The online Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test (or VCS Test) is a simple (and free) online test that can identify potential exposure to neurotoxins, biotoxins, and nutritional deficiencies in the body. These compounds have been implicated in diseases such as ADHD, CFIDS, fibromyalgia, mold illness, and Lyme disease.
Another aspect of my environment that I am interested in better understanding and mitigating is my exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) within my home. As its name implies, EMFs are a combination of electric and magnetic fields created by both natural and man-made sources (often referred to as non-native EMF or nnEMF) and comprise what’s known as the electromagnetic spectrum.
What is the Electromagnetic Spectrum?
The electromagnetic spectrum represents all of the possible frequencies of electromagnetic energy (including visible light), but most of the frequencies are invisible to us. It ranges from extremely long wavelengths (very low frequency exposures such as those from power lines), to low frequencies used for AM and FM radio to microwaves, to infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light, to extremely short wavelengths (x-rays and gamma rays) and includes both non-ionizing and ionizing radiation. [Read more…]
The next step in hacking my environment was to analyze my drinking water quality. I consume probably 10-12 glasses of water per day, as I pretty much drink it exclusively (no soda, etc.). I live in New York City, which consistently ranks among the best-tasting and cleanest drinking water in the US. However, even if the municipal water system is clean, other things may be contaminating the water coming out of my tap such as plumbing issues, eroding pipes, or lead-based solder.
According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s 2013 report:
DEP also treats the water with food grade phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, and fluoride. Phosphoric acid is added to create a protective film on pipes that reduces the release of metals, such as lead, from household plumbing. Sodium hydroxide is added to raise the pH and reduce corrosivity, which also leads to a reduction in potential exposure to lead.
DEP is one of the many water suppliers in New York State that, since 1966, has been treating its drinking water with a controlled, low level of fluoride for consumer dental health protection. On February 14, 2012, after receiving authorization from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, DEP reduced the target dosage of fluoride from 1.0 mg/L to 0.8 mg/L.
I ordered two First Alert Drinking Water Test Kits (available online and major hardware stores) and began my tests.
Most people think of Quantified Self as being mainly focused on gaining knowledge about one’s body and health. That’s a fine generalization, but most of us pay little attention to the environment around us, which can have a bigger impact on our lives than the number of steps we take! My particular interest is in understanding the risks and potential negative health effects caused by factors such as air quality, the water we drink and shower with, and different types of electromagnetic radiation (wifi, cellphone towers) that the modern world has surrounded us with. Over the next series of posts, I will be sharing what I’ve learned about various aspects of my indoor environment, starting with air quality, and steps I’m taking to better optimize my living space.
Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Important?
Poor air quality has been linked to numerous acute and chronic conditions, from decreased concentration and cognitive function to sleep issues and the development of autoimmune conditions, asthma, or even cancer. [Read more…]