Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Make your home ‘greener’ with the right renovations

Many home renovation projects can lead to
more energy efficient and healthier homes.
Home renovations can have a number of positive effects:
  1. They can address environmental issues such as climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  2. They can lower a home’s operating costs and add value to a home
  3. They can lead to healthier homes and better indoor air quality

Experts suggest working with professional renovators, if homeowners don’t have the time, know-how or interest to do the work themselves.

A green renovation project is characterized by three main factors: Increasing energy and water efficiency, ensuring clean indoor air and using resource-smart materials and products.

The most effective renovation jobs that can significantly increase energy and water efficiency include
  • Replacing or upgrading a home’s heating system with high-efficiency equipment
  • Installing new windows
  • Upgrading light fixtures and bulbs to compact fluorescent, halogen and LED lights
  • Getting more energy efficient water-heating equipment when the time comes
  • Replacing old appliances with energy efficient models

A home energy assessment from an independent certified evaluator may help homeowners decide which projects need to be tackled first.

In some areas, homeowners can also apply for certain grants or financial incentives for energy-wise upgrades.

Keep indoor air quality in mind

When making homes more energy efficient and airtight, it is important to consider the indoor air quality, which can be affected by mold, chemicals and other pollutants, experts warn.

Homes are a system, and changing one part of it can have an impact on other parts.

After certain renovations, homes may need additional ventilation.

Using non-toxic and low-VOC products can also help prevent pollutants from building up inside.

Source: Regina Leader-Post

Air purifiers to improve indoor air quality
AllerAir's 5000 series and
6000 series contain powerful
room air purifiers.

Even with the best intentions, indoor air pollution is a common concern in homes and buildings and can affect people’s health and well-being.

A room air purifier  with activated carbon and HEPA can help provide cleaner and healthier air on a 24/7 basis.

AllerAir offers powerful general purpose air purifiers for the home and office as well as the most efficient specialized units for IAQ concerns such as mold, allergies and asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), tobacco smoke and more.

Have you renovated your home recently and noticed a difference in your air quality? We’d love to hear your story.

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

Contact AllerAir for more information about its products and IAQ solutions.

Monday, July 30, 2012

No tan is a good tan

Sun-bathing is actually better for you
than tanning substitutes
First we were told that sun-bathing was bad for our skin, so people starting using tanning salons. Then we were told that tanning beds caused more harmful UV rays than did the sun at high noon, so people turned to tanning lotions.

Now studies tell us to stop that too.

Though there is no evidence that these self-tanning products lead to melanoma, research has shown  that the chemicals absorbed by the skin and inhaled from the spray and fumes can in fact have long-term effects.

Tanning lotions are composed of several types of chemicals including the carcinogen formaldehyde, nitrosamines (also considered cancer-causing) and tartrazine (a synthetic yellow dye that is known to cause skin irritations).

Side effects may include reduced fertility, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Pregnant women also expose their children to these chemicals, which can result in birth defects.

Source: The MedGuru

Sunbathing is the better option

If you’re afraid you’re turning pasty and the prospect of tanning is just too good to pass up, your best bet is to get some real sun. Though extended exposure will still have negative consequences, it is still the safer option.

 How to protect your home from chemical toxins

Though it would be easy to just go home and throw out your tanning lotions, there are many other cosmetics and cleaning products that include some of the ingredients listed above. Some are more difficult to do without than others. 

Take the time to go through the products you use most often, and find greener options to replace them with. It is also a good idea to get an air purifier to clean your home when some of these products are used.

AllerAir's numerical series of air purifiers
(4000, 5000, 6000)

Though many chemicals are diffused outdoors, they tend to hang around indoors. An activated carbon filtered air purifier will adsorb the chemicals, rending your home safer and healthier.

Do you use self-tanning lotions? Will you continue to do so now that you know the side-effects? Tell us what you think!

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

For more information on AllerAir’s air purifiers for odor and chemical control, call us toll free at 1-888-852-8247.

Friday, July 27, 2012

FDA bans BPA in baby bottles and cups

The FDA ban makes a voluntary industry ban on
BPA in baby bottles and drinking cups official.
It was about time: The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer be made with bisphenol A (or BPA).

BPA has received lots of negative press because research has shown that the industrial chemical used in plastic bottles and food packaging is an estrogen-mimicking substance that can affect development.

Growing consumer concern already prompted the industry to stop using BPA in baby products, but the FDA’s decision is making it official.

Industry experts hope the decision will boost a shaken consumer confidence.

About BPA: Endocrine disruptor

The FDA declared BPA safe in 2008, but has voiced concerns about the chemical’s safety since 2010, saying it might affect the brain, behavior and prostrate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

The ban does not extend to BPA in other containers. Plastic items containing BPA are usually marked with a 7 on the bottom, for recycling purposes.

BPA exposure is common – traces of the chemical have been found in urine, breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood.

BPA already banned in Canada

The potentially negative health effects have led to official bans of BPA  from children’s products in Canada, Chicago and Suffolk County in New York State.

The FDA ban is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t include the containers of baby formula and many other containers that can expose pregnant women to the chemical, who can pass it on to their babies.

Maybe there will be a more comprehensive ban in our near future.

Source: New York Times

Remove airborne chemicals with carbon + HEPA air purifiers

Avoiding chemical exposures is a priority for many mothers-to-be and health-conscious individuals in general.

Many of the chemicals and volatile organic compounds are in the air we breathe. In order to take these toxic fumes out of the ambient air, an air purifier needs a deep-bed activated carbon filter.

AllerAir air purifiers consistently feature the most activated carbon at the best price, and the air purifiers also come with HEPA and pre-filters for the best overall protection.The most popular general purpose room air purifiers from AllerAir include the AirMedic series and the 5000 series. For baby's rooms and nurseries, the AirTube series has become a favorite.

Not sure which air purifier to choose? Consult our sizing and model selection guide or contact an AllerAir IAQ expert.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Free radon test kits run out: Tennessee

Radon can only be detected
by using a testing kit
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
The Tennessee department of environment and conservation announced earlier this month it would provide residents with free radon test kits for their homes. The deadline for requests was set for July 30th, but the state has already run out. 

Governments in both the United States and Canada have made huge strides in educating society on the harmful effects of radon: an odorless, colorless gas that can be found in many homes across North America. This cancer-causing, radioactive gas occurs when uranium breaks down in water, rock and soil.

According to US estimates, indoor levels of radon should be no higher than 2pCi/L (picocuries per liter.) If they are, steps should be taken to reduce the levels in your home. Higher levels of radon have been detected in the Mid-West and in the North-Eastern part of the country. To check whether your region has a higher risk of radon poisoning, visit the EPA’s interactive map of the US.

Canada has a different way of measuring radon. It uses Bq/m³ (becquerels per cubic meter) and has deemed that safe levels should be 200 Bq/m³ or less.  Studies have revealed that the provinces with the highest risk for radon are New Brunswick, Manitoba, The Yukon and Saskatchewan. They all recorded concentrations of radon that were at least 16 percent above the 200 Bq/m³ maximum. For more detailed information, check out the Cross-Canada Survey of Radon Concentrations in Homes.

Both governments encourage everyone to test their homes for the presence of radon, regardless of where they live.

What to do?

Radon contains radioactive properties
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Before panicking, it is important for you to get more informed by reading the information both governments have provided above.

The next step is to purchase a radon test kit to see what the concentration levels may be in your home. Test kits can be found in many larger supermarkets and cost approximately 20 dollars.

If you have a radon problem, here are some tips to follow:

  •  Sealing: filling up cracks in the foundation of the house is a good way to reduce the amount of radon entering your home from the ground
  • Room pressurization: this is the process of blowing air into the basement either from upstairs or from outdoors; this will help keep the radon from rising into your home
  •  Heat recovery ventilator: this is also called an air-to-air heat exchanger and it is a constant ventilation system of incoming and outgoing air
  • Natural ventilation: this is simply the process of opening windows and doors to allow outdoor air to pass through the home and disperse the radon
NOTE: Simply sealing or naturally ventilating the home is not sufficient for counteracting radon. They must be used in conjunction with room pressurization or heat recovery ventilation to be effective.

Another option

Air purifiers can also help mitigate radon poisoning.  When combined with sealing and natural ventilation, air purifiers can not only help reduce radon levels in your home, but they can also clean other toxins and particles from the air by using HEPA and activated carbon filters.

Do you have any tips on how to deal with radon? Share your advice with us.

For more information on AllerAir’s air purifiers, contact us through our website.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Toluene

Spray paint contains the
toxic chemical toluene
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 may seem daunting to look at the list of ingredients on the back of a label and try to figure out what all those scientific words mean.  But knowing what they are and how they can affect you and your family are very important. 

Toluene is a clear liquid that has a very distinct smell. You know that strong smell you find in paint thinners? That’s toluene. It is a common ingredient found in many of our household products. 

Toluene is also an aromatic hydrocarbon, like Xylene (discussed in a previous entry), and is most commonly used as a solvent. 

This chemical, though not considered carcinogenic, can have very severe consequences. While toluene naturally occurs in liquid form, it can also be found in gas form, such as in aerosols. 

Inhaling this chemical can cause drowsiness, numbness, nausea and headaches. Irritations to the nose, throat and skin may also occur. There have been instances where toluene has been inhaled for recreational purposes, which results in a chemical high resembling drunkenness.

Exposure to this chemical in confined spaces can affect the central nervous system and in extreme cases, cause unconsciousness and even death.  

  •         Spray paints
  •         Primers
  •         Multipurpose cleaners (liquid or aerosol)
  •         Contact cement
  •         Floor polish
  •         Paint thinners
  •         Bathmats
  •         Wood sealers
  •         Some coloring pens and markers

Many people store the products above in the basement or garage. If possible, apply these products outdoors to help reduce the chances of the vapors entering the home. If work needs to be done inside the garage, keep the doors open during that time.  

Keeping your indoor air quality safe

AllerAir's numerical series is made
for odor and chemical control
When working inside the home, make sure to keep all windows and doors open to allow for maximum ventilation or use an air purifier. 

AllerAir’s 5000 or 6000 DX Vocarb air purifier was conceived for the purpose of dealing with spaces that have high concentrations of airborne chemicals, odors and volatile organic chemicals. 

After completing the work on your rooms, set the air purifier at the lowest setting throughout the night or until the windows are opened again the next day. 

Keeping it at the lowest setting will allow the chemicals to be adsorbed more quickly by the activated carbon filter within the air purifier.

Do you have any questions about toluene or how our air purifiers can help keep your home safe? Post your questions or comments here and we'll be happy to respond.

Show your support for green living by becoming a follower of this blog.

Contact us at AllerAir for more information on our products.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Flame retardants under scrutiny

EPA yields to public outcry over research identifying health concerns over the toxic chemicals
Children are especially at risk from exposure to
flame retardants in furniture and other products.

When major news outlets like the Chicago Tribune published in-depth reports about the questionable record of flame retardants, it spawned a huge reaction from the public and lawmakers demanding more information and possibly action.

Now the United States Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will conduct a broad investigation of the chemicals that are used in a wide range of household products, including upholstered furniture (one sofa can contain up to 2 pounds of flame retardants in the foam cushions) and baby products such as mattresses and pajamas.

The paper’s article series outlined a campaign by tobacco and chemical industries to promote flame retardants by utilizing the public’s fear of fires, distorted science and phony associations.

The problems with flame retardants

However, recent research has shown that flame retardants don’t really protect from fires and that exposure to the chemicals can lead to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and fertility problems.

Experts partly blame the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act from 1976, which allows companies to introduce new products without having to prove that they are safe and which makes it difficult to ban certain substances after they have been shown to affect people’s health.

The EPA’s investigation will target a larger group of flame retardants that has been linked to the most health problems.

Instead of putting flame retardants in the furniture itself, new industry standards may involve the upholstery itself to resist smoldering cigarettes, one of the most common causes of fires in homes.

Exposure to flame retardants

Studies show that flame retardant chemicals have become widespread and can often be detected in common household dust, which is inhaled, ingested and touched by all household members, especially children.

Even small doses may trigger obesity, anxiety and developmental problems, studies have found.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Rid the air of household dust and chemicals
AllerAir's AirMedic
air purifiers

Cleaner air is a must in any household, but especially those with young children and pets who are more vulnerable to toxic exposures.

AllerAir has developed portable room air purifiers that contain activated carbon and HEPA air filter to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

For household dust and chemicals, AllerAir recommends its AirMedic series and AirMedic+ series, featuring a 360-degree air intake and the most efficient particle and chemical filters.

Contact an AllerAir IAQ expert for more information and a personal consultation.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Generation Xers: Indifferent about climate change?

Some people don't believe in global warming
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
This summer is proving to be full of record-breaking temperatures. All across North America, people are suffering from sweltering heat and humidity that can have devastating effects indoors. 

Studies have shown there are more toxic chemicals hovering in homes during heat waves such as these than during cooler periods.

Add to that the fact that environmental scientists have been talking about global climate change for years and we can only imagine what the quality of air is like in our homes.

Interesting new studies, however, have revealed some surprising facts. 

The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research has determined that Generation Xers (32 -52 years old) are, for the most part, indifferent and even doubtful about climate change. 

Between 2009 and 2011, the study, funded by the National Science Foundation, recorded a decline in interest on the issue. 

Of the 4000 people polled, only 16 percent were still interested in climate change in 2011, compared to 22 percent in 2009.

Upon further exploration, the study revealed that more educated Generation Xers also tended to be more concerned for the environment. It also indicated that adults with children were somewhat less concerned about the environment than those adults without children; a result that surprised researchers.   

Real environmental threats

Whether or not you believe in global climate change, there are some real indications that we live among many pollutants. Regardless of where we go or what we do, harmful particles and chemicals surround us.

During peak heat periods, smog not only coats the air outside, but also seeps into the home, especially when people are dependent on fans and open windows to keep rooms ventilated.

Every time we open doors or windows, even when we have air conditioning, outside air comes indoors.  This is why it is important to find ways to minimize indoor air pollution.

The benefits of an air purifier

AllerAir's 5000 Exec is part of
the 5000 series
AllerAir’s air purifiers are a great investment when trying to maintain a healthy home environment. 

The 5000 series is a practical, wheeled unit that can easily be moved from room to room. The unit uses activated carbon and HEPA filters to eliminate particles, chemicals and odors from the home.

Place it in the kitchen if you want to mitigate food odors. Keep it in your bedroom to help you to get a fresh night’s sleep.

You can even put the unit in the living room, where it can clear the air of cigarette smoke, as well as the harmful chemicals found in scented candles and air fresheners.

For all you Generation Xers out there…how many of you are concerned with climate change?

For those of you who aren’t convinced the world’s undergoing climate change: what are your reasons for your doubts?

We’d love to hear from you. Post your questions, comments and concerns and we’d be happy to respond.

Show your support for green living by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information about AllerAir's general purpose air purifiers and specialized units, contact us.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Allergic to pets? You can still have them!

Though many people avoid having pets due to allergies, the video below gives you tips on how to have a pet despite your allergies.

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

As was mentioned in the video, having an air purifier in your home is a good way to keep allergens out of the air. Make sure to keep your bedroom pet-free and have an air purifier, such as AllerAir's AirMedic series, there.

It is also a good idea to have an air purifier in the room where the pet spends the most amount of time so that, in addition to regular housekeeping, allergens are kept at a minimum.

What do you think about this video? Would this encourage you to get a pet?

Feel free to post your comments, questions or concerns. We'd be happy to reply.

Show your support for green living by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on AllerAir's products, contact us through our website.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Make your home a toxic-free zone

A home's indoor air may be polluted with chemicals,
particles and biological contaminants such as mold.
Our home is a place that should feel safe – not only from outside dangers, but also from less obvious hazards such as harmful indoor air pollutants.

The air in many homes is full of chemicals, gases, particles, dust, carcinogens, allergens, pathogens – the more we learn about the air we breathe, the scarier it gets.

Thankfully, there are many actions homeowners can take to make sure that they live in the least toxic environment possible. Here are a few tips:

No more plastics
Plastic is a very common household substance, but it can be dangerous for our health and the environment. BPA in plastic containers, bottles, shower curtains and other products acts as an endocrine disruptor (affecting the hormone system). Better products to use: Glass containers, stainless steel water bottles, natural fabrics.

Ban the air fresheners and scented candles
Typical brand name air fresheners contain a wide range of toxic chemicals – and they don’t really clean the air, they usually cover up smells. Natural ventilation with the help of open windows, for example, help keep the air fresh. Scented candles are also a big no-no because they can spread toxic fumes. For a pleasant scent, some people boil cinnamon, bake or make their own, non-toxic air fresheners. Natural essential oils can also add some fragrance to the room. Instead of scented candles, use pure beeswax candles.

Better cleaning agents
Too many commercial cleaning products are loaded with harsh chemicals that promise to kill bacteria and germs. These toxins can also be highly irritating to the eyes, respiratory system and skin, and many of the substances have been linked to cancer. Better products include more natural cleaning agents or homemade varieties (for example, vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice).

Other tips for a cleaner and healthier home include using stainless steel and cast iron cookware instead of non-stick ones, disconnecting electronics when they are not in use to reduce electromagnetic radiation, and taking off shoes at the door to prevent outside dirt, pesticides and environmental pollutants from entering the home.

Source: Living Green Magazine

Cleaner indoor air all year round
AllerAir air purifiers contain
carbon, HEPA and UV filters.

Getting rid of common sources of indoor air pollution will go a long way toward a cleaner and healthier home, but during many months of the year, opening windows may not be a good idea due to extreme temperatures, outdoor air pollution or other considerations.

That is why so many homeowners turn to portable air purifiers for some relief.

A room or whole home air purifier from AllerAir can remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants from the home, including airborne chemicals, VOCs, gases, odors, fumes, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses, mold, pollen and more.

The air purifiers feature an efficient activated carbon and HEPA filtration system, plus optional UV germicidal filtration and pre-filters.

For general purpose air cleaning, AllerAir recommends its 5000 Exec air purifier or other units in the 5000 series as well as the AirMedic air purifiers.

For more information, please contact AllerAir.

Like this blog? Become a follower!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Xylene

Xylene is found in many different types of paint
"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.

When we buy cleaning products, or even recreational goods for the home, we rarely know what the ingredients on the labels mean.

Is this ingredient toxic? Is repeated exposure putting me and my family at risk? 

These are questions many of us ask ourselves when deciding what to buy.

Xylene is a common chemical found in many cleaning and recreational products, but few people know what it is.

This chemical, also called dimethylbenzene or xylol is usually found in a clear, liquid form. Designated as an aromatic hydrocarbon, xylene is an organic compound made of hydrogen and carbon that gives off a sweet odor. In the commercial world, it is often combined with other compounds to make everyday items such as polyester or plastic bottles.

Though this may start to sound overly technical, you might be surprised to know how present this chemical is in our daily lives. 

Xylene may be found, in varying concentrations, in the following products:

  •     Perfumes 
  •      Insect repellents 
  •     Dyes  
  •      Insecticides 
  •      Floor polish 
  •      Liquid and aerosol household cleaners 
  •      Markers, fine point and broad-tipped 
  •      Paint 
  •      Pet flea and tick products, including collars 
  •      Art materials (i.e. clay, water/tempera colors, finger paint…) 
  •      Automobile body polish and cleaners

These everyday materials may not contain large quantities of xylene, but long-term or extensive exposure to it in enclosed spaces can lead to various skin irritations, anemia, depression and even liver problems.

Choosing organic materials when cleaning the house is a far safer option, but if you must use xylene-based products, keep the windows open while engaged in your activities.  Leave them open for another 20 minutes after completing your chores. 

Ensuring a safe home for you and your family

AllerAir's 5000 D Vocarb
Taking precautions when using some of the products above is highly recommended, but using an air purifier, such as AllerAir’s air purifiers for chemical and odor control, will give you the peace of mind necessary to protect you and your family.

These air purifiers can be purchased as is, or customized for our clients' individual needs. The units not only rid the air of odors, but remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles from your indoor space with the help of our HEPA  filters.

Additionally, our special carbon filters adsorb several household chemicals, thereby providing an environment that is safe for you and your family.
Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about xylene? Let us know by posting a message. We’ll be happy to respond.

Show your support for green living by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on AllerAir’s air purifiers, please visit our website.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chemical sensitivity may be more common than thought: Study

Exposure to common household chemicals can
trigger reactions in people with chemical intolerance.
Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos
Ever feel like typical household products such as cleaners, perfumes and air fresheners bother you or could be the cause of allergy-like symptoms?

The condition, often referred to as chemical sensitivity or chemical intolerance, may be more common than you think.

According to a small study conducted at two Texas family medicine practices, a growing number of low-income patients exhibit the typical signs of chemical intolerance when it comes to common household products.

What is multiple chemical sensitivity?

MCS is still a hotly debated topic in the medical community, as there is no agreement as to the cause or the exact symptoms. Some people even say that it should not be considered a disorder unto itself.

However, a standard screening questionnaire exists, which can help shed light on the condition.

The questions ask patients whether they feel sick when they are exposed to various chemicals and smells and about their symptoms.

Common culprits include gasoline, paint, perfumes, cleaning products and chemical pesticides.

Activated carbon helps remove
chemicals, odors and gases from
the ambient air.
Study finds higher rates of MCS

The results from the questionnaire showed that 20 percent of the 400 screened patients were affected by chemical sensitivities.

Previous studies on MCS focused on higher-income, white people, while this study’s participants were mostly lower-income and Hispanic.

The researchers say that the findings are substantial because they show that MCS may be understudied in certain population groups that often work jobs, which expose them to chemicals.

The study participants also identified some mental health disorders that may accompany MCS, including higher rates of depression and anxiety disorder for patients affected by chemical intolerance.

Figuring out they are sensitive to chemicals will help patients get some relief or change their lifestyles, the researchers say. If their regular doctor can’t help, they suggest a referral to an allergist.

The research was done at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Source: Reuters

Get rid of airborne chemicals with the right air purifiers

Even with a healthy lifestyle and non-toxic products, chemicals will find a way indoors, either from outside sources or hard to control sources such as building materials and furniture.

AllerAir has designed portable air purifiers for MCS that feature the most efficient air filtration methods and the most inert materials to make sure they are tolerable for chemically sensitive people.

The MCS air purifiers contain many pounds of activated carbon to remove airborne chemicals, volatile organic compounds, odors and gases. Since there are different types and blends of carbon available, MCS clients get to test some of them beforehand to make sure they can tolerate the filtration media.

AllerAir's MCS features include:
  • Metal housings and metal filter canisters
  • Powder-coated finish on housings and filter canisters
  • Organic unbleached cotton pre-filters
  • Super-HEPA: A high efficiency particle filter that contains no Polyamide, adhesives and other potentially irritating substances
  • Burnt-in motor to reduce new motor smells
  • And more!

Contact AllerAir for more information and a personal consultation with an IAQ expert. Find out what other people have to say about AllerAir's air purifiers.

Want to keep in the loop? Become a follower and stay up to date with indoor air quality issues in and around the home and office.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Children’s asthma connected to fine particles inside homes

Children's asthma was more common in homes with
higher levels of fine particulate matter, study shows.
A new study found that homes in neighborhoods where more kids have asthma usually also have elevated levels of black carbon indoors.

The homes may be located close to major truck routes, or the buildings may be using low-quality fuel oil, the researchers found.

Black carbon is a major contributor to air pollution known as fine particulate matter. It is formed when fossil fuels and wood are being burned.

Fine particulate matter is a health concern because the small particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs and affect the heart and respiratory system.

Outdoor air affects indoor air quality

If there is a lot of air pollution outside, the indoor air quality in nearby homes often suffers as well, the researchers say, and this study adds to the bulk of research warning about the respiratory effects of air pollution on children.

The study involved 240 children from middle-income families in New York City, who lived in neighborhoods that were either classified as low asthma prevalence or high asthma prevalence.

The researchers also measured other types of indoor air contaminants that may trigger asthma, including dust mite allergens and evidence of dogs, cats, mice or cockroaches in the home.

The study appeared in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Source: Environmental Health News

Air purifiers for cleaner indoor air

Indoor air pollution plays a major role in the development and control of asthma symptoms in children (and adults).
The AirMedic air purifiers clean the air with
activated carbon and HEPA filters as well as
a 360-degree air intake.

Fewer airborne triggers help avoid asthma attacks, studies have shown. For the cleanest indoor air possible, homeowners need to limit products and activities that may lead to poor indoor air quality, ensure that there is good ventilation and make the best use of an air purifier.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for asthma and allergies combine the most effective and longest lasting air filters to provide relief from indoor air pollutants such as fine particles and dust, allergens, chemicals, fumes, odors, bacteria, viruses and mold spores.

The air filtration system contains a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals and VOCs, a medical-grade HEPA filter for the particles and optional UV germicidal filtration for biological contaminants.

AllerAir’s most popular air purifiers for asthma include the AirMedic Exec and other units from the AirMedic or AirMedic+ Series.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wildfire smoke: How to minimize risks

Chemicals and gases as well as
particles released by wildfires can
affect your health and well-being.
Raging wildfires present a public health concern because they can affect the air quality in regions near and far away.

Wildfires release gases and fine particles into the air, which can travel long distances and affect people’s health and well-being.

Those exposed to wildfire smoke have complained of irritated eyes and lungs as well as aggravated chronic diseases such as asthma.

ERs and clinics see an influx of people when there is a wildfire nearby or in range, studies show.

And the problems may only get worse over time, with experts predicting a rise in wildfires due to climate change.

A common recommendation is to stay indoors in order to avoid exposure, but this is when the indoor air quality starts to play a very important role.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a few tips for people residing near wildfire zones:
  1. Regularly check the local air quality reports to time your outdoor activities and gauge possible levels of exposure.
  2. Protect your indoor air quality as much as possible by keeping windows and doors closed.
  3. Don’t add pollutants to your indoor air by burning candles, smoking or using fireplaces or gas stoves. Other possible sources of indoor air contaminants include harsh cleaning products and personal care products.
  4. Consult a doctor or healthcare professional to get advice and information about breathing problems (and how to avoid them).
  5. Get the right information and protective materials. Paper masks that are commonly sold at hardware stores are made for bigger particles and dust and won’t offer much protection from the fine particles and chemicals contained in wildfire smoke.
Source: US News Health

Air purifiers for wildfire smoke

The gases and fine particles in wildfire smoke can easily invade private homes and offices and affect the indoor air quality.

Most air purifiers are ill-equipped to handle wildfire-related pollutants because they often only feature a HEPA filter. The HEPA will be able to remove the fine particulate matter, but it cannot filter out the gases and chemicals released by the smoke.

Chemicals, gases and odors are best removed by a deep-bed activated carbon filter.

AllerAir air purifiers consistently feature the most relevant filtration of activated carbon and HEPA at the best price (ask about our guarantee) and the air purifiers for tobacco smoke and wildfire smoke are equipped with other special features to ensure cleaner and healthier indoor air.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

AllerAir's Super-HEPA - a new barrier for particles

FlexTuff Super-HEPA is available
for AllerAir's 5000 Series.
AllerAir is committed to continuous research and development to improve indoor air quality. Now AllerAir is raising the bar again – this time for particle filtration – with a new FlexTuff Super-HEPA particle filter.

A standard HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is typically made out of randomly arranged fiberglass fibers and is pleated in a V pattern to increase its surface area. It’s an effective particle filter, but its rigid nature requires careful handling, as the material gets damaged easily.

For outstanding particle filtration with more advantages, AllerAir now offers the FlexTuff Super-HEPA, which is wrapped around the carbon canister and made out of a robust and flexible material (FlexTuff) that contains no binders, no glue and no Polyamide (plastic) to keep the filter in place.

The Super-HEPA has been shown to remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. In addition, its strong and flexible nature guarantees that the FlexTuff Super-HEPA won’t get damaged during normal handling – and it emits zero odors.

The Super-HEPA is available for AllerAir’s numerical series, including the MCS units.

Take control of your indoor air environment

AllerAir’s powerful, portable air filtration systems for the home or office are an ideal choice for those who are concerned about chemicals, gases, odors and particles in the air.

AllerAir uses only the most effective filtration technologies with a deep bed of activated carbon, a 5” to 7” filtration path through the carbon, an advanced Super-HEPA particle filter and ProDense pre-filters (or 100% unbleached organic cotton pre-filters for MCS units) to clean the air.

With a smart airflow design and different carbon blends, AllerAir air purifiers allow you to target specific airborne pollutants.

Many units can also be equipped with a UV lamp, which neutralizes biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold mycotoxins for added protection (UV is not recommended for clients affected by MCS).

AllerAir also offers units that are configured for positive and negative pressure.

Contact one of AllerAir’s air quality experts for more information: 1-888-852-8247.

Cleaning out the garage? Keep child safety in mind

An organized garage is safer and healthier.
The garage is a place where a lot of “stuff” accumulates.

Old paint cans, windshield wiper fluid, recreational equipment, tools, and so many other things can easily take over any semblance of organization or functionality.

But because of the the type of products often stored there, which include a lot of chemical and health hazards, organization and functionality are important to make sure the garage is safe – especially for households with children.

Cleaning out the garage regularly is a great way to prevent clutter, according to professional organizers, and homeowners should keep three bins in the garage at all time, labeled “sell”, “recycle” and “throw away.”

By going through the items in the garage every few months and emptying the bin once they get full, you can keep the clutter at bay.

Locking up hazardous materials or chemicals will keep children safe, and it might be a good idea to divide the garage into kid and adult zones as well as gardening, household supplies and auto care sections (or whatever other sections are needed) to make it easier to find things and to keep everything organized.

Keep things that need to be moved regularly (garbage bins, bikes) near the garage door.

Here are some other tips:

  • Get rid of toxic and hazardous materials if you can. Instead, look for non-toxic or alternative products such as low or zero VOC paints, non toxic household supplies and greener fertilizers.
  • Check expiration dates and drop off hazardous household items at drop-off spots or drives.
  • Reorganize the garage so that dangerous tools and products are out of reach of children.
  • Attach cabinets and shelves safely to the walls.

When it comes to paint cans, solvents, chemicals and similar products, the fumes can not only be a hazard in the garage, but they can become a health threat if they make their way into the home.

Making sure that connecting doors are safe and shut tight should be a priority.

Source: The Oregonian

Cleaner air in the home and the garage

Indoor air quality is important, whether it’s in the garage or in the home.

A portable air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can help remove those airborne chemicals, odors, fumes, particles, allergens, dust, bacteria, viruses and molds that are floating around in the ambient air.

AllerAir has developed highly efficient air purifiers for general purpose air cleaning as well as for specialized IAQ concerns, including mold, allergy and asthma and heavy chemical and odor control.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mold and chemical allergies: From mild symptoms to serious life impact

Debilitating mold allergies and chemical sensitivities
are on the rise, numbers show.
Allergies to mold spores and chemicals are on the rise - and they are driving some sufferers to stay in tents or on balconies year round.

Even tiny amounts of mold spores or low levels of chemical exposure can cause reactions in these people, leading to symptoms such as disabling pain, numbness, bleeding of the mouth, headaches and more.

In some cities, health officials have started taking notice and are trying to find solutions to these "mold refugees".

In many cases, living or working in a mold-infested environment for a prolonged period of time caused the allergies or sensitivities to appear, and in extreme cases, people can lose their jobs, homes and belongings trying to manage the condition.

Treatments and assistance are hard to come by, since the medical community has not yet acknowledged the existence of such a condition and make an official diagnosis possible
Those suffering from mold allergies and chemical sensitivities blame construction methods and exposure to chemicals, which makes the mold spores produce toxins that triggers their reactions.
Source: Helsingin Sanomat

Air purifiers for mold, allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities

Good indoor air quality can make a major difference in the health and well-being of those who are sensitive to mold and chemicals.

AllerAir has designed highly efficient air purifiers for multiple chemical sensitivities that come with the a wide range of options and features to bring some relief to people affected by MCS.

5000 D MCS Supreme
The air purifiers feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases, odors and even mold mycotoxins, a medical-grade, micro- or Super-HEPA for airborne particles, dust and allergens as well as unbleached organic cotton pre-filters.

A carbon test kit helps MCS sufferers determine which type of activated carbon is the most tolerable for them, and other inert materials include all-metal housing, powder-coated finish on the housing and carbon filter canisters, a burnt-in motor and more.

AllerAir's air purifiers for mold and allergies (especially the AirMedic series) also features inert materials and the most customizable options for maximum protection from indoor air pollutants, including mold spores, particles and allergens.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.

Health study looks at toxic chemical exposure for cashiers

Study examines BPA exposure
in cashiers.
Many teenagers, students or other workers make some hard-earned cash working part time or full time in stores, supermarkets or businesses as cashiers.

But could they be exposed to high levels of a potentially toxic chemical?

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences want to know if the high levels of bisphenol A, or BPA for short, on the slick receipt paper that many cashiers handle on a daily basis should be a reason of concern.

They are asking cashiers to volunteer to have blood and urine samples to be taken for the study.

What is BPA?

BPA is a common ingredient in durable plastics, like those used to make hard plastic water bottles and to line food cans. Recently, reports have been published about experts expressing concerns that BPA exposure might be much higher than previously thought.

There is some conflicting evidence that BPA can cause developmental damage in children and reproductive problems in adults, but more research is needed.

Some types of thermal paper used in cash registers are coated with BPA, and the chemical easily rubs off onto your fingers when you touch them.

In their new study, the NIEHS team will measure levels of BPA in the blood and urine of volunteer cashiers, said Stavros Garantziotis, who is directing the research.

Testing BPA levels before and after a cashier's shift will show how much BPA was absorbed into a cashier's body while he or she was working.

While there are some alternative paper sources using such substances as bisphenol S, not much is known about the effects of these chemicals, either, the experts warned.

Source: News Observer

Worried about chemical exposure?
AllerAir's numerical series:
Air cleaners for homes and offices

It may be difficult to control the amount of chemicals you are exposed to at work (did you know that office dust contains toxic chemicals as well? Read about it here) but that doesn’t mean you can’t take other measures to protect yourself.

Whether at home or at work, AllerAir’s portable and powerful air purifiers can improve indoor air quality and remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, fumes, particles and other contaminants with their multistage filtration system.

AllerAir offers air cleaners of different sizes and with different filters to make sure you get one that is right for you. For industrial and commercial spaces (as in supermarkets, discount stores etc), AllerAir’s industrial division Electrocorp specializes in odor, chemical and particle control.

Contact AllerAir or Electrocorp today for more information.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Radon gas: The hidden health risk in the home

Radon levels can vary greatly from one house
to the next, experts say.
Health officials in North America have been ringing the alarm bells over radon for years – the colorless and odorless radioactive gas is difficult to detect, but it may be present in thousands of homes.

People know about the risks of tobacco smoke when it comes to lung cancer, but radon doesn’t get nearly as much publicity and public awareness, experts warn.

And this, even though radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

What is radon?

Radon occurs naturally in the soil and it can enter homes through cracks and openings in the foundation and the house itself. With so many homes being more energy efficient and airtight, it can build up indoors to dangerous levels.

In fact, the risk of dying of lung cancer because of radon in your home is one out of 50, the experts say.

In some regions, radon may be more prevalent than in other areas, and lung cancer rates often reflect that.

Testing for radon

Radon testing is recommended for every home – and it is very easy and inexpensive. Radon levels can vary greatly from one house to the next, so a neighbor’s results do not reflect one’s own risks.

Testing for radon takes about three months to get a good average, and health officials recommend retesting every two years since radon levels depends on the soil conditions and the pressure in the home and can fluctuate a lot over time.

Home renovation projects can change the pressure in a home as well, so radon testing should be done after the work is completed.

Source: WSIL3 ABC News

Radon and other indoor air hazards

Radon and other indoor air pollutants can be mitigated with better ventilation, certain home improvement projects and air cleaning systems.

AllerAir has developed portable and powerful air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA that can help reduce exposure to chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, dust, particles, allergens, bacteria, viruses and mold.

The multistage filtration system offers the most relevant filtration media at the best price – guaranteed (ask about the guarantee when speaking to an AllerAir IAQ expert or when placing your order).

AllerAir’s air purifiers are powerful general purpose air cleaners, and they can be equipped with special features and options to address specific air quality concerns such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, allergy and asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities, tobacco smoke and more.

Contact AllerAir for more information.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Home sweet home – with curtains that clean the air?

Curtains often contribute to indoor air pollution.
Curtains are often a major source of indoor air pollution in the home, especially when they are made out of treated fabrics.

They can release a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and irritant.

Now, a Chinese firm has introduced a new curtain fabric that can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Their new curtain fabric is made with photocatalyst fiber, which can decompose some hazardous particles like formaldehyde and xylene (another VOC) from the surrounding air and thus help reduce indoor air pollution.

The photocatalyst fiber is the main raw material in the new fabric and it can absorb the air in the presence of sunshine and other light, separating it into carbon dioxide and water.

It also decomposes the odor, the company says, and its strong affinity for water will also help keep the fabric clean.

The company plans to sell the new curtain fabric to curtain and home textile fabric companies in China, so it’s not clear when and if the material will become available in North America.

Source: Fibre2fashion

Air purifiers for VOCs and other pollutants

Volatile organic compounds and other chemicals may come from a wide range of sources in the home or office, including
  • Building materials
  • Carpets
  • Furniture (esp. wood-pressed products)
  • Mattresses
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal care products
  • Air freshening products
  • Electronic equipment
  • Printers
  • Pesticides
AllerAir's air purifiers feature activated carbon
and HEPA air filters.
Air-purifying curtains won’t be enough to handle all those contaminants, but source control, good ventilation and a portable air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can help provide cleaner and healthier air.

AllerAir offers the deepest activated carbon beds on the market, more than 40 different carbon blends and the most features and options to provide custom-built systems for homeowners and workplaces.

For VOCs, chemicals and odor-causing contaminants opt for one of AllerAir’s air purifiers for odor and chemical control (D or DX models as well as Vocarb air purifiers).

General purpose air purifiers such as the 5000 Exec or AirMedic Exec also provide great overall protection with their multistage filtration system.

Not sure which air purifier is best for you? Consult AllerAir’s model selection and sizing guide or contact AllerAir to speak to one of their knowledgeable IAQ experts.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Heat and asthma – a dangerous combination

How to control asthma symptoms when the temperatures soar

Hot weather can trigger asthma symptoms,
doctors say. Tips for being outdoors and inside.
High temperatures during the summer months can make breathing difficult for people with asthma.

Hot weather means more air pollution, doctors say, and the heat and humidity can also be triggers for some asthma patients.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease affects almost 26 million Americans, 7 million of which are children. The condition is also widespread among low income and minority populations.

Some tips from the experts:
  • Limit the time spent in the heat
  • Drink lots of water – signs of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, trouble breathing
  • Keep in the shade as much as you can
  • Take breaks in cooler areas, if possible. Even short breaks in air conditioned spaces, for example, helps the body deal better with the heat

Remove asthma triggers from your indoor air

While summer heat and outdoor air pollution are great risks for those suffering from asthma, indoor air pollution can also trigger attacks or make breathing difficult.

With source control, good ventilation and air cleaning, anyone can improve their indoor air quality.

The best air purifiers for asthma and allergies feature safe and proven air filters that can remove a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including dust, particles, mold, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, odors and gases. All of these can contribute to the inflammation to airways.

AllerAir’s air purifiers for allergy and asthma include a medical-grade HEPA filter as well as a deep-bed activated carbon filter and optional UV germicidal filtration to remove those pollutants.

Studies have shown that keeping an air purifier in the bedroom can help manage asthma.

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

Contact AllerAir for more information and air purifier options.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

5 tips to keep the home naturally cool

Easy ways to cool down a home
and breathe cleaner air.
With summer in full swing and heat waves sweeping large parts of North America, houses are bound to heat up – but running the air conditioner continually can be costly.

Dirty filters and sealed homes can also lead to poor indoor air quality, which has been linked to health problems such as headaches and respiratory conditions, allergies and more.

For better indoor air quality and a cooler home naturally, try these 5 tips:

1) Open windows in the morning and evening
Opening windows during the coolest parts of the day lets fresh air in and pushes indoor air pollutants out. It helps to increase ventilation naturally and to control common household odors.

2) Turn off electronic equipment when not in use
Electronics can create and radiate heat; switching them off completely or unplugging them when not in use can make a difference in a home’s indoor temperature. Also, lamps with compact fluorescent light bulbs provide cooler lighting. Avoid using the oven and stove as much as possible and opt for salads or the microwave instead.

3) Choose the right furniture and materials
Wood, bamboo and wicker furniture is a better choice than metal furniture, which can absorb more heat and remain hot, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Soothing colors are the best choice for summer, while dark and loud shades are best avoided for bigger objects such as curtains, sofas and bed sheets. Leather and similar materials don’t let air through them and are therefore not the best choices for homes that remain hot for most part of the year.
Avoid clutter as much as possible for better ventilation, indoor air quality and a cooler home.

4) Use drapes, blinds and shutters to shut out the heat
Control the heat indoors by closing window treatments on windows facing East in the morning, and windows facing West in the evening.

5) Keep the air conditioner at a relatively high temperature and use fans to cool down
The air conditioning unit doesn’t have to run on high all the time, or cool down the home to Arctic temperature. Setting the thermostat to 25 degrees Celsius or another comfortable temperature will help provide relief when outdoor temperatures are climbing. For those without AC, indoor fans can provide relief.

Source:  The Deccan Herald

Keep odors out with portable air purifiers

Odors, chemicals, allergens and other indoor air pollutants can wreak havoc on a person’s health and well-being.
An air purifier like the
5000 Exec helps clean
the air and move it around.

A portable, powerful air purifier with carbon and HEPA filters offers the best protection from these irritants and provides healthier and cleaner air.

AllerAir is proud of its strong lineup of activated carbon and HEPA air purifiers, which provide the most suitable solutions for virtually any indoor air quality concern.

For general purpose air cleaning or more specific air treatment problems, AllerAir’s air purifiers come with the best options and features.

For more information, contact an AllerAir IAQ specialist.