Sunday, October 6, 2019

M7.8 Chlorpyrifos

The topic I am considering is chlorpyrifos (insecticide) among farmworkers. Chlorpyrifos is used to control many different kinds of pests, including termites, mosquitoes, and roundwormsFarmworkers come in contact with many pesticides and insecticides in their working environment therefore, I think this is an interesting topic to learn more about and share my findings with the class. Farmworkers are exposed to a number of exposures and it is important to ensure that the safest practices are established and used in order to protect the human health of these farmworkers. According to Toxnet,  chlorpyrifos can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans leading to an overstimulated nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and respiratory paralysis and death at very high exposures.

7.7 Agency's Role

The agency that I chose to look into was the US Department of Commerce. This agency is in charge of money/economics with the goal of economic growth and efficiency. A main thing that caught my eye in regards to this agency with its connection to environmental health is its ability to place expectations on industrial production and standards. Perhaps the Dept of Commerce can further uphold EPA values in regulating materials, methods of production, and chemical exposures, which could assist in sustainability efforts and protection of all life. The Dept of Commerce could also influence money distribution for disaster relief funds and contribute $ to research on climate change.

7.4 Local Environmental Services

My local health department is Alameda County.
Alameda has both a Public Health Department (ACPHD) and an Environmental Health Department (ACEH).The ACPHD ( offers a variety of programs and services aiming to build a healthier and safer community while engaging participation from residents to stay active in the process. I really like how one of the programs they offer has to do with voting and also a key program called the Urban Male Health Initiative that strives to improve the "health outcomes for men disproportionately impacted by prostate and testicular cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, depression, suicide, and diabetes."

On the ACEH website ( similarly to the ACPHD website, there are a variety of programs and services surrounding the safety and overall well-being of the enivorment that Alameda county residents are living in. One interesting service that stood out to me is their "health nail salon" recognition tab. I think its great that they are regulating and monitoring services that omit a certain level of hazard, but I wonder why there isn't a specific service that regulates vehicle or transportation pollution.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

6.7 Obesogens

 Locally grown foods usually find their way to your table within 61 miles according to the Seasonal Foods document. Fruits that are currently in season include: pomegranates, cranberries, and persimmons.

I think it is important for hospitals to incorporate seasonal/local foods into their menus for several reasons. They can help reduce transportation emissions by not shipping in fruit outside of a certain radius, they can support their local farmers and agricultural workers and invest back into their local communication, and they can expose their patients to real, wholesome, foods that are nutrient dense.

I had heard of obesogens before reading this article, but had only a vague understanding of what they were which was mostly due to their tell-tale name. The key new factor that I learned from this article was that obesogens are "dietary, pharmaceutical, and industrial compounds". I suppose I had not given much thought as to WHAT these things were - only that they were bad and had adverse effects on health and weight in both animals and humans. Still, I wasn't surprised that these things are manufactured as so many of the terrible things we ingest are manufactured by organizations making money on our failing health, growing waistbands, and desire for convenience and flavor.

 I chose to look at dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene.
What I found in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives was that this chemical pesticide is a DDT breakdown product and it has been linked to an increased BMI in children and insulin resistance in rodents. Most known obesogens (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene included) are endocrine disruptors which means that they alter the bodies endocrine system function and can cause cancer and/or tumors. Animal studies have done a great deal to link dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene to obesity though, interestingly, the animals often have fewer fat cells but these cells are much larger in size than normal fat cells so the animals end up with a higher BMI than desired.

6.6 Use of Antibiotics

Well, well, well...we have moved to the topic of superbugs and antibiotics. When you think about a superbug, you probably don't think you'll be affected by it, but low and below based on these articles we should all be aware and a bit concerned.

The MedicineNet article warns about Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus or MRSA spreading to people that live near livestock. MRSA is a hard to kill gram positive cocci and isn't something you want to pick up as you are walking home and walking past that stinky farm in your neighborhood.

The biggest key take away I got from these readings was-everyday things I thought were normal can really be the ones making you sick. For example; bacterial wipes! I personally use wipes once every few days to clean my desk down. In my mind, I am wiping away all the harmful bacterias and leaving it nice and clean for tomorrow. The feeling of a freshly wiped down house is one that makes me happy from within. After learning that the main compound in the wipes is triclocarban, I have a new outlook about these cleaning products. This product has been researched to actually not cause as much as bacteria to die than I thought! 

M5.5 Campaign for Tap Water

Greeting readers!

I want to talk about campaigning against bottle water and being for TAP WATER! Yes I said it. TAP WATER!

Don't believe me? Start by watching this video. Once you're finished come back so we can talk about it.
Ok, now that you are done, what do you think? IS bottled water a big scam? What are some alternatives to bottled water. 
We have tap water, we have tap water with filter and we have carbonated water or soda stream for us that love our sparkling water. 
When thinking about a slogan for a water campaign these are the two I came up with:
"Leave big box behind and choose the planet, drink pure and plastic free, drink tap water!" and 
"Save money and save the planet, choose tap over bottled water".

Comment and let me know what you think and also give me some ideas for what your slogan will be.

6.4 Industrial Farming

I currently live in Alameda County and although there are no animal farms in my county, this map shows that almost all the counties surrounding Alameda County have animal farms which means we are definitely affected by either smells, manure and the negative effects of high dense farms.

As far as composting goes, I used to compost. I am a gardener and I took 6 classes about permaculture which is essentially giving back to the earth the nutrients you are taking from it. So composting is a large part of the permaculture movement. Once I am completely finished unpacking from my move, I will start composting again. It isn't hard to do and it helps the soil and environment.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

5.2 Public Health importance of safe drinking water

Today, I want to take some time to blog about the importance of clean water. Here are some fun facts about water in relationship to the human body.
Water is important to us because it keeps us going. It serves a very serious purpose. I posted a photo that speaks to the importance of water for us as humans.
  • A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.
  • It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
  • The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream;
  • It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination
  • acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus
  • forms saliva
  • lubricates joints

Seeing that water is a vital part of our lives. It is very necessary that the water that we consume doesn't harm us with microbes, disease causing agents and poisons. We depend on our government to protect us and put laws in place that will prevent us from ingesting harmful toxins in our water. So, with that being said, we absolutely need SAFE DRINKING WATER!

M5.7 My Sewage Facilities

In Oakland, California where I live we have one main sewage company. That company is the East Bay Municipal Utility District also referred to as the East Bay Mud.  EBMUD treats wastewater from Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, Oakland, Piedmont and parts of Richmond. I've attached a link if you are interested to find out all that they do to turn waste water into a reusable source and also attached a map of the area that EBMUD serves. 
EBMUD service area

Sunday, September 15, 2019

M4.5 Indoor Air Quality

Today, I'll be sharing ideas for the basis for a chemical and fragrance policy in order to eliminate and decrease our body burdens and exposures. I currently work in a hospital and although I don't have direct contact, I wonder if we actually have a fragrance policy for the employees that actually have direct patient contact. 

For the hospital I work in, I would implement a fragrance free policy in the emergency room and in the department that deals with respiratory illnesses. The other parts of the hospital (Admin, laboratory, maintenance) doesn't need a strict fragrance policy, but in the overall hospital I would discourage the use of fragrances. With any policy it is helpful to provide employees with information regarding why the policy is in effect, so I would provide a fact sheet about the negative effects of fragrances on the population we serve in the hospital (typically sick). 

M4.6 Radon

The more you know...

Imagine this, you never smoked, near even really been near a smoker or inhaled second hand smoke, so the last thing you want to hear from your doctor is that you have lung cancer. How is this possible?

Let me tell you how. Radon! According to the EPA and the National Cancer Institute radon inhalation at risky levels are the number cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers. That is quite scary especially when everyone breathes radon in at some point. Based on where you live or your occupation, you could be breathing radon in at levels that will cause lung cancer. It is estimated that radon exposure causes 15,000 lung cancer deaths annually.

These numbers maybe low in comparison to the population of the United States, but these deaths are absolutely preventable, so nationally a campaign should be started in order to distribute knowledge, awareness and solutions. Some potential stakeholders I would work with would be the National Cancer Institute, the local government for cities and counties that have the most deaths or radon related incidences as well as Lung Cancer societies and groups. I would also want to work with the family members of persons that have died from radon related lung cancer.

For all my readers, please get your house checked for radon levels so that you can prevent yourself and your family members from radon induced lung cancer.

M4.2 National Library ToxNet

Greetings Readers,

Using the National Library ToxNet Click Me! I was able to find out that women who clean with bleach are at a higher risk of getting non-allergic adult-onset asthma, as well as elevated neutrophil (those are white blood cells) counts. 
As far as the effects from urea formaldehyde, there are a lot of negative effects. For factory workers with exposure to urea formaldehyde there are drastic amounts of lung cancer mortality as well as nasopharyngeal cancer deaths. What I found interesting was the buccal cavity tumors and cancers. The buccal cavity is your cheek and inner mouth cavity.
I wonder if the factory managers knew about these risks and if they let the employees know about all of these risks. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

M3.5 Transportation

Transportation. We all hate it, but we all really need it.

So I used to be a commuter, I'm talking 100 miles a day, so I know that I definitely negatively impacted my community by driving my diesel vehicle up and down the freeway.

Now I take BART, which stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit. Taking the BART means that I get more exercise. I drive a lot less, but it feels as though I spend more money commuting. The commute is short and sweet on some days, and drastic on others, but overall I feel a lot better being on the train than driving. The BART does have a lot of noise pollution and they are working on lessening it to a bearable level. Noise pollution is something I'm fairly new to understanding, but it can directly cause hypertension, sleep disturbances and hearing loss. So I am glad that the BART is taking a stand against that.

M3.4 Air Pollution

Greetings Readers,
On this blog story we will focus on Air Pollution.
Using your zip code (or the zip code from your family home, find out the following and enter info in your BLOG.
  • Who and what are the top polluters in your zip code?
Travis Air Force Base

  • What percent of the homes in your zipcode have lead-based paint?
  • Are there Superfund sites in your zip?  
 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or better known as Superfund is an act that allows EPA to clean up contaminated sites. It also forces the parties responsible for the contamination to either perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work.
  • What can you tell us about the Superfund sites that are near where you live?
Travis Air Force Base is a Superfund site for Fairfield, CA. They have won a few environmental awards based on their work as a superfund site.

  • What did you learn about the air quality in your zipcode?
The air quality is rated as good 92% of the days of the year
  • How about the water quality? 
Low average for the water quality

  • How did your zipcode fair on a social justice / environmental justice basis?
My zip code faired pretty well on social justice and environmental justice. We are doing things to improve the quality of life for people living in our county.

M3.3 Environmental Justice Blog

Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter! When you initially heard this chant and followed the movement you might only focus on police brutality and injustice but have you ever connected the Black Lives Matter movement with environmental injustice?

Think about this, in 1983, the U.S. General Accounting Office conducted a study that found three out of four of the off-site commercial hazard waste landfills in Region 4 (South) were located in predominantly African American communities  (Bullard & Johnson, 2000). 

This is just one example of how the United States intentionally doesn't consider African American and other Blacks as people that deserve to live healthy and happily. The Atlanta Black Star talks about 8 examples of environmental racism with examples as close as Richmond, CA. According to the Atlanta Black Star, "The people of Richmond, particularly African-Americans, are at significantly higher risk of dying from heart disease and strokes and more likely to go to hospitals for asthma than other county residents" (Atlanta Black Star, 2015).

Things that we can do to prevent environmental racism is to advocate for the vulnerable population, support politicians that are aware and ready to make a change and support programs that are already in the works to make a change from a grassroots standpoint.

M3.2 Vulnerable Populations

Hey everyone, today we will focus on vulnerable populations and what it means to make changes that actually work for those populations. 

Why are we still ONLY focused on sedentary lifestyles and diets when addressing obesity in the US?  Why are we not also looking at ways to decrease exposures to those chemicals that may be contributing to the epidemic?

While watching Dr. Rishi Manchanda's video What Makes Us get Sick on Youtube, I notice that he hit a lot of key points in regards to the health of vulnerable populations and how one's zip code could be a defining factor for health and wellness. Hearing that lead is found in 100% of children regardless of race or ethnicity and BPA is found in 96% of children is really frightening.  These toxins, such as BPA, lead, BPDE and many more are changing the level of intelligence in children and also the way that the body processes many functions. These various toxins are linked to both obesity and diabetes. Toxins cause inflammation and immune dysregulation. So instead of making consumers feel bad about illnesses that are supposed to be preventable from their end, we should encourage and highly pressure a lot of these manufacturing companies into making products that aren't filled with toxins because those products are contributing to the obesity epidemic.

M3.1 Biomonitoring

I received some news that I wasn't happy to receive. Today I received some laboratory results from a body burden test and found out that I have levels of the chemicals listed in the picture at levels that aren't "safe" to the body. These results leave me with a lot of questions and has me wondering why I have these various chemicals in my. body to begin with. It also leads me to believe that I am not protected by the government or any of the corporations that product these chemicals. It also leads me to wonder if I work in an environment that has these chemicals at a staggering rate. According to the CDC, phthalates are in a lot of products that we use on a daily basis, like soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes. Receiving results such as these is the large push I need in order to check the chemicals that I'm using and to switch to products that don't contain chemicals such as these.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

M2.3 Household Products

Greetings fellow bloggers and readers,

In this blog post, I will be reviewing some of my favorite household products and their potential environmental harm factor.

First up we have:

Glade Room Spray in white cotton. I absolutely enjoy the first crispness of white cotton so when they bottled it and sold it, I was stoked. Unfortunately , this product has a rating of 1 which means SLIGHT RISK for ACUTE EXPOSURES. 1 of course is better than 2-4, but it is still alarming. Which brings me to my other product.

 Febreze 2-wick candles (Pine is the best scent 😍) fortunately doesn't have a negative rating pertaining to acute exposures so that makes me feel like going out and buying a few more candles. Overall, Febreze might not be the most high quality candle, as far as ingredients, but the limited negative effect on the environment will keep me as a customer.

I scored 5/5 on MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE quiz because although I was raised to use bleach and other harsh chemicals to clean, I feel that I've gained a lot of knowledge about products over the years and the information has stuck a bit.

M2.2 Personal Care Products

Greetings all,

This blog post is about personal care products and their personal environmental impact on the people that use them. I am a woman that absolutely loves facial and body products. I love trying new things and I don't have any skin allergies so it opens the box even wider for things that I am able to try. 

Since I am constantly moving around, I need a deodorant that will protect me from bad body odor. I currently use Degree MotionSense, but on the Skin Deep cosmetics database, they have a 4 out of 10 score which means moderately hazardous. This alarms me because this is a product I use each and everyday. 

I will be making a conscious effort to find deodorant that doesn't have a hazardous label on it.
Degree motionsense deodorant

The second product that I use daily is Listerine Total Care mouthwash. This item also has a 4 out of 10 which means it moderately hazardous, and that is based on additive exposure and bioaccumulation. When I am using something as frequently as I use mouthwash, I don't want harmful chemicals to accumulate over time in my mouth or through my body. 

I will be on the hunt for a more environmentally conscious mouthwash very soon.

Listerine Total Care

I think that is very important that consumers know and have access to knowledge about the products they use on a daily basis. It is good to be at least mindful of what you are using so that you can make a change if that is what you decide to do. 

M1.5 Environmental Home Assessment

Hi everyone!
I was tasked to do an Environmental Assessment Tool on my home and I am a bit surprised to see how I'm not doing too well. My favorite things ever are smell goods (air fresheners, candles, incense etc) and I am a bit disappointed that I didn't know their impact on my environmental health. Also I don't have an emergency plan nor do I have an emergency kit so that is something that I need to get ASAP. 
I can't help that I currently live in a really old home built in the 60s, but I can do the things I need to do in order to be more environmentally friendly and safe.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

When Interests Peak

Today is my first day of my Environmental Health class in graduate school. What that exactly entails, I don't know, but I am a bit excited. I didn't think about what I would want to focus on prior to coming in today, but now I think I know.

I want to focus on hospital waste. What is hospital waste? Well, that is what we will work to find out. I think of blood tubes, catheter tips, needles, biohazard waste and many other things. I started wondering where do these items go after they leave the hospital. How are they being disposed of? Is is safe, is it environmentally friendly? My interest is peaked and now I really want to know.

M7.8 Chlorpyrifos

The topic I am considering is chlorpyrifos (insecticide) among farmworkers.  Chlorpyrifos  is used to control many different kinds of pests,...