» Indoor Health Matters

Reduce Cancer Risk Factors in Your Environment

Posted by John on September 20th, 2008

Cancer is now the leading cause of death worldwide. While there is a genetic component to cancer, you can reduce your risk greatly by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and avoiding carcinogens in your environment.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) points out the most common environmental carcinogens:

Air Pollution

radon detectionRadon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that forms in soil and rock, and it can build up to dangerous levels in your home undetected. Exposure to radon is a known cause of lung cancer, and this stealthy gas may kill over 30,000 Americans per year. Install a radon detection kit to protect your family. Continue reading

Toxic BPA Found in Bodies of Nearly All Americans

Posted by John on September 19th, 2008

USA Today reports that Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen-like chemical in plastic, has been found in 93% of Americans tested. Recent studies suggest that BPA alters the development of the brain and prostate gland in children. This synthetic estrogen chemical has also been linked to a host of cancers, heart disease, early-onset puberty, obesity, and diabetes.

BPA is found in baby bottles, plastic utensils, dental sealants, food can linings, and plastic bottles. The longer a liquid sits in a container with BPA, the more BPA leaches into the liquid. Continue reading

Cockroaches: The Forgotten Allergens

Posted by John on September 18th, 2008

Most allergy sufferers are familiar with dust mites, pollen, mold, but did you know that cockroaches also produce powerful allergens? Cockroach allergen is also a common cause of asthma attacks. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American (AAFA) reports that 23 to 60 percent of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergen. In one study of inner city children, 23 percent were allergic to cats, 35 percent were allergic to dust mites, and 37 percent were allergic to cockroaches.

Cockroach allergens come from the feces, saliva, and bodies of the insects. Studies show that 78 to 98 percent of urban homes have cockroaches – and up to 330,000 roaches may live in a single home! If you see just one roach in a basement or kitchen, it’s safe to assume that at least 800 more roaches are hiding under sinks, in cabinets, and behind walls. Continue reading

Allergy-Friendly Gardening

Posted by John on September 17th, 2008

A couple of days ago I planted my first garden in my backyard – just a few cold-weather vegetables. Gardening can be a relaxing, fun, and rewarding hobby, but if you have allergies, you should make sure that you don’t grow allergenic plants in your yard!

Pollen from various plants can cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and in some cases, asthma attacks. The simple act of gardening outdoors can expose you to many different types of pollen. Continue reading

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Got Asthma? Eat More Oily Fish!

Posted by John on September 16th, 2008

Earlier this year, a Harvard Medical School study found that eating oily fish may reduce asthma symptoms.

Researchers discovered that Resolvin E1, a metabolic product of the omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, helps resolve and prevent respiratory distress in laboratory mice. Resolvin E1 appears to reduce airway inflammation and could be used in medicine in the future. Continue reading

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A Benefit of Allergies? Lower Risk for Certain Cancers

Posted by John on September 16th, 2008

Allergies make people feel tired, run down, and just plain miserable. Allergies may cause itchy eyes, runny noses, and skin rashes – what could possibly be beneficial about allergies?

Medical News Today recently revealed an unexpected benefit of having allergies: People who have allergies are up to 25 percent less likely to get the most common type of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). Continue reading

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Electrolux Air Purifier Ends Smoke Feud in NYC Apartment Building

Posted by John on September 15th, 2008

Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that a couple in an Upper West Side apartment building had sued their neighbor for polluting the indoor air with cigarette smoke.

Plantiffs Jonathen Selbin and his wife Jenny said that they sued their neighbor Galila Huff because Huff’s smoke was seeping into their condo and jeopardizing the health of their young son.

Electrolux air cleaners Because of this story’s publicity, Electrolux decided to donate air filters in hopes of settling the dispute. Indeed, the donated air quality equipment was instrumental in settling the case. Huff agreed to use the Electrolux air cleaner, and they soon settled out of court.

Continue reading

Air Pollution Interferes with Heart’s Electrical Signals

Posted by John on September 14th, 2008

It has been known for several years now that exposure to heavy road traffic can trigger heart attacks and that particulate air pollution increases the risk of heart attack and cardiac death. Now scientists are beginning to discover the mechanisms by which pollutants damage the heart.

The Journal of the American Heart Association reports that pollutants can interfere with the heart’s ability to conduct electrical signals in people with coronary artery disease. Continue reading

Is It A Cold or Allergies?

Posted by John on September 14th, 2008

Woman SneezingIt’s now officially autumn, the season of the sniffles. Temperatures are beginning to drop, ragweed is still in the air, and kids are back in school and coming into contact with more germs.

If you or someone in your family seems to get a bad cold at the same time each year, it could be seasonal allergies. While allergies and colds can present similar symptoms, it is possible to tell them apart. Continue reading

Asthma and Obesity

Posted by John on September 13th, 2008

Yahoo! Health reports that obese asthma patients are five times more likely than non-obese asthmatics to be hospitalized for asthma. Continue reading

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Hazardous Household Chemicals

Posted by John on September 13th, 2008

Are you aware of the dangers lurking in your cabinets? I found an informative list of the most hazardous household chemicals at

Air Fresheners – Many air fresheners actually release a nerve deadening chemical agent! Others interfere with the ability to smell by coating nasal passages with an oil film. Air fresheners may include formaldehyde, a highly toxic known carcinogen, as well as phenol, an irritant that could lead to death.

air purifiers for odorsTip: Instead of air fresheners, use odor control air purifiers that will not only deodorize but also clean the air. Continue reading

Poor Air Quality in Nail Salons

Posted by John on September 12th, 2008

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nail salons that offer manicure and pedicure services commonly have high levels of dangers indoor air pollution. At sufficient concentrations, these indoor air pollutants may increase the chance of cancer and lead to other serious health conditions like reproductive problems, birth defects, severe allergic reactions, and aggravated asthma. Continue reading

Climate Change Making Allergies Worse

Posted by John on September 11th, 2008

Is it just me, or does this fall allergy season seem especially harsh?

It turns out that this season may be worse than previous allergy seasons because of climate change.

As reported on this ABC News video, experts say that allergy symptoms are getting worse and lasting longer. As the planet gets warmer, weeds grow faster and produce more pollen. Allergy seasons will last longer, too. Continue reading

Chlordane – The Pesticide That Won’t Go Away

Posted by John on September 11th, 2008

Toxicologist Dr. Richard Cassidy of says that over 30 million homes built before 1988 were treated with the insecticide chlordane. Chlordane is still in the dirt under these homes, off-gassing at a constant rate.

When people inhale chemical vapors from chlordane, the liver convertsthem into potent carcinogens and toxins like oxychlordane, heptachlor, epoxide and dieldrin. These toxins get stored in fat cells in the body. Continue reading

How to Prevent Lead Poisoning

Posted by John on September 10th, 2008

Lead is a naturally occurring element used in batteries, solder, ammunition, pipes, and some roofing materials. In the past, lead was used in paint and gasoline. Lead is no longer in paint or gasoline because scientists realized that exposure to lead poses some serious health risks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no safe level of lead in the body. Children absorb lead more readily than adults, and even the smallest amount of lead can lead to learning disorders. At higher levels, lead can damage kidneys and nervous system, and high levels of exposure may cause mental retardation, coma, convulsions, and death. Continue reading

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