to the air through the vacuum’s exhaust. If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filters, then you’re simply moving allergens around rather than capturing them. This could actually make your allergies worse! Continue reading

Posted in Allergies, Vacuums | No Comments »

What is Relative Humidity?

Posted by John on September 27th, 2008

Keep your indoor relative humidity below 50 percent to avoid growth of mold and dust mites. That’s standard advice for allergy sufferers. But what exactly is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air expressed as a percentage of how much water vapor the air could hold. If relative humidity is 100 percent, for example, then it’s raining. Most people are comfortable with an indoor relative humidity of 45 to 50 percent. When relative humidity goes above 50 percent, the excess moisture in the air makes it easier for mold and dust mites to spread. Continue reading

DeLonghi Heater Reviews

Posted by John on September 26th, 2008

DeLonghi Mica HeatersI don’t always agree with reviews from ConsumerSearch, but in this case, I agree that the DeLonghi Mica Panel Heater deserves the title of best space heater. This sleek, lightweight heater uses the mineral mica as a heating element, and it’s the best option for heating a room evenly, quickly, and safely. Continue reading

Pregnancy Vitamins May Trigger Asthma in Kids

Posted by John on September 25th, 2008

Vitamins and supplements that mothers take during pregnancy could predispose children (and even grandchildren) to asthma, reports NewScientist.

A study at Duke University Medical Center showed that mice fed vitamins similar to human pregnancy supplements had offspring with signs of asthma. The supplements turned down the expression of certain genes, and the lungs of offspring had high levels of immune cells and proteins that predict asthma; furthermore, this effect was passed down through generations in a process known as epigenetics. Continue reading

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Simple Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Toxins

Posted by John on September 24th, 2008

Nurse Diane Waddell has been studying environmental health and holistic care for 30 years, and she recently told St. Joseph News that simple lifestyle changes can lead to great gains in overall health.

Toxins are everywhere in our modern world – in the air, water, food, and even in cleaning products that claim to clean up toxins. Waddell offers the following tips to avoid toxins: Continue reading

Tylenol Use Linked to Child Asthma

Posted by John on September 24th, 2008

If your baby or toddler has a low-grade fever, you should resist the parental urge to reach for a Tylenol bottle. Young children who are given Tylenol (also known as paracetamol or acetaminophen) have a 50 percent increased risk of developing allergic disease, according to The West Australian.

Children who take Tylenol frequently have triple the risk of developing asthma and nasal allergies and double the risk of developing eczema. Continue reading

Posted in Asthma | 2 Comments »

Federal Agencies Hold First Healthy Homes Summit

Posted by John on September 23rd, 2008

Last week four federal agencies held their first Healthy Homes Summit in Baltimore. The goal of the summit was to promote the building of healthy homes free of lead, chemicals, mold, moisture, and pests.

“Health doesn’t happen in the hospital. It happens at home,” says Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our goal isn’t to be Big Brother, but people are asking for advice and information.” Continue reading

Antibacterial Soap with Triclosan – Healthy or Unhealthy?

Posted by John on September 23rd, 2008

I had an eye exam a few days ago and noticed antibacterial soap in the optometrist’s office. It seems like everyone is buying antibacterial soap these days. As more people become concerned about health, antibacterial soaps (and other antibacterial products) are becoming more popular. But is antibacterial soap necessary? And could it actually do more harm than good?

Most antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a synthetic chemical that’s classified as a pesticide. Introduced to consumer products in 1995, triclosan can remain on the skin for hours, even after you rinse your hands, and it has been linked to liver damage. Continue reading

10 Easy Pollution Solutions

Posted by John on September 22nd, 2008

Toxins abound in our world. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group recently released 10 everyday pollution solutions:

1. Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick. Chemicals in Teflon pose many health hazards. Continue reading

Health Advice for Hurricane Ike Evacuees

Posted by John on September 22nd, 2008

As Hurricane Ike evacuees return home and begin to rebuild their communities, they will encounter various environmental health hazards including mold, contaminated soil, infections, and respiratory ills.

Speaking to Galveston County Daily News, Dr. Scott Weaver points out that organisms living in soil contaminated by human waste can be easily transmitted from hand to mouth; these germs can lead to Hepatitis A, tetanus, or other infections. He advises that people should avoid touching their mouth and eyes and wear rubber boots and gloves. Anyone involved in extensive clean up efforts should get a tetanus shot to be safe. You can also order special disinfectants to clean up areas damaged by flooding. Continue reading

How Your Indoor Environment Changes with the Seasons

Posted by John on September 21st, 2008

Cold weather will be here soon, and as the outdoor environment changes, your indoor environment will change as well.

While dehumidifiers and spot coolers help to maintain a comfortable, healthy indoor environment during the summer, air purifiers, humidifiers, and space heaters provide the essential climate control tools for winter. Continue reading

Pharmaceuticals Contaminate Drinking Water

Posted by John on September 21st, 2008

MSNBC reports that 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with a vast array of pharmaceutical drugs – everything from chemotherapy medications to hormones.

Scientists believe that most pharmaceutical contamination comes from drugs that are excreted by patients and then flushed down toilets. But U.S. hospitals and health facilities also flush an estimated 250 million pounds of drugs each year! Once these drugs go down the drain, they often end up in water supplies. Continue reading

Essick Air Humidifiers Review

Posted by John on September 21st, 2008

The weather is just beginning to get cooler, and big box stores are already lining their shelves with humidifiers. These machines not only soothe dry skin and dry sinuses, but they also make winter air feel warmer and more comfortable (which saves money on heating bills). The problem with many of the inexpensive humidifiers in big box stores is that they emit “white dust” into the air; this dust comes from minerals in the water. Essick Air humidifiers, on the other hand, do not produce white dust because of their patented evaporative technology.

Essick Air humidifiers (formerly known as Bemis humidifiers) contain a wick that allows the water to naturally evaporate into the air. A wick filter retains any minerals in the water so that only pure water vapor goes into your air. Continue reading