Friday, December 30, 2011

Radon in the home can be a real health hazard

All homes contain some radon gas, experts say.
Health officials warn that all homes contain some radon gas, which could be a health risk for many people.

The radon levels depend on several factors, including
  • Soil characteristics
  • Geographic location
  • A home’s construction type
  • Condition of the foundation
  • Weather

What is radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water.

The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes.

Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries."

What to do about radon

Health officials everywhere advise all homeowners to test their environment for radon.

There are a number of testing kits available, including Alpha Track, Electret Ion Chamber, Continuous Monitors and Charcoal Detectors.

Most radon test kits have to be sent to the laboratory for analysis after the testing period, which ideally would take as long as three months, since the radon levels in a home can vary over time.

Once you know the average radon level in your home, you can take steps to mitigate the problem.

Source: Health Canada, EPA

Want to know more about indoor air quality issues and user-friendly IAQ solutions? Contact AllerAir today.
 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wildfires may increase in Canada: Ecologists

Canada may see more and larger wildfires
in the future, researchers say.
Canada is blessed with large forest regions, but ecologists say these regions are about to experience rapid change.

They use models to show there are threshold values for wildfires just like there are for epidemics.

Because of climate change, many forest areas in Canada are fast approaching the threshold, meaning there may be wider swaths of forest areas being burnt and larger wildfires in general.

The researchers of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Michigan say that the strategies for wildfire management should be reconsidered.

In 2009, 11,000 people had to be evacuated and around 1,000 hectares of forest and scrubland went up in flames in British Columbia, a province in Canada.

This happened after several weeks of drought, and ecologists are debating whether climate change is to blame and poses a threat to forests across North America.

The researchers analysed data from the Canadian Forest Service on fires exceeding 200 hectares and found that three ecozones in Canada could be affected by larger wildfires: the Hudson Plains south of the Hudson Bay, the Boreale Plains in the mid-West and the Boreale Shield, which is the largest ecozone in Canada (it stretches from the mid-West to the East coast).

The ecologists say that even small changes in the climate can have a big impact on the size of fires.

Source: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Air purifiers for wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke poses a very serious health risk as 80 to 90% of wildfire smoke is within the fine particle range.

These fine particles are generally less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can penetrate deep into the lungs where they can cause serious damage over time. 

An increase in this type of airborne particulate matter has been linked to numerous health problems including headaches, nausea, dizziness, respiratory problems, strokes and heart attacks.

Smoke can also travel far beyond the main burn zone. Studies show that even a small increase in airborne fine particulate matter can affect overall health.

AllerAir's air purifiers for the home and office.
When wildfire smoke enters a home through windows, doors, cracks etc. it can lead to poor indoor air quality for its residents.

Suggested Air Purifiers include: 

Air Medic+ Vocarb – a very efficient air purifier for particles and chemicals; ideal for those living within close range of a wildfire zone.

5000 DS or 6000 DS – specialized units for smoke and harmful chemicals with a deep-bed carbon filter, tar-trapping pre-filter and micro-HEPA filter

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas tree debate

Christmas tree - is real or fake better?
Photo by mr_wahlee
Christmas trees are nice to look at, but every season, homeowners have to make a decision whether to go the real or the fake route.

With the green movement taking roots, many people are trying to base their decision on the least impact on the environment.

Here are some facts on real and artificial Christmas trees:

Real Christmas trees
  • Freshly cut holiday greens support local farms
  • Get into the holiday spirit: make it an outing to go and pick your own tree
  • A cut tree can easily be recycled into mulch 
  • Greenest option is a potted tree which can be transplanted outdoors
  • Trees sometimes harbor mold or insect concerns

Artificial trees
  • Manufactured from artificial materials
  • Often produced and shipped from overseas facilities
  • Made with PVC plastic , which can off-gas lead, cadmium, dioxins, phthalates and other toxins
  • Can’t be safely recycled
  • Storing it for a long time can lead to dust and particle concerns

Source: Daily Journal    

Get the gift of good IAQ this year

The holiday season should be a time of cheering, not sneezing and sniffling. In many cases, improved indoor air quality can be a big factor in determining a person’s sense of health and well-being.

Most indoor environments are plagued by indoor air pollutants such as chemicals (and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs), gases, odors, bacteria, viruses, mold, particles and dust.


Apart from source control (i.e. choosing less toxic products) and good ventilation, an air purifier with activated carbon + HEPA + optional UV can help reduce the count of indoor air pollutants and help clean the air around the clock.

AllerAir offers general purpose air purifiers like the 5000 Exec as well as specialized air purifiers for IAQ concerns such as allergies and asthma, mold, MCS, tobacco smoke and more.

Contact AllerAir for more information.
 
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Which IAQ pollutants are the worst?

Gaseous pollutants like formaldehyde can affect
homeowners and family members, study shows.
Indoor air pollution can affect a person’s health and well-being, health authorities say, but not all contaminants are equal.

In a study on the negative effects of poor indoor air quality, gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde and acrolein as well as small particles and particulates turned out to be the bad guys.

Formaldehyde and acrolein had the largest estimated number of annual disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost per 100,000 people of all the various indoor pollutants considered, at 46 (95% CI 0.2 to 14,000) and 47 (95% CI 2.4 to 1050), respectively, according to Jennifer Logue and colleagues from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California, as reported by MedPage Today.

The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

This means that these pollutants are just as bad as or even worse than radon and secondhand smoke.
Tiny particles proved to be another concern, because they have been linked to incidents of stroke, chronic bronchitis, and premature death.

The researchers wanted to find out the health impact of poor indoor air quality at home. They used disease impact models and incidence to identify those indoor air pollutants (IAPs) with the greatest impacts on health.

Without taking radon and secondhand smoke into account, the researchers estimate that the total annual health impact of poor IAQ in U.S. homes is 1,100 DALYs per 100,000 people.

Simple steps to clean indoor air at home

Concerned homeowners and families can easily improve the indoor air quality in their home, with three simple action steps:
  1. Source control: Limit chemical-laden products and choose more natural products whenever possible. This pertains to renovation and constructions materials, furniture, cleaning products, textiles, personal care products, toys etc.
  2. Ventilation: Make sure the existing ventilation system is working and is well maintained. Change the filters regularly.
  3. Air cleaning: A portable room air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon + HEPA can help remove contaminants from the air, including many chemicals and VOCs such as formaldehyde and acrolein, particles, dust, allergens and more.
AllerAir’s air purifiers feature the most complete filtration system and offer the most relevant filter media at a better price than competitors.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Report lists hazardous chemicals in toys, household products

Many baby and children's toys contain
BPA, a report shows.
The Environmental Health Strategy Center in Maine has published a report entitled Poison in Paint, Toxics in Toys, which provides information on children’s products containing BPA (bisphenol A) as well as common household products such as paint, cleaning agents, wood finishes and more that may expose residents to NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates).

NP and NPEs are produced in large volumes, with uses that lead to widespread release to the aquatic environment and they are toxic to aquatic organisms., according to EPA.

The report includes more than 650 brand-name children’s products, including Playmobil sets and Chicco baby rattles that contain BPA.

BPA (bisphenol A) has been shown to cause reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies. BPA is used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer and industrial products including food-can liners, hard polycarbonate plastics, epoxy paints and coatings, and thermal papers, even cash register receipts.

Releases of BPA to the environment exceed 1 million pounds per year.

While low levels of exposure to BPA is considered safe, studies have suggested the chemical may affect the brain, behavior and prostate glands in young children by mimicking the sex hormone estrogen.

The chemical industry is denying  that there are reasons for concern, saying that human safety has not been shown to be at risk by these compounds.

Source: Ann Arbor

Best advice: Reduce chemical exposure

As long as there isn’t foolproof evidence that a certain chemical poses a risk to human health, laws and regulations are slow to reflect growing concerns.
An air purifier with carbon + HEPA can
help remove harmful toxins.

But isn’t it better to be safe rather than sorry?

Common sense dictates that we should avoid chemical exposures as much as possible, by being aware of the risks, choosing more natural products whenever possible, demanding safe products and creating a safe environment in the home.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for the home and office can help remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including particles and dust, chemicals, odors and gases, bacteria, viruses and mold.

The complete air filter system features activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV light technology and can easily be moved from one room to the next.

For more information, contact AllerAir directly.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chemical exposure a growing concern among researchers

BPA in baby bottles is one way of exposure for infants.
The industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) has been the subject of many studies lately – and the findings have researchers ringing the alarm bells.

The estrogen mimicking chemical was widely used in hard-plastic baby bottles, water bottles and the lining in food and beverage cans, and its widespread use since the 1960 means people have been exposed to it for a long time at low levels.

A 2010 report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

Canada was the first country to ban BPA use in baby bottles, and several U.S. states have followed suit.

Behavioral issues and BPA exposure

In an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes of Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers are examining the effects of low level exposures on young children.

They assessed the exposure to BPA by taking urine samples from mothers during the pregnancy and from the children at ages 1, 2 and 3. They then assessed the children’s behavior and executive function according to accepted scales.

The researchers found an association between levels of BPA concentrations during pregnancy and neurobehavioral measures at age 3. The children had higher risk of anxiety, hyperactivity, emotional control and behavioral inhibition.

The researchers were quick to say that there are limitations to the study, including a small sample size, and that the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear at this point.

Still, they advised doctors to tell concerned patients to reduce their exposure to the chemical.

The chemical industry, on the other hand, questions the study’s relevancy and says that realistic exposure levels should not pose a risk because of the way the chemical is processed in the body.

Source: Psychiatric News/ American Psychiatric Association

Chemical exposure at home and at the office

Whether it’s during pregnancy or in everyday life – we are unwillingly exposed to a wide variety of chemicals emitted by common household products and building materials.

Experts are worried that even low level exposures over a long period of time can lead to serious health consequences.

Reducing the level of exposure is important, by choosing more natural products over chemical-laden ones, making sure the home is well ventilated and running an air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA.

The filtration combination of carbon + HEPA can help remove indoor air contaminants such as chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and molds.

With general purpose air purifiers and specialized air purifiers for MCS, mold, tobacco smoke, volcanic smog, allergies and asthma as well as chemical and odor control, you can be sure to find the right air purifier for your specific concerns.

Contact AllerAir for more information and recommendations.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A great idea: State grants that help address health hazards in homes

Almost all homes have some kind of
indoor air quality concern.
The Minnesota Department of Health has awarded a quarter of a million dollars to seven health agencies in order to reach out to homeowners about health hazards in the home.

The initiative hopes to raise awareness of common indoor health hazards such as:
  • Lead
  • Radon
  • Indoor air pollutants such as tobacco smoke
The funds are supposed to support local efforts  to encourage prevention activities as well as providing guidance and support.

The program builds on another initiative that is already addressing lead poisoning prevention for people moist likely to be exposed.

It was expanded because many homes that have one type of health hazard also suffer from other indoor air pollution issues, officials say.

The grants are set up to help target high-risk population groups, including young children, low-income and minorities, the elderly and areas with high levels of radon or lead hazards.

The local agencies that received a grant will set up healthy home networks in their communities consisting of professional staff, community members and other members.

The goal is to raise awareness of indoor air quality issues and to help people get healthy homes for a healthy population.

Source: Echo Press

Air purifiers for better indoor air quality
Portable room air purifiers from AllerAir

AllerAir has helped people address their indoor air problems for more than 15 years.

With general purpose air purifiers as well as specialized air treatment systems for IAQ concerns such as
Contact AllerAir for more information.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Youth smoking rates falling, but cannabis use a concern: Survey

A survey of teens in Ontario, Canada, sheds light on drug use trends
Fewer Ontario teens are smoking cigarettes,
but binge drinking and cannabis are concerns.

It seems that the number of Ontario teens that are smoking is decreasing, but officials should be concerned about binge drinking and driving while under the influence of cannabis, according to the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The survey included more than 9,000 high school students across Ontario (Grade 7 to 12).

The proportion of students who smoke cigarettes dropped from 12 per cent in the previous 2009 survey to 9 per cent, an all-time low since 1977.

One in six students (16 percent) reported being drunk or high at school a least once in the past year.

The survey found alcohol was the substance used by the largest number of students, as 55 per cent of respondents reported drinking alcohol in the past year. Drinking and driving has dropped by five percentage points since the last survey, suggesting that attitudes towards alcohol use and operating vehicles has changed.

Students were more likely to drive after consuming cannabis than alcohol. Twelve per cent of adolescent drivers reported driving within an hour of using cannabis and 16 per cent of students reported being a passenger in the car of someone who had been using drugs.

Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Smoking tobacco and cannabis can lead to poor indoor air quality and introduce harmful chemicals into the ambient air. A complete room air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA filters (like AllerAir’s air purifier for tobacco smoke) can help keep the air clean. For more information, contact AllerAir.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New flame retardants, new concerns

Researchers found that flame retardant levels are rising.
They replace one type of chemical with another, but the health effects of new flame retardants have become a new topic of concern.

Originally created to replace older chemicals that were believed to be a threat to the environment, the new flame retardants are now widespread in the air near the Great Lakes, a new report shows.

Back in the 1970s, manufacturers started using old flame retardant chemicals in their products (including upholstered furniture, electronics, clothing, mattresses).

The problem with those flame retardants was their volatility. The polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) easily off-gas into the ambient air where they can become an environmental threat.

In order to replace PBDEs, the industry introduced new formulations  that contain 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH). But these chemicals could also have environmental risks: Research has suggested that the compounds can build up in fish and damage their DNA.

As it turns out, these new flame retardants can be found in the air in the Great Lakes region. Researchers monitored the air for levels of TBB and TBPH and collected samples between 2008 and 2010.

They detected TBB and TBPH in the vast majority of samples from Chicago and Cleveland, where levels of the compounds doubled approximately every 13 months.

It wasn’t only an urban phenomenon, as they also found the compounds in air samples from rural sites (those levels doubled every 19 months).

More research is needed into the effects of these new flame retardants on the environment.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News 

Want to know more about indoor air quality and the pollutants that may affect you at home or at the office? AllerAir has designed portable and powerful air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA that can help remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, VOCs, odors, mold, bacteria, viruses, particles and dust. Contact us for more information.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Q&A: How often do I have to change the activated carbon filter?

AllerAir's deep-bed activated carbon
filters typically last 2-5 years.
An air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants – but many clients are wondering about the filter changes.

How long does activated carbon last? When is it saturated?

There is no all-encompassing easy answer. Activated carbon is the best and safest filter media to adsorb (meaning to trap by way of chemical reaction on its internal surface area) a large number of gaseous pollutants and chemicals.

AllerAir is proud to offer customers 100% virgin activated carbon, meaning it hasn’t been recycled or restocked (that’s why we also don’t accept air filter returns). So when you get your air purifier, it is performing at full capacity and adsorbing a wide range of odors, chemicals and gases.

How long the carbon will last depends on your indoor air quality and requirements. It is not an exact science.

Typically, an activated carbon filter will last about two years, but in many reasonably “green” or “non-toxic” households, it can last up to 5 years. For optimal performance and ease of mind, most people decide to change it after 2 years.

AllerAir suggests the following:
  • Asses your indoor air quality. An air quality test is good, but make sure it takes not only dust and mold into account, but also chemicals and gases. Make a list of possible sources: Building materials such as drywall, paint, adhesives, glues, particleboard, carpeting, window treatments, cleaning agents, pets, etc.
  • When was the last time you renovated? Renovations will put extra strain on your air purifier, since the chemicals, fumes and particles released in the process may fill up the filter faster than usual
  • Make a note in your calendar or put up a reminder notice. Then reassess the situation after two years.

Many people will realize their carbon filter needs changing because it doesn’t seem to be working as well as before – the nose is a good guide.

More questions? Please submit them to askus@allerair.com, consult our FAQ section or contact AllerAir directly.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lifestyle a huge factor when it comes to cancer

Almost half of all new cancer diagnoses can be blamed on
poor lifestyle choices, a UK report says.
The Cancer Research UK report says more than 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the UK each year are caused by avoidable life choices such as smoking, drinking and eating badly, according to a recent BBC article.

Tobacco tops the list of bad choices, followed by a lack of fruits and vegetable for men and being overweight for women.

The researchers behind the report say it shows that people can do more to help prevent cancer and not blame it on genes or bad luck.

Among the common-sense lifestyle changes the experts recommend:
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Watch your weight
  • Exercise regularly

Leading a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee that there won’t be any cancer, but it stacks the odds in your favor, experts say.

One in 25 of cancers is linked to a person's job, such as being exposed to chemicals or asbestos, the report says.

Researchers and cancer experts are asking the government to make a healthy lifestyle a public health issue.

Reduce your exposure to indoor air pollution

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a great idea – and so is reducing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and gases as well as other pollutants.
Activated carbon is the best filter
media to remove gaseous pollutants.

An air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA plus UV germicidal filtration (optional) can help keep the air clean.

For lingering odors such as stale tobacco smoke, check out our popular 5000 DS or DXS model. If you are worried about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be emitted from common household products, then consider one of our Vocarb models.

For more information and a phone consultation, contact AllerAir.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Levels of new flame retardants on the rise

Researchers found that new flame retardant levels are rising.
They replace one type of chemical with another, but the health effects of new flame retardants have become a new topic of concern.

Originally created to replace older chemicals that were believed to be a threat to the environment, the new flame retardants are now widespread in the air near the Great Lakes, a new report shows.

Back in the 1970s, manufacturers started using old flame retardant chemicals in their products (including upholstered furniture, electronics, clothing, mattresses).

The problem with those flame retardants was their volatility. The polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) easily off-gas into the ambient air where they can become an environmental threat.

In order to replace PBDEs, the industry introduced new formulations  that contain 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH). But these chemicals could also have environmental risks: Research has suggested that the compounds can build up in fish and damage their DNA.

As it turns out, these new flame retardants can be found in the air in the Great Lakes region. Researchers monitored the air for levels of TBB and TBPH and collected samples between 2008 and 2010.

They detected TBB and TBPH in the vast majority of samples from Chicago and Cleveland, where levels of the compounds doubled approximately every 13 months.

It wasn’t only an urban phenomenon, as they also found the compounds in air samples from rural sites (those levels doubled every 19 months).

More research is needed into the effects of these new flame retardants on the environment.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News 

Remove many airborne chemicals at home with an air purifier
AllerAir's air purifiers for homes and offices.

AllerAir’s powerful, stand-alone room air purifiers feature a complete filtration system to get rid of the widest range of indoor air pollutants in the home.

With a deep-bed activated carbon filter and many pounds of carbon, the air purifiers can remove many airborne chemicals and gases, including VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and odor-causing compounds.

They also feature a medical-grade, micro- or Super-HEPA to trap airborne particles and dust as well as some pathogens.

For enhanced protection against bacteria, viruses and molds, you can opt for a UV germicidal lamp, which helps neutralize these contaminants.

For more information, contact AllerAir.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wood-burning fireplaces add to air pollution

Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces can contribute
to the air pollution inside and outside.
It’s the holiday season – time to cuddle up by a warm and cozy fire, with a mug of steaming tea and a good book, right?

Well, the firewood you are burning in your fireplace may contribute significantly to the outdoor and indoor air pollution in your area.

A California-based organization warns against burning firewood, since wood smoke is a trigger for people suffering from lung diseases such as asthma.

Long-term exposure to wood fire smoke has been linked to reduced lung function, chronic bronchitis or even premature death.

The danger in firewood smoke lies in the fine particles the smoke contains, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause inflammation.

Experts recommend
  • Banning wood fires in your fireplace at home, especially during smog-filled days and nights
  • Limiting outdoor activities in the evening when wood smoke levels are highest
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke and secondhand smoke, which can compound the effects of air pollution on the lungs

Source: Alameda Sun

Room air purifiers can help improve indoor air quality

When houses are sealed up tight to prevent cold air from seeping in, regular ventilation systems are often unable to filter out common indoor air pollutants coming from building materials and household products.

A powerful portable room air purifier can help move the air around and remove a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including many chemicals, odors, gases, dust, particulates, mold, bacteria and viruses.

In homes where wood smoke or tobacco smoke is a problem, AllerAir recommends choosing the 5000 DS or 5000 DXS air purifiers, which feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for optimal adsorption of gaseous pollutants, HEPA for particles and special tar-trapping pre-filters to prevent clogging.

For more information and options, contact AllerAir directly.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dust storms result in more ER admissions

Dust storms pose a risk to people with chronic lung disease.
Over the past few months, news reports have often focused on extreme weather events – and dust storms were part of that.

While dust storms are often seen as affecting motorists the most by causing unsafe driving conditions, researchers warn that they may also affect people with chronic lung conditions.

A study published in the journal Respirology shows that emergency hospital admissions rise in the aftermath of dust storms for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The study, focusing on dust storms in East Asia and Southern China, found that dust storms caused by wind-blown dust from Northern China can carry high concentrations of coarse particles with a diameter from 2.5 to 10 micrometers.

The researchers looked at data collected between 1998 and 2002 and found that two days after dust storms, there was a significant increase in emergency hospital admission due to COPD. The increase in risk was 5%.

The findings show that people with chronic lung diseases need timely warnings in order to avoid exposure to air pollution during dust storms, the researchers say.

Source: Wiley-Blackwell press release

Dust outside? Keep indoor air clean

Once dust and tiny particles are airborne, they can stay in the air for a long time and find their way indoors through windows, doors, cracks etc.
AirMedic Series: Powerful
particle and chemical air filters.

After a dust storm, experts recommend changing HVAC and car air filters to make sure they can cope with the higher pollutant count, and an indoor air purifier with HEPA can help keep the indoor air clean.

However, it’s not only dust people need to worry about. Indoor air pollution also comes from chemicals and gases from common household products and building materials, mold, bacteria and viruses.

AllerAir offers complete air purification systems with activated carbon + HEPA + UV (optional) to remove the widest range of contaminants from the ambient air.

Check out our general purpose air purifiers, air filters for mold and air purifiers for allergies and asthma.

For more information, contact AllerAir and speak to one of our air quality experts.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Clinical trial to treat house dust mite allergies

Millions of dust mites can live in
mattresses and pillows.
Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London are recruiting volunteers to take part in a new clinical trial.

They are testing the effectiveness of a new tablet on people who have house-dust mite induced asthma.

Exposure to dust mites is known to set off or aggravate asthma episodes and researchers hope the new tablet will reduce symptoms.

Eligible participants will be asked to take one dust mite allergy vaccine tablet or a placebo tablet once a day and commit to go to the clinic for 13 visits. Their symptoms will be measured regularly.

Recruitment for the study closes Dec. 16, 2011 and it is expected to be finished by March 2013.

For more information, click here.

Source: Health Canal

Reduce dust mite and allergen levels with air purifiers

AllerAir's AirMedic Series can
remove particles, dust and allergens.
Portable room air purifiers are an important tool in the fight against allergy and asthma flare-ups.

AllerAir has designed powerful air purifiers for allergies and asthma that not only trap particles, dust and allergens with a medical-grade HEPA filter, but also remove many chemicals and odors that can be found in indoor environments and which can also irritate the respiratory system.

For more information, contact AllerAir: 1-888-852-8247.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Healthier building options can keep indoor air pollution to a minimum

Home improvement can add value, but
deteriorate indoor air quality.
Home improvement has become of huge interest in the past decade, with tons of inspiring reality TV shows focusing on construction and design.

But anybody who has ever had new carpeting installed in the home or painted room and subsequently suffered from a cough or respiratory problems has experienced the effect that some home improvement materials can have on their health and well-being.

New carpets are often installed with an adhesive that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. These noxious chemicals can aggravate asthma or allergies and in high concentrations over an extended period of time some of them have also been linked to cancer.

Too much carpet in a home may decrease the indoor air quality because they are difficult to keep clean and often harbor dust and dust mites, mold and other pollutants, but other options may be just as bad in terms of VOC emissions.

Vinyl tile, for example, is a big offender.

Fortunately, there are many healthier and greener choices homeowners can make when they want to update a space.

Healthier options include:
  • Hardwood floors, especially from sustainable sources such as bamboo (look for low-VOC adhesives and glues, available in green stores online)
  • Ceramic tile – they are easy to clean, do not emit VOCs and they are eco-friendly
  • Low-VOC or no-VOC paints

Source: Journal Sentinel

Room air purifiers with carbon + HEPA clear the air

Polluted indoor air can be a hazard for all residents in a home, but there is an increased risk for children and the elderly.

A complete air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA can help keep the air clean and fresh.

AllerAir’s general purpose home and office air purifiers and specialized air treatment systems can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, bacteria, viruses, mold, particles and dust.

The air purifiers are easy to move from room too room, if needed, they are designed to clean the air quickly and effectively, and they are energy efficient even when being run on a 24/7 basis.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Radon and smoking – two factors for lung cancer

Smoking is bad enough, but if you also breathe in high levels
of radon at home, your risk of lung cancer increases even more.
If you are smoking, you know the risk. But often people don’t know that they have high radon levels in their home, which increases their risk of developing lung cancer (and some forms of skin cancer, as a new study shows).

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment and that can accumulate in a home after entering it through cracks and fissures in the foundation. Even new homes can have elevated radon levels.

Experts say people can test their homes for radon quite easily and reduce levels of radon with a few relatively inexpensive renovations.

A heavy smoker has a one-in-10 chance of developing lung cancer. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon results in a one-in-20 chance of developing lung cancer.

Both exposures increase the odds substantially to a one-in-three chance, Health Canada says.

The experts shared the following tips:
  • Test your home for radon. The winter months are a good time to place the small detector in the basement, if you spend around 4 hours per day there, or on the ground floor. Send it to the lab after three months.
  • Seal cracks in the foundation
  • Put a cap on the sump pump
  • In a home with very high levels of radon, you can install a special pipe and venting system that pumps air outside (active soil depressurization)
You can also use an air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA to help keep the air clean.

Source: The Daily Gleaner

Complete air purifiers for homes and offices

AllerAir develops complete air purifiers for the home and office with a multistage filtration system that contains many pounds of activated carbon, HEPA and UV.

Together, these air filters can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including
  1. chemicals, gases, VOCs, fumes 
  2. particles, dust, allergens 
  3. bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A toxic world: Women, men and children react differently to environmental pollution

You can't hide from environmental pollutants.
Most people in North America are being exposed to environmental toxins or chemicals on a continuous basis.

They are found in our home's building materials, our furniture, our household products, our food and our clothing.

As of now, environmental experts are relying on biomonitoring studies that take samples of people’s blood, hair or fingernails to find out which chemicals make up the body burden.

As our bodies accumulate more synthetic chemicals and our body burdens grow heavier, there is also an incidental rise in diseases and disorders like cancer, development syndromes, reproductive disorders and autoimmune diseases.

Most studies, however, don’t take into account how women, men and children may react differently to environmental pollutants and could suffer from different health outcomes.

Children, for example, are still developing their bodily systems and they breathe more and ingest more in relation to their body size. Women, too, may be more at risk, according to the director of the National Network on Environments and Women's Health.

In the organization's recent report Sex, Gender & Chemicals: Factoring Women into the Chemicals Management Plan, they examine Canada’s way to assess a chemical’s risk to determine whether it is toxic.

According to the report, there are several places where the government did not consider sex and gender in the risk assessments for common chemicals, and where -- if they had done so -- a chemical may have been listed toxic, but instead remains in circulation.

Examples include
  • BHA, an additive used as a preservative in foods, drugs and personal care products. The government did not take into account that women use more personal care products than men, on average and may be exposed to much higher quantities
  • HBCD, a flame retardant found in furniture and window coverings and carpets. The government did not consider higher exposure of northern communities or infants
  • BPA, a common chemicals that was finally banned in baby bottles, but there was no action to ban it from other sources of exposure, including can linings and debit receipts.

The organization calls for more protection and to put people’s interest over industry interest, since there is limited individual control over exposures outside of the home (or with a limited budget).

Reduce chemical exposure at home
AllerAir's numerical series helps
keep the air clean.

There are many steps people can take to reduce their exposure to chemicals at home:

  • Avoid products with synthetic chemicals as much as possible
  • Keep the home well ventilated
  • Use a room air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA

The activated carbon filters in AllerAir air purifiers can remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, odors, VOCs and fumes. The carbon boasts a large internal surface area where gaseous pollutants get trapped by way of a chemical reaction.

The HEPA and pre-filter in the multistage filtration system filter out airborne particles and dust as well as microorganisms (for extra protection against bacteria, mold and viruses, opt for UV germicidal filtration).

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Home hair dyes could be dangerous

Dying hair at home may be a risk,
experts say.
Coloring hair at home seems like a great solution for many women who want to avoid pricey hair salon visits, but recently, there have been a number of news reports of severe allergic reactions to the DIY kits.

In England, one woman was in a coma after a suspected anaphylactic allergic reaction to a L’Oreal Preference home hair dye, with an 8% chance of survival and another woman died after having used a home hair dye kit 20 minutes before.

The cases are being investigated to determine the exact cause, but experts suspect a chemical ingredient called p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), an organic compound used in over 99% of all permanent hair dyes, as well as in a variety of other applications.

As a known irritant, PPD allergies have the potential to affect 1.5% of the population.

An article in the British Medical Journal in 2007 called for more investigation into the safety of hair dyes after an increase in allergic reactions in recent years.

PPD is so popular in permanent hair products because it is so effective in covering up grey hair, and there are no approved alternatives.

The manufacturers warn consumers to test the hair dye on the skin at least 48 hours before using the application, but experts warn that a skin allergy test is neither conclusive nor infallible.

Source: The Guardian

Get rid of airborne chemicals

Coloring their hair at home is just one way that people introduce potentially dangerous chemicals into their home. Dry cleaned clothes, commercial cleaning products, scented “air fresheners” and many other commonly used household items can contribute to poor indoor air quality.

AllerAir has designed general purpose and specialty air purifiers with many pounds of activated carbon plus HEPA filtration to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants possible.

The activated carbon is key to removing gaseous contaminants such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds), gases, chemicals, odors and fumes.

Contact AllerAir for more information and assistance.
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Asthma and allergy alert: Dusty and moldy holiday decorations

Many people look forward to the holiday season – not only because of the gifts, but also because of the food, the festive decorations and the stunning lights.




But storing the decorations and lights for almost a year can lead to a buildup of dust and mold, experts warn, so this time of year can be challenging for asthma and allergy sufferers.

In fact, storing decorations in the attic may even cause them to be contaminated by asbestos dust, a mesothelioma awareness group says.

Many homes were built with asbestos-containing materials in the 20th century and an estimated 33 million U.S. buildings contain vermiculite insulation tainted with asbestos, the United States Environmental Protection Agency warns.

Asbestos was also a main ingredient in many holiday decorations themselves, including snowflakes. These are not being sold on the market anymore, but heirloom decorations may still be contaminated.

Storing decorations in the basement or garage often leads to dust and mold problems in the home as mold counts go up. Even bringing in a real Christmas tree can trigger allergies or asthma flare-ups.

Experts suggest wearing a mask when handling dusty or moldy decorations, using an artificial tree and storing holiday decorations in a way to minimize dust and mold infiltration.

Air purifiers for mold, dust and other contaminants

When the temperature gets below freezing outside and you turn up the heat and keep the windows tightly closed or even sealed, indoor air quality often deteriorates over time.

Running a portable, powerful air purifier on low 24/7 can help keep the air clean and healthy.

AllerAir’s specialized air purifiers for dust and particles (allergies and asthma), mold and chemical or odor concerns feature many pounds of activated carbon plus HEPA and other filters such as UV germicidal filtration to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

Keep your family safe this holiday season with an AllerAir air purifier. 

Contact us for more information or recommendations.
  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Air purifier in the bedroom helps asthma sufferers: Study

Exposure to irritants in the bedroom can
lead to asthma episodes during the day.
It’s something many people with asthma could have told you from experience, but now there is a study confirming it: A nighttime air filter can help ease asthma symptoms during the day.

The study was published online in Thorax and measured the effect of a specific airflow device, which displaced warmer air containing irritants and allergens with a slightly cooler airflow in the participants’ sleeping area.

By protecting the asthma sufferer from irritants and allergens during sleep, the researchers aimed to prevent exposure to triggers that lead to systemic allergic reactions and cause a typical narrowing of the airway.

The study was conducted across six European countries with patients that suffered from poorly controlled asthma. The researchers observed a 14-15% increase in life quality from the participants that used the device, as opposed to the control group with a dummy device.

Earlier studies of filtering or purifying the airflow have not yielded successful results, but this research seems to suggest that a reduction in inhaled aeroallergen exposure may have profound positive effects.

Source: Medical News Today

Bedroom air purifiers can remove allergens and irritants

Allergic asthma can be worse when the indoor air quality is not what it should be. Irritants such as house dust mites, pet hair and airborne chemicals can be reduced by running a serious air purifier for allergies and asthma in the bedroom.

AllerAir’s AirMedic and AirMedic+ Series feature the most trusted and effective air filtration systems to help improve your indoor air quality.

The air purifiers boast a large activated carbon filter, a medical-grade HEPA and pre-filter to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

Here’s a testimonial from an AllerAir customer:

“I am writing to let you know that the air purifier I purchased from you has helped my condition immensely. I have fewer problems with wheezing and rarely cough at night. As a chronic asthmatic this is definitely an improvement. It's nice to wake up not feeling tired and congested!“
Barbara Fenton - (Reg. Nurse)

Contact us for more information or recommendations based on your indoor air environment.
  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Non-toxic cleaning: How vinegar works

Cleaning with vinegar is a great way to reduce chemical exposure at home

Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent.
Many of our previous blog posts decry the use of harsh chemicals in common household cleaning products, which can add to poor indoor air quality in the home.

One of the things we always say is to replace chemical cleaning products with natural cleaning agents such as vinegar. But how does vinegar actually work?

In a Networx article “The Science of Vinegar” Julian Taub explains what makes vinegar so effective for everyday cleaning chores.

What is vinegar?

Vinegar usually consists of water with 4-5% of a chemical called acetic acid. Acetic Acid is a weak acid (although the concentrated form can be a skin irritant); it is antibacterial and antifungal, meaning it can neutralize bacteria and fungi and thus remove odors.

When it is dissolved in water, acetic acid breaks apart into two components, the hydrogen and the remainder of the molecule, called the acetate.

The hydrogen will try to bond to any molecule that it encounters, that is why they are great at cleaning stains made from alkali substances, like soap, urine, and limestone.

Unlike harsh chemicals, vinegar maintains a balance within water of about 1% separated acetic acid, making it safe to use on cleaning surfaces, but slightly less effective in fighting grease or carbon buildup on cooking utensils.
Cleaning with natural ingredients is
better for your health and well-being.

Cleaning with vinegar

You can use vinegar on most cleaning surfaces, especially in the bathroom and kitchen and the floors, but it shouldn’t be used everywhere (see below).

Most people will dilute vinegar with water to create an effective cleaning agent, and you could also add some fresh lemon juice. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell; it disappears once the vinegar evaporates.

Do not mix the vinegar with alkali-cleaning products such as soap, lye and bleach because they will both become ineffective and/or create poisonous fumes (with bleach).

However, the neutralization effect can be used effectively for unclogging drains. Mixing vinegar and baking soda will create a “volcano effect” – the reaction between the two creating water and carbon dioxide will increase the pressure in the drain pipe and dislodge some of the clogging material.

The author warns against using vinegar on clean upholstery, serious drain clogs or ovens. It should also not be used on metals, including iron, stainless steel, bronze or copper.

Want to know more about indoor air quality, airborne chemicals and air treatment solutions? Contact us at 1-888-852-8247 and follow us on Twitter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Allergies at home keep rising

Allergies are on the rise, study shows.
The numbers of allergies in the home are staggering.

A recent UK study involving 1,600 participants asked about allergies and the associated symptoms people felt:

  • 58 percent said they had an allergy to dust mites
  • 45 percent had an allergy to household pets
  • 31 percent had an allergy to mold
  • 30 percent said they had an allergy to chemicals found in everyday cleaning products

Millions of people seek medical help to control their allergies and while the home used to be seen as a safe haven, now it has become a source for indoor air pollutants and allergens as well.

Symptoms of household allergies include sneezing, congestion, headaches and others similar to a cold.

Many people report the strongest symptoms when in the bedroom – mattresses and pillows house millions of dust mites, so this does not come as a surprise.

Source: The Co-operative Magazine

Cleaner air helps control allergen levels in the home

For people suffering form allergie sin the home, regular cleaning, source control and washing linens is a must to control the amount of allergens.
AllerAir's AirMedic Series and
AirMedic+ Series provide allergen,
particle and chemical control.

Another option is to use an air purifier in the bedroom to clean the air even further.

AllerAir has designed portable room air cleaners for allergies and asthma with activated carbon and HEPA filters.

The activated carbon removes odors, chemicals and gases, while the HEPA filter traps dust and particles.

Opt for additional UV germicidal filtration to neutralize bacteria, viruses and mold as well.

Contact us for more information.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Can’t smell the roses? Your nose can be re-trained

Loss of smell is associated with certain
diseases as well as aging.
A new study gives hope to people who are losing their sense of smell.

New York University researchers have identified possible ways to reverse the loss of smell due to aging or disease and say training may be the answer.

Our sense of smell is not easily explained or treated, the authors suggest. The olfactory bulb, a structure beneath the frontal cortex that receives nerve impulses from the nose, also has direct connections to the amygdala, which controls emotions and physiology, and to higher-order regions like the prefrontal cortex, involved in cognition and planning.

"Unlike information from your eyes and ears that has gone through many connections to reach the frontal cortex, the olfactory system is just two connections away," says Donald A. Wilson, PhD, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and senior research scientist at the Emotional Brain Institute at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, who led the study.

"The result is an immediate pathway from the environment through our nose to our memory."

Loss of smell linked to disease, aging

Many illnesses can bring about a loss of smell, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia, and it is also often associated with normal aging.

While the exact cause remains unknown, the researchers discovered the part of the brain where loss of smell may happen, and they showed in the lab rat study that training can affect it for better or for worse.

“In some cases it may be a 'use it or lose it' phenomenon," says Dr. Wilson, adding that smell training therapies have the potential to restore smell function in some cases.

The study’s findings are published online in Nature Neuroscience.

Source: New York University

Good smells – YES; Bad smells - NO
Activated carbon removes odors by
trapping airborne chemicals and gases.

Whether you can smell them or not, bad odors tend to be a nuisance around the home or office.

In many cases, odors are linked to indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, gases and mold, for example, and they can be removed with source control, ventilation and air cleaning.

AllerAir offers specialized air purifiers with the safest and most trusted filtration systems to get rid of unwanted odors, chemicals and other pollutants.

The units feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter, which adsorbs gaseous pollutants, and a medical-grade, micro- or Super-HEPA to remove small particles, dust and pathogens.

Many air purifiers can also accommodate UV germicidal filtration to neutralize bacteria, viruses and mold.

For more information and recommendations, contact AllerAir.
  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Researchers discover link between radon and skin cancer

The indoor air quality in many North American homes
is affected by radon and other contaminants.
Radon, the naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up in people’s homes, has been identified as a leading cause of lung cancer before – and now a study shows it may also have other health effects.

A new study suggests that a link may exist between radon exposure and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Researchers from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health (part of the Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry) have detected a connection following analysis of data on radon exposure and skin cancer cases from across southwest England.

The link was not evident in the development of malignant melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, but it was found between areas where high radon concentrations are found and a particular type of non-melanoma skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

"We know that naturally occurring radon is a contributing factor to a small proportion of lung cancers, but there is limited evidence of other health implications,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Ben Wheeler.

“These findings suggest that the issue of radon and skin cancer deserves a much closer look and we're planning to develop a more detailed study capable of detecting a direct relationship, if one actually exists.”

Health effects of radon exposure
Radon exposure has been linked to
lung cancer and now skin cancer.

EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related.  Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. 

According to EPA, two studies show definitive evidence of an association between residential radon exposure and lung cancer.

“These findings effectively end any doubts about the risks to Americans of having radon in their homes,” said Tom Kelly, Former Director of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.  “We know that radon is a carcinogen.  This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.”

EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

Indoor air quality at home

Radon is just one of many contaminants that can lead to poor indoor air quality and health effects.

Most North American homes, especially those with airtight construction and poor ventilation, suffer from indoor air contaminants such as chemicals and gases (like VOCs from cleaning agents, fragrances and building materials), particles and dust, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Using low-VOC products, natural cleaning agents and increasing ventilation all help to improve indoor air quality, but another easy and effective solution is a powerful home or office air purifier with activated carbon + HEPA.
AllerAir air purifiers

AllerAir’s portable air purifiers can remove the widest range of pollutants with its multistage filtration system.

The deep-bed activated carbon filter removes many gases, odors, chemicals and fumes, while the medical-grade or micro-HEPA traps tiny particles and pathogens. Pre-filters take care of larger particles and dust and protect the other filters’ lifespan.

For general purpose air purifiers or specialized units like MCS, Allergy and Asthma, Odor and Chemical Control, Mold and Tobacco Smoke, visit our website or contact AllerAir directly: 888-852-8247.