Is your body trying to tell you something?
Breathing clean air is your body’s top priority, and one of today’s greatest health challenges. The quality of the air we breathe directly impacts the quality of our health and sense of well being. It affects every cell and system in our bodies.
Since the lung ‘drinks’ in air, it is the most common site of injury by airborne pollutants. However, the overall health effects are broad, from short term minor irritations to neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
A vast array of symptoms can indicate a reaction to air quality: dizziness, headaches, mental fog, mood change, depression, nausea, drowsiness, confusion, visual disorders, fatigue, weakness, fainting, rapid heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, shortness of breath, sore throat, asthma, sneezing, cough, runny nose, nosebleed, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, sensitivity to light or noise, loss of coordination, memory impairment, sleeping problems, seizures, tremors, digestive upset, muscle and joint pain, itchiness, and rashes.
The Most Vulnerable
The highest concern about the health effects of indoor air pollution is in situations involving prolonged, continuing exposure to indoor pollutants—that is, in the home, school, and workplace! The most vulnerable are young children, the elderly, individuals with allergies, asthma, MCS and other chronic health challenges.
Children: More than 80,000 new chemicals have been developed and released into the global environment during the last four decades. Today the World Health Organization attributes more than one-third of all childhood deaths to environmental causes, and as rates of childhood disease skyrocket – autism, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and even birth defects – it raises serious, difficult questions around how the chemical environment is impacting children’s health. (From Children and Environmental Toxins by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan)
Health Impact of Chemical Exposure
The same toxic chemicals that are listed as hazardous waste, capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reaction are found in our everyday, commonly used cosmetic, personal care and household products.
Doctors specializing in environmental medicine and immunotoxicology are now linking our growing health problems to the increasing levels of synthetic chemicals in our modern environment.
Air pollution is by far the largest contributor to early death, according to the new research produced by The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. This form of pollution is linked to 6.5 million fatalities globally in 2015. Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, co-leader of the commission, said the problem is chemicals. “There are thousands of chemicals out there and we know that people are exposed to them,” said Landrigan. “We just didn’t know enough about what chemicals are doing to people.” The data for this new report comes from “two very credible sources,” noted Landrigan: The World Health Organization and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is based at Seattle’s University of Washington and is funded by the Gates Foundation. Data is collected by satellites and other monitoring technologies, which, due to increasing sophistication, provide more information today than in the past.
Commission Co-leader Richard Fuller said, “The thing that worries me most in all this is the neurological damage that many of these toxins have. Heavy metals, including lead, damage kids’ brains.” “My concern is if you release a toxin in China, it can end up in LA just as easily,” said Fuller.
In her book, Toxic Overload, Dr. Paula Baillie-Hamilton, M.D. an Oxford-educated medical doctor, lists ten categories of diseases that can be connected to chemical pollution: immune system diseases (including allergies and asthma), neurological disorders, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, multiple chemical sensitivity, obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, and childhood disorders.
Dr. Claudia Miller, M.D. says that “Chemical exposures can harm mental and physical health in a variety of ways. … Effects can be significant for adults, but even more so for children during critical windows of development—particularly brain development (TILT : How Exposures to Chemicals are Undermining Our Mental and Physical Health).
Dr. Doris Rapp, M.D. a pediatric allergist and environmental medical specialist, says in her book, 32 Tips That Could Save Your Life, “We have increasing numbers of illnesses, some that never existed before, including ADHD, ADD, arthritis, autism, bipolar illness, cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, infertility, Alzheimer’s, neuromuscular diseases, etc. At times, all of these medical problems can be solely caused by exposures in our environment. … Chemicals provide some clear answers as to why a number of these illnesses are so rampant.”
Dr. Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. ABEM, ABFP, FACN, FACAAI describes in her book, Tired or Toxic? the mechanism, diagnosis and treatment of chemical sensitivity. She believes that chemical detoxification is key to healing disease.
Health Impact of Biomass Smoke
Smoke contains tiny particles of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and hundreds of other substances, some toxic. The particles in smoke are too small to be filtered by the nose and respiratory system, so they are inhaled into the deepest parts of our lungs. Smoke is associated with all sorts of health problems — from a runny nose and coughing, to bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, heart disease and cancer.
People with asthma and other respiratory disease, people with cardiovascular disease, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to the particles and gases from biomass burning. Pregnant women and unborn children are potentially susceptible, given that smoke from biomass burning contains many of the same compounds found in cigarette smoke.
But there is Hope!
There are steps we can take to reduce our toxic overload and increase our health.
Check out the Coach’s Clean Air Plan!