Friday, November 28, 2014

1 HOUR LEFT! 40% off AllerAir Replacement Filters


Replace your AllerAir filters at 40% off
Our incredible once-a-year manufacturer's sale is almost over! Keep your AllerAir air purifier in top shape with new filters for a new year!

With winter around the corner we'll be spending more time indoors. Make sure your AllerAir air purifier is ready to provide you with cleaner, fresher indoor air.
Can't remember what filters you need? Contact one of our Air Quality Experts for help or to order: 1-888-852-8247 Ext. 1.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Replace your AllerAir filters at 40% off! ONE DAY ONLY

On Black Friday: Replace your AllerAir filters at 40% off!
Our incredible once-a-year manufacturer's sale is back! Keep your AllerAir air purifier in top shape with new filters for a new year!

With winter around the corner we'll be spending more time indoors. Make sure your AllerAir air purifier is ready to provide you with cleaner, fresher indoor air.
Can't remember what filters you need? Contact one of our Air Quality Experts for help or to order: 1-888-852-8247 Ext. 1. Phone lines open Friday at 8 am (EST)!

(Note: This promotion cannot be combined with any other discounts including dealer discounts, prices are valid for one day only, Friday, November 28th, 2014, while supplies last. )

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Smokers' homes may be as polluted as worst cities: Study

Polluted air due to smoking has been
linked to heart disease, strokes and cancer.
Living with a smoker can be like breathing the air in the world’s most polluted cities, according to a new study from Scotland.

“The message is pretty simple really - smoking in your home leads to really poor air quality and results in concentrations of fine particles, that you can’t see, that would cause real concern to us if they were found outside,” said lead author Sean Semple, of the Scottish Center for Indoor Air at the University of Aberdeen.

Tiny particles 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller, known as PM2.5, can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the blood. They’ve been linked to heart disease, strokes and cancer.

“Making your home smoke-free is key to reducing your exposure to PM2.5; for non-smokers who live with a smoker the impact of implementing smoke-free house rules would reduce their daily intake of PM2.5 by 70 percent or more,” Semple told Reuters Health in an email.

Such tiny particles typically result from combustion. Outdoors, the primary sources are vehicle exhaust, power plants and wildfires. Indoors, wood-burning or coal-burning stoves, gas cooking and heating fires and tobacco smoke are the most common sources of PM2.5 in the air.

For outdoor air, the World Health Organization says the safe exposure limit for PM2.5 particles is an average of 25 micrograms, or 25 millionths of a gram, per cubic meter of air over a 24-hour period, or average annual levels of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the 24-hour limit at an average of 12 micrograms.

Semple and his colleagues wanted to bring together two scientific communities: those involved in tobacco control work and those interested in outdoor air pollution and health.

“We think there is a lot that each can learn from the other,” he said.

Many studies have examined outdoor air pollution or indoor air quality in workplaces. But home is where most people spend the majority of their time, particularly small children and homebound elderly people, the researchers write.

By comparing indoor air pollution in the homes of smokers and non-smokers, then comparing that to the most polluted cities, they hoped to illustrate the perils of indoor tobacco smoke over a lifetime.

The study team looked at data from four separate studies that measured PM2.5 levels in 93 Scottish homes where people smoked and 17 homes that were smoke free.

On average, PM2.5 levels in smokers' homes were around 31 micrograms per cubic meter – 10 times greater than the average of 3 micrograms in non-smoking homes.

There was a wide range of smoke concentrations in the smokers’ homes, however, and in one quarter of them, the 24-hour averages were 111 micrograms.

Semple pointed out, “A considerable proportion of smokers’ homes had air pollution levels that were the same or higher than the annual average PM2.5 concentration measured in Beijing,” a heavily polluted city.

The study team estimates that over a lifetime, a non-smoker living with a smoker will inhale about 6 grams more particulate matter than a non-smoker living in a smoke-free home.

Semple said that isn’t much, but this amount is likely to "have a substantial effect on the risk of developing diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.”

Semple said smokers often express the view that outdoor traffic pollution is a bigger problem than second-hand smoke pollution in the home.

“What this work shows is that, for most people living outside of major heavily polluted mega-cities like Beijing or Delhi, outdoor air pollution is much, much lower than what is measured inside homes where someone smokes,” he said.

“We have a lot of data and it’s an established fact how bad secondhand smoke is,” said Lucy Popova, from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. “There’s no safe level of exposure to it.”

“Smoke-free rules help not only by reducing the particulate matters for non-smokers but it actually helps smokers to quit too,” said Popova, who was not involved in the Scottish study.

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“Research shows when you have smoke-free rules in your home, that motivates smokers to make more cessation attempts and decrease the number of cigarettes that they smoke.”

Source: Fox News

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Study sheds light on asthma and respiratory viruses

Researchers try to find out why people with asthma have
more difficulty when contracting a respiratory virus.
People with asthma often have a hard time dealing with respiratory viruses such as the flu or the common cold, and researchers have struggled to explain why.

In a new study that compared people with and without asthma, the answer is becoming clearer. The researchers found no difference in the key immune response to viruses in the lungs and breathing passages.

The work, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma.

This means that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.

Among researchers who study asthma, there is debate over why patients with this common breathing disorder might have more trouble dealing with airway viruses than people without asthma.

The debate has centered on the role of proteins called interferons, which are released by cells lining the airways and are so named because they "interfere" with an invading virus.

"One school of thought says there is a defect in interferon production — that patients with asthma don't produce enough interferon," said senior author Michael J. Holtzman, MD, the Selma and Herman Seldin Professor of Medicine. "But we couldn't find any significant differences between the two groups. In fact, we were struck by how similar they were."

Holtzman and his colleagues looked at two common airway viruses — influenza A and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — and the interferon response they triggered in airway cells sampled from 11 patients with mild to severe asthma and seven control participants without asthma.

Though the study's sample size was small, the researchers performed an elaborate analysis that took into consideration the downstream events triggered by interferon release.

"Even though we showed both groups made similar amounts of interferon, we recognized that there might be a difference in effectiveness, a difference in how well it triggered downstream events necessary to fighting the virus," Holtzman said.

To find out whether the same amount of interferon might be less effective in patients with asthma, the investigators compared the genes activated by interferon in both groups of patients.

"The products of these genes are very effective in their antiviral action," Holtzman said. "But on the other side, the virus has a lot of ways of getting around them. So it's a battlefield. Who will win out? The interferon-stimulated genes or the viral genes?"

Holtzman and his colleagues showed that even in this downstream activation of genes, asthma patients and those without the condition were remarkably similar.

They also measured similar amounts of virus living in the cells at various points of time during the study, indicating that the battles against the viruses progressed similarly in both groups.

"Whatever is causing asthmatics and non-asthmatics to experience differences in how well they recover from these respiratory infections — why patients with asthma are more likely to end up in the hospital, for example — this interferon mechanism is not the deciding factor based on what we've seen so far," Holtzman said.

Given the complexity of the immune system, there are many other possible culprits to investigate. Holtzman and his colleagues are continuing to research these possibilities in similar studies with larger sample sizes and in studies looking at different aspects of the immune system.

One likely possibility that the group has proposed is that viruses have a special means to induce inflammatory airway disease, and the susceptibility to this process may be an essential feature of asthma and related lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Greenest neighbourhoods produce bigger babies

Expecting mothers with access to trees and
grass delivered heavier babies: Study
Mothers who live in Metro Vancouver’s greenest neighbourhoods tend to deliver bigger babies and are more likely carry a baby to term than those who live in less green parts of the city, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Using data from more than 64,000 births and analysis of satellite imagery, researchers found that babies from the greenest residential spaces ­­— those with access to trees and grass within 100 metres — were up to 45 grams heavier, had a reduced likelihood of preterm birth and were less likely to be small for gestational age, according to the lead researcher Michael Brauer, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

The positive effects of greenness persist even when the researchers control for other factors known to influence gestation and birth weight, including air pollution, noise, income, access to parks, opportunities for physical activity and the walkability of the immediate neighbourhood.

“We know from other studies that birth outcomes are influenced by pollution and noise in a negative way, so we went looking for something (in the urban environment) that is healthy,” said Brauer.

Cities in most of the developed world are designed to accommodate the automobile, which usually results in relatively barren, noisy and polluted environments. Brauer’s study seeks to quantify the benefits of a different approach to urban planning.

“If we didn’t design for automobiles and instead designed for people, the hope is that we would be healthier,” he said. “With the high cost of health care, modifying urban design features such as increasing green space may turn out to be an extremely cost-effective strategy to prevent disease.”

While 45 grams isn’t a lot of extra weight for one healthy infant, the effect of increased birth weight across the entire distribution of births moves thousands of babies from birth weights that are dangerously low into a healthier range.

“From a medical standpoint, those are small changes in birth weight, but across a large population, those are substantial differences that would have a significant impact on the health of infants in a community,” said co-author Perry Hystad, assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University.

Even in an urban area as rich in green space as Metro Vancouver the benefits conferred by the very greenest neighbourhoods compared with the least green neighbourhoods were substantial, including a 20-per-cent reduction in severely premature births and 13 per cent fewer moderately pre-term births.

The mechanism by which greenness translates into healthier babies is not exactly clear, but greener environments are known to facilitate social connectedness and reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress-related hormones, according to the study, the third in a series of similar inquiries on the health impacts of urban spaces.

“Even when we eliminate the noise and the pollution and (a measure) of physical activity, we still see this benefit of green space,” he said. “What we don’t know is whether it is enough to see a tree out your window or do you have to have a park across the street where you chat with your neighbours.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

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