Asthma and Indoor Air Pollution

On May 16, 2011, the CDC released the latest reports on Asthma in the United States.  The report shows that:

  • 1 in 12 people have asthma
  • The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009.
  • Asthma diagnoses increased among all demographic groups between 2001 and 2009, but children were the hardest hit, with asthma affecting 9.6 percent of children, compared with 7.7 percent of U.S. adults
  • Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007

While no one knows what causes asthma, or what is increasing this astronomic increase in asthma cases, we do know that genetics are not solely to blame.  In fact, recent research indicates that environmental factors play a major role in the development of asthma.  While much attention has been given to outdoor pollutants, like smog, and industrial pollution, scientists and the medical community have a growing concern that chemicals routinely used in our personal care and household products are to blame for respiratory problems, asthma, auto-immune diseases like MS and lupus, and cancer.  In fact, when you begin to research the potentially toxic chemicals, you learn that they are in our food, as contaminants in air and water, in common household and personal care products, in packaging and in furniture.

In fact, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are found in two to five times higher levels inside our homes than outside.  It has been estimated that the average home may contain 1,500 compounds that may be eroding our vitality and increasing our health costs.  Synthetic fragrances and dyes, parabens, 1,4-dioxand, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), formaldehyde, phthalates, PEG-100 stearate and ceteareth-20 are all known toxins that can cause breathing problems and damage lung tissue.

Children are at the greatest risk for chemical exposures.  Due to their size, their growth and their metabolism they consume more water, eat more food and breathe more air than adults.  Further, their immune systems are still developing, so introducing these toxins to their bodies has the potential to be very damaging.

But kids aren’t the only ones we need to worry about. If you are one of the every 3 American’s who suffer from a chronic disease, you will also want to consider limiting your exposure to these toxic chemicals as much as possible.  To heal you need to improve your nutrition, remove toxins and increase your physical activity.  90% of all chronic conditions are preventable, and if you already have one, many can be reversed by changing your lifestyle.  Sure, it involves change. Yes, no one likes change.  But no one likes being sick or dead either.

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