Breathing Freely

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Breathing Freely

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:03 am

Breathing Freely
Six months after neighbours stopped burning plastics in a roadside
barrel, Julie Inwood is beginning to get her health and her life back

Posted By Jenn Watt
Posted 12 hours ago

Julie Inwood has spent the past six months recovering from eight “stolen” years of pollution-
produced chemical sensitivities.

Shortly after she moved to her home on the Irondale River, Inwood began having trouble
breathing, her skin turned red and raw and she began having anaphylactic shocks. She
pointed to air quality as the cause.

Inwood’s neighbours burned their garbage in a barrel located less than one kilometre down
the road from her, and the fumes from what they burned had her in the hospital many times
over the years.

“It’s not like a stove burn, where you put your cream on it and it goes away,” Inwood said
at her home on Wednesday. She still has multiple chemical sensitivities – to things such as
perfumes and cleaners – making public excursions dangerous.

After years of consistent burning, suddenly the incidents have become few. Inwood has
every instance marked on her calendar. The last burn was June 15. The time before that
was February 3.

“No more anaphylactic shock, my voice is okay, my throat doesn’t swell,” she said.

As was reported by the Times, on November 8, Inwood brought her barrel-burning concerns
to Minden Hills council to get some relief from neighbours that she claimed would not stop
burning plastics and Styrofoam in their metal barrel. On multiple occasions the fire department,
paramedics and police had been called, but Inwood did not see an end to the problem.

When plastics are burned, furans, toxins and fine particulate matter are released into the
atmosphere. Humans can breathe in those chemicals, which can also poison food that will
then be consumed by other animals and eventually make its way up the food chain.

In Minden Hills it is illegal to burn anything but paper products. Inwood doesn’t blame just
the barrel burning for her condition. She has been doing research into the effects of air
pollution on the human body and has isolated a phenomenon called an “ozone episode”
as one contributing factor to her poor health.

“On April 21, 2005, I went to Minden hospital by ambulance. There were seven people there
in two hours,” Inwood said. She had an aortic aneurism and noted that the other patients
there had similar heart-related issues. So she contacted Environment Canada requesting
information on air quality at the time.

“There was an ozone episode on April 19, 2005 with peaks occurring in the Haliburton area,
but air quality was good on April 21, 2005. A two- or three-day lag in effects related to ozone
is not unusual, I believe,” said an e-mail from Tom Dann, head of air toxics for the agency.

An ozone episode happens when there are large stagnant areas of high pressure over a two-
or three-day period. Concentrations of ozone can exceed the safe levels for humans during
those days. Ground-level ozone is created when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic
compounds combine and, unlike the protective atmospheric ozone layer, is harmful to humans.

According to maps of ozone obtained by Inwood from Environment Canada, the Haliburton
region had more than 90 parts per billion of ozone on April 19, 2005 – much higher than the
maximum 61 parts per billion set by the European Commission.

“I had always wondered what happened that night,” Inwood said, noting that she is trying
to find more information on how that ozone episode affected other emergency rooms in Ontario.

Studies have attributed ozone episodes higher than 50 parts per billion to increases in
respiratory illness admissions to emergency rooms in the U.K.

Aside from her diligent research into air pollution, Inwood said she now spends her time
catching up on the things she should have been doing since she moved here. She plans to
return to her love of painting and to do more gardening.

“I’ve started to paint again. My whole life was stopped: my writing, my art,” Inwood said.
She plans to join the artisans market to sell more than 160 wildlife paintings she did before
her illness.

She also wants to write a book about the experience called Killing Me Quickly, Killing You
Slowly, reflecting the different reactions people can have to deadly pollutants.

Article ID# 1125421

source article: Minden Times - Ontario, CA
Breathing Freely
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