Beware the threat of DNA damage and other harms from household pollutants

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dna-damage-linked-to-indoor-air-pollution(NaturalHealth365)  In today’s modern world, our homes should be our sanctuaries, places of safety and comfort.  However, lurking within the walls of our houses are silent threats that can harm us in ways we may not even realize.  From seemingly harmless household pollutants to everyday products we use without a second thought, the dangers to our health are ever-present.

In this article, we delve into the insidious risks posed by common household pollutants, shedding light on the hidden dangers that could be undermining our health, causing DNA damage, and contributing to other health concerns.

Cooking up trouble: Study reveals health impacts of indoor emissions

A study published in Particle and Fibre Toxicology investigated the potential systemic health effects of exposure to fine and ultrafine particles emitted during common indoor activities such as cooking and burning candles.  Specifically, the research aimed to determine whether short-term exposure to these emissions triggers inflammatory changes in young individuals with mild asthma.

The study involved 36 non-smoking asthmatics who participated in a randomized, controlled, double-blind crossover trial, attending three exposure sessions:

(a) air mixed with emissions from cooking

(b) air mixed with emissions from candles

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(c) clean filtered air

Various biomarkers were assessed, including surfactant Protein-A (SP-A) and albumin in droplets in exhaled air, which serve as novel indicators for changes in small airway surfactant composition.  Secondary outcomes included cytokines, C-reactive protein (CRP), epithelial progenitor cells (EPCs), genotoxicity, gene expression related to DNA repair, oxidative stress, inflammation, and metabolites in blood.  Samples were collected before exposure, immediately after exposure, and the following morning, providing insights into the potential health implications of indoor particle exposure.

The study found that exposure to emissions from cooking and burning candles had varying effects on different health-related biomarkers.  While some biomarkers showed significant changes in response to exposure, others remained unaffected.

Specifically, exposure to cooking emissions led to increased levels of damaged DNA due to oxidation and concentrations of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood.  Similarly, exposure to both cooking and candle emissions had a slight impact on the small airways, as evidenced by changes in primary outcomes such as surfactant Protein-A (SP-A) and albumin.

The threat posed by indoor air pollution is under the microscope

Indoor environments, whether residential or commercial, are influenced by a variety of factors that affect airflow and air quality.  From HVAC systems to emissions from furniture and consumer products, numerous elements contribute to the composition of indoor air.

An examination of data from 20 European countries highlights six primary categories of particulate matter of concern, including dust, inorganic aerosols, and biomass-burning residues.  These particulates infiltrate homes, schools, restaurants, and other communal spaces, posing potential health risks.

Unsurprisingly, research indicates that indoor air tends to be more polluted than outdoor air.  Indoor air quality is influenced by external factors and internal conditions such as temperature, humidity levels, ventilation effectiveness, and even lighting.

The analysis, spanning from 2009 to 2022, analyzed indoor air measurements collected from various settings, including residential buildings, schools, offices, and recreational venues like bars and restaurants.  Results reveal an average of over 900 problematic substances present in indoor spaces, many of which linger in the air.

These substances originate from a range of sources, including decorating products, paints, cleaning chemicals, and personal care items.  Additionally, the combustion of candles and fuels indoors releases chemicals directly into the air, posing inhalation risks.

Improve your indoor air quality with these simple strategies

Take proactive steps to enhance indoor air quality and create a healthier living environment for yourself and your family.  Use HVAC filters and air purifiers to remove allergens and other particles from indoor air by directing them to filters, thereby reducing airborne contaminants.  Additionally, allow fresh air to circulate by opening doors and windows for 5-10 minutes (or more if you like) each day to help refresh your home.

Another crucial step is regularly maintaining and replacing the cooktop’s air vent filters.  These filters play a vital role in capturing harmful emissions produced during cooking, preventing them from recirculating back into the kitchen and other areas of the home.  By ensuring that your cooktop filter is clean and functioning optimally, you can minimize indoor air pollution from cooking activities.

Furthermore, reconsider the frequency of burning candles in your home.  While candles can create a cozy ambiance, frequent burning can contribute to indoor air pollution, especially if the candles are heavily scented.  If you do use candles, be sure to look for 100% organic beeswax brands.  Or, instead, you may consider alternatives such as burning incense sparingly or diffusing essential oils.

Naturally, we should all stop using chemical-laden cleaning products by making your own natural cleaning solutions using ingredients like water, lemon oil or juice, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol.

Ultimately, putting all of these common-sense strategies into action will help us to enjoy the benefits of cleaner indoor air.  A real win for our family health.

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