by Amber Alcoser
• A chronic respiratory disease which
has 5 main signs: coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness
of breath and mucus production. The lungs and airway swell
and produce the mucus to protect itself and rid what is irritating
• There are many causes for an asthma attack but the
majorities are caused by an irritant or substance entering
the lungs and irritating the airways. These irritants or commonly
known as triggers can be:
o dust mites
o cigarette smoke
• This disease is not to be
taken lightly. A few shocking statistics:
o There are 5 million children and 20
million people in the US affected by asthma.
o Asthma is the third leading cause of childhood hospitalization
and caused a total of 5,000 deaths in the US last year.
o Most children are not taking their medications to help
prevent the disease.
• Make sure you have been to the doctor
and started your plan. Work with the doctor and understand
the medications and how to take them. Ask questions and learn
what can be triggers. Then eliminate the triggers and keep
• An allergy is when the body's immune
response reacts in a way which is abnormal. The body acts
out as a result of coming in contact with irritating particles.
The substance is called the allergen. There are many know
allergens. Examples include pollen, dust, mold spores, animal
dander, and chemicals.
• The allergen triggers the immune system to produce
antibodies and thereby cause an allergic reaction. Sometime
the reaction can also be called "hypersensitivity reaction".
Allergies can be triggered by eating, touching, or breathing
in an allergen. Allergies are often associated with asthma,
especially in children. A very common symptom of allergies
is eczema or a skin disorder causing it to be red, itchy and
• 50 million Americans have allergies. Since the 1980s
allergy occurrences have been on the rise and now affect 1
out of 3 children.
• Talk to your doctor and keep a journal of activities
and food intake. If possible for a better quality of life,
eliminate the allergens.
all children who have allergies develop asthma. Chances for
asthma in children are greater when a parent has asthma because
it is a genetic disease. However just because one is prone
to develop asthma does not mean they will have it. More recent
studies are showing that the causes and symptoms for asthma
are on the rise and it is pointing to environmental causes.
The TOP 3 childhood health concerns for our government in
2007 are asthma, neurological disorders, and childhood cancers.
- How do they Relate?
According to the EPA- Children may be more
vulnerable to environmental exposures than adults because:
• Their bodily systems are still developing
• They eat more, drink more, and breathe more in proportion
to their body size
• Their behavior can expose them more to chemicals and
• Environment is not just outdoors; it is indoors as
well. We spend more time indoors than outdoors and it is proven
that our indoor air contains 2-5 times (sometimes 17 times)
more pollution than outside. Reason being, our homes are sealed
and we use many products which release into the air and then
are recycled throughout the home; not released
So, what’s a toxin? Defined- it is any poisonous substance
that can cause illness, injury, or death.
A history of common household toxins:
• Chlorine gas was created during WWII and in liquid
form was found to be a great whitener! Formaldehyde, an embalming
agent was used in the early 1900’s was found to be a
great preserver and can be found today in many of our personal
products and cleaners.
• Women began working and did not have time to spend
all day washing clothes or scrubbing toilets. So industries
needed to come up with products which could do the job in
a faster manner.
• It takes 10 years for a chemical to be studied and
the affects known. The FDA lacks the power to make manufacturers
test and prove that they provide safe products for our homes.
They simply have to put a warning label on the back saying
do not drink, inhale or touch. A recent testimony to how the
FDA does not have the ability to adequately test industries:
the recall of the drugs VIOXX and Celebrex. Recent studies
and research are showing that all these chemicals and toxins
are affecting our health, children, and planet. The studies
are pointing to one big culprit: Industry
what does a toxin do exactly?
• Most household toxins cause irritation
to skin, lungs and eyes. Our skin is like a sponge, it absorbs
what is put on it and our lungs breathe in what we use.
• Some toxins can cause endocrine disruption. In other
words the chemicals and hormones in the body can be interrupted
by these toxins in the body. The chemicals can be pesticides,
fertilizers and detergents. Once again -It is unknown how
many endocrine disruptors are currently in use because most
industrial chemicals have not been tested for their ability
to interfere with the endocrine system.
• Chemicals can be allergens. They can be an asthma
or allergy trigger. The fumes or substance releases ‘particles’
into the air; fumes. This is how you smell something. A child
or person with limited lung capacity breaths it in and it
can cause them difficulty.
• Even more studies are revealing that some chemicals
such as formaldehyde are proven to be cancer causing.
What can be done?
• Be an informed consumer. An average person puts 9
personal products with 126 unique chemicals on their skin
• Buy products which are responsible and safe. There
are companies which support these findings and give consumers
a better choice.
• Become an active citizen and help support organizations
which are trying to get the FDA, EPA, and other government
agencies to hold these companies responsible.
“Product safety is any company’s choice and any
consumer’s guess.” -EWG