When Toxics Drift

Toxics Drift
smoke, asphalt, refineries, pesticides, gases, laundry fumes, etc

When pollutants drift, then people (and other living beings) get hurt, especially the many millions who are more ‘sensitive’ to pollution.

Smoke is one form of pollution that is visible, but other types may not be.

Here are a few images that show how different types of visible pollutants move through the air we all depend on to breathe, and how far they can travel:

Smoke drifting high and low across a beautiful UK landscape.
Photo  ©  A. Golding UK


Truck spraying clouds of DDT  pesticide in the City of Waco

Studies have shown pesticides can remain active in the area after they drift for miles and miles from where they were applied, even working their way into homes and other places. Whenever someone applies pesticides on their own property, others are also affected.

Smoke from fires and pollutants from other events like volcanic eruptions have  crossed countries and oceans, even disrupting air travel for thousands of miles!

wildfire smoke crossing US state lines, west to east,  Sept. 3, 2017

US smoke map Sept. 5, 2017 from NOAA

Smoke crossing state lines all across the US and international borders into Canada

Smoke (and citronella fumes) drifted slowly along the shore of a very still lake:

A wide view of the lake with exposures adjusted to see a line of green smoke

Whoever was burning things was making it difficult to be or breathe all along that shore, making a ‘healthy’ trip to the lake unhealthy!

“Wood smoke is a mixture of solids, gases, and liquids. Much like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains hundreds of air pollutants that can cause cancer and other health problems.”

Burning garbage releases some extremely harmful fumes.

“It can increase the risk of heart disease, aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema, and cause rashes, nausea, or headaches. Backyard burning also produces harmful quantities of dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals that settle on crops and in our waterways where they eventually wind up in our food and affect our health.” ~ EPA

There are different kinds and sources of pollution, but they all make it hard for people and other living beings to breathe and remain healthy.

Over half the population is subjected to seriously unhealthy industrial air on a regular basis. And fracking has  increasingly moved into residential areas, causing adverse health effects that cross generations.

Child and adult standing on a hill overlooking a smoggy industrial landscape with a large smokestack spewing smoke drifting to the right


Screenshot from a youtube video shows warm moisture exhausting from a dryer vent to cold air, visible at least 3 dozen feet from the building.

Laundry product chemicals are not visible and will travel much further.
This may seem trivial to some of you, but for a growing number of people, it has become a serious, disabling  health hazard, one that severely restricts daily life.

Rising cloud of hot, toxic fumes from road asphalt.

While the clouds may no longer be visible, the fumes are released for many days, if not weeks  after fresh asphalt is laid.


Edmonton area refinery (normal) emissions  photo © Marie LeBlanc 2018

What happens when an oil and asphalt refinery explodes?


Husky refinery smoke from Tiffany Anderson to KBJR 6 2018 04 26

Smoke from Wisconsin refinery explosion poses health risk


KBJR 6 hazard plume from Husky refinery blaze 2018 04 26 before the winds shifted


Husky refinery smoke from Miranda Lynn to KBJR 6 2018 04 26

Are you prepared to evacuate from your home on a moment’s notice?

Husky refinery evacuation zone April 26 2018 via Douglas County

Those living near Superior explosion
unsure when they can return


Too bad we can’t just stop breathing when there are
disabling pollutants in the air.

Often, these pollutants get into our water too.

Too bad we all need clean water to survive.

Drifting pollutants are a form of  toxic trespass and cause short and long term health injuries.

Pollution and toxic trespass can happen in the same room as something or someone who is smoking or using materials or products that emit VOCs,  via an open window, or in an apartment building between units, or between neighbours and the neighbourhood, or even between cities and countries.

Pollution travels.

People who are adversely affected by pollution and need clean air to breathe, have to avoid other people’s pollution. But how?

Where is there that other people’s pollution can be avoided?

There is no away!
Even if we try to create bubbles, the pollutants can seep in.

Interesting fact:

NOAA released a study about how those previously thought to be trivial household products now pollute outdoor air in cities as much as vehicle exhaust!

(some of us have known this for a long time)

VCPs are volatile chemical products made with petroleum based chemicals. They include fragrances, laundry products, misnamed air “fresheners”, pesticides, paints, inks, adhesives, cleaning products, and personal care products like lotions, hair care, shaving, perfumes, and other cosmetic products.

Shouldn’t we all have the right to clean air, water,  and a healthy environment?

If you use volatile products or burn something, please think about how others around you are affected, even if it doesn’t seem to affect you now.

If there’s any chance it will affect someone else, please don’t pollute!

Some choices we can make personally, but in the end, since not everyone does  the right thing because they can (especially the corporations who profit from polluting) some options need to be regulated for the benefit of public health, for  now, as well as for the well-being of future generations.

Those regulations don’t happen unless we push for them.

Clean air is good for all of us, in fact, it’s essential!

Dirty air can harm your brain and stress the body
Studies show pollution can alter brain function in students and
disrupt hormones


Let’s all do everything we can do make sure the air is safe and healthy for everyone to breathe

And there’s more!

If all that wasn’t enough,
we now have other invisible pollutants to deal with!

Did you know that technology  emits wavelengths that
affect us and others too?

Have you ever tried to see how many wireless networks you can pick up inside your home?

Our walls do not shield us from the waves being emitted from other people’s wifi or from the s-meters that have been installed almost everywhere.

If wifi radiation was visible, here’s what some of it would look like:

Using wired technology is safest for many reasons. It’s more secure, less vulnerable to hacking, it’s faster, and it’s better for our health.

Modern conveniences aren’t always good for us


We don’t always see the effects of what we do, but we can learn
about the likelihood of our impacts on the world, and
make changes based on the greater good.

There’s more and more evidence of how being mindful in the present moment and caring about others while doing things yields better results
for us and for everyone’s health and happiness.

Our actions affect others.
Let the effects be good.

4 responses to “When Toxics Drift

  1. Great article.

  2. Pingback: Choices… We Always Have Some | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  3. Thank you. Thoughtful and accurate .

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