I used to workin an office where every two months we’d get a visit from Gus.
Gus was the bug guy. He was very friendly, so we all liked him just fine. But we hated to see him at the reception desk.
He always stunk up the place.
Gus went from room to room, spraying the baseboards with some kind of industrial-strength roach killer. And we all went home with headaches.
Indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air
After each of these visits, one of my coworkers–a chronic hypochondriac–would fuss that we were going to get lung cancer from the spraying. Turns out, while my coworker’s prediction was a little over the top, she was on the right track.
I’ve warned you before about the dangers lurking in our inside air. The EPA reports that indoor air is often 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. And the chemicals in some “air fresheners” actually increase indoor pollution.
But air fresheners aren’t deliberately designed to be toxic. So imagine what you’re doing to the air in your home when you spray a poison designed to kill insects.
Imagine what you’re doing to your health.
Autoimmune diseases linked to pesticides
Christine Parks, Ph.D., studies disease control for the National Institute of Environmental Health Services. She had a hunch that household insecticides might make us sick. Previous studies had already linked two autoimmune disorders – lupus and rheumatoid arthritis – to the use of agricultural pesticides.
Dr. Parks and her NIEHS team analyzed a study that gathered health data on nearly 77,000 postmenopausal women. And the study happened to include data on residential insecticide use.
- Women who used insecticides had a higher risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Women who used the most insecticides were twice as likely to develop the two disorders
You can find “green” insecticides with a quick Google search. But you still won’t be able to get away from Gus. He’s out there. He, or someone like him, is spraying a toxic concoction in offices, stores, restaurants, schools – anywhere bugs go…which is everywhere we go.
“Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases” Randy Dotinga, HealthDay News, healthday.com
“One Pair of Dirty Hands Equals Many Infections” Reuters Health, 10/20/09, reutershealth.com
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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