Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH LIVING and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-456-6018 or by email. Stay safe!

Love Your Lungs

Learn more about the most common home chemicals linked to respiratory irritation and lung cancer.

| May/June 2015

  • A whole-house filter will effectively remove chlorine and disinfection byproducts (DBPs) from the water
    Photo by GAP Photos
  • Reduce your risk of several cancers by avoiding common VOCs found in household products.
    Photo by iStock
  • Common sources of indoor air pollution include building and upholstery materials, paints, varnishes, household cleaning supplies, furniture polishes, wood stoves, perfumes, glues and air fresheners.
    Photo by GAP Photos
  • Reduce or eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to improve indoor air quality and reduce your risk of lung cancer.
    Photo by Corbis
  • To reduce levels of potentially hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your kitchen, use natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda, and make sure to run the vent hood fan when cooking on the stovetop.
    Photo by GAP Photos
  • Airborne chemicals are among the leading causes of lung cancer.
    Photo by iStock

Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 Americans were diagnosed with the illness in 2011. Because lung cancer typically produces few symptoms until the disease is advanced, most cases are diagnosed after the cancer has spread. It’s the most common cause of death from cancer. While smoking remains the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer, the EPA lists radon and other airborne chemicals as the second-leading cause of the disease. Eliminate the following risk factors from your home.

All About VOCs

You’ve probably heard the term VOCs bandied about in just about any discussion of indoor air quality. But do you know exactly what VOCs are, which ones are most dangerous and how to reduce them in your home?

VOCs are volatile organic compounds. Volatile means these chemicals have a low boiling point and go into gaseous states at low temperatures, making them airborne and easily inhaled. A long list of chemicals fits under the VOC umbrella. Many VOCs are known irritants and toxicants with adverse health effects of acute and chronic exposure, including asthma and other respiratory diseases; liver and kidney dysfunction; neurologic impairment; and cancer. Possible signs of acute exposure include irritation to the nose, throat and eyes; breathlessness; headache; nausea; dizziness; and fatigue. People with asthma may have worsened symptoms.

However, not all VOCs are bad. Take, for instance, plant essential oils such as lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus—all VOCs. When you peel an orange, you smell natural VOCs. (You’ll often notice an odor from VOCs.) Yet, when levels of ozone (an air pollutant) are high, even seemingly harmless chemicals in citrus and pine essential oils (used in air fresheners and to scent many cleaning agents) can react with ozone to form formaldehyde, other VOCs and ultrafine particles, which can damage the heart and lungs. Speaking of ozone, some people make the mistake of using store-bought air purifiers that add this gas to the air. Paul Ziemann and Jose Jimenez, professors at the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, advise against that. Formed by joining three oxygen atoms together, ozone disinfects but also irritates tissues, especially the lungs. It also forms dangerous compounds from reactions with VOCs.

An EPA study found levels of about a dozen common VOCs to be two to five times higher inside homes than outside. For certain activities, such as stripping paint, exposure is high during use and can persist for hours afterward. In 2014, a team led by Stuart Batterman, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, determined prominent personal VOC exposures. Outside the house, the top causes of exposure included gasoline vapors, vehicle exhaust and chlorinated solvents. Inside the house, exposure came primarily from disinfection byproducts (bleach and, in some cities, chlorinated drinking water), cleaning products and odorants (product fragrances).

At least three factors determine whether or not any given VOC can cause adverse effects:

7/20/2015 5:03:20 AM

Thanks for all your information, Website is very nice and informative content.

7/20/2015 4:44:20 AM

This article is really fantastic and thanks for sharing the valuable post.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


click me