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.

The irony is that people use leaf blowers and lawn vacuums to save time, but they may waste even more by triggering health problems and increasing the risk of premature death not only in the operator but others nearby because noise, exhaust, dust, and other hazards spread widely.

Minimizing future risks and focusing on immediate benefits is an example of temporal discounting. In the minds of most people, the apparent time savings from using leaf blowers instead of rakes is so alluring they opt for the blower even though it may send them to an early grave or unable to perform in the bedroom without pharmacological assistance—none happening today or anytime soon, so the generally small risk from any one usage is rounded down to zero. But just as one fast-food meal won't kill you but a steady diet of them very well may (the threshold effect, analogous to the straw that broke the camel's back), small but repeated risks can slowly add up to big problems. Leaf Magnets™ eliminate the need to trade current benefits for future risks because they outperform leaf blowers while not subjecting you to their health hazards.

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
  • erectile dysfunction
  • 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

Leaves decay primarily via decomposition by mold, with various fungal species predominating at different times; this diversity heightens the chance of leaves inducing an allergic response in any one person. Arrows in the pictures below highlight mold spots on leaves in early spring after they were covered by snow during a northern Michigan winter. Fungal decay slowly proceeds until leaf decomposition is complete.

leaf mold closeup of mold on leaves

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); see pictures above
  • 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. Leaf litter in street sweepings: investigation into collection and treatment
    Comment: In addition to being contaminated by potentially toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, and chromium, street leaf sweepings were found to contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, some of which are genotoxic carcinogens) that may originate from vehicle exhaust, tire wear, and other sources. Wind (natural and that resulting from vehicle motion) spreads leaves, so ones contaminated by being in or adjacent to streets can move to other areas, including your lawn.
  3. Traffic-related air pollution linked to DNA damage in children
    Comment: This translates into more health problems and shorter lives, but it's not just from automobiles; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other pollutants are produced by motor vehicles but the exhaust of small engines—such as those used in leaf blowers and lawn vacuums—is considerably more toxic, as documented by other references below. The irony is that in using them to save time, people risk cutting years or even decades off their lives. Not everyone succumbs to premature death, but it is impossible to escape all consequences of small-engine exhaust, such as premature signs of aging, some of which are mentioned below.
  4. Increased air pollution cuts victims' lifespan by a decade, costing billions
  5. Study of US seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death
  6. Nitrogen dioxide in exhaust emissions from motor vehicles
    Comment: Nitrogen dioxide is also present in small-engine exhaust, such as from leaf blowers and lawn vacuums.
  7. National Emissions from Lawn and Garden Equipment by Robert McConnell (Environmental Engineer with the US Environmental Protection Agency) and Jamie Banks, PhD, MS (environmentalist, healthcare scientist, and Executive Director of QuietCommunities.org, an exemplary non-profit organization superbly educating people about the health hazards of leaf blowers)
  8. Can clean air make you happy? Examining the effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on life satisfaction
    Comment: Researchers found a significant inverse correlation between mean annual ambient NO2 and life satisfaction, with effects comparable to many 'big hitting' life events.
  9. Air pollution can make you feel as poorly as a partner dying, study finds
  10. Pollution can lead to brain damage and depression warn scientists: Long term exposure to air pollution could damage the brain and lead to learning and memory problems and even depression, new research has revealed.
  11. Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution Linked to Impulsivity, Emotional Problems in Children
  12. Air pollution may disrupt sleep
  13. Sleep loss affects your waistline
  14. How air pollution is linked to type 2 diabetes
  15. Recent advances in research on non-auditory effects of community noise
  16. Noise exposure and public health
  17. Burden of disease from environmental noise - Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe
  18. Transportation noise increases risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
    Comment: Leaf blower noise is even more irritating.
  19. Leaf blowers can ruin the neighborhood
    Comment: Those making noise are less bothered by it than others hearing it.
  20. Blowback: The great suburban leaf war
    Comment: Some of the many take-home messages in this superb article:
    • Dr. David Lighthall said respirable road dust stirred up by leaf blowers can remain airborne for days.
    • The California Air Resources Board said fine airborne particles cause 9000 premature deaths per year in California—that's like three 9/11s per year.
    • After the head of a gardening crew spent eight minutes blowing, he accumulated a debris pile weighing about 12 ounces. This illustrates leaf blower inefficiency.
    • Peter Kendall complained that salad greens from his organic garden are covered with dust stirred up by leaf blowers, wisely realizing that dirt contains several toxic substances. He and his wife Susan created a website (Quiet Orinda) advocating for a city ban on blowers and posted a video presenting some of their hazards.
    • Attacking leaf blowers incited some of their proponents to inflict ad hominem attacks upon the Kendalls. People resort to ad hominem attacks when they cannot substantively rebut points made by their ideological opponents, substituting personal attacks on them in place of a debate of the issues.
    • Orindans often worry they may lose gardeners by discussing leaf blower issues with them. As a former lawn maintenance contractor, I would have loved it if customers voiced problems and presented new solutions helping them and me. Leaf Magnets™ do exactly that.
  21. On Banning Leaf Blowers
  22. My rake is faster than your leaf blower
    Comment: Because blowers are so slow, their operators are exposed to exhaust, dust, and toxic substances in it for longer periods than they would with the efficient Leaf Magnet™ method. With it, one pass and that area is done, as opposed to leaf blowers in which areas often must be blown again as wind or the leaf blower blows leaves onto that spot again … and again. Because the airstream from blowers fans out, leaves will inevitably be blown onto previously cleared areas. The only way to minimize that is counterintuitive and awkward, making leaf blowers even more annoying to use.
  23. Sound & Fury
    Comment: According to the article, landscapers claim they must work up to 50% longer with a rake and broom instead of a leaf blower.
  24. Blow Hard Blues: Most local efforts to ban leaf blowers have fallen on deaf ears
  25. U.S. Geological Survey: You're Standing on It! Health Risks of Coal-Tar Pavement Sealcoat
    Comment: Living adjacent to coal-tar-sealcoated pavement substantially increases cancer risk; most of which stems from ingestion or inhalation of soil, since inhaled material is often swallowed. Sealcoatings easily abrade from driveways and parking lots, contaminating those surfaces and adjacent dirt with toxic particles leaf blowers can spread widely.
  26. Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management
    Comment: PAHs = Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  27. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
    Comment: Adults exposed to PAHs have a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease. Exposed animals show increased atherogenesis, which elevates the risk of heart disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction, and other problems.
  28. Is Your Driveway Toxic?
  29. Studies: Health risk from toxic pavement sealant greater than previously believed
  30. PAHs underfoot: contaminated dust from coal-tar sealcoated pavement is widespread in the United States
  31. Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and azaarenes in runoff from coal-tar- and asphalt-sealcoated pavement
  32. Toxicity of azaarenes
  33. Oral exposure to commercially available coal tar‐based pavement sealcoat induces murine genetic damage and mutations
  34. Counting genetic mutations predicts how soon you'll get cancer
    Comment: A mutation here, a mutation there: as they add up, your chance of living goes down. Unfortunately, this is just one of the cancer risks stemming from leaf blowers and lawn sweepers. Wearing a suitable mask reduces the risk to their operators, but not others who breathe in dust generated by them.
  35. Studies Raise Questions about Pavement Sealers
  36. Exposure to runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement induces genotoxicity and impairment of DNA repair capacity in the RTL-W1 fish liver cell line
  37. A Common Pavement Sealer May Lead to Unhealthy Homes
  38. They paved paradise, all right, and with a potent human carcinogen to boot
  39. Melting snow contains a toxic cocktail of pollutants: Air pollution from cars affected by freezing temperatures and snow
    Comment: After melting snow releases those toxic chemicals into soil and onto grass, leaf blowers and lawn vacuums spread them widely.
  40. Potential pathways of pesticide action on erectile function – A contributory factor in male infertility
  41. Environmental agents and erectile dysfunction: a study in a consulting population
  42. Impotence caused by pesticides
  43. Non-cancer health effects of pesticides: systematic review and implications for family doctors
  44. Pesticide Exposure and Child Neurodevelopment: Summary and Implications
  45. Pesticides and personality
  46. Pesticides and your health — a family physician's perspective
  47. Dread of roses: Neurobehavioral effects found in children exposed to flower pesticides
    Comment: Leaf blowers don't just stir up dust, leaves, and grass but everything contaminating them, including pesticides.
  48. You Breathe What They Blow: The negative effects of leaf blowers are shocking.
  49. Health hazards of leaf blowers
  50. Air district report: Leaf blowers present health risks
  51. Why You're the Worst Person In the World If You Use a Leaf Blower: Want to be a lousy neighbor? Have we got the device for you!
  52. Exposure to air pollution increases risk of obesity
  53. House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests based on Characterization of Adipogenic Activity of House Dust Extracts and Semi-Volatile Indoor Contaminants in 3T3-L1 Cells
    Comment: Using leaf blowers and lawn vacuums when windows are open can quickly contaminate homes. Merely entering a home with dusty clothes is another source. Researchers found that measurable effects were produced by as little as 3 micrograms of dust.
  54. New hyper-local air pollution map unveiled
    Comment: We tend to think air pollution varies regionally, but nearby locations can have significantly different pollution levels.
  55. Air pollution a risk factor for diabetes, say researchers
  56. Air pollution increases risk of insulin resistance in children
  57. Air pollution linked to children's low academic achievement
  58. Air pollution linked to slower cognitive development in children
  59. Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ
  60. Air pollution linked to depression and slow thinking
  61. Living near major traffic linked to higher risk of dementia
  62. Bad air means bad news for seniors' brainpower
  63. Stroke from poor air quality
  64. Air pollution linked to blood vessel damage in healthy young adults
  65. Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease
  66. 'Bad' air may impact 'good' cholesterol increasing heart disease risk
  67. Traffic-related air pollution associated with changes in right ventricular structure, function
  68. Air pollution linked to chronic heart disease
  69. High-pollution days linked to increased risk of cardiac arrest
  70. Poor air quality increases patients' risk of heart attack
  71. Air pollution and hardening of arteries
  72. Carotid artery stenosis: Air pollution connected with narrowing of the arteries
  73. Exposure to air pollution 30 years ago associated with increased risk of death
  74. Link between air pollution, increased deaths and increased deaths from heart disease affirmed
  75. Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots
  76. Air pollution may directly cause those year-round runny noses, according to a mouse study
  77. Scientists discover mechanism for air pollution-induced liver disease
  78. Particulate matter from modern gasoline engines damages our lungs
  79. Toxicity of aged gasoline exhaust particles to normal and diseased airway epithelia
  80. Air pollution linked to increased rates of kidney disease
  81. Air pollution exposure during pregnancy linked with asthma risk
  82. Environmental pollution exposure during pregnancy increases asthma risk for three generations
  83. Link between vitamin E, exposure to air pollution
  84. Air Pollution and Symptoms of Depression in Elderly Adults
  85. Cardiovascular Triggers Are in the Very Air We Breathe
  86. Particulate air pollution: Exposure to ultrafine particles influences cardiac function
  87. 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
  88. Volkswagen's excess emissions will lead to 1,200 premature deaths in Europe
  89. 44,000 healthy years lost in Europe, 72,000 years could still be lost in the future
  90. Outdoor air pollution tied to millions of preterm births
  91. Yearly cost of US premature births linked to air pollution: $4.33 billion
  92. Even a little air pollution may have long-term health effects on developing fetus
  93. Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect a child's lungs
  94. Strong link between higher levels of pollution, lung health of European citizens
  95. Air pollution and impaired lung function prove independent risk factors for cognitive decline
  96. Prenatal exposure to combustion-related pollutants and anxiety, attention problems in young children
  97. Prenatal exposure to common air pollution linked to cognitive, behavioral impairment
  98. Air pollution affects young people's psychiatric health
  99. Prenatal exposure to air pollution linked to impulsivity, emotional problems in children
  100. Air pollution and psychological distress during pregnancy
  101. World's largest study shows effects of long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic noise on blood pressure
  102. Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise
    Comment: And likely also leaf blower noise, which is even more annoying.
  103. High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants
  104. ADHD-air pollution link: Breathing dirty air during pregnancy raises odds of childhood ADHD-related behavior problems
  105. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise exposure
  106. Air pollution below EPA standards linked with higher death rates
  107. Noise exposure in occupational setting associated with elevated blood pressure in China
  108. Exposure-response relationship between traffic noise and the risk of stroke: a systematic review with meta-analysis
  109. Environmental stressors and cardio-metabolic disease: part I-epidemiologic evidence supporting a role for noise and air pollution and effects of mitigation strategies
  110. Environmental stressors and cardio-metabolic disease: part II-mechanistic insights
  111. Road traffic noise is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and all-cause mortality in London
  112. Noise as a Health Hazard for Children, Time to Make a Noise about it
  113. The effect of noise on the health of children
  114. Night time aircraft noise exposure and children's cognitive performance
  115. Children's cognition and aircraft noise exposure at home--the West London Schools Study
  116. The effects of road traffic and aircraft noise exposure on children's episodic memory: the RANCH project
  117. The effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on children's cognition and health: 3 field studies
  118. ICBEN review of research on the biological effects of noise 2011-2014
  119. Health effects from noise
  120. Florida Woman Threatens to Shoot Man with Leaf Blower Because it Was Too Loud!
  121. Woman, mad about leaf blower, pulls out gun, threatens worker
  122. Neighbors' bitter leaf-blower battle ends with one shot dead, the other charged
  123. Clash over leaf blower leads to deadly shooting
  124. 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).
  125. Raccoon Latrines: Identification and Clean-up
  126. Photographs of Raccoon Poop
  127. Raccoon droppings pose danger
  128. Cleaning up raccoon droppings is deadly serious
  129. Undetected infection: Raccoon roundworm -- a hidden human parasite?
    Comment: Yes. The CDC found that 7% of people tested positive for raccoon roundworm antibodies. The roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) infects over 90% of raccoons in Santa Barbara (in adult raccoons, infection rates are typically as high as 70%; in juvenile raccoons, they can exceed 90%). Female worms can produce well over 100,000 eggs per day (up to 877,000), invisible to the naked eye but dangerous and resistant to disinfection with soap, alcohol, or bleach and are hardy, able to survive years in the environment. Up to 45,000,000 eggs can be shed daily by an infected raccoon. The infectious dose is relatively low, estimated to be <5,000 eggs. Eggs accidentally consumed can hatch. Roundworms stay in the gut in raccoons; others aren't so lucky: they can migrate through the body, potentially producing blindness, severe brain damage, or even death (as happened to a Santa Barbara toddler). Dogs can be infected, then shed eggs in their feces. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, so you may not realize they live in your area. One study found 30 raccoons per quarter acre.
  130. Raccoon roundworm eggs near homes and risk for larva migrans disease, California communities
    Comment: The authors said serious or fatal larva migrans disease in humans and animals is increasingly recognized to result from the raccoon roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, the eggs from which were found in 28 – 49% of properties surveyed.
  131. Update on Baylisascariasis, a Highly Pathogenic Zoonotic Infection
  132. Baylisascaris procyonis: An Emerging Helminthic Zoonosis
    Comment: Most doctors don't know about this disease, so many cases of it are overlooked, with the true cause never identified. However, even when Baylisascaris infection is suspected, diagnosing it is difficult.
  133. Raccoon Roundworm Encephalitis
  134. Backyard Raccoon Latrines and Risk for Baylisascaris procyonis Transmission to Humans
  135. Baylisascariasis--a new dangerous zoonosis
  136. Raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) encephalitis: case report and field investigation
  137. A child with raccoon roundworm meningoencephalitis: A pathogen emerging in your own backyard?
  138. Spinal cord involvement in a child with raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) meningoencephalitis
  139. Parasite-carrying Raccoons Found To Be Culprits In Spread Of Lethal Disease
  140. Raccoons deal death
  141. Baylisascaris Procyonis (Nematoda: Ascaridoidea) in Raccoons (Procyon Lotor) from Duval County, Texas
  142. Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability
  143. Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South
  144. Hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides infection and polyparasitism associated with poor cognitive performance in Brazilian schoolchildren
  145. Evidence for an association between hookworm infection and cognitive function in Indonesian school children
  146. Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (ascariasis, hookworm infection, and whipworm infection)
  147. Gut microbiota disturbance during helminth infection: can it affect cognition and behaviour of children?
  148. "Stupidity or worms": do intestinal worms impair mental performance?
  149. Helminthiasis Presenting as Microcytic Anemia
  150. Toxocariasis in North America: A Systematic Review
  151. Childhood parasitic infections endemic to the United States
  152. Reduced cognitive function in children with toxocariasis in a nationally representative sample of the United States
  153. Toxocariasis and lung function: relevance of a neglected infection in an urban landscape
  154. Toxocara infection and diminished lung function in a nationally representative sample from the United States population
  155. Prevalence and risk factors associated with Toxocara canis infection in children
  156. Parasitic zoonoses: one health surveillance in northern Saskatchewan
  157. Ocular toxocariasis--United States, 2009-2010
  158. Toxocariasis: America's Most Common Neglected Infection of Poverty and a Helminthiasis of Global Importance?
  159. Toxocariasis mimicking liver, lung, and spinal cord metastases from retinoblastoma
  160. A public health response against Strongyloides stercoralis: time to look at soil-transmitted helminthiasis in full
  161. Cadmium and Phosphorous Fertilizers: The Issues and the Science
  162. Cadmium And Cadmium Compounds: Toxicology
  163. Cadmium poisoning
  164. Cadmium Levels in Soils and Crops in the United States
  165. Cadmium in Soils and Plants
  166. Exposure To Cadmium: A Major Public Health Concern
  167. Cadmium and Phosphorous Fertilizers: The Issues and the Science
  168. Possible Relationship between Chronic Telogen Effluvium and Changes in Lead, Cadmium, Zinc, and Iron Total Blood Levels in Females: A Case-Control Study
  169. Raynaud syndrome
  170. Vibration white finger
  171. Inflammation-Aging Link Confirmed
  172. Inflammation in Aging and Age-related Diseases
  173. Inflammation in aging processes: an integrative and ecological perspective
  174. Exposure to particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers
  175. Carcinogenic soot particles from petrol engines
  176. Common class of chemicals cause cancer by breaking down DNA repair mechanisms
    Comment: The chemicals, aldehydes, are present in engine exhaust and smoke.
  177. How inflammation can lead to cancer
  178. Cancer and Inflammation
  179. Review article: Inflammation and cancer
  180. Air pollution and skin diseases: Adverse effects of airborne particulate matter on various skin diseases
  181. 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.
  182. Slow the signs of aging with sun protection
    Comment: The article also mentions that uneven skin tone can result from pollution.
  183. How bad for the environment are gas-powered leaf blowers?
  184. 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).
  185. Leaf Blower's Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck's, Says Edmunds' InsideLine.com
  186. More Pollution Than Cars? Gas-Powered Gardening Equipment Poses the Next Air Quality Threat
  187. One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution
  188. Rush hour pollution may be more dangerous than you think
  189. 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.
  190. Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution
  191. Road traffic pollution as serious as passive smoke in the development of childhood asthma
  192. Asthma symptoms kicking up? Check your exposure to air pollution
  193. Induction of alopecia in mice exposed to cigarette smoke
  194. Genotoxicity of environmental tobacco smoke: a review
  195. Genotoxicity of tobacco smoke and tobacco smoke condensate: a review
  196. Genotoxic risk of passive smoking
  197. Is the Air You Breathe Your Skin's Biggest Enemy? Age is in the air: Pollution is waging a war on your complexion
  198. Oxidative stress in ageing of hair
  199. The impact of oxidative stress on hair
  200. Towards a "free radical theory of graying": melanocyte apoptosis in the aging human hair follicle is an indicator of oxidative stress induced tissue damage
  201. Oxidative stress--a key emerging impact factor in health, ageing, lifestyle and aesthetics
  202. Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking?
  203. Air pollution and the skin
  204. Environmental influences on skin aging and ethnic-specific manifestations
  205. Environmental pollution and skin aging
  206. The Dirty Truth About Pollution-induced Skin Aging: The AhR Pathway Tells All
  207. Airborne particle exposure and extrinsic skin aging
  208. Particulate Matter and Skin
  209. Association between smoking, passive smoking, and erectile dysfunction: results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey
  210. Effects of Fine Particulate Matter on Erectile Function and Its Potential Mechanism in Rats
  211. 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
  212. Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution
  213. 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.
  214. Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation — Clinical syndromes and neuroimaging
    Comment: Iron can generate reactive oxygen species that are neurotoxic.
  215. Brain iron deposits are associated with general cognitive ability and cognitive aging
  216. Biogenic Magnetite in Humans and New Magnetic Resonance Hazard Questions
  217. Nanoscale biogenic iron oxides and neurodegenerative disease
  218. Nanoparticles can travel from lungs to blood, possibly explaining risks to heart
  219. Air pollution linked to cognitive decline in women
  220. Exposure to high pollution levels during pregnancy may increase risk of having child with autism
  221. Fine particulate air pollution linked with increased autism risk
  222. Researcher adds to evidence linking autism to air pollutants
  223. Autism risk for developing children exposed to air pollution: Infant brain may be affected by air quality
  224. Hair Heavy Metal and Essential Trace Element Concentration in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  225. ASD Linked to Prenatal Metal Exposure According to Baby Teeth Findings based on Fetal and postnatal metal dysregulation in autism
    Comment: ASD = Autism Spectrum Disorder
  226. Environmental toxicants and autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review
  227. Association between air toxics, childhood autism
  228. New evidence links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia
  229. One in 20 cases of pre-eclampsia may be linked to air pollutant
  230. 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.
  231. Air pollution is sending tiny magnetic particles into your brain
  232. Long-term exposure to traffic-related particulate matter impairs cognitive function in the elderly
  233. Long-term exposure to air pollution may pose risk to brain structure, cognitive functions
  234. Particulate Matter in Polluted Air May Increase Biomarkers of Inflammation in Mouse Brain
  235. Childhood inflammation raises risk of later bipolar symptoms
  236. Inhaled ultrafine particulate matter affects CNS inflammatory processes and may act via MAP kinase signaling pathways
  237. Composition and sources of fine particulate matter across urban and rural sites in the Midwestern United States
  238. Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women: Tiny, dirty airborne particles called PM2.5 invade the brain and wreak havoc, study suggests
  239. Dementia risk linked to air pollution
    Comment: Strong evidence that dementia is associated with air pollution.
  240. Heavy metal: Some airborne particles pose more dangers than others
  241. 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.
  242. Metal Dusts, Fumes and Mists
  243. Dust Resulting from Tire Wear and the Risk of Health Hazards
  244. Tire Dust
  245. What are the Effects of Dust on the Lungs?
  246. Ancient enzyme protects lungs from common irritant produced by bugs and mold
    Comment: Chitin is a component of organisms such as fungi (yeasts, molds, mushrooms), nematodes, protozoa, arthropods (insects, arachnids [spiders, dust mites], myriapods [millipedes, centipedes]), and Lissamphibia (frogs, toads, salamanders, newts), many of which can be inhaled when decaying debris from their dead bodies is stirred up by leaf blowers and lawn vacuums. In humans, chitin triggers an immune response that may become an allergy. Animals deficient in chitinases (enzymes that break down chitin) may develop severe inflammatory lung disease producing fibrosis. Some plants (such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes, kiwis, papaya, and chestnuts) use chitinase to defend against fungal and invertebrate attack whereas other organisms use chitinases for other purposes, such as digestion or structural remodeling. Chitinases have hevein-like protein domains that may trigger allergic cross-reactivity between latex and various plants.
  247. Sand in public playgrounds may play a role in transmitting infections
    Comment: Dirt isn't just dirty; it is also germy—and leaf blowers spread it like wildfire.
  248. Public Health Statement for Aluminum
  249. Neurobehavioral effects of developmental toxicity
  250. Manganese Exposure and Cognition Across the Lifespan: Contemporary Review and Argument for Biphasic Dose–Response Health Effects
  251. Neurofunctional dopaminergic impairment in elderly after lifetime exposure to manganese
  252. Neurotoxicity of inhaled manganese: public health danger in the shower?
  253. Manganese neurotoxicity: behavioral, pathological, and biochemical effects following various routes of exposure
  254. Manganese-induced neurotoxicity: a review of its behavioral consequences and neuroprotective strategies
  255. Does environmental exposure to manganese pose a health risk to healthy adults?
  256. Manganese and the brain
  257. Manganese neurotoxicity: new perspectives from behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropathological studies in humans and non-human primates
  258. Developmental exposure to manganese induces lasting motor and cognitive impairment in rats
  259. Manganese: Role in neurological disorders
  260. Map illustrating how the manganese (Mn) content of soil varies greatly in the United States
  261. Manganese exposure: cognitive, motor and behavioral effects on children: a review of recent findings
  262. Manganese exposure and cognitive deficits: a growing concern for manganese neurotoxicity
  263. Electric Leaf Blowers Recalled after Injuries
  264. Science provides a new way to measure blower performance [ANSI B175.2 measuring blowing force]
  265. Map of soil arsenic distribution (United States)
  266. Map of arsenic in water (United States)
  267. Map of soil lead distribution (United States)
  268. Soil is an important pathway of human lead exposure
  269. 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.
  270. Lead (Pb) legacy from vehicle traffic in eight California urbanized areas: continuing influence of lead dust on children's health
  271. Estimation of leaded (Pb) gasoline's continuing material and health impacts on 90 US urbanized areas
  272. The continuing impact of lead dust on children's blood lead: comparison of public and private properties in New Orleans
  273. Urban soil-lead (Pb) footprint: retrospective comparison of public and private properties in New Orleans
  274. The urban rise and fall of air lead (Pb) and the latent surge and retreat of societal violence
  275. Spatial distribution of lead in Sacramento, California, USA
  276. New Orleans soil lead (Pb) cleanup using Mississippi River alluvium: need, feasibility, and cost
  277. Altered myelination and axonal integrity in adults with childhood lead exposure: a diffusion tensor imaging study
  278. Early-life metal exposure and schizophrenia: A proof-of-concept study using novel tooth-matrix biomarkers
  279. Environmental exposures to lead and urban children's blood lead levels
  280. Potential for childhood lead poisoning in the inner cities of Australia due to exposure to lead in soil dust
  281. The elephant in the playground: confronting lead-contaminated soils as an important source of lead burdens to urban populations
  282. 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.
  283. 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.
  284. Exposure to environmental lead and visual-motor integration at age 7 years: the Port Pirie Cohort Study
  285. Environmental lead exposure and children's cognitive function
  286. Neurobehavioral aspects of lead neurotoxicity in children
  287. Association between soil heavy metals and fatty liver disease in men in Taiwan: a cross sectional study
  288. The Adverse Effects of Heavy Metals with and without Noise Exposure on the Human Peripheral and Central Auditory System: A Literature Review
  289. Metals and Neurodegeneration
  290. Effect of Lead (Pb) on Inflammatory Processes in the Brain
  291. Wind speed map (United States)
    Comment: Wind helps spread soil contaminants once launched into the air by leaf blowers or vacuums.
  292. Rainfall can release aerosols, study finds
  293. 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
  294. Fungal community on decomposing leaf litter undergoes rapid successional changes
  295. Cryptococcus gattii
    Comment: Spores from this potentially lethal fungus are easily aerosolized by disturbing soil.
  296. CDC: Emergence of Cryptococcus gattii--- Pacific Northwest, 2004--2010
    Excerpt: “C. gattii is an emerging infection in the United States. C. gattii appears to differ from its sibling species, C. neoformans, both in its clinical aspects (e.g., less responsive to antifungal drugs and more likely to cause tumor-like lesions called cryptococcomas) and its ecologic niche … In addition, whereas the primary risk factor for C. neoformans cryptococcosis is severe immunosuppression (e.g., from HIV infection), risk factors for C. gattii infection in the United States appear to include both immunocompromise and exposure to specific regions of environmental fungal colonization … Many cases of C. gattii infection are likely not recognized because distinguishing between C. gattii and C. neoformans requires plating on differential media not routinely available in clinical microbiology laboratories; therefore, many cryptococcal infections are never speciated. … Fungal spores are known to colonize the nasal cavity and spread to other body sites, causing meningitis, pneumonia, and the development of lung, brain, or muscle cryptococcomas …”
  297. Cryptococcus gattii Dispersal Mechanisms, British Columbia, Canada
  298. Isolation of Cryptococcus gattii from Oregon soil and tree bark, 2010–2011
  299. Isolation Of Cryptococcus Neoformans From Soil
  300. Killer fungi: The health threat that's creeping up on us: They kill more people than malaria, and the death toll is set to rise. But we are only just starting to understand the devious ways fungi can infect us
    Comment: Cryptococcus usually grows on rotting plant material in soil.
  301. Characterization of pollen allergens
  302. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis from a contaminated dump site
    Comment: A municipal leaf compost site liberated Aspergillus fumigatus spores that caused allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in a local patient.
  303. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
    Comment: Aspergillus spores are common in soil.
  304. Evaluation of the cause of nasal and ocular symptoms associated with lawn mowing
    Comment: Leaf blowers and lawn vacuums stir up even more allergens than lawn mowers.
  305. Allergenic exposure, IgE-mediated sensitization, and related symptoms in lawn cutters
  306. Outdoor allergens
  307. Mold Allergy
  308. Leaf mold
  309. 10 Ways to Reduce Mold Allergies
  310. Four Things You Might Not Know About Fall Allergies
  311. Exposure-response relationships for work-related sensitization in workers exposed to rat urinary allergens: results from a pooled study
    Comment: Animals urinate, defecate, vomit, bleed, die, and decay in nature. Leaf blowers and lawn vacuums strongly stir up these materials not only from their primary sites but also secondary ones after they are spread via a variety of processes.
  312. Isolation of Trichosporon asahii from environmental materials
    Comment: Trichosporon occur naturally in soil.
  313. Trichosporon Infections
  314. The opportunistic yeast pathogen Trichosporon asahii colonizes the skin of healthy individuals: analysis of 380 healthy individuals by age and gender using a nested polymerase chain reaction assay
  315. Trichosporon asahii, a Non-Candida Yeast That Caused Fatal Septic Shock in a Patient without Cancer or Neutropenia
  316. 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
  317. 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.
  318. Kamchatkan volcanic ash travels half the world
  319. Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
    Comment: Since dust can travel from one continent to another, dust stirred up by leaf blowers and lawn vacuums can easily spread onto neighbors' property and faraway places.
  320. 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.
  321. The Health Hazards Of Volcanic Ash: A guide for the public
  322. Volcanic Ash -- Effects on Health and Mitigation Strategies
  323. Volcanic Ash: More Than Just A Science Project: Hazards Of Volcanic Ash
  324. Health Canada: Potential Health Effects Of Volcanic Ash
  325. The respiratory health hazards of volcanic ash: a review for volcanic risk mitigation
  326. Case study by Dr. Shafiq Qaadri: Volcanic ash can severely damage your lungs
  327. The health hazards of volcanoes and geothermal areas
  328. A retrospective study on acute health effects due to volcanic ash exposure during the eruption of Mount Etna (Sicily) in 2002
  329. Long-term health effects of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption: a prospective cohort study in 2010 and 2013
  330. Volcanic ash in the air we breathe
  331. The dust storm microbiome
    Comment: Bacteria cling to particles of airborne dust, traveling many miles during storms.
  332. Soil pollution: Xenobiotic chemicals
  333. 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.
  334. 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.”
  335. 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.”
  336. 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.
  337. 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.
  338. Anthrax can grow and reproduce in soil, researchers find
  339. United States EPA: Learn About Asbestos
    Comment: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber in some soil and rock.
  340. Asbestos in Soil
  341. Asbestos: understanding and managing asbestos risks in soil
    Comment: Asbestos is also frequently found in made ground.
  342. Asbestos in Soil
    Comment: Soil can naturally contain asbestos.
  343. Asbestos map of the United States (article)
  344. 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.
  345. 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.”
  346. CDC: Erionite map (Western United States)
  347. Erionite and its Health Effects
    Comment: The fibrous zeolite mineral erionite is a highly toxic human carcinogen (causing mesothelioma) widely distributed throughout the world.
  348. 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)
  349. Modern Pestilence: Leaf Blowers Generate Infuriating Noise, Toxic Gases and Hazardous Dust
  350. The Devil's Hair Dryer: Hell is other people, with leaf blowers.
  351. The Leaf Blower: A lazy person's lawn manicure
  352. DrWeil.com: Ban Leafblowers!
  353. Do noisy leaf blowers drive you mad?
  354. First in the Nation: The MSSNY's Gas Leaf Blower Resolution
    Comment: MSSNY = Medical Society of the State of New York.
  355. Massachusetts Medical Society's Resolution Against Gas Leaf Blowers
  356. Leaf Blowers- A Quality of Life And Public Health Issue
  357. Noise isn't just a city problem — Leaf blowers are a major issue for towns
  358. Author James Fallows (of The Atlantic fame) is likely America's most vocal opponent of leaf blowers. He has bashed them for years, and even mused about “whether plastic explosives, or a ball-peen hammer, would be a better option for destroying my neighbors' leafblowers.” Some of his articles include:
  359. A prominent writer and Washington insider is launching a war. On leaf blowers.

  360. Toxoplasma references

  361. 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.
  362. Epidemic toxoplasmosis associated with infected cats
  363. Acquired toxoplasmosis
    Comment: Disease resulted from infected cats fecally shedding toxoplasma oocysts with transmission presumably resulting from oocyst aerosolization or hand-to-mouth contact.
  364. 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.
  365. 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.
  366. Toxoplasma gondii: epidemiology, feline clinical aspects, and prevention
    Comment: Soil and water are the usual sources of human toxoplasma infection.
  367. 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.
  368. 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.
  369. 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. Hence avoiding leaf blowers and lawn vacuums is occupationally relevant for those seeking careers demanding brainpower.
    • 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.
  370. Toxoplasma Gondii Infection and Depression: A Case-Control Seroprevalence Study
    Comment: Researchers found a potential link between toxoplasma infection and depression.
  371. 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.
  372. Changes in the personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis
  373. 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.
  374. High seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in inmates: A case control study in Durango City, Mexico
  375. 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.
  376. Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Relationship With Aggression in Psychiatric Subjects
  377. People with rage disorder twice as likely to have latent toxoplasmosis parasite infection: New study identifies link between Intermittent Explosive Disorder and exposure to the common toxoplasma gondii parasite typically found in undercooked meat, cat feces
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii is also commonly present in soil.
  378. Toxoplasma gondii: a potential role in the genesis of psychiatric disorders
  379. "Latent" infection with Toxoplasma gondii: association with trait aggression and impulsivity in healthy adults
  380. Influence of chronic toxoplasmosis on some human personality factors
  381. 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.
  382. Decreased level of novelty seeking in blood donors infected with Toxoplasma
  383. Influence of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection on Symptoms and Signs of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Cross-sectional Study
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection produced premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
  384. Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection was associated with feeling out of control or overwhelmed.
  385. Influence of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection on Symptoms and Signs of Menopause
  386. 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.
  387. 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.
  388. 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.
  389. Toxoplasma gondii: host-parasite interaction and behavior manipulation
    Comment: Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with schizophrenia and epilepsy.
  390. 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.
  391. 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
  392. Effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection on anxiety, depression and ghrelin level in male rats
  393. 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.
  394. 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.
  395. 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.
  396. 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. Reaction time is crucial for everyone but even more so for racecar drivers and professional athletes: for them, it is easy to see why reaction time can make the difference between living and dying, or a huge paycheck versus a more meager one. Hence anyone RhD negative with such career aspirations who yearns to be a star has another compelling reason to avoid using—or even being near—leaf blowers and lawn vacuums.
  397. Is Toxoplasma gondii a potential risk for traffic accidents in Turkey?
    Comment: More evidence linking toxoplasmosis with an increased risk for traffic accidents.
  398. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in drivers involved in road traffic accidents in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
  399. Higher prevalence of toxoplasmosis in victims of traffic accidents suggest increased risk of traffic accident in Toxoplasma-infected inhabitants of Istanbul and its suburbs
  400. 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.
  401. Rh blood group system
  402. The influence of RhD phenotype on toxoplasmosis- and age-associated changes in personality profile of blood donors
  403. 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.
  404. 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.
  405. Quantitative estimation of the viability of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in soil
  406. Earthworms as paratenic hosts of toxoplasmosis in eastern barred bandicoots in Tasmania
    Comment: Earthworms can transmit Toxoplasma gondii.
  407. 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.
  408. 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.
  409. Are There any Relationships between Latent Toxoplasma gondii Infection, Testosterone Elevation, and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
  410. How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
  411. 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.
  412. 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.
  413. Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior
  414. Effects of Toxoplasma gondii infection on the brain
  415. Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma-human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis
  416. Common Parasite Linked to Personality Changes
  417. Reexamining Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Surprising Activity for a “Dormant” Parasite

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