Does Pollution and Poor Air Quality Raise the Risk of Coronavirus?


Pollution Poor Air Quality Risk Coronavirus

As the current novel coronavirus continues to spread, one fact has become clear: Governments around the globe were not prepared — especially concerning environmental impacts. While there is no direct link between pollution and the risk of developing COVID-19, yet, studies have shown that poor air quality can raise one's susceptibility to disease. Worse, high rates of toxic exposure can lead to poorer outcomes of those illnesses. Disadvantaged groups, including Latinos, are in greater jeopardy as they are the ones who live in the areas with more significant amounts of air pollution. "There's lots of evidence that air pollution increases the chances that someone will get pneumonia, and if they get pneumonia, will be sicker with it," Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the ...

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Surprising Ways that Fire Is Messing with Your Health


camp fire latino friends health risks

Sitting around a fire can be a great source of warmth and fun for most; however, it also has the potential to cause a host of health complications. Tiny toxins—PM2.5 (pollution particles measuring 2.5 micrometers or less)—commonly known as “combustion particles” come from these fires and can cause some severe health impacts, research shows. Even worse, those using wood-burning stoves can face some of the worst effects. "We are increasingly concerned about particulate matter air pollution and other forms of air pollution," Dr. Joel Kaufman, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, medicine and epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the American Heart Association. "There's increasing evidence that certain pollutants are associated ...

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Are Too-Tiny-to-See Particles Polluting Your Community?


Nanoparticles car exhaust pollution

Toxic exposures in the air can trigger severe health problems — worse, certain pollutants are so small that they can enter and harm any part of the body. These microscopic "nanoparticles," emitted from a wide range of products, from candles to cars, can cause numerous illnesses, according to published research. Illnesses include the well-established condition Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT). Nanoparticles even have resulted in death. "The biggest killer of all never makes the headlines, isn't regulated, and is barely talked about beyond niche scientific circles: it's nanoparticles," according to Tim Smedley, author of "Clearing The Air," in BBC Future. "Nanoparticles can reach, and wreak havoc in, any organ in the body." What are Nanoparticles? Certain ...

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From Living in a Sick Home to Making Others’ Healthy


Hayward Sick Home Score

Bill Hayward learned a disturbing truth when he ventured into the crawlspace underneath his home. For a year, he, his wife Adriana, and other members of their family experienced consistent migraines, mood swings, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and a host of other health problems — with no root-cause explanation. They sought help from experts and professionals alike to no avail. Using a last-ditch, do-it-yourself test, Bill discovered their home itself was full of mold and that it was responsible for their symptoms. "It's terrifying and heartbreaking," Adriana said. "I felt really hopeless; the medical profession not really knowing what to do with it and dismissing it. It was just a very dark and sad time for our family." Mold and other environmental factors can lead ...

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How Does Air Quality Impact Childhood Obesity?


unclean air pollution

Latino and all kids could have a higher risk for obesity based on the mere air they breathe. A past study placed pregnant lab rats into two different chambers: one with polluted air from Beijing and one with filtered air. Parent and offspring rats in the first chamber gained more weight than the other rats. They were also more likely to have cardiorespiratory and metabolic dysfunctions. Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, professor of global and environmental health at Duke University, wants to find out if this same risk applies to humans. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has awarded Zhang a $2 million grant to study the effects of prenatal and early-life exposure to air pollution. He will examine how birthweight and early childhood growth—two ...

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What Health Professionals Need to Know about Transportation and ‘Level of Service’


How Measuring Vehicle Miles Traveled Can Promote Health Equity

Do you know how roadways are graded? Most transportation indicators grade based on the level of motor vehicle traffic on a road, with little consideration for people walking, bike or taking transit, and vehicle travel. This leads planners to design car-focused roads that neglect transit and non-motorized travel, which is counterproductive to social, environmental, and health goals. Using level of service (LOS), for example, to assess road performance tends to expand roadways and increase vehicular speeds to benefit cars and trucks only. This ends up enabling more vehicle travel and reducing feasibility of walking, biking, and busing. That’s why five early-adopter cities in California transitioned away from a narrow focus on moving as many cars as fast as possible, to a more ...

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#SaludTues 11/5/19: Measuring Transportation Impacts for Health, Equity and Sustainability


#SaludTues

The methods used to measure and analyze the impact of transportation projects matter for health, equity and sustainability. Vehicle delay, for example, is a poor measure of transportation impact and incorrectly equates low levels of auto delay with mobility and preservation of the environment. Yet, many regions and states rely on vehicle delay to determine which projects get funded and expedited. Measuring the amount and distance of vehicle travel rather than delay encourages infrastructure for transit and non-motorized travel and facilitates mixed-use, transit-oriented development (TOD) and infill development. Measuring vehicle miles traveled can help cities reach climate, equity, health, and sustainability goals. Let’s use #SaludTues on November 5, 2019, to tweet about ...

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San Antonio to Combat ‘Climate Emergency’ with New Action Plan


Climate Action Plan San Antonio

One of America’s highest Latino-populated cities now has a strategy to address the climate crisis. Earlier this month, the San Antonio (64% Latino) City Council passed Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) by a 10-1 vote. It outlines objectives that will aim to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions by 2050 and achieve climate equity for all populations. This plan follows in suit with many cities across the U.S. that are taking personal responsibility for its role in the climate crisis. “We declare that we will not be bystanders,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, according to the Rivard Report. “In no simpler terms, here and around the world, we are in a climate emergency.” What Does the Climate Action Plan Say? The main goal is to make the city and its ...

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Salud America! Members Speak Up for Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs!


cigarette warning labels graphic FDA quit smoking

Over 402 members of the Salud America! network sent emails to the FDA to speak in favor of the newly required health warning labels for cigarette packages and advertisements. The proposed rule, open for public comment from Aug. 16 to Oct. 15, 2019, and later extended to Nov. 27, 2019, would implement a provision of the Tobacco Control Act that requires FDA to issue regulations requiring color graphic labels that depict the negative health consequences of smoking along with written warning statements. Graphics include striking visuals of harm among children, babies, and self. “Given that tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., there’s a lot at stake to ensure the public understands these risks," Dr. Ned Sharpless, Acting FDA ...

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