ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
FITNESS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
What you need to know about swine flu.
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet

(HealthDay News) -- Oil found naturally on human skin can "trap" large amounts of indoor ozone, then "spit" it out in the form of chemicals that may irritate the skin and the lungs, new research suggests.

"They are saying that compounds on the skin react to the ozone and cause more irritation to the skin," explained one expert, Rajat Sethi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville. "They have identified those compounds."

But the findings are not cause for major concern yet, according to the study, which is published in the Aug. 17 issue of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

"I would say this is not very alarming at this point," said study co-lead author Charles J. Weschler, an adjunct professor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway. "This chemistry has been going on since the dawn of man. As long as humans have existed, they've existed with ozone, and this chemistry has been occurring," said Weschler, who is also a member of the faculty of the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. He wrote the paper with Armin Wisthaler of Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria.

While copious amounts of research have pointed to the negative health effects of outdoor ozone, little is known about indoor ozone or ground-level ozone, especially about its effects on humans.

"We're talking about ozone that people breathe, that people come in contact with, as opposed to ozone up in the stratosphere that protects us from the sun," Weschler explained.

Ozone can travel indoors through ventilation systems and open windows, or it can sweat off of office equipment, such as poorly working photocopiers or laser printers.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has claimed that indoor ozone exposure may be 100 times more than outdoor exposure," noted Sethi, who presented a paper at a recent American Heart Association meeting that linked outdoor ozone with an increased risk of ischemic attack and angina.

In their study, Weschler and Wisthaler used "proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry" to analyze compounds released into the air by the interaction of human skin oil and ozone.

When squalene, the most common fat and antioxidant found on the human skin, from just one person interacted with ozone, this could reduce ozone concentrations in a small room by 10 to 25 percent, the team found.

Byproducts of this skin-ozone interaction are later released back into the environment.

"Some of these products are benign, something like acetone or fingernail-polish remover. Some of these compounds have not been identified before in terms of this chemistry, but we don't expect them to pose much of a health concern simply because of their structure," Weschler said. On the other hand, "some of these compounds may be a health concern, but toxicity studies have yet to be done," he added.

Besides the skin, reactions occur on objects where squalene was left by a person's touch, such as furniture or computer equipment.

The research also revealed that squalene and not vitamin E, as was previously thought, is the main antioxidant protecting the skin from ozone. "Squalene has been doing the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting us from the ozone," Wechsler said.

"Some of these products [resulting from the interaction] we inhale and some stay on our skin," he added. "Toxicologists will be looking more closely at what some of the potential health effects are."

One expert noted that the latest research sheds more light on ozone's harmful effects.

"Ozone by itself is harmful straight out, and we've known for some time that ozone indoors reacts with a variety of things," said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy at the American Lung Association. This study "tells us more about how ozone can affect us and reinforces why we don't want ozone indoors," she said.

Nolen advised against using products that produce ozone, such as air-purifying devices. "If it's a mechanism with a filter of some kind, then you're not going to be producing ozone," she said. "If you're using something that uses electric static or a chemical process, the odds are that you're going to be producing ozone."

But even filtering, she added, "is limited in its ability to help clean up indoor air."

SOURCES: Charles J. Weschler, Ph.D., adjunct professor, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, and faculty member, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen; Rajat Sethi, Ph.D., assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, Kingsville; Janice Nolen, assistant vice president, national policy and advocacy, American Lung Association, Washington, D.C.; Aug. 17-21, 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences