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Ventilation and Cleaning Hinder Indoor Pollutants
April 2014

Keeping Healthy Spaces

woman-cleaningProperly ventilating and frequently cleaning our homes and offices are both important to our health, concludes a new European study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Researchers analyzed bacterial and fungal counts and suspended particulate matter in indoor air samples of 40 homes and offices. They determined that 45 percent had indoor pollution levels greater than that recommended by the current European Concerted Action Report on air quality standards.

An analysis of a Canadian government Health Measures Survey discovered 47 different indoor volatile organic compounds (VOC) among more than half of the 3,857 households surveyed throughout Canada. Most of the VOCs identified there have also been present in separate European and U.S. studies.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are carbon chemical compounds that can evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions. The concern with indoor VOCs is their potential to react with indoor ozone to produce harmful byproducts that may be associated with adverse health effects in sensitive populations.

Benzene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene and xylene top the list of common VOCs inside U.S. households, according to an EPA report. Typical sources comprise common household chemicals, furnishings and décor, as well as indoor activities such as unventilated cooking, heating and smoking.

 
Tomatoes Prevent and Even Treat Liver Disease
April 2014

The Power of Lycopene

tomatoesTomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties, plus benefits to heart health. Now, research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center, at Tufts University, in Boston, Massachusetts, has found that consuming tomatoes—particularly their lycopene content—can also help prevent and even treat both liver disease and cancer of the liver.

The researchers combed through 241 studies and scientific papers to connect the dots. They report that lycopene up regulates the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) protein, meaning it increases the number of receptors on cell surfaces, thereby increasing cellular response to it. SIRT1 activation is recognized to protect against obesity-induced inflammation and degeneration of the liver, explain the study’s authors. Lycopene was found to protect against fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis and the formation of cancer in the liver and lungs.

Multiple studies have shown cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce offer increased bioavailability of healthful lycopene.

 
CO2-Correct Food
April 2014

Menus Minimize Greenhouse Gases

co2Experts at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, at Aberdeen University, in Scotland, have created a new menu plan that is healthy and nutritious, as well as good for the environment. The researchers compiled a shopping list of 52 foods arranged in categories according to how much climate-changing greenhouse gases are produced to make and transport them (Tinyurl.com/ScottishDiet).

They then devised a weekly weight allowance for each food, which when followed, would reduce the use of greenhouse gases by about a third. Surprisingly, the list features foods such as chocolate, ice cream and red meat, but anyone wanting to reduce their carbon footprint must only eat them in relatively tiny quantities.

Some food groups, such as dairy products and meat, produce much bigger emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide than others because of the way they are manufactured and brought to market. The production of fruit, vegetables and legumes is much less likely to produce such high emissions.


Source: Scotsman.com

 
Pick-Me-Up Books
April 2014

Mailbox Libraries Gain Worldwide

little-free-libraryAlice Mills smiles as she looks at the box that sits on her lawn in Hutchinson, Kansas, an act of kindness for neighbors and the community. Inside the box is a miniature library. Books sit on two shelves; the bottom with short stories for children and the top with novels for adults. After her children grew up and moved away from home, they took the books they wanted with them. The rest sat on a bookshelf collecting dust. “If they’re here, they’re not being read,” Mills says.

The concept for the Little Free Library began in 2009 to promote literacy and the love of reading, as well as to build a sense of community, according to LittleFreeLibrary.org. They are now popping up around the world in the United States, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, Turkey and the Congo.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey shows that Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. More than half used a public library in a one-year period, and 72 percent say they live in a “library household”. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries and value a range of library resources and services. National Library Week begins April 13.


Contributing source: HutchNews.com

 
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