Eco Minute

Producer and Host
Dr. Enid Sisskin received her PhD from Columbia University in Pathobiology. She has worked as an environmental activist for more than 20 years. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the creator of the Eco Minute and has produced & hosted the series since 2005. Her interests include continuing to garden despite yearly failures and she continues to work for environmental protection with her husband and children.

Click on the dates below to listen to each Eco Minute.

May is Clean Air Month - a time to think about what you can do to help keep our air clean. This is the EcoMinute, and I am Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director for Earth Ethics, Inc. We can all make positive steps to improve the quality of our air. Ways we can improve air quality are often based around reducing our use of electricity and using transportation more efficiently.

Air pollution remains a serious threat to all of our health. Our community needs to provide healthy air for all our citizens.  This is the EcoMinute and I’m Patsy Malley.  Air pollution is more dangerous for some people. Infants, children, senior citizens, anyone with lung diseases like asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes, and anyone who works or exercises outdoors are at risk.   Thanks to the commitment of a generation of Lung Association volunteers and staff, we have helped bring about real progress in cleaning up our air.

Environmental tobacco smoke is unhealthy for you and those around you.  This is the EcoMinute and I’m Angela Hahn.  Environmental tobacco smoke, or second hand smoke is classified as a carcinogen under EPA guidelines and can cause lung cancer in adults who do not smoke resulting in nearly 3,000 yearly lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers.  Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.  It has an immediate negative effect on the cardiovascular system by increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

It’s getting warmer now and that means more time outdoors in the heat.  It’s also time to be aware of air quality levels.  Here’s how to help protect yourself and your family.  Check daily air quality levels and air pollution forecasts in your area.  Don’t burn wood or trash. Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high, walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym or use an exercise machine. Avoid exercising near high traffic areas. Limit the time your child spends playing outdoors when the air quality is unhealthy.

Did you know that a large city can save $70 million a year by protecting its trees?  A recent study in San Antonio calculated the value of the ecological services provided by its trees.  The researchers found that it would cost city residents over $70 million per year in taxes just to duplicate the ecological functions of its trees.  The researchers added up the costs to retain the same amount of stormwater runoff, to remove the same amount of air pollutants, and to provide the same energy savings as the city’s trees.  So the next time someone says that trees need to be cut down because th

It’s summertime and that means more time outdoors in the heat.  It’s also time to be aware of air quality levels.  Two types of air pollution are ozone and particle pollution and both are unhealthy. Ozone, or smog, is the most widespread air pollutant. When you inhale ozone, it irritates your lungs, leaving them with something like a bad sunburn. It can cause health problems the day you breathe it in, and even days after.

Although transportation, power generation, and industry are the largest contributors to air pollution, they’re not the only ones.  Other activities, such as mowing your lawn with a gasoline powered mower also contribute.  In fact, on an hour-for-hour basis, a gasoline-powered lawn mower produces as much pollution as 40 cars.  On bad air quality days, put off lawn care for a day or two until the air is cleaner - then get a good workout by pushing that trusty, old hand mower!  Additionally, especially on bad air quality days don't use other gasoline-powered equipment like leaf blowers and ch

The EPA estimates that indoor air can be more polluted than outside air.  Some of the indoor pollutants of concern are asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and pressed wood products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, lead, and second hand smoke.  Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprays; it cuts down on fumes. Oil-based paints and varnishes contain a high percentage of VOCs, so use water-based paints and solvents and store them in an air tight container.

Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness of children.   Asthma is also the third leading cause of hospitalization among children and one of the most common causes of school absenteeism.  Episodes of asthma are often triggered by infection, exercise and irritants.  Air pollution can worsen existing asthma.  Common symptoms include coughing, audible wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing after running or crying, chest tightness and shortness of breath.  Frequent respiratory infections may indicate asthma.  Recurrent night cough is common, as asthma is often worse at night.  Even though ast

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