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January Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Tony on February 5th, 2013

As we enter the second month of 2013, people are trying to keep up healthy habits and start the year off feeling good. Unfortunately, the flu and other health issues are making it more difficult this year. This makes understanding your indoor environment (and the air you breathe) even more important.

Our picks for this month’s Air Quality Evangelists all focus on the importance of your indoor environment and what your family can do to avoid health problems that originate there. Check out our favorite blog posts this month to learn what you can do to stay healthy!

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Blog

I never thought researching ants could teach us about our daily exposure to toxic chemicals, but the post “Ants Go Marching One-by-One” proved me wrong. The post was published on the site Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, which is a coalition of parents, health professionals, and advocates who share a common concern about toxic chemicals, particularly in our homes, places of work, and household products.

Winning Post

The winning post reviews research on ants (published in the Science of the Total Environment) that looked at their levels of certain chemicals. This research showed all of the inspected ants carried toxic chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates are industrial chemicals used as solvents in many cosmetic and plastic products, and high levels of exposure can cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in humans.

This study not only found that all the ants tested positive for phthalates, but their levels increased over time. Most research focuses on the presence of phthalates in plastics, but this study found that these chemicals were actually present in the air, which is why every ant in the study had levels that increased over time. “Ants Go Marching One-by-One” looks at how this study can help humans better understand these dangerous chemicals. Check it out to learn more about phthalates, the dangers they possess, and what you can do to limit your exposure.

Taking Off

Pretty much everyone, including Sylvane, is discussing the flu this season. We know how to avoid sickness in our everyday lives, but what about traveling? Taking Off is Park Ride Fly USA’s travel blog that offers tips and health advice for people traveling, and they recently discussed how to avoid the flu while traveling.

Winning Post

Even though you’re a bit of a sitting duck while traveling on an airplane, Taking Off’s “Tips to Avoid the Flu Bug on a Plane” looks at what you can do to protect yourself on a plane.

In addition to the usual tips like washing your hands, this post looks at factors like how the dry, recirculated air often found in airplanes may influence you. Staying hydrated will keep membranes in your mouth, eyes, and nose moist and help protect against germs trying to enter your body. Read the winning post for more on: How to direct your recirculated plane air, what to wipe down with disinfectant wipes, and other information to avoid the flu while travelling—because who wants the flu on a business trip, or even worse, while on vacation?

Utah Moms for Clean Air

Utah Moms for Clean Air has a simple intent—ensure their children have a healthy environment to live and grow. Therefore, the site is constantly offering advice to parents about their indoor air quality and how to make it safe for kids.

Winning Post

Their winning post, “Fast Food, Air Pollution and Asthma,” looks at a study that shows fast food consumption is linked to children’s asthma. A study of more than 500,000 kids in more than 50 countries found a clear link between fast food and severe asthma, hay fever, and eczema. While we all know fast food isn’t great for us, it’s an interesting look at the influences fast food has on breathing problems. Check out the full post to learn more about this study and what you can eat to cut down on the negative impacts of eating fast food (without cutting it out completely).

We commend all of our Air Quality Evangelists for their dedication to staying healthy and knowledgeable about their indoor environments. As you can see, a few basic tips really can help you stay healthy in 2013!

Are you an Air Quality Evangelist? Do you believe in the importance of breathing clean, healthy air? Tell us! Introduce yourself in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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