Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Due Deligence Potential Toxic Substances

Recently a visitor surfed into this site with the search string "dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride is it safe for children"

It think the visitor is questioning whether what is commonly known as alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride aka ADBAC is safe for use on children, probably since they may have come across this ingredient in diaper wipes as a sanitizer or other common disinfectant application including, but are not limited to: eyewashes, nasal sprays, hand and face washes, mouthwashes, spermicidal creams, and in various other cleaners.

One list of typical uses found at Wikipedia includes the following applications:
  • Pharmaceuticals such as leave-on skin antiseptics
  • Hygienic towelettes and wet wipes
  • Cosmetics such as eye and nasal drops, as a preservative
  • Cleaners for floor and hard surfaces as a disinfectant
  • High-level surgical instrument sterilizing and disinfection solutions
  • Air and surface sprayable disinfectants
  • Over-the-counter herpes cold sore and fever blister single-application treatments such as Viroxyn
The same source sites toxicity data as follows:

  • ADBAC is highly toxic to fish
  • Very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates
  • Moderately toxic to birds
  • Slightly toxic to mammals, however, Benzalkonium chloride solutions of 10% or more are toxic to humans, causing irritation to the skin and mucosa, and death if taken internally.
It is found to be an allergen and several studies have cast doubt on its reputation for safety. Manufacturers of over-the-counter artificial tears and eye washes became concerned about chemical sensitivity from long-term daily use and have in some products substituted other preservatives.

But when dealing with common industrial chemicals and toxicity, it is always a matter of degree, meaning frequency of use and how susceptible an individual is to such exposure. Some people can withstand higher doses without showing any signs of adverse effects while others flag at the mere whiff or contact of the same substance. So, like everything else, a certain level of awareness can prevent injury or harm.

Children are particularly susceptible across the board to toxic substances for the simple reason that they have not had the incremental exposure to toxins afforded by a longer lifetime for their bodies to build up a strong coping mechanism as would be found in a healthy adults.

So, when dealing with children, awareness is advised. If you find you must use a diaper wipe, and with limited proper use it does come in handy, it would be advisable to avoid direct contact with the mucous tissue in that area--why go asking for trouble. At the first indication of allergic reaction, discontinue use and contact an knowledgeable medical professional. ADBAC is not readily soluble in water, so it would be good to find a benign method to neutralize the contact area after use (I'd be inclined to sprinkle a little cornstarch on the skin area, but my children are young adults and I sincerely doubt they'd let me test this on them).

Many manufacturers are also supposed to provide some sort of hot line for toxic exposure/allergic reactions and you may want to report the incident, but somehow I doubt any real help will be found there, these telephone numbers are probably used to just log the number of complaints.

It is suspected that long-term use of benzalkonium as a preservative in nasal sprays may cause swelling of mucosa and lead to rhinitis medicamentosa. Contact lens solutions typically contain 0.002% to 0.01% benzalkonium chloride and limited studies have found that repeated use of benzalkonium chloride at concentrations of 1:5000 (0.02%) or stronger can denature corneal protein and cause irreversible damage to the eye; and that stronger concentration of 0.04% to 0.05% solutions of benzalkonium chloride can cause punctures of the corneal epithelium.

A 2009 study found that frequent use of benzalkonium chloride in less than lethal concentrations resulted in an increased resistance to the disinfectant solution, and actually led to an increase in resistance of some bacteria to the certain antibiotics.

For more information on most chemicals consult the Chemical Abstracts Service Database.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Toxic Emissions In Our Schools

Wow!!! It only took about 12 years or more, but finally, someone agrees with me!

Toxic Cleaner Fumes Could Contaminate California Classrooms
Widely Used Cleaning Supplies Emit More Than 450 Contaminants into the Air, Including Chemicals that Trigger Asthma

Clean and Healthy Schools Act Would Protect California Children By Promoting Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

CONTACT: EWG Public Affairs,
(202) 667-6982
November 3, 2009

Santa Monica, CA -- Air pollution testing conducted for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that cleaning supplies used in 13 key California school districts can cloud classroom air with more than 450 distinct toxic contaminants, including chemical agents linked to asthma and cancer. EWG released its findings today in Santa Monica during a news conference where attendees, again, called on the State legislature to adopt a measure that would encourage school districts across California to use less toxic cleaning supplies.

The 13 school districts included in the study were chosen for their geographic diversity and diversity of size. Several districts have already begun moving to green cleaners, while others have pilot programs underway at various stages.

Most of the 450 chemicals identified have never been assessed for safety; six are identified with increasing the risk asthma, and eleven are known, probable or possible human carcinogens.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at present, nearly 1 in 10 children have asthma in the U.S., up from 7.5 percent in 1996, and just 3.6 percent in 1980. One in six California children will develop asthma at some point during childhood or adolescence. Asthma is a major source of absenteeism in California schools. In 2001, 136,000 children with asthma ages 12-17 missed at least one day of school per month, costing schools $40.8 million in state funds.
“Classroom cleaners can deliver harmful fumes to millions of school children each day, and parents have no way to know about it,” said Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D., an EWG senior scientist and author of the study. “Cleaning products aren’t required to list ingredients on the label, leaving school systems and everyday consumers without critical information to make the smart choices.”

Chemicals found in school cleaning products included:
6 that can lead to asthma: formaldehyde, styrene, methyl methacrylate, ethanolamine, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC), didecyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. Childhood asthma prevalence has more than doubled since 1980, and today nearly 10 percent of children have asthma.
11 that have been tied to increased cancer risk: formaldehyde, styrene, chloroform, trichloroethylene, benzene, 1-chloro-2, 3-epoxypropane, acetaldehyde, N-ethyl-N-nitroso-ethanamine, 2-butoxyethanol, ethylbenzene, quartz. Incidence of childhood cancer rose 28 percent from 1974 to 1998, with especially significant increases in leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and several brain and nervous system cancers.

What about H1N1?
School and health officials are rightly concerned about controlling the spread of the H1N1 virus. This report analyzed air contamination from school cleaning products and does not make any specific recommendations in relation to H1N1 except to follow the advice of the government health officials.

“The H1N1 virus presents a unique situation that requires special precautions. We recommend that all schools follow the official guidance of the CDC and their local health authorities,” said Sutton.
Popular Household Brands are also a Big Problem:

The 20-plus cleaning products EWG tested included a handful of popular brands such as Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser, which produced 146 air contaminants when used as directed, more than any other product tested. Comet fumes included formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform, and four other chemicals identified by the state of California as causing cancer or reproductive harm.

Among the others tested were the general purpose cleaner Simple Green and the air freshener Febreze Air Effects, which produced 93 and 89 air contaminants, respectively.

Tests that compared cleaning a model classroom using three ordinary cleansers with three “certified green” products showed that "green” cleaning supplies released less than one-sixth of the air pollution produced by conventional cleaning. Tests did find low levels of chemicals tied to cancer and asthma in some of the green products. But overall, certified green cleaning supplies produce lower pollution levels and fewer chemicals than conventional products.

“Green cleaners could be greener,” said Sutton, “but our test show that they are consistently more environmentally friendly than their conventional counterparts.

Last spring, California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-41st District) introduced legislation that would require public schools to adopt the use of certified green cleaning products if they could do so at the same cost. The Clean and Healthy Schools Act (AB 821) is currently before the Assembly’s appropriations committee for consideration.

Several California school districts have already adopted green cleaning policies and they have seen no increase in costs.

"Keeping children healthy, in school and ready to learn is the most important thing parents, schools and industry can do to brighten their future and revitalize the state's economy," said Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee. "Hazardous chemicals have been linked to a variety of serious illnesses including asthma, the leading cause of absenteeism from a chronic illness among California's six million school children. Switching to safer cleaning products will create a healthier environment."

“Green cleaning has proven to be one of the easiest and cost-effective ways for schools to make their facilities healthier and safer for students, teachers and staff while also making a positive impact on the environment,” said Dean Kubani – Director, City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment.

“The Santa Monica Malibu USD is pleased to be partnering with the City of Santa Monica and the Green Schools Initiative to pilot test “green “cleaning products and practices in selected SMMUSD schools,” said Tim Cuneo, Superintendent of the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District. “The training that our staff will be receiving will assist us in continually improving the environment in which children learn and employees work. This is another example of the collaborative efforts between our two agencies that benefit the community.”

“This is another effort on the part of the District to reduce health and environmental effects by incorporating the use of “green “cleaning products and practices in the District,” said Ralph Mechur, Board of Education President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. “The pilot test results will help SMMUSD make informed decisions about the most cost-effective, safest, and highest performing products appropriate for use in district schools.”

“The alarming truth is that we know far too little about what’s in the cleaning supplies used in schools -- and in our homes,” wrote EWG in its report. “Legally, nearly any chemical can be used as an ingredient, and cleaning product labels are not required to list ingredients. Lacking a legal definition of words like "non-toxic," manufacturers can make misleading claims. As a result, school staff and consumers do not have the information they need to select products made with safer ingredients.”

EWG’s tests underscore the need for disclosure of all ingredients in cleaning supplies used in schools, offices, and at home. New York Representative Steve Israel (D) and Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) recently introduced federal legislation to require household cleaning products to list the ingredients on the labels of all items, from laundry detergent to countertop cleaners.

EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

School Cleaner Report in the NewsEasy Ways to Make Your Kitchen Safe Super Natural...Greener, Homemade CleanersChronic Health Effects in Children and Cleaners Used...Science of Green: New Research Documents Benefits...Taking the House by StormTeaching your children's school about green cleaning457 Different Chemicals Released into Air by School...View all »

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ozone, Iodine, Seaweed, Cloud Formation

Here is where I tell everyone what We think of the Hole In the Ozone, (Pss on It; Urea decomposes in the presence of Ozone to relatively innoccuous substances, CO2, N2 and H2) and that should also bring some Water down from the Sky. (I guess in a perfect world we would have more trees.)

(NH2)2CO + O3 ----> CO2 + N2 + 2H2O

An interesting article, reported in May 6, 2008, Stressed Seaweed Contributes To Cloudy Coastal Skies, summarizes findings that scientists at The University of Manchester have helped to identify that the presence of large amounts of seaweed in coastal areas can influence the climate when kelp releases large quantities of inorganic iodine into the coastal atmosphere, where it may contribute to cloud formation. A scientific paper published online Monday 6 May 2008, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) identifies that iodine is stored in the form of iodide – single, negatively charged ions. When this iodide is released it acts as the first known inorganic – and the most simple – antioxidant in any living system.

The research team also found that large amounts of iodide are released from kelp tissues into sea water as a consequence to the oxidative stress during a defence response against pathogen attack. Based on their findings, the research team reports that kelps play an important role in the global biogeochemical cycle of iodine and in the removal of ozone close to the Earth's surface. {I am no stranger to begging, so here I am doing it again; anyone happen to have a model for ozone's affect on wind/climate?}

The lead author, Dr. Frithjof Küpper explains, “When kelp experience stress, for example when they are exposed to intense light, desiccation or atmospheric ozone during low tides, they very quickly begin to release large quantities of iodide from stores inside the tissues…These ions detoxify ozone and other oxidants that could otherwise damage kelp, and, in the process, produce molecular iodine.

Large amounts of iodine oxide and volatile halocarbons were measured in the atmosphere above kelp beds and forests. These chemicals act as condensation nuclei around which clouds may form.”

The paper’s co-author, Dr Gordon McFiggans, said, “The findings are applicable to any coastal areas where there are extensive kelp beds…typically places like rocky intertidal zones where kelp can prosper - sandy beaches aren't very good.”

“The increase in the number of cloud condensation nuclei may lead to ‘thicker’ clouds. These are optically brighter, reflecting more sunlight upwards and allowing less to reach the ground, and last for longer. In such a cloud there are a higher number of small cloud droplets and rainfall is suppressed, compared with clouds of fewer larger droplets.”

It recently came to my attention that the relationship between iodine and seaweed had been studied as far back as 1958, The Mechanism of Iodide Accumulation by the Brown Sea Weed Laminaria digitata. The Uptake of 131I , but the importance to iodine seeding clouds is a relatively more current topic. Ozone management, encouraging cloud formation and a good rain to flush out airborne pollutants are viable 'air fresheners' that could prevent future 'cosmic' events like the one that zapped Evi.

I don't quite know why this post keeps losing its formatting, but at any rate-- What effect do 'thick' or heavy dark clouds near the shoreline have on pervading winds at sea?

35 Fatir (The Originator of Creation)

وَاللَّهُ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا فَسُقْنَاهُ إِلَى بَلَدٍ مَّيِّتٍ فَأَحْيَيْنَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا كَذَلِكَ النُّشُورُ 35:9

35:9 AND it is God who sends the Winds that gather the Clouds; We drive them towards dead land and revive the Earth after it had been lifeless; likewise shall be The Resurrection!

42 Ash-Shura (The Consultation)

42:33 إِن يَشَأْ يُسْكِنِ الرِّيحَ فَيَظْلَلْنَ رَوَاكِدَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ

42:33 if He wills, He stills the Winds, and then they lie motion­less on the Sea’s surface – in this are Signs (messages) for those patient in adversity and deeply grateful...

45 Al-Jathiya (The Kneeling)

45:5 وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مِن رِّزْقٍ

فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

45:5 In the difference between Night and Day and whatsoever God sends down from the sky (be it Revelation or Rain, etc) by His Beneficence to enliven with it the Earth after it (lay) lifeless and distribution (release/dispersal/apportioning..of) the Winds are Signs for people who reason (think).

41 Fussilat (Making Clear, Discernment)

41:1 حم
41:2 تَنزِيلٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

41:3 كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
41:4 بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا فَأَعْرَضَ أَكْثَرُهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ :

41:1 Ha. Mim.

41:2 A Bestowal (Conferral/Transference) from The Merciful, Full of Grace

41:3 A Recitation/Scripture with clear messages (Instructive/Illuminating/Clarifying/Expounding/Descriptive...Signs) in the Arabic language for people of knowledge (educators, thinkers, people who reason)

41:4 Bearing glad tidings and warnings; yet many oppose it for they cannot hear it (understand it) The Mechanism of Iodide Accumulation by the Brown Sea Weed Laminaria digitata. The Uptake of 131I