Friday, May 21, 2010

Childhood Asthma and How to Combat It

Childhood asthma is a debilitating disease that affects the lungs of young children and can last throughout adulthood.  Childhood asthma can be terrifying; it is also on the rise.

Childhood asthma is now the most common condition in the developed world, and things aren’t getting any better.

The problem is that the lungs are very sensitive organs that eagerly absorb inhaled air to pick up all the oxygen that they can. In the process, lungs also absorb any particles in the air straight into their tissues. You may not be surprised to learn that the air indoors is filled with all kinds of particles that can cause damage to the lung tissue.
High on the list are particles produced from (1)paint and (2)outgassing.
*VOCs and other fume particles are clearly bad news, causing a variety of illnesses throughout the body, but when a baby is raised in a home where there’s a lot of VOCs, its lungs can become permanently weakened.
 VOCs and other fume particles can come from paint, home cleaning products, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, bleach and ammonia (to name a few things).

You may have never heard of outgassing.  Here is some more detail . . . .  one way it happens is when particle board is used to build houses. They release particles (called" exhaling") from inside its fibers into the air. Unfortunately, particle board is put together with truly nasty chemicals like formaldehyde, which have been proven to cause lung damage when they are inhaled.

And before you start blaming these construction chemicals for all the asthma in the world, take a good look at the studies done in Australia and Europe that link childhood asthma to common household cleaners, especially bleach. Window cleaners, air fresheners, and disinfectants were also pinpointed.

If you are worried about your child developing an asthma condition or if they already have asthma you may feel a bit panicky. That is understandable and may be your call to action!

Fortunately there are things you can do to make your home safer and hopefully asthma-free.

First, be extra careful of what chemical cleaners, personal care products and cosmetics you use. When in doubt, always look at the labels. If there’s a warning sign, it’s there for a reason. Stay away from bleach and try using eco-friendly products, stain-fighting enzymes, and ionized water when possible.

Second, use green construction materials wherever possible. VOC-free paints and varnishes are a must. To get rid of the out-gassing effect, try using green particle board instead. This board uses recycled lumber materials and natural resins instead of formaldehyde and other nasty chemicals.

*VOCs  = Volatile Organic Compounds 
For more info on how to go greener and cleaner go here and then after you peruse the info . . . click on "request information" near the top. 

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