Friday, September 30, 2011

Bed bug pesticides can make you sick: Study

Human parasites: Bed bugs
Photo by Gilles San Martin
A growing number of bed bug infestations coupled with increased use of pesticides have led to a spike in sickness from chemical exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

In a study that is the first of its kind in the U.S., the CDC found that 111 people got sick from bed bug chemicals between 2003 and 2010, but nearly three quarters of these illnesses occurred between 2008 and 2010, when the bed bug epidemic took off.

That’s not the kind of number that suggests a public health burden, but the CDC cautions that the number may grow as bed bugs continue to become resistant to commonly used chemical pesticides.

Most of the sicknesses caused by pesticides occurred in the metropolitan area of New York City, and in six other states: California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

Some 81 percent of cases were not severe, according to a Reuters article.

Most of the illnesses were due to misuse of the pesticides, the CDC says, and common symptoms included headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are reddish-brown insects with a flattened oval shape that feed on blood and can survive up to a year without eating. They are attracted by body warmth and carbon dioxide.

While bed bugs occur around the world, the recent spread of infestations has been blamed on increased international travel and other trends such as secondhand furnishings.
Bed bugs are often spread through
travel, experts say.

Bed bug bites can lead to skin rashes and allergic symptoms, but they are not known to carry disease and more often cause emotional distress rather than other symptoms.

To get rid of bed bugs, many people resort to harsh chemical substances.

However, resistance to pesticides has increased significantly, and there have been real concerns about the negative health effects associated with pesticides and using exterminators that are not certified.

Experts recommend using only certified professionals to eradicate bed bug infestations and using chemical and non-chemical treatment.

Non-chemicals treatments include:
  • Vacuuming up bed bugs
  • Heating up a room or cooling it down to a certain temperature to kill the insects (should be done by professionals)
  • Wrapping the mattress in a bed bug-proof cover (physical isolation)

Interested in learning more about indoor air quality, chemical exposure and room air purifiers to remove chemicals, odors and other pollutants? Contact AllerAir today and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still got the sniffles? Blame the wet summer and longer allergy seasons

Warm weather, lots of rain and a longer
season: Optimal allergy conditions.
An extremely wet summer, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Irene, and a longer-than-usual allergy season could mean that you need to keep your tissues handy for a while.

Allergy sufferers have had a tough time after pollen counts reached record-breaking highs in the summer months and mold counts shot up due to floods and humidity, leading to continual itching, sneezing, coughing and sniffling.

The first frost usually brings some relief, but this year it is expected to arrive much later than usual.

Experts have been saying for years now that warmer temperatures due to climate change create the perfect conditions for plants to produce more pollen.

Some tips for allergy sufferers:
  • Keep windows and doors closed to shut out allergens
  • Wear a mask and goggles when gardening or cleaning indoors
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about allergy shots, over-the-counter-medications and other tips
  • Use an air purifier with carbon + HEPA to breathe clean air

Remove common allergens with an air purifier

AirMedic air purifier with
carbon and HEPA filters
A room air cleaner with a medical-grade HEPA filter will remove 99.97% of airborne pollen, particles and other allergens.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for allergies and asthma feature a multistage filtration system to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants and provide cleaner, more breathable air.

Check out AllerAir’s AirMedic that also removes airborne chemicals, gases and odors. The AirMedic+ Series can also accommodate UV germicidal filtration to provide enhanced protection from mold spores and mold mycotoxins, bacteria and viruses.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Researchers alarmed at rising hookah use among California youth

Exposure to smoke indoors is a health risk, experts say.
As more and more California residents between the ages of 18 and 24 take up the habit of smoking hookah, researchers worry about the health effects of this popular trend.

Hookah, a water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco, is seen by many as a fun social activity, but the common belief that smoking hookah is less harmful than smoking cigarettes is misguided, experts say.

"This rise is particularly alarming because it's happening in California, a state that leads the nation in tobacco control," said Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, in a public news release.

"While cigarette smoking has decreased nationwide and in California, reports of ever using hookah have increased, especially among adolescent and young adults."

While indoor smoking has been banned throughout California, hookah use is still permitted in in designated lounges.

Study results showed that from 2005 to 2008, hookah use among all adults increased by more than 40 percent; and by 2008, hookah use in California was much higher among young adults – 24.5 percent among men, 10 percent among women – than it was among all adults – 11.2 percent among men, 2.8 percent among women.

The habit was more common among non-Hispanic whites that had at least some college education.

Improve indoor air quality with portable air purifiers

AllerAir is a leading industry expert when it comes to serious air purifiers with many pounds of activated carbon for the removal of chemicals, fumes and odors, HEPA for the best particle filtration and other filters or options to maximize the unit’s performance.
AllerAir's portable air purifiers

AllerAir air purifiers for tobacco smoke feature special tar-trapping filters and an extra deep bed of activated carbon to adsorb a wide range of the harmful toxins lurking in tobacco smoke.

The DS and DXS models have been engineered to be able to handle tobacco smoke in the ambient air and not to clog up like other units.

Contact AllerAir for more information and personalized recommendations.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Study shows the high costs of colds in North America

The cost of colds and the flu weighs heavily on Canadian
and US workers, a new study shows.
A Canadian study on the impact of colds and flu on school absenteeism, the workplace and the economy found that the costs are staggering.

In the first study of its kind, the researchers reviewed published clinical trials, studies and research projects from more than 300 researchers. 

The report with the title "Why the Common Cold and Flu Matter" pointed out the following highlights.
  • 1/3 of Canadian adults have a sore throat, cold or flu in any given month. More common in women than men.  
  • 2/3 of Canadian adults experiencing the first signs of a cold or flu used some type of self-treatment. Women were more likely to self treat and also consult a doctor as compared to men.  
  • 1/5 of Canadian adults ignore symptoms altogether  
  • Cough/cold remedies are the second most commonly used medications in Canada.  
  • Canadians spend more than $300 million a year on over-the-counter cold and flu treatments and prescription antibiotics which, for the most part, neither "...ameliorate symptoms nor change the course of the illnesses."

The researchers say prevention can make a big difference in reducing the impact of colds and the flu.

While children in schools and daycare easily spread infections and colds, adults are also to blame, the study found, as many continue to go to work when they are sick and the spreading diseases lead to much greater productivity losses and increased costs for companies.

In fact, 83% of participants in a U.S. survey on work and illness say they continued to attend work or school while experiencing symptoms of an influenza-like illness. 

This behavior adds up to a significant economic cost as researchers cite direct costs due to lost productivity from colds at $25 billion in the U.S. 

Taking into consideration both indirect (lost productivity) and direct (doctor visits and medicine) costs, of colds, the figure in the U.S. annually is $40 billion.

Improve IAQ at home and at work for better results

Air purifiers for the home and office:
4000, 5000 and 6000 Series
AllerAir’s carbon + HEPA airpurifiers provide a simple and cost-effective solution to better indoor air at home, in school and at the office.

Choose an air purifier with UV germicidal filtration (like a 5000 Exec UV) for enhanced protection from biological contaminants such as viruses, bacteria and mold mycotoxins.

The powerful air purifiers are easy to use, portable and effective in removing a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, VOCs, gases, fumes, odors, particles, pollen, dust and pathogens.

Contact AllerAir for more information and personalized recommendations.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tips to remove common household odors

Get rid of bad smells and odors in your home.
Having a strange smell and not know why or where it’s coming from can drive homeowners crazy.

In fact, in their search to find the cause and eliminate household odors, they can spend a lot of money.

But while sometimes an IAQ specialist’s or a plumber’s help is needed, there are many things homeowners can do to prevent stinky odors.

Air out and maintain little-used rooms
Open the windows or doors to little-used guest rooms and other areas and run the water in little-used bathrooms once a week or more. If they are not used for a long time, the water in the pipes leading to the sewer evaporates and methane-sulfur gases may build up and enter through the drain into the room.

Inspect your rooftop vents
A steady breeze or wind can create positive pressure in rooftop vents, which are supposed to release sewer gas into the air, and force the gas back into the house. The solution is to make the vent pipe long enough to avoid these drafts and let the foul smells escape.

Clean the sink pipe
If you notice a sour smell coming from one drain, it may be due to an obstructed sink pipe (also called P-trap). It may be caused by hair, toothpaste, gel, dirt and other substances. You can either take off the P-trap and clean it out or treat the drain with an enzyme-based cleaner.

Check your water heater
If the water smells bad, it may because of a deteriorating anode rod. They should be replaced every six months to six years.

Ban indoor smoking and get rid of stale smoke odors
Smoke odors tend to cling to carpets, air ducts, walls, furniture etc, so a thorough cleaning may be needed, or you can simply use an air purifier for smoke from AllerAir.

Air out your washing machine
Front-load washers can start to smell musty if you keep the door locked all the time. That’s because water can’t evaporate and mold can grow. The easy solution is to leave the door open when the washer is not in use.

Remove irritating pet odors
Pet urine stains on carpets or floors may release odors if the house gets humid or if the carpet is cleaned. A professional cleaner may use an enzyme cleaner to actually remove the stains.

Air purifiers from AllerAir to
remove odors and chemicals.

Enjoy breathing cleaner, healthier air with AllerAir air purifiers for the home and office, air scrubbers for smoke, air cleaners for allergies and asthma, air purifiers for mold, and more.

Contact AllerAir for available options and a personalized recommendation based on your indoor air concern, your budget and your preferences.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doctor speaks out on how chemicals are affecting women’s health

We are exposed to thousands of
chemicals every day.
A barrage of recent studies and regulatory action seems to confirm what many people have suspected for a long time: Continued exposure to chemicals, no matter at what levels, can affect our health and well-being.

Warnings and concerns about chemicals such as formaldehyde in hair products and common household products, VOCs in construction materials and cleaning products, phthalates in plastics and solvents, parabens in personal care products, BPA (bisphenol A) in plastic linings and food containers, flame retardants in furniture and textiles, pesticides and many other toxins are just a few of the chemicals we are exposed to every single day.

Chemicals building up over time

In a recent report by WEWS News, Dr. Marianne Marchese, who practices naturopathic medicine, said that some of the most serious conditions affecting women, including breast cancer and infertility, can be linked to toxins we breathe, ingest, and put on our skin.

Even if daily exposure is low, the danger lies in the fact that chemical toxins can build up in the body over time, she says.

Women may be more affected because many of these chemicals mimic hormones in a women’s body and are very estrogenic.

Dr. Marchese, who wrote the book “8 Weeks to Women’s Wellness,” suggests limiting exposure to chemicals as much as possible, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that can help the body get rid of the chemical buildup and keeping up to date with the latest research and suggestions.

Reduce exposure, improve IAQ

In terms of indoor air quality, the best ways to reduce chemical exposure include using natural cleaning and personal care products, cleaning regularly, avoiding scented and synthetic products with added fragrance, keeping the home well-ventilated and at a comfortable humidity level.

AllerAir's 5000 Exec:
Air purifier for the home or office.
But since it is not possible to avoid chemicals entirely, you may want to continuously improve your indoor air quality with a high-quality air purifier.

“A good quality air purifier with both a HEPA and carbon filter will reduce airborne dust, pollen, pollution and chemical fumes,” says Stephanie Bristow, an AllerAir Air Quality Expert. “It helps to remove or prevent odors and makes a big difference in the air quality at home.”

AllerAir Industries specializes in powerful air purifiers for the home and office, offering the largest activated carbon filters in the industry and the most customizable options.

Contact AllerAir for more information: 1-888-852-8247.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Insomnia, productivity and indoor air quality

Sleep disorders result in lost productivity, study shows.
Sleep problems are costing the US workforce dearly.

In a recent national survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers estimate that insomnia and related sleep disorders cost the US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

The survey revealed that about 23 percent of US workers suffer from insomnia, and that it affects more women than men.

The average US workers is losing about 11.3 days, or $2,280 in lost productivity every year because of sleep disorders, the study shows.

"We were shocked by the enormous impact insomnia has on the average person's life," said lead author Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D.

"It's an underappreciated problem. Americans are not missing work because of insomnia. They are still going to their jobs but accomplishing less because they're tired. In an information-based economy, it's difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity."

Because insomnia is not considered an illness – the kind that results in lost days at work – employers tend to ignore its consequences, he added. "Can U.S. employers afford not to address insomnia in workplace?"

Cleaner air for better sleep

People experience sleeping problems for a variety of reasons – but indoor air pollution does not have to be one of them. A portable air purifier is the quickest, safest and most effective way to provide cleaner air in the bedroom and beyond.

Not every air purifier is the same, however. A HEPA-only air filter will remove airborne particles only, but it will leave harmful chemicals and irritating odors behind.

A complete air filtration system from AllerAir removes common household chemicals, gases, odors, dust, dust mites and particles with a powerful activated carbon + HEPA filter combination.

AllerAir's most popular air purifiers for the bedroom include:

Contact AllerAir for more information and a personalized recommendation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another reason to deal with stress promptly

Children's response to air pollution is worse
if they live in high-stress households.
Anyone trying to manage young children, work, household and other facets of life will tell you that stress is simply unavoidable – but a high-stress life can impact the children’s health, a new study found.

Reuters Health reported earlier this summer that children living in high-stress households are more vulnerable to lung damage from traffic pollution than children whose parents are less stressed out.

The study was done in southern California and measured nitrogen oxide levels in the area as well as various indicators of lung function in nearly 1,400 children.

Nitogen oxides are formed when fuel is burned. They can damage lung tissue and aggravate asthma.

Children living with stressed-out parents suffered more from air pollution

Researchers found that for kids from high-stress homes, when the average amount of nitrogen oxides in the air went up by 22 parts per billion, their lung function got roughly five percent worse.

That same increase in pollutants around a child whose parents had a low level of stress made no difference to their lung function, however.

An earlier study by some of the same researchers found that children exposed to traffic-related air pollution and a high-stress home were 51 percent more likely to develop asthma than children exposed to the same pollutants, but in a low-stress environment (see Reuters Health report, July 21, 2009).

The exact link is not known, but stress and pollutants are both tied to inflammation and tissue damage.

Source: Reuters

Breathe easier indoors with an AllerAir air purifier

AllerAir offers high-quality, portable air purifiers for the home and office that feature a complete, multistage filtration system to remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, mold, bacteria and viruses.

The key to AllerAir’s powerful air cleaners is the activated carbon + HEPA filter technology, and options include different carbon blends for better adsorption of specific toxins and UV germicidal filtration to neutralize even more live contaminants.

With a diverse product line, AllerAir has the right air purifier for virtually any indoor air problem, including:

Please contact AllerAir directly for more information, more options and personalized recommendations.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing with allergies after Hurricane Irene

Allergic reactions are common after
hurricanes and floods.
Residents in the northeastern United Stated, who got pounded with strong winds, heavy rainfalls and widespread flooding when Hurricane Irene hurled through are still feeling the effects.

Many areas in New York state and other regions are still heavily flooded and the water and humid air provide perfect conditions for mold and other pollutants to flourish.

This, coupled with the seasonal ragweed allergies may lead to much stronger allergic reactions to those sensitive to mold, dust mites, ragweed and other allergens.

According to health experts, similar strong allergic reactions were observed after Hurricane Katrina.

The experts recommend taking various steps to mitigate and prevent mold growth, warning that just because you don’t see or smell anything, any surface area that has been wet for more than two days is prone to get moldy.

If that is the case, wet carpet and humid drywall should be thrown out and the area dried thoroughly to prevent any mold from spreading or growing further.

Other tips include
  • Drying out the air with an air conditioner or dehumidifier
  • Checking the home’s humidity with a hygrometer
  • Using a particle mask to avoid exposure to allergens
  • Running a HEPA air filter to reduce the allergen count in the indoor space

AllerAir offers air purifiers for mold that contain a HEPA filter for particles and mold spores, a deep bed of activated carbon  for the removal of musty smells, mold mycotoxins and other harmful chemicals and gases in the air as well as a UV lamp (optional), which neutralizes biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, mold spores and mold mycotoxins.

The units are portable and can easily be moved from one area (such as the basement) to the room that is frequented the most (such as the bedroom).

AllerAir recommended air purifiers for mold include:

Contact AllerAir for more information!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The top 10 smoking states in the U.S.

Many people continue to smoke.
Plenty of Americans continue to smoke, no matter how many health warnings, anti-smoking efforts and regulations they encounter.

While many states are now restricting smoking in public places (and even in parks, as in New York state), the addictive habit is not likely to disappear anytime soon.

According to a recent article on, the top 10 smoking states in the US are (in alphabetical order):
  1. Arkansas
  2. Indiana
  3. Kentucky
  4. Louisiana
  5. Mississippi
  6. Missouri
  7. Oklahoma
  8. South Carolina
  9. Tennessee
  10. West Virginia

Not surprisingly, the rates for smoking-related illnesses and deaths are very high in these states.

Smoking has been associated with a wide range of respiratory diseases, cancers and other ailments.

The dangers of smoking
Research has shown that cigarette smoke begins to cause genetic damage within minutes — not years — after inhalation into the lungs.

Smokers not only put themselves at risk, but also the people around them: Secondhand smoke has been shown to be as bad – if not worse – than inhaling the smoke itself.

Some people are even warning about the dangers of third-hand smoke, which describes the harmful chemicals and toxins clinging to walls, furniture and clothing long after the cigarette has been put out.

A recent study talked about on this blog showed that children living with smokers miss more school days than those who do not.

Worried about your indoor air quality and smoke?

AllerAir is one of the only manufacturers offering air purifiers specifically designed for tobacco smoke.
5000 and 6000 DS air purifiers:
Designed for smoke pollutants.

While most air purifier easily clog up when it comes to smoke, AllerAir air purifiers feature special tar-trapping pre-filters, a large activated carbon filter to remove the odors, chemicals and vapors associated with tobacco smoke as well as HEPA filtration to clear the air of fine particles.

Contact AllerAir for more information.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Create a healthy home with a few simple steps

A healthy home starts with healthy IAQ.
Health experts all across North America are warning about the high levels of indoor air pollution affecting the majority of residents – but with a  few small changes and good habits, you can significantly improve the  indoor air quality in your home.

Reduce airborne pollutants
  • Choose low VOC paints and non-toxic renovation materials
  • Use natural cleaning products such as vinegar and lemon juice
  • Avoid commercial “air fresheners” and scented candles/products

Clean your indoor air
  • Install a whole home air filtration system to remove allergens, particles and chemicals from the ambient air or opt for a portable room air purifier in the room(s) you spend most time in (like the bedroom). Keep in mind that these air purifiers need to be equipped with granular activated carbon filters and HEPA to remove the widest range of contaminants. AllerAir also offers UV germicidal filtration for enhanced protection from live contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.
  • Opt for air purifying plants: Some houseplants such as ivy and gerbera daisies have been shown to remove VOCs from the air as well.

Prevent mold growth
  • Avoid trapping a lot of moisture and humidity inside, which can lead to active mold growth. 
  • Make sure you are venting bathrooms and clothes dryers and use an exhaust fan while cooking.
  • Keep the indoor humidity levels at 50 percent or below and use a dehumidifier, if needed.

Set up IAQ-friendly routines
  • Test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and change batteries every time the clocks are reset
  • Change your HVAC filters regularly
  • Keep dust and pollen levels down by cleaning and wet mopping regularly
Source: Creston News Advisor

Interested in learning more about indoor air quality and air purification?
Follow AllerAir on twitter
E-mail or phone 1-888-852-8247

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Certain illnesses common to all oil spills: toxicologist

Doctors may not know enough about chemical
exposure's health effects, toxicologist says.
Living or working near the site of an oil spill can lead to serious health effects, including headaches, migraines, nausea, burning eyes, memory loss, rashes, breathing problems – even seizures.

Environmental toxicologists have been tracking the health impacts of oil spills for a while now, and the above-mentioned conditions are common among all of them.

The health effects show up in people of all ages, sizes, races who are exposed to the chemicals released during an oil spills.

This July, a peer-reviewed study of oil spill exposure found the same set of symptoms in each location along recent oil spills, according to an article in the Michigan Messenger.

Researchers are also looking at reproductive concerns, since many of the chemicals have been shown to impact fetuses in the first trimester.

Chemical illness is a relatively new field for doctors and most insurance companies have no billing code for it, which makes diagnosis tricky.

The problem with chemical exposure is that low levels can accumulate in the body over the course of continued exposure and lead to health effects down the road.

Source: Michigan Messenger

Chemical exposure affects us all

You don’t have to live near a petrochemical plant to be exposed to toxic chemicals.

They are already in many household product we use, like cleaners, scented detergents and soaps, scented candles, personal care products, building materials, electronic equipment and printer inks, tobacco smoke and much more.
AllerAir air purifiers feature a
multistage filter system.

We are constantly consuming and touching materials that may emit chemicals, gases and vapors, which we then inhale.

AllerAir’s air quality experts recommend switching to natural or untreated materials whenever possible, avoiding or controlling sources of indoor air pollution and using one or more air purifiers with a deep-bed activated carbon filter and HEPA to remove airborne contaminants such as chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, bacteria and viruses.

Activated carbon is the most important component of an air purifier for odor and chemical control because it is the only effective, trusted and affordable filter media to quickly and efficiently adsorb these pollutants.

AllerAir makes air purifiers for any room size or budget and also offers exclusive carbon blends and customizable options to solve virtually any IAQ problem.

Contact us for more information.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Home office: The ‘modern’ workplace presents its own challenges

A home office needs to be set up
properly to be effective.
As more and more people take advantage of flexible working hours or choose a profession that allows them to work from home, many houses now have a dedicated home office.

But not every home office is conducive to productive work, health and safety experts warn.

In fact, the occupational health and safety obligations that apply to an office workplace also apply to a home work set up.

A home office should have
  • Sufficient light and ventilation
  • A work area free of trip hazards like loose floor boards 
  • Adequate security
Some corporate lawyers even suggest that employers inspect the employee’s premises or have a third party carry out the inspection or have the employee carry out a check list of inspections and modifications.

Both parties need to work together to come to an agreement and to regularly review the home working setup to accommodate changing needs.

Indoor air quality at the home office
A portable air purifier helps create
a beneficial home office environment.

People working from home need to make sure that their home office is set up in a space that is well ventilated and bright, if possible.

Electrical equipment and printers emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other toxins that can be removed with a powerful portable air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA.

AllerAir’s 5000 series and 6000 series and AirMedic series air purifiers combine a highly efficient filtration system with a small footprint design.

The air filters are easy to handle and easy to move from place to place, and they remove a wide range of airborne chemicals, gases, odors, particles, bacteria and viruses that may otherwise cause or aggravate respiratory conditions and lead to other health effects.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clean-up tips for mold after floods

Mold exposure can lead to allergy-like
symptoms, including headaches and sneezing.
At a time when extreme weather events seem to become the norm, many residents in the northeastern part of the United States and Canada have to deal with flooded basements and high humidity as a result of hurricanes and rain-heavy weather systems.

After a flood, homeowners and residents need to be on the lookout for mold, which can start growing 24-48 hours after the flood itself.

Mold thrives in the right conditions, including standing water, humid air and wet surfaces.

The longer these conditions remain, the more mold can grow and affect the people in the environment, according to experts.

While each flood situation may come with its own challenges, ASSE has prepared some tips that can help residents stay healthy and avoid mold exposure.

Some tips to treat or prevent mold after a flood:
  • Dry the affected area as soon as possible, throw out anything that could be contaminated or that can't be dried easily
  • During and after a flood, take the necessary safety precautions to avoid electrical shocks and contact with contaminated water
  • Remove mold in a timely manner and be careful about the products you use (some may contain dangerous chemicals) – always wear personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles and a respirator).
  • Inspect the affected areas regularly and take action if you smell a musty odor, if you see active mold growth or if you think your health or well-being may be affected by mold.
  • Always speak to your health provider or mold experts
  • Keep the humidity level below 50 percent;
  • Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months (depending on the climate);
  • Make sure the house has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans, in the kitchen and bathrooms;
  • Clean all surfaces and bathrooms with mold-killing products;
  • Remove or forgo carpeting in bathrooms, basements, or other areas where moisture or water could be a concern.
  • Use a portable air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA plus UV (if possible) to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including odor-causing chemicals, mold mycotoxins and mold spores, particles, bacteria, viruses, gases and fumes.
  • Get all the information you need. This is just the starting point. Check out the guidelines and information compiled by EPA, CDC and other agencies and organizations.
Want to learn more about indoor air quality and our efficient air purifiers? Contact AllerAir to talk to one of AllerAir’s air quality experts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fan of DIY? Study links home renos and mesothelioma in women

DIY projects may be risky for women
(and men) if asbestos is involved.
Whether it’s moving into a new place or giving your home a much-needed update, a growing number of homeowners are taking on their own home renovations – but at what cost?

In an Australian study, researchers have found that the trend may be accompanied by a growing number of deadly asbestos-related cancers in women.

Traditionally, and still today, more men than women are being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity), an article in the Sydney Morning Herald says, but the rise in cases has been sharper for women, who may be exposed to asbestos fibers when the asbestos-containing materials in their home are being disturbed during renovations.

The facts speak for themselves: The number of home renovation cases soared from five per cent of all MM cases in women during the 1990s to more than 35 per cent between 2005 and 2008.

For the study, researchers from the University of Western Australia reviewed all cases of MM diagnosed in the state between 1960 and 2008.

Asbestos still widespread in homes

Lead researcher Nola Olsen said the number of home renovation cases was likely to continue rising given the amount of older properties still containing asbestos products coupled with the growing popularity of DIY renovations.

In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

"Asbestos-containing products such as asbestos cement sheets are still found in many homes, particularly older homes and fences," Olsen was quoted in the article.

"Our study shows that exposures in the home, at a time when people were less aware of the health issues and these asbestos products were still legally available, have unfortunately had dire consequences for some."

While the chances of developing mesothelioma are relatively low, the problem is still there - and not only in Australia. Many homes in the rest of the world still feature asbestos-containing materials.

Asbestos fibers can be hazardous when they become airborne and are inhaled, and exposure has also been linked to lung cancer and asbestosis.

Before taking on DIY projects, consider these points:
  • Find out if the house was built with asbestos-containing materials
  • If so, consider hiring a professional remediation company. If the materials are in good condition, experts suggest leaving them alone so as not to disturb any fibers
  • Make sure to wear protective gear
  • Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos. These steps will disturb tiny asbestos fibers and may release them into the air. Remove dust by wet mopping or with a special HEPA vacuum cleaner used by trained asbestos contractors
  • Use an indoor air purifier with HEPA and activated carbon (see AllerAir’s 6000 Series)
  • Indoor air monitoring may be necessary to reduce risks
  • Always seek information and weigh risks before beginning a project

Contact AllerAir for more information and IAQ solutions.

Allerair Industries is a manufacturer of high-quality air purifiers for homes and offices. The company focuses on developing air filtration systems that deal with all kinds of air pollutants, ranging from dust particles to airborne chemicals and pathogens.

The AllerAir product line includes solutions for allergies and asthma, mold, MCS, tobacco smoke and odor control, among many others.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Children living with smokers miss more school

Secondhand smoke can lead to higher
absenteeism rates for school children.
In a national study released by the Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers confirm that school-aged children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home have higher absenteeism rates than those who do not.

These children exposed to household smoking were also found to have higher rates of respiratory illnesses that may be linked to tobacco smoke.

"Among children ages 6 to 11 who live with smokers, one quarter to one third of school absences are due to household smoking," says Douglas Levy, PhD, of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at MGH, the paper's lead author.

"On a national basis these absences result in $227 million in lost wages and time for caregivers or their employers."

The authors note that one-third of U.S. children live with at least one smoker, and more than half of those aged 3 to 11 have detectable levels of a blood marker for tobacco exposure.

Second-hand smoking has been shown to increase incidence of ear infections and several respiratory conditions, and school absenteeism is an accessible measure of serious illness in children.

Children living with one in-home smoker had an average of 1.06 more days absent, and those living with two or more had 1.54 more days absent than did children living in homes where no one smoked indoors.

Study also looked at cost of smoke-related absences

The researchers also tallied the associated costs, including lost income for parents without paid time off, the costs to employers of the lost work, and the inability of caregivers not employed outside the home to take care of usual household tasks.

"The total impact nationwide was $227 million in lost wages and household work for the families of the 2.6 million children living with smokers and for their employers," Levy says.

"Since almost half of the smoking households in our study had low incomes, that impact may be strongest on households least able to afford it."

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The experts warn that the study only looked at a few problems connected with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and that the real health impacts may be much worse.

Improve IAQ with air purifiers for smoke

While quitting smoking or having cigarettes outside is the best way to protect children from secondhand smoke exposure, a portable air purifier with a multistage filtration system may help remove dangerous indoor air pollutants.

AllerAir offers a series of air purifiers designed for smoke and feature special tar-trapping filters, a deep-bed activated carbon filter and HEPA particle filter to remove the widest range of toxins without clogging up.

Contact AllerAir for a personalized recommendation.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Which is worse: A head full of lice or the chemical treatments to get rid of them?

Head to head contact can spread lice.
With Back-to-School in full swing, parents everywhere are encountering a well-known fear – that their children may be infected with lice.

This is the main season for head lice, and it is estimated that between 6 million and 12 million young children are affected each year.

With many strict school policies in place to contain lice infestations, many parents turn to over-the-counter treatments and shampoos to get rid of the tiny creatures.

However, according to an iWatch News investigation, the chemical pesticides in these treatments may be more of a threat than the lice themselves.

Health experts warn against using treatments with lindane, a pesticide that has been targeted for a worldwide phase-out by the Stockholm Convention. Lindane has been linked to cancer, seizures and deaths, according to the FDA.

Pesticides called permethrin and malathion can also be problematic for lice treatment. Permethrin is found in popular over-the-counter products, such as Nix. Malathion and lindane generally require a prescription for drugs that go by the names Ovide or Kwell, respectively.

Important points to consider if you suspect head lice
  • Make sure it is a case of head lice. Pediatricians warn that head lice infestations are often over-diagnosed, both by parents and health professionals. Symptoms of head lice can include having an itchy scalp, seeing red bumps on the child's scalp and neck, seeing live lice moving around on the child's head and finding nits (lice eggs), which are tiny white oval shaped specks that are attached to the sides of hairs 
  • Recent studies that show the shampoos are less effective than they used to be as lice become increasingly resistant.
  • Problems may arise when lice shampoos are overused or directions aren’t followed.
  • Children are generally more susceptible than adults to chemicals, experts say, and the application of a product directly to a child’s head – where only a thin layer of skin protects the developing brain – does not seem like a great idea. 
  • Natural home remedies are not regulated and may not be effective. 
  • If your child is 2 years old or younger, you should not use medicated lice treatments. You'll need to remove the nits and lice by hand, with a fine comb.
  • Always talk to your health care provider and voice your concerns about chemicals and pesticides.

Sources: iWatch News,

Chemicals on the skin, chemicals in the air - exposure to chemicals and toxins can have serious health effects. To learn more about airborne chemicals and air treatment solutions from AllerAir, contact us today.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Texas wildfires threaten homes and lungs

Poor air quality is a dangerous
byproduct of wildfires.
Central Texas has been hit with out-of-control wildfires that are driven over the drought-battered land by strong winds, destroying hundreds of homes so far.

Firefighters have been battling the blazes non-stop since the beginning of the week.

At a news conference, Gov. Rick Perry described the disaster as "a monstrous storm of smoke and fire," adding that "this one is as mean-looking as I've ever seen."

Air quality suffers during and after wildfires

The scope of the damage may only become apparent over the next couple of days, but experts warn that there can be immediate and long-term health effects linked to wildfire smoke exposure.

While most people in the area will be most concerned about their homes and possessions at a time like this, it's important to keep health and well-being in mind, too.

“80% to 90% of wildfire smoke is made up of very fine particles that can stay suspended in the air for a long time and can penetrate deep into the lungs when inhaled,” says AllerAir’s Stephanie Bristow.

“Anytime there is an increase in this type of airborne particulate matter, studies have shown a link to numerous health problems including headaches, nausea, dizziness, respiratory problems, strokes and heart attacks.”

Homeowners in nearby regions should also take precautions. Smoke can travel far beyond the main burn zone and studies show that even a small increase in airborne fine particulate matter can affect overall health.

Remove wildfire smoke chemicals and particles with carbon + HEPA filters

Wildfire smoke travels far and wide and can easily enter homes and residences. Among the most vulnerable groups to wildfire smoke are children, seniors and those with sensitivities (chemicals and particles).

AllerAir's AirMedic+ Series
combines great particle filtration
with chemical and odor control.
AllerAir offers portable, powerful air purifiers with deep-bed activated carbon and HEPA that can remove a wide range of chemicals, odors, gases, fumes and particles from the ambient air.

Featured air purifiers for wildfire (and tobacco) smoke are:
  • AirMedic+ Vocarb, featuring a medical-grade HEPA and a large activated carbon filter
  • 5000 DS or 6000 DS, which have been designed for smoke and odor relief and feature special tar-trapping pre-filters, a deep bed of activated carbon and micro-HEPA filters for particle removal.

For more information and personalized recommendations, contact AllerAir today.

Related posts:

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

State law requires companies to report chemicals in toys

The list of "report-worthy"
chemicals contains 66 entries.
Amid a growing number of studies, reports and concerns about the toxic chemicals, synthetics and byproducts in everyday products, the state of Washington has taken a step toward accountability in the toy industry.

A new law requires toy manufacturers to report if how much of toxic substances are contained in their products.

The state has identified 66 chemicals that require reporting, including formaldehyde, bisphenol A and phthalates – plasticizers that can be found in many everyday household products and plastic toys.

State officials especially target the kind of products that are likely to be chewed on or that come into a lot of contact with children and will be sold in Washington.

Large manufacturers, or those with gross sales of over $1 billion, must report to the state by August 2012. The rule will phase in over the next several years for smaller companies, an AP article explained.

Worried about chemical exposure?

The first step to reducing chemical exposure is of course opting for less toxic products, using more natural materials (including cleaning products) and keeping the indoor air clean.

A portable and cost-effective option is an air purifier – but it needs to be a serious air cleaner with a deep bed of activated carbon as well as HEPA.

Many “big box” air purifiers only contain HEPA, which is a great particle filter, but won’t reduce the chemical count in your environment.

For better chemical control, a large activated carbon filter can adsorb a wide range of toxic chemicals and odors, including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, VOCs and many others.

AllerAir has developed an extensive product line of high-quality air purifiers for IAQ concerns such as

Contact us to find out more and to get a product recommendation according to your IAQ concern.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Video: Is your asthmatic child ready for school?

"Parents need an action plan"

Looking to reduce asthma and allergy triggers at home and in the classroom? A high quality air purifier for allergies and asthma can remove the airborne chemicals and particles that aggravate the lungs. Connect with an air quality expert today to learn more:

Start a live chat session with an indoor air quality expert
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wave of the future or health hazard? Nanoparticles may cause lung cancer

"The findings should raise clear concerns about handling nickel nanoparticles, including preventing the airborne exposure to them in manufacturing."

Nanotechnology has been hailed as the wave of the future, but can particles on the scale of  billionths of a meter harm us? 

New research by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Brown University says they can. 

The team found that nanoparticles of nickel activate a cellular pathway that contributes to cancer in human lung cells.

"Nanotechnology has tremendous potential and promise for many applications," said Agnes Kane, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. 

"But the lesson is that we have to learn to be able to design them more intelligently and, if we recognize the potential hazards, to take adequate precautions."

Kane is the senior author of the study published in advance online this month in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

Nickel nanoparticles have previously been shown to be harmful, but not in terms of cancer. Kane and her team of pathologists, engineers and chemists found evidence that ions on the surface of the particles are released inside human epithelial lung cells to jumpstart a pathway called HIF-1 alpha. 

Normally the pathway helps trigger genes that support a cell in times of low oxygen supply, a problem called hypoxia, but it is also known to encourage tumor cell growth.

"Nickel exploits this pathway, in that it tricks the cell into thinking there's hypoxia but it's really a nickel ion that activates this pathway," said Kane, whose work is supported by a National Institutes of Health Superfund Research Program Grant. 

"By activating this pathway it may give pre-malignant tumor cells a head start."

Size matters

The research team, also learned that the size of the particle made a difference. 

While the smaller particles set off the HIF-1 alpha pathway, the larger metallic nickel particles proved much less problematic.

Although Kane said the findings should raise clear concerns about handling nickel nanoparticles, including preventing the airborne exposure to them in manufacturing.
AllerAir and its industrial division Electrocorp, have quality air cleaning solutions for the home and office as well as for industry and manufacturing

We specialize in chemical, odor, fume and particle filtration. 

Contact us to learn more about our custom air quality solutions:

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