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.

Why Do Recipes Call for Kosher Salt, Rather Than Sea or Table Salt?

There is a big difference in different types of salt. The first, and biggest difference, is the sodium to salinity (S/S) ratio. Iodized salt (table salt) has the highest sodium to salinity ratio, meaning it takes more of the actual salt to give it a salty taste. Kosher salt has a medium ratio, and sea salt usually has the highest ratio. This means that you will get more flavor from less sea salt than you will with iodized salt. This is also very important for people who have low-sodium dietary needs, as you can use less sodium and get the same taste. This is why you will not get the same flavor using iodized salt for a recipe that calls for kosher salt.

The second difference in salt is the size and shape of the grains. Notice how iodized salt is all the same size and very small, whereas kosher salt is usually very coarse grain? This affects not only the solvent time of the salt, but also your ability to consistently measure the same amount of salt with your hand. The grains of kosher salt make it the easiest to measure out by hand.

These properties of salt give different salts different uses. Iodized salt is more commonly use to finish salting fried foods, as it sticks to the surface of the food better. Kosher salt is used in most commercial kitchens because of the ease of measuring, and also because its shape and salinity allow for bleeding meat. Sea salt is most commonly used in desserts in order to balance the intense sweetness of some items.

For those wondering about the S/S metric of salts, it is caused by the different crystalline structure of salts. As salt forms, it doesn’t always form in the same crystal structure. This means that in some salts more sodium chloride (NaCL) molecules form in a more densely packed fashion. This causes a higher sodium content, and less taste because it breaks down slower in your saliva. The less densely packed molecules have less sodium per volume, and dissolve more rapidly in your saliva.