Monday, March 26, 2007

Organic is healthier: Kiwifruit Study Comparison

In one of the most comprehensive and definitive studies of its kind to date, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis have proven that organically grown kiwifruit contain more health-promoting factors than those grown under conventional conditions.

The Davis scientists, led by Drs. Maria Amodio and Adel Kader, showed that organically grown kiwifruit had significantly increased levels of polyphenols, the healthy compounds found in red wine and coloured berries. They also had a higher overall antioxidant activity, as well as higher levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and important minerals compared with their conventionally grown counterparts.

The two categories of kiwifruit showed other differences which Kadel believes are most likely due to the fruits having to be able to survive against pests in the absence of pesticides. For example, organic kiwis had thicker skins, which could help the fruits resist insects, and higher antioxidant activity which is thought to be a natural by-product of stress.

Read the full study

read more of press article

USDA & Major Organic Dairies Aiming to Water Down Organic Milk Standards

Thousands of organic consumers and dairy farmers, represented by the Organic Consumers Association and Cornucopia Institute, have repeatedly complained to the US Department of Agriculture over the past five years that the USDA must close the glaring loopholes in the National Organic Dairy Standards. These loopholes have allowed unscrupulous dairy companies such as Horizon and Aurora Organic to operate intensive confinement dairy feedlots (where the animals have little or no access to pasture) and still label their milk and dairy products as "USDA Organic."

We are therefore not surprised to learn that Horizon and Aurora have been busy lobbying the USDA to keep pasture and feed requirements vague--hoping to deceive consumers by claiming that organic dairy animals must have access to pasture, but then only requiring a particular minimum of 120 days per year. What this means in practical terms is that the USDA will soon propose new federal organic dairy standards that allow so-called organic factory farms to create the impression that their milk cows are being mainly grazed on pasture, while in fact unscrupulous certifiers and bureaucrats in the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) will allow them to get away with "symbolic access to pasture" i.e. intensively confined, stressed-out dairy cows briefly chewing their cuds outside giant milking parlors in between their three-times-a-day milkings.

What is surprising to learn is that three highly respected organic dairy brands, Stonyfield Farm, Organic Valley, & Humboldt Creamery have joined with Aurora & Horizon to lobby the USDA for this "Big Fix".

read more (Organic Consumers Association)

Tell USDA No Drugs in Rice!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is close to approving a request to grow up to 3,200 acres of genetically engineered (GE) pharmaceutical rice. The rice, developed by California-based Ventria BioScience, is set to be grown and processed in Kansas, after the company was chased out of other states, including Monsanto's stomping grounds, Missouri, and Ventria's home-state, California. Ventria has developed three varieties of rice, each engineered with a different modified human gene to produce one of three recombinant human proteins. Two of them -- lactoferrin and lysozyme -- are bacteria-fighting compounds similar to natural versions found in breast milk and saliva. The third makes recombinant serum albumin, a blood protein used in medical therapies.

Drug-producing food crops grown out-of-doors pose great risks to public health and the economic well-being of farmers because they are likely to contaminate the food supply. In fact, while Southern rice growers were still reeling from last year's contamination of long-grain rice with an unapproved GE variety, a second variety of rice was found to be contaminated with a second unapproved GE line this month, throwing the rice market into further turmoil. As a result, Southern rice growers are facing a severe shortage of uncontaminated seed for planting this spring. Incredibly, USDA appears poised to approve Ventria's request even though the pharmaceutical substances in Ventria's drug-producing rice have not been approved by the FDA.

read more..(Center for Food Safety)

Closed on April 8th

Please note that Organic Connection will not be open on Sunday, April 8th.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do Organic Fruits and Vegetables Taste Better?

Many studies that have compared the taste and organoleptic quality of organic and conventional foods report no consistent or significant differences between organic and conventional fruits and vegetables. But among the well-designed studies that have found differences, the vast majority favor organic produce.

There have been more comparative studies of the organoleptic quality of organic and conventional apples than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. The results consistently show enhanced organoleptic quality in organic apples.

read more...(The Organic Center)

Pig Out

By NICOLETTE HAHN NIMAN, New York Times, March 14, 2007

With some fanfare, the world�s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, recently announced that it intended to phase out certain cages for its breeding females. Called gestation crates, the cages virtually immobilize pigs during their pregnancies in metal stalls so narrow they are unable to turn around.

Numerous studies have documented crated sows exhibiting behavior characteristic of humans with severe depression and mental illness. Getting rid of gestation crates (already on their way out in the European Union) is welcome and long overdue, but more action is needed to end inhumane conditions at America�s hog farms.

Of the 60 million pigs in the United States, over 95 percent are continuously confined in metal buildings, including the almost five million sows in crates. In such setups, feed is automatically delivered to animals who are forced to urinate and defecate where they eat and sleep. Their waste festers in large pits a few feet below their hooves. Intense ammonia and hydrogen sulfide fumes from these pits fill pigs� lungs and sensitive nostrils. No straw is provided to the animals because that would gum up the works (as it would if you tossed straw into your toilet).

read more...(New York Times)

When Organic Isn't Really Organic

By JYOTI THOTTAM, Time Magazine, March 14, 2007

When you buy a gallon of organic milk, you expect to get tasty milk from happy cows who haven't been subjected to antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. But you might also unknowingly be getting genetically modified cattle feed.

Albert Straus, owner of the Straus Family Creamery in the small northern California town of Marshall, decided to test the feed that he gives his 1,600 cows last year and was alarmed to find that nearly 6% of the organic corn feed he received from suppliers was "contaminated" by genetically modified (GM) organisms. Organic food is, by definition, supposed to be free of genetically modified material, and organic crops are required to be isolated from other crops. But as GM crops become more prevalent, there is little that an organic farmer can do to prevent a speck of GM pollen or a stray GM seed from being blown by the wind onto his land or farm equipment and, eventually, into his products. In 2006, GM crops accounted for 61% of all the corn planted in the U.S. and 89% of all the soybeans. "I feared that there weren't enough safeguards," Straus says.

read more..(Time Magazine)

The Organic-Industrial Complex

What do the words 'organic food' mean, now that the movement has become a $7.7-billion business dominated by large corporations?

by Michael Pollan

Almost overnight, the amount and variety of organic food on offer in my local supermarket has mushroomed. Fresh produce, milk, eggs, cereal, frozen food, even junk food � all of it now has its own organic doppelganger, and more often than not these products wind up in my shopping cart.

I like buying organic, for the usual salad of rational and sentimental reasons. At a time when the whole food system feels somewhat precarious, I assume that a product labeled organic is more healthful and safer, more "wholesome," though if I stop to think about it, I'm not exactly sure what that means. I also like the fact that by buying organic, I'm casting a vote for a more environmentally friendly kind of agriculture: "Better Food for a Better Planet," in the slogan of Cascadian Farm, one of the older organic brands. Just look at the happy Vermont cow on that carton of milk, wreathed in wildflowers like a hippie at her wedding around 1973.

Look a little closer, though, and you begin to see cracks in the pastoral narrative. It took me more than a year to notice, but the label on that carton of Organic Cow has been rewritten recently. It doesn't talk about happy cows and Vermont family farmers quite so much anymore, probably because the Organic Cow has been bought out by Horizon, a Colorado company. Horizon is a $127 million public corporation that has become the Microsoft of organic milk, controlling 70 percent of the retail market. Notice, too, that the milk is now "ultrapasteurized."

When I asked a local dairyman about this (we still have one or two in town) he said that the chief reason to ultrapasteurize � a high-heat process that "kills the milk," destroying its enzymes and many of its vitamins � is so you can sell milk over long distances. Arguably, ultrapasteurized organic milk is less nutritious than conventionally pasteurized conventional milk. This dairyman also bent my ear about Horizon's "factory farms" in the West, where thousands of cows that never encounter a blade of grass spend their days confined to a fenced dry lot, eating (certified organic) grain and tethered to milking machines three times a day.

read more (CommonDreams.Org)

Federal Judge Orders First-Ever Moratorium On Sale Of Genetically Altered Seed

USDA approval of genetically engineered alfalfa is vacated, seed sales halted

A Federal judge ruled today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) 2005 approval of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa is vacated and ordered an immediate halt to sales of the GE seed. The ruling follows a hearing last week in the case brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approving GE alfalfa without conducting the required Environmental Impact Statement.

"We are pleased that the judge called for halt to sales of this potentially damaging crop," said Will Rostov, a Senior Attorney for CFS. "Roundup Ready alfalfa poses threats to farmers, to our export markets, and to the environment. We expect the USDA to abide by the law and give these harmful effects of the crop full consideration."

Jazz Sundays at Organic Connection

Come along and join the Diamond Jubilators with their jazzy style of music & entertainment - every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. 2:30pm to 5pm.

This Sunday - March 25th.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Organic clothing not just for hippies anymore
KELLI KENNEDY Associated Press Writer

High fashion is going granola. But not the grunge of hippie yoga wear and grainy hemp T-shirts typically associated with organic clothes. Think soft soy dresses, cropped organic terry jackets and slim fit organic denim jeans to pair with stilettos, not flip flops. Consumers worried about ingesting harmful pesticides have long been purchasing organic foods. But the philosophy is slowly hitting mainstream clothing retailers as experts warn about the dangers pesticides pose to the environment. Whether shoppers are buying eco-friendly because it's trendy or because they hope to preserve Mother Earth, they no longer have to sacrifice fashion for philosophy. With major retailers like Target, Victoria's Secret, H&M and Nike joining the green trend, there's something for fashionistas of every price range in 2007. "We're fashion first. The fact that they're organic is a value added product," says Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the Canopy, one of the world's largest producers of organic clothing. Organic cotton, which makes up 95 percent of organic fabrics, is the driving force behind the trend. Global organic cotton sales increased 119 percent, from $245 million to $583 million between 2001 and 2005. Sales are expected to reach more than $2 billion by the end of 2008, according to the Organic Exchange, a nonprofit trade association that works to expand the use of organically grown cotton. Though more retailers are considering organic cotton, it currently makes up for less than 1 percent of cotton produced in the world. Designers are also experimenting with eco-friendly fabrics made of bamboo, soy, Ingeo (corn) and hempsilk. "The market is really expanding in large because a number of very large retailers are actually going to have a lot of product available in 2007," said Rebecca Calahan Klein, the president of California-based Organic Exchange. Target, which carries a select number of organic baby clothes, is expanding its line this year. (Sam's Club and Wal-Mart are among the top five brands who use the most organic cotton globally, according to Organic Exchange.) Victoria's Secret will also add organic cotton to its collection this year, Klein said. Nike, which has been using organic cotton for several years, is one of the world's largest retail users of organic cotton. Spokeswoman Morgan Shaw says 52 percent of the garments the company manufactured last year contained at least some organic material. Costs are slightly higher, but comparable. A men's vintage-style organic cotton T-shirt at Wal-Mart is $9.83, while a similar regular cotton T sells for $8.83. Levi Strauss & Co. started offering organic denim jeans in select stores in November -- $68 for their Red Tab jean compared to $40 for non-organic. The look and feel of the clothes are so fashion-forward that many clients don't even realize they're buying organic. They just like the style, says Zaroff, a perfect spokeswoman for greenwear. A yoga devotee with long dirty blonde hair and lots of hippie jewelry, Zaroff looks years younger than 39. She talks about Al Gore's movie on global warming and other environmental issues at her Boca Raton office, where she is working on a new high-fashion line debuting later this year. The 108 line of upscale street wear includes dresses in muted tones made of soft soy and organic cotton voile. She founded her company in 1996 when organic wear was little more than a hemp seed. She says it will do $10 million in sales this year. "It was frumpy and boxy and crunchy and all those things people don't want," Zaroff said of older organic clothing. "The consumer was ready. The seed was planted with organic food and beauty products." High-end designers like Stella McCartney are including organic fabrics in their collections and celebrity entrepreneurs are also joining the trend. U2's Bono launched his socially conscious clothing line, Edun, in 2005 in an attempt to increase trade and create sustainable employment in countries like Africa. About 30 percent of the company's clothes are made from organic cotton. With celebrities endorsing hybrid cars, vegetarian diets and launching their own eco-friendly clothing lines, experts say it was only a matter of time before the Hollywood trend caught on with fashion. "It clearly has gotten more attention now because it's not just an industry sector. It's a global phenomenon," said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst for the NPD Group, a market-research firm. "We're seeing it in cars, we're seeing it in homes products, apparel, food." He says consumers are willing to spend 20 percent more for eco-friendly products like organic clothes. It takes about a third a pound of pesticides to produce one cotton T-shirt. About 180 to 300 pounds of chemical fertilizer is used on one acre of cotton in the U.S. About 90 percent of the fertilizer doesn't stay on the plant, but washes off, ending up in water supplies and habitat, says Klein. Retailers say it's not just about buying organic, it's about the entire process. Under The Canopy uses a dye factory fueled by rice husks instead of fossil fuels. Growing organic also requires crop rotation, meaning a field that this year is used for cotton could be used for food the next. "So if we get a large amount of cotton production moved to organic we'll also end up expanding the world's access to organic food supply," Klein said.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Genetic Mystery: Contaminated Rice Seed

The most mysterious case of genetically engineered guests showing up, uninvited and unwelcome, in farmers’ fields just got more mysterious this week.

There's no genetically engineered rice for sale in the U.S., but tests of conventional rice seed, starting more than a year ago, have found traces of three separate genetically engineered strains.

The latest case, announced by the USDA this week, hit just as farmers began spring planting in Louisiana.

The case shows just how difficult it is to prevent the spread of genes, or seeds, from one field to another. In rice, the cases of contamination have shut down rice exports to Europe and forced seed companies to take two popular rice varieties off the market.

What everybody in the rice industry wants to know is, How how did genetically engineered plants end up in stocks of conventional seeds?

Here's what happened (

FOOD fight for Tougher Organic Rule

Organic dairy farmers, who for several years have been trying to get a tougher organic grazing regulation, formed a group last week to get this measure passed.

Organic dairy farmers from Maine to California met in LaCrosse, Wisconsin - home of the Organic Valley dairy co-op - on February 23rd and formed FOOD Farmers (Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers).

Why is this an issue? Because some larger-scale dairies have been loosely interpreting the requirement that livestock have "access to pasture." The regulation is so vague it allows some operations to feed their cows primarily on feedlots - not on pasture.

read more (

How about a Green Roof?

Ford Motor Company's center in Dearborn, MI has one; Chicago Town Hall has one. And there many more green roofs sprouting up around the world on commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

What is a green roof? Well, it is a roof that has soil and living plants placed on a waterproof membrane on top of the roof structure. A green roof provides greater energy efficiency as well as environmental enhancements.

more information (Green Roofs for Healthy Cities)

Honeybees, Gone With the Wind.

Beekeepers in 24 states are reporting record losses of honeybees. The exact cause of this problem has not yet been determined, but bee colonies across the U.S. are disappearing, with some states reporting a 70% drop in bee populations. "I have never seen anything like it," said California beekeeper David Bradshaw. "Box after box after box are just empty. There's nobody home." A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts. "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food," said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. The Organic Consumers Association is closely monitoring the situation with efforts to determine if the problem of disappearing bees is related to genetically engineered pollen or pesticide toxicity.

read more (New York Times)

A Totally Organic Experience

Well, 98 percent anyway

Ian Diamond and David Richard believe their organic-food market is unique in
every sense of that word. “There’s nothing like us east of the West Coast,” Diamond said, playing off the old “east of the Mississippi” phrase.

What makes their Organic Connection in Brewster so different is their claim to be 98 percent organic.

“We are an organic concept store and 98 percent of the foods we sell are organic,” Diamond said. “Tha
t sets us apart from any other health-food store.”

And don’t even think about places like Whole Foods Markets or Wild Oats Markets, which announced last month they would merge and which advertise themselves as natural and organic retailers. “They’re about 40 percent organic,” he said.

“We take the fear out of shopping,” Richard said. “People who want to buy organic don’t have to worry about reading the labels.”

The 3,000-square-foot market is the third market to fill the storefront next door to the defunct, 9,000-square-foot USA Baby store at 981 Route 22 just a mile or so from Brewster’s downtown. But while the two former markets faltered and failed, Diamond and Richard are so convinced of their organic-food market’s success that they’re thinking about expanding into USA Baby, and opening more Organic Connection markets ­ first locally, then regionally, and then, perhaps, nationally. “David’s family owns 12 health-food stores in the Chicago area,” Diamond said. “We would love to take one and convert it to a pure organic store.”

As for the empty USA Baby store, “there are a number of different possibilities of what we might do,” Diamond said. “One option is to take 2,000 square feet and open an organic restaurant. Another option is to take the whole space and open the restaurant and a very large retail center with eco-home natural paints and wood finishes, organic clothing and a health center with massage and body- work practitioners.”

Suitable locations

Both Diamond and Richard have extensive backgrounds in the health-food niche.
Diamond, 47, mana
ged a health-food store in his native Melbourne, Australia, then opened his own store before starting an
organic wholesale company that exported to Europe and the United States. He moved here in the 1990s and began an organic-food home-delivery business out of his South Salem home in Westchester County.

Richard, 51, began working in one of his parents’ health-food stores when he was 9 and spent more than 20 years with them, managing a few stores and “cutting my teeth in this industry.” He began a publishing business in 1997 he called Vital Health Publishing that focused on nutrition, organic and whole foods and alternative medicines, then moved to Ridgefield, Conn., six years ago to be closer to his authors and the publishing industry.

One of Richard’s more prolific authors was Diamond’s father, John, who also lives in South Salem. That’s how Richard discovered Organic Connection home-delivery service, and he became first a customer and then a partner in the organic-food market venture.

“Ian and I were both interested in the regeneration of the natural-food store format of 25 years ago,” Richard said. “We based the market on the philosophy that organic is the way to go because it’s healthier for people and healthier for the environment.”

The partners searched for a suitable location in Westchester, Fairfield, Putnam and Dutchess co
unties and almost settled on an 8,000-square-foot building on Mill Plain Road in Danbury that housed a motorcycle showroom. “We negotiated for more than a year, but it never came to fruition,” Richard said.

“There are very few retail sites that suited our criteria and were not on the doorstep of another store selling organic foods” such as Whole Foods or Mrs. Green’s Natural Food Markets, Diamond said. “It would not make sense to open a market in the same town. It wouldn’t be a good business risk to take.”

The partners were “looking for locations with good demographics, good access and the ability to dr
aw from a wide distance,” Diamond said. They kept returning to the Brewster site and finally decided to lease the market after the owner dropped the price on the store’s furnishings and equipment to a point they couldn’t ignore.

“We didn’t know if Danbury was ever going to happen and with the equipment in Brewster, we could set up fairly quickly rather than go through a four- or five-month build out,” Diamond said.

As for location, Organic Connection is about a half-mile from the Interstate 84-684 interchange and draw
s heavily from metro Danbury and Westchester County. “We were a little concerned about positioning ourselves in Brewster,” Diamond said, “but we’re right off the interchange and we set out to be a destination store.”

More satisfying

Organic Connection continues to make home deliveries, which had averaged about
120 customers a week before it was tucked into the market’s operations, Diamond said. “That’s dropped back a bit because we reduced our delivery area a bit” after the service was made part of the market, he said. “We were delivering to Shelton and Bridgeport” in Fairfield County, “but it’s well
over an hour to get there from Brewster.”

The home-delivery business operated mostly by word-of-mouth, Diamond said, and its offering of organic fruit and vegetables and organic fresh and frozen meats became the foundation for the market. “We wanted to have prepared foods and interact with people more,” he said. “Home delivery is too efficient. Customers go on the Web site (, order what they want, we pack and deliver it and sometimes never speak to them. It’s very efficient, but not very satisfying.”

The market is more satisfying. “People walk in and say, ‘Wow,’ because we’ve really presented organics well,” Richard said. And because the previous markets in the space had a full, professional kitchen in the basement, “we have a hot-foods menu from 11 o’clock for the lunch crowd and keep it heated until dinner,” he s
aid. “We have an executive chef and an assistant chef on staff who create an impressive range of offerings.”

Monday, March 5, 2007

USDA Finds Pesticide Residues in Majority of Foods

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) recently released its latest annual summary detailing pesticide residues in the U.S. food supply. The data, from 2005, reveals approximately two-thirds of sampled foods contained one or more pesticides at detectable levels.

For the 2005 report, PDP sampled fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, soybeans, wheat, milk, heavy cream, pork, bottled water and drinking water. These items were tested for various insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and growth regulators.

Drinking water analyses primarily found widely used herbicides and their metabolites; forty-eight different residues were found in untreated intake water and 43 in treated water.

read more (BeyondPesticides.Org)

Study Finds Organic Food Is Safer for Children

Children who eat a diet of organic food show a level of pesticides in their body that is six times lower than children who eat a diet of conventionally produced food, according to a study published in the March 2003 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study, Organopho sphorus Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets, used biological monitoring to examine the effects of food eaten by preschool children. Eighteen of the children examined were fed organic diets, and 21 were fed conventional diets. Parents kept a diary of their child's diet for three days, after which 24-hour urine samples were taken to look for metabolites of organophosphate (OP) pesticides. Significantly higher concentrations of OP metabolites were found in the children with conventional diets. According to the authors, "The dose estimates suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juice can reduce children's exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk."

Local or Organic: A False Choice

The Time Magazine cover story (March 2nd issue) provides interesting reading. In "Eating Better Than Organic", the author makes his choice for choosing local over organic (but please keep in mind that the author also chooses to eat at McDonalds - the fast food chain, not the farm).

Samuel Fromartz provides a more balanced account in his article, "Local Or Organic: A False Choice", written last year.

Tell FDA: No Food From Cloned Animals!

The FDA has a poor track record in evaluating the science of animal cloning. In 2003, the agency released a draft assessment that was widely heralded as demonstrating the safety of cloned food; yet this assessment relied on a single industry- sponsored study of cloned milk. The agency's latest assessment claims that no issues in food from animal clones were found, yet among the few new studies cited, several reported troubling results.

Among the studies, published just this month, one found a failure rate in animal cloning of over 90%, with over 40% of "successful" clones suffering from disabling health problems leading to early death.

Another found significant health differences in clones' offspring compared to normal animals. A third study found that healthy appearing clones are often physiologically different than normal animals, and concluded that food from clones should not be marketed without further research. The National Academy of Sciences has said that there is not enough data to know if the hidden defects in clones could pose food safety risks.

Furthermore, surrogate (host) cows used to produce clones are often given massive doses of hormones, and to survive their early health problems, clones are often treated with high doses of antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. Commercialization of cloning would almost certainly increase levels of veterinary hormones and antibiotics in the human food supply, but FDA has failed to address the food safety issues of this increase in medicating food animals.

Perhaps even more troubling, FDA has ignored the animal cruelty issues inherent in cloning. Surrogate cows must be used to produce clones, and these surrogates suffer from high rates of late-term spontaneous abortion, early prenatal deaths, and grossly oversized calves, and often have severe pregnancy complications and caesarian births. Cloned offspring suffer from common defects such as enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies and diabetes. These are not unusual side-affects, but a certain inhumane cost of animal cloning.

read more (Center For Food Safety)

The BioDaVersity Code

A secret held for thousands of years is about to be exposed at

Join animal symbologist Robert Penguin and the dashing agent Sophie Minnow as they race to expose the greatest lie ever told. Can they crack the Bio DaVersity Code, or will they fall victim to the lurking killer just a step behind?

Sure it's just a cartoon, but this may be the most important movie you'll see this year. In fact, mankind's very survival may depend upon it!

check it out (Free Range Studios)

Indoor air pollution

A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that indoor air can be more seriously polluted than outside air. Household cleaning products are among the many sources of this pollution. In particular, studies carried out by the EPA have found levels of certain pollutants to be two to five times higher inside homes than outside, and inside is where people are estimated to spend 90 percent of their time. This is of particular concern for the young, elderly, and chronically ill, who are more susceptible to the effects of pollutants.

A common source of indoor air pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted by a variety of household cleaning products and air fresheners. Health effects from indoor air pollutants can be experienced upon exposure or possibly years later, depending on the type and amount of the chemical and the duration of exposure. More immediate health effects include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches; dizziness; and fatigue. Long-term effects may include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.

To learn more about indoor air quality, visit the American Lung Association’s Indoor Air Quality Web site, or the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.