August 7th, 2009
The American Medical Association informs us that our rates of poor health in this country are highly correlated with ‘life-style’. That message really refers to choices in diet, exercise and personal habits like drinking or smoking. Yet, that is just the tip of the iceberg if we really look at the science and listen to experts in the field of indoor air quality (IAQ).
The EPA tells us our indoor air quality is a greater threat to our health than even the industrial releases sending pollutants into the outdoor air of our urban environments. There is some sense to this claim if we examine what we bring into our homes from a trip to the store or home ‘improvement’ center. The irrationality of purchasing air-polluting materials unnecessary to our lives can only be accomplished by sales campaigns rich in disinformation. Such advertising is designed to maximize the profits of vendors without obliging them to justify their selections in product ingredients through objective measurements of air quality following the use of their products (air fresheners, pesticides, construction materials, etc.). There is no way for the average person to comprehend the potential harm posed by the simplest of products adorning our grocers’ shelves when the labels and even the MSDS documents of the manufacturers aren’t required to list all ingredients.
A ‘lifestyle’ based upon the introduction of air fresheners and perfumes, pesticides and paints, polyurethanes and adhesives, attaching garages to our living and working spaces – these methods of introducing serious and continuous sources of poisons into our bodies are indeed ‘lifestyle’ issues. If we spent a fraction of the time considering our surroundings that we spend pondering our intake of fat and calories, the cost of health care in America would drop like the proverbial stone. We are even learning that obesity can result from exposure to certain chemicals in our products. Many toxins are lipophilic, requiring us to produce more fat cells to store them where they won’t have an ongoing, adverse effect upon our systems.
Test it out in your own home. Literally. You may not be at fault for what lurks in your air, but you are living with the consequences of those unknowns.
Let it be known.
Sent to the LA Times:
Re: LA Times article, “How to Have Healthier Air in your Home” by Karen Ravn (7/27/09)
To the Editor,
Our bodies are excellent at informing us of danger — unless we pop analgesics, anti-inflammatories or anti-depressants without ever looking for the cause of our discomforts. Toxicity reactions (as opposed to allergies), are year-round and have helped health care grow to an obscene 16 percent of the GNP.
Many carbon monoxide detectors won’t ring until an hour after detecting levels at 70 ppm. Harm begins at 35 ppm, so purchase meters allowing you to read current and peak levels at a touch.
Your home could harbor higher concentrations of pesticides and herbicides than outdoors if windows are open while landscapers apply weed killers or trucks drive by spraying for mosquitoes. These chemicals remain active for years where there is no sunlight to degrade them. Stay alert to events which will pollute your home, even as you ventilate it.
You can’t know if your home was built on old farmland, was renovated using toxic materials, or otherwise badly treated by prior owners. Test your home via air filter analysis, baseboard swipes or other method recommended by qualified toxicologists, if family members (including pets) are suffering from health problems. I have uncovered levels of various chemicals which would be prohibited by law in the workplace.
It is less painful and expensive to prevent illness than to treat it. Lower your risks through testing.