Health Hazards and Good Living
From Aerosols to air conditioning and exhaust fumes to X-Rays, hundreds of ordinary things can damage our health. Less direct but equally serious risks come from industries, agriculture, power stations, mines and waste disposal, in the form of water and air pollution, noise, stress, exposure to dangerous chemicals and even increased levels of radiation. And today there also exists climate change and global warming which though are longer term perils but still devastating and promise to affect the health, safety and comfort of future generations. Although many of these hazards are beyond the power of individuals to control, there is still much that each person can do to make the environment healthier.
Poisons are continually being pumped into the air by industries, traffic, agricultural spraying, power stations, aircrafts, aerosols and wood, coal and garden rubbish fires also. Health risks include headaches, eye disorders and irritation of the throat, lungs and respiratory tracts which can lead to allergies, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Some chemicals can enter the blood through the lungs, eventually damaging the Immune system, causing cancer and contributing to defects in newborn babies.
What we can do
Cut down on the use of vehicles for the lead from petrol and vehicle exhausts is one of the main reason for air pollution.
Use car pool or use public transport.
Walk wherever possible.
Cover your face when walking or jogging or on roads with heavy traffic as much as possible.
Use cars which have lead free petrol which converts the noxious substances into less harmful carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen.
Individuals can reduce pollution by cutting their own consumption of coal and oil. One can become more active with environmental agencies and organizations and pressurize governments to become more environment friendly.
Buy Ozone friendly products and become eco friendly.
Use less of the energy sources and goods that produce carbon dioxide in their generation, manufacture or use.
Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not needed, Recycle whatever can be recycled.
Rivers, lakes, reservoirs, domestic water- Some of the main pollutants are: run offs from nitrate fertilizers, pesticides, silage and slurry used in agriculture; phosphates from detergent and washing powders; All kinds of industrial wastes. It can lead to a host of health problems from skin disorders to Cancers.
What we can do
An efficient, properly maintained water filter can remove many chemicals from drinking water.
To make sure that one does not contribute to the pollution, one can avoid garden fertilizer and instead go organic.
Reduce the use of household cleaning agents that have dangerous chemicals.
And turn to organic foods as well.
Cutting down risks in the home
One cannot get rid of every health risk in the environment but with a little care, one can make the home a much safer place and one that produces less waste, conserves energy and protects the environment. Even small steps as keeping household plants, making better use of natural light and recycling household wastes can make an important contribution
Other things include having natural fiber carpet to reduce positive ion build-up and reduce fire risk. Planting small leaf deciduous tree at strategic spots can reduce energy costs and they also act as natural air conditioning. They also increase the available supply of oxygen, help reduce noise and trap dust. A dustbin for organic kitchen waste cuts down the amount of household rubbish. Dig the contents into a compost heap for enriching garden soil.
Some simple ingredients can be used to make safe and inexpensive household cleaners. Soap and water is the most useful and can replace many special purpose cleaners
- Washing up liquid- Put small slivers of hand soap in a warmed jam jar, cover with boiling water and let them dissolve. Use the mixture for washing up. One can add a tablespoon of washing soda or vinegar for greasy dishes.
- Washing powder- Use equal quantities of soap flakes and washing soda. A few tablespoons of washing soda also makes commercial biodegradable washing powders work better.
- Mirrors and tiles - Use equal quantities of white vinegar and water. Mix and use for wiping off splash marks.
- Fabric Softener- Combine one part bicarbonate of soda, one part white vinegar and two parts water. Use as you would a commercial softener.
Alternative ways to deal with home pests
Some safe and simple insecticides can be made at home
- Ants- To deter ants block up visible holes, then sprinkle dried mint, chilli powder and borax where they are coming in. Keep out of children’s reach.
- Cockroaches- Food can be contaminated by the droppings of cockroaches. To deter them, put down a mixture of cocoa powder, borax and flour ; icing sugar and sodium bicarbonate; plaster of Paris and flour.
- Flies- Bacteria are spread by flies. Make bunches of bay, mint, eucalyptus leaves, or crush them and sew into cheesecloth bags with some cloves and a few drops of citrus or eucalyptus oil. Hang them in windows or doorways to deter flies.
- Moths- The destruction that moths cause to fabrics is not a health hazard but mothballs are. Put sachets of lavender, camphor, rosemary, peppercorns or cedar chips in drawers and wardrobes.
- Indoor & Outdoor Air Pollution
- Natural lifestyle – By Susan Spar