Toxins: In the Turf, Homes, Air, and Pesticides
- This report from CNN explains how air pollution harms children’s lungs. Take a look.
"We don't have the winds that blow things out of the air," Chang said. "The stuff we put into the atmosphere lingers longer."
He compared the air quality in many big cities to a chemical soup of thousands of compounds, including ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. The Environmental Protection Agency describes ground-level ozone as the primary component of smog. It includes motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents.
Chang's office is responsible for monitoring air quality and issuing smog alerts in Atlanta. He also tries to educate residents by telling them to pay attention to the warnings.
"Jogging late in the afternoon during the summer is not the best time," Michael Chang, an atmospheric research scientist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, said. "Ground-level ozone is at its worst at that time of day."
- Officials are getting real concerned about lead in artificial turf. From the Associated Press:
Two fields in New Jersey were closed this week after state health officials detected what they said were unexpectedly high levels of lead in the synthetic turf and raised fears that athletes could swallow or inhale fibers or dust from the playing surface.
The artificial-turf industry denied its products are dangerous. But the CPSC it is investigating.
"We have a great deal of interest into any consumer product that could be used by children where children could potentially be in harm's way because of lead exposure," CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said.
- TreeHugger shows us that many things in our homes are toxic. Brace yourself:
One would think that a standard coming from the EPA would care about health and air quality instead of energy (isn't that another department?) but no, they recommend tightly sealing houses to reduce air leakage, the biggest energy loser. A leaky old house might change the air once an hour; a tightly sealed house designed for Energy Star might be as little as 1/100 of an air change per hour.
What happens when you don't change the air enough? The concentration of toxic chemicals gets higher. Formaldehyde, as an example, found in particle board, MDF, (medium density fibreboard) fabrics, glues and paints, and most fiberglass insulation.
- A new study links pesticides and Parkinson's disease. Reuters reports:
Results of a family-based, case-control study support a relationship between pesticide exposure and Parkinson's disease (PD).
In a statement issued by BioMed Central, lead author Dr. Dana Hancock from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina notes, "Previous studies have shown that individuals with Parkinson's disease are over twice as likely to report being exposed to pesticides as unaffected individuals, but few studies have looked at this association in people from the same family or have assessed associations between specific classes of pesticides and PD."
In a study of 319 PD patients and more than 200 unaffected relatives, Dr. Hancock and colleagues found that the PD patients were significantly more likely to report direct pesticide application (odds ratio, 1.61).
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