Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dust mite toddler test predicts future asthma risk

"Using a high quality HEPA air filter can help reduce airborne dust mites and dust mite waste."
Wheezy toddlers who have a sensitivity to house dust mites are more at risk of developing asthma by the age of 12, a University of Melbourne led study has shown.

Children aged one to two years with a family history of allergy, who had a positive skin prick test to house dust mites, had a higher risk of developing asthma later in life. Results showed 75 per cent of these children had asthma at aged 12 compared to 36 per cent of children without a positive skin prick test. 

Lead author Dr Caroline Lodge from the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health said the identification of house dust mites as a predictor for asthma in high risk children, is a significant step forward in identifying high risk groups on whom we can trial interventions.

"Our findings provide researchers with a more targeted group of at risk children, for investigating strategies to prevent asthma later in life," she said.

"House dust mite sensitivity amongst wheezy toddlers could be used as a clinical tool to assist parents in understanding the risk of asthma in their children. 

"Although currently there is no known intervention to stop asthma developing, identifying children at higher risk may lead to more tailored treatments of wheeze in this high risk group."

The study followed 620 children, with a family history of allergies, from birth to 12 years old. 

Researchers tested the children at the ages of one and two years, for single and multiple sensitivity to milk, egg, peanut, rye grass, cat and house hold dust mites and then again at the age of 12 for having asthma.

"We found in the children aged one to two years, that whatever the mix of sensitivity, if their skin reacted to house dust mites they had a higher chance of developing asthma later in life," Dr Lodge said.

"Our study did not show house dust mites caused asthma but it highlighted a strong correlation between sensitivity and more severe wheeze and asthma." 


Along with simple measures like washing sheets regularly in hot water and vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum, using a high quality HEPA air filter can help reduce airborne dust mites and dust mite waste. 

Consider an AllerAir Air Medic, ideal for those looking for air purifiers for allergies and asthma

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Designer duds laced with chemicals

Photo: Worakit Sirijinda
It reads like a teen’s dream shopping list: Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, H&M….but these top brands are being singled out for more than their designer cachet.

Greenpeace says that traces of toxic chemicals have been detected in products made by these and several other top clothing manufacturers.

The group tested 78 samples for their report “Dirty Laundry 2” and found that nonylphenol ethoxylates, also known as NPEs, were detected in two-thirds of the items. NPEs are used in some countries as detergents in the production of natural and synthetic textiles.

  "NPEs break down to form nonylphenol, which has toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting properties," Greenpeace campaigner Li Yifang told journalists in Beijing. 

"It mimics female hormones, alters sexual development and affects reproductive systems." 

The group says that even at low levels, NPEs represents a threat to the environment and human health.

Residual levels of NPEs are reportedly released when the clothes are washed and are now present in countries even where their use is banned.


Are you concerned about chemical exposure? One of the primary human exposure routes to dangerous chemicals is inhalation.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene has gone - but keep track of your IAQ in the aftermath

Hurricane Irene left behind many flooded
basements and other threats to poor IAQ
Hurricane Irene has come and gone, but in many parts of northeastern United States, destructive flooding remains.

While it's too soon to know cost of the massive storm, many people have suffered property damage and loss.

If flood waters recede soon enough homeowners may be able to assess the damage to their properties in the next few days, while the total damage may only become apparent in weeks.

Floods and IAQ 

People can get sick from mold exposure
Excessive moisture and floods can lead to mold growth and other IAQ concerns.

Poor indoor air quality can affect the health and well-being of certain individuals.

Find out more about

Contact AllerAir for more information and recommendations.

Back to school means asthma and allergy flare-ups, experts say

The start of the new school year often
causes more cases of asthma and allergies.
With kids returning to school soon, parents and healthcare providers better be prepared for a spate of dust-induced asthma and rhinitis, according to experts.

In the fall, mold spores begin to increase and air-temperature inversions -- warm air on top of cold -- occur both inside and out. Contaminants build up.

When facility managers fire up the furnaces, the accumulated dust and other pollutants are blown into the classrooms where everyone is exposed to them.

Common airborne contaminants in schools include
  • Dirt
  • Chalk
  • Pollen
  • Pesticides
  • Chemicals
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Perfumes
  • Small animals and pests
No wonder children’s astma and allergies may flare up. To survive this challenging part of the school year, follow the doctors' asthma and allergy checklist:

  1. Find out who staffs the health office and find out how much they know about treating asthma and controlling allergies.
  2. Find out if school policy allows students to carry medication. Make sure your child knows how to use the medications.
  3. Let the school know how to reach you during the day in case of an emergency.
  4. Tour your child's classroom to identify potential allergy and asthma triggers.
  5. Work with your child's teacher to develop ways to help your child focus.
  6. Keep lines of communication with the school open throughout the year.
For more information on children's allergies and asthma visit:

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The company provides specialized air purifiers for allergies and asthma.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Video Oil Spill Air Quality: Oil Discovered Near Deepwater Horizon Site

"You can smell it..."

Concerned about the air quality in your region? We specialize in air cleaners for airborne chemicals like benzene. Connect with an air quality expert today to learn more:

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Next time she’s asking for diamonds – buy her a candle?

Candlelight - romantic diamonds
or source of harmful toxins?
Scientists  have discovered that about 1.5 million tiny diamond nanoparticles are created every second as a candle burns.

The researchers from the University of St Andrews also found the diamond particles in tests on natural gas and wood flames.

“Unfortunately the diamond particles are burned away in the process, and converted into carbon dioxide, but this will change the way we view a candle flame forever,” explained Prof Wuzong Zhou, who led the research.

This may explain the magical glimmer of candles, but scented candles can burn much more than the tiny diamond particles.

Experts have warned that scented candles introduce harmful indoor air pollutants into your environment.

The smoke produced by many of them is laced with toxins linked to cancer, asthma and eczema, including toluene and benzene.

The odd candle is unlikely to do any harm, but we should avoid using them day after day in bathrooms and other poorly ventilated rooms, researchers say.

Use a home air purifier to remove indoor air pollutants

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chemical alert: Dryer vents spew hazardous toxins from scented household products

Scented laundry products contain
dangerous chemicals, researchers show.
Love the scent of fresh laundry when you open your dryer?

Think again. Most commercially sold laundry products contain dangerous chemicals, which can not only affect you and your family, but also people in your neighborhood.

Researchers from the University of Washington have examined the scented air wafting from household laundry vents and found that they released hazardous chemicals, including 2 carcinogens:
"This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated and unmonitored," said lead author Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs in a press release.

"If they're coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they're regulated, but if they're coming out of a dryer vent, they're not."

Study measured VOCs from scented laundry products

For the new study, which focuses on chemicals emitted through laundry vents, researchers first purchased and pre-rinsed new, organic cotton towels.

They asked two homeowners to volunteer their washers and dryers, cleaned the inside of the machines with vinegar, and ran full cycles using only water to eliminate as much residue as possible.

Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Acetaldehyde and benzene are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level.

Their findings are published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health.

"These products can affect not only personal health, but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies," Steinemann said.

Worried about chemicals in your indoor air?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

VIDEO: The hidden dangers of mold exposure

Up to 25 percent of homes in the U.S. are affected by mold.

AllerAir has designed powerful portable air purifiers for homes or offices with mold.

Learn more about mold spores and mold mycotoxins, and how AllerAir air purifiers with activated carbon, HEPA and UV can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants in the industry.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dust storm hits Phoenix area, again

Dust storms can be taxing on your home's
and car's air filters.
Take note of your indoor air quality and dust levels, experts say

Arizona’s Phoenix has been hit with the third major dust storm last week, turning the skies brown and coating anything left outside.

A 1,000-foot-high wall of dust traveled at least 50 miles into metro Phoenix and neighboring Pinal County last week on Thursday evening before dissipating, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

It reduced visibility, created dangerous driving conditions and caused flight delays.

The dust storms were caused by thunderstorms moving through southern Arizona, which brought winds of up to 60 mph that stirred up fine dust in the agricultural fields, a meteorologist said.

This season's most powerful dust storm came July 5, when a mile-high wall of dust halted flights and knocked out power to 10,000 people. Another dust storm hit July 18, reaching heights of 3,000-4,000 feet, delaying flights and cutting power to more than 2,000 people.

Weather experts said such massive dust storms -- known by the Arabic word "haboob" -- happen only in Arizona, Africa's Sahara desert and parts of the Middle East. They cause pollution levels to skyrocket and can create health issues.

Dust storms and health effects

Dennis Dickerson, a compliance manager at the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, said the normal level of dust in the air is 20-70 micrograms per cubic meter.

During the last dust storm, the 24-hour average for Phoenix reached nearly 160 -- slightly above what federal standards deem healthy.

Dr. Art Mollen of Scottsdale, Ariz., said there were twice as many patients as usual in his waiting room the day after the storm.

People came in with asthma flare-ups, sinus inflammation, ophthalmological migraines and other problems.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Remove airborne particles and allergens for better IAQ

In areas where sudden increases in dust and particle levels affect the air quality, homeowners and residents need to be extra vigilant when it comes to the air they breathe:
  • Check your home and car filters ASAP – they may need to be changed earlier than usual due to the larger load
  • Consider using a portable air purifier – when you can’t open the windows without layers of dust covering everything in sight, indoor air pollutant levels may be on the rise. 
Air purifiers such as the AirMedic+ Exec from AllerAir effectively remove particles, chemicals and other pollutants around the clock with a multistage filtration system.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

What’s in the air you breathe? Apparently dog poop according to a new study…

Dog poop is a major source of
airborne bacteria, researchers say.
Photo Credit: PhotoStock
Bacteria from fecal material -- in particular, dog fecal material -- may be the leading source of airborne bacteria. At least in Cleveland and Detroit, according to a new study.

"We found unexpectedly high bacterial diversity in all of our samples, but to our surprise the airborne bacterial communities of Detroit and Cleveland most closely resembled those communities found in dog poop," said lead author Robert Bowers, a graduate student in CU-Boulder's ecology and evolutionary biology department and the CU-headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES. 

"This suggests that dog poop may be a potential source of bacteria to the atmosphere at these locations."

The study was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Scientists already knew that bacteria exist in the atmosphere and that these bacteria can have detrimental effects on human health, triggering allergic asthma and seasonal allergies. But it is only in recent years that researchers have realized that there is an incredible diversity of bacteria residing in the air. 

"There is a real knowledge gap," said study co-author Noah Fierer, an assistant professor in CU-Boulder's ecology and evolutionary biology department. "We are just starting to realize this uncharted microbial diversity in the air -- a place where you wouldn't exactly expect microbes to be living."

The airborne dog poop was more prevent in the winter months say the researchers. They believe it’s because the cold and snow seems to suppress the influence from other sources like soil, dust, leaves, lakes and oceans.

The team now plans to investigate the bacterial communities in other cities in order to build a continental-scale atlas of airborne bacterial communities.

"We don't know if the patterns we observed in those sites are unique to those cities," Fierer said. "Does San Francisco have the same bacteria as New York? Nobody knows as yet.

Fierer believes it is important to pin down the types of bacteria in the air and how these bacteria vary by location and season. With this information, scientists can then investigate the possible impacts on human health, he said.

"We need much better information on what sources of bacteria we are breathing in."

Interested in learning more about removing airborne pollutants? We have home air purifiers that remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, particles and bacteria.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Extra pounds and pesticides may help trigger diabetes

Photo Credit: Anankkm
A high-fat Western-style diet has long been linked to type 2 diabetes, but now what’s on our food is just as suspect as what’s in it. A new study shows that pesticide residue and chemical exposure may also trigger the disease. 

It’s not the first time chemical pollutants have been linked to diabetes. In fact, previous studies have also linked pesticides, PCBs and other chemicals known as "persistent organic pollutants" to an increased risk.

Ironically, many of these pesticides and chemicals have been banned since the 1970s, but “persist”, as the name suggests, in the environment for years, building up in human and animal body fat.

This latest study, published in the most recent issue of Diabetes Care, analyzed blood samples of 2,000 adults and found that those with the highest levels of the pesticide oxychlordane were about twice as likely to have diabetes.

The link appeared to be limited to people who were overweight or obese.

That, the researchers told the Reuters news service, suggests that the pollutants and body fat "may have a synergistic effect on the risk of type 2 diabetes."

Past research also suggests that some persistent organic pollutants impair the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, which could also help explain the link.

Chemical exposure routes 

Besides diet, another main exposure route for chemicals is inhalation.

Numerous chemicals commonly found in households have the ability to become airborne as a gas, vapor or attached to dust.

Unfortunately,  basic home HEPA filters are unable to trap most airborne chemicals. Deep bed activated carbon filters are the best solution for removing chemicals, gases and odors.

To learn more about removing airborne pollutants in your home connect with us:

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

EPA wants your input on BPA testing and sampling: Deadline Sept. 26th

They don't make it easy, but if you can manage to wade through the bureaucratic mambo-jumbo, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would like your comments on possible toxicity testing and environmental sampling to study BPA’s potential environmental impacts.

BPA (Bisphenol A) has been shown to cause reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies. In 2008 Canada banned the substance from baby bottles and then became the first country to declare BPA as a toxic substance in 2010. 

The European Union also banned BPA from baby bottles in 2011. The U.S. has subsequently been accused of lagging behind in the BPA debate, potentially putting Americans at risk.

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.

“A number of concerns have been raised about the potential human health and environmental effects of BPA,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

“The data collected under the testing EPA is considering would help EPA better understand and address the potential environmental impacts of BPA.”

In January 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would further examine potential human health effects and reduce exposure to BPA in the food supply, which represents the greatest source of exposure to people.

EPA is working with FDA, Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on research under way to better determine and evaluate the potential health consequences of BPA exposures. At the conclusion of that research, EPA will determine if additional actions may be needed to address human health concerns from non-food use exposures.

EPA issued an action plan on BPA in March 2010 outlining possible steps the agency might take to address risks presented by BPA, including testing procedures. EPA’s BPA action plan is available at

Comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) must be received on or before September 26, 2011. The ANPR and supporting information can be found in docket number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0812 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal,


Would you like to learn more about chemical exposure and how to remove airborne chemicals and odors from your indoor air? AllerAir air purifiers are among the only air cleaners that effectively target airborne chemicals, gases, odors and particles with the same machine. We use deep-bed activated carbon filters and HEPA filters to remove more airborne pollutants than traditional air cleaners.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is your dog stinky? It may be allergies

It seems not even your pet is immune to the pollen and airborne mold plaguing many U.S. regions this year. Veterinarians are reporting an increase in allergy cases in dogs this summer. The first tip off for owners may be an extra smelly pet. 

"A lot of dogs smell bad when they have an allergic skin disease, their ears are infected their skin is infected …” says Doctor Laura Nelson, a vet in Indiana.
For dog, just like for humans the problem is inhalation.

“It's really hard to avoid the pollen, the trees, the grasses, the house dust mites…” she says. “It's not that the dogs are rolling in it it's that they are breathing it."

Allergy experts generally recommend toweling down your pet when they come in from outside. This will not only help the dog, but will also prevent pollen allergens from spreading around the home. 
Cleaning indoor air with a HEPA air filter for allergies will also provide some relief from airborne pollen, dust, mold and mites. HEPA filters remove 99.97% of airborne allergens.

To learn more about home air purifiers for allergies connect with us: 

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

VIDEO: Moms on a mission to draw attention to chemicals in everyday products

(Video starts after a short 15 second commercial)
A group of moms recently took to streets in New York to bring awareness to hidden chemical dangers in common household products.

“For most products, they aren’t labeled at all or if they are labeled, they’re not completely labeled,” Bobbi Chase told CBS 2′s Ann Mercagliano. “We want to know what kind of dangers they might pose before they even go out on the marketplace.”

Moms are not alone when it comes to confusion with chemicals. Doctors said more needs to be done to test the thousands of chemicals we come across in everyday living — like bookshelves or baby products.

“We’re really concerned that we continue to put things in the environment and then wonder decades later whether there’s a potential for human health effects and that’s just not the right principal to be operating under,” said Dr. Maida Galvez, of Mount Sinai’s Environmental Health Center.

“Too often parents are asking us ‘was this product I used harmful to my child?’ And right now burden is on the consumer to figure that out,” she said.

AllerAir home air purifiers are among the only home air cleaners to use both HEPA air filters to remove toxic dust and deep-bed activated carbon filters to remove airborne chemicals. This industrial air cleaning approach is used by NASA, the U.S. military and large companies worldwide to treat toxic air.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

More than 2000 unhealthy air alerts declared in the U.S. so far this year

Bad air outdoors can lead to poor
indoor air quality as well.
It seems no community is immune to bad air in 2011. From national parks to cozy sea-side suburbs more than 2,000 “code orange” air quality alerts occurred nationwide in just the first seven months of this year, mostly due to smog.

Code orange means it unsafe for children, older adults and people with breathing problems to go outside.

The Natural Resources Defense Council analyzed government air pollution data and found that California and New Jersey lead the country in dangerous air days.

However, rural states such as Maine, Vermont and Kansas also had a number of dangerous air days this year, partly because of smog blown in from other states.

Surprisingly, nine national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Park had dangerous air days this year because of smog blown in from other areas.

“The bottom line is that we have way too many days in way too many places when the air is unsafe for our kids,” said NRDC Clean Air Director John Walke. “The EPA needs to quit stalling on tougher smog standards promised years ago and protect our children, our elderly and all of us.”

Under standards set in 1997, the EPA considers air to be unhealthy if levels of ozone - the primary ingredient in smog - reach 84 parts per billion.

The Bush administration lowered the ozone standard to 75 parts per billion in 2008, but ignored unanimous recommendations of its science advisors that a truly protective standard needed to be set within 60-70 parts per billion.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed adopting more protective standards within that range, and the agency is expected to announce its decision soon.

For detailed data on the NRDC analysis, see here.

Indoor air more polluted than outdoor air

AllerAir's air purifiers with carbon and
HEPA help clean the ambient air.
The EPA's own studies have also shown that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, so what does this latest analysis mean for our indoor air quality?

“We can reasonably draw the conclusion that this dangerous pollution is also making its way indoors,” says Stephanie Bristow, an Air Quality Expert with AllerAir.

“Our homes today are so tightly sealed, that this pollution is actually being trapped inside and if you aren’t filtering your air, unfortunately your lungs are acting as your air filter.”

Bristow recommends either an AllerAir room air purifier with HEPA and activated carbon or a whole home unit which can be ducted into an existing HVAC system.

“Today an air cleaner is just as vital as in your home as proper humidity levels and ventilation,” she says. “Ignoring your air quality is no longer an option.”

Interested in learning more about improving your indoor air quality with a high efficiency air purifier?
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Ominous World Record: Pregnant Californians have the highest levels ever recorded of banned chemical

Despite being outlawed in 2004, scientists have found that polybrominated diphenyl ethers, also known as PBDEs, are showing up at unprecedented levels in pregnant woman in California.

They believe the results may stem from the state's strict flammability regulations.

Before the ban the chemicals were commonly used to treat polyurethane foam to slow the rate the material would burn if it caught fire.

The foam was widely used in couches, chairs, mattresses, baby products and other household items.

It was later discovered that the PBDEs were not bound to the foam and instead scattered easily in the air and could be inhaled through dust. Much of the furniture is still being used today in homes, restaurants and offices making PBDEs present throughout the state.

The UCSF-led research team found high levels of PBDEs, as well as the by-products that result when the flame retardants break down in the body, in 25 second-trimester pregnant women from Northern and Central California seeking care in San Francisco.

“While our study group was small, the higher chemical exposure in pregnant women is particularly concerning and warrants further research. PBDEs can disrupt the thyroid system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental problems in children following prenatal exposure,” said Ami R. Zota, ScD, MS, lead author.

Another UCSF study recently found that the bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including PBDEs and others banned since the 1970s. 

That research was the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted.

AllerAir Filtration System: HEPA, Carbon & Pre-filter
The researchers say there are steps families can take to minimize their exposure to toxic chemicals at home, including buying special air filters.

They also suggest washing hands frequently to avoid ingesting dust when you eat. 

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Health Canada warns of hidden chemicals in certain cleaning products

Some cleaning products
contain harmful chemicals.
Health Canada says some consumer chemical products sold under the brand of Orange TKO Industries are missing mandatory labeling and child-resistant closures.

It says the products contain a level of D-limonene that can be hazardous, especially to kids, if aspiration occurs.

Aspiration happens when the product is coughed up or vomited after being ingested. Small particles of the product can then travel into the lungs and this could lead to lung injury, chemical pneumonia or death.

D-limonene is extracted from citrus fruit and is often used to provide a citrus smell to cleaners and other household chemical products.

The affected products are Super Concentrated Cleaner, Super Concentrated Industrial Cleaner and Orange Pet Power TKO Cleaner.

Health Canada says consumers should stop using the products and dispose of them according to municipal hazardous waste guidelines.

The federal agency has asked Orange TKO Industries to voluntarily recall its products that don't comply with Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations.

The regulations establish classification criteria, labelling and packaging requirements for chemical products, including the display of hazard symbols, warnings, instructions and first-aid treatments, in both official languages.

Certain products also require child-resistant packaging.

Source: The Spec (The Canadian Press)

Reduce airborne chemicals in your ambient air

Along with using natural cleaning products and good ventilation in your home, use a portable air purifier from AllerAir to remove a wide range of chemicals and VOCs that may be released by construction materials, personal care products and furnishings. (See also: Great reasons why you need an air purifier)

AllerAir prides itself in making the deepest beds of activated carbon, which effectively remove chemicals, gases and odors by adsorbing them, and the multistage filtration system with HEPA and pre-filters will also take care of particles and allergens.

For more information and options on air purifiers for the home and office, contact AllerAir today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Growing concerns over flame retardants

Upholstered furniture often contains
potentially harmful flame retardants.
Flame retardants are chemicals that can be found in a wide variety of consumer products, supposedly as a protective feature to make them less likely to catch fire.

However, growing levels in the environment and in humans, especially in North America, have led to a number of studies and warnings about the use of these chemicals, since some experts say they may hinder a child's growth and permanently damage their endocrine system.

It's not easy to avoid exposure in our everyday lives. Flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) or brominated flame retardants have been found in child car seats, in household plastics, electrical and electronic equipment, upholstered furniture, non-clothing textiles and foam products.

Chemicals released slowly over a long time

In most cases, these flame retardants are added to the products rather than chemically bound to them, and they can be slowly and continuously released while they are manufactured, when they are used, or after they have been thrown away (Health Canada).

Many countries – notably in Europe - have moved towards banning flame retardants, but the levels remain relatively high in North America.

In one study involving children from California, the PBDE levels in 2- to 5-year-old California children was 10 to 1,000 fold higher than European children, 5 times higher than other U.S. children and 2 to 10 times higher than U.S. adults.

Organizations aim to raise awareness about toxic chemicals

In a bid to raise public awareness of harmful chemicals, several Los Angeles-area nonprofits organized the Toxies Awards event, where certain chemicals are named as standouts in the bad-for-you chemical category.

Incidentally, a flame retardant known as Halogenated Flame Retardant (HFR) won the People's Choice Award as Worst Chemical of the Year and also beat out other contenders in the Super Hot Mess category.

Used in furniture, electronics and building insulation, HFR can be found in nearly the entire U.S. population and is linked to a lower IQ, cancer and infertility.

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AllerAir's air purifiers remove
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The powerful and portable air cleaners also feature HEPA and UV germicidal filtration to offer a complete air purifying solution that encompasses particles, mold spores, mold mycotoxins, bacteria and viruses.

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Contact one of AllerAir air quality experts for more information and great deals on serious air purifiers.

Update: An Aug. 10 public release says a University of California - San Francisco (UCSF)-led pilot study has found the highest levels ever reported among pregnant women worldwide of banned chemicals used in flame retardants, a likely result, they believe, of California's strict flammability regulations.

Tests indicate that these chemicals may cause liver, thyroid, and neurodevelopmental toxicity, according to the EPA.

Read the full release here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Is the smell in your home driving away visitors and potential buyers?

A smelly house will be difficult to sell
and indicates an IAQ problem.
There is a reason why the air “freshener” market has been soaring in recent years – no one wants a smelly house full of irritating odors.

However, commercial air freshening products can add to the indoor air pollution because they often contain harmful chemicals that simply mask odors and won’t eliminate them. Better solutions exist (see below).

Whether you want to invite guests over or sell your house at a high price, the odors inside a home will play a big role in making people comfortable or suspicious of underlying problems.

Strong pet odors irritate many people, stale tobacco smoke is difficult to eradicate, and a musty odor can point to a mold problem.

Of course, poor indoor air quality can also affect you and the other inhabitants. If you have frequent headaches or breathing problems, the odor could be the cause. Pervasive odors, especially from mold, can quickly morph from merely bothersome to dangerous.

Here are a few tips to prevent your home from being the smelly house on the block:

Investigate and find the source of the odors

Often when we live in a space, we can get used to the smells surrounding us. To check things out, if you're away from home more than six hours, take a good long sniff when you walk in.

If you detect an unpleasant smell, don't excuse it away because the house "has been closed up." Odor is a sign that something is wrong. If you don't trust your own nose, ask your most candid friend. If your house is for sale, ask your realtor to give an honest opinion.

Common sources of odor include cooking, water, pets and smoking. Pet odors spark concern that once a smell is present, it can never be eradicated. Keeping litter boxes scrupulously clean is a good first step.

Concrete or wood floors that have been saturated with pet urine may require professional treatment, including removing soiled carpet and padding.

Check for water damage

Musty smells often come from water. Check sink and bath drains for odors at the drain traps. Leaking sewer or water pipes may also be a source. A plumber can help correct the problem.

Air conditioning condensation can leak, generating smelly mold. There could be a roof or siding leak, where water is infiltrating, triggering mold growth. Air ducts can trap dust and mold, making the air smelly. If you need help isolating an odor, call a home inspector.

Eliminate the odors the right way

Never try to spray a smell away. If your home has a smell, it has a problem, and fixing the problem is better than perfuming it.

Overuse of home scents can be as off-putting as pet odor – and it can be dangerous to your health and well-being. Work to create a fresh-smelling home vs. one that's heavy and overly perfumed.

Good maintenance and fixing any problems around the house is a must. Good ventilation, regular filter checks in the HVAC systems, thorough cleaning with natural cleaning products, opening windows regularly and using an indoor air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA filtration will also keep the indoor air at its best.

When it comes to indoor air cleaners, don't waste your money. Only a serious air cleaner with activated carbon will remove irritating odors, chemicals and mold mycotoxins, while the HEPA will trap particles and pathogens.

AllerAir specializes in portable, versatile air purifiers with carbon + HEPA + UV (optional) that remove the widest range of pollutants and provide the most value in the business.

Featured air cleaners from AllerAir Industries:
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Monday, August 08, 2011

Suddenly feeling allergic to your cat or dog? It may be sticky spores not dander...

If you suddenly seem to be sneezing and wheezing whenever your beloved pet comes around there's still reason to hope. The cause may not be cat or dog dander, but the tree and flower spores they're carrying into your home. 
In many parts of the U.S. this year pollen levels have been consistently high, triggering allergic responses even in people who have never before experienced seasonal allergies.
Allergist Dr. Joseph Leija of the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, IL suggests you wipe fur and paws with a towel you store in a resealable bag between uses to minimize contamination.

Experts also suggest:

  • Washing hands frequently, especially after handling your pet
  • Changing your clothes and showering when you come in from outdoors
  • Leaving shoes at the front door to avoid tracking in pollen  
  • Using an air purifier for allergies to reduce airborne contaminants indoors
  • Using your dryer instead of line-drying clothes 
  • Keeping windows closed 
For more information on our air purifiers for allergies or air purifiers for pet odors connect with us: 

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Friday, August 05, 2011

VIDEO: Gulf Coast Stories: Oil, Chemicals, and Illness

A report on people suffering from chemical exposure in the Gulf.

Interested in learning more about removing airborne chemicals? AllerAir is the industry leader in home air cleaners for airborne chemicals, gases and odors and multiple chemical sensitivities. We use industrial grade, deep-bed activated carbon filters to adsorb a wide range of pollutants. Connect with us to learn more:

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Mold exposure in infancy increases asthma risk; Expect parents should reduce airborne mold burden

Infants who live in moldy homes are three times more likely to develop asthma by age 7—an age that children can be accurately diagnosed with the condition.

Study results are published in the August issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“Early life exposure to mold seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development,” says Tiina Reponen, PhD, lead study author and University of Cincinnati (UC) professor of environmental health.

“Genetic factors are also important to consider in asthma risk, since infants whose parents have an allergy or asthma are at the greatest risk of developing asthma.”

UC and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center researchers analyzed seven years of comprehensive data for 176 children to evaluate the effects of mold exposure in early life.

The children were part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term population-based study that included more than 700 children from the Greater Cincinnati area. CCAAPS looked at the effects of environmental particles on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.

Participants were identified during infancy as at high risk to develop allergies based on family medical history.

Mold exposure levels were measured using a DNA-based analysis tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—the environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI). The tool combines results of the analysis of 36 different types of mold into one index, which describes the mold burden in the homes. This index was used to determine the impact of mold exposure on the respiratory health of study participants.
Eighteen percent of children enrolled in CCAAPS were found to be asthmatic at age 7.

It is estimated that about 9 percent of school-age children in the United States will develop asthma; however, studies have shown that rates are often higher in children from poor, urban families. The disease cannot be accurately diagnosed until age 7 and the causes are not completely known.

”The symptoms of pediatric asthma range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden episodes of shortness of breath and wheezing that require emergency treatment,” says allergist David Bernstein, MD, study co-author, UC professor of internal medicine and ACAAI fellow. “If a young child’s symptoms persist and keep coming back, that’s a clue that it could be asthma.”

According to the ACAAI, common symptoms of asthma include:

• Coughing, especially at night
• Wheezing or whistling sound, especially when breathing out
• Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
• Frequent colds that settle in the chest

“This study should motivate expectant parents—especially if they have a family history of allergy or asthma—to correct water damage and reduce the mold burden in their homes to protect the respiratory health of their children,” adds Reponen.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Johns Hopkins says Indoor Air Purifiers Ease Asthma Symptoms in Children Living with Smokers

AllerAir Air Cleaners for Tobacco  Smoke
Average of 33 more symptom-free days per year 
Indoor air purifiers can greatly reduce household air pollution and lower the rates of daytime asthma symptoms say researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Parents should still be counseled to implement a total ban on indoor smoking and use air cleaners only as a temporary tool on the way to achieving a smoke-free household, the Hopkins team concludes in the Aug. 1 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Air cleaners appear to be a an excellent partial solution to improving air quality in homes of children living with a smoker but should not be viewed as a substitute for a smoke-free environment,” says lead investigator Arlene Butz, Sc.D., M.S.N., C.P.N.P., an asthma specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s and professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

For the study, researchers followed for six months 115 children, ages 6 to 12 years, who lived in homes where one or more caregivers smoked. Each one of 41 households received two free-standing air cleaners plugged into the bedroom and living room. Another one-third of the homes got air cleaners plus at-home health education by a nurse on the dangers of second-hand smoke, and the other third got neither but were given air cleaners at the end of the study. The researchers measured air nicotine levels and air particulate matter — microscopic bits of smoke, soil, pollen, dust and spores usually floating around in the air — before air cleaner installation and six months later. They also compared asthma symptoms and cotinine (the biological marker of nicotine found in the urine) between children living in homes with and without air cleaners.

The overall air quality in homes with air cleaners showed a nearly 50-percent drop in the levels of particulate matter, although the air never reached the quality of smoke-free homes, the researchers note. Homes that received both air cleaners and visits by health coaches did not achieve better air quality than homes that got air cleaners alone. The levels of air nicotine and urine cotinine remained similar in all children, regardless of air cleaner use in the home.

The study also found that children living in homes with air cleaners had considerably more days without coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing compared with children living in homes without air cleaners. Based on the rate of symptom reduction observed in this study, the researchers estimate that a child with asthma living in a home with indoor air filtration would, on average, have 33 more symptom-free days per year compared with a child living in a smoking household without indoor filtration. The number of symptom-free days made possible by the air cleaners was nearly the same as the number achieved with the use of a type of anti-inflammatory asthma drug in another study, the investigators note.

“Our findings show a clear link between improved asthma symptoms and the use of air cleaners, providing further evidence that air cleaners could play an important role in the treatment of children with asthma," said co-investigator Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment.

Because smoking is a main driver of indoor air pollution, the researchers recommend the use of air cleaners even in smoke-free homes if they are part of multi-family dwellings in which second-hand smoke can easily seep in from surrounding units.

Asthma is the most common pediatric chronic illness, affecting 6.5 million children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 30 percent of children in the United States share a home with a smoker, and up to two-thirds of children in urban neighborhoods live with a least one smoker, the researchers say.

To learn more about AllerAir air purifiers and air cleaners connect with us. We manufacturer air cleaners specifically designed for tobacco smoke , asthma and general home air filtration.  

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Mold count remains high in the U.S. Midwest; Warning issued for those with asthma, lung & heart disease

Spore counts remain high today, one day after officials in Illinois issued an official air alert warning of dangerous levels of airborne mold.

“The daily count was 59,000 (spores per cubic meter), and the threshold for dangerous levels is at 50,000,” said Allergist Dr. Joseph Leija, who performs a daily allergen count for the National Allergy Bureau. (Follow the daily allergen counts for the Midwest on his hospital's twitter feed @GottliebAllergy)

“Chicagoans will experience stuffy noses, post-nasal drip, scratchy throats, headaches and fatigue due to the high mold count in the air,” said Dr. Leija. “The mold count is dangerously high for those with chronic conditions such as lung or heart disease as well as asthma and breathing conditions.”

And the high mold count on record is just for the outdoors.

“The Midwest has suffered from repeated flooding and many homes may have toxic levels of mold due to the damp,” said Dr. Leija. “In addition to stagnant water, many sewer systems backed up and overflowed adding additional health risks.”

The Midwest suffered historic snowfalls this winter and the summer is proving to be a record-breaker as well with days of rainfall as well as continuous blazing heat.

Here some some suggestions as to how to reduce the impact of airborne mold:
  • Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity.
  • Run air conditioning to lighten air by removing humidity.
  • Run an air cleaner for mold with a HEPA, carbon and UV filters to remove airborne mold spores and mold mycotoxins.
  • Rinse inner nostrils with saline solution to rinse trapped debris and moisten membranes.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and rest.
  • Talk to your allergist about adjusting prescribed medication.
To learn more about air purifiers and air cleaners for mold connect with us:
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Commercial air freshening products pollute indoor air

Scented candles may release
harmful chemicals.
Air fresheners come in many varieties, including aerosols, gels and scented candles.

While global sales of air fresheners are rising steadily, experts warn that many air-care products cause a false sense of freshness.

Instead of purifying the air, many air fresheners simply mask the odors with synthetic fragrances. Others may affect your ability to smell by coating your nasal passages with an oil film or by releasing a nerve-deadening agent, according to an article by the Healthy Child organization.

Certain air fresheners contain toxic chemicals that can affect human health and cause symptoms such as headaches, coughing, sneezing, rashes, dizziness and asthma attacks.

Some of the substances that can cause a reaction are camphor, phenol, ethanol and formaldehyde.
Some chemicals found in air fresheners have been linked to cancer or hormone disruption.

Many aerosol air fresheners contain toxic phthalates, which have been linked to birth defects and reproductive harm.

Reduce your exposure to toxins by following these recommendations:
  1. Read labels and avoid air fresheners that contain “fragrance” since they can include phthalates.
  2. Test before you buy. Often, a reaction may be immediate.
  3. Try natural ways to provide your indoor environment with fresh air. Open your windows, grow a few indoor plants such as Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Gerbera Daisy and Bamboo Palm, which have been shown to absorb small amounts of airborne pollutants, opt for non-toxic products such as baking soda, white vinegar and essential oils
  4. Remove many airborne chemicals, gases, odors and particles with an air purifier that features granular activated carbon and HEPA filters.
Source: Healthy Child,

 Don't 'freshen' the air - clean it!

AllerAir has designed air purifiers for the home and office that provide a complete air cleaning solution for those concerned about chemicals, particles and odors.  

AllerAir solutions include:
Contact one of AllerAir's IAQ experts to find the right air purifier for your needs.