2. Pure Air
2.1 Air Contents Normal to Humans
Pure air is relatively free of pollutants. It contains only the normal amount of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, inert ozone, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia and particulates, all of which the body is well-equipped to handle.
In other words, there is always water vapor, some carbon dioxide, and a minute amount of carbon monoxide in the air. Carbon monoxide isn’t healthful in any sense, but we are equipped to handle it as naturally found in the air from natural sources. There are also particulates in the air including dust or the debris of decomposing products. Pollens, fragrant emanations and other natural effluvia are also present. There are inert gases in air—free gases in very, very minute percentages. Some may be inorganic and toxic, but many come from forms of life. All of these constituents are not a part of the air’s chemical composition but are held suspended in it. They are known as variable components.
Air is composed of nitrogen (78.1%), oxygen (20.9%) and fractional parts of less than 1% of argon, hydrogen, methane, nitrous oxide, xenon, krypton, helium and neon.
2.2 Today’s Air Is Loaded With Pollutants
Humans have adapted to impurities in air over millions of years. Unfortunately, air today is loaded with immense amounts of pollutants not normal to our adaptations. Even those which we are equipped to handle in minute amounts often pervade the air in overwhelming quantities.
For example, carbon monoxide is often in the air in urban areas in amounts sufficient to seriously affect well-being. In these same areas are huge amounts pf lead, hydrocarbons, and other unwholesome substances in quantities that we cannot handle. Today we get only a fraction of the oxygen-rich air we need for good health. Compounded with the problem of the general pollution of outdoor air, we tend to stay in our homes and workplaces where we constantly inhale our own aerial excreta and staggering amounts of pollutants otherwise generated.
2.3 Many Americans Pollute Their Homes and Bodies by Smoking
Many Americans subject themselves to lung pollution from tobacco smoke. Smoking is a deadly, poisonous habit, a narcotic addiction that slowly kills. Nonsmokers are harmed by the fumes as well as smokers.
We should get as much fresh air as circumstances permit. The ideal is to live in completely fresh air in a pristine state of nature. If nothing changed in our current circumstances except that we lived in fresh air constantly, life expectancy would rise by many years.
2.4 Normal Air Is Continually Cleansed by Forces in Nature
Normal air in nature has its fresh life-giving consistency because it is continually cleansed by the forces of nature. Particulates are continually taken up into the air due to activity in the form of wind and breeze. But, just as constantly, they are dropped down when the air masses become relatively tranquil.
For example, ozone constantly gets into the air but rises to the very top of the atmosphere where it remains. Methane gas constantly rises into the atmosphere from decaying organic matter, but other factors will decompose it back to some other form. Of course, much methane gets trapped within the earth by rock, by liquid overlay, and by other factors. Ozone and methane are both toxic, but it’s rare that a great amount of them assault us at any given time or place.
2.5 Air Was Originally Brought to Its Present Consistency By Bacteria
There are certain bacteria called anerobic bacteria. They’ve been around for a few billion years and were the first type of life on this planet. Anerobic bacteria were photosynthetic in the beginning because there was no organic matter for their soil. It is theorized that these bacteria were able to take on the spark of life, utilizing minerals, light and water.
It is not ours to conjecture too much about the derivation of the original form of life, but perhaps it was some kind of anerobic bacteria that could use sunlight as the spark of life. These bacteria began using water, sunlight and inorganic substances with which oxygen was associated. They could synthesize these raw elements into their life needs. One of the by-products of their metabolization was free oxygen. In time the great amount of oxygen accumulated in the atmosphere that gives it the consistency it now has.
Theory has it that life began in the water medium. No oxygen was present in the earth’s gaseous mantle because all oxygen was bound in some compound until the bacteria freed it. The original bacteria evolved into many different forms of bacterial life and into many forms of plant life. All cells are said to be composed of many bacterial cells that united and cooperated for the greater good. Essentially, all life is symbiotic, that is, it is fundamentally in harmony with all other life from the most minute microbe to the largest of the Earth’s creatures.
On a practical level, we are concerned with air quality so that we can benefit from it all the more. We seek means by which to take in plenty of air in its purest form. With knowledge and understanding we’ll be able to help others conduct themselves in their environments so as to be optimally free of polluted air. Anything that gets into the lungs which the lungs have not been equipped to handle efficiently and naturally is a poison. The lungs have a tremendous capacity for expelling particulates and pollutants. But they can be devitalized by the pollutants and stressed by unceasing efforts to remove extraordinary types and amounts of impurities. The lungs will eventually be overwhelmed and lung diseases often result. You may have heard of black lung, brown lung, emphysema, pneumonia and other ailments of those who live and work in polluted environments. This is especially true of those who work in coal mines, who smoke or who live in highly-polluted cities such as Los Angeles or New York. The lint and dust in cotton mills is notorious for destroying the lungs of those who work in them.
You may know, or know of, people who have lung cancer, emphysema and other afflictions because they smoke, work in asbestos plants or work or live in other heavily-polluted environments. While an atmosphere laden with innocuous dust is pathogenic if exposure is unceasing or for long periods, many substances such as asbestos, tobacco tars and poisons are very virulent in themselves. Despite the lungs best efforts at ridding themselves of these poisons, they are always seriously and deleteriously affected.
2.6 Air Pollution in the American Home
Most homes in America are very polluted places. They have filthy air. (The words filth, poison and pollution are fairly synonymous terms in this context.) People who smoke deliberately and knowingly are intentionally poisoning themselves. Smokers do not seem to recognize that tobacco smoke is very toxic and is one of the biggest polluters of all. But most forms of pollution are unintentional, even unknown.
Humans must have sufficient fresh air. We often read of people jumping from hotel rooms to their deaths on a sidewalk in preference to the tortures of smoke inhalation and fierce heat. In many cases there is no heat and even no imminent danger of suffocation, yet agony and fear prompts the death jump. Yet, all too often, smoke inhalation alone kills. How many times have you read reports of people who die in homes, untouched by anything but smoke?
Cleansers and detergents are used heavily in almost all homes. All of these substances are poisonous although some are less toxic than others. Some exude almost no odor. They are called biodegradable or ecologically-viable cleansers, detergents and soaps.
There is much carbon monoxide in many homes. Carbon monoxide is one of the primary pollutants which emanates from auto exhausts; it is very deadly in the human system, binding the oxygen in the blood. Carbon monoxide also destroys animal and plant life. Plants cannot assimilate it and it actually causes leaves to wither. In the home carbon monoxide is a by-product of cigarette smoke, heating units, and cookstoves that use anything but electricity—and more.
Air that contains sulfur dioxide is extraordinarily poisonous. It is to be found mostly in the air of industrial areas that burn coal. In these areas homes are very likely to be polluted with sulfur dioxide as well as with the extraordinary aerial pollution to which most American homes are subject under conventional modes of living.
Air pollution is becoming quite an issue, especially in some parts of America. In the East, acid rains are a problem for food raisers of all kinds. They are also destructive of buildings, autos and everything else. In the Los Angeles area rare forests and plant life are dying off due to the highly-polluted air. Many crops in that area are adversely affected. Gardeners as well as growers are just giving up. Los Angeles is becoming an area in which neither plant life, humans nor other animals can thrive healthily.
The purity of air is of great importance. Polluted air is a great source of debility and disease. Pure air is necessary for best health. It behooves us to have the best air possible. Unfortunately, the most polluted air is to be found in the Average American home!
Polishes, waxes and other household items give off a large amount of gases. Whether pleasant or unpleasant they’re usually poisonous. Aerosols and sprays have become widespread in their use in our homes. Even “foods” such as artificial creams, toppings, etc. come in aerosol containers. The vaporizer is usually a fluorocarbon and/or vinyl chloride. Both substances are toxic and a highly toxic material is used to thin these substances to make them aerate or expand when pressure on them is relieved.
Chlorine is a deadly poisonous element. During World War 1 it was used as a weapon. Many fighters succumbed to it. Even though chlorine is dilute in city water, we can still taste it. Most water supplies have been treated with this toxic element. How many times have you run bathwater or showers and gone into the bathroom to be assaulted by accumulated chlorine? In bleaches and in some other compounds that are frequently used in laundering and cleaning, high concentrations of chlorine are usually released.
Most people do not realize it, but certain types of plywood and other products in their homes are bonded with formaldehyde, which is in insulation, plywoods and plastics. Formaldehyde is given off as a particulate in the air. It may be given off for years in homes and trailers. This substance is quite toxic and many deaths have been attributed to breathing it. Formaldehyde is especially likely to be found in new homes, trailers, mobile homes and new rooms where plywoods and bonded plastics are used.
Oven cleaners are particularly toxic. They’re designed to cut grease and to act as solvent for other debris on enamel. Their fumes are particularly toxic.
Cosmetics are a very big source of pollution in some homes, especially where there are hair sprays and products containing fluorocarbons. The substances sprayed are usually very toxic in themselves, for they have copolymer residues of vinyl acetate. These residues are toxic when inhaled. Fumes from cosmetics that are in contact with the air may smell pleasant but they’re also toxic. The only substances that are not toxic in our bodies are pure air, pure water and wholesome food. Anything else in our bodies is toxic and possibly a contributory cause of pathology.
Deodorants are extensively used in America, some one billion dollars worth annually. That’s enough to mask quite a bit of body stench. Healthy people do not use deodorants because they emit relatively non-malodorous smells.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are used in minute amounts and the basic ingredients are quite toxic. They consist of a formulation of drugs designed to inhibit the body’s secretory functions. This inhibition of body functions occurs because the deodorants are so toxic that the body keeps skin pores closed lest absorption of the toxic drugs occur.
Aside from their presence on the skin, deodorants give off particulates and vapors which are toxic to users and to others. They’re particularly poisonous in homes because their pollutants tend to become cumulative. Air in homes, especially in winter, is retained for long periods of time and thus becomes stale as well as accumulating effluvia from the household.
Insect repellents are often used in homes. While they’re not immediately as deadly to humans as to insects, the fact that they are deadly to insects establishes their poisonous relationship to all living things. Insect poisons should never be used in the home except under conditions of nonoccupancy.
As additional camouflage for odoriferousness and for its perfumes, many women use powder. Powders are formulated around a base of dust. There are toxic drugs in the formulation as a rule and the dust itself is also toxic. Its fumes or gases are toxic. Anything that gets into or on the body other than those substances normal to it are usually toxic and occasion irritation or intoxication. Usually their toxicity is on a low order, but they can cause pathology in sufficient concentrations. Added to other pathogenic factors of which there are multitudes in the human system and environment, maladies often develop. Certainly extraneous substances worsen and exacerbate existing pathology.
Carpeting can also be a source of pollutants. Long after the dust and odors that they normally give off may have subsided, the synthetics of which they’re made decompose and pollute the air. The dust, dirt, filth and debris which carpets accumulate and the excreta that results due to their bacterial decomposition assault us. Among the poisons likely to accumulate in our homes from bacterial decompositon are carbon dioxide, methane gas and ammonia. Any decaying substance, whether it’s garbage, meats or other foodstuffs, pollute the air with the byproducts of bacterial activity.
Electric motors in appliances give off pollution. Clothes driers give off carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide if they use gas. All drugs and “medicines,” especially those that are sprayed into the mouth and nose, are toxic.
Preservatives and additives added to foods to enhance appearance, retard spoilage, etc., are toxic. In cooking their gases permeate our household air and are additional sources of pollution.
Volatile oils, especially from polishes; mustard oil, onions, garlic and other pungent herbs; teas and drinks, etc., are not wholesome in the lungs. If you eat an onion or a piece of garlic, the lungs are one of the eliminating organs through which their toxic components are expelled. The oils of frying foods are not only toxic and very carcinogenic, but, when inhaled, they tend to coat the lungs. Heated oils give off acrolein. While it may smell fine, it is really a trojan horse, for its pleasant odor is contrary to its toxic nature.
Cleansers are used almost universally. Most are chemical formulations that have a number of poisonous substances. Ammonias are usually a primary component, and they are very deadly.
It is possible for the airborne grease from frying foods to accumulate in the lungs. Workers in kitchens who fry food, even if they do not smoke, are likely to have lung problems faster than those who smoke. Grease is not easily expelled from the lungs. For example, a person who works in a fried chicken outlet and uses a fry-o-lator several hours each day may develop a chronic cough and even pneumonia from inhalation of aerated grease from cooking oils. (There are also many other causes of lung maladies and coughing.)
Mechanics get a different type of oil and grease on their hands. These oils are akin to the fats in foods. Mechanics do not leave oil and grease on their hands for very long, though many work with it throughout the day. They recognize the dangers because they suffer its irritations. Most mechanics scrub their hands frequently. Yet they suffer many problems, including skin cancer on their hands. Cells and tissues cannot withstand the unceasing assaults of oil toxicity.
Home air pollution occurs from anything that is burned, cooked or heated (except for boiling water). Stoves and heaters that produce heat by combustion within the home are especially heavy polluters. Wood stoves give off a lot of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, tars and other toxic particulates. If you can smell anything, you can be sure that the air is being polluted. However, some gaseous pollution is odorless. Combustion within homes is dangerous on two counts. Some of the pollution that occurs has just been listed. The other count is the partial use of oxygen from inside air. Partially deoxygenized air may not furnish our oxygen needs sufficiently.
Alcoholic drinks give off an effluvia that is unwholesome in the lungs. Of course, it is worse to drink alcohol. Alcohol, like the mustard oil of onions and allicin of garlic, is not used by the body because it is indigestible. The lungs are utilized as one of the avenues of excretion of alcohol. This is obvious because you can smell alcohol on the breath of anyone who has partaken of it. Breathing alcoholic fumes is not healthful and can occasion ill effects, especially for those subjected to breathing alcohol as in breweries.
Condiments, seasonings, spices, sauces and gravies are almost all toxic in the lungs. Black pepper, for instance, is toxic in the lungs, far more so than when in the stomach. All these substances stimulate and irritate when raw. But when heated their toxic components are liberated into the air, and some very toxic effects can result. Most condiments in the intestinal tract occasion irritation, indigestion and other discomfiting effects, especially laxative or diarrheal effects. These latter effects occur because the inflamed intestines rush the noxious matters, including food in the tract, to the nearest exit—the bowels. When condiments are in the air, due to diffusion in the air or due to heating, the irritation to the lungs is similar.
Perhaps you’ve heard of pruritus anus. This merely means itchiness of the anal region. It may be caused by body elimination of toxic materials through the skin in the anal region. However, it is more than likely due to the toxic components of condiments irritating the skin at the exit point. These can be deposited there by fecal matter before it is cleared from the area. Hot peppers and black pepper can cause this but so can any other condiment. The amount of irritation these occasion on the skin and in the anal region is an indication of their toxicity in the intestinal tract.
Cooking, brewing, boiling and baking of foodstuffs, especially as concocted in the average American home, occasions the pollution of home air with gases, particulates, tars and other unwholesome effluvia. Cooking destroys foodstuffs, and much of their substance is passed off into the air during the process. Cooked foods are harmful when ingested. Their aerial by-products are also harmful in the lungs no matter how much we say savor their fragrance.
Americans are inclined to bring all kinds of chemicals into their homes. Chemicals in the home, wherever stored, slowly oxidize and vaporize, unless tightly capped. But sooner or later they are opened for use. Some chemicals are quite common, notably toothpaste, gargles, lotions, cleansers, lighting fluids and antiseptics.
Antiseptics can also be called antibiotics. They’re not in any way anti-septic because the term means “against poison.” They’re actually antibiotics for, indeed, they are destructive of life. They destroy bacteria wholesale. Likewise, antiseptics destroy living cells of skin, mouth and lungs. If any odor can be detected from so-called antiseptics, the substance will be harmful.
If all the foregoing sources of home pollution are not enough, there are human wastes and air usage to be considered. Humans give off toxic wastes from lungs and skin throughout the day and night. These wastes include carbon dioxide, carbonic acid and minute amounts of other exudates. Also, the air expelled from the lungs is oxygen-depleted. In closed homes (as they’re likely to be in winter) the air becomes polluted from our own effluvia and de-oxygenized from breathing. We’re likely to breathe and rebreathe spent air and its load of toxic wastes. All this, coupled with the multitude of other pollutants in homes and the outside air taken into homes makes the average American home a very polluted place.
As a health practitioner, you will want to recognize all the deleterious factors to which humans are customarily subjected. You will be looking for causes of problems from all sources. Knowing that the air quality in homes, outdoors and in factories can contribute to pathology is essential. You may take it for granted that most areas of inhabitation in America are polluted to some extent.
2.7 What We Can Do to Insure a Constant Supply of Fresh Air
By now you may be asking: “How can we insure that we get as much pure air as possible into our lungs in this polluted world?” Air that doesn’t have more impurities than normal in nature is automatically pure.
Our message is that it is really impossible to have really pure air in this day and age. We can place ourselves in situations where we have the purest air possible. To get the freshest possible air we should keep our windows open. We should so live and conduct ourselves as to keep our home air free of all those processes and products that pollute it. There is no insurance that we’ll have the best air possible no matter what we do or where we go but, relatively speaking, we can have pure air in the outdoors far from civilization, for nature is constantly cleansing the air.
If we live in colder climates where we must live in closed spaces for energy conservation, we can get heat exchangers. A heat exchanger brings in fresh air from the outside and removes air from the household. Through a dual piping and radiator system, the heat of the outside air is transferred to the incoming air to the point of equalization.
As an example, let’s say the outgoing air is 72° and the incoming air is 32°. The air will tend to equalize at some temperature in between. The incoming air will tend to equalize at a temperature lower than their normal nominal midway point. This means some additional energy must be expended in heating incoming air to the desired temperature.
When you measure the benefits of heat exchangers in terms of health and the energy conserved through their employment, the cost is a good investment. In energy saved they’re worth their cost in a few seasons. In terms of health they pay for themselves many times over very quickly.
Using a heat exchanger is just one thing we can do to insure more fresh air. Most of us can go out and exercise or play in fresh air most days. When we exercise heavily and vigorously in fresh air, we completely oxygenize our systems (in addition to gaining a multitude of numerous other benefits).
Exercise ventilates our entire body. Run, jog or walk. Play an outdoor sport. Any sustained activity that greatly accelerates body function will ventilate your system. Especially important is the oxygenation of our capillary system which results from exercise. Faster and more vigorous blood circulation insures better capillary health due to greater oxygen uptake and rejuvenation of function. Stagnation of the capillary system is a primary contributor to deterioration and disease. The intake of fresh air in conjunction with exercise is of inestimable value.
A device for improving air quality that is becoming popular is the negative ion generator. Research indicates that negative ion generators may have positive benefits, especially in the area of human response. Humans experience euphoria and well-being in ionized atmospheres. But little research has been done to determine whether the effects are beneficial or drug-like. No evidence has been developed to suggest that either negative or positive ions are any more or any less healthful than the other. What has been determined is that negative ions precipitate dust, participates and toxic materials from the air. If so, this is a positive benefit. I seriously doubt that ionized air gives a drug effect. In a very polluted home a negative ion generator might be helpful. Air cleaners that precipitate particulates, dust and other forms of pollutants are of benefit. Filters are also helpful. As health practitioners, you very well might have to live in or near a population center most of which are polluted, in order to reach more people. When we must place ourselves in a polluted environment, we must suffer the consequences. We can reduce the effect by employing all the technology we can in cleaning our air supply in polluted areas. Just as we are apt to close up our homes and pollute our air, likewise we can close up our home and bring in fresh air that has been purified or filtered. Then we should refrain from in any way contaminating our inside air supply.
Most auto pollution is along highways in most of our country and where there are concentrations of autos. In other areas the air is often stagnant and the exhaust pollutants of the auto become cumulative, sometimes until the air is deadly as in the Los Angeles area. The only suggestion we can make for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning is to stay away from it. But this suggestion is of little value if you live in Los Angeles or New Jersey or similar areas. In low-pressure areas, carbon monoxide concentrates along the ground.
New Jersey, which is called “The Corridor State,” has more auto traffic per square mile than any other state. It also has the most concentrated population. Further, it has heavy concentrations of chemical industries. So polluted is its air in industrial areas and along major highways that it
is called “Cancer Alley.” More cancer occurs in New Jersey than in any other state. Cancer among people who reside near highways in New Jersey is three to four times that of the average American.
These facts tend to indicate the dangers of, carbon monoxide. They are indicative that, along with all other causes of cancer, carbon monoxide and its concomitant pollution might be the additional straw that breaks the camel’s back and causes cancer.
- 1. The Essentials Of Life Listed
- 2. Pure Air
- 3. Pure Water
- 4. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Importance Of Pure Water by John H. Tilden, M.D.
- Article #2: Are Humans Drinking Creatures? by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Ama Says Fresh Air Bad For You by Frances Adelhardt
- Article #4: The Breath Of Death by Prof. Hilton Hotema