What in Your Home Is the Biggest Pollutant

Sick building syndrome is not just something you see in commercial or industrial buildings. Residential buildings can have worse indoor air quality than you see outdoors, even in city environments infamous for their poor outdoor air quality.

Small children, homemakers and elderly or housebound individuals typically spend a great deal more time literally at home than most people do. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of pollution.

Unfortunately, there is no universal answer as to what you can assume to be the single biggest pollutant in your home. This will vary from household to household and depend on a variety of factors. You will need to make an effort to determine which household pollutant is the single biggest one in your house. But you can look to the following categories for likely suspects.

New Carpeting
New carpeting can emit a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is often called off gassing. The exact chemicals involved will depend upon the material in question. How bad it is will depend in part on how much new carpet has been installed.

Broken compact fluorescent bulbs
These bulbs contain mercury, a known neurotoxin. It is classified as a hazardous material and should be handled accordingly. Do not try to vacuum it up. If it gets into carpeting, you can expect to need to throw it out. It probably cannot be ever fully removed.

New plastic products
The softer the plastic, the more likely it is to off gas. This gets worse if they get warm for some reason, as can happen when you run certain electronics with a plastic casing.

Household cleaners and chemicals
Glues, adhesives, paint, paint stripper, pesticides and cleaning products can all introduce problematic fumes into the air. All should properly stored and properly used with good ventilation, among other things.

Furniture
Mattresses, upholstered furniture and many pressed wood items can all be sources of air pollutants. New furniture can give off formaldehyde. Old furniture may be a source of mold, dust, mites and other problems.

Cooking and heating
Fireplaces and wood burning stoves tend to be harder on air quality than some other heat sources, but most means to cook or heat have some fallout in terms of air quality. Passive solar design might be the only means to keep the place warm without somehow harming local air quality.

Although there are many known culprits that can harm indoor air quality, there is no universal answer to this issue. An audit of your home is the best way to determine what is the biggest source of indoor air pollution in your own house.

Do Painkillers have a Link to Increased Risk of Heart Attack

A new study conducted by a group of European researchers and published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who actively take NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to treat pain are at a higher risk for heart attacks than those who do not use these types of drugs for pain relief.

The study looked at over 450,000 people from three different countries that suffered a heart attack. The people ranged in age, health condition, ethnic and economic backgrounds, and were from both sexes. What they discovered is that over 15 percent of these people recently begun taking NSAID prior to their heart attack.

The highest risk group was those that began the drug regiment a month prior to their heart attack and were using prescription strength pain killers. Those in the lowest group were taking over-the-counter (OTC)strength medications and took them infrequently. Those who took the medications most often, even OTC strength had higher risks of suffering a heart attack.

What Does This Mean?

At this point in time, researchers are not sure what their findings mean. They have discovered a connection between these pain medications and heart attack risk, now they have to learn why. Additional studies have begun to discover if this risk has anything to do with other health conditions, the reasons for taking the pain medications, or if something in these medicines themselves are what is causing the increased risk.

Anyone who is currently taking these medications regularly are encouraged to speak with their doctor about any risks that may be associated with their use.

If you are taking pain medications that are considered a NSAID, you are encouraged to take special care to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you are eating right and that you get enough exercise each day to keep your heart strong. If possible, reduce use of these medications if your doctor approves and your condition allows.

NSAID drugs include: Voltaren, Rofecoxib, Celebrex, Ibuprofen, and Naproxin. These medications are available in prescription strength alone or mixed with other medications. Some of these medications are available over-the-counter in weaker strengths. Check all medications that you take to see if they contain these medications and then speak with your doctor.

Pesticides and Cancer: What You Need to Know

Pesticide Contamination Has Been Linked to Cancer

There are scientific studies linking pesticides with various types of cancer, and if you are concerned about possible contamination from man-made chemicals, then it is essential to choose foods that are organic. Researchers have studied the causes of different types of cancer to understand if the pesticides that contain phenoxy acid herbicides can lead to physical abnormalities in the human body’s cells.

You May Have Been Exposed to Dangerous Pesticides During Childhood

Phenoxy acid herbicides are sprayed on corn or wheat crops because the substances help to eliminate weeds. This type of herbicide was discovered in the late 1940s, and by the 1950s, it was used in the United States and other countries to protect wheat or corn crops from damaging weeds. Today, some of the most dangerous forms of phenoxy herbicides are banned, but if you are older, then you probably ingested a lot of this chemical agent as a child.

Types of Cancer That Are Linked to Pesticides

Researchers have linked pesticides with several types of cancer, and you should watch for these conditions if you were exposed to pesticides in the past.

1: Breast Cancer

Breast cancer primarily affects women, and this condition leads to abnormal cancerous cells in one or both breasts. The symptoms of breast cancer include lumps, bloody discharge or changes in the shape of a breast.

2: Lung Cancer

There are two types of lung cancer, including:

• Small cell
• Non-small cell

Both of these varieties of lung cancer are caused by exposure to toxins. The symptoms caused by lung cancer might include weight loss, difficulty breathing and chest pain.

3: Leukemia

Leukemia occurs in the blood-producing organs in the human body, including your bone marrow. The symptoms from leukemia can include extreme fatigue, poor immunity and frequent bruising.

4: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

This form of cancer causes abnormal production of lymphocytes. When you have this condition, you will have abdominal pain, fever and swollen lymph glands. This form of cancer primarily affects senior citizens.

5: Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcoma is a rarer form of cancer that occurs in various parts of the human body, including:

• Tendons
• Nerves
• Blood vessels
• Muscles

A sarcoma is a growth that can grow to a large size inside the body before it is noticed.

6: Malignant Lymphoma

A malignant lymphoma can develop in different regions of the body’s lymphatic system, including:

• Bone marrow
• Thymus gland
• Spleen
• Lymph nodes

The symptoms from malignant lymphoma include losing weight, tiredness and swollen lymph nodes.

How Setting the Right Workout Schedule Is Key to Healthy Living

Don’t use someone else’s workout routine to improve your health because everyone is different. Having the right workout routine is the key to healthy living, but if you use the wrong regimen, then you might experience an injury. Follow these tips when creating an exercise regimen.

1: Schedule Your Workouts When You Are Energized

Choose the right time for your workouts so that you will feel good about lifting weights or going for a hike. You might want to wake-up earlier in the morning to ride a stationary bicycle, or you may want to perform a yoga routine in the evening.

2: Take Small Steps to Increase Your Workout Regimen

If you try to complete a difficult workout routine when you haven’t exercised in several months, then you will likely have aching muscles afterward. Begin with short exercise routines before progressing to longer workouts.

3: Plan to Exercise Several Times a Week

To have the most benefits from a workout schedule, plan to exercise several days a week. Some experts recommend working out three times a week while other individuals believe that exercising five days a week is better. If you have a busy lifestyle, then exercise multiple times a day for only a few minutes.

4: Don’t Plan Monotonous Workouts

When you use the same weightlifting routine each day, you will become bored and won’t enjoy the exercise. In addition, performing the same physical movements each day will not help to strengthen your muscles while increasing the flexibility of your joints. Plan an assortment of routines to avoid monotony.

5: Have a Workout Buddy

Having a workout buddy during some of your exercise routines is a great way to remain motivated. It is important to socialize in addition to working out, and you can participate in a sport team activity such as baseball or soccer.

6: Take a Break From a Workout

It is okay to take a break from a workout when you have a bad cold or the weather is inclement. If you have an opportunity to go to a concert or movie with a group of friends, then don’t feel guilty about taking a day off from your exercise routine.

7: Keep Track of Your Workout Routines

Keep a workout journal to understand when you have exercised each day along with the number of minutes. This is especially important when you want to lose weight because it helps you to keep track of the number of calories that you have burned while jogging or swimming.

Staying Connected is a Key to Longer Life

 Living a long, meaningful life is a goal that many people aspire to. There have been countless studies done to try to isolate the factors that lead to a longer life, but one of the common threads among seniors who have lived well beyond the average life expectancy is that they have pursued a connected and meaningful life even in their later years.

There is much more to staying active and healthy than simply eating right and getting exercise. We need emotional and mental stimulation too. Living in isolation is never a recipe for success when it comes to maintaining a positive outlook on life and staying energized in general. Seniors who stay in constant contact with family members and friends are more likely to remain physically active as well. This is because they have something to look forward to beyond the simple routine of waking up, eating and going to bed again. The role that mental and emotional stimulation plays in keeping you alert and active through your senior years is too strong to be overlooked.

One of the ways that some seniors above the average life expectancy have remained healthy is through fulfilling marriages. The benefits of marriage cannot be understated because it provides a level of companionship that cannot often be fulfilled through friendship alone. In general, studies show that remaining in a healthy marriage through senior years had a stronger positive effect on men than women. Many senior women who were either divorced or widowed were still able to find support through community groups or family to have a meaningful life.

In addition to making the effort to stay social, seniors who maintain friendships with other active people are also more likely to remain healthy. This is partly because it reinforces a healthy lifestyle and helps you stay active beyond your typical routine. This also contributes to exploring other healthy and engaging activities.

Rising Seas and Investing For Retirement

Blue Water with Island in the middle

Global warming has led to an increase in unstable weather patterns, but it is also increasing global sea levels. If emissions continue at the rate they are going, researchers warn that the sea levels could increase almost 15 feet. That can result in some pretty big changes for those living on the coasts.

According to a recent study, up to 31 million people may find themselves out of a home due to the higher sea levels. The study, which was published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that people could be displaced by the end of the century if the temperatures increase just 6 degrees over pre-industrial temperatures. The temperature increase could cause ice sheets in Antarctica to begin melting, and the subsequent rise in water levels could submerge land in South Florida as well as coastal California, New York and other places, according to experts. These hot spots for retirees and investments could become downright cold in the wake of global warming.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, the damage could be irreversible. Millions could be forced to evacuate as waters reclaim their homes. The changes could be financially devastating for those who have retirement or property investments in coastal cities. Not only could other cities further inland be coping with an unprecedented influx of displaced people and families, but the economic stability of the entire country and possibly the world could be undermined as homes and businesses topple.

Currently, the United States and 145 other countries have pledged to cut emissions in an effort to slow the climate change. However, this may not be enough to slow the rising tides that are threatening to wash away some of the country’s and the world’s most recognizable cities. This is a real issue that requires aggressive action on our parts. Supporting tougher legislation on greenhouse emissions is one of the best ways to slow climate change, but we can take action on our own to ensure our homes and workplaces are energy efficient and that we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels through smart travel choices.

What Happens To Your Body in an Apocalyptic Heat Wave

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Have you ever stepped outside and instantly felt like you were getting slowly baked to a crisp? You probably have at some point, but the only difference between you and the people in an Iraqi City is that you probably hurried back into your air-conditioned room. Not everyone has that same luxury; they have to actually live with it. Think of what the body must go through to stay alive despite 160-degree temperatures.

Heat waves in America are mild in comparison compared to the heat waves in the Middle East. Due to its location on the globe, it can get desperately hot—apocalyptic even. Iraq and Iran are under what we call a “heat dome” meaning they are completely blanketed by extreme temperatures.

In June, Pakistan went through a similar plight and more than 600 people fell victim to the intense heat, killing them in just three days. Temperatures reached a staggering 113 degrees with an even higher heat index—or the temperature the body feels when humidity is taken into account. In India, more than 230 people died also due to an extreme heat wave.

What happens to the body during an extreme heat wave?

When the body gets too hot or too dry, bad things happen. Heat means sweat because sweat brings down the body’s core temperature. The danger with sweating is with fluid replacement; if you sweat more than you drink, you’re at risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration and even shock. You may feel nauseous and dizzy due to the imbalance of electrolytes in the body as well as the dehydration. This is a sign that the body is entering the danger zone. Heat stroke occurs when you can no longer sweat due to the lack of fluids, and that heat within your body reaches dangerous levels. In short, you cook from the inside out.

How to avoid heat stroke

Officials recommend drinking plenty of water; at least half a gallon or even more depending on the individual’s activity level and fluid balance. Keep cool as much as possible and seek shelter from the hot sun. If humidity is an issue, try to stay in temperature and humidity-controlled areas such as malls and hospitals.