Perfumes and Paints Are Polluting…

Scientists have found that everyday household products, like soaps, paints and perfumes are causing nearly as much air pollution as cars and industries combined.

Most air pollutants come from the extraction, refining and use of fossil fuels. These pollutants include hundreds of different compounds that scientists clump into what they call Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). “Once they’re emitted into the atmosphere, they can lead to the formation of ground level ozone and particles, both of which are detrimental to human health,” says Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric chemist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and an author of the new study. However, in recent years household products have become a bigger source of air pollution, the team reports in today’s issue of the journal, Science.

They made similar observations for isopropanol, or rubbing alcohol, and acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover, and a whole range of other chemicals in everyday products like soaps, wall paint, printer ink, perfumes and pesticides.
The findings are important and surprising, says Albert Presto, an atmospheric scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. “We’re all conditioned to think about traffic and industry as the big drivers for air pollution and pollutants. And this study says, ‘wait a minute, a lot of it is really stuff we’re using inside our homes.'”
These household sources have emerged as big polluters because cars have become cleaner, says Jonathan Levy, an environmental health expert at Boston University. “As traffic sources decline, other sources become more and more important over time.”
Air pollution remains one of the top causes for the burden of disease worldwide. “Ozone can do things like worsen asthma, trigger asthma attacks,” says Janice Nolen, the assistant vice president of national policy at the American Lung Association. “It can also kill people, it can shorten lives.” Exposure to particulate matter has similar deleterious health effects.
So, the new study has implications for further reducing air pollution, says Presto, especially for cities that are struggling with meeting air pollution standards, like Los Angeles, which has one of the highest levels of ozone in the country. “You can only make cars so clean,” he says. “Maybe the way to get ozone below federal limits is to reduce emissions from indoors.”
The new study suggest we need “some national measures to help reduce emissions” from these everyday sources, says Nolen.

Common Causes of COPD

The 5 most common causes of developing COPD are below:
1.    Cigarette smoke. This is by the far the most common reason people get COPD. You can get it from any tobacco products, like cigar and pipe smoke, especially if you breathe in the smoke.  Smoking is the main cause of COPD and is thought to be responsible for around 90% of cases. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and permanently damaged by smoking and this damage cannot be reversed. Up to 25% of smokers develop COPD.
2.    Passive smoking. Even if you don’t smoke yourself, just by breathing in second-hand smoke can cause damage to your lungs.
3.    Air pollution. You can get COPD from breathing in chemical fumes, dust, air pollution or toxic substances at work.
4.    Your genes. About 3 in 100 people with COPD have a defect in their DNA. This defect is called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or AAT deficiency. Your lungs don’t have enough of a protein needed to protect them from damage, which can lead to severe COPD. The symptoms normally show before you’re 35 years old. A research study has shown that smokers who have brothers and sisters with severe COPD are at greater risk of developing the condition than smokers who do not.
5.    Asthma. If you don’t treat your asthma, over time you can get lifetime damage and it can develop into COPD.
Some of these risk factors can be avoided by quitting smoking, reducing the amount of pollution we breathe and if we have respiratory problems ensure we medicate and treat them properly. These steps will help to prevent damage to our lungs and help to prevent the development of COPD. Obviously the genetic factor cannot be avoided but only 1% of COPD sufferers have the genetic defect.
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