Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Jul 25

Forget outdoor pollution – it’s the air in your HOME that is ruining your lungs: Study warns gas cookers and cleaning products are driving an asthma epidemic in the US and the UK

Outdoor air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths in the US, 40,000 in the UK
But experts warn indoor air quality is also a danger as we spend more time inside

A report warns mold, cleaning products and gas cookers drive up asthma risk

Indoor pollution is driving an epidemic of asthma and lung diseases in the US and the UK, experts have warned.

Outdoor air pollution is known to be a killer, accounting for 200,000 premature deaths a year in the United States and 40,000 in the United Kingdom.

But experts warn we have turned a blind eye to the damaging impact of poor air in the home.

Now, new research has shed light on the damaging impact of central heating, gas cookers, cleaning product chemicals, and mold on our lungs.

The researchers insist it is particularly concerned since we now spend 90 percent of our time inside.

The findings were published in a study by Puressentiel, a firm which sells healthcare products made from essential oils.

However, Professor Tim Sharpe, a researcher with the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit who is not connected to the company, warned the findings point to a large and neglected field of research.

‘Modern homes are increasingly airtight and can also contain a great number of pollutants and chemicals, many of which can have serious health effects,’ he said.

Central heating, gas cookers, pets, open fires, chemicals found in household cleaners and the flame retardants used in furnishings are just a few of the factors which are undermining our indoor air quality.

Condensation is commonplace, with studies suggesting up to 46 percent of homes have signs of damp and mold.

Moisture is a problem because it encourages the proliferation of irritant mold and fungal spores as well as house-dust mites — which can trigger asthma attacks and breathing difficulties associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Warmth, moisture and lack of ventilation also make it easier for bacteria and viruses to survive and spread.

Last year, the British Royal College of Physicians raised the alarm and warned: ‘We must strengthen our understanding of the relationship between indoor air pollution and health, including the key risk factors and effects of poor air quality in our homes, schools and workplaces.’

Professor Louis-Jean Couderc, a respiratory specialist based at the Foch Hospital in Paris, agrees, adding: ‘Infectious agents play a key role in asthma, in combination with environmental factors and allergies. These three mechanisms exacerbate one another.’

‘Getting rid of airborne allergens and improving indoor air quality are therefore the first stages in treating respiratory allergies.’

The French journal, General Medicine, came to the same conclusion, reporting: ‘Respiratory viruses are aggravating factors for asthma and play a role in triggering exacerbations. Getting rid of airborne allergens and improving indoor air quality are therefore the first stages in treating respiratory allergies.’

In the past, people burnt aromatic oils in the belief that the sweet smells would protect them from disease, and we now know that scents can, indeed, influence our health.

When we inhale the aroma molecules of essential oils they activate receptor cells in the nasal passage which send signals to our brain and triggers the release of neuro-messengers linked to our immune response and other body systems.

This, coupled with the fact that essential oils have a chemical structure which closely resembles hormones, makes them uniquely useful when it comes to respiratory symptoms.

That is because they not only tackle many of the infectious agents which drive breathing problems, but they also help modulate our response to environmental triggers such as allergens.

Dr Chris Etheridge says: ‘They are often associated with spas and beauty treatments, but there is much more to essential oils and aromatherapy than pleasant scents. We now know that these oils contain powerful compounds which have identifiable modes of action and a wide range of beneficial properties.

Professor Mark Fielder, an expert in microbiology based at Kingston University,and vice president of the Society for Applied Microbiology agreed.

‘There is increasing interest in the use of natural biocides, and it’s quite likely that using them in combination creates a synergistic effect which enhances their action and reduces the risk of microbial resistance,’ he explained.

The findings of a clinical trial of an air purifying spray made up of 41 different essential oils confirms this synergistic effect.

Modern homes are increasingly airtight and contain a great number of pollutants and chemicals, many of which can have serious health effects Professor Tim Sharpe

Bedding and carpets in the homes of 53 volunteers with a history of respiratory problems were infested with house-dust mites before the Puressentiel Purifying Spray was sprayed into each corner of the room, and above the sheets and pillow.

This was repeated twice a day for four weeks and at the end of the study, three out of four of the volunteers showed significant improvements in their forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume — two important measures of lung function.

Researchers concluded: ‘The spray exerted a slight broncho-dilating effect documented by the respiratory function tests and improved the quality of life of the volunteers.’

Laboratory tests confirm Puressentiel Purifying Spray kills house-dust mites in less than an hour and has a repellency rate of 97 percent seven days after spraying.

Similarly, when fungal spores were exposed to the spray for just five minutes the reduction in viable spores was the equivalent of 99.99 percent clearance.

Tests against eight different bacteria, including MRSA and streptococcus, showed the spray inhibited bacterial growth more effectively than a prescription antibiotic.

The researchers’ verdict was: ‘When faced with an indoor environment with multiple pathogens, particularly strains associated with respiratory infections, an essential oil mixture with broad spectrum antibacterial properties, is an undeniable asset.’

Professor Louis-Jean Couderc, a respiratory specialist based at the Foch Hospital in Paris who has reviewed the evidence believes: ‘The anti-infectious effects of Puressentiel Purifying Spray constitute a valuable adjunct in patients with chronic respiratory diseases.’

Source: Daily Mail

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.