Your Potentially Unhealthy Environment

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Our Us Encompassing World

There's a lot more to health than just what you consciously put in your body and how you move your body. There's environmental factors. These can be how close you live to how busy of a road, mold growth, air fresheners (and similar - computer dusters, spray paint, gas fumes, hair spray, etc), noise pollution, view - etc.

All of these have an effect on our health, in one way or another. I'll break it down for you.

Broken Down

  1. Air Pollution
    • Busy Roads:
      Aside from the general noise pollution, busy roads means lots of exhaust in your regular breathing air. Car fumes are not healthy. They are carcinogenic and can lead to some serious breathing problems. Some studies suggest that children who have been raised near or on a busy road are more likely to develop asthma, eczema and hay fever. Other studies show that pregnant women should avoid living or working on busy roads as they become 50% more likely to have premature births. A study in LA showed that living near a freeway or highway can cause atherosclerosis, which is the thickening of the artery walls.
    • Sprays:
      A great many of us use air fresheners, hair sprays, kitchen sprays, insect spray, weed killer spray, and so on. These are very harmful to our health, and have been linked to the development of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and several other Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders.
    • Cigarettes and Second Hand Smoke:
      We all know the dangers of smoking cigarettes, that they can cause lung cancer, bladder cancer, skin cancer, heart disease, asthma, weakened tissues, disease of the mouth and throat - and so on. However, when I talk about second hand smoke, I'm not just talking about cigarette or cigar smoke. There are other things to consider, such as when cooking the type of oil you may be using which may have a high or low smoking point. If it has a low smoking point that means that it will begin smoking at a lower temperature than another oil. This is important because smoke from anything contains carcinogens which we breathe in, and gets in our mouths, noses, throat, and lungs, just like tobacco smoke will do, and can cause similar damage.
  2. Mold
    Mold can cause a lot of respiratory problems when one is around it all the time. It can cause allergic reactions as well as the development of allergies. It can cause the development of asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sick building syndrome, nose bleeds, memory loss, and flu-like symptoms. Some studies at Brown University have even shown mold and their airborne spores to lead to depression.
    "Molds are toxins, and some research has indicated that these toxins can affect the nervous system or the immune system or impede the function of the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that plays a part in impulse control, memory, problem solving, sexual behavior, socialization and spontaneity," says Science Daily.
  3. General Messiness
    Negativity is a prickly pear. It is jagged and like a shedding animal, leaves tufts of negative fur on things which snag it, such as a rumpled shirt on the ground, that stack of books over there, the old drinking glasses accumulated on the desk. The more junk builds up, the more lazy one may feel, and repelled to deal with it the more the mess grows. This isn't a physical danger, it's a mental and spiritual one. A clean living environment, a clean and tidy yard, gives you a sense of pride and leaves no where for little bits of negativity to hide.
  4. Noise Pollution
    This is another mental danger. Noise pollution can fall under anything: noisy neighbors, a television on all the time, traffic near by, the sounds of speed boats and jet skis taking over the sound of waves, etc. When there is constant or regular unwanted noise, it can cause stress, and thus stress-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease.
    Going back to the days of our early ancestors, stress wasn't such a bad thing. It was the fight or flight response when we were looking at that rather long toothed tiger. Our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol as a response so we can deal with the immediate situation. The heart beats faster so that blood can get to muscles and the brain faster. In order to do this, other systems slow or shut down during this time, such as the digestive system. When this goes on for long term, when the tiger doesn't go away, which is the case for most people suffering from stress, this causes problems. The blood pressure is constantly high, leading to cardiovascular disease, digestion isn't happening as it should and ulcers can form, one can gain or lose weight unhealthily, one can develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and migraines and/or insomnia could be the result.
    Some studies have shown that noise pollution has been linked to low-weight babies, and birth defects.
    Because noise pollution can cause stress, it has been linked with Cardiovascular disease, colitis, and coronary disease.
  5. View:
    The view from your office, your house, your bedroom window, can alter your mood and your thinking. If every day you wake to see nothing but the building next to your, or the office buildings surrounding your work building block out the light of day, or there's construction going on next door - it can dampen your spirits. We are creatures of nature, even if we're not all granola hippies. We need to be able to see some green, see the sun, know that the world out there is worth getting out in it.
  6. Fluorescent Lighting:
    Many offices and stores, classrooms, medical practices and some houses are illuminated with fluorescent bulbs. However, constant exposure to these kinds of working/living conditions can cause chronic head aches, lack of sexual function, stress, and anxiety. Because of the stress it can cause, it can also hinder children's learning abilities, such as dysgraphia, the inability to write.


It Ain't All Lost

There are simple solutions to many of the environmental factors listed. Egg cartons can be pinned to walls and ceilings to make your home more sound proof, if you can't afford taking on more discreet sound-proofing methods. Plants help clean the air. Have them in and around your home, and at your work if you can. Make sure the light bulbs you buy are softer, and see if you can talk to your employer about doing the same. If living and working in a place where the view is nothing to be desired, make sure you that you make some time to go to the beach, or sit amongst the trees - anywhere you can look out and just be in aw, even if it's just for a lunch break. If dampness is becoming an issue in your home, put out bowls of salt to absorb the damp and prevent molds from happening. Also be sure to open windows and doors regularly, to allow your home to air out. Avoid using sprays of any kind.

There are many external factors to effect one's health. To become healthy within - to eat organic, make one's environment cleaner, effects not only you, or those around you, but it is also working to make the world healthier. As below, so above.


Helpful Links

Links about Living near Busy Roads:

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2010/02/science_has_found_a_new_way_freeways_are_trying_to_kill_you.php
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1026254/Children-living-near-busy-roads-greater-asthma-eczema-risk.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1334979/Pregnant-women-living-near-busy-roads-50-cent-likely-premature-birth.html
http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2012/feb/22/feature-near-busy-roads/
http://www.ehib.org/page.jsp?page_key=149

Links about sprays:

http://www.makeripples.com/library/research-and-articles/51-general-health/120-air-freshener-hazards
http://www.everydayhealth.com/asthma/asthma-and-air-pollution-indoors.aspx
http://www.ourlittleplace.com/chemicals.html

Links about Mold:

http://www.aaronline.com/documents/mold.aspx
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829162815.htm
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-mold/
http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Serious-Dangers-of-Mold-and-Mildew-in-Your-House&id=295403

Links about Stress:

http://www.jblearning.com/samples/0763740411/Ch%202_Seaward_Managing%20Stress_5e.pdf
http://www.managingstress.com/articles/physiology.htm
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00694/Stress.html

Links about Noise Pollution:

http://www.nonoise.org/library/handbook/handbook.htm#NONAUDITORY%20PHYSIOLOGICAL%20RESPO
http://www.epa.gov/air/noise.html
http://www.nonoise.org/library/suter/suter.htm
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0835810.html

Links about Fluorescent Lighting:

http://health.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977600839
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-illumination

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