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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

#SaludTues Tweetchat 6/11: Air Quality and Pollution


Air Quality and Pollution Chat

Air quality impacts a lot more than what you might think. Noxious gasses and fumes contaminate the atmosphere every day, and the problem is getting worse — especially for Latinos and other minorities. Current government policies are also making the problem worse through roll-back initiatives. This year, the EPA is taking steps to reduce air pollution rules. These regulation reductions would give companies more room to emit higher levels of harmful substances. If enacted, those policies could expose more Americans to harm, causing greater long-term health impacts. Let’s use #SaludTues on Twitter on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, to discuss why our air quality is so important and what everyone can do to make a difference in this issue: WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Air ...

Read More

Is Roadway Air Pollution Slowing Your Child’s Brain Development?


Roadway Air Pollution

Childhood brain development is a sensitive process, and researchers now say air pollution from highways and streets could harm or hinder that progression. Worse, kids who live close to major roadways can face significant adverse effects from the air, according to a recently published study in Environmental Research. The data showed that these children scored lower on communications tests as well as other cognitive functions. This is alarming data for Latinos, who are already exposed to greater levels of air pollution. What Does the Study Show? Researchers collected data from 5,800 children (5.8% Latino) living throughout New York state (19.2% Latino). They excluded New York City (29.1% Latino) from their study group. They began gathering prenatal levels of particulate matter ...

Read More

What’s that Weird Smell on Your Airplane Flight?


airplane scents harm

Fragrance sprays are used to diffuse scents across the country in public bathrooms, office buildings, private residences, and now airline carriers. While in-flight air fresheners can reduce strong smells, they also can trigger problematic side effects in people who are sensitive to certain chemicals found in those products. Individuals who undergo symptoms from fragrance exposure could be experiencing Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT). Worse, those who are TILTed could experience a range of health effects during their flights now that more planes will use air fresheners. “Fragrances are to varying degrees toxic, and they are in fact one of the biggest triggers of irritability, mental confusion, and difficulties with concentration or learning,” writes Dr. Claudia ...

Read More

EPA Receives Over 450,000 Clean Air Comments


Mercury air pollution

In another attempt to roll back environmental protections, the EPA is proposing to revise the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). However, the agency received a total 473,714 comments that provide insights and opinions that largely urge against their proposed plans; 231 members of the Salud America! network also sent an email to EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler pressing for clean air quality. A large portion of these comments focuses on the EPA’s recent de-regulatory efforts, and their refusal to make policy decisions based on scientific findings or relevant data, according to The Pump Handle. Last month, a coalition of 21 attorneys general filled comments that oppose the proposed rule as well as issuing a press release that rebukes recent environmental rollbacks. “EPA blinds ...

Read More

Houston, You Have a Chemical Fire Problem


Houston petrochemical fire

Last month, a massive cloud of black smoke covered Houston (44.5% Latino), subjecting its residents to noxious fumes and harmful pollution exposure. The fire, which burned for three days, began after an explosion at the petrochemical storage facility Intercontinental Terminals Co. While air quality was determined to be moderately safe by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the days following the explosion, Houstonians could face long-term impacts from the chemicals released into the atmosphere. "I've seen ash fall out — black pieces of ash," Jorge Guerra, who lives three miles from the site, told CBS News. “I’ve seen it on my cars, I've seen it on the front porch on the sidewalk. Does that scare you? It does, it does. What scares me more is what we don't ...

Read More

Latinos Breathe More Unclean Air Because of White Consumption


unclean air pollution

It is a proven fact that people of color inhale more hazardous pollution than whites. Worse, the consumption of products that cause unclean air is coming from the community least affected by this kind of pollution — whites, according to recent research. Latinos, the group most impacted, will breathe 63% more contaminated air than what their consumption produces. “Even though minorities are contributing less to the overall problem of air pollution, they are affected by it more,” Jason Hill,  study co-author, University of Minnesota engineering professor, and who is also white, told USA Today. “Is it fair [that] I create more pollution, and somebody else is disproportionately affected by it?” Air quality detrimentally affects Latinos in childhood diabetes, lung ...

Read More