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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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: How to Reduce their Impact on Your Family’s Health

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: How to Reduce their Impact on Your Family’s Health

What are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)?

Many of the chemicals that are included in the personal care products we use every day are endocrine disruptors (EDCs). EDCs are a class of synthetic chemicals that have been clinically proven to interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system in the bodies of humans and some animals. The endocrine system regulates the metabolism and function of the body. Endocrine glands secrete hormones that act on our organs through cognate receptors. Some of these hormones regulate brain and reproductive functions, including reproduction.

Common ECDs that you may have heard about include BPA, phthalates, dioxins, and organochlorine pesticides like DDT and DDE. Altogether, over 800 chemicals are known to be endocrine disrupting, although only a small number of these have been tested to determine their overall effects on human and environmental health. However, what is clear is that levels of exposure to EDCs have been steadily increasing over the years, as has the incidence of disorders and diseases known to be caused by EDCs. While everyone has been exposed to ECDs, children are particularly vulnerable to their health effects.

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The disturbing connections between chemical pollution and chronic inflammation

The disturbing connections between chemical pollution and chronic inflammation

Chemical pollution affects us all in ways you may not realize. It is responsible for a significant amount of chronic illnesses in the U.S. While the poor are disproportionately affected, even the wealthy can’t escape some of the effects that chemical pollution is having on our collective health.

This is, at least in part, why agencies like the EPA were formed: to step in and address the problems that are not only harming the environment, but the health of ordinary, everyday people. That may end if the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA are passed.

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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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The Health Dangers of Prolonged Mold Exposure

The Health Dangers of Prolonged Mold Exposure

guest post by R.S. Hall

Mold is a word used to describe an array of spore-producing fungi. Mildew is another term for certain types of mold and is generally associated with the growth in showers and tubs. These allergens pose a health risk, particularly with prolonged exposure.

While the mold growing in your shower may be obvious, there are many places in your home where you may have an undetected patch lurking, such as inside the walls. Although it prefers a warm, damp environment, the spores can survive in less hospitable conditions and wait to land in a moist area. You and your family may come in contact with the spores and begin to experience troubling symptoms before you realize what is causing these health challenges.

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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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Why Your Mattress May be Making You Sick

Why Your Mattress May be Making You Sick

Chemical sensitivity affects an unknown number of sufferers worldwide. As I explained in a post that went live on November 27th, chemical sensitivity (also known by other names like multiple chemical sensitivity, idiopathic environmental intolerance, environmental illness, and environmental sensitivity) is the name given to a chronic medical condition in which the sufferer becomes sick or experiences one or more allergy-like reactions after being exposed to toxic chemicals at doses that have generally been deemed safe for humans.

Organizations now exist to help MCS sufferers find a physician who is experienced in diagnosing and treating this condition. However, there has generally been little support from doctors for patients who are suffering from the effects of their exposure to toxic chemicals. As the story of Anna[i], a woman I interviewed last September will show, MCS is poorly understood within the medical community, and it can take a sufferer months or years to figure out what is causing her ill health.

[i] a pseudonym

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Are you chemically sensitive? Why MCS may be the answer to your unexplained illness.

Are you chemically sensitive? Why MCS may be the answer to your unexplained illness.

While working on a blog post about one woman’s experience of debilitating illness after being exposed to toxic chemicals, I realized that at the heart of this story is an issue that is poorly understood, and under-discussed within the medical industry. It’s called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), and no one really knows how many people are affected by it. Basically, it is a chronic medical condition in which a person becomes sick, or exhibits allergy-like reactions to chemicals that he or she has become exposed to at doses that are generally considered safe for humans.

There are a lot of misunderstandings about and extreme reactions to this condition on both sides of the debate. This post discusses some things you should consider if you suspect that you might be suffering from MCS.

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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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guest post on Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families website

guest post on Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families website

Green and Prosperous began as a vehicle for getting the word out about how toxic chemicals are routinely used in the products we buy. The Little Guidebook for Green Moms and Dads is the first ebook in a series of “Green Guidebooks” published by Kelly Pemberton, the face behind Green and Prosperous. AlthoughThe Little Guidebook focuses on children’s products, it has something to offer for everyone. The second edition of this ebook is available for download on Amazon.com...

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The Chemicals We Live With

The Chemicals We Live With

As a consumer, you should be aware of what toxic synthetic chemicals are in the products you purchase and use. The point here is not to scare or alarm you but to inform and equip you to minimize your exposure to harmful, disease-causing toxins as much as possible.

How can you make the transition to less exposure at a pace that suits you? 

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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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