Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke tied to clogged arteries

Exposure to tobacco smoke can have long-term
effects in cardiovascular health: Researchers
(Reuters Health) – In a Finnish study spanning 26 years, kids exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults than kids who were not exposed to secondhand smoke.

These findings and others suggest the health effects of passive smoking on children are not limited to respiratory or developmental health, but can have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health, said senior author Costan G. Magnussen of Menzies Research Institute Tasmania in Hobart, Australia.

Researchers used frozen blood samples from more than 1,000 kids ages three to 18 collected in 1980, along with parental reports of smoking status in 1980 and 1983 from a larger group of kids. They also had ultrasounds of the adult children in 2001 and 2007.

They tested the blood samples for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of cigarette smoke exposure, and looked for a buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries, two large blood vessels of the neck, on the adult ultrasounds.

Carotid plaque can cause narrowing of the arteries, increasing blood clot and stroke risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

About two percent of the grown-up kids had a carotid plaque uncovered by ultrasound at an average age of 36.

More than 84 percent of kids of nonsmokers had no cotinine in their blood, compared to 62 percent of those with one smoking parent and 43 percent when both parents smoked.

The authors assumed that kids with a parent who admitted to smoking who did not have cotinine in their blood had been exposed to less secondhand smoke, possibly because parents had been careful to keep their smoking away from the child.

Compared to kids of nonsmokers, these kids were about one and a half times as likely to have carotid artery plaque as adults. But kids of smokers with poorer “smoking hygiene” that exposed them to more smoke (and resulted in cotinine in their blood) were four times as likely to have carotid artery plaque as those with nonsmoking parents.

“What we were able to do that others have not, is show that parents who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking can still limit the impact of their smoking on their child’s future cardiovascular health by changing their smoking behavior to limit the amount of smoke their child is exposed to,” Magnussen told Reuters Health by email.
Early smoke exposure is dangerous in
many ways, health experts suggest.

Many smoking parents did not smoke inside the home or car, or smoked well away from their children, to the point where there was no evidence for passive smoke exposure in their child’s blood, Magnussen said.

Plaque buildup, or “atherosclerosis,” can begin in childhood so the results are not surprising, according to Karin B. Michels, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

But only 64 out of more than 2,000 grown subjects did develop plaque, which is a very small number, Michels told Reuters Health by phone.

“I would be a little cautious but overall I think it’s an important study and lends more support to the risk of passive smoking for children,” she said. “I don’t doubt that there is a risk and it could be affecting other things like blood pressure.”

Atherosclerotic plaque is particularly dangerous when it develops at an early age, she said.

This group of kids grew up in a time when smoking was much more ubiquitous, and they would have been exposed to more secondhand and thirdhand smoke, said Melbourne Hovell of San Diego State University, who was not part of the new study.

“Thirdhand smoke” is that which lingers on surfaces or in environments and may combine with other chemicals to create toxic substances over time, Hovell told Reuters Health by phone.

Early smoke exposure may have several deleterious effects other than just plaque buildup in the arteries, including an increased risk of later breast cancer and a predisposition to nicotine addiction, Hovell said.

Plus, children of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves, triggering a cascade of other health risks.

“It’s pretty much a perfect storm,” Hovel said.

“The other message for the lay public is to not allow any smoking in your home or car,” as it will contaminate the environment indefinitely, he said. “Parents with young children probably should avoid buying a used car that has been smoked in.”

Source: Reuters

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Video: Indoor air concerns in baby rooms and nurseries

The arrival of a new baby prompts periods of extreme happiness - and stress. Keeping babies safe and healthy is paramount, but the advice new parents get is often conflicting.

One thing is for sure: Newborns and babies are among the most vulnerable when it comes to polluted air and exposure to airborne contaminants.

Watch this video courtesy of Cochrane & Associates for more information:

Concerned about the air quality in your home?

AllerAir offers a wide range of air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA air filters that can help remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, particles, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why you need an air purifier in your home or office

Poor indoor air quality can lead to short-term and long-term
health effects, especially in children and the elderly.
As air purifier manufacturers, we get a lot of calls from people who are starting to notice the effects of poor indoor air quality.

This comes as no surprise. After all, people spend up to 90% of their time indoors (think about yourself – where do you spend most of your time? At home, at the office, in school, in other indoor spaces?)

Fact is, we spend most of our time indoors and many buildings are not equipped to provide the best quality air.

Common indoor air contaminants include:

  • Airborne chemicals coming from various sources such as building materials, cleaning products, cosmetics, scents (air “fresheners”), paint, furniture, cooking
  • Stale air
  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Dust
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pollen
  • Mold

We have no choice in breathing. But if we keep breathing contaminated air, we run the risk of developing health concerns, either short-term, or long-term.

The American College of Allergists says that 50% of all illnesses are either caused by, or aggravated by, polluted indoor air. Pregnant women, fetuses, infants, children and the elderly are most vulnerable to indoor air pollution.

And while short-term health effects sound merely bothersome, including irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches and fatigue, the long-term health effects are rather scary: These can include respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer (EPA). 

According to the latest research, cancer has become the second leading cause of death worldwide. Toxic exposures in the environment are responsible for a substantial percentage of all cancers, between 7 and 19%, according to Environmental Health Perspectives.

How to protect yourself from poor IAQ

Even though we have no choice in breathing, we can control the quality of the air we are exposed to the most. This can be done through source control, improved ventilation and humidity control,

Open windows regularly. Even when it is cold outside, it is important to avoid a buildup of stale and contaminated air indoors.

Avoid using products that can release harmful chemicals or fumes.

Replace your HVAC filters regularly.

Use an indoor air purifier. A complete indoor air purifier needs to have activated carbon, HEPA and UV filters as well as prefilters. They can be free-standing, or attached to the HVAC system and they can run continuously to help remove airborne chemicals, fumes, odors, particles, allergens, asthmagens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Not every air purifier is built the same. AllerAir offers the most trusted filters and a variety of options to give you the most effective air purifier for your IAQ concerns. Guaranteed.

Call 1-888-852-8247 for a free consultation or write to for more information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Air pollution affects children's memory, IQ: Study

Exposure to air pollution  can damage the brain,
a new study shows.
City smog lowers children's IQ.

This is among findings from a recent University of Montana study that found children living in cities with significant air pollution are at an increased risk for detrimental impacts to the brain, including short-term memory loss and lower IQ.

Findings by UM Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children with lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current U.S. standards, including fine particulate matter, are at an increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Calderón-Garcidueñas' findings are detailed in a paper titled "Decreases in Short-Term Memory, IQ and Altered Brain Metabolic Rations in Urban Apolipoprotein ε4 Children Exposed to Air Pollution," which can be found online here.

The study found that clinically healthy children who live in a polluted environment and who also carry a gene - the apolipoprotein ε4 allele, already known to increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease - demonstrated compromised cognitive responses when compared with children carrying a gene with apolipoprotein ε3 allele.

Urban growth leads to environmental pollution

Metropolitan Mexico City is an example of extreme urban growth and serious environmental pollution, where 8 million children are involuntarily exposed to harmful concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air every day beginning at conception.

The study matched two groups of children living in Mexico City by multiple variables, including age, gender, socioeconomic status and education, among others.

They then compared children carrying the ε4 allele to children carrying the ε3 allele and found that those with the ε4 allele had three significant alterations.

They had short-term memory shortfalls, an IQ that while within the normal limits measured 10 points less, and changes in key metabolites in the brain that mirror those of people with Alzheimer's disease.

"The results add to growing data suggesting ε4 carriers could have a higher risk of developing early Alzheimer's disease if they reside in a polluted urban environment," Calderón-Garcidueñas said.

She said the study also raises concerns about important educational issues. Since Mexico City children mostly attend underprovided public schools, children do not build cognitive reserves that serve as a defense to pollution impacts.

"A IQ difference of 10 points will likely have a negative impact on academic and social issues, including bullying and teen delinquency," she said.

A serious public health issue

The authors argue that sustained exposures to urban air pollution result in cognitive underperformance and metabolic brain changes that could lead to an acceleration of neurodegenerative changes.

Air pollution is a serious public health issue, and exposures to concentrations of air pollutants at or above the current standards have been linked to neuroinflammation and neuropathology.

In the U.S. alone, 200 million people live in areas where pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter exceed the standards.

There are significant associations between exposures to particulate matter and increased mortality due to stroke, cardiovascular disease and respiratory events. The problem in children living in megacities like Mexico City is much worse.

"There is an urgent need to have a broader focus on APOE ε4 and air pollution interactions impacting children's brains, and their responses could provide new avenues toward the unprecedented opportunity for Alzheimer's disease prevention," Calderón-Garcidueñas said.

"We have a 50-year window of opportunity between the time urban children experience the detrimental effects we are describing here and when they will present with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. We need support for studying the current pediatric clinical and imaging evidence in highly exposed urban children. Our efforts should be aimed to identify and mitigate environmental factors influencing Alzheimer's disease."

Source: Press release via EurekAlert

Breathe fresher air indoors

AllerAir offers units in all sizes and
price ranges.
When the outdoor air is polluted, indoor air can become a health hazard as well - since contaminants can build up indoors and affect your health and well-being in the long term.

AllerAir's complete air purifiers with activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV address common ambient air concerns, including airborne chemicals, odors, fumes, particles, allergens and biological contaminants.

AllerAir offers mobile general purpose air purifiers as well as units that address specific concerns, including allergies and asthma, MCS, smoke, and much more.

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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Website down...

Apparently our hosting company has had a catastrophic equipment failure. Our websites are down. Please call during business hours for any help 1-888-852-8247 or email