Sometimes Pollution Can be at its Worst inside your Home Health Journal by Marilyn Chase, The Wall Street Journal, December 1998
Some of the most polluted air you can breathe isn't downtown but inside your own home. Surprised? Studies from the Environmental Protection Agency show typical airborne pollutants now run two to five times higher indoors than out, especially now that auto emissions and industrial smoke have been curbed.
Blame it on household chemicals and appliance vapors, along with molds accumulating inside tightly sealed houses. Americans already spend 90% of their time indoors, the EPA says, and approaching winter weather augurs months of more confinement. But with savvy consumer choices, you can clear the air.
Toxic offices previously took this rap. Remember sick building syndrome? Hermetically sealed high rises with dirty air-conditioning systems or noxious building materials, can sicken employees. Now, the home is drawing attention as a zone of concentrated chemical vapors, fuels, appliance by products and biological detritus from pets or pests.
Hazards vary from house to house, but high levels of chemicals can exacerbate respiratory illness like asthma, an increase the risk of cancer or other chronic disease. Combustion byproducts from heaters and stoves, for example, include particulates and nitrogen oxides. Poorly vented fireplaces or kerosene heaters give off carcinogens know as PAHs. Gas stoves emit nitrogen oxides that inflame the lungs and trigger asthma. Malfunctioning heaters can leak deadly carbon monoxide, as do cars or lawnmowers running inside an attached garage.
Secondhand cigarette smoke "puts you in a league of your own" for high levels of nitrogen oxides, particulates and volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene, says Tim Buckley, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Highly allergenic mold and mildew spores, visible as a black residue on walls and windows, are a souvenir of last winter's El Nino storms and floods. Humidity also nurtures bacteria that emit airborne toxins, says George Malindzak, medical physiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health sciences, Research Triangle Park, N.C. Mold and bacterial toxins cause lung disease when airborne. Dust mites also thrive in high humidity, inflaming lungs of asthma sufferers. Federal studies in progress are asking whether intensive cleaning and pest abatement can stem the rising tide of childhood asthma, says Dr. Malindzak.
Formaldehyde, a staple ingredient in paints and plywood, is an animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen, says Elissa Feldman, associate director of the EPA's Indoor Environments Division. Using such products calls for extra ventilation.
Wall-to-wall carpet can be a hot zone of both chemical and natural toxins. Carpet adhesives and backing can contain chemicals such as styrene, a suspected carcinogen, and 4-PC, the source of pungent "new carpet" odor. The effects of long-term exposure are unknown.
Fresh Air Curative Effect - Related to Ions and Traces of Ozone by Thomas Valone, M.A., P.E. Explore More! Number 16 1996
Ions and trace amounts of ozone have been fund to be the two missing ingredients of typical indoor air. This article traces the history of ion an ozone research, including medical findings. Modern home and office buildings are often airtight with windows that do not open. As indoor pollutants build up, sick building syndrome is on the rise. A few parts per billion of ozone, along with a healthy dose of negative ions, sanitizes, deodorizes, and revitalizes the air. This synergistic combination has been found to produce a wide range of health benefits, which are described in this article.
Atmospheric Electricity Not until 1752 was the secret of atmospheric electricity discovered - when Ben Franklin in the U.S. and d'Alibard, a French investigator, working independently, porved that lightning occurs when thunder clouds discharge electricity. It was a reasonable explanation - foreshadowed years before when one observer had noted crackling and flashes when he rubbed a lump of amber and held it close to a finger. "It seems", he had suggested, "in some degree to represent thunder and lightning."
Another form of atmospheric electricity, more subtle than celestial phenomena, was discovered by Lemonnier, who found that an iron wire attached from the top of a building to the bottom produced sparks at times. It even vigorously attracted dust particles in fine weather, indicating that it was electrified. The electricity must be coming form the air.
Father Giambattista Beccaria of the university of Turin made careful observations for 20 years. He finally wrote, "It appears that nature makes extensive use of atmospheric electricity for promoting vegetation." He also added, "We have also observed that artificial electricity without sparks has the same effect on vegetation."
Air Ions What was this electricity that these early pioneers were experiencing? Not until the latter part of the 19th century did Elster and Geitel in Germany and J.J. Thomson of England discover ions in the air. "Ion" comes from the Greek for "traveler". The term was first used to describe charged atoms moving in solution. For example, when table salt is dissolved in water, the sodium chloride splits into sodium ions and chlorine ions which will migrate to negative and positive electrodes respectively.
Air ions are somewhat different from ions in solution. Energy is needed for their formation - even the shearing of water droplets in a waterfall supplies enough energy to make the fine spray carry a considerable load of small negative air ions while the heavier positive ions stay in the tumbling water. Ion concentrations have been measured at spas located near waterfalls to be as high as 35,000 per cubic centimeter of air.
Urban Air is Ion Depleted However, modern urban environments present a different kind of air quality: ion depletion. Very few human activities add small ion to the air while many of them lead to ion loss. Industrial pollutants, traffic-engendered smog, and the ducts of ventilation systems all strip ions from the air.
As a result, we suffer not only the direct toxic effect of pollutants we generate but also long continued exposure to air in which the normal total ion concentration of about 2,000 - 3,000 per cubic centimeter (as found in clean country air) is reduced to barely detectable levels. Headache, somnolence, loss of attention, and general discomfort are just some of the initial reactions to air ion depletion.
Treatment of Disease with Ions As noted in the book, The Ion Effect, by Fred Soyka, electronic negative ion generators have been used for the treatment of migraines, bedsores, allergies, asthma, catarrh, hay fever, eczema, burns, emphysema, and even as a substitute for tranquilizers. It was discovered that negative ions lowers serotonin in the body, and this explains why people tend to feel more alert, stable, and energized in their presence. Dr. Kreuger found that bacteria, staphylococci, and fungi growth is halted in the presence of negative ions, which explains the healing side effect. Dr. I. Kornblueh mounted experiments at the Northeastern Hospital, U. of Penn. Graduate Hospital, and at the Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia where he was able to report that 63 % of patients suffering from hay fever or bronchial asthma "have experienced partial or total relief" from negative ion therapy. Positive ions, on the other hand (from Russian studies), make breathing more difficult.
Ion and Ozone Synergy Russian studies have also indicated that "atmospheric ozone and ions are the vehicles of freshness". In studies at the Academy of Medical Sciences, Drs. Gurbernskii and Dmitriev who report "that conditioned air causes employees working in office buildings to complain of headaches, weakness, a general poor feeling, oxygen deprivation, and leads to increased illness, rapid fatigue, and a reduction of the capacity to work."
They also note that "in addition, the number of colds, rheumatism, severe catarrh of the upper breathing passages, and cardio-vascular disorders significantly increased" with conditioned air even in the absence of indoor air pollution.
Ozone-Ion Complex fights Sick Building Syndrome Tests were done with less than .01 ppm of ozone reveal that "the levels of oxygen in the blood increase relatively quickly and remain at a high level for the duration of the experiment." They conclude by stating that "atmospheric ozone has a positive effect on animals and people. It is important to note its positive effect on the breathing system, blood composition, arterial pressure, immune system, general feeling of well-being, and mental and physical work capability." They note further that "the ozone-ion complex is a necessary component of fresh air that gives it a curative effect."
If that isn't enough, we find that in the journal Priroda (1976, No.9, p. 26), the above researchers report that, with tests of 0.005 to 0.02 ppm of ozone for 2-5 months, "an increase in the resistance to cold, to the presence of toxic substances, and to anemia was discovered." In addition, they discovered an increase in hemoglobin and quantity of red blood corpuscles as well. The same article refers to the decrease in complaints of stuffiness (3.8 times less compliants) and 44% more positive remarks for an average of 0.0075 ppm (less than 0.01 ppm) of ozone.
Artificially Add Ions and Ozone The researchers conclude, "After analyzing the composition of air in the internal environment of a person's dwelling in all sorts of buildings, it is possible to conclude that the optimum situation is a set of complex factors (ozone and ionized regime...) which, evidently, in the future will be necessary to artificially introduce into air conditioning systems. Without this favorable effect the air will be lacking."
Precisely reproducing quantities of ozone and ions found in fresh air is the best answer to revitalizing the home and office since people spend on the average 90% of their time indoors, often with windows that are sealed shut.
Allergy Sufferers - Fight back against Monster Mites! by Gary Nixon South Cowichan Life, 1995
You've never seen them. You may have never even heard of them. These microscopic grazers of human skin are so small they weren't even discovered until 1965. Even so, studies show that nearly 100% of our homes are host to these docile creatures. Human skin and pet dander are what attract these mites to our homes and since we shed tens of thousands of skin flakes per minute all they have to do is lie in wait in our carpets and our beds and wait for the inevitable rainfall of manna. If you were to hold 1 oz of house dust in your hand it is likely that you would also be holding approximately 42,000 dust mites.
Dust Mites like it warm and moist so they hide in the base of our carpets and in the mattresses of our beds. The average double bed is host to about 2,000,000 mites. As skin flakes shed from our bodies they easily slip through the weave of our pajamas and down through the spaces between the treads of our bottom sheets. There the dust mites lie in wait, eating, defecating and copulating. Each dust mite produces 20 fecal pellets a day. If one were to take as many pellets as there are stones in the Great Pyramid they would fit easily on the period at the end of this sentence. In fact, they are so small that they float back up through the mattress, or the carpets, and travel throughout the house. Some of the mummified corpses are hollow and light enough to float as well.
When people talk about being allergic to dust, or even to dust mites, in many cases what they are actually allergic to is the dust mite feces. Dust mite fecal pellets are one of the most strongly allergenic materials found indoor. In Denmark, dust mites are estimated to cause over 50% of all asthmatic attacks in asthmatic patients. The two main reactions to these allergens are asthma and rhinitis as they are inhaled into the lower airways of the lungs. They have also been correlated to skin irritations such as atopic dermatitis, characterized by itchy, irritated skin.
In a study in Vancouver, Murray et al (1979) detected significant numbers of mites when relative humidity exceeded 50% at least a part of the time each day. Carpeting can be a localized site of increased humidity and consequently may be an important reservoir for allergens in both homes and schools. Studies conducted in schools have shown that carpets contain high levels of a variety of allergens including pollen, cat and dog dander, as well as mite and mold allergens. This may be a primary source of exposure for young children who generally live closer to the floor.
The easiest and most efficient way to control the effects of the tiny creatures in our homes, schools, or even offices, is to provide and environment where the feces are unable to float in the air and where the feces are quickly oxidized as they are outside. A natural balance of ionization and ozone can play a very important part in this process. Proper air purification means providing a balance of ionization which settles the floating particles out of the air and then generates natural levels of ozone to oxidize, or break down, the fecal matter as well as the other molds, fungi and dander. Ozone also helps to control the dust mites food supply since they require "old" skin cells which have been defatted by the common mold, aspergillus anastelodami. As ozone eliminates the mold, the skins cells are left inedible to the dust mites.
Fresh air, with ozone & ions and wind power, (as nature intended), once again provides the easiest and most efficient means to controlling one of our most common and most potent allergens. Look for artificially produced ozone & ion machines to help combat your toughest indoor pollution problems.
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Copyright © 2000 Crystal Goddess Webmaster All rights reserved.