Environment Plays Huge Role in Health: Seacoast Online Blogs
Posted by in Press on Jan 23, 2013
By Heikki Perry
A National Public Radio story indicates that people respond more favorably to issues framed in a health context rather than an environmental one, connecting our health to the environment. And there is much to be concerned about, according to three local experts.
The fall NPR story, titled “When Heat Kills: Global Warming As Public Health Threat,” cites emerging science that ”shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it’s portrayed as a health issue rather than as an environmental problem.” Health officials carry special credibility, the story says, “far more so than politicians, journalists, environmental activists and other widely heard voices on this topic.”
What do two local health-care providers, and a small-business owner whose company helps protect the environment, say about how local environments affect Seacoast residents’ health?
Healing Hands Community Chiropractic
Dr. Jessica Caruso of Healing Hands Community Chiropractic, 40 Pleasant St., Portsmouth, notes that a bad indoor environment significantly contributes to people’s health problems. Caruso conducts a workshop called “Hidden Health Hazards in the Home.”
“Today’s smaller, energy-efficient homes trap indoor air pollutants and hazardous chemicals resulting in the air inside your home being worse than outdoor pollution,” she says. “Studies by the federal Environmental Protection Agency have shown that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels.”
According to the Neighborhood Network’s 2002 Environmental Resource Directory, one of the greatest factors contributing to indoor pollution is hazardous cleaning products. The following chemical contents found in most household cleaning agents — ammonia, bleach, petroleum distillates, and paradichloro-benzene — have been shown to cause and/or trigger bronchitis, asthma, cancer, eye irritation, skin issues and heart conditions, to name just a few.
The solution, Dr. Caruso says, is to make your own cleaners with natural products such as baking soda, olive oil, essential oils and vinegar. More information on natural cleaning products can be found at http://bit.ly/N6VESI. Or, if you use a cleaning company, choose one that produces results using natural and safe cleaning agents. Green Maids of Eliot Maine is one such company; cleaning green is not an option with Green Maids, it’s how all of its houses are kept bright and shiny.
“Off-gassing” is another potential hazard. The term, first used in 1966 to describe the release of gaseous chemicals from a solid, is defined in the Construction Dictionary “as the release of airborne particulates, often from installed construction materials such as carpeting, cabinetry, or paint that can cause allergic reactions and other health problems in building occupants.”The problem is, Dr. Caruso says, “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Off-gassing also emanates from mattresses; stains and varnishes; insulation; flooring materials such as vinyl, finishes, adhesives; countertops; particle board; paint strippers; and cleaning supplies, according to the Healing Hands Community Chiropractic Web site,http://healinghandscc.org/health/toxic-home-newsletter/. Infants or toddlers and pets may more quickly be affected by prolonged proximity to off-gassing carpeting or flooring.
While avoiding off-gassing sources seems to be the most logical lifestyle choice, it is often not an option. Dr. Caruso recommends her patients undergo a “spinal adjustment,” a highly specialized procedure a chiropractor uses to free the body from a serious form of health-destroying nerve stress called “subluxation.” Chemical toxins are one the primary causes of spinal subluxation.
“The adjustment unlocks misaligned vertebrae and nearby tissues from their ‘stuck’ positions,” Dr. Caruso says, “freeing them to move where the body wants them to go and removing nerve interference. Your family chiropractor knows that a healthier lifestyle will help you avoid the chemical triggers that may cause spinal subluxation.”
Healing Hands Community Chiropractic is a business partner of the Green Alliance, a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices, and a green co-op offering discounted green products and services to its members. GA members receive a new patient consult and exam at Healing Hands for just $10 and a free stainless steel water bottle.