Category Archives: Health & Environment

Precision Medicine: From Buzzword to Promise or Reality (Part II)

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Target_Precision Prevention_CPDHappy New Year to All! This article is the continuation (Part Two) of Precision Medicine mini-series, with a focus on Precision Prevention intended to help foster and improve your health in the new year.

So, let’s dive right in.

From Precision Medicine to Precision Prevention

Prevention and medicine work side-by-side, as ancient wisdom signifies “Prevention is better than cure.”

Similarly, precision medicine and precision prevention play a joint role in cancer outcome. While precision medicine is targeting the genetic characteristics and genetic changes of each patient’s cancer, precision prevention is aimed at changing an individual’s behavior.

Precision prevention requires a better understanding of the molecular pathways of a particular disease at a level of each individual, which involves mapping out genomic profile, identifying individual’s risk, behavioral, social and environmental interactions. Then tailored interventions can be strategized to modify individual’s physical and biological characteristics.

Impact on Cancer Prevention

Precision medicine, together with precision prevention, has certainly facilitated/improved cancer prevention whether you realize it or not, particularly in early detection.

Colonoscopy screening is a good example. Let me highlight the steps:

First, there is a guideline to identify people at a risk for colon cancer and/or who need to be screened – e.g. starting 40 years old if having a family history, or 50 years old without a family history.

Second, this test can detect a growth in the entire colon through imaging.

Finally, doctors can implement treatments immediately to prevent or slow down cancer progression, e.g. to surgically remove a benign growth (polyp) or premalignant lesion during the screening, or to start an aggressive therapy for a cancerous tumor.

As a result of such a cancer prevention strategy, colon cancer is highly preventable if caught in a precancerous stage.

Meanwhile, additional findings should be taken into consideration. Recent clinical studies found that 80% of people with colorectal cancer have no known family history of this disease, which suggests that other risk factors (environmental, diet or lifestyle) play a role in colon cancer development, and that current colon cancer screening recommendation (mainly based on age and family history) could miss many individuals at risk.

So, next prospective is how to improve precision prevention. Advances in precision risk stratification has done so. To identify who may benefit from preventive measures or early aggressive treatment or alternative therapies, precision risk stratification can separate individuals at a high risk from those at a low risk through innovative technologies, genetic profiling and multiple risk factors reporting. In colon cancer prevention, while those at higher risk benefit from colonoscopy, people at a lower risk can get screened through sigmoidoscopy, a non-colonoscopy screening with clinical value in detecting advanced growth. Subsequently, precision risk stratification-based screening for colorectal cancer will also reduce healthcare cost stemming from unnecessary colonoscopy screening.

Immunoprevention presents other successful examples. It can be demonstrated by hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination in preventing related cancers. Immunoprevention can also draw in patients carrying cancer predisposition genes.

In addition, precision prevention may imply identifying novel genomic biomarkers for cancer detection and prevention, applying predictive biomarkers, and analyzing gene-environmental interactions especially associated with modifiable risk factors to develop target preventive strategies.

Precision Prevention beyond Cancer 

Undoubtedly, precision medicine, along with precision prevention, is transforming cancer diagnostics and treatment to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality in the near future. And one day, the promise of precision prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndromes, or other chronic illnesses can lead us to a remarkable horizon.

Imagine – the beauty alongside benefit of precision nutrition blossoms in your plate of food. As the prevalence of obesity, prediabetes and diabetes increases, tailored nutritional approaches are needed to manage and prevent these conditions. Precision nutritional interventions can be achieved via analyzing and monitoring your dietary habits, food eating behaviors, physical activity, microbiota profile, along with deep phenotyping (i.e. precise and comprehensive analysis of abnormalities in physical and biochemical characteristics).

End Note with Key Numbers

Lifestyle factors (smoking, diet, sedentary, etc.) contribute to over 40% of cancers, and infections, to about 18% of cancers. Thus, many cancers are preventable by lifestyle modification, preventing infections, having balanced diet and regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Remember: Prevention is not a sprint, nor a marathon; is a sustained life-long journey. Prevention is not done through virtual world, but achieved in a real world and requires actions. If precision prevention is aimed at changing individual behaviors, the power of control is within each of us.

Going into 2018, imagine a year with your best well-being!


Image credit: CanStockPhoto & CPD



22 Proactive Things You Can Do on World Cancer Day and Beyond

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Mid_Blue Globe Bkg. Red Ribbon for WCDFebruary 4th each year is designated as World Cancer Day. This day is significant because it

  • kicks off a drive to expand awareness of cancer and its prevention;
  • offers a chance to discover risk factors for cancer and take protective measures;
  • provides a time to reflect on what you can do to make a difference in the fight against cancer;
  • embraces people around the globe to fulfill whatever needs to be done to control this deadly disease; and
  • presents an opportunity to spread a message – We Can Save Millions of People from Preventable Deaths Each Year!

Lifestyle-centered cancer prevention is evidence-based and it’s science. It’s no longer a theory or hypothesis, or breaking news. Healthy lifestyle measures provide powerful ways to lower the risk for many types of cancer.

The theme of World Cancer Day for the current three years (2016-2018) is “We Can. I Can.” Surely, each of us can do something, no matter how small. So, I have compiled a list of actions you can take for World Cancer Day and every day after:

  1. Set a “Cancer Patients First” agenda: Whether from a note, gift, prayer, or—best of all—a visit, let your friend battling cancer know you are with him or her in this fight.
  2. Pack a tool kit for cancer awareness or a thoughtful kit for cancer care.
  3. Remind your loved one to get a cancer screening. Early detection saves lives.
  4. Change one unhealthy behavior, e.g., harmful sun exposure, intentional tanning, alcohol abuse, or tobacco smoking (smokeless tobacco causes cancer too). Importantly, stay on the right course.
  5. Do something about early childhood weight management, especially control obesity in childhood cancer survivors.  Unhealthy behaviors and overweight that develop early in life and persist over time can increase not only the risk for some types of cancer but also cancer-related mortality.
  6. Host a Veggies/Vegetarian party or gathering (the size doesn’t matter).  Alternatively, go on a Mediterranean diet. The point is to replace Western diet components, which are rich in refined grains, animal fats, excessive sugar, and processed meat but poor in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole wheat or whole grains. A substantial body of evidence has linked the Mediterranean diet to increased cardiovascular benefits and prevention of some chronic diseases.
  7. Make a “Cancer Prevention” family dinner, or make a “Cancer Prevention Salad.”  Family meals can be a cost-effective intervention for weight management. Evidence suggests that regular family meals protect against unhealthy eating and obesity in children. If time or schedule is challenging, get your teens and/or other family members involved.
  8. Start or improve your weight management plan and actions. Make sure to have a balanced diet and exercise regime.
  9. Enjoy an “Exercise Day” or “Move Day,” and at least, consider taking a 30-minute walk.
  10. Take a “NO JUNK FOOD Day,” and limit red meats. Then do it often.
  11. Drink filtered tap water at home. Drink plenty of filtered water away from home too.
  12. Drink tea to replace sugar-rich beverages.
  13. Better: Have a “Triple Combat” day, by combining three intensive but joyful actions together.
  14. Give your unexplained pain some TLC by paying attention to it, tracking its duration, frequency or pattern, and scheduling a visit to your doctor.
  15. Give cancer caregivers a token of love to honor their labor of love.
  16. Write or speak to your local/national legislator or lawmaker about a policy idea to make food systems safer or make the environment safer.
  17. Speak out or stand up against any external source that potentially promotes cancer.
  18. Volunteer for a cancer fundraising or a cancer care center.
  19. Support the great cause of fighting cancer in any form you can.
  20. Parents and teachers: Advise your girls and boys to vaccinate against HPV. Recommended vaccination starts at age 11 or 12.
  21. Go along with proven strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Why?  Because doing whatever is practical or plausible to lower your risk of CVD will enhance your potential to reduce the risk of cancer. For instance, research findings indicate that proven preventive measures for CVD are identical to preventive actions for prostate cancer.
  22. Take pancreatic cancer seriously. Based on the proposed “pancreatic injury−inflammation−cancer” pathway, it’s critical to avoid risk factors such as smoking, chronic pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity.   Pancreatic cancer remains a complex, lethal malignancy with the worst prognosis, and a lack of early diagnostic symptoms. It’s also resistant to conventional chemo- and radiation therapies. The rate of its incidence is slowly increasing.

The list can go on and on…

By now, you likely see a clearly centered theme—prevention, which is the most cost-effective implement to fight cancer.

Remember: Cancer doesn’t develop overnight. It’s vitally essential to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Take protective measures such as enjoying a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and a healthy weight now and far beyond World Cancer Day.

And yes, every single small step counts! It’s a life-course approach.


Image credit: Designer at <a href=””>Medical vector designed by Ibrandify –</a>

How Can Climate Change Impact Cancer Risk

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Climate change & Cancer_CPD comboMuch of the talk lately is about a heat wave. “Are you cooked?” “Are you baked?”

Yes, massive, harsh and dangerous heat waves that hit most regions of the country are certainly unwelcomed, and unexpected in its increasing intensity, frequency and duration. Sure, mother nature is something to blame, but climate change and consequential global warming cannot be ignored. Particularly, I’m going to weigh in an issue seemingly less visible yet closely related.

Global warming is no longer a theory or myth, rather a reality. Just look around – those extreme weather cases, more wildfires, more rainfalls and floods, especially the worst, deadly flooding in West Virginia in 1,000 years. A warming planet undoubtedly plays a role.

As an alarming and disturbing note, climate change posts the biggest threat to public health in the 21st century (Castello et al., Lancet 2009). Solid science has told us so. Now, a more specific question should be addressed – Is there a connection between climate change and cancer development? If so, how? My focus here is to explain how climate change affects a risk for cancer, directly and indirectly, in FIVE ways.

  1. Increased our exposure to toxic chemicals by heavy and long-lasting rainfalls or floods: Global warming followed by excessive rainfalls wash toxic chemicals into water and surrounding communities. Then what? Think about smoking. A cigarette releases plentiful chemicals (>7000); out of them about 70 are carcinogens (i.e. cancer-causing substances). These harmful agents damage almost every organ in the body by causing genetic or DNA mutation, leading to the development of cancer.
  2. More intensified exposure to toxins by higher temperature: Heat itself can make toxic chemicals either more poisonous or unstable with unpredictable fallouts.
  3. More bacterial growth driven by a warmer or higher temperature: Bacteria have been attributing to cancer through inducing chronic inflammation and generating bacterial metabolites as carcinogenic end-products.
  4. Increased diffusion of UV radiation by depleting stratospheric ozone (i.e. “good ozone”): As you know, the overexposure to UV radiation causes skin cancer. Noticeably, UV radiation also suppresses some aspects of immunity, as a result, weakening your defense against cancer.
  5. Reduced air quality we breathe by producing ground-level ozone (i.e. “bad ozone”): Increasing evidence suggests considerable or long-term exposure to air pollutants may lead to lung diseases, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), though it’s not conclusive.

In addition, chronic exposure to air pollutants associated with global warming causes an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to cancer. Research findings also reveal that sensitive individuals and vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly are more susceptible to air pollution related illness because of potential genetic predisposition.

So, collectively, climate change can impact cancer risk, cancer development, and for sure, cancer care. Any misconception of global warming is relatively naïve and potentially dangerous.

Climate change is largely man-made, which is beyond the scope of this article. However, it is clear that we must take responsibility to safeguard a healthy environment, because a healthy environment supports healthy living for each and every one of us.


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Zika Virus Infection and Cancer Care Indication

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Zika in USA map_smAre you worried about Zika virus infection? Are you ready for Zika outbreak?

Consider again − after learning the public health threat highlighted here with eyes on the U.S. region.

Let’s start with a snapshot on the crucial timeline to see how Zika epidemic has been evolved after the 1st Zika case identified in Brazil in April 2015.

Snapshot on Timeline of Zika Outbreak

As you may know, Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Travel-associated cases imply individuals infected abroad and then returned to the country. No immediately mosquito-transmitted Zika infection has been reported in the 50 US states so far, but the CDC has alerted the epidemic is likely to change with mosquito season’s arrival.

How should you be concerned?

Birth defects (e.g. microcephaly, fetal malformations) have been linked to Zika virus. Thus, pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to this emerging infectious disease.

If you are a healthy adult, you’re still not Zika-proof. In most cases, Zika virus causes a brief, mild flu-like illness. As documented, adults have also suffered from severe neurological disorders such as meningitis, meningoencephalitis and Guillain-Barre syndrome. A rare complication may be internal bleeding, which caused the first US Zika-related death.

Here are a few key points:

  • There is no vaccine or effective treatment for this disease.
  • Zika-specific tests could be expensive and not readily available.
  • There is a lot of UNKNOWN, though more research is underway.

How would you possibly be impacted?

With summer approaching, mosquitoes are coming. But don’t panic, not all mosquitoes spread this disease.

Two mosquito species may carry Zika virus: 1) Aedes aegypti; and 2) Aedes albopictus, the latter is also known as Asian Tiger mosquito. However, there is no way to tell if a mosquito is Zika-infected.

Next, where would Zika-carrier mosquitoes likely to be found?

Places like Florida, Texas and Louisiana are home of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, whereas the Midwest and much of the East Coast happen to be climate or environment for Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquito. So, a “New Bug” is expected to be around.

What can you do?

Current strategic measure is Self-Prevention and Self-Protection, as briefly summarized in the following areas:

Travel cautions: Pregnant women are advised against travel to the affected countries, and if a trip is required, test the positivity of Zika virus presence once returning.

Personal protection: Extra vigilance and care for pregnant women, wearing long-sleeved clothes, gearing up with mosquito repellent (EPA-certified), and remember – The mosquito-biting time could be daytime!

Note that other routes of Zika infection include sexual or maternal-fetal transmission or blood transfusion.

Environmental prevention: Eliminate potential mosquito’s egg-laying sites by emptying or drying water buckets, water storage units and other plant pots.

Medication alert: Although analgesics is a part of supportive management, avoid Aspirin and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because of the risk for hemorrhage among patients with cancer or dengue or taking specific therapies at elevated danger of bleeding.

Last but not the least, because it’s unclear as how the course of Zika infection influences that of cancer, cancer patients should maintain close check-up or follow-up with your physicians and specialists, particularly for those with an immune-suppressed condition or with significant comorbidity.

Zika outbreak may come rapidly, so get prepared and get ready!


References: 1) Hepner and del Pilar Estevez Diz: Journal of Global Oncology. April 2016; and 2) Plourde and Bloch: EID journal. Vol.22, 2016

Image credit: and CPD

Keys to Being Mobile Friendly While Staying Protected Wisely

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Smartphone_radiation_medicalpracticeinsider.comLet’s talk today about a hotly debated issue related to our daily lives.

Mobile technology has not only grown popular, it’s become a necessity. Mobile phone uses expand far beyond keeping connections with families and friends and conducting business. Today, you can enjoy conveniences ranging from information about thousands of topics, entertainment, self-learning, to mobile banking, mobile wallet, and innovative healthcare.

But “smartphones,” as convenient and useful as they are, also invite some serious consequences, including a cancer risk from radiation, especially for brain tumor, and other health hazards (e.g., male infertility, neurological disorders, and metabolic and sleep troubles). The most immediate life-threatening danger is from traffic accidents that may occur while someone’s messaging or conversing on the phone. Lighter problems may include pains in the fingers, tendons, neck, or back that otherwise are without a clear explanation.

In light of these problems, how do you get mobile friendly while maintaining wellness wisely?

Here are some thought-provoking questions to evaluate your long-term health and protect your valuable treasure – your health:

  • Is there another way available to obtain your desired results with little or no radiation? If so, take the alternative way.
  • Is a poor signal a warning against radiation damage or a “must” to keep microwaving the brain?
  • Before purchasing a new cell phone, ask or search for answers to the question – Does this device emit the most intensive radiation? Make sure your tech source is reliable.
  • On the road, could the conversation you are in potentially destroy you? Hint: using “hand-free” headsets are not accident-proof!
  • Are privacy and data safety of concern to you? If so, get rid of this stressor.
  • Gentlemen, do you keep your cell phones away from your pants whenever possible?
  • Are you aware of your posture when you are focused on your mobile devices? A poor posture is a red flag for various health issues.
  • Are you conscious about “passive radiation” that may affect others, especially in a crowed public setting? Remember, non-ionizing radiation from cell phones goes not only to human brain but also to the air!
  • Do you disposal of your cell phones in an eco-friendly way?

Last but not the least – Three pointers for protecting your kids

  1. Intentionally postpone early childhood exposure and tactically limit your children’s mobile use, because they face a longer lifetime exposure to any hidden health hazards.
  2. Clean your children’s cell phones often, and train them to practice this habit daily, because a cell phone is a safe haven for many bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant “superbug(s).”
  3. A rule of thumb:  Say NO to going mobile during bedtime. Be their angel and protector!

Note: The blog “Cell Phone Use and Cancer Risk Concerns” at explains why children are more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects generated from cell phone.

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Eat Broccoli for Protection from Carcinogens and Air Pollutants

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Broccoli n Green handsI like this quotation from Robert Louis Stevenson – “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” The wisdom applies not only to our life, but also to human health and earth health.

Today, let’s have a talk on broccoli, particularly what’s new and the long-term benefits from it.

A compound in broccoli, sulforaphane, has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties in many studies previously. Research indicates the chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential of sulforaphane in solid tumors and possibly in blood cancer, based on its anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activities.

Recently, researchers have discovered that the same compound contained in broccoli also helps our bodies naturally remove carcinogens and some toxins present in heavily polluted air. These environmental toxins include benzene, a known carcinogen; and acrolein, a lung irritant. The clinical study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research in June.

Let’s think about it. Is this a better and safer way for our humans to reduce health risks from air pollution? Certainly is, especially without drugs or chemicals. In this way, a natural product helps the body defend unavoidable environmental pollutants. Again, it proves that food is the best medicine!

As you may know, benefits of broccoli extends to various health issues such as preventing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, allergies, osteoarthritis, and some ulcers as well as skin damage by UV radiation (effective when applied topically). Needless to say, how easily it can be done when integrating broccoli into daily diet, right? You can eat in raw (e.g. salads) or in cooked dishes after steaming, boiling, or quick-frying, etc. You can also mix it to veggie juice or smoothies.

The bottom line is – Eating more broccolis can go a long way towards enhancing your nutritional status as well as protecting you from environmental pollutants, cancer and some chronic illnesses.

Reference: Egner PA, Chen JG, Zarth AT, Ng D, Wang J, Kensler KH, Jacobson LP, Munoz A, Johnson JL, Groopman JD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zhu J, Chen TY, Qian GS, Carmella SG, Hecht SS, Kensler TW. Rapid and Sustainable Detoxication of Airborne Pollutants by Broccoli Sprout Beverage: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial in China. Cancer Prevention Research, 2014.


Image credit: by lockstockb, Avolore

Reduce Your Risk: National Cancer Prevention Month

diversity-6-888077-mThis week we are sharing and re-posting an article on this platform, by which we work with our partners in spreading the word to enhance awareness and save lives. Here goes:

By The Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign

More than 7.6 million people die each year from cancer, a true epidemic.  Of those deaths, more than 100,000 are caused by asbestos exposure. Yet, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1/3 of those deaths could be avoided.

In an effort to build awareness and to honor National Cancer Prevention Month, there are a few steps you can take to increase your knowledge and decrease your risk. The Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign stands with our friends at the American Cancer Society in striving to create more birthdays in 2014.

Stay Active

Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight throughout your lifetime can help to reduce your risk for a variety of cancers. Obesity can also trigger an increased production of hormones that allow for cancer growth.  The American Cancer Society estimates that one quarter to one third of all cancer related deaths can “be attributed to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, overweight and obesity.”  In addition, exercise contributes to the overall health of an individual, arming your body with the necessary tools to fight off other illnesses that could affect your body’s defenses. Experts recommend you elevate your heart rate for 30 minutes a day.  Think you don’t have time? Try going for a walk, taking the stairs, or parking further away. You’re never too busy to stay healthy.

Early Detection

One of the best preventative measures you can take to decrease your risk of a terminal diagnosis is to ensure regular check ups and self screenings. The American Cancer Society recommends self exams to screen for skin cancer and breast cancer as well as yearly mammograms for those over 40. Treatment options may vary as cancer stages progress, therefore it is essential to monitor your body and seek medical advice when irregularities occur. Annual check ups are a great way to measure a variety of levels and will give your doctor an idea of what a healthy you looks like.

Limit Exposure

For cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and skin cancer, often times an outside agent plays a role in the prognosis. Limiting exposure and protecting your body from carcinogens is a crucial way to decrease your risk factors.

  • When you’re outside – even on cloudy days – sunscreen is essential to protect your skin from UV rays. A hat and shirt or shawl are keys as well as for vacations or extended periods of time in the sun.
  • For those who work in construction or older homes, or have a knack for “Do-It-Yourself” renovation, taking the proper protections to guard your body against asbestos exposure is necessary. Microscopic asbestos fibers that become airborne can be inhaled and in turn lodge themselves in the lining of the lungs. Wearing protective clothing and face coverings and disposing of these appropriately is a must. As always contact a professional where possible.

So, let’s fight cancer together!

Care for Human Environment Every Day

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Green-Earth-eu-1382312-mApril 22 is the Earth Day. However, I want to write this blog in advance, because I encourage everybody to “save our planet” or “go green” now. Don’t put off or celebrate it as a “one-day event”. Every day should be earth day, which should be the way we respect our planet.

Nowadays we often hear the “Green” buzz, but questions are – how much progress have we made and how much does each of us individually contribute to that progress?

We, humans, talk about “environment” and interact with the environment through various ways from protecting and caring to the worst – abusing. In fact, we should think about “environment” as human environment, because human and the “environment” are co-dependent, right?

Yes, a change takes time. I’m not talking about putting on a solar panel on your roof as soon as possible or urging the politicians to make greenhouse gas curbs overnight, my point is that little effort adds up. So, start little by little from changing our habits at our home, at our workplace to finding ways that benefit our communities and society, and finally to make a difference globally.

Let us make Earth Day every day by making GREEN our second nature and our shared value.


Image credit: by Ten_a

Take Actions and Steps to Reduce Air Pollution

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Air pollution full_1358341713BillBishopjan10-14Beijing1Are you concerned or scared about breathing in smoggy, hazy air in some big cities in China? Do you really consider the air in the United State is dirt-free? This post helps you realize the pressing need to control air pollution.

Air pollution has become the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, linked to around 7 millionor nearly one in eight deaths in 2012” – according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Generally speaking, there are two types of air pollution. Outdoor pollution comes from car exhaust fumes, industrial fumes and coal-burning, while indoor pollution comes from tobacco smoking, wood or coal stoves, and other sources from paint fumes, hair spray, air fresheners, cleaners to mold and dust.

Most people are well aware of lung diseases and lung cancer as major health risks of air pollution. Actually, air pollution has also been associated with deaths due to cardiovascular causes; particularly, a big indoor pollution-related killer is stroke. Moreover, WHO’s cancer agency classified air pollution as a carcinogen last year.

Although the government should invest in research and technology renovation to use renewable and non-polluting energy sources, we all can contribute our own part to promoting clear air and a healthy environment. Here are 12 things you can do:

  1. Plant trees.
  2. Support mass transit system or bike to reduce the use of single-passenger vehicles.
  3. Check and maintain your car to ensure minimal or lower exhaust fumes.
  4. Keep your lawn well-maintained, and try to use non-gasoline-powered landscaping and gardening equipment.
  5. Recycle, recycle and recycle to conserve energy and reduce production emissions.
  6. Do chemical-free house cleaning; avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilizers in your yard or garden.
  7. Reduce paper documents, and avoid junk mail.
  8. Save electricity. Less electricity consumed means less power produced and fewer air pollutants resulting from burning of fossil fuels.
  9. Use energy-saving or energy-efficiency appliances and heating/cooling systems at home.
  10. Reduce landfills by taking care of waste treatment and taking responsibility for a green community.
  11. Change the air filters from time to time as recommended, vacuum often, and get fresh air frequently to minimize certain indoor pollutants.
  12. Go for local produce!

Remember: it’s important to quit tobacco smoking and test radon gas at home. Also, check out EPA site for more guidance.

Collectively, these small daily choices we make often impact our lives and earth in big ways in the long-term. These conscious practices and efforts can keep our air cleaner, our environment greener, and our bodies healthier.


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Strategies to Minimize Risk and Prevent Pollution

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

warning---dirty-water-5-1102261-mYou probably heard of a recent incident concerning a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia. It affected nearby nine counties, and a “do-not-use” order left about 300,000 people in the area that were unable to drink or bathe in their water for more than a week.

This is a public safety threat, as the extent of potential danger remained unclear. Sure, federal government must reinforce laws and rules to protect the public from toxic substances. But an important question is – what can we learn from it? Today I’m going to talk about the top 7 strategies you need to know in order to prevent and cope with this kind of emergency situation.

  1. Be vigilant. Watch out for your water. See if there is any discoloration, sense if there is any unexplained smell or odor, and unusual taste.
  2. Report to authorities timely. When in doubt, contact a responsible organization about the concern whether it’s an environmental agency or a local government office.
  3. Let your water run for 30 seconds to a minute or so to flush out any trace of contamination from the pipes, especially when the water has not been used for several hours. Additionally, use a water filter.
  4. Have some bottled water in storage. I’m not a fan of bottled water due to the questionable purity and quality as well as environmental consequences. However, when it comes to tap water contamination, you do need a reasonably safe source of water for your survival needs.
  5. Pregnant women should take extreme caution. Anytime tap water’s safety is in doubt, use bottled water.
  6. Read Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a written document from the manufacturer of a hazardous substance, which provides product users and emergency personnel with information about potential hazards and procedures for handling the chemical. Keep in mind that not all carcinogens (i.e. cancer-causing substances) come with a clear document. Therefore, just because you cannot find the MSDS for a particular chemical, it doesn’t mean it is safe.
  7. Always take other desirable measures or precautions (e.g. source reducing) rather than disposal when dealing with chemicals. If needed, safe-deposit chemicals and drugs. Never flush them in the toilet; do not throw in the trash either. Instead, bring the drugs to medical facilities and contact local office(s) for chemical management.

The bottom line is:

Environmental and public health is the responsibility of each of us as citizens. There are many toxic chemicals around us nowadays; it is paramount to know their hazards, protect the air and water quality, and plan your emergency response before it happens.


Image credit: By hisks