Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In Brief: The Nasty Effects of Ozone, Pesticides and Global Warming

Recent news shows how aspects of our environment are putting us at risk for heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and causing allergy sufferers to suffer more. What really stings is that, since these are environmental factors, you'll be hard-pressed to avoid them.

Link between smog and heart disease found
Scientists had previously suspected that smog was somehow linked to heart disease, but they lacked definitive evidence. But now a new study
reported by Scientific American "shows how ozone's byproducts in the body can harden arteries and cause heart disease." Ozone, which is present in smog, interacts with your body's cholesterol (which "makes up 40 percent of most of your membranes") to produce a substance called "atheronal." An expert told Scientific American that, "atheronals can actually cause all the relative aspects that are known to promote cardiovascular disease,"

Pesticides may cause Parkinson's in men
There's good news and bad news. The good news is that another factor in developing Parkinson's disease has been found. The bad news is that it's pesticides and those aren't going away anytime soon. According to
a report at EurekAlert, "men with Parkinson's were 2.4 times more likely to have had exposure to pesticides than those who did not have Parkinson's." Interestingly enough, the same did not hold true for women. According to the report, "estrogen may protect women from the toxic effects of pesticides."

How global warming makes allergies worse
Whether or not we can agree on the causes of global warming, it's certainly real and the consequences can be a real drag. Case in point: "higher levels of [carbon dioxide] will also boost pollen production, causing allergy sufferers to suffer even more in the future," according to
an article at WebMD. The problem is spurred by two factors. One, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause plants to spew more pollen. Two, global warming causes spring to start earlier, thus expanding the annual window of pollen production.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.