Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


The Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted by John on August 26th, 2008

Last month I blogged about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex of garbage in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of the continental United States. Today I’d like to explore another major environmental catastrophe in our oceans: dead zones.

Dead zones are areas in the ocean that lack the oxygen needed to support marine life. The Gulf of Mexico contains a dead zone that’s nearly the size of New Jersey, according to CNN.

“There’s no oxygen in the water for shrimp, crabs, fish to live,” said Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Read more about dead zones and water pollution

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) – Refuting the Skeptics

Posted by John on August 24th, 2008

Even though millions of people are sensitive to certain chemicals, some members of the medical establishment have long viewed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) with skepticism.

At a physicians’ conference last year, one immunologist told me that MCS is “all in their heads.” At the same conference, another physician told me that he has suffered from MCS ever since medical school, when he was exposed to high levels of formaldehyde during dissections.

I know that MCS exists because I have suffered from it. When I was a child with severe allergies, my mom picked up one of my friends on the way to school every morning. My friend wore perfume (quite a bit of it), and every time she got in the car, I got a headache and started sneezing. I often had to roll down my window to avoid the chemical odor.

Even though some doctors still think it’s “all in your head,” several years ago Martin Pall, professor of biochemistry at Washington State University wrote a paper that describes mechanims of MCS. Read more about the mechanisms of multiple chemical sensitivity

Rachel Carson’s Legacy – The Silent Spring Institute

Posted by John on August 22nd, 2008

Rachel CarsonI first learned of Rachel Carson’s work when I read her book Silent Spring in my high school biology class. The book, published in 1962, shed light on the toxic effects of pesticides on nature, especially birds. Silent Spring inspired many people to join the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson died of breast cancer less than two years after the publication of Silent Spring.

The Silent Spring Institute was founded in 1993 to investigate links between environmental toxins and women’s health issues – breast cancer in particular.

The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published advice from the Silent Spring Institute about dealing with indoor air contamination.

“It ends up being part of your environment,” says Julia Brody, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute. “You end up breathing it, and it gets on your hands.” Read more about toxic chemical contaminants in your home

Wyndham Hotels Offer Allergy Friendly Rooms

Posted by John on August 10th, 2008

Wyndham hotels now offer allergy friendly rooms designed by PURE Solutions. Dubbed “CleanAir Rooms,” they feature hypoallergenic bedding and medical-grade HEPA air purifiers.

Wyndham.com states: “The state of the art air purification system operates continuously, eliminating up to 98-100% of viruses and bacteria. In gest rooms, you’ll sleep on PURE mattress and pillow covers that are resistant to mold and dust mites.” Read more about allergy friendly hotel rooms

Healthy Homes Make a Healthy Planet

Posted by John on August 6th, 2008

Last week in the Ithica Journal, indoor air quality expert Jackie Mouillesseaux-Grube wrote about the connection between indoor air quality and human health: “Daily behavior impacts indoor air quality, so we can minimize our exposure to harmful substances and manage the overall impact air quality has on our health by considering ventilation, excessive moisture and common pollutants.”

In the article, Mouillesseaux-Grube addressed two common indoor air pollutants: household chemicals and mold. Read more about indoor air quality

Common Household Cleaners Pose Health Hazards

Posted by John on July 29th, 2008

HealthDay reporter Serena Williams recently exposed the health hazards in common household cleaners. A recent study concluded that many air fresheners and cleaners contain a volatile organic compound (VOC) called 1,4 dicholorobenzene (1,4 DCB) that can reduce lung function by 4 percent. (1,4 DCB is the chemical that gives mothballs their distinctive odor.)

Another study found that regular use of household cleaners in spray cans may increase the risk of developing asthma by up to 50 percent! Read more about toxic chemical cleaners

Vapor Steam Cleaners: Dream Machines for Green Cleaning

Posted by John on July 27th, 2008

Thanks to National Geographic and other news media outlets, more Americans are beginning to realize that toxic chemicals are all too common in modern, everyday life. From bottled water to cleaning supplies, hazardous chemicals leech into our lives and build up in our bodies.

Green cleaning, or chemical-free cleaning, not only protects the environment from toxic contamination, but it also protects your health! Because of the immensely popular green cleaning trend, even the most toxic chemical cleaning solutions are “going green” – at least in the design of their labels, if not in their composition. But cleaning solutions made from toxic chemicals are still harmful, no matter how green their labels may be.

Vapor Steam CleanersIf you’re wary of using toxic chemicals to clean your home, try a vapor steam cleaner.

Vapor steam cleaners harness the power of hot, “dry” steam to kill bacteria, mold, dust mites, and other allergens and germs. Read more about vapor steam cleaners