Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exposures to solvent early in life could lead to drug abuse: Study

Study reports high-risk behaviors in people who
were exposed to dry cleaning chemical early in life.
A new study has found that adults who were exposed to contaminated drinking water before birth and during early childhood were more likely to show risky behaviors later on in life.

The study focused on water that was contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), an industrial solvent.

Those who were exposed early in life were far more likely to use cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, the researchers found.

Previous animal and human studies reported similar changes in human behavior.

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is a solvent that is used in many industries, as a metal degreaser and as dry cleaning fluid.

The chemical was used in the vinyl lining in water supply lines in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, exposing residents in 100 towns and cities to the solvent.

For the study, researchers contacted Cape Cod residents in their late 20s and early 30s and asked about their drug and cigarette use.

Those participants with the highest PCE exposure were 60 times more likely to use two or more illicit drugs as a teenager or young adult than those with no measurable PCE exposure. The risk for cocaine use was twice as high.

Since it wasn’t possible to confirm exactly how much PCE each individual was exposed to, more studies may be needed, the researchers say.

Source: Environmental Health News

Reduce exposure to airborne chemicals

Contaminated drinking water is a problem in some areas, but did you know that most households expose residents to chemicals, gases and fumes, among other pollutants?

AllerAir offers high-quality air purifiers for the home and office with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA air filters to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

The activated carbon is the safest and most effective filtration media for the removal of gaseous pollutants like chemicals and volatile organic compounds.

With air purifiers for general purpose use as well as models with deeper beds of carbon for superior chemical and odor control, AllerAir has a solution for virtually any indoor air quality concern.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dizzy from cleaning? Blame the chemicals (VIDEO)

Cleaning the home is a necessary evil - but why do some products make people feel dizzy and nauseated?

Some scented cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to these health effects, according to this news report.

While only a small percentage of the population may be affected by the chemicals, some experts say it is better to go for more natural products and read the labels - if you can't pronounce the ingredients, chances are they are bad for you.

Want to know more about indoor air pollution and complete air purification solutions? AllerAir offers portable and powerful air purifiers for the home and office that remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants with a combination of activated carbon, HEPA and other filters. Contact AllerAir for more information.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Asthma becoming more common in adults

Researchers stumped as to why asthma rates are rising
Poor air quality can cause or aggravate asthma.

Many people who have asthma as children will outgrow it – but health professionals are diagnosing more and more adults with the lung disease.

Asthma is a respiratory disease that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Researchers say there are more people with lifetime asthma or developing asthma later in life.

They are not quite sure why that is, but possible risk factors may include allergens in the air, infections, air pollution and poor indoor air quality (exposure to pet dander, mold, dust mites, tobacco smoke).

Genetics can also be a factor.

For adults, women are more likely to have asthma than men, and blacks are more likely than whites to develop asthma.

Luckily, asthma can usually be controlled and managed, as long as people know their triggers and take necessary precautions.

Source: The Star

Air purifiers for people with asthma

An air purifier can be a powerful tool in the fight against asthma.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for asthma and allergy can help remove common asthma triggers and pollutants, including pet dander, mold, dust, particles, chemicals, tobacco smoke and other irritants.

The AirMedic+ Series is designed with a 360-degree air intake that provides superior particle control and air cleaning capabilities.

Consult AllerAir’s sizing and model selection guides for more information, or contact an IAQ expert today.
Related posts:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deadly wildfires responsible for 339,000 deaths per year

Wildfires spew tons of tiny particles into the air.
Landscape fires -- including wildfires, peat fires and controlled burns on farming lands -- are much more dangerous than previously thought.

According to a Vancouver study, 339,000 people die each year because these fires.

Sub-Saharan Africa bears most of those deaths at 157,000, while in Southeast Asia the death toll is 110,000.

Researchers say they are surprised by the numbers because wildfires are a seasonal phenomenon, meaning exposure to wildfire smoke is intermittent at best.

In order to determine a death toll linked to wildfires, the researchers looked at all deaths in areas that were covered with heavy smoke and landscape fire between 1997 and 2006.

They were particularly interested in the health effects of small particulate matter, which is a main byproduct of wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke does not represent as great a danger as indoor air pollution (2 million deaths per year worldwide) and urban air pollution (800,000 people per year), but it could be considered an additional risk factor for global mortality.

Researchers are warning that wildfires will get more severe in the future as the globe gets warmer.

Wildfires are difficult to manage and contain, and it’s expensive to fight them, they say.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Source: AFP

Breathe better indoor air with air purifiers

Indoor air pollution, urban air pollution and wildfire smoke pose serious hazards to human health.

AirMedic Series:
Room air purifiers
Outdoor pollutants will find a way into the home, where they can build up – which why indoor air quality is such an important topic.

An air purifier with the right filters can help remove pollutants and provide healthier air.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for the home and office contain a deep-bed activated carbon filter for airborne chemicals, gases, odors and fumes, a HEPA filter for tiny particles and dust, pre-filters and optional UV germicidal filtration to help neutralize viruses, bacteria and mold.

For wildfire smoke and other indoor air pollutants, AllerAir recommends its 5000 DS or 6000 DS models, the AirMedic Series and general purpose air purifiers.

For more information and personalized suggestions, please contact AllerAir.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poor air quality indoors can make you sick

Experts share tips on improving indoor air quality.
The air in homes is often more polluted than outdoor air, according to experts, and since most people tend to spend 90 percent of their time indoors, this prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution may lead to poor health.

Indoor air pollution is caused by a wide range of synthetic materials commonly found in homes, including paints, plastics, household cleaners, particleboard furniture and more. These can off-gas chemicals and volatile organic compounds into the ambient air.

Other indoor air contaminants include dust, pollen, mold and other allergens that can cause reactions in sensitive people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, indoor allergens can lead to infections and respiratory problems.

In order to avoid problems with indoor air quality in the home, experts are asking homeowners to make sure that they

  • Avoid adding more contaminants by using more natural products and cleaning agents and letting new materials air out before using them indoors
  • Monitor everyone’s health symptoms to see if allergy symptoms or other ailments can be traced back to the air quality inside
  • Maintain the ventilation system and replace filters often, every 3-6 months
  • Open windows regularly if the weather and outdoor air allow it
  • Fix any plumbing problems or water leaks promptly to prevent mold from growing (mold can start growing after 24-48 hours of standing water)
  • If you suspect an air quality problem without being able to pin down the cause, call professionals or look into high-quality testing kits.
  • Use a portable air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA to help remove pollutants such as chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, allergens and pathogens.

Source: News 8000

Get the most filtration media for the best price

AllerAir offers highly efficient and portable air purifiers for the home and office that contain the most relevant filtration media in their price range.
5000 Exec
air purifier

One of their most popular general purpose air purifiers, the 5000 Exec, features an 18 lb. carbon filter and medical-grade HEPA as well as pre-filters and optional UV filtration for maximum protection.

Activated carbon is the best filter media for chemicals, gases, odors, vapors and fumes – including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and most household odors.

For allergy and asthma sufferers, AllerAir also developed a highly efficient air purifier for particle concerns, the AirMedic Series.

These air purifiers have a 360-degree air intake and feature the best HEPA and particle filters as well as a deep bed of activated carbon for all-around protection from allergens and other irritants.

For more information, contact AllerAir today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Air pollution risks: Stroke and memory loss

Bad air quality days have been linked to a higher risk
of stroke and memory loss, according to new studies.
By now, we all know that living in a metropolitan city, near a busy highway or close to industry is bad for your health.

But researchers are still figuring out just how bad it is. Previously, air pollution has been linked with problems of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, heart and lung diseases.

Now you can add two more risks of air pollution to the list – stroke and memory loss.

Two studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine have come to these conclusions after watching Boston area residents on Good and Moderate air quality days and after monitoring women in higher-pollution areas in the US.

The women in the second study experienced a faster long-term decline in thinking and memory skills, researchers found.

This means that even levels generally considered safe by health authorities could affect people’s health negatively, experts say.

Whenever air quality is deteriorating, experts advise people with respiratory diseases to stay indoors, especially during the rush hour times.

The Boston study shows that air pollution might impede the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure (when blood vessels dilate and constrict in response to the environment to keep it constant), which in turn increases the risk of stroke for certain people.

The same reason could lead to the memory loss documented in the second study, since air pollution may affect blood flow to the brain and therefore cognitive function, researchers say.

Women should not be too concerned by these findings, they suggest, but the results may warrant further research into the effects of air pollution on thinking and memory.

Source: Reuters

Make sure you breathe clean indoor air

While experts suggest for people susceptible to outdoor air pollution to stay indoors on bad air quality days, indoor air pollution may be just as bad if not worse for people’s health.

Most indoor environments feature a variety of pollutants and aggravating agents, including airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, dust, particles, bacteria, viruses and mold.
AllerAir's air purifiers for the home and office
feature activated carbon and HEPA air filters.

Apart from source control and adequate ventilation, a portable and powerful air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA air filters can make a huge difference in the air quality inside the home.

Activated carbon is the most important filter media to remove chemicals, gases, odors and vapors, while HEPA is an important filter for particles, dust and allergens.

See also AllerAir's general purpose air purifiers, air purifiers for allergies and asthma and the whole home air cleaners.

For more information, contact AllerAir today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Proposed perfume ban speaks volumes

A growing number of people are allergic to
perfumes and fragrances, experts say.
Officials seek to protect allergy sufferers from strong smells and irritants

The bill to ban public workers in New Hampshire from wearing fragrances or scented products at the workplace was shot down, but it speaks volumes about the growing problem of allergies and asthma as well as chemical sensitivities.

The proposed bill aimed to curb perfume and fragrances for workers that interact with the public, since the chemicals and toxins in perfume may lead to allergic reactions in people, including nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose.

The bill was proposed because of a growing number of people who are sensitive to odors, a Republican leader told the Daily Mail.

However, it may not have been passed because some people consider it to be a constitutional conflict between individual rights and health effects on the occasional customer.

Up to one in 20 people suffer from a perfume allergy, which can not only result in sinus problems but also cause skin rashes, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.

According to doctors, people with asthma are often also chemically sensitive and could find fragrances irritating.

This includes perfumes, air fresheners and other scented products.

Source: Daily Mail

Remove chemicals and irritants from your indoor air

AllerAir's 5000 Series:
Powerful air purifiers
Since perfume and fragrances are a seemingly unavoidable part of daily life, at least people with allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities can make sure that the air they are breathing at home or at work is the cleanest air possible.

AllerAir offers portable and highly efficient air purifiers for the home and office with the most effective air filters for chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, allergens and other irritants.

Whether it’s an air purifier for allergy and asthma or an air purifier for MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), AllerAir’s units feature the largest amounts of carbon in deep-bed carbon filters to remove the widest range of odors, chemicals, VOCs and gases.

The units also come with HEPA filters and pre-filters to trap particles, dust and allergens.

For more information, please contact AllerAir.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chemical exposure linked to childhood obesity

Obesity is a growing
problem among children.
Growing up, many children like to to try out new cosmetic products or fragrances. Many of these products contain chemicals such as phthalates, which may be linked to childhood obesity.

According to a recent study in New York City, overweight children had higher urinary concentrations of phthalates, a trend that was not seen in normal weight children.

The relationship was evident only with one phthalate called MEP (monoethylene phthalate).

The study results are consistent with previous studies showing similar associations between the phthalate MEP and obesity in teens and women.

Experts worry about the growing childhood obesity epidemic and blame different factors, including poor diet and lack of exercise as well as exposure to environmental contaminants.

Children may be more affected by environmental pollution because their bodies and organs are still developing and they eat more, drink more and breathe more in proportion to their body size.

Phthalates can be found in many plastic products, in medical devices, food packaging, flooring, food processing equipment, personal care products (perfumes and cosmetics) and more. They can leach from these products and be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin.

Some phthalates have been identified as endocrine disrupting compounds that can interfere with hormones.

Source: Environmental Health News

Filter out airborne pollutants
AllerAir air purifiers with carbon,
HEPA and UV (optional).

Environmental pollution is a big concern and can be present in all areas of our lives, especially at home, in school and at work.

A complete air purification system with activated carbon, HEPA and (optional) UV germicidal filtration can remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants and help keep the air clean.

Activated carbon is the most effective filter media for the removal of airborne chemicals, gases, VOCs and odors, while HEPA is the gold standard for particle filtration. UV helps neutralize contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

AllerAir offers portable and powerful general purpose air purifiers as well as specialized units, for example for Chemical and Odor Control, MCS, Allergies and Asthma, Tobacco Smoke and Mold.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

VIDEO: Causes and health effects of indoor air pollution

This is an oldie, but a goodie. The information in this public service announcement still holds true and is even more important today.

The video talks about indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, which is a part of countless household products (including insulation, cosmetic products and carpets, for example), perchloroethylene (the dry cleaning fluid perc that builds up on dry-cleaned clothes) and other fragrances and chemicals.

Some solutions to think about include:

  • Using non-toxic cleaners like vinegar and baking soda
  • Letting houseplants like Aloe vera and Boston fern help clean the air
  • Running a complete air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA continuously on a low setting to remove the widest range of contaminants, including chemicals such as formaldehyde and perc, particles, dust, pollen, odors, bacteria, viruses and molds.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mothballs and other chemical hazards in the home

Mothball products have a pungent smell.
Do you know someone that uses mothballs in the home?

Many people understandably dislike having moths around – for fear of losing their wool clothing and because they are insects.

That is why people might reach for mothballs, insecticides in solid form that slowly emit toxic fumes to kill moths and other insects.

Older mothballs consisted primarily of naphthalene, but due to naphthalene's flammability, modern mothballs use 1,4-dichlorobenzene instead.

Both of these ingredients have a strong, pungent odor often associated strongly with mothballs. Both chemicals kill moths and moth larvae with the vapor.

Mothballs are supposed to be used with the clothing in an airtight container, so that the gas does not escape and harm pets or people in the home. When opening the container, it is best to let the clothes air out before using them.

The intended use for mothballs makes it clear that toxic chemicals are being used, yet many people use mothballs out in the open where they can become hazard.

Instead of using chemicals to fight moths, try making your own moth-repelling sachets filled with dried rosemary and mint, dried thyme and ginseng and whole cloves.

Other effective herbs include lavender, lemon, sweet woodruff and tansy.

The same chemicals that can be found in mothballs are also used in other moth products (crystals and cakes) as well as toilet bow deodorizers.

Source: The Day Publishing

Reduce chemical hazards in the home

AllerAir's air purifiers for
general purpose air cleaning.
Using more natural products, increasing ventilation and air cleaning can help keep the air clean and the chemical count low.

An efficient air cleaner (like AllerAir's 5000 Series) needs to be equipped with a deep bed of activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV germicidal filtration to be able to remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants.

Activated carbon is the safest and most trusted filtration media for the adsorption of airborne chemicals, VOCs, gases, odors and fumes.

HEPA is the gold standard for particle filtration and can trap up to 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns.
UV can help neutralize biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and molds.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for the home and office feature the most relevant filtration media (activated carbon and HEPA) at the best price.

For more information, contact AllerAir directly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Black mold may lead to poor health symptoms

WWE Smackdown host and recording artist Lilian Garcia fights the effects of black mold
Lilian Garcia still suffers from the
effects of black mold exposure.

She may be famous in certain circles, but that doesn’t mean she is immune to the effects of black mold exposure.

Lilian Garcia began feeling sick and dizzy when she lived in a lake house in South Carolina for two and a half years.

The home had black mold, and Garcia reacted badly to it. Still, it took years before she was diagnosed with mold allergies brought on by that exposure.

Even after she moved away, she was still suffering after-effects of black mold, including infections and other ailments.

Garcia has launched a campaign to raise awareness about mold allergies and help sufferers.

Chronic symptoms related to mold allergies include
  • Sinus pain
  • Respiratory illness
  • Wheezing
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Memory loss
  • And more

Garcia also champions a new way of eating, as in her experience certain foods can aggravate the symptoms of mold allergies. These foods include cheeses, dairy, pickled foods, dried fruits and more.

Source: Wrestling Inc.

Use air filters to reduce exposure to mold

While it is important to take care of the living environment and to prevent and mitigate mold from growing, mold spores are still a natural part of the environment and cannot be eliminated.

However, using powerful air purifiers with the right filters in the home can help keep the air clean and easier to breathe.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for the Home and Office feature many pounds of activated carbon to remove irritating chemicals, gases, odors and mold mycotoxins, HEPA filter to trap tiny particles and pathogens, pre-filters and optional UV germicidal filtration to neutralize biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Read more about AllerAir’s air purifiers for mold, or speak to someone by contacting AllerAir today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fireplaces cause harmful wood smoke: report

Wood stoves and heaters can emit harmful particles,
experts say.

Winter is traditionally the time for sitting in front of a cozy fire or wood heater and enjoying the crackling warmth.

However, the wood smoke generated by these fires may add billions to health bills, according to an Australian report.

In Sydney, the smoke from wood fires is the biggest source of air pollution in winter, and the haze will add $8 billion to the health budget by 2030, the report says.

Those are preventable costs, the researchers say, but some measures may be needed to curb the use of wood as a heating fuel.

Wood heaters release a range of tiny particles into the ambient air. Sometimes, these particles can be seen as a smoky haze, but even if they are not visible, these particles can lead to medical problems.

The polluted air especially affects people with
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma

Some studies have linked wood smoke pollutants to cancer, birth defects and nervous system disorders.
According to the report, rural areas have more wood heaters and may expose people living there to the haze.

Officials are debating how to control the wood smoke pollution. One idea brought forward was a tax on wood fuel.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Take care of your indoor air

When it’s starting to get hazy and cold outside, people need to make sure the air they are breathing indoors is healthy.

Unfortunately, most indoor environments are polluted by contaminants such as chemicals, gases, particles, allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and more.

That is why many people turn to portable air purifiers to help keep the air clean. With the right air filters, an air purifier can help remove those pollutants and will move the air around while cleaning it.

AllerAir’s powerful air purifiers contain a complete air purification system with activated carbon, HEPA and (optional) UV filters, which provide the most protection from airborne pollutants.

Check out AllerAir’s general purpose air purifiers, air cleaners for tobacco (and wood) smoke as well as other specialized IAQ concerns.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Is vinegar a good cleaning alternative in the home?

Homeowners can make their own
cleaners with vinegar, hot water
and  soap, expert says.
With experts sounding the alarm over harsh chemicals and toxins in commercial cleaning products, many people are turning to natural alternatives such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

But do these products clean as well as their synthetic rivals?

According to Professor Peter Collignon, infectious disease physician at the Australian National University's Medical School, who was interviewed for a report by ABC, vinegar is a viable alternative to commercial cleaning products.

It may not be as effective as the commercial products, but vinegar is a useful disinfectant that can be used in every household, he says.

What is vinegar?

Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid, the compound that kills bacteria and viruses.

Researchers found that vinegar can kill off the flu virus, but that it won’t touch some types of salmonella that could hide on chopping boards, for example.

Vinegar is a good alternative and non-toxic cleaning agent because it forces people to keep it simple, Collignon says.

The best way for people to clean their homes is with hot soapy water and some elbow grease to get rid of organic material.

Commercial cleaning products might make it easier, but it might also be overdoing it and over-using chemicals, he says.

Source: ABC

Clean the air with portable air purifiers

Just as over-using chemicals in the home is not a good idea, neither is breathing in too many volatile organic compounds in the home.

Along with source control (using more natural products) and ventilation (opening the windows regularly), a complete air purification system with activated carbon, HEPA and UV can help keep the air clean.

AllerAir offers air purifiers for the home and office with the most relevant filtration media at the best price. The deep-bed activated carbon filters remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, odors and VOCs.

The HEPA filter traps up to 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns. The UV germicidal filtration helps neutralize biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Student housing issues: Mold problems

Mold is a potential health hazard.
When students leave their parents’ house for the first time in their lives to live close to the campus of their choice, many are looking forward to the new experience and becoming independent.

But what if their new living conditions become unbearable?

In many cases, landlords are not liable when it comes to mold and other indoor air quality issues.

The Student Government Association at West Virginia University is asking for a bill to be passed to protect tenants facing mold in their homes.

What is mold?

Mold is a common indoor air pollutant because can easily grow on surfaces if there is enough water or humidity.

Mold spores are everywhere in the environment, and they can grow in visible spots or remain hidden behind drywall and underneath floors.

If there is a water leak or plumbing problem with standing water, mold can start growing after 24 -48 hours, experts say.

Health effects of mold

Mold exposure can lead to sneezing
and respiratory irritation.
Exposure to mold can make some people sick. Health effects can include sneezing, watery eyes, eye, nose and throat irritation, aggravated asthma and allergies, and more.

At West Virginia University, many students have become sick from mold and were forced to move out. However, they are still required to pay rent because landlords are not being liable.

The student association wants both parties to be able to work together to fix the problems in a timely manner and avoid health issues.

Source: The Daily Athenaeum 

How to remove mold and other indoor air pollutants

Mold needs to be removed once it is detected, but disturbing the mold will cause mold spores to become airborne, so it has to be done properly and with the right materials.

  • Fix the problem. If you just get rid of the mold, but the water/humidity problem is still there, the mold will just grow back.
  • Control humidity. Make sure the space is well ventilated, use a dehumidifier if needed and take steps to keep humidity levels at 30-50%.
  • Remove the mold. If there is not too much mold, you can remove it yourself. Refer to the EPA’s mold removal instructions and make sure you use masks and other protective equipment.
  • Use an air purifier. An air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV can help remove a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including mold, chemicals, gases, odors, particles, allergens, bacteria, viruses and dust.
AllerAir offers portable air purifiers for mold, allergy and asthma as well as odor and chemical control, among other specializations.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

What is a healthy home?

Tips to make a home healthier and to improve
indoor air quality.
The question of what constitutes a healthy home is coming up more frequently now, since a barrage of studies have linked poor indoor air quality and environmental pollutants emitted by household products and building materials to a host of health concerns.

A growing number of North Americans are also affected by asthma or allergies, which are often caused by or aggravated by indoor air pollutants.

Common indoor air contaminants in the home include dust mites and mold, chemicals and gases as well as other irritants.

Here are some tips to make a home healthier:
  • Clean regularly. By adhering to a regular cleaning schedule that includes dusting with a wet cloth, vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum and wet mopping, it is easier to keep dust and other pollutants under control (especially for young children house dust is a main venue of exposure). However, homeowners should swap their commercial cleaning products with natural or greener alternatives to avoid spreading more harmful chemicals throughout the space.
  • Choose the right materials. Avoid press-board products that can emit formaldehyde and instead opt for solid wood furniture and bed frames. When painting, choose the low-VOC paints. When it’s time to replace a mattress, go with organic products or natural latex-foam mattresses rather than petroleum-based ones. Organic bed sheets and pillows will reduce exposure to chemicals.
  • Develop a green thumb. Certain houseplants can help clean the air naturally. Some examples are bamboo and ferns. But don’t overdo it with the plants – too many could throw off the humidity level in the home. If you can't afford to buy all-organic produce, consider composting and tending a small garden in the backyard or on the balcony.
  • Improve the indoor air quality. The home needs to be properly ventilated and the HVAC system needs to be maintained properly. An easy and inexpensive way to increase ventilation is by opening the windows. When that is not a good option, portable air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA can help improve the air quality, experts say.
  • Beware of “green washing”. A lack of regulations and standards makes it easy for companies to make organic or green claims, even for substandard products. Always do your research and opt for certified organic products over others.
Source: Hampton Roads

The right air filters help promote good indoor air quality

A complete air filtration system for the home and office needs many pounds of activated carbon, a HEPA filter and pre-filters as well as UV germicidal filtration (optional).

AllerAir’s portable air purifiers for the home and office feature the most relevant filtration media for virtually any indoor air concern at the most advantageous price, guaranteed.

AllerAir specializes in air purifiers for MCS, allergy and asthma, mold, general purpose and tobacco smoke.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Children could be more exposed to chemicals than their mothers

Almost all U.S. citizens have the chemical PFOA in
their blood, research suggests. It's a long-lasting
environmental pollutant.
A new study measured the levels of an industrial chemical in the blood of children under 5 and their mothers, who live near the DuPont plant in West Virginia.

The researchers found that the children, who were exposed to the chemical from drinking water as well as their mom’s breast milk, had 44 percent  more of the chemical in their blood compared to the mothers.

The industrial chemical is perfluorooctanoate (PFOA, or C8).

What is C8?

PFOA, or C8, persists indefinitely in the environment. It is a toxicant and carcinogen in animals.

PFOA has been detected in the blood of more than 98% of the general US population in the low and sub-parts per billion range, and levels are higher in chemical plant employees and surrounding residents.

The chemical is used in the manufacture of Teflon nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging and other products. It can be found in house dust, carpet cleaning liquids, microwave popcorn bags and many other products.

For this study, the researchers picked people living near the DuPont plant because the chemical has contaminated drinking water supplies and the people nearby have levels of about seven times more than the US average.

The study involved 4,943 children and their mothers who were exposed to the chemical in the drinking water for at least one year.

Children more at risk: Researchers

Children seemed to concentrate the chemical more than their mothers, the researchers say. Another study linked perfluorinated compounds to reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccinations (see previous blog post).

Environmental health scientists fear that exposure to these industrial chemicals can interfere with the development of the brain, reproductive tract, hormones and possibly the immune system.

Previous research also linked exposure to these chemicals to kidney problems, including an increased risk of kidney cancer, and certain pregnancy complications.

Full results from the studies are expected in 2012.

Source: Scientific American

Reduce chemical exposure at home

AllerAir's 5000 Exec:
All-star air purifier
AllerAir specializes in portable and powerful air purifiers for the home and office that can help reduce airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and other pollutants.

The air purifiers feature a complete air filtration system with large activated carbon filters, HEPA filters, pre-filters and optional UV germicidal filtration.

Along with source control and adequate ventilation, a 24/7 air purifier with the right filters can help reduce indoor air pollutants that may be affecting your health and well-being.

Contact us for more information and options.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The do and don’ts of air duct cleaning

Air ducts can get dirty over time.
The indoor air quality in most homes and buildings is compromised by a variety of factors.

It could be poor ventilation, high humidity, mold, chemicals and VOCs, particles, dust, allergens, and more.

And a lot of these indoor air pollutants may be spread throughout the house by the ventilation system – which is why many people like to get their ducts cleaned once in a while.

There is no scientific evidence that regular duct cleaning will improve the indoor air quality, but if you think about getting it done, there are many factors to consider when choosing a duct cleaning service.

  • Establish a need. Is it really necessary to clean your ducts? Does it distribute excessive dust or debris throughout the home, or is it contaminated with mold, mildew or pests? Remember that some levels of dust will always be present in a home, even with clean ducts.
  • Find a good professional service. There are many scam artists out there, and often, they will lure customers with low prices. Experts say a good air duct cleaning should start at around $300 and take about 3-5 hours. Check a company’s local reputation or references. 
  • Be in the know. A qualified professional will not only clean the ducts, but also the other components of the HVAC system. This includes coils, drain pans, fans and humidifiers. Ask your service provider for a list of things they will do and ask them to verify all of them as they complete them. Most reputable air duct cleaners will also use a filter to trap the debris they remove, which allows you to see the progress.

  • Don’t go by price alone. Any deal that sounds too good – usually is.
  • Don’t forget to check if the air duct cleaners in your area require a license. Ask for proof of license and proof of insurance before you hire.
  • Don’t go with a company that offers other cleaning services (like carpeting or chimney cleaning). Always use a specialist.

Want better indoor quality?

There are easier and better ways to reduce the level of indoor air contaminants in your home.

Avoid bringing in new pollutants such as harsh cleaning chemicals, pesticides, VOC-emitting paints or products, and so on.

AllerAir's AirMedic air purifiers
Make sure your home is ventilated. If you can, open the windows regularly to air out rooms!

Use a portable air purifier in the room you frequent the most. This could be your bedroom or the living area, for example.

The air purifier needs many pounds of activated carbon to be able to remove a wide range of harmful chemicals and gases, a HEPA filter to trap irritating particles and optional UV germicidal filtration to neutralize contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

Check out AllerAir’s extensive line of air purifiers or speak to an IAQ expert from AllerAir for more information and options.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Early exposure to dry-cleaning chemical can lead to bipolar disorder

Early exposure to a dry-cleaning chemical can have
serious health consequences, a new study shows.
A new study has linked early exposure to the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (also known as perc or PCE) to an increased risk of bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome.

Researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health followed up with people born between 1969 and 1983 in the Cape Cod area, where the dry-cleaning chemical leached into the water supply.

The solvent and vinyl resin were used to attach liners to the water pipes and dried for 48 hours before being shipped to their destination.

The common belief was that the chemical would evaporate before the installation of the pipe, but instead traces of the chemical ended up in the drinking water.

The researchers contacted 1,500 subjects and found that 830 of them were exposed to the solvent in early childhood.

The study participants answered a questionnaire about a variety of things, including mental health and if they had ever been diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the participants exposed to perc in early childhood, there was an 80 percent higher risk for bipolar disorder and a 170 percent increase in those who were highly exposed.

For post traumatic stress disorder, the risk rose by 50 percent, up to 70 percent respectively.

The researchers said that people are still exposed to perc through dry cleaning and from consumer products and that the increased risk of illness remains real.

The study was published in Environmental Health.

Source: Toronto Star

Reduce chemical exposure at home

One way to avoid or reduce exposure to PCE is to forgo dry cleaning completely, or to let the dry-cleaned clothes air out before bringing them indoors.

An air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon can also help remove airborne chemicals and fumes such as perc and formaldehyde.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for the home and office feature the most carbon and the deepest filter beds in their price class, and they also remove other indoor air pollutants with HEPA and UV as well as pre-filters.

Find out more about our general purpose air purifiers, and contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Working in an office? It could expose you to harmful chemicals

Office workers are exposed to PFCs
and other indoor air pollutants.
The air in offices – especially newly renovated offices – could be enough to make you sick, according to a new study.

Researchers found that most offices expose workers to harmful chemicals like PFCs (polyfluorinated compounds), which are evident in the workers’ blood.

PFCs are chemicals that can be released by office furniture, carpet stain repellents, paint, food packaging and other products.

The chemicals have been linked to health effects like thyroid hormone imbalance, cancer and infertility.

The study of 31 office workers in Boston revealed much higher levels of PFCs in the employees, levels that were 3-5 times higher than studies on household air. Researchers concluded that offices could be a significant source of exposure of PFCs.

The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers previously studied office dust and found high concentrations of a banned flame retardant (PBDE) on Boston office workers’ hands. They suggested regular hand washing as an effective solution.

Source: Hindustan Times

Clear the air with powerful air filters

Offices don’t have to be stuffy or bad for workers’ health.

While office managers and facility management should work together to introduce fewer chemicals and other toxins into the ambient air and to increase ventilation, a simple and effective way to breathe cleaner air is by using a portable air purifier.

AllerAir specializes in air purifiers for the home and office with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV filtration.

The activated carbon helps remove airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and odors.

The HEPA filter traps particles and dust, and the UV lamp helps neutralize contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

The air purifiers are designed to run on a low setting 24/7, to remove pollutants on a continuous basis and to keep the air moving.

Check out what other people are saying, and contact an AllerAir IAQ expert for more information and suggestions based on your unique indoor air concerns.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Are your children exposed to radon in schools?

Schools and other buildings can expose occupants to radon.
National Radon Action Month may be over, but the invisible threat is a year-round problem.

The naturally occurring radioactive gas also does not care where or when it accumulates, so it may be present in homes, government buildings or schools at higher than acceptable levels.

Since one building can have high levels of radon while the one next to it doesn’t, experts recommend testing every home and building for radon. The best time for testing is the winter.

Radon enters buildings through cracks and fissures in the foundation or other opening in the building, and it can accumulate indoors.

The gas represents a health hazard when someone is exposed to high concentrations over a relatively long time (several decades). In fact, radon contributes to 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

In order to protect children from radon exposure in schools, some administrations are taking action.

The English Montreal School Board last year sent out a letter to the schools informing them of a new radon detection program instigated by the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS).

New Health Canada guidelines lowered the acceptable levels of radon in the ambient air. In schools where radon concentration exceeds 200 Becquerel’s per cubic meter, which represents the maximum “safe” concentration under the new guidelines, remedial measures have to be taken.

In January 2012, radon detectors were installed in schools, which will be removed in the spring to be analyzed in a laboratory.

According to a Radio-Canada report from Jan. 30, the ministry of education decided to test all of Quebec’s primary and high schools for radon.

It’s a preventive measure, officials say.

School boards are required to test all their buildings for radon. The deadline for completion is July 1, 2014.

Mitigation techniques include special venting systems that vent the radon outdoors, sealing the cracks and fissure on the floor and more.

Radon is not the only indoor air quality issue affecting schools and school-aged children. To learn more about indoor air pollution and possible solutions, contact an AllerAir IAQ expert today.

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