In-House Pollution – Be Aware!

In-House Pollution – Be Aware!

In-house Pollution has become a serious issue in our beloved homes and households. But most people are still not aware of this health threatening problem. The amount of toxins we are exposed on a daily basis is truly frightening!

From the dishwasher and the microwave oven in your kitchen to the clock radio next to your bed and the mobile phone you hold to your ear, sometimes for several hours a day, EMR exposure is growing and becoming a serious health threat. Worldwide, it’s estimated that four billion people are using a mobile phone. As the number of mobile phones, mobile-phone towers and the number of other wireless antennaed devices increases rapidly in industrialised nations, should you be concerned about the effect that regular exposure to radio-frequency radiation can have on your health?

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A huge public-health crisis is looming from one threat in particular: EMR from mobile phones, that is, radiation from both the handsets and the tower-based antennae that carry the signals, which researchers have linked to development of brain tumours, genetic damage and other exposure-related conditions such as brain dysfunction, sleep disorders and headaches. However, the government and a well-funded ‘mobile phone industry’ media machine continue to mislead the unwary public about the dangers of a product that billions of people use.

Mobile devices addiction has also been called Electronic Heroin and China has now detoxification centres to save children from this addiction. A growing number of Scientists actually believes that mobile addiction is the same as drug addiction.

According to a recent study in the UK too much use of mobile phone touch screens develops a lot of serious problems in kids such as week gripping (such in holding a pencil), week eye sight and week memory. Many studies have shown that cell phone radiation affects the memory of children. Mobile phone radiation can disturb the memory neurons in the brain.

Even living in a noisy and busy street with thousands of cars, busses and trucks driving literally “through your home and bedroom” can rob you of your so needed and deep sleep. Exposure to prolonged or excessive noise has been shown to cause a range of health problems ranging from stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep, to more serious issues such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus and hearing loss.

Toxic households

Because most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors, it’s crucial we make our home environment as safe as possible. Cancers and other life-threatening conditions are either caused or aggravated by an unhealthy, polluted home environment.

Be aware of highly toxic cleaning products such as all-purpose cleaners, ammonia-based cleaners, bleaches, brass and other metal polishes, disinfectants, drain cleaners, floor waxes and polishes, glass cleaners, dishwashing detergents, oven cleaners and scouring powders, all of which contain dangerous chemicals.

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To be honest, some exceptions aside, we don’t need all this chemical stuff. We have many and better ways to clean our house while saving our family’s health and the planet. Whenever we fry chicken at the stove, use insecticide to spray ants, have a hot shower, plug in a room freshener or use detergent to clean a rug, we release chemicals that swirl around rooms like invisible dust devils.

Vapour and particles that people can inhale or absorb through the skin are released from household products, furnishings and cosmetics. We track other pollutants into the house from outside or allow them to waft through open windows. When we plonk down on a lounge chair, vacuum a rug or make a bed, we stir up chemical-laden dust. The nation’s best researchers into indoor air pollution are cautioning consumers that pollution levels in houses are many times higher than those outdoors, even in comparison to city air, which trucks and factories belch pollution into. And, they add, the levels can rise to concentrations whereby inspections in the workplace would be triggered. According to Associate Professor Richard Corsi from the Texas Institute for the Indoor Environment at the University of Texas, in Austin, ‘We spend so much time indoors, yet spend so little time thinking about the quality of our indoor air.’

New carpets contain toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, acetone and a host of other chemicals that are known carcinogens and that cause foetal abnormalities in test animals. These chemicals also cause hallucinations, nerve damage and respiratory illness in humans. That ‘new-carpet smell’ comes from 4-PC, which is associated with eye, nose and upper-respiratory problems. In the US, 4-PC is used in the latex backing of 95% carpets

Other compounds that can affect your health are adhesives, flame retardants and stain protectors. In 2000, the 3M Company removed the chemical perflouro-octanyl salphonate from their Scotchgard product because it was found to cause reproductive problems in rats. Mothproofing chemicals contain naphthalene, which is known to cause toxic reactions, especially in newborns. Fire retardants often contain PBDEs, which are known to cause damage to the thyroid, the immune system and brain-development functions in humans.

New furniture, a new car and anything new always have that typical smell. The new-car smell might be the most familiar. And that smell’s there for a reason: all that plastic and all the chemicals are used to give off an emanation called ‘off-gassing’, which causes the smell and is very toxic. As we all know, the smell takes weeks and months to disappear. My favourite way to feel safe about furnishings and other new stuff is to obtain used cars and furnishings. Second-hand goods are not only safer and much better for the planet; they’re cheaper. It’s possible to lower the chemical off-gassing of new furnishings by letting them ‘off-gas’ before you bring them indoors. You can let them do this by leaving them in a warm garage or on a porch for at least two months (the longer, the better) before you bring them inside. If you buy a new car, keep the doors and windows open as often as you can, but definitely ensure good air circulation every time you get into the car so you get rid of the stiff, heated, off-gassing air that can cause you sickness, headaches and all kinds of unpleasant ailments. This goes for older, second-hand cars, too. I always buy second hand.

The modern home is a chemical bomb, a gas chamber made of thousands of toxic synthetic materials that are dangerous to home owners, builders and certainly the environment. Unfortunately nowadays, houses are not made of only wood and brick; they’ve become quite dangerous: wrapped in plastics; tiles glued down with adhesives; styrofoam painted with toxic paints; vinyl flooring; plastic carpets; formica benchtops; poly-vinylchloride water pipes; formaldehyde-soaked insulation; fire-retardant synthetic furniture; plastic bathtubs; enamelled-metal bathtubs – the list goes on; in fact, these days, most of the components of a home are probably extremely toxic. The chemical off-gassing from a new house (don’t you love the fresh smell of a new house or car?) can last for the building’s entire lifetime, which, in the case of most homes built today, is only about 40 to 80 years.

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At the end of that time, the house becomes toxic waste, nothing more than a disposal problem for your children. Due to the massive effort of improving energy efficiency, which is actually well intentioned, we’re left with homes that are virtually hermetically sealed whereby no, or very little, air comes in and nothing can get out, so that toxic chemicals are all there for you to breathe in and pollute your lungs and health with. It’s almost like a sniff test: nothing can escape!

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That lovely, new-car smell is actually much more toxic than you might imagine. According to a study undertaken by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 2001, new-car drivers are subject to toxic emissions that are several times higher than the limit deemed safe for humans. Excessive leaching from glues, paints, plastic and vinyl is off-gassing all around the passenger seats, and most people experience headaches, sore throats, nausea, and drowsiness from breathing in their vapours. Prolonged exposure can lead to much more serious health conditions, so you’d be wise to ventilate your home and car as much as possible.

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