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Second-Hand Smoke

by Guest
Posted July 7 2010 11:57am
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Second-hand smoke is responsible for an incredible 400,000 illnesses in children each year.

Years ago, the dangers of smoking were not well known. Many people smoked and it was looked upon as socially acceptable. Moviegoers swooned over images of their favourite movie stars smoking cigarettes. At that time, smoking was also permitted in most public places. 

Today, things are very different. Information about the dangers of smoking is more readily available in the media. As a result, people are aware of smoking-related risks; this includes the dangers of second-hand smoke.

In Canada, the deaths of approximately 1,000 non-smokers are attributed to smoke-related illness each year. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals – 50 of which have been found to cause cancer. (Saskatchewan Institute on Prevention of Handicaps- Smoking and ETS {environmental tobacco smoke})

Effects of Second-Hand Smoke on Children:

In Canada, 900,000 (2001 stats Canadian Health Network) children under 12 years of age are exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes. This is significant because 67% of the smoke from one cigarette enters the surrounding environment because it is not inhaled. 

Second-hand smoke is responsible for an incredible 400,000 illnesses in children each year (Canadian Health Network website). Illness and health-related conditions such as asthma, allergies, croup, ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are all associated with second-hand smoke.

Children are more at risk to second-hand smoke because they breather more air relative to their body weight; they breathe faster than adults; their immune systems are less developed; their lungs are still growing and developing and they may not be able to remove themselves from the area.

Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are twice as likely to die of SIDS (Saskatchewan Health-Helping Your Family Clear the Air).

What You Can Do:

Making your home smoke free, removing your child from exposure to second-hand smoke and not allowing people to smoke in a vehicle with your child will reduce the impact of second-hand smoke. Second hand smoke in a car can be 27 times more concentrated than in a home.  

Provinces such as New Brunswick, PEI and Ontario have Smoke-Free acts that prohibits smoking in a vehicle with children; offenses can result in a fine. The Yukon also has a Smoke-Free act that applies to vehicles.

Whether or not you are a smoker, it's important to know all the facts about second-hand smoke. Understanding the true facts about second-hand smoke will protect your children and the rest of your family from its hazards.

References

Saskatchewan Institute on Prevention of Handicaps - Smoking and ETS (environmental tobacco smoke)

Canadian Health Network - Children especially vulnerable to the effects of second hand smoke.

Saskatchewan Health - Helping Your Family Clear the Air

 

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Plastics

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 10:59am
Filed under:

Your home is your cocoon, where you feel safe and secure. However, it also contains a variety of things that can have an impact on your health and the health of your baby.

Plastics are man-made materials made from different combinations of chemicals.

You can:

  • Consider reducing your use of plastics. Try to purchase products that are not wrapped or packaged in plastic.
  • Air out your home during and after renovations.
  • Let any new soft plastic products air outdoors for one to three days before using them.
  • Store food in glass or metal containers.
  • Use glass or ceramic dishes and covers in the microwave instead of plastic. Do not use styrofoam containers to store or reheat food.
  • Store breast milk only in glass containers not in plastic bottles or plastic bottle liners.
  • Avoid exposure to plastic building and decorating products.
  • Avoid, if possible, giving your child a pacifier made of soft plastic.
  • Where possible, buy plastic toys only if they are made in Canada or the U.S.
  • Avoid soft plastic teething rings. Try a frozen bagel, teething biscuits or select a hard plastic teether.

 

Adapted from Hidden Exposures, Reproduction and the Environment Fact Sheets. Produced by South Riverdale Community Health Center in collaboration with Toronto Public Health, Copyright Dec 2001 with permission from South Riverdale Community Health Center.

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Using Paints and Solvents During Pregnancy

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 11:00am
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Your home is your cocoon, where you feel safe and secure. However, it also contains a variety of things that can have an impact on your health and the health of your baby.

Paints and solvents are chemicals that may evaporate easily and can break down fats. Solvents are used in cleaning products and cosmetics to cut grease and help the product penetrate.

To cut down on solvents in your life:

  • Try not to buy clothing that must be dry cleaned.
  • If you do dry clean, try to find a cleaner that uses a "green clean" approach (using water, natural soaps, steam and heat).
  • If you use a dry cleaner, you might consider airing dry cleaned items outside for several days, without the plastic covering, before bringing them inside your home.
  • Use products with less solvents.
  • If you use products containing a lot of solvents, remember to ventilate well, wear a face mask with an organic vapour cartridge, gloves and clothing to protect your skin.

And when it comes to paints:

  • It is best not to paint or refinish while you are pregnant.
  • If you must paint, choose latex paints. Expectant moms should not eat or drink anything while painting. If you get some paint on your skin, vegetable oil or mineral oil (baby oil) is great for removing it.
  • Moms should never use commercial paint thinner or stripper during pregnancy.
  • Moms should avoid newly painted areas until the paint is dry and the smell is gone.
  • Other people in your home, who use paints and/or solvents at home or work, should change clothes before coming in contact with you. Wash those clothes separately from yours.

Adapted from Hidden Exposures, Reproduction and the Environment Fact Sheets. Produced by South Riverdale Community Health Center in collaboration with Toronto Public Health, Copyright Dec 2001 with permission from South Riverdale Community Health Center.

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Gardening and Pregnancy

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 11:17am
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Gardening may be one of the ways you relax and, like any activity, there are some precautions to take while pregnant.

Even if you do not have a cat of your own you may be exposed to toxoplasmosis as a neighbourhood cat may have left feces in your garden. Use gardening gloves to protect your hands and wash them well with soap and water after you have worked in the garden.

Gardening gloves also help to protect you from other bacteria and from chemicals that may be present in the soil.

If you use chemicals or pesticides in your garden, these products maybe absorbed or inhaled when using them. Try to avoid exposure to these during your pregnancy. If these products must be used, have someone else apply them.

 

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