How Your Environment Affects Your Wellness

More than 200 disesases have been linked to pollution in a recent study. We are actively poisoning ourselves with chemicals and other pollutants released freely into the environment.

Although the National Institutes of Health [USA] study has recommended that American doctors and nurses be given more environmental health training, there is a lot of politics involved and sufferers from pollution have a hard time getting their illnesses recognised.

Apart from industrial toxins released into the environment, of particular note are:

  • Second hand tobacco smoke
  • Household toxins
  • Dust Mites
  • Toxic Producing Moulds
  • Household Product Toxins


Second Hand Tobacco Smoke

The dangerous particles given off in second hand smoke can linger in the air for hours. Breathing these toxic fumes for as little as 20 or 30 minutes can harm your health in a number ways. Health experts have acknowledged the causal relationship between second-hand smoke and health risks for many years.

Some of the health risks include:

Cancer - environmental tobacco smoke is one of the most dangerous cancer-causing agents responsible for roughly 3,000 deaths of adult non-smokers each year in the United States. It is also linked to cancer of the nasal sinuses, cancers of the cervix, breast and bladder.

Heart disease – Second hand smoke harms the cardiovascular system of non-smokers causing coronary heart disease, damage to blood vessels, and interferes with circulation increasing the risk of blood clots. It's estimated that 35,000 non-smokers die of smoking-related heart disease in the United States every year.

Lung disease - Chronic lung ailments, such as bronchitis and asthma, have been associated with second-hand smoke. Exposure is also associated with chest tightness at night and feelings of breathlessness after physical activity.

Limiting exposure to second hand smoke is not always easy, with social pressures the biggest culprit. Fortunately, many countries are now implementing laws enforced with strict penalties against smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants and other public places.


Household Toxins

Houses are a toxin collection pool, with construction and finishing materials containing toxic preservatives and paint chemicals, and then the layers of toxins we add to the mix with dust mites, household moulds and everyday household products.


Dust Mites

Dust Mites are not insects but are more closely related to spiders and ticks and can be found in house dust all over the world.. There are two common dust mites, the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and the European house dust mite (D. pteronyssinus). Due to their very small size, these dust mites are not visible to the naked eye. They live in bedding, couches, carpet, stuffed toys and old clothing, where they feed on the dead skin that falls off the bodies of humans and animals and on other organic material found where they live.

When dust mites grow, they shed their skin. This shed skin and faeces can cause allergic reactions in some people, ranging from itchy noses and eyes to severe asthma attacks.

Dust mites need at least 70 percent relative humidity to survive, so maintaining household humidity below this level is a good control measure. Unfortunately, reducing humidity levels in microclimates, such as in bed fibres or carpet fibres, is impossible. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will have a greater impact in these areas.


Toxin Producing Moulds

Many, but not all household moulds produce damaging mycotoxins, which induce serious health risks including:

  • Vascular system (increased vascular fragility, hemorrhage into body tissues, or from lung, e. g. , aflatoxin, satratoxin, roridins)
  • Digestive system (diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal hemorrhage, liver effects, i. e. , necrosis, fibrosis: aflatoxin; caustic effects on mucous membranes: T-2 toxin; anorexia: vomitoxin
  • Respiratory system: respiratory distress, bleeding from lungs e. g. , trichothecenes
  • Nervous system, tremors, incoordination, depression, headache, e. g. , tremorgens, trichothecenes
  • Cutaneous system : rash, burning sensation sloughing of skin, photosensitization, e. g. trichothecenes
  • Urinary system, nephrotoxicity, e. g. ochratoxin, citrinin
  • Reproductive system; infertility, changes in reproductive cycles, e. g. T-2 toxin, zearalenone
  • Immune system: changes or suppression: many mycotoxins

Source: http://www.mold-help.org. This site provides excellent advice on identifying and removal of toxic moulds from homes and workplaces.

Guide to Household Moulds

Another excellent site for signs of mold, Types of Mold, Clean-up, Effects on Health, Toxins, Mold Prevention and more...Click Here

Stacchybotrys Mould

Stacchybotrys mould, the peril of the “leaky house syndrome” prevalent in Canada and New Zealand can have long term irreversible respiratory damage.


Household Product Toxins

"Toxins in U.S. homes now account for 90 percent of all reported poisonings each year," says Rose Ann Soloway, administrator of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Many traditional household products pose serious health risks.

Certain dangerous chemicals are frequently found in:

  • adhesives
  • paints
  • carpeting
  • upholstery
  • manufactured wood products
  • personal care products
  • cosmetics
  • pesticides
  • cleaning products


Further Resources

For further information on Household Toxins: The Household Toxins Institute

To find alternative household products

Next: Air Quality and Wellness

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