General Environmental Health News

Aerotoxic Syndrome: Current Research and Political Status


Aircfrat in flightAs more and more people are flying, including pilots, cabin crew and passengers, aerotoxic syndrome is becoming a major health issue. Christine Standing of gives an overview of aerotoxic syndrome and an update on current research and political and legal wranglings.

Summary of Aerotoxic Safety Risks

by Christine Standing MA

In 1955, there was a heated debate about the potential faults that were being introduced into aircraft air conditioning technology. The industry has had decades to correct this problem. During this time it dealt with the ensuing safety deficit by the use of denial. Now, the problem has resurfaced and it is the medical fraternity who are discovering the extent of the problem.  Pilots, flight attendants and passengers are experiencing neurotoxic symptoms. The clue to discovering the reason for these lies in the fact that pilots are becoming incapacitated in-flight; some experience moments of black-out others are paralyzed; others have transitory neurological symptoms and find it difficult to land their aircraft safely.  Responsible, fit and healthy young pilots have to be stretchered off aircraft and hospitalised. Others find that their illness progresses incrementally with each successive flight.  Many have life-long illnesses as a result of this policy.  In 1999, this condition was termed Aerotoxic Syndrome.

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Call to ban residential pesticide use and reduce sick building syndrome cases in Japan


Pesticide warning signPesticide spraying within residential areas is a big problem in Japan and a major cause of environmental illnesses such as sick building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity. A Japanese scientist and sufferer of sick building syndrome now calls for action to put residents' health first.

No More Killing Softly, Please!!

Underestimated harmful effects of pesticide spraying in residential compounds in Japan

by Minako Yamada, PhD.

Almost 50 years ago, American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, in which she warned the general public of the danger of toxic chemicals which impact not only wild life but also human life. Her allegations strongly influenced environmental policies, leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA, for example. Yet, the situation in Japan is still far behind because of the heavy use of chemicals for farming and pesticide spraying in residential areas compared to pesticide usage in the USA or EU countries.

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May is awareness month for environmental illnesses


Man wearing carbon filter maskThe month of May is dedicated to raising worldwide awareness of environmental illnesses including multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS).

These are debilitating conditions which affect many millions of people around the globe. Despite commonly rendering sufferers incapable of working, causing the breakdown of families, and putting a substantial burden on welfare systems, they generally receive little in the way of media attention and awareness among the general public, as well as medical staff and policy makers, remains pityful.

Every year during the month of May (and particularly on May 12th - awareness day), advocacy and support groups, along with individual sufferers and their loved ones, stage events to put environmental illnesses in the spotlight. Aims include raising awareness and educating the public about the severity of these conditions and how devastating they can be, not just for the sufferers themselves but also their families. Efforts are also made to bring the needs of environmental illness sufferers to the attention of the medical profession and governments since it is often a huge struggle to obtain the required medical and financial help.

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Meditation research provides chronic illness insights


Man meditatingSoon to be published research is set to reveal details of what happens in the brain during meditation and will also provide new insights into the structure and function of  the brain itself, in both health and illness.

Since 2008, neuroscientist Zoran Josipovic has been has been studying the brains of Tibetan Buddhist monks at New York University, where he is a research scientist and adjunct professor. What makes his work so interesting and revealing is that he has been using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to look at real time changes in the brains of the monks while they are meditating.


The ancient Eastern practice of meditation has become increasingly popular in the West over the past half century as both individual practitioners and scientists have discovered its potential to promote, not only happiness and a sense of spiritual peace and "oneness", but also good physical and mental health. Josipovic's findings, by illuminating previously poorly understood ways in which the brain behaves, could help provide a better understanding of numerous mysterious chronic and degenerative conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FMS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), autism,  and Alzheimer's disease. 

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Bottled water not the healthy and environmentally friendly option: EWG investigation


Bottled waterA major research and advocacy group known for its work relating to health and the environment has released its findings from an investigation into bottled water.

The public commonly see bottled water as the healthy choice but information gathered by the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests many companies do not reveal the sources of their water and how it is treated, while also failing to disclose results of purity testing.

According to Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President of Research at EWG, "Bottled water companies try hard to hide information you might find troubling."   This undoubtedly puts a question mark over the the assumption that bo ttled water is the healthiest option.

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