Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Protect children from thirdhand smoke: Pediatrician

No smoke is good smoke when it comes to children.
It’s not enough to go outside to smoke when there are young children in the home, experts warn.

According to pediatricians, even after a cigarette is extinguished and the secondhand smoke has disappeared, smoke chemicals and particles linger on surfaces, materials, clothing and hair.

This “thirdhand” smoke poses a significant risk to children and pets.

Recently released information from the Philip Morris Company presented clear evidence that a highly toxic and cancer-causing substance known as 4-(methylnitrosamino)-I-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) is present for hours after a cigarette has been smoked.

The chemicals and particles remain in the air as well as on surfaces and in household dust, where they can be inhaled or ingested by infants and young children.

A recent study revealed that 18 percent of children (32 million children) are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. When children were tested for cotinine, a by-product of nicotine exposure from secondhand or thirdhand smoke exposure, more than half (54%) of children had detectable levels.

Health effects of secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure

Tobacco smoke can be extremely detrimental to children’s health. Secondhand smoke exposure has been linked to
  • Asthma
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Dental cavities
  • Ear, sinus and lung infections
  • Developmental delays
  • Sleep problems
  • Poor school performance
  • Higher risk of becoming a smoker, too

Most parents know that their smoking is harmful to their children, but it can be very difficult to quit. Experts recommend taking advantage of all the help there is, including talking to your doctors, leaning on supportive family members, quit lines and more.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Air purifiers for tobacco smoke toxins
The 5000 DS air purifier
can handle tobacco smoke
odors, chemicals and particles.

Lingering odors, particles and chemicals from tobacco smoke is not only dangerous for children, it can also be a major irritant to the home’s occupants and visitors.

Opening windows to increase ventilation is a good step toward better air quality, but commonly used gimmicks such as incense and air freshening products only add to the toxic chemical load in the air.

A sure-fire way to remove harmful chemicals, particles and odors from the ambient is with the help of an AllerAir air purifier that is specifically designed for tobacco smoke.

The 5000 DS and similar air purifiers feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, odors and fumes, a HEPA filter for fine particles and a tar-trapping pre-filter to prevent clogging. Other features and options are available.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Did you ever have to deal with tobacco smoke odors and what worked for you? Let us know!

Show your support for greener and healthier homes by following this blog.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What is your home’s air quality?

Poor indoor air quality can affect
your health and well-being.
Indoor air pollution is becoming a major concern for health professionals, and the facts are frightening even for those who are familiar with them:
  • Indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Breathing polluted air can cause or aggravate health conditions, including respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies
  • Indoor air pollution can be caused by a wide range of factors, including building materials, cleaning products, furniture, fabrics, renovations, electronic equipment, personal care products, air fresheners, pets, pesticides, and more

A home’s air quality can best be determined by a personal assessment of the home and each individual room, looking at the materials and furniture as well as housekeeping practices.

Some general statements apply universally. For example, a home with lots of carpeting may have more indoor air pollutants than a home with smooth flooring such as hardwood and ceramic tiles. Newer carpets often release volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, while older carpets often teem with dust particles, mold, bacteria and other contaminants.

Smoking is one of the biggest sources of indoor air pollution in the home and should be relegated to outside areas.

Air quality in the bedroom
The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the home to keep clean and healthy, since we spend so much time in it. Replacing carpet with hardwood floors (and a few small area rugs for comfort) will cut down on pollutants, as will the following tips:
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. The less there is to clean and distract in the bedroom, the better.
  • Don’t allow animals in the bedroom. Household pets can leave hair, dander, feathers or skin particles behind that can cause or aggravate allergic reactions.
  • No more moth balls. Moth balls can contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, a pesticide. Try natural alternatives such as lavender.
  • Air out dry-cleaned clothes before bringing them in. The chemicals used in the cleaning process can be irritating and harmful to health.
  • Be mindful of peeling paint. If the house was built before 1978, the paint on the walls probably contained lead, which can lead to particle pollution when peeling off.

IAQ tips for the living room
The living room area is typically a popular hangout for members of the family, but there are many sources of possible IAQ contaminants:
  • Assess the furniture. Sofas and armchairs can contain foam with flame retardants, and lighter fabrics are often treated with a stain-resistant product, which can off-gas fumes. Cover furniture in untreated, natural fabrics that can be washed and opt for the least toxic materials possible.
  • Be wary of pressed-wood furniture and cabinets. These often release formaldehyde and other VOCs.
  • Switch draperies and curtains with natural blinds or shutters. Curtain fabrics often attract dust and particles, and if they are treated, they can also release harmful chemicals and gases.

Tips for better IAQ in the home
Bathroom air quality tips
In the bathroom, it is recommended to run the vent to avoid high humidity levels and mold growth. Personal care products and air fresheners can expose household members to VOCs.

In the kitchen
Kitchen odors can affect indoor air quality, so using a stovetop range, keeping the kitchen clean with non-toxic cleaning agents such as vinegar and baking soda and keeping up impeccable household practices will help keep indoor air pollution to a minimum.

Basement and garage
The two areas in the home need extra attention because they are often used as storage areas. Keep these spaces as organized as possible, dispose of hazardous products properly and make sure there is proper ventilation. In the garage, be mindful of pesticides, fertilizers, stored fuels, old cans of paint and automotive products that can emit dangerous chemical fumes.

Need better indoor air? Make it happen with a carbon air purifier

Unusual or noticeable odors, stale air, excessive humidity and health reactions are all signs of indoor air quality problems that need to be addressed.

AllerAir has developed some of the best general purpose air purifiers on the market that feature a complete air filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA as well as optional UV to remove the widest range of contaminants.

AllerAir’s specialized air purifiers can handle concerns such as

Contact AllerAir for more information.
Follow this blog to show your support for a greener and healthier living environment.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Improving indoor air around the world: Video

The TedxEvents (TedTalks) video below discusses how indoor fuel-based cookstoves, used by most people in developing countries, impacts their health and the world's environment.

Though people in North America rarely use open fires to cook with, the cooking process, whether it is with gas or electric burners, does cause indoor air pollution. Ventilation and air cleaning are very important for reducing your risks of developing respiratory problems.

AllerAir's air purifiers can help remove the harmful chemicals and gases that are generated during the cooking process.

For more information on our air purifiers, contact AllerAir.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

US cities spray pesticides to eradicate West Nile Virus

Spraying pesticides can be a risk for both animals
and humans.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Since last week, state governments across the United States have been reacting to reports of a West Nile Virus outbreak.

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California have jumped on the bandwagon by dousing large areas with Duet, a mosquito insecticide, in the hopes of eradicating the virus.

The most fervent spraying is being done in Texas, however, where over 400 cases of West Nile Virus have been detected this year. To date, 22 people have died in the state.

Duet is made up of two different pesticides: sumithrin and prallethrin.  Both of these chemicals are pyrethroids, which are used in most household insecticides and considered safe for humans. Not everyone agrees, however.

These chemicals are neuropoisons that can not only kill mosquitoes, but also fish, bees and many other insects and animals, including cats. Some studies have revealed a possible link to cancer, as well as damage to the liver and kidneys in humans.  

The truth is there is no concrete evidence to support or refute whether the chemicals are harmful to humans.Though immediate danger is not foreseen by government agencies, the EPA did admit that people with chemical sensitivities may have adverse reactions to the chemicals.Regardless, it is fair to say that the purpose of pesticides is to kill, and if they can kill insects and mammals, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Have you witnessed the spraying of these pesticides? How are people reacting?

Source: Natural News

Protecting yourselves from airborne pollutants

AllerAir's series of air purifiers.
We have a unit for your needs.
When pest control is occurring city-wide, it is always best to stay inside the home with the doors and windows closed. This will help limit exposure to any outdoor chemicals. 

An air purifier will keep the indoor air free of any harmful chemicals that can come from both indoor and outdoors pollutants. Though outdoor pollutants such as smog, pesticides and exhaust fumes are evident, there are also many indoor air pollutants, such as the chemicals released into the air by hair sprays and cleaning products.

AllerAir offers a varied selection of air purifiers that will help keep your home cleaner and healthier for both you and your family.

For more information on our units, contact AllerAir.

Show your support for greener and healthier lifestyles. Become a member of this blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Triclosan

Triclosan is a common ingredient
in liquid soap
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
"Demystifying household chemicals" is a series that aims to inform people on the types of chemicals found in and around our homes. The series will be featured every Wednesday where a different chemical, and its everyday uses, will be discussed.

Last week, the news was littered with articles about triclosan, a chemical whose side effects have suddenly resurfaced. Though this chemical has been used for 40 years, a new study has found even more disturbing health hazards.

Triclosan is a type of phenol (see article on phenols) and it is used as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent.  In its natural form, triclosan is a white powder that has a slight aromatic smell.  Because of its antibacterial properties, which are often used in liquid soap, scientists have expressed concern that the overuse of triclosan can result in bacteria strains which are resistant to the chemical.

Though many products contain triclosan and, according to the FDA and the European Union, must list the chemical in the products' ingredients, there are many companies that have their own trademarks.  The following are other names used for the chemical triclosan:
  • Microban
  • UltraFresh
  • Amicor
  • BioFresh
Triclosan has been known to cause a number of health issues, including endocrine disruption (which affects your hormones), cancer and birth defects.  The new study indicates the chemical can also affect your muscles. 

After extensive tests, researchers have determined that even short term exposure can reduce muscle contractions, thereby increasing the potential for heart disease and heart failure.

In 1998, the EPA estimated that over one million pounds of triclosan were produced every year in the United States. In light of the number of products now containing the chemical, production has undoubtedly increased. With that increase is the chemical’s reach. Traces of triclosan have been found in breast milk, waterways, dolphins, fish and human blood.

Though the quantity of triclosan used in everyday products is within acceptable levels, the fact that we use so many different products that contain this chemical is cause for concern. Here are a few examples of where triclosan can be found:

  • Liquid soap
  • Facial cleansers
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpastes
  • Make-up
  • Deodorants
  • Shaving creams and gels
  • First aid medicines (e.g. sprays)
  • Cutting boards
  • Socks
  • Toys
  • Furniture
  • Paints

Take a look at this list of brand name products for more information on goods that contain triclosan.

After looking at the link above, how many of these products are in your home right now? What will you do with them? Let us know!

Protecting your home and your health

Though products containing triclosan are used in hospitals to combat infections, scientists and doctors alike suggest people discontinue using antibacterial products, such as liquid soap, in the home. There is no absolute value added and regular soap and water can be just as effective.

Think about reducing the number of products within your home that contain triclosan, such as furniture, toys and socks.
AllerAir's air purifiers can
help remove harmful chemicals
from your home.
Find alternative products that are better for you and for the environment. There are many organic products, or environmentally-friendly products, that can serve you better by keeping you healthier for longer.

Use air purifiers. The fact that one chemical is found in so many products should be a wake-up call.

We are living in a chemically-laden world. Thousands of chemicals are competing for space inside your home: air fresheners, your stove, cleaning products, personal care products etc...

An air purifier with an activated carbon filter will help remove those chemicals, gases and odors from the air, giving you a better chance at clean, healthy air.

For more information about our air purifiers, contact AllerAir today.

Show your support for a greener and healthier life. Become a member of this blog!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chemicals in plastics could contribute to diabetes

Cosmetics contain many different
chemicals, including phthalates
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Though there has been a lot of talk about how chemicals can affect one’s health, new studies reveal a link between these chemicals and diabetes in ethnic women, particularly African-Americans and Mexican-Americans.

In a previous post on phthalates, we looked at a study done on 1000 senior women and the correlation between those who had diabetes and the levels of phthalates in their system.

A new study now reveals that women belonging to a low socio-economic group are at higher risk for diabetes. This may not seem like news as the poor tend to eat cheaper and fattier foods, thereby gaining more weight. But what is of interest in this study is the culprit seems to be the plastics found in peoples' homes.

Phthalates are found in many different products, such as vinyl flooring, perfumes, shower curtains and cosmetics. Over 75 percent of Americans have phthalates in their system, but research into the chemical had, until now, largely focused on how it affected newborns.

Twenty-six million Americans suffer from diabetes, and the rates are highest among African-Americans. They are 77 percent more likely than Caucasians, to develop diabetes. Hispanics are the second most at-risk ethnic group with a 66 percent chance of developing diabetes over Caucasians.

There are many different types of phthalates on the market. Researchers have looked into dibutyl phthalates (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalates (BBP), Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalates (DEHP) and diethyl phthalates (DEP).  

Both DBPs and BBPs seem to double the rate of diabetes for women who demonstrated the highest concentrations of phthalates in their system, while DEHP showed similar, though less elevated, trends. 

BBPs are mostly used in vinyl flooring. The study found that women under the poverty line had 78 percent more BBPs in their systems than more financially stable women. 

DEPs, as of now, show no link to the disease. Of all the phthalates, DEP is the chemical most used in cosmetics. Though this could be cause for relief, the study also revealed that African-American women had double the amount of DEPs and DBPs in their system than did Caucasian women.

Do you think someone's socio-economic standing can cause him or her to develop diabetes? Share your thoughts with us!

Give yourself a fighting chance

AllerAir's air purifiers can help
you live a healthier life.
It can be daunting to know how prevalent chemicals are in our lives. Sometimes we feel like there is no escaping chemical exposure. But there are ways to mitigate your contact with some of the most harmful chemicals out there. 

First start by doing some research on the cosmetics and personal care products you apply to your body daily. Replace the worst offenders with healthier options.  For those products that are impossible to get rid of, reduce your exposure to the gases and chemicals in the air by getting an air purifier that can remove them.

AllerAir’s air purifiers can aid in improving your indoor air quality. To find out which air purifier would work best for you, contact one of our IAQ experts.

Show your support for a greener and healthier lifestyle. Become a member of this blog!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Renting vs. owning: How it may affect asthma

Renters are less likely to follow suggestions
to minimize exposure to allergens: Survey
Whether you rent or own your home can make a difference in the way you handle your asthma, a new survey suggests.

The survey of people with allergic asthma showed that homeowners are more likely to make the recommended changes to help minimize exposures to allergens that may affect their breathing.

Common asthma triggers in the home include dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold.

Experts say that more than half of asthma sufferers in the U.S. have allergic reactions to environmental pollutants.

Making sure that asthma triggers in the home are under control can help manage asthma, but renters are less likely to make the effort than homeowners were, according to the study. While 91% of homeowners took steps to reduce exposures, only 63% of renters did.

Some of the recommendations may be impractical for renters, including the removal of carpeting, but others are easy to follow and can make a big difference, experts say.

Some recommendations to minimize exposures are
  • Wash bedding in hot water to reduce dust mites
  • Clean visible mold
  • Reduce humidity to below 60% to prevent mold growth
  • Avoid smoking in the home
  • Wear a dust mask when cleaning
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • Use an air purifier to reduce dust, allergens and other contaminants in the air
  • Don’t allow pets in the bedroom

The study appeared in the August issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Source: WebMD

Air purifiers for asthma and allergy sufferers

Allergens and substances that can trigger asthma are often part of our ambient air, and they can be quickly and efficiently removed by a good air purifier.

Most air purifiers for asthma rely on a HEPA filter to remove up to 99.97% of fine particles down to 0.3 microns, which can cause inflammation in the lung tissue.
AllerAir's AirMedic+ Series
removes particles, chemicals
and other asthmagens.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for asthma and allergies go one step further. While they boast medical-grade HEPA filters with an efficiency rating of 99.97% at 0.3 microns, they also feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter to remove airborne chemicals, gases and odors that are also known to cause or aggravate asthma and allergies.

Optional UV germicidal filtration can help neutralize biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Leaving an air purifier like the AirMedic+ Exec (which was recently chosen as the top pick for an asthmatic on a TV show on the OWN network – read the press release here) or a 5000 Exec on a low setting in the bedroom can make a huge difference in the air quality and the occupant’s well-being.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Show your support for a greener and healthier home by following this blog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chemical-free cleaning made easy

Chemical cleaners can cause eye irritation
and other health problems.
A clean house can be a source of pride – but it can also mean poor indoor air quality, especially if it was cleaned with commonly available commercial cleaning products.

Popular cleaning agents lining the supermarket and big box store shelves are loaded with hazardous and often toxic chemicals. From chlorine to ammonia to a whole bunch of unknown chemicals in fragrances and scented cleaners, these products can leave behind dangerous fumes.

According to the American Lung Association, exposure to these cleaning agents can cause irritation to the eyes or the throat, headaches or other health problems. Studies have linked exposure to chemicals from cleaning supplies to occupational asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Products containing VOCs and other toxic substances include:
  • Aerosol spray products, including health, beauty and cleaning products
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Detergent and dishwashing liquid
  • Dry cleaning chemicals
  • Rug and upholstery cleaners
  • Furniture and floor polish
  • Oven cleaners

Experts warn users to never mix cleaning products and to follow directions. Avoid air freshening products, which contain volatile organic compounds.

To make the home cleaning process greener and healthier, use reusable cleaning cloths and make your own cleaning products from non-toxic ingredients.

Some of the ingredients that can be used in all-purpose cleaners include white distilled vinegar, water and a few drops of essential oil such as tea tree oil, rosemary or lavender. Baking soda and vinegar can be used in the bathroom and as a toilet bowl cleaner. In many situations, warm water and soap will be more than enough to clean up messes, experts say.

Source (and recipes for cleaning alternatives):  Gloucester Township Patch

Air purifiers for cleaner and healthier air

A large activated carbon filter
can remove chemicals, odors
and volatile organic compounds.
Using non-toxic cleaners will help nix one common source of indoor air pollutants, but there are plenty of other ways that indoor spaces may be contaminated, including building materials and paint fumes, personal care products, mold, chemicals from furniture, treated fabrics and electronic equipment, and more.

An air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can tackle these pollutants and remove them quickly and efficiently.

AllerAir has developed serious air purifiers for the home and office that feature the largest activated carbon filters, the most features and specialized options to provide the best air filtration system for virtually any IAQ concern.

Find the best customized air purifier for your needs – contact one of AllerAir’s IAQ experts today: 888-852-8247.
Show your support for greener and healthier living by following this blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Video: Arizona dust storms and poor air quality

On August 6, 2012, we wrote about the incredible dust storms sweeping southwestern United States.

Below is a video of one of the most recent dust storms in Phoenix, Arizona by Blaine Coury.

With that type of dust activity happening more and more regularly, owning an air purifier is becoming a necessity, as it is important to keep your indoor air free of excess particles, chemicals and bacteria.
Contact AllerAir for more details. Our IAQ experts will be happy to help you find the right air purifier.

Show your support for a greener and healthier lifestyle: become a member of this blog today!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Phthalates

Phthalates can be found in shaving cream
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
"Demystifying household chemicals" is a series that aims to inform people on the types of chemicals found in and around our homes. The series will be featured every Wednesday where a different chemical, and its everyday uses, will be discussed.

It’s not really news that pretty much everything around us contains some kind of harmful chemical. Many chemicals are actually difficult to avoid. Car fumes, smokers on the street and even barbecues all contain harmful chemicals, yet we can rarely control our exposure to them.

What is conscious, however, is the morning or evening ritual of applying toners, creams, lotions, acne medication, shampoos, shaving creams, perfumes…  Many of these products contain phthalates (pronounced tha-layts).

Phthalates are most commonly used in plastics to make them more transparent, durable, flexible and lasting. These chemicals are therefore often referred to as plasticizers.

Providing a list of the multitude of alternate names for phthalates would consist of writing a novel, so instead, find a list on Wikipedia as well as a complementary one on Environmental Working Group.

In 2009, Author Rick Smith published Slow Death by Rubber Duck. In that book, he experimented with skin-care products by applying them regularly and then testing his blood. The number of phthalate byproducts found in his blood spiked after just three days, indicating how present this chemical is in our everyday lives.

What can phthalates do to you?

Phthalates can be blamed for several health issues, including decreased sperm count, male genital birth defects, damage to the DNA, as well as negative impacts on the nervous and immune systems. Recent studies have now revealed that phthalates may very well be linked to the development of diabetes. After following 1000 senior women, researchers noted that the women with diabetes also had higher levels of phthalates in their system.

What other products contain phthalates?

Apart from skin-care products, you can find phthalates in certain children’s toys as well as PVC, though many manufacturers have now stopped using this chemical in kid’s products.

Phthalates can also be found in:

  • Waxes
  • Paints
  • Pharmaceuticals (including diabetes medication!)
  • Some food products
  • Textiles
  • Sex toys (made of ‘jelly rubber’)
  • Hair sprays
  • Shower curtains
  • Cleaning products
  • Liquid soap
  • Eye shadow
  • Insect repellant

It is often difficult to tell what ingredients go into our skin care products because many companies don’t state every ingredient. If they do, chemicals, herbs and fragrances are often hidden in scientific jargon, which can be difficult to decipher. That is why websites, such as SkinDeep and GoodGuide, are useful. They can help you discover what chemicals are found in your current products, as well as choose the best and greenest products on the market.

How many of you actually read the list of ingredients on the back of your skin-care products? Does this information surprise you? Share your comments with us!

Minimizing phthalate exposure

AllerAir's 5000 DX Vocarb
The first thing you can do to reduce the number of phthalates in your home and your body is to replace your skin-care and household products with safer alternatives. This will help you naturally improve your indoor air quality and minimize air pollution.

Using an air purifier is also a great way to remove odors and chemicals from the air, particularly if you place one in the bathroom where most of these harmful products are used.  

AllerAir’s 5000 DX Vocarb is made for areas that have a heavy concentration of chemicals and odors. The deep-bed activated carbon filter will help remove toxins from the air through adsorption, while the micro HEPA will take particles as small as 0.1 microns out of the air. With this heavy-duty air purifier, you and your family will enjoy a much healthier living environment..

For more information on AllerAir’s air purifiers, speak to one of our IAQ experts at 1-888-852-8247 or contact us through our website.

Follow our blog and show your support for greener and healthier living.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pesticide exposure affects boys more than girls

Chlorpyrifos is still widely used
in the agricultural industry
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
On August 3, 2012, we posted a blog entry on how exposure to pesticides during pregnancy can affect fetuses.  A new study now reveals more details on the side effects of these toxic chemicals.

The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) has found that the insecticide chlorpyrifos affects boys and girls differently.

When comparing seven-year old boys and girls, the CCCEH determined that boys had more difficulty with their memory, which inevitably affected their IQ levels.

What it does

Chlorpyrifos was widely used in pesticides within the home until 2001, when the EPA restricted indoor use. 

This chemical is an endocrine disruptor, which interferes with the body’s hormones. The most common side effects of endocrine disruptors are developmental disabilities, such as attention deficit disorder, learning difficulties and even physical birth defects.

This study has been carried out at a few different levels. Earlier this year, it was shown that even low to moderate exposure to chlorpyrifos could have irreversible, adverse effects on babies’ brains.

The most recent study has focused on how different genders react to the same chemical. Dr. Megan Horton led the study where 335 mother-child pairs signed up to partake in the research.  After testing their home environment at age three, researchers tested the kids’ IQ at age seven. The boys’ IQ were, on average, three points below the girls’.

Chlorpyrifos’ reach

Though the EPA restricted the use of this chemical within the home, it is still widely used in commercial and agricultural sectors.  Farmers continue to use it for food and feed crops. Some parks and golf courses also use it. The lumber industry sometimes uses chlorpyrifos to treat wood.

People living in agricultural areas may be at risk of inhaling this chemical, thereby potentially affecting their unborn children. It is also possible to ingest it while eating fruit that have been sprayed with the insecticide, so caution is strongly advised.

Do you still use pesticides in your home? If you do, does this article change your mind about using them? If you no longer do, share your alternative solutions with us!

Source: Science Daily

In search of cleaner air
AllerAir's air purifiers
Speak to our IAQ experts
to find the best unit for you.
Though there is not too much to be done about your exposure to chemical substances out in the open, there are ways to limit how these chemicals can affect you within your home.   

If you live in an agricultural community, where a lot of pesticides are used, it is a good idea to invest in an air purifier to improve your indoor air quality. 

Even when windows and doors are kept closed, toxins get trapped inside the house, resulting in poor indoor air quality.

AllerAir provides you with different air purification options. All our units can be customized with specially blended activated carbon filters which help remove chemicals and odors from the air. Our HEPA filters also clean the air by absorbing particles, such as dust, pollen and pet dander, which are known allergens..

To learn more about our air purifiers, contact AllerAir.

Show your support for greener and healthier living by becoming a follower of this blog.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Asthma: A national message

As air pollution and this year's steaming summer exacerbate asthma for both children and adults, the EPA and the American Lung Association have come together to spread the word on prevention in the video below:

Find out more on EPA's website: http://www.epa.gov/asthma

Air purifiers help clean the air in your home so asthma sufferers can breathe more easily. AllerAir's Asthma and Allergy air purifiers feature deep-bed activated carbon filters and medical-grade HEPA filters to extract harmful gases, chemicals and particles from the air.

For more information on our units, contact AllerAir today.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Studies link lupus to staph bacteria

The staphylcoccus aureus bacteria
may be linked to lupus
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Research recently conducted by the Mayo Clinic points to the possibility that the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (known commonly as staph) may be connected to the development of lupus disease.

In a study using mice, researchers exposed the rodents to low doses of a staph protein over a period of time. The mice developed auto-antibodies and a kidney disease along with lupus-like symptoms, which lead doctors to believe this may also occur with humans.

A little background

Staph bacteria are located all around us. They live on our skin, but are in higher concentrations around moist openings, such as the nose and mouth.  People are only put at risk when there is a break in the skin where the bacteria can get in and cause an infection.

Many of you may have heard of staph infection break-outs in hospitals. Those who are most affected are usually burn victims, people who have a weakened immune system or patients who have undergone surgery. In those serious situations, the bacteria enter the bloodstream resulting in more dangerous infections.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is suspected to be genetic in some way, although why people develop lupus is still very unclear. There are a few different forms of the disease, the most dangerous one being systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. In each of the cases, the body turns on itself by attacking its own tissue and joints. For people with discoid lupus, the skin becomes inflamed, but with SLE, the body can attack the organs.

What the research means

The fact that the mice have reacted to a protein in the staph bacteria may not only help doctors determine what causes lupus, but might also help them keep people from developing the disease. By determining whether or not the disease is caused by prolonged exposure to staph, doctors may help patients avoid flare-ups. In addition, if it is proven that the staph bacteria causes lupus, doctors could keep lupus from developing at all by minimizing exposure to the staph bacteria.

What do you think about this study? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: EurekAlert!

How air purifiers can help

Any of these AllerAir units
(4000, 5000, 6000)
can support a UV filter
Air purifiers can keep the indoor air quality healthy for you and your family.  AllerAir’s units are used for many different purposes, including chemical exposure, odors and particles. But our air purifiers also have a UV germicidal filter option that can help minimize the presence of bacteria and mold in the air. The UV lamp alters the bacteria’s DNA, thereby hindering reproduction.

To learn more about our UV filters or to ask about our different units, contact one of our IAQ experts at 1-888-852-8247 or reach us through our website.

Show your support for a greener and healthier lifestyle by becoming a follower of this blog.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Health and home may be threatened by mold

Mold exposure can lead to respiratory problems
and other health effects, experts warn.
As extreme weather events become more common, tropical storms, hurricanes and floods can have long-lasting effects on the homes and people in their way.

Tropical storm Irene happened more than 10 months ago, but the flood and subsequent mold problems are still haunting many homeowners.

In the case of one woman in Vermont, a flooded basement led to a toppled oil tank, destroyed books and clothing worth thousands of dollars and caused so much mold that she had to move out of her home and may soon be homeless, as money for emergency housing in a hotel runs out.

Flood insurance only covered structural damage to the stairs and back door, and timing issues and illness have made it next to impossible to get assistance.

The home “turned into my greatest nightmare,” Chandar Hall was quoted in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mold health effects

Health and state authorities warn about water infiltration and mold growth. It is important to fix water problems promptly, and to dry and/or replace any materials that were affected.

Once mold is growing, it needs to be cleaned up properly. Otherwise, certain kinds of mold (including penicillium mold and aspergillus mold) may affect people’s health and well-being.

Mold has been linked to respiratory problems as well as neurological problems, including headaches, exhaustion, convulsions, lost appetite, kidney pain and more.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Air purifiers for mold and better indoor air

Breathing in high concentrations of mold spores can cause or aggravate health problems. Source control (mold remediation), ventilation and air cleaning are the best ways to minimize the effects of mold.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for mold contain a multistage filtration system to tackle mold on various fronts:
  • A HEPA filter to trap mold spores as well as other fine particles
  • A deep-bed activated carbon filter to remove musky odors and mold mycotoxins
  • An optional UV germicidal lamp to neutralize mold spores and other biological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses

Some of AllerAir’s recommended air purifiers for mold include the AirMedic+ series and the 5000 Exec.

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

Have you ever been affected by mold? Tell us how you got rid of the problem.

Show your support for greener and healthier homes by following this blog.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Acetic acid

Some bottles of nail polish contain acetic acid
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
"Demystifying household chemicals" is a series that aims to inform people on the types of chemicals found in and around our homes. The series will be featured every Wednesday where a different chemical, and its everyday uses, will be discussed.

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the words: acetic acid

Sounds familiar, right?

Well, acetic acid is found in many different food products and some drinks as well. Small concentrations of this organic compound can be found in wine, cheese and orange juice, but the most common product we think of when we think of acetic acid is vinegar. Many condiments contain a little bit of vinegar, such as prepared mustard, prepared salad dressings and ketchup.

Acetic acid (also called ethanoic acid, ethylic acid, or methane carboxylic acid), is a main component of vinegar. This acid is what makes vinegar smell and taste so distinctive. It is a colorless liquid that is used in many commercial products that, in large quantities, can be dangerous.

Vinegar contains about five percent acetic acid and in that concentration, is considered safe. Once concentrations reach 10 percent, acetic acid becomes an irritant. At 25 percent concentration, it becomes corrosive and at 90 percent concentration, becomes flammable and volatile. 

Close contact to highly concentrated acetic acid can result in blindness and inhalation can cause respiratory problems. If your skin comes into contact with it, burns and blisters can result, though not necessarily right away. Ingestion can cause abdominal pains, the erosion of your teeth enamel, and even kidney failure in extreme cases.
Acetic acid is used in many laboratories and industrial industries. Large quantities are used for making:
  • Pesticides
  • Rubber
  • Plastics
  • Dyes
 Smaller concentrations can be found in the following household products:
  • Nail polish
  • Hair spray
  • Glass and surface cleaner
  • Shaving cream (men’s and women’s)
  • Female personal cleansing products
  • Moisturizers
For more information on these products and how safe they are, consult the GoodGuide.

Did any of this information surprise you? Share your questions, concerns or stories with us.

Protecting your home

In order to protect your loved ones from undue exposure to acetic acid, first try to reduce the number of products containing high percentages of the compound. Purchase products that contain 10 percent or less acetic acid. For products containing more than that, make efforts to use them in aerated spaces.

Activated carbon adsorbs gases, chemicals
and odors, thereby improving
your indoor air quality
Using glass cleaners containing acetic acid and water may not be unhealthy, but using an aerosol hair spray in enclosed spaces is potentially toxic because it contains many other harmful chemicals. 

To keep your home as free from detrimental chemicals as possible, invest in an air purifier that will help rid the air of toxic chemicals found in nail polish, pesticides and hair sprays.

AllerAir’s activated carbon filters adsorb gases, odors and chemicals and help improve your indoor air quality.

For more information on our air purifiers, contact AllerAir today.

Show your support for a greener and healthier home by becoming a follower of this blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Highway proximity responsible for high asthma rates

Living close to a busy highway can affect your health.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A new study found that living close to heavily congested highways correlated with higher rates of asthma.

New York researchers examined 62 randomly selected adults, including 45 patients with rhinoconjunctivitis or asthma and 17 healthy control, to see if a heavily trafficked highway has any impact on the condition.

The study participants were asked to report asthma symptoms and provide information on their living conditions.

Seasonal allergies did not seem to increase the risk of asthma, whereas proximity to busy highways was found to have a strong link, according to the researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Their results showed that vehicle emissions increase the risk of asthma, a respiratory disorder that is characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing as well as breathing problems.

Congested highways are a common sight in North American cities, where housing developments are often built close to the roadways for easy access.

To minimize vehicle emissions, experts recommend
  • Carpooling
  • Using more public transportation
  • No idling
  • Keeping the car well maintained
  • Driving smoothly without hard accelerations or braking
Source: Greener Ideas

Keep air pollution out with indoor air purifiers

Vehicle emissions and other outdoor air pollutants can make their way into homes, where they can build up and affect people’s health and well-being.

Since we spend so much time indoors, good indoor air quality is important to keep health effects in check and to minimize exposure to harmful contaminants.

AllerAir’s general purpose air purifiers can help remove airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, fine particles, dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses with a multistage filtration system containing activated carbon and HEPA.

Specialized air purifiers for allergies and asthma can provide cleaner and healthier air in the bedroom, the living areas or any other space where it is needed.

“[My asthmatic son] no longer needs to use his asthma inhaler when he visits!”
Evan Berljawsky, owner of a 6000 Exec
Read more testimonials
For more information, contact AllerAir.

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Monday, August 06, 2012

Dust is more than just a nuisance

Farming contributes to dust-related illnesses
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
In arid regions of the United States, such as Arizona and Texas, dust storms (also known as haboobs) and dust devils are not a rare occurrence. In fact, this year’s dust activity is being compared to the infamous Dust Bowl era.

Haboobs are the flash flood version of a dust storm and Arizona has experienced several of them this year. The extreme weather has proven so taxing recently that drivers were involved in a 17-vehicle pileup killing one person.

But immediate danger is not the only concern. An Arizona researcher has been working on the possible connections between dust storms and Valley Fever. 

Valley Fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is a fungal infection often found in southwestern United States, such as Arizona, California, New Mexico and Utah. The fungus lives in soil and is projected into the air through natural processes, such as with wind storms, or through man-made means, as with construction or farming. 

This fungus is usually inhaled and stays in the lungs, where some, but not all, people show flu-like symptoms as well as chest pains, rashes, headaches, joint stiffness and swelling and pain in the legs. 

Recent studies suggest that coccidioidomycosis may be spreading to other parts of the body, such as the bones, which can then affect peoples’ mental states and cause sensitivity to light as well as weight loss.  
Apart from Valley Fever, dust storms are also carrying heavy metals, chemicals and other bacteria, which can have varying adverse effects on residents. These pollutants can lead to other illnesses, including ocular and cardiovascular diseases. 

Have you noticed any of these symptoms while living in this part of the country? How bad do the dust storms get? Tell us your story.

What you can do

AllerAir's AirMedic+ series
can be customized for your individual  needs
Though it is difficult to avoid exposure to these dust storms when on the road, there are ways to minimize your risks within the home. 

AllerAir’s varied air purifiers can help improve your indoor air quality by removing harmful particles, chemicals and bacteria from your home. 

The AirMedic+ series is specially designed for dealing with particulates and its deep-bed carbon filters adsorb chemicals and gases. There is also an option to add a UV filter which will help eradicate mold spores and bacteria.

Contact AllerAir today for more information on how you can protect your home from these dangerous dust storms.

Show your support for a greener and healthier lifestyle by becoming a follower of this blog.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Study shows high levels of pesticides in pregnant women’s homes

Indoor pesticide use can
affect a baby's development.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Texas-Mexico border study of indoor air found multiple pesticides in a majority of homes of Hispanic expectant mothers.

When women are in their third trimester of pregnancy, the baby’s body and brain undergo a growth spurt.

Pesticides have previously been linked to adverse effects in mental and motor development in infancy and childhood. They may also cause disorders such as autism and ADHD.

In two thirds of the households tested in the study, pesticides were used to control cockroaches, rodents and other pests indoors. Only 12 percent of the homes tested positive for agricultural pesticides that could have been used on nearby fields.

Poor IAQ a concern for mothers-to-be

Indoor air quality is a major concern for pregnant women and infants, since they often spend 90 percent of their time indoors.

Experts suggest integrated pest management (IPM) as an affordable and less toxic alternative to residential pesticides.

IPM stresses the importance of prevention of household pests by installing screens, caulking doors and windows, putting away food and using boric acid in walls.

The study was conducted by the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Source: Science Daily

Remove indoor air pollutants with air filters
The 5000 series and 6000 series
air purifiers can remove chemicals,
odors, particles and other pollutants.

Whether it’s for households with expectant mothers, young children or older residents, better indoor air quality is a must for those who spend most of their time at home.

A portable room air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

AllerAir offers some of the most efficient and powerful air purifiers for general purpose air cleaning as well as for specific indoor air quality issues such as chemical and odor control, mold, allergy and asthma as well as multiple chemical sensitivities.

Are you worried about your home’s indoor air quality?

Show your support for a green and healthy living environment by following this blog.

Contact AllerAir for more information on air purifiers and better indoor air quality.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bill Gates to rescue the world from global warming

Bill Gates is convinced we
can't wait on governments for global change
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Everyone knows Bill Gates is the founder of the Microsoft empire, but since he has firmly entrenched himself in philanthropy, his actions have become even grander.

Mr. Gates wants to save the planet and he is funding a research project to do it.

Within one year, Gates and his team of scientists plan to release millions of tons of sulfur dioxide 80,000 feet above New Mexico.  The job of these particles is to reflect sunlight and subsequently cool down the earth.

Well, this is what the team is relying on.

Others are not so convinced.

Many scientists and environmental groups believe that by releasing these toxic particles in the air, Gates will actually cause more harm than good. 

Sulfur dioxide is considered a noxious air pollutant. Inhaling it will have widespread consequences on all living things The respiratory system will be affected and people may also have neurological impairments, eyesight and hearing problems and even damage to the heart and immune system.

Acid rain is another side effect of sulfate particles. This would impact living things both on land and in the sea. Scientists also believe that altered rain patterns will impact food supplies in tropical and subtropical zones, causing drought and famine.

But Gates is moving forward. He is convinced that if we wait on governments to make the necessary changes to carbon taxes, it will be too late.

What do you think about how Bill Gates plans to counteract global warming? Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts.

Source: Natural News

How to protect yourself from sulfur dioxide

AllerAir's selection of air purifiers
Though there is no sure-fire way to protect yourself from these particles being released into the air, whether it is by Bill Gates or other means, there are ways to mitigate it within your home. 

Particles, chemicals and fumes are always in the air and a good course of action is to invest in an air purifier.

AllerAir’s air purifiers work to eliminate harmful toxins from your home. We can also provide a special carbon blend customized specifically for sulfur dioxide. 

For more information on our air purifiers contact one of our sales representatives.

Show your support for a greener and healthier lifestyle by becoming a follower of this blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Phenol

Some of the biggest brand-name cleaning products
contain phenol (and other harmful chemicals).
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
"Demystifying household chemicals" is a series that aims to inform people on the types of chemicals found in and around our homes. The series will be featured every Wednesday where a different chemical, and its everyday uses, will be discussed.

Chemicals surround us all the time and there are always warnings that pop up about this chemical causing terrible side effects or that chemical leading to cancer. It can be overwhelming to keep track of which chemicals are ‘safe’ and which are not. 

Phenol, also known as carbolic or phenic acid, can be quite a complex chemical as it is used in many different fields. It is an aromatic compound, as are some other chemicals discussed in previous posts, and though it can occur naturally, it is predominantly chemically produced.

Normally in solid form, it is often liquefied for commercial use and has a sickly sweet smell. Surprisingly, phenol can be both good and bad for you. 

Good phenol

Naturally occurring phenol is actually good for you. It is made up of a mixture of human and animal waste, coal tar, creosote and decomposing organic materials. Humans even produce and excrete small amounts of it. 

Many different types of food contain phenol.  These foods are antioxidants and are also known to have other protective properties. 

Some fruits containing phenol include cherries, apples, plums and grapes. You can also find phenols in vegetables such as red cabbage, yellow onions, potatoes and celery. For more information on which foods are full of good phenol, visit LiveStrong.
Bad phenol

Where phenol gets to be a problem is when it is produced chemically. This chemical ranks among the top 50 chemicals produced per year in the United States, at over three billion pounds.

Worldwide, six billion pounds of phenol are produced every year. It is also a component used to produce bisphenol A (BPA),  the chemical that was recently banned in baby bottles by the EPA. 

Toothpaste contains triclosan, a type of phenol.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Phenol can be found in the following products:

  • Mouthwash
  • Salves
  • Throat sprays
  • Paint
  • Rubber
  • Soap
  • Toys
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Wood-burning smoke
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Lotion
  • Cleaning products
  • Acne medications
  • Sugar substitutes

So what does phenol do to the body?

In large quantities, bad phenol can have devastating effects on both your skin and your internal organs.

Adults working in the manufacturing and petroleum fields may be at risk. Long-term exposure in the workplace can cause heart disease.

Ingesting the chemical in liquid form can cause damage to your stomach and intestines and can even lead to death. Skin contact can cause irritations, blisters and burns.

In lower doses, phenol can cause lethargy and vomiting among kids exposed to disinfectants containing the chemical. 

For more detailed information on phenol, read up on a study done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Do you have any questions about phenol? Post your questions or comments here!

What you can do at home

It is certainly a good idea to pick through your household goods and see which products you can do without.

There are cleaning products out there that are safer for you, your family and the environment.  Other products may be a little more difficult to make do without.

This is why it is a good idea to have an air purifier in your home. With an air purifier that contains an activated carbon filter, you can get rid of noxious fumes and chemicals from your household products.

AllerAir has a selection of air purifiers that cater to different needs; whether it’s for chemical and odor control, tobacco smoke or any other concerns you have with your indoor air quality. Contact us for more information.

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