Please visit our new website and blog!

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The Institute for Building Biology & Ecology is now the Building Biology Institute. We’ve rolled out new online courses, certifications. and tons of free information, downloads, and videos. Come see what we’ve been up to!

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Electromagnetic Radiation Seminar

Sendemast & StrahlungWe encourage you to consider enrolling in our EMR Seminar for 2017 (25 through 29 September), now in its 30th year! Our co-instructors and teaching assistants are passionately devoted to sending highly trained alumni into the public arena, bringing both awareness of the dangers of EMR and crucial remediation relief to countless sufferers. Click the following ink to read the seminar details, where you can download the 2017 seminar syllabus, and find easy access to enrolling:

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Enzymes used in cleaning products and food ‘are potent allergens’, warns study


Genetically modified enzymes used in food, perfumes, medicine and cleaning products are “potent allergens” and should be tested like other potentially hazardous chemicals, experts have said.

There has been an explosion in the use of enzymes to boost flavours and aromas, including in low-fat foods, helping to create a sector worth about $10bn (£7.7bn), according to a study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Some techniques allow the products to be labelled as “natural” in Europe and the US but the researchers warn that genetically engineering the enzyme protein may change its allergenic properties.

They measured specific antibodies to artificially created enzymes in blood samples from 813 workers, employed in the food, drinks, chemicals, detergents and pharmaceutical industries.

Read the full article here.

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Industrial air pollution leaves magnetic waste in the brain


If you live in an urban environment, chances are you’ve got nanomagnets on the brain—literally. New research suggests that most magnetite found in the human brain, a magnetic iron oxide compound, comes from industrial air pollution. And because unusually high concentrations of magnetite are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the findings raise the specter of an alarming new environmental risk factor for this and other neurodegenerative diseases. Still, other scientists caution that the link remains speculative.

For decades, scientists have known the brain harbors magnetic particles, but most assumed that they derived naturally from the iron used in normal brain function. About 25 years ago, geophysicist Joe Kirschvink at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena detected biologically formed magnetite particles in human brains, lending evidence to their natural origin.

Read the full article here.

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Air pollution can harm blood vessels of even healthy, young adults

exhaust pipe of an old red car

TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2016 — Even young, healthy adults can suffer blood vessel damage from air pollution, a new study finds.

Periodic exposure to fine particulate matter — tiny pollutants from cars, factories, power plants and fires — isn’t a health risk only for the ill and the elderly, the researchers concluded.

The three-year study in Provo, Utah, tied this form of air pollution to abnormal changes in the blood of young adults, age 23 on average. Over time, these abnormalities could lead to heart disease, the researchers said.

The findings suggest that living in a polluted environment could promote development of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke more pervasively and at an earlier stage than previously thought, said study researcher Timothy O’Toole. He’s with the Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Do You Have a “Smart” Meter?


Truckee, California (near Lake Tahoe) is unique in that its utility company (Truckee Donner PUD) uses all three types of electrical meter systems: Analog, AMR and AMI (“smart” meters). During a recent visit, I made several short videos of each type of meter system to help you easily identify the type of electrical meter on your home. The final video below shows the new type of smart meter that the utility is installing.

Analog Meters

These meters have proven to be safe, effective and highly reliable for over a century. They have none of the health, safety, fire, security and privacy risks that AMR and AMI meters have. Note: In the following video I show how the analog meter is not emitting RF pulses because employees at the Truckee utility assured me that no electrical meters were manually read. This must be untrue as a large percentage of their meters are still analog and emit no RF.

Read the rest of the article here.

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The Toxic Chemicals Lurking in Your Household Dust

dustFrom U.S. News comes this article on toxins lurking in household dust.

Whether you’re vigilant or lackadaisical (or somewhere in between) when it comes to cleaning your home, there’s something you should know: The dust lurking under your bed or couch, on your windowsills, doorway moldings or ceiling fans, or anywhere else is more than just an unsightly nuisance. It’s a potential health hazard because it contains toxic chemicals from a variety of everyday products. In fact, 45 potentially harmful chemicals are found in household dust in 90 percent of homes throughout the U.S., according to a review of 34 studies published in the September issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

“There were clearly some bad actors that emerged – they were present at higher levels and some of these chemicals are really ubiquitous,” says study leader Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in the District of Columbia. The most common chemicals found were phthalates (especially DEHP and DEHA) and flame retardants (particularly TPHP and TDCIPP), though synthetic fragrances, perfluoroalkyl substances and phenols were also present in significant amounts.

Read the entire article here.

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Toxic chemicals in household dust linked to cancer and infertility


Scientists find scores of harmful chemicals in indoor dust including phthalates linked to developmental problems in babies

Household dust harbours a cocktail of toxic chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of a range of health hazards, from cancer to problems with fertility, researchers in the US have found.

The chemicals are shed from a host of common products, from flooring to electrical goods as well as beauty and cleaning products.

“We think our homes are a safe haven but unfortunately they are being polluted by toxic chemicals from all our products,” said Veena Singla, co-author of the study from the Natural Resources Defense Council in California.

The scientists cautioned that children were particularly vulnerable to the health effects of contaminated dust as they often play or crawl on the floor and frequently touch their mouths. “They end up having a lot more exposure to chemicals in dust and they are more vulnerable to toxic effects because their brains and bodies are still developing,” said Singla.

Writing in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, Singla and colleagues described how they analysed 26 peer-reviewed papers, as well as one unpublished dataset, from 1999 onwards to examine the chemical make-up of indoor dust. The studies covered a wide range of indoor environments, from homes to schools and gymnasiums across 14 states.

“What emerged was a rather disturbing picture of many different toxic chemicals from our products that are present in dust in the home and [are] contaminating the home,” said Singla.

Read the rest of the article here.

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These are the best houseplants to improve indoor air quality, study finds

houseplants-2If you’re looking to improve the quality of air in your home, potted plants are a good place to start. But not all indoor plants are created equal.

A new study has found that certain varieties actually do more than pump more oxygen into your surroundings – they can also clear the air of harmful chemicals.

The new study, conducted by researchers from the State University of New York, looked specifically for plants that had the ability to absorb volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which are potentially harmful pollutants that can come from paint, furniture, printers, dry-cleaned clothes, and other household products.

“Buildings, whether new or old, can have high levels of VOCs in them, sometimes so high that you can smell them,” said study leader Vadoud Niri.

Read the rest of the post here.

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Update on Berkeley’s Cellphone “Right to Know” Law: Court hearing September 13

emr1The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on September 13 to consider the CTIA’s arguments why the preliminary injunction to block the City of Berkeley’s cellphone “right to know” ordinance should be reinstated. The law has been in effect since March.

This landmark law requires cellphone retailers in Berkeley to post a cellphone safety notification or provide a copy to customers The notification reminds the consumer to read the manufacturer’s safety information in the cellphone’s user manual (see below).

The case before the federal Court of Appeals is CTIA-The Wireless Association v. City of Berkeley et al., case number 16-15141.

The CTIA is represented by former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, and the City is represented by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig.

The hearing will be held in the U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco at 9:30 A.M. (95 Seventh Street, Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor, Rm 338).

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Natural Resources Defense Council submitted amicus briefs in support of Berkeley’s position.

A recap of key legal developments is available on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site:

Links to more than 180 news stories about the law:

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