» Indoor Health Matters

Your Environment Determines Your Gene Expression

Posted by John on November 14th, 2008

Your environment not only determines your health, but it also determines who you are – quiet literally – at the level of gene expression. Continue reading

Wood Heating Health Concerns

Posted by John on October 13th, 2008

This summer, with heating bills expected to rise 20% from last year, many people will turn to wood heating in an attempt to save money; however, wood burning poses serious health concerns.

The American Lung Association has expressed concern about wood heating, especially for people with asthma and other pulmonary diseases. Continue reading

Indoor Health and Productivity in Workplaces and Schools

Posted by John on August 31st, 2008

The Indoor Health and Productivity report, a National Science and Technology Council Project, shows that indoor environments affect productivity in schools and workplaces.

Improving the indoor environment will not only decrease energy costs and healthcare costs, but also improve health, performance, and attendance.

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Research suggests that low ventilation rates and less daylight can adversely affect student performance.
  • Continue reading

California Bans Ozone Generator “Air Purifiers”

Posted by John on August 20th, 2008

At least one state has stepped up to defend consumers from false marketing claims that ozone generators are safe, effective air purifiers. In reality, ozone is a lung irritant, especially harmful to allergy and asthma sufferers. California is the first state in the nation to ban ozone generators.

The Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency states:

Not all air-cleaning devices are appropriate for home use — some can be harmful to human health. The ARB recommends that ozone generators, air cleaners that intentionally produce ozone, not be used in the home. Ozone is a gas that can cause health problems, including respiratory tract irritation and breathing difficulty.

Continue reading

Childhood Asthma Symptoms

Posted by John on August 7th, 2008

Most people recognize wheezing as a possible sign of childhood asthma, but there are other signs that may not be so obvious.

According to the American Lung Association, common symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest tightness, frequent coughing, and frequent respiratory infections.

A persistent nighttime cough is a common sign of asthma, as asthma usually gets worse at night. Any child with recurrent coughing or respiratory infections should be evaluated for asthma. Continue reading

IQAir Provides Clean Air for U.S. Olympic Athletes

Posted by John on August 4th, 2008

IQAir air purification systems in Beijing
Amidst concerns over air quality in Beijing, IQAir has announced that they are providing the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) with ultra high efficiency air cleaners for athletes at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

“We are very proud to be able to support the performance efforts of the USOC in Beijing,” says Frank Hammes, President of IQAir. “The USOC is always looking for new and innovative ways to assist their athletes. This project will be the first time ultra high efficiency air cleaning is used on a large scale to provide performance enhancement at an athletic event.” Continue reading

Air Pollution in the Office Environment

Posted by John on July 31st, 2008

If you get frequent headaches at work, it could be something in the air. Research shows that laser printers and copying machines contaminate indoor air with various pollutants.

Last year, the journal Environmental Science & Technology reported that some laser printers emit as many pollutants as a burning cigarette! When these small particles are inhaled, they can damage the lungs and lead to respiratory disease over time. Continue reading

Protect Your Lungs from Wildfire Smoke

Posted by John on July 28th, 2008

If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, you may wonder how the air there could get any dirtier. Well, it has… In Orange County, CA, wildfire smoke has caused fine particulate pollution to reach levels that are up to 100 times higher than those on the smoggiest days. This is a serious health threat that can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

If you live near a wildfire, you should stay indoors and keep windows closed. However, even these precautions won’t keep the smoke out. The tiny particles in smoke pollution are small enough to make their way through cracks and gaps in buildings. Continue reading

Particulate Air Pollution Looms Over Beijing Olympics

Posted by John on July 24th, 2008

With the 2008 Summer Olympics less than a month away, millions of eyes study the sky over Beijing. China has taken drastic measures to clean up the air in Beijing. Many polluting factories are being shut down for the Olympic Games, and restrictions are being placed on driving. Drivers are banned from driving every other day, based on whether their license plate number is odd or even.

Still, many scientists expect Beijing’s poor air quality to cause problems for athletes and spectators alike. It’s no surprise that air pollution damages the lungs and can cause respiratory diseases like asthma, but in the past few years, researchers have discovered that poor air quality can also cause cardiovascular disease and trigger heart attacks. Continue reading

Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Your Health

Posted by John on July 22nd, 2008

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes cancer, warns the National Cancer Institute. Often called second-hand smoke, ETS also causes developmental defects, heart disease, and respiratory diseases like asthma.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, and many of them are known carcinogens. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that ETS causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in non-smokers. Continue reading

Indoor Swimming Pools Create Unique Health Problems

Posted by John on July 22nd, 2008

This summer my baby sister (who is 18 months old) started taking swimming lessons at an indoor swimming pool. I think that all children should take swimming lessons – you never know when they’ll need those skills, and swimming is great exercise – but parents also need to be aware of the health risks associated with indoor pools. Chlorine byproducts contaminate the air above indoor swimming pools and have been linked to lung damage, asthma, and cancer. Indoor pools also increase humidity, which can lead to mold growth. Continue reading

How to Kill Dust Mites in Your Pillow

Posted by John on July 20th, 2008

Dust MiteMost house dust mites have it made. They lounge around in your bed all day, getting fat off your dead skin and reproducing like little dust bunnies. Of course, these microscopic arachnids also go to the bathroom in your bed. Yes, that’s certainly a disgusting thought, but you need to know about this. You see, it’s the fecal matter from dust mites that causes allergies and asthma among sensitive people. Continue reading