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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Indoor Air Quality' Category


17
May

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Recognized by State of Massachusetts

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2024) Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey (D) proclaimed May 12 -18, 2024 as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week, first established in 1998 in numerous states across the U.S. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)—also called chemical intolerance or Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), is characterized by disorders in one or more body systems, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and neurological processes. It is thought to be caused by adverse reactions to environmental chemicals and/or biological substances such as mold. Affected individuals suffer fatigue, rashes, muscle and joint pains, memory loss, and other symptoms. The Massachusetts proclamation encourages “residents of the commonwealth to take cognizance” of the event and recognize the distress of their fellow citizens who suffer from MCS. May 12 is also known as International May 12th Awareness Day, an observance started in 2006 in the United Kingdom to educate the public about many diseases associated with sensitivity to chemicals, including MCS, fibromyalgia, and Gulf War Syndrome. While some scientists have considered MCS a psychological or psychosomatic problem, there is increasing support for the reality of MCS as a physical disease distinct from mental or emotional disorders. Yet there are no medical tests that can reliably confirm a diagnosis, […]

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31
Oct

Hidden Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Indoor Air Cause Adverse Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2023) With cooler weather setting in and people heading indoors and closing windows, the issue of COVID-19 transmission escalates, as do concerns about toxic chemicals filling the indoor ambient air. As a recent segment of 60 Minutes (October 29, 2023) stresses, COVID-19 spreads elevated public concern and understanding about the importance of ventilation, filtration, and air exchange to indoor air quality. Unfortunately, the concerns about indoor air are not limited to COVID-19 as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) invade most spaces where people live and work. These invisible toxic substances can be found in common household products, furniture, mattresses, and more, including pesticides in and around the house. Recognizing the risks associated with VOCs and the potentially hazardous off-gassing process is crucial for protecting public health.  VOCs are a group of chemicals that can easily vaporize into the air at room temperature. These compounds are found in many everyday items, including furniture, cleaning products, pesticides, cosmetics, and even air fresheners. Some household products, particularly pesticides, can introduce their own set of risks in addition to the risks they pose due to their VOC content. VOCs can range from harmless to harmful, and their presence can have a […]

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01
Feb

Indoor Air Pollution: Pesticides Continue to Make their Way Into Homes

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) A study published in Environment International concurs with previous reports that agricultural pesticide treatment can contaminate nearby residential areas, resulting in indoor chemical exposure via concentrations of insecticide active ingredients in house dust. Pesticide contamination in homes has ties to higher levels of pesticide residue in both human and pet bodies. Some pesticides, like organochlorine compounds, have poor elimination from the body, leading to accumulation over a lifetime. Pesticide exposure can heighten risks of various cancers (i.e., prostate, hepatic, liver, etc.), mental health problems (i.e., depression), respiratory illnesses (asthma), endocrine disruption, and many other pesticide-induced diseases. Extensive pesticide use can predispose human pathogenic to antibiotic resistance, bolstering bacterial virulence. Studies like this are concerning as it reveals that individuals do not have to be in close contact (e.g., chemical manufacturers, farmworker, gardener, custodian, etc.) with pesticides for risky, health-harming exposures to occur. Despite stricter regulations and technological changes beginning to decrease air pollution from cars and other vehicles, scientists are finding that the use of pesticides and other household chemicals represents an increasing proportion of U.S. smog-forming air pollution. Personal care products, cleaning agents, perfumes, paints, printing ink, and pesticides warrant greater attention from regulators for their ability to form toxic fumes that can eventually make their way […]

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10
Jan

Pollinator Decline Leads to Crop Losses, Malnutrition, and Highest Threat to Low-Income

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2023) Pollinator losses are responsible for reducing the global production of nuts, fruits, and vegetables by 3-5%, and this loss of healthy, nutrient-dense food is resulting in over 425,000 excess deaths each year, according to research published late last year in Environmental Health Perspectives. While the connection between pollination, food production and health is intuitive, the study’s ability to trace how these impacts are directly harming the well-being of people living right now is shocking, and is a clear sign that pollinator losses must be taken seriously and addressed through meaningful action. To those who consider the decline of pollinators to be some vague, amorphous future threat, let this study end that myth. According to researchers, “Today’s estimated health impacts of insufficient pollination would be comparable to other major global risk factors: those attributable to substance use disorders, interpersonal violence, or prostate cancer. Per a United Nations report, 75 percent of the world’s food crops depend at least in part on pollination, with pollinators contributing an estimated $235 to $577 billion to global crop production annually. Pollinator declines are already adversely impacting food production. A 2016 paper by many of the scientists in the current study […]

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31
Oct

EPA Opens Door to Indoor Air Contamination with Virus Spray, Efficacy Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2022) Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a request for information on improving indoor air quality, it approved 32 varieties of a new “air sanitizer” to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. These products contain 14% dipropylene glycol and 86% secret (“other”) ingredients, including fragrances. Tell EPA that clean air, NOT “sanitized” air, protects against disease. Through its approval of such sanitizers, EPA promotes the false reasoning that a chemical that kills a pathogen necessarily protects health. Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease. People who have a preexisting condition or are of advanced age, who may have a weakened immune or respiratory system, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Children are at elevated risk from exposure. When managing viral and bacterial infections, chemicals that exacerbate the risk to vulnerable individuals are of serious concern. EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences […]

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21
Oct

While Allowing Indoor Pesticide Spray for Covid, EPA Seeks Advice on Improving Indoor Air Quality

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just made two announcements, related to the quest for improved indoor air quality in buildings, that address mitigation of disease transmission — and that of COVID-19, in particular. Related to enactment of the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, EPA issued guidance on the efficacy of antimicrobial products used on surfaces, and registered a new pesticide product the agency says can be used against influenza and corona viruses (some of the latter cause COVID-19 infections). In addition, EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences and other disciplines.” Beyond Pesticides cannot help but note the irony of an intention to improve air quality that EPA couples with registration of a new, airborne pesticide for indoor use. EPA expands on its RFI (Request for Information) related to indoor air quality, saying that it is “seeking input from a diverse array of stakeholders . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and […]

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