Last week a friend told me he has pancreatic cancer. I told “Sam” that I was sorry to hear that, and he joked, “not as sorry as I am.” “Sam” still has his great sense of humor and hopes to beat this. Survival rates can be 25% in the first five years and “Sam” seemed up for the battle. I am in his corner!

“Sam” and I talked about the causes of pancreatic cancer. We shared thoughts on some of our major environmental concerns that pollute water and poison our food. “Sam” is my age. We probably sounded like a couple of grumpy old men, but hey, it all made sense because of what we have seen.

Aging has allowed me to track what others have died from. In the last three years, I have crossed off the names of over 35 friends and relatives that left this world. Various forms of cancer as well as other illnesses have been high on the list as a cause of their deaths. Why?

We are seeing a consistent increase in cancer levels and other illnesses as our environment is rapidly declining. Could it be because some of the 80,000 chemicals invented since World War II end up in our water supply or how our food is being grown and processed? Is our government protecting us or does big money win those battles?

We are pretty much on our own for the moment. We understand the black and white facts that tell us the quality of our water, food, and the air we breathe has a direct correlation with living longer, healthier lives. Given this, why not concentrate today on improving what we can control?

The plumbing and HVAC industry needs to play a stronger role in reducing deaths and improving the quality of life by keeping public awareness a high priority. It’s important to share this knowledge. The rest is up to us individually to make healthy choices.

Since protecting our health requires us to be proactive with the thing things we can control, here are some important questions that can rate your efforts to help protect your health.

  1. Do you have a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) system to provide quality drinking water? Please check out all the health reasons you should avoid plastic bottles of water!
  2. Do you have a service maintenance plan for your water heater and HVAC equipment? Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and improve air quality.
  3. Do you have a humidifier? This is extremely important in Nebraska.
  4. Do you have a good air filtration system to protect your lungs? 97% of all homes have at least one indoor air quality issue.
  5. Do you have a fireplace, and if so, does it backdraft? Even wood-burning fireplaces cause carbon monoxide.
  6. Have you had your home checked for high levels of radon? Radon exposure can be the equivalent of smoking a pack or more of cigarettes each day and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Our community has fairly high Radon levels.
  7. Do you have a smoke detector and is it working properly? An early smoke warning is better than being trapped by flames!

Maybe you have already made these good choices for your future? If not, do you have a plan that works better? Some may not want to live a longer life for themselves but should consider the needs of their loved ones.

A great example is a heartfelt story told by a motivational speaker. A doctor wanted an obese young man to lose weight for health reasons. Nothing seemed to work because the young man was not serious about losing weight. The doctor remembered the young man had three daughters. He asked the young man if he died, “who will walk your daughters down the aisle when they get married?” This brought some tears and at that moment the young man had a new determination to lose weight.
Our friends and family may be counting on us to be in their lives as long as possible. The healthy choices we make today will improve those odds.

Some of us that point out problems can be mistaken for being grumpy. The reality is we are realists. We’ve been around the block a time or two. We’ve seen lives being tragically shorter and the suffering of others that were affected. We care and hope to make a difference.

Here’s to a longer and healthier life!

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