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  • As a doctor of natural health, specializing in identifying causes, effects and non-drug solutions to chemically-induced immune system disorders, most of my clients are extremely sensitive to environmental pollutants. I, for one, nearly lost my life due to liver damage from prescription drugs necessary after a life-threatening accident. This immune system dysfunction caused me to be allergic to everything I ingested as well as to chemicals in the environment. I experienced anaphylactic responses five to seven times a day until I practiced what I teach and regained my health. That said, I was housebound for several months and diesel and all petrochemical exposures were as reactive to my shattered immune system as they are to those I consult with to assist in regaining their health after their immune defenses no longer protect them.

    It's no secret diesel emissions can cause adverse health effects; I see it daily in my clients. The effects, to mention a few, include:

    • Cancer
    • Pulmonary diseases
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Neurobehavioral
    • Cognitive dysfunction including brain-fog and disorientation
    • Inflammatory responses

    Diesel Emissions and Health…
    Emissions from diesel engines found in trucks, ships, locomotives, agricultural and construction equipment-especially the microscopic soot known as "particulate matter" (PM)-create serious health problems for adults and have extremely harmful effects on children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Children are particularly adversely affected by diesel emissions because their respiratory systems are still developing; and they have a faster breathing rate. Public health authorities associate exposure to PM with an increased risk of premature death, greater number of hospital admissions for heart and lung disease, and amplified adverse respiratory symptoms such as asthma and COPD. Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust may also pose a lung cancer hazard to humans.

    Statistically Speaking…
    According to the California Air Resources Board and the American Lung Association, nationwide particulate matter from diesel emissions causes 15,000 premature deaths every year.

    Premature deaths linked to particulate matter are now at levels comparable to deaths from traffic accidents and second-hand smoke in California, for example.

    Recent studies of children's health conducted in California have demonstrated that particle pollution may significantly reduce lung function growth in children because particulate matter becomes embedded in the deepest recesses of the lung where it can disrupt overall cellular processes.

    Seeing What You Breathe…
    Diesel exhaust also contains nitrogen oxide (NOx) - a precursor to ozone, or "smog." In sufficient doses, ozone increases the permeability of lung cells, rendering them more susceptible to toxins and microorganisms. Recent evidence links the onset of asthma to exposure to elevated ozone levels in children who exercise.

    The Health Cost Benefit…
    Reducing diesel emissions nationwide would have significant benefits for public health and would significantly reduce health costs: The EPA estimates that a $100 million voluntary diesel retrofit program would create $2 billion in health benefits from reduced premature deaths, hospital visits, and other costs associated with diesel emissions exposure.

    Attaining PM standards in California, for example, would annually prevent about 6,500 premature deaths, or 3 percent of all deaths. These premature deaths shorten lives by an average of 14 years, roughly equivalent to the same number of deaths (4,200 - 7,400) linked to second-hand smoke in just the year 2000.

    Recent figures from the Environmental Protection Agency reveal that Californians across the state suffer from the polluting effects of particulate matter and ozone from diesel emissions. Approximately 36 million Californians live in areas that do not meet the eight-hour federal clean air standards for ozone, and approximately 18 million Californians live in areas that do not attain the PM standards. In addition, in the Seattle, Washington area, diesel PM accounts for, on average, somewhere between 70 to 85 percent of the total cancer risk from air toxics.

    The Way I See It…The time is now for safe, green solutions that can be added to our diesel fuel at a fraction of the cost of any of the other modifications or retrofit options presented by the EPA and other regulatory agencies.

    Resources upon request.

  • Since the 1960s, more and more Americans have begun voicing their concerns about how we’re treating the environment. It would seem that we’re beginning to realize just how much our wellbeing is dependent on our relationship with nature.

    So, here’s the bad news: unnatural shifts in ecological balances caused by human activity such as global warming, mass extinctions, and soil infertility are extremely harmful not just to our personal health, but to our survival as a nation as well.

    A dying ecosystem

    Let’s take honeybees for example. Studies by the University of California show that one out of eight interactions between plant and pollinator is carried out by a honeybee. They’re responsible for the production of most fruits, nuts, seeds, as well as various other plant life, which is how we get food not just for the American population but also for our poultry and cattle stock. This is what makes the honeybee one of the most important contributors to our natural ecosystem, as well as our economic survival as well. Alarmingly, bees are also vanishing rapidly in the U.S. because of the aftereffects of poisonous pesticides, chemicals, and pathogens.

    At the same time, these chemical pollutants threaten more than just bees. These substances can cause harm to humans as well, causing headaches, nausea, irritation, breathing difficulties, and various other health complications. What’s worrying is that these harmful chemicals are present in most of our cleaning products like air fresheners, fabric softeners, and toilet cleaners.

    What has been done?

    One way to solve these problems is by investing national funds into environmental conservation efforts. Sadly, the U.S. government seems keen on spending less in terms of keeping ecological balances intact. In 2017, the Trump administration significantly reduced the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) funding, which is the federal body in charge of conservation and management efforts in most federal lands. In fiscal year 2018, the DOI’s budget was reduced to $11.6 billion. The reduction was based on a proposal that would cut the department’s budget annually by $1.6 billion.

    This lack of funding has caused some states to look elsewhere in order to finance conservation projects. In Minnesota, the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund has funded approximately 1000 similar projects since 1991. The contributions, which reach close to $500 million, help preserve Minnesota’s natural resources and were sourced from the state lottery. Meanwhile, ABC detail how the state of Colorado has a similar program, and allots its lottery-gained charitable funds to various wildlife organizations and trusts. Lottoland notes how the U.S. MegaMillions minimum jackpot is $40 million, while its highest ever recorded jackpot was a staggering $1.6 billion. With both lottery providers and winners now providing a steady stream of charitable donations to state-run programs, experts hope that this will go a long way to improving conservation efforts if the national government doesn't step up.

    Environmental obligation

    It’s clear that the federal government can and should be doing a lot more in terms of preserving America’s ecological balances, especially considering their direct and long-term impact on the nation’s health. The term “health” here is encompassing – referring to the health of the U.S. economy as well as the general wellbeing of the population. Pollution is what American economists call an externality or “a cost that the responsible entity can escape but that society as a whole must bear”.

    With businesses unable to address these problems on their own, the government now has a greater obligation to protect our ecosystems, even if doing so may impact to our short-term economic growth. But instead, the biggest portion of the U.S. annual budget goes to the military and national debts.

    It's clear that government and businesses can’t tackle these ongoing ecological imbalances alone. We must also do our part as citizens to make sure that the world is still habitable not just for honeybees, but ultimately for America's future generations.