No Fun in the Sun With Summer VOCs

Imagine being shut in, without air conditioning, without being able to open the windows to refresh the air, because the outdoor air is so full of VOCs as to be totally disabling

For some of us, this is a somewhat usual occurrence anyway, due to the prevalence of toxic laundry products blowing out of dryer vents everywhere, but during summer, things can get so much worse!

The heat makes many chemicals more volatile, and where do they off-gas? Why, into the air we breathe…

Mario Rosales Ramírez "Ponle un Alto al Calentamiento Global"

Mario Rosales Ramírez
“Ponle un Alto
al Calentamiento Global”

Here are just some of the things that affect summer air quality:

Roads (asphalt) and driveways – all those new roads require tons of toxic asphalt…

Roof repairs and replacements… More asphalt shingles,  tar and tar paper

Maintenance – caulking, painting, glues and solvents, etc

Grass cutting (yes, VOCs in cut grass) in addition to gas mower exhaust

Fragrant flowers and tree VOCs reacting with pollution

Burning wood and BBQs (lighter fluid, gas, propane) and sometimes some nasty processed food fumes too

Plastic toys and patio furniture, vinyl/PVC especially

Pesticides, more pesticides and fertilizers

Sun screens and insect repellants

Smog

Resources:

Climate change is a symptom of pollution

Primer on Volatile Organic Compounds

Pollution Probe is pleased to present this primer on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) as an introduction to some of the toxic VOCs that we encounter in everyday life. As with other Pollution primers, The Primer on Volatile Organic Compounds has been designed as an educational resource for people who want to understand this source of pollution and then take action to protect themselves and their children.

Pollution Issues

Air pollution does not respect political boundaries, whether provincial or national. Winds can transport pollutants long distances away from their source, adding to the levels of air pollution that are generated locally, and greatly increasing the intensity of our air quality concerns.

Toxic Trespass (interview) / Chemical Trespass

Forgive us our (chemical) trespasses

forever

Where Does Clean Air Come From?

Shouldn’t the right to breathe clean air take precedence over the right to pollute?

We Share The Air

8 responses to “No Fun in the Sun With Summer VOCs

  1. Thank you for this article Linda. The summer is horrid here. Just the increase in tourism, sunscreens, perfumed people, washing hung out to dry, gardening equiptment running and extra traffic exhaust plus the extra electrical and wifi causing EHS simptoms to exaggerate, etc… It’s NO FUN as you say, especially for MCS sufferers who can’t ENJOY “a hot and sunny climate”!, nor “go to the beach” or swimming pools for that matter! It’s nice to know you realize this, most think “it must be great to live in Spain, like a never-ending holiday” they have no idea how far from the truth that is for someone suffering from severe MCS & EHS. You can’t imagine how I miss the trees, vegetation and Parks in Vancouver where YOU CAN ACTUALLY GO FOR WALKS OUTSIDE and breathe fresh air!!!!!
    You don’t know how fortunate you all are. Thanks for walking in our moccasins and sharing our suffering.
    Lots of luv and best wishes to you all, Therese.

  2. What’s with the bug you put on my posts? It is a bug isn’t it? Can I change that someway? Maybe some nice flowers? I don’t mean to be picky but it just looks wierd to me. How do I change it, or did you just add it on yourself?
    I’ve noticed others have different stamps or logos.

    • WordPress offers a few choices for people who don’t have wp accounts. I can try (if I can find the place where the settings are) to change it back to the one that looks a bit like a quilt if this type “bugs” you 🙂

  3. Thanks Linda, the turquois tapestry looks nice and doesn’t “bug” me at all!
    I do appreciate you changing it for me, I don’t know how and lack the cognitive stamina to try and figure it out myself. I wish I didn’t suffer from this horrid cognital deficiency and the EHS so much and I could do some “learning on-line” about some other things that interest me, but the little time I can be on the PC (before the EHS makes me really sick) I have to use up researching my diseases, trying to get some recognition, funding for medical services, tests, treatment, etc. and any other communications that I need to attend to. At the moment all my energy goes into struggling just to survive this hell I’ve been thrown into. I can feel my metabolism is responding well to treatment (systematic, organic and metabolical support) and I’m slowly getting back some strenghth and energy but the MCS, EHS, Chronic fatigue and other environmental illnesses don’t get better unless I remain in my “environmental control” which I can’t afford to adapt completely or even afford this treatment that’s maintaining my health at the moment either. As you mentioned “heat” and sunrays (can’t use sunscreen or even breathe the fumes from afar) are fuel to incitants as they exagerate VOC’s.
    Even on my roof terrace where normally there is a pleasant breeze I expose myself to all types of VOC’s from everywhere (showering soaps, perfumes, laundry, exhausts,) as far away as down the street. My breathing mask suffocates me, gives me a rash and pimples, and the carbón smell makes me feel sick (this doesn’t happen when it’s not hot and sweaty). The population goes up between 50 and 75% if not 100% here in summer so does “Toxic Trespassing”! NO FUN IN THE SUN is seconded by me for sure!

    • You can only choose your picture if you get a gravatar account https://en.gravatar.com/

      Otherwise wordpress offers 3 different types of presets that are automatically generated.

      Regarding the health challenges, I hear you! Been there, done that, and still doing that… I hope we all get relief soon, that toxic chemicals are banned from everyday use!

      Again, I’ve been affected by someone doing illegal midnight pesticide applications again (cosmetic pesticides are banned in this province, so people apply at night when neighbors are less likely to see them doing it). This was after a couple of weeks of extreme heat that started my backslide (I’d been doing much better before)

      My sense of smell is also damaged now, so I can’t always smell anything in the air, and I used to feel something was “off” if there were residues that would affect me in the air, but now I often don’t have any warnings and will just feel like crap for a week after the subtlest of clues…

      And the window and door seals have aged here (about 20 years old) so no longer offer the same protection they used to. Repairing or replacing them poses a huge challenge since almost all materials for the job are toxic in some way…

      When we’re really affected, we have so many challenges that most people can’t even begin to comprehend…

      Oh to live somewhere with year round clean air!

      • I hear you too! There is no ban or precautions taken here, no warnings, for fumigating or anyone spraying pesticides etc.
        There is this one trail that runs alongside a golf course where I could walk with my dog, completely wild in a ravine (the only outdorr exercise I could get). Well I was shocked to find a wáter company van there and a few guys spraying pesticides. They sprayed all the vegetation down the path and around the sewage wáter access areas (from the pipes that come from the residencial área to unload in a stream in the ravine that goes down to end in the sea, directly with no treatment whatsoever!), that a month later has all died, and only because they had to clean the overgrowth to access. Such stupid and ignorant Toxic Trespassing (by the time it has rained again, probably next year, and the pipes need tending, the overgrowth will be back and they will have to cut it down again anyway), it’s futile, I would say criminal, against life! Why don’t they see this even if not from a purely economical view of it being an unnecessary expense?
        Take care and defend your air ! Best wishes, Therese.

        • The pesticide companies have trained people well… It is usually far more effective to eradicate “weeds” by hand, and by doing so, ecosystem services are maintained, as well as the health of living beings… Cides kill, if not immediately, still slowly and indiscriminately…

          Hopefully people can learn and change.

          I wish you clean air, water, food, shelter and that good health returns!

  4. People have asked about the amazing image, and this is where it originated:
    http://peruecologicoparque.blogspot.ca/2009_11_01_archive.html

    It wasn’t easy to find as so many people have used it without credit. I tried to find a website or contact info for the artist, but couldn’t find more than that. It’s possible there may be something now (a couple of years later), but i haven’t looked.

    If anyone does find it, please share here.

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