Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank-you to all our clients, reps and suppliers! Best wishes for the holiday season!

As this year is quickly winding to a close, our team at AllerAir and Electrocorp would like to take a moment to say thank-you for your role in our continued success.

We wish you a memorable holiday season and a happy 2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Greek economic crisis leads to air pollution increase as people turn to cheaper fuel sources

A new study has revealed that Greece's economic woes have had a spin-off effect on air quality.

The research, led by Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, show that the concentration of fine airbrone particulate has jumped 30 percent in the hardest his region of Greece.

"People need to stay warm...economic hardship has compelled residents to burn low quality fuel, such as wood and waste materials, that pollutes the air," says Sioutas

The choice may have serious long-term health effects. These fine particles – measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter (approximately 1/30th the diameter of a human hair) – are especially dangerous as they are known to lodge deep into the tissue of lungs.

Unemployment in Greece climbed above 27 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, heating oil prices have nearly tripled. Many residents have turned to wood, even trash as a fuel source.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Community and health leaders demand clean air in St. Louis; Utility may face leagl action after decades of coal pollution

An environmental group says it plans to sue Missouri utility provider Ameren, over repeated violations of federal clean air act.

The Sierra Club says that the Ameren Corporation has racked up nearly 10,000 violations of the Clean Air Act since 2008 at coal-fired power plants in St. Louis, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

In an ironic twist the company's own data may be it's downfall in the case. Ameren reports data from its coal plants’ monitoring systems quarterly to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In an effort to investigate and protect Missouri’s air, the Sierra Club requested the data from Missouri DNR, which revealed egregious violations of the Clean Air Act by exceeding the opacity limits allowed in Ameren’s permit on thousands of occasions between 2008 and 2013.

“Particle pollution can get deep down into lungs and cause respiratory and pulmonary problems,” said Dr. William Kincaid, MD, MPH, former Director of Health for the City of St. Louis and current Chairman of the St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium. Opacity is one way of measuring particle pollution. "Ameren’s own data shows that it recorded close to 10,000 opacity violations, which means that St. Louis communities are repeatedly exposed to unlawful amounts of dangerous pollution."

Ameren’s Meramec coal plant emits sits just a mile down the road from an elementary schools.

“We can’t allow our children to be exposed to this dangerous coal pollution anymore," said Karl Frank, Jr., St. Louis County Father and former Mehlville School Board member. "It is time for Ameren to start investing in more clean energy like wind and solar so we can halt the consequences of coal pollution on our children.”

Research by the Clean Air Task Force has shown that pollution from Ameren’s Labadie coal plant in Franklin County, Meramec coal plant in St. Louis County and Rush Island coal plant in Jefferson County contribute to 3,870 asthma attacks, 360 heart attacks and 226 premature deaths every year.

The Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) is a Fortune 500 company with assets of $23 billion. It serves 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in Illinois and Missouri.



For more stories on health, pollution, chemical exposure and improving your indoor air quality visit www.allerair.com or call to speak to an air quality expert about improving the air in your home 1-888-852-8247.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Live in a port community? The EPA wants you to breathe cleaner air

Photo: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Most of America's busiest shipping ports are located near large metropolitan areas. That may be ideal for the transport business, but it's generally bad for area residents.

Transport means diesel pollution, which is linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease and even premature death. That's why the EPA says they've put aside four million dollars in grant money to reduce diesel emissions from marine and inland water ports.

The agency says the main problem is older diesel engines that emit large amounts of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). They hope the grants for "clean diesel projects" will make immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits.

“Ports are essential to the nation’s economy and transportation infrastructure, but they also are home to some of the nation’s toughest environmental challenges,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These grants will help port authorities to provide immediate emissions reductions that will benefit those who work and live in port-side communities.”

This grant competition is available under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Program and is the first grant competition to focus on solely reducing emissions at ports. Projects may include a wide range of port-polluting equipment including drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment. The EPA says priority will be given to ports located in areas of poor air quality.

What do you think? Do these projects make a difference?


Not willing to wait for government to reduce pollution in your neighborhood? Clean your indoor air with a high quality HEPA and activated carbon air purifier. Connect with us to learn more www.allerair.com.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

COPD Linked to Cognitive Impairment, Memory Loss

A study by the Mayo Clinic has found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) -- and chances are that it will include memory loss.

Researchers looked at about 2,000 people 70-89 years old in the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging. About 1,600 were cognitively normal, 317 had mild cognitive impairment and overall, about 288 had COPD. COPD was found to be associated with almost two-fold higher odds of MCI, and the odds get worse the longer someone has COPD. Rates were similar among men and women.

“COPD is reversible in early stages, especially in smokers,”  says study author Dr. Balwinder Singh. “These findings are important because they highlight the importance of COPD as a potential risk factor for MCI and will hopefully lead to early intervention to prevent incidence or progression.”

MCI is a stage between normal cognitive aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment are at increased risk of progressing to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

COPD refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed.

Indoor air pollution can exacerbate COPD symptoms. Find out why our users with COPD appreciate our medical-grade HEPA air purifiers with activated carbon. Connect with us at www.allerair.com or call to speak with an air quality expert at 1-888-852-8247.

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Researchers say personal care products expose kids to harmful parabens

Researchers are warning that lotions, shampoos and other personal care products (PCPs), are likely exposing infants and toddlers to potentially harmful substances, called parabens, at an even higher level than adult women.

Parabens have been linked to reproductive and other health issues and are used in a wide range of products, from medical devices to children's toys, as well as personal care products.

Most people are exposed to them every day — for example, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that more than 90 percent of the population is exposed to these substances. The body breaks them down quickly, but both have been detected in urine, breast milk and blood. Research has suggested a link between these substances and health issues in animals and people, such as sperm damage, breast cancer and an increased risk for asthma.

For their study researchers, Kurunthachalam Kannan and Ying Guo collected 170 samples of makeup, lotions, shampoos and other products, including 20 items for babies, and tested them for nine phthalates and six parabens. Both substances were found in the PCPs. In baby products, phthalate concentrations were low, but parabens were common. When the researchers calculated possible exposure levels, they estimated that the potential daily skin exposure to parabens by infants and toddlers could be as much as two to three times higher than that for adult women.

They published their findings in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In previous studies, Kannan and Guo's team also discovered that indoor dust contributed to phthalate exposure. To reduce poor indoor air, be sure to increase ventilation and use a good quality HEPA air filter. AllerAir air purifiers remove 99.97% of airborne dust, particles and the chemicals and odors that other air cleaners leave behind. Connect with us to learn more about the importance of clean indoor air www.alleriar.com.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Air pollution and genetics combine to increase risk for autism

Exposure to air pollution appears to increase the risk for autism among people who carry a genetic disposition for the neurodevelopmental disorder, according to newly published research led by scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“Our research shows that children with both the risk genotype and exposure to high air pollutant levels were at increased risk of autism spectrum disorder compared to those without the risk genotype and lower air pollution exposure,” said the study’s first author, Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of research in preventive medicine and pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and principal investigator at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disability characterized by problems with social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 88 children in the United States has an ASD.

ASD is highly heritable, suggesting that genetics are an important contributing factor, but many questions about its causes remain. There currently is no cure for the disorder.

“Although gene-environment interactions are widely believed to contribute to autism risk, this is the first demonstration of a specific interaction between a well-established genetic risk factor and an environmental factor that independently contribute to autism risk,” said Daniel B. Campbell, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study’s senior author. “The MET gene variant has been associated with autism in multiple studies, controls expression of MET protein in both the brain and the immune system, and predicts altered brain structure and function. It will be important to replicate this finding and to determine the mechanisms by which these genetic and environmental factors interact to increase the risk for autism.”

Independent studies by Volk and Campbell have previously reported associations between autism and air pollution exposure and between autism and a variant in the MET gene. The current study suggests that air pollution exposure and the genetic variant interact to augment the risk of ASD.

Campbell and Volk’s team studied 408 children between 2 and 5 years of age from the Childhood Autism Risks From Genetics and the Environment Study, a population-based, case-control study of preschool children from California. Of those, 252 met the criteria for autism or autism spectrum disorder. Air pollution exposure was determined based on the past residences of the children and their mothers, local traffic-related sources, and regional air quality measures. MET genotype was determined through blood sampling.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Database Tracks Toxic Side Effects of Pharmaceuticals

Judging by the list of off side effects on most pharmaceutical TV commercials, one would guess the cure may often be as bad as the disease.

That's why researchers from North Carolina State University have published an update to an extensive toxicology database -- so that it can be used to track information about drugs and their unintentional toxic effects.

“Environmental science actually shares a common goal with drug makers: to improve the prediction of chemical toxicity,” says Dr. Allan Peter Davis, lead author of a paper on the work and the biocuration project manager of the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) in NC State’s Department of Biological Sciences.

The scientific literature contains vast information about the adverse effects of therapeutic drugs. But collecting, organizing and making sense of that information is a daunting task. NC State’s CTD team, which historically focused on environmental chemicals, - read and coded more than 88,000 scientific papers as part of the update.

The results include more than 250,000 statements collected from seven decades’ worth of scientific articles. Putting the data into the CTD framework helps investigators develop and test hypotheses about how drugs might cause adverse events.

“Coding the information in a structured format was key,” insists Davis. “This allowed it to be combined with other data to make novel predictions.” For example, the drug bortezomib is used to treat certain types of cancer, but it also causes unintended nerve damage in some patients. By linking the data, CTD was able to connect the dots and find genes that that may be key to connecting the drug and the possibility of nerve damage.

“Investigators can now test and validate which genes might be critical to the drug-induced event,” explains Davis. “This could be useful in gene-testing patients to tailor the correct medicine or it could help design future therapeutics by alerting safety researchers to avoid those pathways and potential toxic outcomes.”

Prevention is still the most effective strategy for combating allergies. AllerAir air purifiers are a drug-free way to prevent the inhalation of harmful allergy and asthma triggers. AllerAir HEPA filters remove 99.97% of small airborne particles, while the exclusive deep-bed activated carbon filters remove airborne chemicals, gases and odors. Connect with us to learn more: www.allerair.com