Canadian Lung Association Blog

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World health expert talks dirty

Nino Kunzli II

The BC Lung Association organizes an annual meeting of world authorities on health-damaging pollutants. At a recent meeting we spoke with visiting pollution expert Dr. Nino Künzli and asked, given we know dirty air poses risks to health, what can we advise people do to protect themselves? According to Künzli individuals and communities would benefit from thinking of the health risks in terms of ‘susceptibility’ – in other words – in terms of an individual’s likelihood of being adversely affected by exposure to health-damaging pollutants. How susceptible we are to pollution is affected by factors such as where we live,

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How air pollution is messing with our genes

Student in air pollution study - blog

Air pollution can make it hard to breathe. It also can increase someone’s blood pressure and heart rate. Those problems are well known. Now research, in part funded by the BC Lung Association, suggests breathing diesel fumes can trigger another toxic change. It can inappropriately turn some genes on, while turning others off. Just two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can lead to fundamental health-related changes in biology by switching some genes on, while switching others off, according to researchers at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health. The study involved putting volunteers in a polycarbonate-enclosed booth — about the

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Posted in Air Quality, Asthma, Lung Health

Becoming Air Aware – How Canada’s AQHI Can Help You

AQHI

The Air Quality Health Index or “AQHI” is a scale designed to help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health. It’s a health protection tool designed to help you make decisions to protect your health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting your activity levels during increased levels of air pollution – and it’s particularly important for those whose health is at most risk from air pollution. The AQHI is designed to give you this information along with some suggestions on how you might adjust your activity levels depending on your individual health risk from

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Air pollution at home

Air pollution at home - Perry Hystad

When we speak of air pollution, we generally think about the air outside. However, the vast majority of our time is spent indoors. Few studies have looked at how outdoor air pollution affects indoor air quality.  We sat down to gain some insight with Perry Hystad who completed his doctoral studies on air quality at the University of British Columbia.  Why is it important to study indoor air quality? We only spend about 10 percent of our day outdoors and around 70 percent of our time in our houses. Being that that’s where you spend most of your time, that’s

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How safe is that ‘new smell’?

Britt Swoveland, RadonAware Manager at The Lung Association – British Columbia, shares her knowledge about indoor air quality. Like most soon-to-be parents, my husband and I couldn’t wait to set up our baby’s room. We spent weeks looking for the perfect crib and matching dresser, material for sewing curtains, and of course, a new colour for all the walls. The bedding was new, the furniture was new and the walls received a fresh coat of paint. A few weeks before my due date, I started to organize baby clothes, when I noticed a strong ‘chemical’ smell upon opening our new dresser’s drawers. I

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Season’s Sneezings : April showers bring May flowers

For most people, spring time is a time of the year when we shed winter coats and breathe in the long-forgotten smells of budding flowers and trees. But almost a quarter of Canadians suffers from allergies in the spring that make this time of the year difficult to enjoy. Jaimie Peters is a Registered Nurse and Certified Respiratory Educator with the Canadian Lung Association’s Helpline. She shares her tips on dealing with seasonal allergies. What causes springtime allergies? Most spring allergies are caused by pollens that are released from grass, trees, and flowers. Spring allergies cause hay fever, otherwise known as allergic

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Posted in Air Quality, Asthma, Lung Health

BC Hydro sits down with BC Lung Association

BC Hydro Blog graphic

Last summer RadonAware met with BC Hydro to provide information on what radon is, the health risks, how to test, mitigation options, and how building upgrades are a great time to consider protection from soil gases, such as radon, the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. To lend its support, BC Hydro’s Home Renovation Rebate Program now asks homeowners to consider testing for radon when doing home improvements. Margo Longland, Senior Program Manager, Residential Marketing, believes testing for radon is an important first step to help protect occupant health and safety. “If you’re going to be planning a renovation, consider radon testing.

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, radon

CARST sits down with BC Lung Association

CARST blog graphic.2jpg

From April 24th to 26th RadonAware will join with dozens of radon professionals in Montreal, Quebec to “Connect and Educate” at the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST) 5th Annual Radon Conference. The BC Lung Association’s RadonAware Manager Britt Swoveland recently sat down with Pam Warkentin, Executive Director of C-NRPP and Executive Assistant to CARST to discuss this year’s conference and the CARST’s long-term vision. Britt: This year’s theme for the CARST Conference is “Connect and Educate.” How does the conference support this theme? Pam: People will be coming to the conference from all across Canada, so we have

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, radon

Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC (CHBA BC) sits down with BC Lung Association

Partnership with CHBA radon graphic.2

The danger of radon gas is serious. For people who have never smoked, it is the leading cause of lung cancer. The BC Lung Association’s RadonAware Manager Britt Swoveland recently sat down with Neil Moody, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC to discuss the importance of supporting the construction industry with resources and education to help protect homeowners from radon. Britt: Why get involved in radon? Neil: The CHBA BC represents more than 1,600 members from regions throughout the province of British Columbia and from every area of the housing industry in the province. Radon is

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5 minutes with Drs. Michael Brauer and Sarah Henderson

Brauer and Henderson

Why do research on the AirCare program? Vehicle emissions monitoring programs, such as AirCare, have been introduced in many parts of the world, but there have not been any studies describing how they impact public health. However, many studies have shown that life expectancy is shorter in cities with more air pollution, and there are more deaths on days when air pollution levels are high. It follows that programs like AirCare have the potential to prolong lives by reducing both the long-term and short-term air pollution exposures of people who live within the affected areas. What impact did AirCare have

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research