As wildfires continue to rage in California, toxic smoke is filling homes, apartments and businesses with airborne carcinogens that may cause cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems like asthma.
The fine particles of burned materials in smoke embed themselves into our lungs, causing burning and irritation in the short term, but exposure to fire smoke is treacherous, and has been linked to serious diseases and even premature death. With the possibility of over 1,500 invisible and potentially toxic substances contaminating your air space right now, poor quality air from fire smoke can aggravate heart, lung, and inflammatory diseases, causing acute symptoms and hospitalizations.
We are exposed to a wide variety of airborne particles and contaminants on a daily basis whether we are at home, in the office, driving, or being in public spaces.
Additionally, as the Woolsey Fire made its way across Ventura County, it burned around the Santa Susana Field Lab1)https://www.psr-la.org/massive-woolsey-fire-began-on-contaminated-santa-susana-field-laboratory-close-to-site-of-partial-meltdown/?fbclid=IwAR1VSuVOY8O-zqDQC4XAydt2dK4TFomwK1a0yGXFKVpyR4AGB6qQfU7fz3w, a site that has been considered “significantly contaminated” by decades of rocket and nuclear reactor testing and a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. The fire burnt through area four. That area had plutonium under ground.
Residents are worried smoke created near the hazardous site could prove particularly dangerous.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control released a public statement2)https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/upload/Community-Update-on-Woolsey-Fire-and-SSFL.pdf claiming there was no immediate cause for concern about smoke from the site that actually started at area 4 of the field lab where plutonium was buried underground.
Santa Susana Field Lab3)https://data.nbcstations.com/national/KNBC/la-nuclear-secret/ was used for testing by various agencies starting in 1947. The site–which was chosen in part because, at the time, it was far from residential development–was used to test rockets, weapons, and nuclear technology. There were ten experimental nuclear reactors at the lab, one of which went into partial meltdown4)https://psmag.com/environment/50-years-after-nuclear-meltdown-3510 on July 12, 1959. An effort to clean the site5)https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/simi-valley/2018/08/21/simi-valley-santa-susana-field-lab-cleanup-delayed-again-nuclear-meltdown/978261002/ has suffered many delays because the department of substance control didn’t do its job and protect the residents and the environment.
On November 13, 2018, only six days after the first fire breaking out, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Department released a statement on Santa Susan Field Laboratory saying that “there was no discernible level of radiation in the tested area”. This is the same agency who in 2007 issued a consent letter to Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks endorsing the use of hydroflurosilicic acid (not the naturally occurring mineral but the chemical by product of manufacturing companies) in our public water municipal systems: based on other agency’s endorsement. No reference to toxicological reports were given. Maybe that is because there was none.
Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles is refuting the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s claim that the path of the Woolsey Fire isn’t likely to have resulted in particularly toxic smoke or ash.
Dr. Robert Dodge, the organizations president wrote, “We know what substances are on the site and how hazardous they are. We’re talking about incredibly dangerous radionuclides and toxic chemicals such a trichloroethylene, perchlorate, dioxins and heavy metals. These toxic materials are in SSFL’s soil and vegetation, and when it burns and becomes airborne in smoke and ash, there is real possibility of heightened exposure for area residents.” Read their full statement here.
Indoor air pollution is made up of solid and liquid particles that are suspended in your air – or particulate matter.
These suspended particles can consist of dust, metals, smoke, liquid droplets, chemicals and pollen. And most contaminants aren’t visible.
Here are the types of contaminants that could be in your house:
- Formaldehyde from paint, bookshelves, cabinets, beds, plastics, cosmetics, fabrics, pillows and drapes
- VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, from paint, pesticides, building and hobby materials, cleaners and cabinetry
- Lead from old paint (simply opening an old painted window can release it into your air)
- Airborne bacteria and viruses from humans, pets, moist surfaces and ventilation systems
- Flame-retardant chemicals from furniture, carpeting and mattresses
- Fragrances and other chemicals from candles and cleaning and laundry supplies
- Mold, mildew and other pollutants from faulty plumbing and leaky foundations and roofs
- Dander and allergens from pets and other animals
- Tobacco smoke, including second- and third-hand smoke
- Compounds from cooking. Roasting or frying food creates organic compound byproducts and without proper ventilation, Korean researchers have found the concentration of these dust particles can reach levels 25 times higher than what’s considered “very unhealthy!”
These pollutants can contribute to the development of allergies, headaches, general fatigue, thyroid disorders, memory and fertility issue and even more serious conditions like cancer or nervous system disorders.
Substances like formaldehyde, certain VOCs and flame retardants are known or suspected carcinogens.
Air is a precious resource. We’d die in moments without it. We can die from it slowly and painfully if the quality is polluted.
Immediate Action to Take
Wear Proper protection. N95 respirator masks to help protect against wildfire smoke. Simple dust or surgical masks do not offer the same kind of protection experts say.6)https://khn.org/news/for-wildfire-safety-only-particular-masks-guard-against-toxic-particulate-matter/amp/
Once you put your mask on, move to a space where air is pure and clean.
Once you have settled, create that space where you air is purified. Because we live in a toxic world (even with no live wild fires), we need to move towards creating this pure and clean air at all times.
You can use plants to purify the air.
Nature has provided many air-purifying plants7)https://www.huffpost.com/entry/best-houseplants-destress_n_2964013 that can help to reduce the amount of toxins floating in the air of your home. There are many other houseplants that can help to filter the air you breathe and keep your living space fresh8)http://www.fresh.news/, clean and oxygenated, but these are definitely some of the best.
- English Ivy is hands-down the number one air-purifying plant to grow indoors. It’s got incredible filtering abilities — it can even remove formaldehyde from the air!
- Aloe vera plants are another great choice for air-cleansing. They help to boost the oxygen levels in your home, and absorb toxins such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the air.
- Peace lillies are another great low-maintenance option for removing toxins from the air.
- Spider plants are known for their ability to absorb toxins like benzene, styrene, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. One spider plant can effectively filter a 200 square-foot room!
- Snake plants are unique in that they release carbon monoxide from the air and release oxygen at night, rather than during the day, so having one in your bedroom might even help you sleep better.
- The red-edged dracaena is a striking, tall plant that pulls double-duty as both a great decoration, and an air-purifier. The dracaena filters out several toxins from the air, such as xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde.
You may even want to see about buying a little potted plant for your desk at work, if you can.
Clinically Proven, Medical Grade Air Purifying System
Here is the air purification system I trust designed to effectively remove chemicals, gases, VOC’s and formaldehyde.
This broad-spectrum adsorption makes it the best choice for people exposed to smoke from wildfires and people living close to busy highways.
Who should consider HealthMate Plus®?
- Anyone needing an efficient way of removing wood burning smoke, formaldehyde and other dangerous VOCs
- Individuals suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
- Those with pre-existing health concerns
- Individuals in high particle and gas contaminated areas
- Eases headaches and reduces nausea related to chemical exposure
- Strengthens the immune system
- Eases coughing, wheezing and sneezing
- Reduces dry mouth and runny nose
- Sounder sleep
- Reduced snoring
- Lessen night time allergies and asthma attacks
Why is HealthMate Plus® the best choice?
- Designed for highly contaminated indoor air conditions
- Extremely effective at removing particles in the air including formaldehyde, elements of smoke, dust and pollens
- Exceptional capacity for removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Filters viruses and bacteria
For something more heavy duty, here is a portable, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which can capture ultrafine particles. I use it once every 3 days now that the smoke and particles from the fires has settled. It is part of my routine now because there are many other toxins floating around at all times.
“One’s Health is One’s Wealth”
Invest in your health.
To find out more about this air purifying system, call 818-839-0272 (authorized dealer) *Save 10% retail price.
Additional Action to Take
Take proactive action. Demand change.
We need incoming governor Gavin Newsom to do something – sign the petition with me.
Kim Kardashian and two of her sisters shared a Change.org petition which called for an investigation into the potential radioactive chemicals released by the wildfires. Here is Kim Kardashian’s FB page post.
Joel Grover investigative reporter with NBC LA is a hero. His investigative reporting is courageous. Let’s rally behind him as well to get the message out loud and clear to our agencies who are employed by us and because of our tax dollars to protect us. Don’t assume the agencies are not swayed by deep pockets.
* Affiliate relationship
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