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Toxic Encephalopathy


Indoor Air Quality Effects on Human Health Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Commission on Services for Persons with Disabilities (CSPD) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Toxic Encephalopathy

Indoor Air Quality Effects on Human
Health Nevada Department of Health and Human
Services Commission on Services for Persons with
Disabilities (CSPD) May 12, 2016 Jack Dwayne
Thrasher, Ph.D. Toxicologist, Fetal-toxicologist,
Immuno-Toxicologist NTEF Technical Director PO
Box 29194, Las Vegas, NV 89126 (702)
490-9677 Email Website
Overview 1/2
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • World Health Organization
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
  • Fragrances Air Fresheners
  • Common VOC Chemicals in Fragrances, Air
    Fresheners and Cleaning Products
  • Are Fragrances Addictive?
  • How VOCs Impact Health
  • Endocrine System
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Overview 2/2
  • Top 12 Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in IAQ
  • IAQ and Rise in Thyroid Disease
  • Olfactory Pathway to the Brain
  • Mold, Mycotoxins MVOCs
  • Pesticides
  • LEED Buildings

Environmental Protection Agency 1/2
  • Concentrations of VOCs in indoor air are 2 to 5
    times greater than outdoor air (and sometimes far
  • During certain activities, indoor levels of VOCs
    may reach 100 times that of the outside air.
  • Studies have shown that individual VOC emissions
    by themselves are not that high in an indoor
    environment, but the indoor total VOC (TVOC)
    concentrations can be up to five times higher
    than the VOC outdoor levels.
  • New buildings especially contribute to the
    highest level of VOC off-gassing in an indoor
    environment because of the abundant new materials
    generating VOC particles at the same time.
  • In addition to new buildings, consumer products
    also emit VOCs, increasing total concentration
  • In the Winter, IAQ problems are 3-4 times higher
    than summer

Environmental Protection Agency 2/2
Health effects from indoor air pollution cover
the range of acute and chronic effects, and
include eye, nose, and throat irritation,
respiratory effects, neurotoxicity, kidney and
liver effects, heart functions, allergic and
infectious diseases, developmental effects,
mutagenicity, and carcinogenicity.? Source EPA
Report for Congress on Indoor Air Quality, Volume
II, Assessment and Control of Indoor Air Pollution
World Health Organization
  • Every year, 4.3 million deaths occur from
    exposure to indoor air pollution.1
  • Indoor air pollution such as from dampness and
    mould, chemicals and other biological agents is
    a major cause of morbidity and mortality
  • Indoor exposure to air pollutants causes very
    significant damage to health globally
    especially in developing countries.3
  • Clean air is a basic requirement of life. The
    quality of air inside homes, offices, schools,
    day care centres, public buildings, health care
    facilities or other private and public buildings
    where people spend a large part of their life is
    an essential determinant of healthy life and
    peoples well-being.4
  • 1World Health Assembly closes, passing
    resolutions on air pollution and epilepsy (May
    26, 2015)
  • 2World Health Organization, Guidelines for Indoor
    Air QualityDampness and Mould (2009)
  • 3World Health Organization, Guidelines for Indoor
    Air QualitySelected Pollutants (2010)
  • 4World Health Organization, Environmental Burden
    of Disease Associated with Inadequate Housing

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 1/4
  • Compounds that easily convert to vapors or gases
  • Off-gassing, can be odorless
  • Evaporates at room temperature
  • VOC concentrations in indoor air depend on many
    factors, including
  • Amount of VOCs in a product
  • Volume air room/building
  • Ventilation rate or area
  • Outdoor concentrations of VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 2/4
  • Long-term exposures cause damage to
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Central nervous system
  • Reproductive system
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer
  • Declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • Emesis
  • Epistaxis

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 3/4
  • Short-term exposures cause damage to
  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation (worsening
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Visual disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Ataxia, loss of coordination
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Nausea
  • Memory impairment 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 4/4
  • Where VOCs are found
  • New building construction, furniture, wall
  • Office equipment (photocopiers, printers)
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal care products
  • Pesticides
  • Air Fresheners, candles
  • Ozone generators (interact with VOCs to form
    other VOCs)

Fragrances Air Fresheners 1/3
  • Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients,
    with the exception of color additives, are not
    subject to FDA approval before they go on the
  • 95 of synthetic fragrance chemicals are from
    petrochemicals (including aldehydes, benzene
    derivatives and phthalates)
  • Petrochemicals are synthetic compounds derived
    from petroleum and natural gas
  • Parabens are a commonly used synthetic
    preservatives in many fragrances which can
    interfere with the production and release of

Fragrances Air Fresheners 2/3
  • Environmental Working Group
  • 75 of chemicals under the term fragrance had
    phthalates which disrupt hormone activity, cause
    reproductive abnormalities, and are linked to
    breast and liver cancers, diabetes and obesity
  • Phthalates are a known carcinogen health effects
    may include damage to liver/kidneys, birth
    defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast
    development in girls and boys
  • Synthetic Musks not only disrupt hormones, but
    traces have been found in fat tissue, breast
    milk, body fat and umbilical cord blood
  • Capable of causing allergies, birth defects,
    cancer and nervous system disorders

Fragrances Air Fresheners 3/3
  • Fragrance is a generic term that has allowed the
    industry to hide chemicals under the umbrella of
    trade secret
  • 3,000 chemicals are used and almost all of them
    have not been fully tested for toxicity
  • Some of these chemicals are on the EPAs
    hazardous waste list
  • Dr. Philip J. Landrigan of the Mount Sinai
    Childrens Environmental Health Center linked
    fetal exposure with autism, ADHD and neurological

Common VOC Chemicals in Fragrances/Air Fresheners
  • Chemicals in fragrances/personal care items are
    in red.
  • FORMALDEHYDE -- Recognized Carcinogen
  • Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant,
    Immunotoxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive
    Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense
    Organ Toxicant
  • ACETALDEHYDE -- Recognized Carcinogen
  • Developmental Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney
    Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant,
    Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
  • Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant,
    Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney
    Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant,
    Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
  • ETHYL ALCOHOL/ETHANOL -- Suspected Carcinogen
  • Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Developmental
    Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or
    Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant,
    Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin
    or Sense Organ Toxicant

Common VOC Chemicals in Fragrances/Air Fresheners
  • Chemicals in fragrances/personal care items are
    in red.
  • Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or
    Sense Organ Toxicant 
  • Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or
    Sense Organ Toxicant 
  • Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or
    Sense Organ Toxicant
  • ?-PINENE
  • Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or
    Sense Organ Toxicant

Are Fragrances Addictive?
  • Some of the chemicals have narcotic-like
  • Do not produce a traditional narcotic high
  • They cause dependency which triggers the need for
    repeated use of the product to avoid the
    discomfort and irritability of withdrawal.
  • In a 1991 study by the EPA, benzaldehyde, ethyl
    acetate and linalool were identified as having
    narcotic-like qualities
  • Its not only the individual ingredients that are
    of concern, but the complex interaction of all
    ingredients contribute to the highly addictive
    nature of fragrances

How VOCs Impact Health
  • Endocrine System
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
  • Olfactory Pathway

Endocrine System
The endocrine system is made of eight major
glands, each of which secretes different types of
hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and
development, tissue function, sexual function,
reproduction, sleep and mood, among other things.
Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDC)
  • Mimic hormones
  • Primarily man made
  • Mostly in fragrances, personal care products,
    plastics, toys, non-stick cookware, fire
    retardants and pesticides

Top 12 Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

Organophosate pesticides Glycol Ethers -- common
solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake
fluid and cosmetics Mercury Phthalates -- plastic
food containers, childrens toys (some phthalates
are already banned in kids products), plastic
wrap made from PVC (which has the recycling label
3), personal care products, and phthalates under
the general term of fragrance Source
BPA1 Dioxin Atrazine Perchlorate Fire
Retardants Lead Arsenic Perfluorinated chemicals
(PFCs) -- non-stick cookware 1http//www.mayoclin
IAQ and Rise in Thyroid Disorders 1/2
  • Silent epidemics of our time
  • Nearly 1/2 of all women and 1/4 of all men in the
    U.S. will die with evidence of an inflamed
  • Increased incidence of thyroid disease can be
    linked to an over-burden of toxins caused by
    pollution through air, water and food (e.g.,
    perchlorate pesticides, phthalates like
    bisphenol-A (BPA), and thyroid-disrupting
    endocrine disruptors, also known as environmental
  • Estimated that 27 million Americans have thyroid
    disease and about 13 million of them are
  • Thyroid cancer is on the rise. According to the
    American Cancer Society, around 56,460 new cases
    of thyroid cancer (43,210 in women, and 13,250 in
    men) will be diagnosed in 2012.
  • "The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid
    cancer has risen in recent years and is now more
    than twice what it was in 1990.2
  • 1Blackwell J. Evaluation and treatment of
    hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. J Am Acad
    Nurse Pract. 2004 Oct 16(10)422-5.

IAQ and Rise in Thyroid Disorders 2/2
  • 2 common thyroid-disrupting chemicals in everyday
  • Benzophenone 2 (BP2), a sunscreen for fragrances
    -- potent thyroid function disruption.
  • Absorption rates of BP2 transcutaneously in the
    human are likely to exceed any safe threshold
  • BP2 to affect the thyroid and estrogen receptors
    while influencing the systemic regulation of
    these hormones clearly places the system in a
    precarious and hazardous situation with the
    direct introduction into the vascular system
  • Phthlates -- fragrance carrier, effects thyroid,
    banned in Europe

Olfactory Pathway to the Brain
Mold, Mycotoxins MVOCs
  • Most water damage is not properly remediated
  • Bleach should NOT be used
  • Air fresheners only mask the odor from the mold
  • Painting over the mold does not solve the problem
  • Mycotoxins (fungal toxins, or biomolecules,
    produced by fungi)
  • MVOCs (microbial volatile organic compounds)
  • Effects of mold, mycotoxins and MVOCs
  • Acute and chronic effects
  • Cognitive impairments, memory loss, reduced
    executive functioning
  • Systemic, inflammatory process
  • Cytotoxic, interferes with RNA and DNA,
  • Mutagenic and carcinogenic
  • Respiratory, nervous system, dermal, vascular,
    digestive, ocular, tremors, depression, nose
    bleeds, sleep disturbances, anxiety, vertigo,
    seizures, reproductive system, immune system

  • Registered by the EPA
  • EPA generally has not allowed the use of safe
    in labeling because it has been considered to be
    false or misleading
  • Active vs inert ingredients
  • Active-disclosed, chemicals used to kill
  • Inert-hidden, 50-95 composition, more toxic
    than active
  • EPA decided not to mandate the disclosure of
    pesticide inert ingredients that are known to be
    toxic or hazardous to human health. Some 371
    inert ingredients used in pesticide formulations
    have been designated as toxic or hazardous under
    U.S. law 1
  • Primarily attacks nerve impulses

LEED Buildings
  • No assurance a building has healthy IAQ
  • Certification is primarily for construction -- no
    internal quality controls after building is
  • Just recently started to look into healthy IAQ
  • Buildings can have chemicals that are harmful or
    carcinogenic, including
  • Formaldehyde in pressed wood and particle board
  • Mold and water damage
  • Pesticides
  • Scent-branding

Indoor Air QualityEffects on Human Health
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