For the past two days, I’ve woken up, smelled the outdoor air, and was greeted with an acrid smell. Was it a local factory? My underarms? It was clearly some type of air pollution. Air pollution is one of my pet peeves. Iowa is a state with more air pollution than most. What was the smell? Why should we care? Here’s why:
Air pollution has been linked to severe covid.
Pollution, especially particulates, has been linked to depression.
Pollution such as ozone and particulates has been linked to miscarriages in early pregnancy. Pollution can cross the placenta and cause low birth weight or a silent miscarriage where the fetus fails to form properly. It is also associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies. Air pollution can also cause still birth. Many pro-life groups are frauds. They don’t care at all about pollution.
Pollution is as bad or worse in rural areas as it is in cities with agriculture being a major source of air pollution. Rural people are more likely to be resistant to any warnings having to do with science. They just don’t care about air pollution.
There’s not much I can do in the short term to keep those around me from polluting. Here in rural Iowa, few take responsibility for polluting the air.
But what about our own private air pollution? I’m not talking underarm smell here. What about stuff we do to ourselves?
Recently, doctors discovered plastics in the lungs of living humans when they took samples of lung tissue from people with lung ailments. Where could it come from?
One source can be the materials we live with such as our clothes, plastic products including toys, and furniture. How about our personal care products? I was asked: What about hair spray?
I admit. My hair isn’t easily tamed. I gave up on hair spray but do use it on occasion. What’s in it?
Hair spray is used to create shine and hold hair in place. Silicone creates the shine while Styrene/Acrylates which are plastics fix the style. Hairspray contains more than plastics. Many contain formaldehyde and scents which can contribute to air pollution and cause symptoms such as light headedness and headaches. Older style products such as used in the helmet hair look are particularly bad for the wearer.
How dangerous is hair styling in general?
A recent study of Beauty salon air found that it was filled with everything from microscopic snippets of hair and nails to particulates and fumes from products. Bridal party procedures were particularly polluting. Besides spraying, things such as heat and UV styling released harmful fumes into the air.
But it’s not only the salon.
Another study showed that people emit a plume of synthetic scents and toxins, especially after they have showered.
As for hair spray specifically, Hair spray may be asscociated with alveolitis which is a rare but fatal lung inflammation. It and other scented products, along with dander, and air pollution can exacerbate COPD.
There are no doubt worse things you can do to your lungs than apply hair spray, especially on occasion. However, you probably should wear a mask when applying spray. For a lot of reasons, avoiding the Fox News anchor look is good for your health. That’s not nature, it silicone.
And what about my outside air? It turned out, that acrid scent was lawn chemicals. I’ve already written about dandelions being good for you and your lawn and a source of rubber. There’s no need for the toxic smell of lawn chemicals. Or Fox News hair.
2 thoughts on “Living in our own private air pollution”
Good advice /suggestion re wearing a mask when applying hair spray. My wife always goes out on the back porch when spraying her hair — wearing a mask would be an additional safety precaution (though I doubt she’ll do it because she only goes outside to spare me the smell, not for health reasons).
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She’s smart. I know someone who once caught her sweater on fire applying hairspray in a candle lit bathroom.
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