Kids, Chemicals, and Asthma

If you’ve been wondering about the links between environmental toxins and children’s asthma, today’s a great day to learn more. Through Enviroblog’s Twitter feed, I found A Conversation About Children and Chemicals with Environmental Working Group and Seventh Generation. You can watch the whole webcast through that link or view shorter, subject-specific segments. Halfway down the page on the left side, check out the video with pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene. He explains the health dangers of childhood exposure to household cleaners and other products that contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), using the asthma epidemic as an example.

Here’s an eye-opening sample of his talk:

It’s become the single. . . . biggest chronic illness in kids today. And that’s recent. In the last 15 years it’s doubled. The CDC now calls it an epidemic. . . .and to understand asthma a little bit you need to understand that wheezing is actually a normal response. It’s a cool protective thing our body does. But in some people what happens is, instead of wheezing when you need to, you get where you can’t help wheezing even when you shouldn’t be. That’s asthma. . . . One pathway where it switches from normal to abnormal is when people are exposed chronically to low levels of toxic things. It just makes their airways twitchy all the time. . . . The EPA has determined that even if you live across the street from an oil refinery, you’re going to be exposed to more of these VOC’s in your own home. One of the major ways is through cleaning products. [emphasis mine]

Scary, right? Go check out the whole video, which runs a little under six minutes, and Enviroblog to learn more. On Thursday, I’ll have links and some DIY tips for reducing the VOC’s in your home.

9 responses to “Kids, Chemicals, and Asthma”

  1. Asthmagirl says:

    Oh my gosh… so true. I can’t wait to see your VOC reduction list… I wonder if it matches mine!

  2. Noelle says:

    I accidentally sprayed concentrated cleaning solution on my counters the other day (I thought I had diluted it) and man, I felt that in my lungs for about 12 hours. I tried not to think about any damage I might have done that I didn’t feel….

  3. Amy says:

    Asthmagirl, I’m sure it does since AG seems to be you, in miniature.

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