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Josh McCormack

Digital Content Curator, Salud America! Josh McCormack joined Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health​ San Antonio, in February 2019. Graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in English Literature, he has previously worked in journalism and publishing. Josh enjoys reading; some of his favorite authors include Stephen King, Omar El Akkad and J.R.R. Tolkien.​


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Articles by Josh McCormack

Is Bad Building Design Giving You a Headache (Literally)?


VOCs TILT

We already know that artificial lighting and thermal comfort can influence health. Worse, these aspects of building design, such as indoor air quality, can trigger Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) — when chemical exposure brings about fatigue, headaches, and other ailments. Moving in the direction of wellness-centered architecture could have long-lasting impacts on public health and reduction of TILT, according to Miller, an environmental health professor and leader of the Hoffman TILT program at UT Health San Antonio. “Although buildings are where we spend more than 90% of our time, strategies to promote the health and well-being of the occupants are not always a major consideration during design,” Miller told the American Institute of Architects (AIA). How ...

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Building for Holistic Health: Thermal Comfort


Thermal Comfort holistic health

Some people like to keep their indoor temperature at a balanced 70 degrees; others feel most contented when in colder or warmer rooms. Either way, medical and construction experts know that thermal comfort can make significant impacts on health and energy use. Some internal bodily reactions, including mental function and eyesight, can react to the temperature that is present. Thermal comfort is definitely not something to overlook, according to CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “The perception of thermal comfort is related to one’s metabolic heat production,” the agency states. “Heat transfer from the body to the environment is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, air movement, personal activities, and ...

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Building for Holistic Health: Natural and Artificial Lighting


Natural light health

Many people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, whether at the office, in a restaurant, or at home. The way architects, designers, and construction workers erect these buildings can impact human health — including the way light is disbursed. Medical professionals and those in charge of building these structures need to collaborate to create a culture of holistic health. Natural and artificial lighting make significant impacts on people’s sleep cycle, skin, and eyes, according to the European Union’s Scientific Committee. “There is a concern that the emission levels of some lamps could be harmful for the skin and the eyes,” the group states. “Both natural and artificial light can also disrupt the human body clock and the hormonal system, and this can cause health ...

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Unregulated Water Wells are Exposing People to Harmful Bacteria


Unregulated Water ChangeLabs

Roughly 40 million Americans, or 12% of the population, are drinking federally unregulated water. The problem? These sources can contain harmful bacteria and chemicals, which can unknowingly infect those drinking from that water, according to ChangeLab Solutions. Latinos, who already struggle to access clean water, should be aware of the risks unregulated water pose. “Ensuring safe drinking water for all US residents is a crucial component of creating healthy, equitable communities across the nation,” ChangeLab writes. “These residents are more likely to be exposed to harmful bacteria or unsafe levels of nitrates and arsenic, which can lead to inequities and serious health consequences for families and entire communities.” What are the Risks? Jacqueline MacDonald ...

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Report: Chemical Exposure Might Harm Men’s Sperm Count, Reproductive Health


Men Sperm Plastics

Fertility rates in the U.S. are at an unusually low point — globally, research suggests that over the past 50 years, sperm counts have dropped by 50%. Environmental exposures in the home are harming men’s reproductive health and sperm counts, in addition to causing asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), researchers say. Digesting microplastics─specifically diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153), and bisphenol A (BPA)─showed notable effects on DNA fragmentation and sperm motility in various testing on male dogs and humans. “[This data is an] indicator that there is something very wrong in our modern environment or lifestyle,” Dr. Hagai Levine, head of the environmental health track at the Hebrew ...

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Trump’s EPA Gives ‘Dirty Power’ a Boost with Green Energy Rollbacks


"Dirty Power" Rule EPA Trump

From air contamination to water pollution, current white house officials are taking sizable steps to reduce the government’s role in environmental protection. Now the EPA implemented new rules that rescind Obama-era green energy regulations set on the coal industry—a promise the President made on the campaign trail. These rules cut initiatives to reduce America’s emissions levels and allow plants to operate longer hours, according to the New York Times. Andrew Wheeler, Chief the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and a former coal lobbyist, said his agency implemented the rollback to correct the previous administration’s overreach in climate change issues. Still, many researchers and advocates oppose the new rule for “dirty power.” “No matter how you ...

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What Hidden Chemicals Lurk in Your Food?


PFAS food packaging

From popcorn bags to pizza boxes, firefighting chemicals—that link to cancer development—contaminate food packages and seep into food. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination is a wide-spread problem. Researchers have discovered their presence in products, water, and food. They are also severely impacting the U.S. military and families. Now PFAS in food packaging is an emerging threat, according to a recent report. “Since the chemicals can migrate into food, and contaminate landfills and compost after disposal, the use of PFAS to treat food packaging can lead to unnecessary long-term exposure to harmful chemicals," according to "Take Out Toxics: PFAS Chemicals in Food Packaging” by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Toxic-Free Future, and Mind the ...

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Salud America! Network Speaks Up for Safe Sunscreen!


Sunscreen FDA Rule

In February, the FDA announced its plan to review sunscreen product chemicals, many of which can harm people and the environment. The agency spent the past five months seeking public opinion on its plans, and 19,256 people and groups─including members of Salud America!’s network─submitted comments with a clear message: Ensure our sunscreen is safe! Still, the FDA has made only 1,577 comments available to the public. Of the listed messages, 345 came from Salud America! advocates, for 21.8% of all comments! Are There Serious Risks? Research on sunscreen has shown that certain chemicals, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene, can enter a user’s bloodstream and cause potential harm. These substances have also caused environmental damage to coral reefs. Still, ...

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Roundup Aims to Find Toxic Weedkiller Alternatives with $5.6 Billion Investment


Bayer Chemicals Research

Roundup manufacturer, Bayer, has faced countless lawsuits over their products’ toxic link to cancer development — now, they’ve begun a $5.6 billion research project to find safer alternatives. The company announced this 10-year plan last week, urging they have heard consumer concerns and vow to make concrete changes going forward. The statement comes as Bayer fights over 13,000 court cases and large payouts to families who claim they got cancer from exposure to Roundup. “We are now starting to implement a series of measures to drive transparency and sustainability across our business,” Bayer’s CEO, Werner Baumann, said in a statement. Plans for the Future The company aims to find safe alternatives to harmful chemicals, such as glyphosate, and promote honesty, ...

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