DDT was banned long ago, so why is it still affecting your health?

DDT was banned long ago, so why is it still affecting your health?

The New Year always encourages us to look ahead to the (hopefully brighter) future, but sometimes moving ahead means reconciling with the past. The lingering presence of DDT, and its continued effects on the health of the environment and, really, most of us, is one stark reminder of how harmful practices of the recent past continue to threaten lives in the present.

DDT is an organochorine pesticide that was heavily used during and after WWII to control malaria, body lice, typhus, and the bubonic plague (!). In 1972, it was banned in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency after more than a decade of mounting evidence about its damaging effects on human health and the environment. Although the Stockholm Convention on POPs (Persistent Organochloride Pollutants) banned the use of DDT worldwide (except for malaria control) in 2001, 5 years later the WHO declared its support for the indoor use of DDT against malaria in African countries where malaria remained a major health problem.

Do the benefits of using DDT to control malaria and other deadly mosquito-borne diseases outweigh the risks? The answer may depend on your perspective: how likely are you to die from malaria? Are the global health risks from exposure to DDT and its by-products a more insidious problem, in the long run, than the global incidence of death by malaria in the short-term?

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What You Should Know about Radon Poisoning

What You Should Know about Radon Poisoning

Guest post by propertEco

A killer might be lurking in your house: no, it is not a person, but an invisible odorless and colorless gas known as radon. Radon gas is formed when the uranium that is naturally present in the ground decays. The gas that travels to the surface of the earth is called Radon. The gas that migrates to the ground outdoors may not cause as much harm as the ones that accumulate inside buildings or houses. Radon itself is not harmful, but when the radon in air decays it forms radon progeny, which easily attaches itself to dust particles inside the house. When a person inhales this gas for a long time, it can lead to several lung conditions like a cough, cancer, emphysema, and other ailments.

Although radon is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer, don’t be alarmed — there are many ways you can prevent the ill effects of radon. There are several tests that can be done to check the concentration of radon. Sealing any cracks in floors, walls, roofs, and foundation is a must to protect yourself. 

Having proper ventilation to the house, including the basement, is absolutely necessary. In fact, the basement is the first place radon accumulates in a building. Learn more about radon, its ill effects, and how to prevent radon poisoning this infographic from PropertEco. Testing kits are available in the market for purchase to test radon concentration inside a building, and you can also hire professionals to help you prevent radon poisoning.

Click below for an infographic that can tell you more about radon poisoning, including how it happens, and how it affects your health.

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Natural Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Natural Bathroom Cleaning Tips

guest post from Erica Garlands, with slideshow by Modern Bathroom

(this is the first post in a 3-part series on Green Cleaning)

Did you know that there are 150 chemicals found in the home that are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and physiological disorders? And most of these chemicals are found in bathroom-cleaning products! Bathrooms are high traffic rooms, and obviously need to be kept clean due to the high level of germs that can collect in bathrooms. There are many cleaning options available to us, many containing harmful products, but there are ways to effectively clean by only using natural ingredients. Some of these natural ingredients include grapefruit, lemons, salt, and baking soda.

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What Everyone Needs to Know about Arsenic in Rice

What Everyone Needs to Know about Arsenic in Rice

Exposure to arsenic is a growing global health problem, but there’s a lot that scientists and health workers still don’t know about the extent to which it is affecting the health of vulnerable populations.

What exactly is arsenic, and how does it affect your health? Is there anything you can do to reduce your exposure to arsenic in rice and other food you eat? These are a few of the questions that this week’s blog post aims to answer.

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Lifestyle choices and the cancer connection: what you should know

Lifestyle choices and the cancer connection: what you should know

Almost half of all Americans suffer from chronic health ailments; among these, cancer is second leading cause of death, after heart disease. Although screening and treatment options, as well as a reduction in smoking, have improved the survival odds for many different kinds of cancer, including the 4 most common kinds: lung, colorectal, breast, and lung, the numbers are still high. Over 595,000 Americans are expected to die from cancer in 2016, which translates into over 1600 people per day...

There's no foolproof way to completely eliminate your risk of developing cancer, but there are several ways to decrease your chances. These begin with making the kinds of lifestyle choices that will ensure that your immune system has the strength it needs to keep your body healthy and fight disease effectively.

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10 Ways that Endocrine Disruptors are Screwing up your Health

10 Ways that Endocrine Disruptors are Screwing up your Health

We are all exposed to endocrine disruptors like BPA, dioxin, lead, arsenic, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Here's a list of what they can do to the human body and the environment, along with a resource to help you minimize your exposure to these harmful synthetic chemicals.

 

 

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Are BPA-free plastics still poisoning you?

Are BPA-free plastics still poisoning you?

In my book on toxic chemicals, I wrote about the health effects of Bisphenol-A (BPA) as being pervasive: this chemical compound, found in plastics and even in some cash register receipts, has been linked to problems with metabolism, behavior, reproduction, the development of placentas and stem cells, and the growth of cancerous tumors. BPA has been blamed (at least in part) for obesity, diabetes, asthma, infertility, and even ADD...

The substitutes most commonly used, Bisphenol-S (BPS) and Bisphenol-F (BPF), were initially thought to be relatively harmless, and more resistant to leaching than BPS when exposed to sunlight or heat. But research has found that they are just as harmful, and in some cases, even more harmful, than BPA.

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Direct and Indirect Health Effects of Triclosan

Direct and Indirect Health Effects of Triclosan

by Audrey Lefebvre, R.N. (guest blogger)

 

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical added to most commercial cleaning products that target bacteria. As mentioned here, long-term use of Triclosan may cause a disruption in the endocrine system. The direct and indirect effects of triclosan are important to understand for a healthier and sustainable lifestyle. The concept of “antibacterial” is particularly useful in a critical healthcare setting, but what happens when we over use this chemical in the comfort of our homes and our hormone levels are altered?

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Formaldehyde: the hype and the facts

Formaldehyde: the hype and the facts

There was a predictable panic that followed a "60 Minutes" report that blamed Lumber Liquidators for offering laminate flooring, manufactured in China, which was tainted with larger-than-permitted levels of formaldehyde. While the company continues to do damage control, in part by offering buyers free home air quality test kits, many people who have purchased the tainted products have wondered whether the flooring has already done irreparable harm to their health. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent, and little bodies (which may like to squirm and crawl or lay on the floor) are especially vulnerable to its toxic effects.

In cases like these, it’s a good idea to separate the hype from the facts and think about the real risks, and what you can do about them, if you fear that you may have been exposed. And most likely, you and your children have already been exposed to formaldehyde many times over, even if you never purchased tainted laminate floors from Lumber Liquidators. That’s because formaldehyde is already in a lot of the ordinary, indispensable things that are in, or on your house, or on your body.

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The Chemicals We Don’t Know: is West VA’s Chemical Spill Just The Tip Of The Iceberg?

The Chemicals We Don’t Know: is West VA’s Chemical Spill Just The Tip Of The Iceberg?

Five and a half weeks after a chemical spill in West VA and we still don’t know much about the chemical, Crude MCHM, that has alarmed officials in the state and increasingly, across the country. What little we do know gives a false sense of security: used to process coal, MCHM is made up almost entirely of the chemical called 4-methylcyclohexanemethol. It is listed in the Toxnet chemical database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a skin, eye, and respiratory system irritant. The CDC conducted a study that recommended 1ppm (part per million) for safe levels of MCHM in drinking water (as of a week ago, the group Appalachian Voices’ Appalachian Water Watch reported that levels of MCHM just near the site of the spill was 1.130 ppm).

This recommendation, and the implication that it MCHM is now undergoing intense evaluation, may be giving some people a false sense of security...

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