Category Archives: Chemical Exposure

Is Your Family in Danger from Common Household Products?

What products are you using around your home that may cause a slew of terrible side effects for you and your family? Some aren’t as obvious as you’d think.

 

Danger from Common Household ProductsHome use of pesticides is the cause of 45% of the systemic diseases studied by the state of California Department of Pesticide Regulation. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicates, “Exposure to pesticides can produce cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and eye irritation. There is also mounting evidence that long-term pesticide exposure in adults is associated with chronic health effects such as cancer, neurologic problems and reproductive problems.” Another report links a mother’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy to developmental delays in the unborn child.

According to the CDC, exposure to pesticides can produce symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye Irritation

Flea Collars: Toxic to Pests and Tots

Pet pesticides, such as flea collars, are of particular concern. Continue reading

A Deadly Swim: Effects of Oil Spill Dispersants in the Gulf

Divers working in water contaminated by oil spills and dispersants used to control spills risk severe health problems and death because of the dangerous nature of these substances. After the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, divers working in the Gulf began complaining of symptoms that are traced to exposure to the hazardous compounds found in both the oil and the chemicals used to clean the water.

BP Used Banned Dispersants

BP Used Banned Dispersants

BP used unsafe dispersants in the Gulf disaster though they had been banned in its home nation, the United Kingdom, for more than a decade. “BP is using two products from a line of dispersants called Corexit, which EPA data appear to show is more toxic and less effective on South Louisiana crude than other available dispersants,” according to a May 18, 2010 article in ProPublica.

Serious Risks of Exposure

Corexit contains 2-butyoxyethanol, petroleum distillates and sulfonic acids. Since Corexit’s use in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, exposure to these compounds has been linked to: Continue reading

Military Families Lucky to Be Alive, Congressman Takes Action

Your home is supposed to be a place you go to be safe. It’s where you go after a rough day at work to unwind, put the stresses of the day behind you and spend time with those you love most. For many military families, “home” is becoming a mold-infested, toxic danger they can’t escape. Some mothers report going to the emergency room 50 times for themselves and their children before discovering the likely cause of their bewildering symptoms: toxic mold.

Military Families Lucky to Be Alive

CNN Report photo credit

Lucky to Be Alive

A CNN report outlined the dangers faced by those unfortunate enough to live in Lincoln Military Housing (LMH) in Virginia. Shelly Federico is one military housing resident who says she could have died if not for her independent efforts to find the cause of her fatigue, headaches and stomach ailments. In an interview with CNN, Federico  said, “I was actually told by a remediator, ‘You’re very lucky that you found it when you did. If you would have continued to live this way, this whole time not knowing, you would probably be dead.'” When the housing company refused to test her home for mold, Shelly paid for her own test, showing a mold count of 33,000. An acceptable count would have been zero, she told reporters.

Another woman repeatedly sought help from doctors for her symptoms, which doctors blamed on stress and anxiety…until they found lesions on her brain. She believes her illness came from the toxic mold environment in her home.

Only now is this problem, affecting hundreds of our military’s families, getting the attention it deserves. Continue reading

Military Families Face Health Threat in U.S.

For many, mold is no big deal. It’s ugly and smells bad, but isn’t really a problem. But for others who are sensitive to mold, exposure can be serious and potentially life threatening. We don’t get to choose how our bodies respond to mold, but we should have full control over our living conditions and whether mold is present. For military families that are at the mercy of military housing, it’s not that easy.

Mold in Military Housing

Mold in Military Housing

In Virginia, military housing communities are suffering under a system that doesn’t really seem to care if they have problems with mold. The Navy runs a joint venture with Lincoln Military Housing (LMH), a company that owns and operates homes built exclusively for military families. Rather than acknowledging the mold problem and taking greater steps to make sure families find relief, it looks like the company has focused its finances on damage control through public relations.

The name of LMH’s damage control website, “LMH Cares,” is almost laughable. “Caring” is not the first word that comes to mind when describing the way the site handles renters’ complaints about mold. The LMH site: Continue reading

PCE Contamination Forces Wisconsin Residents to Take Action

Long-term air, soil and groundwater PCE contamination of the residential area surrounding Madison-Kipp Corporation forced local residents to file suit on October 20, 2011. The Cap Times reports that Madison-Kipp has known since 1994 of its responsibility to manage and clean up contaminated groundwater.

contaminated groundwater

Since the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) first notified the company of this responsibility, evidence of PCE in the air, soil and groundwater continued to accumulate. The affected area greatly expanded in size, including to the area under some residents’ homes. Little was done by the DNR to enforce its requests. It was only after a neighborhood group filed notice in 2011 of its intention to take legal action that the DNR took a stronger stand against the company.

Although the DNR claims the 90-day notice of intent to file suit did not force its hand, local homeowners grew weary of waiting for the agency to take action. Homeowners became increasingly fearful of the health issues posed by the PCE contamination. Health fears were joined by a sharp reduction in home values and reluctance of local lenders to offer mortgages. This bad news, plus the weak response of the DNR, pushed residents to file suit. On January 20, 2012, attorneys for the homeowners petitioned to certify a class action for owners of 34 houses next to the Kipp-Madison plant.

PCE and Parkinson’s Disease

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the health fears of the residents. The EPA outlines the well-established health risks posed by Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene), or PCE. Continue reading

Everyday Household Items May Decrease Children’s Response to Vaccines

According to a recent article in USA Today, children exposed to perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are less responsive to vaccines. PFCs are used in the production of a large number of objects Americans encounter every day, as coatings on pizza boxes, paper plates, rainwear, upholstery and non-stick cookware. PFCs are easily absorbed into food and water. Therefore, the question is, even if you avoid the pizza box, are the chemicals already in your pizza?

Why Is PFC Exposure Harmful?Why Is PFC Exposure Harmful?

A recent article in The Atlantic Monthly publicized a study that provides shocking connections between PFC exposure and weakened vaccine response in children. The study observed 656 children born between 1999 and 2001 on the Faroe Islands in the Norwegian Sea.

PFC levels in the bloodstream were measured in the mothers before the children were born and in the children at ages five and seven. Results showed that by the time the children were ready to receive their booster shots for tetanus and diphtheria at age five, they had significantly high PFC levels and significantly decreased antibodies to the two diseases. Researchers concluded that the combination would prevent standard doses of vaccine from protecting these children from diphtheria and tetanus.

What Are Perfluorinated Compounds?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Plan, PFCs are synthetic chemicals produced commercially to provide stain, grease and water resistance to a variety of products. Continue reading

Plants Face Potential Penalties for Releasing Toxins

For the second time in three months, a West Virginia court has failed to agree upon a settlement in the class-action lawsuit against the company Monsanto, reports news website TheRepublic.com. In the lawsuit, the company is accused of polluting schools, homes and land in Nitro, West Virginia. The previous attempt at arbitration took place in October. This class-action lawsuit, filed by citizens of Nitro, cites severe medical problems and significant land damage as just two of the harms that resulted from the plant’s pollution.

Plants Face Potential Penalties for Releasing Toxins

The alleged pollution took place near a chemical plant run by Monsanto. Nitro residents claim that the plant, which closed in 2004, was responsible for contaminating the city’s water and residential areas with toxic compounds known as dioxins. Between 5,000 and 80,000 of Nitro’s former and current residents are seeking compensation, with emphasis on medical care. The large number of plaintiffs involved in the class-action suit is a result of a 2008 decision to combine two similar cases.

The Monsanto case is now awaiting trial, with jury selection slated to start in January. Stressing the significance of the case, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Stuart Calwell, stated that Nitro’s residents just want their town back and safe.

From 1949 until its closing in 2004, Monsanto’s Nitro-based plant manufactured the potent herbicidal ingredient 2,4,5-T. Produced for nearly 30 years, 2,4,5-T was later discontinued due to toxicity. Monsanto’s plant is also responsible for producing Agent Orange, a chemical used in herbicidal warfare by the U.S. military during the Vietnam conflict. Continue reading

Why Rapid Diagnosis is Vital for Chemical Exposure

Most people do not realize the lurking danger of chemical exposure. Because of poor federal protections and widespread use of chemicals in manufacturing and technology, anyone can be affected.

Chemical ExposureFor instance, children in Jersey City, NJ grew up playing in and around puddles polluted with cancer-causing chromium from a nearby manufacturing plant. The spill was discovered in 1983 and still causes serious problems for the community today. Local news site NorthJersey.com recently reported on the EPA’s continued struggle to understand the size and scope of the spill.

Certainly, none of the residents near the Gulf of Mexico imagined the danger before the disastrous oil spill from the Deep Water Horizon. A recent documentary film, “The Big Fix,” revealed that wild life and humans continue to suffer illness from the spill and the toxic chemicals used to disperse the oil.

According to a group of scientists that authored a letter in Science, approximately 12,000 new chemicals are registered with the American Chemical Society every day. Continue reading

Chemicals and Pregnancy: A Dangerous Combination

Many preterm births and miscarriages are attributable to toxic chemical exposure. There are toxic chemicals in the air that pregnant women breathe each day. Depending on where a woman lives or works, her baby can be affected by these toxins. The results of these exposures are alarming levels of preterm births and miscarriages.

Chemicals and Pregnancy

Additionally, many diseases and ailments affecting children, such as asthma, are attributable to the exposure to environmental toxins their mothers faced. There is also cause for concern regarding household goods that pregnant women consume without the knowledge that they may be putting themselves or their unborn babies at risk.

Published Studies
During a study conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles, doctors investigated the risk of preterm birth due to exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollutants to pregnant women living in Los Angeles. The doctors and their team found that with increased exposure to toxins emitted by engine emissions, the odds of preterm birth also increased from 6 to 21 percent. For women who had high levels of exposure to the air pollutants, the odds of preterm birth increased by 30 percent. This result tied the pollutants directly to the preterm birth increase in the study.

Pregnant women, despite making conscious efforts to care for their unborn babies, are unknowingly exposed to many environmental toxins that can harm them. Continue reading

The BPA Dilemma: Just How Dangerous Is It?

Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used to make certain plastics harder, is found in many products, particularly infant and toddler bottles and cups. Although the use of BPA in children’s products has been banned in some states, the exposure to harmful chemicals has not necessarily been stopped or even reduced. There have been no significant efforts made to reduce all possible contact and exposure to BPA. On the contrary, BPA is being replaced with bisphenol AF (BPAF) and bisphenol B (BPB), chemicals that are just as harmful, if not more so, than BPA. Researchers are also investigating overexposure to BPA and its effects on fertility.The BPA Dilemma

What is BPA?
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a synthetic estrogen that interrupts the normal function of the endocrine system. BPA is most often used in children’s products, but it may also be found in the metal that lines food cans. If dental sealant residue is not wiped away after sealants are applied, it mixes with saliva and forms BPA. A.T.M. machine receipts often use thermal paper that contains significant amounts of BPA, so it is reasonable to assume that BPA may be found on money as well.

Is BPA-Free a Good Idea?
According to ABC News, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once maintained that BPA was safe, yet now it is taking steps to reduce exposure, even though it did not go so far as to ban the use of the chemical. The FDA is, however, beginning a study to measure the effects of BPA, research that will cost roughly $30 million to complete.

Since the federal government has not taken steps to ban BPA or even limit its use, states are taking it upon themselves to attempt to resolve the issue. Maine, for example, banned BPA in plastic Tupperware containers, and Oregon is contemplating eliminating its use in bottles and sippy cups.

BPAF is quite similar to BPA, but it is fluorinated. It can be found in optical fibers and electronic devices, and it may be even more capable of disrupting endocrine function than BPA. BPB is also similar to BPA, yet it has been shown to cause an increased risk in breast cancer. A possible replacement for BPA, however, is bisphenol S, or BPS. Researchers are studying the use of this chemical in thermal paper before endorsing it as a suitable alternative.

Can BPA Cause Infertility?
According to Environmental Health News, one out of every eight couples is infertile. Continue reading

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