Health effects of leaf blowers and lawn vacuums

Leaf Magnets™ are the best leaf removal technology, and the healthiest. All alternatives (rakes, blowers, vacuums, sweepers, and lawn mowers) damage your health, appearance, mood, brainpower.

Surprised? So were we. We knew exhaust gas is toxic and noise is annoying, but beyond that, we didn't see any other problems except for a cough lingering for a few days after blowing or vacuuming—just allergies, we presumed.

The reality is more alarming. The inescapable problem with blowers is that they blow everything on lawns, not just leaves. Lawn vacuums also stir up plumes contaminating the user's eyes, nose, lungs, ears, and clothing. What's on leaves and grass is often toxic, and what is in soil always is: no area is safe, but some are worse than others (example). Even lawn sweepers and rakes create some dust and airborne debris, and thus also pose a risk to you.

Lawn sweeper generating dust Dust cloud from leaf blower

The references listed below substantiate our concerns. Most were generated by scientists, all of whom have nothing to sell, and hence no vested interest in persuading you that what is on lawns and in soil is indeed hazardous to users and their neighbors.

Lists summarizing the health effects

Here's a summary listing problems caused or contributed to by leaf blowers, lawn vacuums, and mowers as well as sweepers and rakes to a lesser extent:

  • birth defects
  • premature birth
  • reduced height, academic performance, and motivation
  • asthma
  • cough
  • infections
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • heart attacks, other heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • acne
  • hearing loss
  • poor sleep
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • compulsive behavior
  • hyperactivity
  • oppositional behavior (angry/irritable mood [easily loses temper, touchy, easily annoyed, resentful], argumentative/defiant behavior [abrasive, often deliberately annoys others or blames them for his or her mistakes or misbehavior], vindictiveness)
  • neurotoxicity
  • decreased learning ability
  • diminished IQ
  • increased propensity for violence
  • kidney disease
  • premature graying of hair
  • hair loss
  • cancer
  • accelerates inflammation and aging
  • premature death

One of these risks is Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by contaminated soil. Interestingly, there are gender differences in its effects. They include:

Men

  • lower intelligence
  • lower probability of achieving higher education
  • decreased novelty seeking
  • more distrustful
  • reduced superego (conscience) strength
  • more aggressive
  • more inclined to break rules
  • increased criminality (& likely more sociopathy in general)
  • more rigid
  • more emotionally reactive
  • less stable
  • more affected by feelings
  • more easily upset

Women

  • feeling out of control or overwhelmed
  • less independent
  • more uninhibited
  • more rule-bound and conforming
  • more uptight
  • increased pregnancy weight gain
  • symptoms resembling premenstrual syndrome
  • unpleasant signs or symptoms of menopause (cognitive impairment, migraine, mood disorders, bouts of rapid heartbeats, dizziness, low back pain, breast pain, abdominal pain, digestive problems, electric shock sensations)

Males and females

Some of the hazardous substances in soil, grass, and leaves

  • mold and bacteria (which can harm you and plants, with leaf blowers potentially spreading them from one infected plant to many others)
  • roundworms (nematodes)
  • animal urine and feces, such as from cats, dogs, deer, birds, raccoons, rats, and mice, some of which can transmit infections, such as hantavirus, which is potentially fatal; the CDC recommends wearing a N95-rated respirator when cleaning up raccoon feces, a process that typically generates markedly less airborne emissions than blowing
  • decaying bodies of dead insects and animals, such as worms, birds, and snakes
  • pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals
  • allergens such as plant pollen
  • dust resulting from tire wear
  • brake-lining dust, which may contain asbestos, which also occurs naturally in some soil
  • dirt (which inevitably includes metals and frequently is contaminated by heavy metals such as lead that can cause a variety of physical and cognitive effects, including impaired intelligence. Another heavy metal, cadmium, is present in soil and phosphorous fertilizers; it can cause a variety of physical effects, including cancer, kidney disease, and hair loss. Importantly, lungs absorb cadmium more readily than the gastrointestinal tract, so cadmium inhalation is especially toxic. Cadmium has a long biological half-life of 17 – 30 years, so once in the body, it takes decades to excrete half of it, therefore even tiny doses progressively accumulate. Inhaling metals, whether as dust or fumes, is often substantially more toxic than ingesting the same amount. For example, manganese is an essential trace mineral we need in our diets. Ingested in tiny amounts, it is good for us, but when chronically inhaled, it is neurotoxic because it can pass directly into the brain via olfactory pathways.)
  • particulate matter from engine exhaust and dirt
  • volcanic ash
  • glass (can be naturally formed from the heat of asteroid impacts)
  • erionite and other fibrous zeolites
  • other mineral dusts

Most people don't know about research documenting these effects, thus they never put two and two together, so if their children do not get into medical school or otherwise fail to achieve their career dreams, or if they develop health or behavioral problems, almost never is the leaf blower identified as the culprit or contributing factor.

Reference list

Skip to Toxoplasma references

  1. California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board: A Report To The California Legislature On The Potential Health And Environmental Impacts Of Leaf Blowers
  2. Recent advances in research on non-auditory effects of community noise
  3. Noise exposure and public health
  4. Leaf blowers can ruin the neighborhood
    Comment: Those making noise are less bothered by it than others hearing it.
  5. Exposure to air pollution increases risk of obesity
  6. Air pollution a risk factor for diabetes, say researchers
  7. Air pollution increases risk of insulin resistance in children
  8. Air pollution linked to children's low academic achievement
  9. Air pollution linked to slower cognitive development in children
  10. Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ
  11. Air pollution linked to depression and slow thinking
  12. Living near major traffic linked to higher risk of dementia
  13. Bad air means bad news for seniors' brainpower
  14. Stroke from poor air quality
  15. Air pollution linked to blood vessel damage in healthy young adults
  16. Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease
  17. Air pollution linked to chronic heart disease
  18. High-pollution days linked to increased risk of cardiac arrest
  19. Poor air quality increases patients' risk of heart attack
  20. Air pollution and hardening of arteries
  21. Carotid artery stenosis: Air pollution connected with narrowing of the arteries
  22. Exposure to air pollution 30 years ago associated with increased risk of death
  23. Link between air pollution, increased deaths and increased deaths from heart disease affirmed
  24. Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots
  25. Particulate matter from modern gasoline engines damages our lungs
  26. Toxicity of aged gasoline exhaust particles to normal and diseased airway epithelia
  27. Air pollution linked to increased rates of kidney disease
  28. Air pollution exposure during pregnancy linked with asthma risk
  29. Air Pollution and Symptoms of Depression in Elderly Adults
  30. Cardiovascular Triggers Are in the Very Air We Breathe
  31. Link between air pollution, heart disease confirmed: Higher levels of coarse particles in the air associated with increase in same-day cardiovascular hospitalizations in major urban areas
  32. Volkswagen's excess emissions will lead to 1,200 premature deaths in Europe
  33. 44,000 healthy years lost in Europe, 72,000 years could still be lost in the future
  34. Outdoor air pollution tied to millions of preterm births
  35. Yearly cost of US premature births linked to air pollution: $4.33 billion
  36. Even a little air pollution may have long-term health effects on developing fetus
  37. Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect a child's lungs
  38. Strong link between higher levels of pollution, lung health of European citizens
  39. Air pollution and impaired lung function prove independent risk factors for cognitive decline
  40. Prenatal exposure to combustion-related pollutants and anxiety, attention problems in young children
  41. Prenatal exposure to common air pollution linked to cognitive, behavioral impairment
  42. Air pollution affects young people's psychiatric health
  43. Prenatal exposure to air pollution linked to impulsivity, emotional problems in children
  44. Air pollution and psychological distress during pregnancy
  45. World's largest study shows effects of long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic noise on blood pressure
  46. High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants
  47. ADHD-air pollution link: Breathing dirty air during pregnancy raises odds of childhood ADHD-related behavior problems
  48. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise exposure
  49. Air pollution below EPA standards linked with higher death rates
  50. Noise exposure in occupational setting associated with elevated blood pressure in China
  51. Exposure-response relationship between traffic noise and the risk of stroke: a systematic review with meta-analysis
  52. Environmental stressors and cardio-metabolic disease: part I-epidemiologic evidence supporting a role for noise and air pollution and effects of mitigation strategies
  53. Environmental stressors and cardio-metabolic disease: part II-mechanistic insights
  54. Road traffic noise is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and all-cause mortality in London
  55. Noise as a Health Hazard for Children, Time to Make a Noise about it
  56. The effect of noise on the health of children
  57. Night time aircraft noise exposure and children's cognitive performance
  58. Children's cognition and aircraft noise exposure at home--the West London Schools Study
  59. The effects of road traffic and aircraft noise exposure on children's episodic memory: the RANCH project
  60. The effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on children's cognition and health: 3 field studies
  61. ICBEN review of research on the biological effects of noise 2011-2014
  62. Health effects from noise
  63. Florida Woman Threatens to Shoot Man with Leaf Blower Because it Was Too Loud!
  64. Woman, mad about leaf blower, pulls out gun, threatens worker
  65. Neighbors' bitter leaf-blower battle ends with one shot dead, the other charged
  66. Clash over leaf blower leads to deadly shooting
  67. Microbes can redeem themselves to fight disease; Science News, Nov. 1, 2014, p. 19 (discussing how modified bacteria can be therapeutically used, but bacteria present in nature can, as quoted in the video, be harmful).
  68. Raccoon Latrines: Identification and Clean-up
  69. Raccoon droppings pose danger
  70. Cleaning up raccoon droppings is deadly serious
  71. Raccoon Roundworm Encephalitis
  72. Backyard Raccoon Latrines and Risk for Baylisascaris procyonis Transmission to Humans
  73. Baylisascariasis--a new dangerous zoonosis
  74. Raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) encephalitis: case report and field investigation
  75. A child with raccoon roundworm meningoencephalitis: A pathogen emerging in your own backyard?
  76. Spinal cord involvement in a child with raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) meningoencephalitis
  77. Parasite-carrying Raccoons Found To Be Culprits In Spread Of Lethal Disease
  78. Raccoons deal death
  79. Baylisascaris Procyonis (Nematoda: Ascaridoidea) in Raccoons (Procyon Lotor) from Duval County, Texas
  80. Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability
  81. Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South
  82. Hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides infection and polyparasitism associated with poor cognitive performance in Brazilian schoolchildren
  83. Evidence for an association between hookworm infection and cognitive function in Indonesian school children
  84. Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (ascariasis, hookworm infection, and whipworm infection)
  85. Gut microbiota disturbance during helminth infection: can it affect cognition and behaviour of children?
  86. "Stupidity or worms": do intestinal worms impair mental performance?
  87. Helminthiasis Presenting as Microcytic Anemia
  88. Toxocariasis in North America: A Systematic Review
  89. Childhood parasitic infections endemic to the United States
  90. Reduced cognitive function in children with toxocariasis in a nationally representative sample of the United States
  91. Toxocariasis and lung function: relevance of a neglected infection in an urban landscape
  92. Toxocara infection and diminished lung function in a nationally representative sample from the United States population
  93. Prevalence and risk factors associated with Toxocara canis infection in children
  94. Parasitic zoonoses: one health surveillance in northern Saskatchewan
  95. Ocular toxocariasis--United States, 2009-2010
  96. Toxocariasis: America's Most Common Neglected Infection of Poverty and a Helminthiasis of Global Importance?
  97. Toxocariasis mimicking liver, lung, and spinal cord metastases from retinoblastoma
  98. A public health response against Strongyloides stercoralis: time to look at soil-transmitted helminthiasis in full
  99. Cadmium and Phosphorous Fertilizers: The Issues and the Science
  100. Cadmium And Cadmium Compounds: Toxicology
  101. Cadmium poisoning
  102. Cadmium Levels in Soils and Crops in the United States
  103. Cadmium in Soils and Plants
  104. Exposure To Cadmium: A Major Public Health Concern
  105. Cadmium and Phosphorous Fertilizers: The Issues and the Science
  106. Possible Relationship between Chronic Telogen Effluvium and Changes in Lead, Cadmium, Zinc, and Iron Total Blood Levels in Females: A Case-Control Study
  107. Raynaud syndrome
  108. Vibration white finger
  109. Inflammation-Aging Link Confirmed
  110. Inflammation in Aging and Age-related Diseases
  111. Inflammation in aging processes: an integrative and ecological perspective
  112. Exposure to particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers
  113. How inflammation can lead to cancer
  114. Cancer and Inflammation
  115. Review article: Inflammation and cancer
  116. Air pollution and skin diseases: Adverse effects of airborne particulate matter on various skin diseases
  117. Traffic-related air pollution linked to facial dark spots
    Comment: Small engines (such as those powering leaf blowers, lawn vacuums, and mowers) emit significantly more pollution than automobiles, which are heavily regulated and possess several pollution-control devices.
  118. How bad for the environment are gas-powered leaf blowers?
  119. Emissions Test: Car vs. Truck vs. Leaf Blower
    Comment: Despite having only ≈ 1% or less of the power of the 411-horsepower, 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Crew Cab, the four-stroke Ryobi leaf blower emitted enormously more NOx, CO, and NMHC; the two-stroke leaf blower was even worse, generating more hydrocarbon emissions per season of typical use than the truck would in 20,000 – 300,000 miles (depending on yard size and leaf density).
  120. One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution
  121. Sitting in traffic jams is officially bad for you
    Comment: Operating gasoline-powered leaf blowers, lawn vacuums, and mowers is much worse because they emit more pollutants, which essentially pool around the user.
  122. Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution
  123. Road traffic pollution as serious as passive smoke in the development of childhood asthma
  124. Asthma symptoms kicking up? Check your exposure to air pollution
  125. Induction of alopecia in mice exposed to cigarette smoke
  126. Genotoxicity of environmental tobacco smoke: a review
  127. Genotoxicity of tobacco smoke and tobacco smoke condensate: a review
  128. Genotoxic risk of passive smoking
  129. Is the Air You Breathe Your Skin's Biggest Enemy? Age is in the air: Pollution is waging a war on your complexion
  130. Oxidative stress in ageing of hair
  131. The impact of oxidative stress on hair
  132. Towards a "free radical theory of graying": melanocyte apoptosis in the aging human hair follicle is an indicator of oxidative stress induced tissue damage
  133. Oxidative stress--a key emerging impact factor in health, ageing, lifestyle and aesthetics
  134. Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking?
  135. Air pollution and the skin
  136. Environmental influences on skin aging and ethnic-specific manifestations
  137. Environmental pollution and skin aging
  138. The Dirty Truth About Pollution-induced Skin Aging: The AhR Pathway Tells All
  139. Airborne particle exposure and extrinsic skin aging
  140. Particulate Matter and Skin
  141. Association between smoking, passive smoking, and erectile dysfunction: results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey
  142. Effects of Fine Particulate Matter on Erectile Function and Its Potential Mechanism in Rats
  143. How air pollution affects your health – infographic: Exposure to air pollutants has been linked to suppressed lung growth, asthma, heart disease, fetal brain growth damage and the onset of diabetes
  144. Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution
  145. How to save ourselves from the invisible gas choking us to death
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Millions of Europeans die per decade from air pollution with most resulting despite their air supposedly being safe.
    • Strong evidence now indicates that NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] is itself harmful.
    • Air pollution likely heightens the risk of autism, dementia, diabetes, and other problems.
    • Researchers found myriad small iron particles in brains, likely from engine exhaust.
  146. Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation — Clinical syndromes and neuroimaging
    Comment: Iron can generate reactive oxygen species that are neurotoxic.
  147. Brain iron deposits are associated with general cognitive ability and cognitive aging
  148. Biogenic Magnetite in Humans and New Magnetic Resonance Hazard Questions
  149. Nanoscale biogenic iron oxides and neurodegenerative disease
  150. Air pollution linked to cognitive decline in women
  151. Exposure to high pollution levels during pregnancy may increase risk of having child with autism
  152. Fine particulate air pollution linked with increased autism risk
  153. Researcher adds to evidence linking autism to air pollutants
  154. Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality
  155. Association between air toxics, childhood autism
  156. New evidence links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia
  157. One in 20 cases of pre-eclampsia may be linked to air pollutant
  158. Air pollution can alter the effectiveness of antibiotics and increases the potential of disease, new study reveals
    Comment: Researchers discovered air pollution directly affects bacteria that cause respiratory infections and their response to antibiotics.
  159. Air pollution is sending tiny magnetic particles into your brain
  160. Long-term exposure to traffic-related particulate matter impairs cognitive function in the elderly
  161. Long-term exposure to air pollution may pose risk to brain structure, cognitive functions
  162. Particulate Matter in Polluted Air May Increase Biomarkers of Inflammation in Mouse Brain
  163. Childhood inflammation raises risk of later bipolar symptoms
  164. Inhaled ultrafine particulate matter affects CNS inflammatory processes and may act via MAP kinase signaling pathways
  165. Composition and sources of fine particulate matter across urban and rural sites in the Midwestern United States
  166. Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women: Tiny, dirty airborne particles called PM2.5 invade the brain and wreak havoc, study suggests
  167. Dementia risk linked to air pollution
    Comment: Strong evidence that dementia is associated with air pollution.
  168. Heavy metal: Some airborne particles pose more dangers than others
  169. Heavy metals: Environmental heavy metals
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Use of leaded gasoline in North America largely ceased by 1996 but soil adjacent to roads built before then is still contaminated with lead.
    • Researchers found a significant correlation between use of leaded gasoline and violent crime.
    Considering the latter: because major cities had a higher density of leaded gasoline use, it isn't surprising that their violent crime rates were higher.
  170. Metal Dusts, Fumes and Mists
  171. Dust Resulting from Tire Wear and the Risk of Health Hazards
  172. Tire Dust
  173. What are the Effects of Dust on the Lungs?
  174. Public Health Statement for Aluminum
  175. Neurobehavioral effects of developmental toxicity
  176. Manganese Exposure and Cognition Across the Lifespan: Contemporary Review and Argument for Biphasic Dose–Response Health Effects
  177. Neurofunctional dopaminergic impairment in elderly after lifetime exposure to manganese
  178. Neurotoxicity of inhaled manganese: public health danger in the shower?
  179. Manganese neurotoxicity: behavioral, pathological, and biochemical effects following various routes of exposure
  180. Manganese-induced neurotoxicity: a review of its behavioral consequences and neuroprotective strategies
  181. Does environmental exposure to manganese pose a health risk to healthy adults?
  182. Manganese and the brain
  183. Manganese neurotoxicity: new perspectives from behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropathological studies in humans and non-human primates
  184. Developmental exposure to manganese induces lasting motor and cognitive impairment in rats
  185. Manganese: Role in neurological disorders
  186. Map illustrating how the manganese (Mn) content of soil varies greatly in the United States
  187. Manganese exposure: cognitive, motor and behavioral effects on children: a review of recent findings
  188. Manganese exposure and cognitive deficits: a growing concern for manganese neurotoxicity
  189. Electric Leaf Blowers Recalled after Injuries
  190. The Leaf Blower: A lazy person's lawn manicure
  191. A prominent writer and Washington insider is launching a war. On leaf blowers.
  192. Science provides a new way to measure blower performance [ANSI B175.2 measuring blowing force]
  193. Map of soil arsenic distribution (United States)
  194. Map of arsenic in water (United States)
  195. Map of soil lead distribution (United States)
  196. Soil is an important pathway of human lead exposure
  197. Road Dust Lead (Pb) in Two Neighborhoods of Urban Atlanta, (GA, USA)
    Comment: A major potential source of lead exposure in urban children continues to be road dust.
  198. Lead (Pb) legacy from vehicle traffic in eight California urbanized areas: continuing influence of lead dust on children's health
  199. Estimation of leaded (Pb) gasoline's continuing material and health impacts on 90 US urbanized areas
  200. The continuing impact of lead dust on children's blood lead: comparison of public and private properties in New Orleans
  201. Urban soil-lead (Pb) footprint: retrospective comparison of public and private properties in New Orleans
  202. The urban rise and fall of air lead (Pb) and the latent surge and retreat of societal violence
  203. Spatial distribution of lead in Sacramento, California, USA
  204. New Orleans soil lead (Pb) cleanup using Mississippi River alluvium: need, feasibility, and cost
  205. Altered myelination and axonal integrity in adults with childhood lead exposure: a diffusion tensor imaging study
  206. Early-life metal exposure and schizophrenia: A proof-of-concept study using novel tooth-matrix biomarkers
  207. Environmental exposures to lead and urban children's blood lead levels
  208. Potential for childhood lead poisoning in the inner cities of Australia due to exposure to lead in soil dust
  209. The elephant in the playground: confronting lead-contaminated soils as an important source of lead burdens to urban populations
  210. Low-level lead exposure and children's intelligence from recent epidemiological studies in the U.S.A. and other countries to progress in reducing lead exposure and screening in the U.S.A.
  211. Lifetime exposure to environmental lead and children's intelligence at 11-13 years: the Port Pirie cohort study
    Comment: Lead exposure before age 8 is associated with persistent cognitive deficits.
  212. Exposure to environmental lead and visual-motor integration at age 7 years: the Port Pirie Cohort Study
  213. Environmental lead exposure and children's cognitive function
  214. Neurobehavioral aspects of lead neurotoxicity in children
  215. Association between soil heavy metals and fatty liver disease in men in Taiwan: a cross sectional study
  216. The Adverse Effects of Heavy Metals with and without Noise Exposure on the Human Peripheral and Central Auditory System: A Literature Review
  217. Metals and Neurodegeneration
  218. Effect of Lead (Pb) on Inflammatory Processes in the Brain
  219. Wind speed map (United States)
    Comment: Wind helps spread soil contaminants once launched into the air by leaf blowers or vacuums.
  220. Rainfall can release aerosols, study finds
  221. Light rain can spread soil bacteria far and wide, study finds
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Researchers found that raindrops produce a spray of mist (aerosols), each laden with up to several thousand soil bacteria.
    • Wind can further spread airborne bacteria, enabling them to travel considerable distances, eventually settling to colonize distant areas.
    Leaf blower air velocity can exceed 200 mph, so they have markedly more potential to create mists from blowing leaves wetted by rain or dew. To illustrate this, we put blue food dye on grass that was blown by a leaf blower, which sprayed mist onto downstream paper (see below). In addition to the distinct spots, note the diffuse bluish haze especially concentrated near the upper center; that resulted from an aerosolized mist of countless tiny droplets—ones ideally suited for long-distance spread. The direct blast can travel many feet, but once airborne, wind can carry it hundreds or thousands of feet.
    mist (blue food dye) blown by leaf blower
    Leaf blower mist on paper ≈ 17 x 44 inches
    closeup of leaf blower mist
    Closeup of leaf blower mist; green square ≈ 1 in2
  222. Overview of naturally occurring Earth materials and human health concerns
    Comment: An overview of several natural health hazards, including:
    • volcanic ash + aerosols + gases
    • mineral dusts
    • non-volcanic aerosols + nanoparticles
    • asbestos + fibrous zeolites
    • arsenic
    • fluorine
    • iodine
    • uranium + thorium + radium + radon + polonium
    • selenium
    • mercury
    • copper
    • lead
    • chromium
    • cadmium
  223. Map #1 of volcanic ash distribution (United States)
    Map #2 of volcanic ash distribution (United States; Mount St. Helens)
    Map #3 of volcanic ash distribution (United States; 1936 Yellowstone Eruption)
    Map #4 of volcanic ash distribution (world)
    Comment: Once airborne, wind blows volcanic ash for surprising distances (“ thousands of kilometers”), so it can be found far from volcanic eruptions.
  224. Volcanic ash
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Airborne ash particles smaller than 10 µm diameter are inhalable.
    • Inhaling ash produces respiratory problems along with nose, throat, eye, and skin irritation.
    • Long-term exposure likely triggers health problems because free crystalline silica has been proven to cause silicosis.
  225. The Health Hazards Of Volcanic Ash: A guide for the public
  226. Volcanic Ash -- Effects on Health and Mitigation Strategies
  227. Volcanic Ash: More Than Just A Science Project: Hazards Of Volcanic Ash
  228. Health Canada: Potential Health Effects Of Volcanic Ash
  229. The respiratory health hazards of volcanic ash: a review for volcanic risk mitigation
  230. Case study by Dr. Shafiq Qaadri: Volcanic ash can severely damage your lungs
  231. The health hazards of volcanoes and geothermal areas
  232. A retrospective study on acute health effects due to volcanic ash exposure during the eruption of Mount Etna (Sicily) in 2002
  233. Long-term health effects of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption: a prospective cohort study in 2010 and 2013
  234. Volcanic ash in the air we breathe
  235. Soil pollution: Xenobiotic chemicals
  236. CDC: Anthrax
    Excerpt: “People get infected with anthrax when spores get into the body. … This can happen when people breathe in spores, eat food or drink water that is contaminated with spores, or get spores in a cut or scrape in the skin. It is very uncommon for people in the United States to get infected with anthrax.”
    Comment: But it happens, and if it happens to you, its rarity is no consolation.
  237. Investigation of Inhalation Anthrax Case, United States
    Excerpt: “Inhalation anthrax occurred in a man who vacationed in 4 US states where anthrax is enzootic. Despite an extensive multi-agency investigation, the specific source was not detected, and no additional related human or animal cases were found. Although rare, inhalation anthrax can occur naturally in the United States.”
  238. Anthrax in the United States: Respiratory, Inhalational, or Pulmonary Anthrax: “is contracted by breathing in the anthrax spores. It has similar symptoms to the cold and flu for the first few days—a sore throat, muscle aches, and fever are often common. However, the disease then deviates, resulting in acute breathing difficulty and shock, which is often fatal. Untreated cases have a 100% mortality rate.”
  239. Modeling the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis, the Causative Agent of Anthrax Disease, for the Contiguous United States using Predictive Ecologic Niche Modeling
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Anthrax is a zoonotic disease still affecting many countries, including the USA for wildlife species and herbivorous livestock, and secondarily people.
    • The soil-borne bacteria B. anthracis [the causative agent of anthrax] is ubiquitous.
    That article includes the predicted distribution of Bacillus anthracis in the 48 contiguous United States.
  240. Unearthing Anthrax's Dirty Secret: Its Mysterious Survival Skills May Rely on Help from Viruses--and Earthworms: Researchers find that viruses infecting anthrax and other Bacillus bacteria control its growth both in the soil and in earthworms--and uncover possible new reservoirs for the age-old scourge
    Comment: According to the article, up to 75% of those inhaling anthrax spores (and 60% of those ingesting them) can die from it.
  241. Anthrax can grow and reproduce in soil, researchers find
  242. United States EPA: Learn About Asbestos
    Comment: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber in some soil and rock.
  243. Asbestos in Soil
  244. Asbestos: understanding and managing asbestos risks in soil
    Comment: Asbestos is also frequently found in made ground.
  245. Asbestos in Soil
    Comment: Soil can naturally contain asbestos.
  246. Asbestos map of the United States (article)
  247. Landscapes Tainted by Asbestos
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Naturally occurring asbestos has been found in locations throughout the United States.
    • Minerals physically similar to asbestos, such as erionite, can also form needlelike structures that heighten the risk of mesothelioma.
    • Some California residential developments were built on soil containing asbestos; such fibers were found blowing around those communities.
    • Human harm resulted from considerably smaller amounts of asbestos than were previously assumed to be dangerous.
  248. CDC: Erionite: An Emerging North American Hazard
    Excerpt: “Disturbance of this material can generate airborne fibers with physical properties and health effects similar to asbestos.”
  249. CDC: Erionite map (Western United States)
  250. Erionite and its Health Effects
    Comment: The fibrous zeolite mineral erionite is a highly toxic human carcinogen (causing mesothelioma) widely distributed throughout the world.
  251. Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Potential for Human Exposure, Southern Nevada, USA
    Comment: Disease can result from many natural fibrous minerals besides asbestos. These include:
    amphibole minerals
    winchite
    magnesioriebeckite
    richterite
    erionite
    antigorite (a serpentine mineral)

  252. Toxoplasma references

  253. Relationship Between Toxoplasma gondii and Mood Disturbance in Women Veterans
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection has been associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal behavior.
  254. Epidemic toxoplasmosis associated with infected cats
  255. Acquired toxoplasmosis
    Comment: Disease resulted from infected cats fecally shedding toxoplasma oocysts with transmission presumably resulting from oocyst aerosolization or hand-to-mouth contact.
  256. Follow-up of the 1977 Georgia Outbreak of Toxoplasmosis
    Comment: The toxoplasmosis outbreak most likely stemmed from inhalation or ingestion of cat feces stirred up by horses. Leaf blowers can create substantially more airborne dust.
  257. Cats and Toxoplasma: implications for public health
    Comment: Toxoplasma oocysts in soil or water, or on uncooked vegetables, is an important source of human infection.
  258. Toxoplasma gondii: epidemiology, feline clinical aspects, and prevention
    Comment: Soil and water are the usual sources of human toxoplasma infection.
  259. Toxoplasmosis. Are cats really the source?
    Comment: Human toxoplasma infections are less likely to result from direct contact with pet cats than from fecally contaminated soil spreading oocysts to hands.
  260. Spatial distribution of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in soil in a rural area: Influence of cats and land use and Land use and soil contamination with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in urban areas
    Comment: Oocyst-contaminated soil is increasingly acknowledged to be a primary source of human infection.
  261. Association between seropositivity for Toxoplasma gondii, scholastic development of children and risk factors for T. gondii infection
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Toxoplasma oocysts are usually acquired from soil.
    • Infected men are more distrustful, aggressive, and apt to break rules; infected women more likely to feel a need to abide by them yet are paradoxically uninhibited.
    • When infected, both sexes exhibit slowed reaction time and more difficulty maintaining concentration.
    • Infected children scored less well on the Scholastic Performance Test with math giving them the most difficulty.
    • Most lawn and exposed soil samples were contaminated.

    Previously, T. gondii infection was thought to generally endanger pregnant women and people with impaired immunity, such as diabetics or those with HIV; infections in others was thought to be typically asymptomatic—that is, without symptoms.
  262. Toxoplasma Gondii Infection and Depression: A Case-Control Seroprevalence Study
    Comment: Researchers found a potential link between toxoplasma infection and depression.
  263. Correlation of duration of latent Toxoplasma gondii infection with personality changes in women
    Comment: In men, reduced superego [conscience] strength is correlated with the duration of toxoplasma infection.
  264. Changes in the personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis
  265. Induction of changes in human behaviour by the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    Toxoplasma gondii changes behavior.
    • 20 – 80% of people are infected by this parasite.
    • Those infected exhibit highly significant differences as compared with uninfected people.

    Reduced superego strength increases the risk of sociopathic behavior, including criminality.
  266. High seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in inmates: A case control study in Durango City, Mexico
  267. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in psychiatric inpatients in a northern Mexican city
    Comment: Those infected with Toxoplasma gondii had a significantly higher risk of being a psychiatric inpatient, especially one with schizophrenia.
  268. Influence of chronic toxoplasmosis on some human personality factors
  269. Decreased level of psychobiological factor novelty seeking and lower intelligence in men latently infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii Dopamine, a missing link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis?
    Comment: They reported that 30 – 60% of people worldwide are infected with Toxoplasma gondii, with infected individuals showing poorer psychomotor performance and personality changes, including:
    • Less novelty seeking.
    • Lower IQs.
    • Less likely to achieve higher education.
  270. Decreased level of novelty seeking in blood donors infected with Toxoplasma
  271. Influence of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection on Symptoms and Signs of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Cross-sectional Study
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection produced premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
  272. Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection was associated with feeling out of control or overwhelmed.
  273. Influence of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection on Symptoms and Signs of Menopause
  274. Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder: A Case-Control Seroprevalence Study in Durango, Mexico
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection was associated with behavioral changes including mixed anxiety and depressive disorder.
  275. Beyond the association. Toxoplasma gondii in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and addiction: systematic review and meta-analysis
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection was associated with several psychiatric disorders.
  276. Neuropsychiatric disease and Toxoplasma gondii infection
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    Toxoplasma gondii infection can alter human personality and may increase the risk of schizophrenia and depression.
    • The Toxoplasma gondii genome contains two aromatic amino acid hydroxylases that could directly affect biosynthesis of dopamine and serotonin.
  277. Toxoplasma gondii: host-parasite interaction and behavior manipulation
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with schizophrenia and epilepsy.
  278. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the Iranian general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Comment: There is a high (more than one-third) seroprevalence of Toxoplasma infection in Iran.
  279. Parasites as causative agents of human affective disorders? The impact of anti-psychotic, mood-stabilizer and anti-parasite medication on Toxoplasma gondii's ability to alter host behavior
  280. Effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection on anxiety, depression and ghrelin level in male rats
  281. Impairment of learning and memory ability in mice with latent infection of Toxoplasma gondii
    Comment: In mice, latent infection with Toxoplasma gondii may cause learning and memory impairment.
  282. Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma-human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    Toxoplasma gondii infection was previously assumed to be asymptomatic but actually produces significant effects in humans, such as by increasing reaction time, which explains why infected people have a higher probability of traffic accidents.
    • Latent infection with Toxoplasma gondii is associated with immunosuppression, which may explain why mothers of children with Down syndrome have a very high prevalence of toxoplasmosis.
    • Male students infected with Toxoplasma gondii are approximately 3 cm taller and have faces perceived by women to be more masculine and dominant: effects that may be caused by increased testosterone.
    Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with the initiation of more severe schizophrenia.
    • Dozens of studies have demonstrated a link between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia.
  283. Toxoplasma and reaction time: role of toxoplasmosis in the origin, preservation and geographical distribution of Rh blood group polymorphism
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • The RHD gene encodes the RhD protein, which is the strongest Rh blood group immunogen in the Rh blood group system.
    • A significant minority of people are RhD-negative because they lack the RhD antigen.
    Heterozygous men (those with RhD plus and RhD minus alleles) were protected against reaction time prolongation associated with Toxoplasma gondii infection.
  284. Increased incidence of traffic accidents in Toxoplasma-infected military drivers and protective effect RhD molecule revealed by a large-scale prospective cohort study
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection could strongly increase the risk of traffic accidents in RhD negative people.
  285. Is Toxoplasma gondii a potential risk for traffic accidents in Turkey?
    Comment: More evidence linking toxoplasmosis with an increased risk for traffic accidents.
  286. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in drivers involved in road traffic accidents in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
  287. Higher prevalence of toxoplasmosis in victims of traffic accidents suggest increased risk of traffic accident in Toxoplasma-infected inhabitants of Istanbul and its suburbs
  288. Increased pregnancy weight gain in women with latent toxoplasmosis and RhD-positivity protection against this effect
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • RhD-positive people were protected against impaired psychomotor performance associated with Toxoplasma gondii infection.
    • RhD-negative mothers infected with Toxoplasma gondii gained more weight.

    Hence RhD-negative people are NOT protected against toxoplasmosis-associated problems. Approximately 15% of the U.S. population is RhD-negative.
  289. Rh blood group system
  290. The influence of RhD phenotype on toxoplasmosis- and age-associated changes in personality profile of blood donors
  291. Toxoplasmosis-Associated Difference in Intelligence and Personality in Men Depends on Their Rhesus Blood Group but Not ABO Blood Group
    Comment: Rh-positive people are protected against certain behavioral effects associated with infection by Toxoplasma gondii, such as slower reaction time and altered personality; Rh-negative individuals are not protected.
  292. Survey on the contamination of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in the soil of public parks of Wuhan, China
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • More evidence demonstrating the importance of soil in transmitting Toxoplasma gondii.
    • All parks sampled were contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii.
  293. Quantitative estimation of the viability of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in soil
  294. Earthworms as paratenic hosts of toxoplasmosis in eastern barred bandicoots in Tasmania
    Comment: Earthworms can transmit Toxoplasma gondii.
  295. Toxoplasmosis and mental retardation--report of a case-control study
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • A greater risk of mental retardation was found in children of mothers exposed to soil and cats.
    Toxoplasma gondii infection quadrupled the risk of retinochoroiditis.
    Subclinical congenital toxoplasmosis seems to be an important factor in mental retardation.
  296. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in gravidas and recently aborted women and study of risk factors
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    • Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii were higher in recent aborters from rural areas in which women are more commonly exposed to soil even if they don't have pet cats.
    • More evidence demonstrating the importance of soil in transmitting Toxoplasma gondii.
  297. Are There any Relationships between Latent Toxoplasma gondii Infection, Testosterone Elevation, and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
  298. How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
  299. Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    Toxoplasma gondii manipulates human personality.
    • Most infected people initially experience only mild flu-like symptoms, but fetal infection can produce devastating effects.
    • After the initial infection, Toxoplasma parasites become largely dormant in tissues including the brain.
    • The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii exhibits substantial geographic variation that may explain behavioral differences in people from different areas.
    Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with increased neuroticism and proneness to guilt; infected women are more rule-conscious, conforming, and staid; infected men are less intelligent, more rigid, more emotionally reactive, more changeable, more affected by feelings, more easily upset, and less emotionally stable.
    Toxoplasma gondii oocysts live longer in low-altitude areas with higher humidity, especially those at mid-latitudes with infrequent freeze-thaw cycles.
    • People working with soil are more likely to ingest Toxoplasma gondii oocysts.
  300. Toxoplasma – the brain parasite that influences human culture
    Comment: The take-home messages:
    Toxoplasma gondii carriers are more likely to exhibit long-term personality changes. Effects differ in men and women but both are more neurotic.
    • Countries with a higher prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection more often have (1) more pronounced differences in gender roles with more focus on ambition, work, and money instead of people and relationships, (2) greater risk aversion, (3) a tendency to embrace strict regulations and rules.
  301. Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior
  302. Effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection on the brain
  303. Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma-human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis
  304. Common Parasite Linked to Personality Changes
  305. Reexamining Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Surprising Activity for a “Dormant” Parasite
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