from wood smoke, fragrances, and lawn chemicals
Take Back The Air ©2012
WOOD SMOKE: Not just a nuisance... it is a severe public health hazard
Before smoking bans prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants, people at least had a choice to not patronize smoking establishments. But no one has that choice now, even on our own properties. We are forced to breathe wood smoke in all seasons, from back yard fire pits, indoor chimneys, wood burning restaurants and from traveling "smokers" and wood burning grills at public events.
Public bonfires have become the norm for many public, athletic and school events. Smoke from outdoor recreational wood burning has increased exponentially since the indoor smoking bans, corresponding with the high asthma rates and absenteeism in our city schools.
There is currently no place or agency where anyone can turn for relief from wood smoke. We hope you will join our efforts towards cleaner air in our communities. Our lives and that of loved ones depend on banding together for a "larger voice".
Join forces with Moms Clean Air Force
WOOD SMOKE FACTS:
Wood smoke's fine particles are implicated in:
- The science on wood smoke is clear: There is no safe level of wood smoke. It is a well-documented public health hazard, according to the MN Department of Health, US Centers for Disease Control, the American Lung Association, and many others.
- The higher the particle pollution level in neighborhoods and cities, the higher the premature death rates in the general population.
- Residential recreational wood burning and restaurant wood burning are major sources of toxic black carbon soot in neighborhoods where high concentrations of people live.
- Wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death in people of all ages. Children and unborn children are among the most vulnerable, along with the elderly or anyone with asthma, cardiac conditions, or other lung or breathing problems. These groups comprise a significant portion of our population.
- The Harvard School of Public Health studied 5 major American cities during a 3-month experimental ban on wood burning. During that period, they found that hospital death rates from respiratory disease and heart attacks went down dramatically.
- London has banned wood, solid fuel and coal burning since 1957 when about 4,500 people died in a high-particulate smog event, called the "London Smog Incident".
- Asthma and asthma attacks
- Heart disease and heart attacks
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Reproductive and other birth defects, such as genital defects in babies
- Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Other neurological disorders, including migraines, hyperactivity and drowsiness
Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Wood smoke violates the property rights of taxpayers to use and enjoy their property smoke free.
Global Warming; Climate Change
OTHER WOOD SMOKE LINKS:
- Wood smoke presents a "physical barrier" that may prevent some people with disabilities such as asthma or heart disease from accessing public spaces.
- Cities have accessibility requirements under the ADA Guidelines that require cities to remove all barriers to the use and access of public spaces for people with disabilities. It's the law.
WOOD SMOKE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate
Wood Smoke in Minneapolis
Wood Smoke in Minneapolis - Comments
Help Reduce Wood Smoke Join Our Efforts
Reasons to Prohibit Wood Burning in Minneapolis Parks
Minneapolis recommended changes to Rec Fire Code
Wood Smoke Agricultural Yields
Wood Smoke and the ADA
Wood Smoke Facts
Woodsmoke; the other secondhand smoke
Wood smoke flyer to download: Wood smoke facts; the most comprehensive website,
"Smoke Related Chemical Discovered in the Atmosphere Could Have Health Implications", Science/Daily (May 17, 2011),
Overview of Smoke-Related Death and Disease, "Wood smoke causes significant DNA Damage",
"Poor air harms lungs of unborn,"
"American Lung Association Cautions against Wood-Burning and Urges Cleaner Alternatives for Winter Heat",
Environment and Human Health, Inc.'s Research Shows Outdoor Wood Furnaces are Dangerous to People's Health",
Study: Reducing Soot is Fastest Way to Slow Climate Change",
"Black Carbon: An Overlooked Climate Factor",
"Al Gore calls on world to burn less wood and fuel to curb 'black carbon'",
New Study Reveals a Major Cause of Global Warming – Ordinary Soot", Science News,
"Black Carbon Emerges as a Main Contributor to Global Warming", World Resources Institute, Earth Trends, March 30, 2008,
"NASA RESEARCH SHOWS HEAVY SMOKE 'CHOKES' CLOUDS",
"UN Agencry Urges Measures to Slash Non-Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Gas Pollutants",
"Black carbon emerges as a main contributor to global warming",
Scented laundry products (and other scente products) are a threat to human health and the environment
Like tobacco smoke or wood smoke, fragrances can also violate our right to use and enjoy our properties free of toxic fragrance fumes.
Fragrance chemicals are implicated in:
- In classrooms and other public settings, the presence of fragrance chemicals presents a physical barrier that may prevent people with breathing disabilities such as asthma from using public spaces. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires cities to remove all barriers to accessing public spaces as a basic civil right.
- Many places of employment now have policies prohibiting the use of fragranced products in the work environment to accommodate those with sensitivities.
- With asthma as the number one reason for school absenteeism, many schools are urging students and staff not to use scented products, including scented laundry products, because they are a trigger for asthma attacks, migraine headaches and other behavioral or neurological problems, including hyperactivity and drowsiness.
- Asthma attacks
- COPD exacerbation
- Heart attacks
- Chronic fatigue syndrome / fibromyalgia
- Autism, Aspergers Syndrome
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Reproductive and other birth defects
- Migraine headaches and other neurological problems, including behavioral problems such as hyperactivity or drowsiness
ESSENTIAL OIL-BASED PRODUCTS ALSO HARM HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- Compelling scientific research has discovered numerous toxic and undisclosed chemicals in fragranced products. Most fragrance chemicals are formaldehyde-based. They contaminate storm water, waste water, bodies of water and aquatic life, in addition to polluting the air we breathe. In less than one minute, fragrances enter our lungs and all major body organ systems. ("Hidden Hazards in Fragranced Consumer Products"). The Water Center fact sheet, Feb. 2009.
- Washing clothes with scented laundry products contaminates not only the air, but also the drain water that is released into sewers and contaminates ground water, lakes and streams. mcs-america.org/steinemannlaundrydetergentfabricsoftener.pdf
Whether scented products are made with essential oils (plant-based sources) or from other sources, all fragranced products can be triggers for asthma attacks and heart attacks. The odors themselves, in addition to the chemicals that emerge during the milling and distilling process, which are called "terpenes," are essentially turpentine, a classified carcinogen. They can be a trigger for asthma attacks, heart attacks, migraine headaches and behavioral problems such as drowsiness or hyperactivity. Terpenes are a classified hazardous substance. mcs-america.org/fragrancefacts.pdf.
- SCENTED LAUNDRY PRODUCTS are especially harmful. We breathe them into our lungs 24 hours a day. Their fragrance chemicals are so strong that in order to remove fragrances from clothing that has been previously washed in scented laundry products, it can take up to 4-5 separate washings in unscented detergent before the odor is completely eliminated.
- The persistent organic compounds in fragrance chemicals build up in the environment and in our bodies and do not break down.
- Fragrance chemicals contain many of the same toxins and carcinogens that are in cigarette smoke, such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, hydrocarbons, and many other carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals. They accumulate and do not break down in our bodies or in the environment.
They emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. These "persistent organic compounds" (POCs), build up over time, paving the way for health and environmental problems now, and for generations to come.
- The fragrance industry does not have to disclose what is in their products, except to indicate if a product contains fragrance on the ingredients list. Spreading public awareness is crucial, because the public is not protected from the hazardous toxins in scented products, including scented laundry products.
- Fragrances contain phthalates, the hormone-disrupting and so called "gender bending" chemicals that are also in plastics. Yet our exposure to phthalates from fragrances is far more pervasive and noticeable than from plastics. Phthalates in fragrances can cause genital malformations and other birth defects in babies, especially in baby boys. Reproductive birth defects and other birth defects are dramatically on the rise. health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/893/6211-26-2005
- Long term or short term fragrance exposures can even cause asthma, birth defects and other diseases,
The MN Department of Health, the American Lung Association and the US Centers for Disease Control state on their websites that fragrances, along with smoke of all kinds, are a trigger for approximately 78% of asthmatics.
Fragrance chemicals now contaminate many clear plastic wrappings in grocery stores, thereby contaminating the products within the wrappings. It is hard to notice the scented wrapping when in food stores, due to their high ventilation systems. But in your car or at home, you will smell the "scented laundry detergent smell" of the plastic bags and wrappings of your produce, including milk and juice containers.
Grocers have told us that they buy recycled plastic cubes they can melt into their own bags, and that these cubes have been contaminated by fragrances, so that this problem is increasing.
We must tell our grocers that foods contaminated with fragrance chemicals are not wholesome and we will not buy foods that are contaminated with hormone-disrupting, carcinogenic chemicals.
- Perfumed food is not only unhealthy, but it is also unappetizing.
- Beware of misleading labels: Most fragrance chemicals contain classified and suspected carcinogens, despite claims of "safe, non-toxic, natural, organic, biodegradable, pure, green" etc. If a product says "fragrance" on the ingredient list, the word "fragrance" alone indicates it is not "green", "biodegradable", "natural" or "non-toxic", etc. They are not safe to use or for others to breathe.
NOTE: Some "Bounce" products claim to be fragrance-free on their label, but one whiff dispels that claim. If in doubt, do the "sniff test" for family and friends who may not realize their laundry products are scented.
SNIFF TEST: Use a paper napkin or paper toweling that isn't scented. First have someone sniff the unscented item several times. Then have them sniff a clothing item that is in question, such as their shirt sleeve. They are often surprised at how strong the clothing smells by comparison. Especially when they hadn't noticed it before or believed they were fragrance free.
WHERE TO BUY FRAGRANCE-FREE PRODUCTS:
They are increasingly available in many whole or natural food stores, and online. Unscented laundry products are stocked in most grocery stores. Target stores carry fragrance free laundry products and other unscented products. Some Walmart stores & Walgreen stores also carry them.
MORE INFORMATIVE FRAGRANCE LINKS
- Tell your grocer to stock more fragrance free products. Many will do so upon request.
- Many natural cleaning or laundry detergent recipes are online—but do not use essential oils to add fragrance, as some recipes suggest, because they too have strong odors, and they can affect others with their turpentine-like toxins from the distilling process.
- You may want to stop using fabric softeners altogether; they are often not really needed.
Breath easy brochure
Why air fresheners are bad for you
Fragrance flyer to download and distribute: "Breathe Easier-Hold the Fragrances,"
"Scented Laundry Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals Through Dryer Vents",
"Odor Tyrants: Those sensitive to Scents Fight Back",
"Perfume Chemicals - Toxic Perfume and Fragrance Chemicals - The Daily Green"
"Attack of the killer clothes dryer | Watts Up With That?"
"Perfume Bans Catching On",
"Scented Toys Pose Risk to Children",
CHEC chemical profiles of fragrance chemicals, CHEC's Healthehouse,
"Perfumes and asthma don't mix", Perfumes
"'Non-Toxic' Scented Products Emit Toxic Chemicals",
LAWN CHEMICALS: HAZARDOUS TO PEOPLE, PETS, ASTHMATICS, WILDLIFE and the ENVIRONMENT
This section is abbreviated, because our immediate focus is on reducing wood smoke in our communities. It is still important to recognize that lawn chemicals, wood smoke and fragrance chemicals all contain hundreds of the same toxicants that are in tobacco smoke.
Lawn chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and weed control products, should all be addressed if we want to improve public health, air and water quality, grow healthier crops and reduce global warming.
The infusing of city parks and school grounds with toxic lawn chemicals may also violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits "barriers" That prevent "access" to public spaces—especially for people with breathing disabilities, such as asthma, COPD or heart disease. Children, the elderly or anyone with disabilities are among the most vulnerable, just as they are to tobacco smoke, wood smoke, and other pollutants.
FACTS: Lawn FERTILIZERS, PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES:
- Invade people's air space without their permission, violating their right to breathe clean air on their own property.
- Can cause or exacerbate asthma; cause asthma attacks
- Harm pets and people.
- Share many of the same toxic chemicals that are also in wood smoke, tobacco smoke and fragrance chemicals.
- Pervade public spaces, such as streets, parks and sidewalks, making them less accessible to people with disabilities, such as asthma and other disabilities
- Contaminate ground water and pollute our water supply.
- Can cause cancer.
- Can cause birth defects.
- Children and pets track these chemicals into homes.
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