The Surprising Ways the Paris Climate Talks Could Make Humanity Healthier

Reducing carbon emissions is vital for the health of our planet. But in a session at the Conference of Parties today in Paris, the World Health Organization set out some compelling reasons why effective climate action might make humans a little healthier, too.

Source: The Surprising Ways the Paris Climate Talks Could Make Humanity Healthier

I’ve reported in the past about air pollution and its’ impact on kids lungs, as well as that exhaust can change the expression of our DNA.  We don’t even need to breath in the pollution – we can get it by osmosis.

I’m hoping China’s recent pledge is more than just talk.

Air Pollutants Get Into the Body via the Skin

While lungs remain the main way by which air pollutants get into the body, and, if in sufficient quantities, cause ill-health effects, a new study shows that certain pollutants (‘semi-volatiles’ like phthalates) can be drawn in by the skin. This effect is known as ‘dermal uptake’ and the levels absorbed can be equivalent to those drawn in through breathing via the lungs.

Source: Air Pollutants Get Into the Body via the Skin

For the curious, here’s the peer reviewed source.  Time to break out the plastic bubble …just make sure it’s BPA free 😉

The study confirms we can (and do) get air pollution via osmosis.  There’s been news in the past about inhaling exhaust changes the expression of our DNA.  Those face masks some people wear?  It’s really only a courtesy as an attempt to minimize spreading what they already have.  Between the grade of mask and fit (no beards!), most consumer grade stuff isn’t worth wearing with respect to limiting your exposure.

Consider stocking up on snake plants and peace lily’s, because they remove 14 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in significant amounts.  FYI though: they’re toxic to cats.  HEPA filters won’t help with VOCs.  If you keep your windows shut to maximize the effectiveness of a HEPA filter, you may have higher VOC levels inside.  Activated carbon filters may help, but they’re of limited value. Most “consumer grade” AC filters foul with dust very quickly. you’d need an industrial AC filter (one that periodically heats itself to recharge the AC) for it to be really effective.  Of course a lot depends on your home environment. Do you have a lot of new plastics around? Did you paint recently? Are there people using a lot of cosmetics, hairspray, deodorant, shampoo, etc? I wish there were an inexpensive tester for common VOCs. So far I have not been able to find one.

India’s Air Pollution Is So Bad It’s Causing Lung Damage in Kids

We gradually learned that Delhi’s true menace came from its air, water, food and flies. These perils sicken, disable and kill millions in India annually, making for one of the worst public health disasters in the world. Delhi, we discovered, is quietly suffering from a dire pediatric respiratory crisis, with a recent study showing that nearly half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have irreversible lung damage from the poisonous air.

Source: Holding Your Breath in India

The horrors of Charles Dickens didn’t go away, they just moved to other countries.  Inhaling exhaust will change the expression of your DNA

Arsenic in the Water: Heart Risk

Ana Navas-Acien can’t quite recall the moment when she began to worry about arsenic in drinking water and its potential role in heart disease.  Perhaps it was when she read a study suggesting a link among people in Bangladesh.  And a similar study in Taiwan. And in Chile.

Several years ago, Dr. Navas-Acien, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to see if similar links could be found in the United States.

Source: A Heart Risk in Drinking Water

Sadly, the article doesn’t have any suggestions for preventative measures.  Only that they were looking at filters on wells.  Ground/well water is largely the focus.