Vog, Smog, and Your Lungs
Ever since Eyjafjallajokull erupted in Iceland on April 14, a lot of us have had volcanic ash on the brain. Europe's skies flooded with ash and glass particles, airlines canceled weeks worth of flights, and those living in the thick of the smoke had to negotiate healthy ways to live amidst the unexpected pollution. Volcanic ash can seriously hinder our respiratory health, and while most people will be exposed to more smog than vog in their lifetime, it is helpful to understand the differences.
Vog is the pollution caused by volcanic ash. When a volcano erupts, it spews a mixture of sulfur dioxide and other gases and aerosols (tiny particles and droplets). The reaction of that volcanic gas to moisture and oxygen in sunlight is called vog. Most of the aerosols in vog are acidic and small enough to be retained by the lungs. Studies have shown that such aerosols interfere with lung function and can compromise immune systems. Children, individuals who have chronic asthma or other respiratory issues, and those with circulatory problems are the most susceptible to vog's side effects.
Smog is a mixture of smoke and fog. Modern smog comes from vehicular and industrial emissions, especially large amounts of coal burning in a concentrated area. Smog usually involves a complex set of photochemical reactions between volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight that result in the production of ozone. Smog-forming pollutants come from many sources, such as automobile exhausts, power plants, factories, and many consumer products, including paints, hair spray, charcoal starter fluid, solvents, and even plastic food packaging.
People with pre-existing respiratory conditions are especially prone to the adverse side effects of vog which may include: headaches, breathing difficulties, increased susceptibility to respiratory ailments, watery eyes, and sore throat.
If you ever come into contact with vog on a vacation, it is best to stay inside as much as possible, to use air conditioners and air purifiers to filter harmful particles from the air, and inhalers for those with asthma. (Fans do more harm than good, since they merely blow the air around.)
Rabbit Air Videos
Dr.Oz introduces one of New York's leadering allergists, Dr.Bassett, who recommends RabbitAir MinusA2 as one of the ways to keep the home allergen free. [watch it here]
DIY Network unveils the renovation in a special episode of Garage Mahal. Hosted by Bill Goldberg, the episode showcases the greenest items, including the most effective air purifier, the ultimate workbench, a totally recyclable commuter bike, and a hydroponic pump for planting winter vegetables. [watch it here]
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