Sunday, September 20, 2015

AllerAir Reviews: "No question the machine I bought has improved my allergies" Thanks Reddit made our day!

We found this great AllerAir review on Reddit...
Thanks! You made our day!

I'm a terrible sleeper and have bad allergies. My wife bought a Walmart room air purifier (cheap piece of %#$@) and I noticed that I would sleep through a lot of noises like my daughter, lawn mowers, motorcycles being started up, etc. It also helped my allergies somewhat. When it died I noticed that because I am such a crappy sleeper I HAD to get another one and I had an inkling that it was helping my allergies more than I thought. I did my research and bought something from My style is: when doing something do it right, so I bought an expensive one. The multiple speeds control the sound it gives off and I absolutely love it. Like I said in the original post, NOTHING wakes me up. I now only have one sleep problem and that is getting to sleep. As far as allergies goes, there is absolutely no question the machine I bought has improved my allergies and my wife loves it too because our room/bathroom/closet where the laundry hamper is, never smells. She also became addicted to the white noise and is a huge fan. Anyway, sorry for long post.
Comment from discussion Advice on Commercial Construction Noise.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Air purifiers a benefit for heart patients: Study

Air purifiers remove air pollutants in rooms and help reduce
some types of inflammation and blood clotting: study.
People with heart conditions may benefit from using indoor air purifiers, suggests a small study from China.

While the study can't say air purifiers prevent heart attacks or other major medical problems, several risk factors for heart disease improved among young and healthy adults who were exposed to purified air.

"In countries of the world where air pollution is a problem, I think this would be especially important," said Dr.

Sanjay Rajagopalan of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The new findings suggest that using an air purifier may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular events, said Rajagopalan, who coauthored an editorial accompanying the new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Previous studies found that fine particles in the air are tied to an increased risk of heart-related problems, including heart attack and stroke, the study authors say.

For the new study, Renjie Chen and Ang Zhao of Fudan University in Shanghai and colleagues had 35 healthy college students in Shanghai randomly use real or fake air purifiers in their dorm rooms for 48 hours. Two weeks later, the students spent another two days using whichever type they hadn't used the first time.

China has one of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.

The target air pollution level set by the World Health Organization is 35 micrograms of tiny particles per cubic meter - but daily air pollution in major cities in Asia often exceed 100 to 500 micrograms per cubic meter, Rajagopalan writes in his editorial.

Air purification in the students' rooms reduced air pollution by 57 percent, from about 96 micrograms per cubic meter to about 41 micrograms per cubic meter, the researchers say.

When the students had the real air purifiers in their rooms, they had significant improvements in several measures of inflammation and blood clotting.

They also had some significant decreases in blood pressure and a reduction in a measure of airway inflammation known as exhaled nitrous oxide.

The researchers also found some improvements in lung function and blood vessel constriction, but those findings may have been due to chance.

"You’d have to take the results of these studies as good supportive evidence that these strategies would work," Rajagopalan told Reuters Health.

Dr. Rachel Taliercio, a lung specialist in The Cleveland Clinic's Asthma Center in Ohio, cautioned that the benefit of air purification systems in homes might not be equal for everyone.

"Certainly there is no harm in doing it and there are obviously some benefits," said Taliercio, who was not involved with the new study. "How big those benefits will be is unclear."

For people who live near high-pollution areas, such as major roadways and coal power plants, air purifiers may be something to look into, Taliercio said.

Home air purification systems range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The devices often require replacement filters on a regular basis.

"From the standpoint of what you can do to protect yourself in these polluted environments, investing in home and car air filtration systems will lead to better air quality in the long term," Rajagopalan said.

"One message is at least the awareness that air quality does influence health and chronic diseases, such as heart disease," he said.

This article has been edited for length. Source: Reuters Health
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bad air causes rise in allergies, study shows

Allergies and asthma are on the rise - and researchers
blame pollution, second-hand smoke and other factors.
Pollution among the factors causing more allergies among children - and figures are set to rise

Three-quarters of parents with at least one child under the age of three report that the child has allergies, a study shows - and researchers warn the figure will grow.

Some 58 per cent of the youngsters had eczema or a skin allergy, 32 per cent had rhinitis or hay fever and 25 per cent airway allergies such as asthma.

Some of the children suffered more than one type of allergy.

The findings of the survey by the Allergy Association, commissioned by the University of Hong Kong, were based on interviews with 511 parents.

Only 30 per cent of the children were believed to have inherited the condition from their parents - meaning the rest might be down to factors such as pollution, exposure to second-hand smoke, Cesarean delivery or not being breastfed exclusively in their first six months.

"We have seen many more allergy cases in this generation than the last," said Dr Marco Ho Hok-kung, chairman of the association.

"I believe the number is only going to rise in the future, in keeping with the global trend. It is vital to understand the risk of allergies and take preventive measures."

Allergies could affect the long-term growth of infants, said Ho. Some research suggests that infants who develop an allergy before the age of two have a 24 per cent increased risk of developing emotional problems later in life.

Families with children suffering from allergies often have to devote a lot of effort to preventing exposure to allergens such as peanuts, milk or seafood in meals and dust mites at home.

According to the World Health Organisation, 40 to 50 per cent of children across the globe are bothered by one or more types of allergy.

Ho said if either parent had an allergy, there was a 30 per cent chance of their child inheriting it. This increased to 50 per cent if both parents were sufferers. And in general, every child has 5 to 15 per cent chance of developing an allergy even if neither parent has the condition.

Paediatrician Dr Alfred Tam Yat-cheung said risks could be attributed to environmental factors such as pollution and exposure to second-hand smoke. They could be reduced by giving birth naturally and feeding the babies only breast milk in their first six months, he said.

Source: South China Morning Post

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Women use more than 160 chemicals each day, group warns

Authorities should review five chemicals commonly used in
personal care products, two senators say.
American women put an average of 168 chemicals on their bodies each day, according to a nonprofit group, but two senators say federal regulations on personal care products have barely changed since the 1930s.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced an amendment to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power and oversight to regulate the chemicals men and women slather on their bodies every day.

They're calling it the Personal Care Products Safety Act.

"From shampoo to lotion, the use of personal care products is widespread, however, there are very few protections in place to ensure their safety," Feinstein said in a statement.

The 98-page bill includes a system of registering personal care companies, their products and their ingredients, and it would require the FDA to review five chemicals that appear generally in personal care products each year to evaluate their safety.

The first set of chemicals will likely be diazolidinyl urea, lead acetate, methylene glycol/formaldehyde, propyl paraben, quaternium-15, according to Feinstein’s office.

The senators worked with the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer health advocacy group that started the Skin Deep database about a decade ago.

Personal care products are not
regulated to ensure safety: Experts
The Skin Deep database allows consumers to look up personal care products to learn what chemicals they contain, and whether those chemicals are associated with any health risks.

"These are basic tools that should have been granted to the FDA decades ago, but are only now being provided in the Feinstein-Collins bill," said Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group's vice president of government affairs.

"Cosmetics are sort of the last unregulated area of consumer products law. I can't overstate how little law is now on the books. The FDA virtually has no power to regulate the products we use everyday."

According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 products a day, containing 168 different chemicals.

Men use fewer products, but still put 85 chemicals on their bodies. Teens on average use 17 personal care products a day, according to the group, which tested 20 teens' blood and urine seven years ago to find out which chemicals from these products were ending up in their bodies.

They said they found 16 hormone-altering chemicals, including parabens and phthalates.

"Many if not most of these chemicals are probably safe," Faber said. "We can't know for sure because they haven't been subject to any kind of review by a third party."

Faber said attempts to give the FDA more authority over cosmetics date back to the Eisenhower administration, but they were unsuccessful.

This time, industry leaders including Johnson and Johnson, Revlon and Personal Care Products Council, the industry trade group, have come out to say they support the bill.

"While we believe our products are the safest category that FDA regulates, we also believe well-crafted, science-based reforms will enhance industry's ability to innovate and further strengthen consumer confidence in the products they trust and use every day," the Personal Care Products Council said in a statement.

"The current patchwork regulatory approach with varying state bills does not achieve this goal."

The FDA said it cannot comment on proposed legislation.

Source: ABC News

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Common solvents disrupt hormone systems, scientists warn

Benzene, xylene and other solvents contaminate the home

Low-level, everyday exposures to dangerous
chemicals are linked to many health issues,
scientists say.
Four chemicals present both inside and outside homes might disrupt our endocrine systems at levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to an analysis.

The chemicals – benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – are ubiquitous: in the air outside and in many products inside homes and businesses. They have been linked to reproductive, respiratory and heart problems, as well as smaller babies.

Now researchers from The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and the University of Colorado, Boulder, say that such health impacts may be due to the chemicals’ ability to interfere with people’s hormones at low exposure levels.

“There’s evidence of connection between the low level, everyday exposures and things like asthma, reduced fetal growth,” said Ashley Bolden, a research associate at TEDX and lead author of the study.

“And for a lot of the health effects found, we think it’s disrupted endocrine-signaling pathways involved in these outcomes.”

Bolden and colleagues – including scientist, activist, author and TEDX founder Theo Colborn who passed away last December – pored over more than 40 studies on the health impacts of low exposure to the chemicals.

They looked at exposures lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s reference concentrations for the chemicals, which is the agency’s estimated inhalation exposure level that is not likely to cause health impacts during a person’s lifetime.

Many of the health problems – asthma, low birth weights, cardiovascular, disease, preterm births, abnormal sperm – can be rooted in early disruptions to the developing endocrine system, Bolden said.

The analysis doesn’t prove that exposure to low levels of the chemicals disrupt hormones. However, any potential problems with developing hormone systems are cause for concern.

“Hormones are how the body communicates with itself to get work done. Interrupt that, you can expect all sorts of negative health outcomes,” said Susan Nagel an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health School of Medicine who was not involved in the study.

Cathy Milbourn, a spokesperson for the EPA, said in an emailed response that the agency will "review the study and incorporate the findings into our work as appropriate."

The "EPA is screening thousands of chemicals for potential risk of endocrine disruption," she said. "As potential risk of endocrine disruption is identified, these chemicals are assessed further."

Chemicals found in many consumer products

The four chemicals are retrieved from the wellheads during crude oil and natural gas extraction and, after refining, are used as gasoline additives and in a wide variety of consumer products such as adhesives, detergents, degreasers, dyes, pesticides, polishes and solvents.

Ethylbenzene is one of the top ten chemicals used in children’s products such as toys and playground equipment, according to a 2013 EPA report.

Toluene is in the top ten chemicals used in consumer products such as fuels and paints, the report found.

All four get into indoor and outdoor air via fossil fuel burning, vehicle emissions and by volatizing from products. Bolden said studies that measure the air in and around homes and businesses find the chemicals 90 to 95 percent of the time.

Katie Brown, spokeswoman for Energy in Depth, a program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said in an email that the study suggests “products deemed safe by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are more dangerous than oil and gas development.

“Contrary to their intentions, what this report actually shows is that people should be no more afraid of oil and gas development than products in their home,” she said.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association, a trade group that represents companies that manufacturer consumer goods including cleaning products, pesticides, polishes, would not comment on the study but a spokesperson said that member groups typically don’t use the chemicals mentioned.

In several of the monitoring studies Bolden and colleagues examined, levels of the chemicals were higher in indoor air than in outdoor air, suggesting that people might be exposed within their homes.

“A lot of time indoor air is poorly circulated,” Bolden said.

Nagel cited a “huge need” to look at the impact of exposure to ambient levels of these chemicals. The study highlights “a whole lot we don’t know” about how these compounds may impact humans, she said.

Using human tissue cells, Nagel’s lab has previously shown that the chemicals can disrupt the androgen and estrogen hormones.

The authors said regulators should give air contaminants the same attention they’ve given greenhouse gas emissions recently.

“Tremendous efforts have led to the development of successful regulations focused on controlling greenhouse gases in an attempt to reduce global temperatures,” the authors wrote in the study published in Environmental Science and Technology journal.

“Similar efforts need to be directed toward compounds that cause poor air quality both indoors and outdoors.”

Source: Environmental Health News

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Smokeless tobacco also poses health risks, researchers say

Researchers found carcinogens from smokeless
tobacco products in household dust.
Photo by Uffe_Johansson 
Secondhand exposure to tobacco may be possible even when no cigarette smoke is involved, according to a new study.

An analysis of dust samples from six homes with smokeless tobacco users shows that the dust there contains more tobacco-specific carcinogens and alkaloids than dust from non-tobacco-using homes, putting household members, especially children, at risk of indirect exposure

Scientists have long known that cigarette smoke is carcinogenic, whether inhaled by the user, by others as secondhand smoke, or brought into the home on clothing as thirdhand smoke.

But they didn’t know whether indirect exposures could arise with smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco or moist snuff.

Todd P. Whitehead of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health and his colleagues wondered whether smokeless tobacco use at home might taint household dust.

They were already collecting dust samples from homes as part of the California Childhood Leukemia Study, which among other things explores how environmental exposures to contaminants such as cigarette smoke could influence leukemia risks.

Of the households they surveyed and analyzed, six told the researchers that they had users only of smokeless tobacco, six had users only of cigarettes, and 20 had no tobacco users.

Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, researchers analyzed dust samples from these homes for five nitrosamines that are found only in tobacco, as well as five tobacco-only alkaloids such as myosmine. The team also used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to measure nicotine, the best-known tobacco alkaloid, which is addictive.

The team wanted to distinguish smokeless-tobacco contamination from cigarette-smoke contamination, so they calculated the ratio of myosmine to nicotine. In unburned tobacco, myosmine content is less than 0.5% of the nicotine content. But as tobacco burns, myosmine is produced, increasing the ratio to roughly 7% in tobacco smoke.

Levels of two key carcinogenic nitrosamines—N′-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)—were roughly five and seven times as high, respectively, in the dust of smokeless-tobacco households as in samples from tobacco-free households.

Moreover, the median myosmine-nicotine ratio was 1.8% in smokeless-tobacco households versus 7.7% in cigarette-user households, confirming that contamination in the smokeless-tobacco homes came primarily from smokeless tobacco.

Whitehead warns that the researchers don’t yet know how much of a risk this dust contamination might pose, or how the smokeless tobacco got into the dust.

But the findings suggest that household members who don’t use smokeless tobacco could be exposed to its known carcinogens.

Young children, who often play on the ground and put their hands in their mouths, can accidentally ingest dust and may be especially vulnerable to exposure, he says.

The contamination could come from activities such as opening a package or dropping small amounts on the floor during use, Whitehead says, which could lead to simple strategies for reducing the risk of contamination.

Hugo Destaillats, an environmental chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who wasn’t involved with the work, calls the findings an interesting first step.

The sample size was small, note both Whitehead and Destaillats, and the study didn’t directly measure anyone’s exposures.

Additional research, they suggest, could focus on the amount of tobacco-related compounds that young kids ingest when they live with someone who uses smokeless tobacco, and the resulting health risks. And Destaillats suggests doing future studies to see how dust contamination might vary in other geographical areas.

Source: American Chemical Society. This article has been edited for length.

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Weed killer linked to chronic illness

Toxic chemicals used in farming may contaminate our
food, water and air, experts say.
The bestselling herbicide in Canada and the world, glyphosate was once promoted as safe enough to drink. But some critics are raising renewed alarm.

One of them is Thierry Vrain, a plant pathologist and former head of biotechnology with Agriculture Canada, who says there is no safe intake level for this toxic chemical, which appears to be linked to a rising tide of chronic illnesses.

Indeed, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer has just declared glyphosate a "probable carcinogen."

Farmers have used glyphosate to weed Ontario fields since 1978. But the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in 1997 - most of them designed to be glyphosate-tolerant - was a game changer. Farmers could now raze weeds with a single blanket spray of glyphosate without killing their crops.

Though industry promised GM crops would drive down pesticide application, glyphosate use has risen dramatically, by some 76 per cent between 2003 and 2008 in Ontario.

Farmers are increasingly using the herbicide as a desiccant (dryer) on both GM and conventional plants, making harvesting easier or moving up a harvest threatened by bad weather.

It's increasingly difficult to avoid the most popular herbicide on earth. A recent study of U.S. honey found 59 per cent of samples contained glyphosate.

Though a safe glyphosate level in honey hasn't been determined, recent research suggests the current level of glyphosate exposure in general may constitute a health threat to the population.

You might think organic crops would be free of this chemical, but glyphosate has recently been discovered in samples of air and water, so all food may now be tainted.

Glyphosate was first thought to pose little threat because neither human nor animal cells have shikimate pathways, a metabolic route used by plants and bacteria.

Glyphosate does its deadly work by binding to the metal atoms of enzymes in the plant's pathways, preventing them from producing critical amino acids. Without those, the plant dies.

New discoveries about the human microbiome - including the 100 trillion bacteria in the human gut - are starting to reveal the critical role microorganisms play in promoting human health.

Don Huber, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, says that just as it attacks plants, glyphosate can demobilize the bacteria on which humans and animals depend.

But Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science & Society at McGill University, says the theories need to be proven under proper laboratory conditions before they should be believed.

Antibiotic threat

Monsanto patented the chemical as an antibiotic in 2010, a tacit acknowledgement of its effectiveness in killing microbes, though the pesticide industry maintains it's applied to fields in concentrations too low to produce any serious antimicrobial effects in the animals, including us, consuming those crops. Schwarcz insists the antibiotic effect is "absolutely trivial."

But Huber argues that increasing miscarriages, birth defects and chronic botulism in cattle, sheep and pigs are signs of glyphosate's strong antibiotic activity against beneficial organisms.

Backing up Huber, Vrain points to research from 2013 showing that, at a concentration of just one part per million, glyphosate killed all the beneficial bacteria in the guts of poultry. Only salmonella and clostridium survived - pathogens blamed for farm animal illness.

In the meantime, a recently published study by Nancy Swanson virtually twinned increasing rates of glyphosate use with rising incidence of a host of chronic diseases. They include liver, kidney and bladder cancers; Crohn's and celiac disease; stroke, diabetes and autism, among others.

New GM seeds resistant to glyphosate, as well as 2,4-D, are expected to start rolling out across Canada this year. The new seeds will help farmers battle glyphosate-resistant weeds.

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While Vrain admits that biotechnology has been transformative for the just over 2 per cent of Canadians who farm, "One hundred per cent of people eat," he says.

Source: Now Toronto. This article has been edited for length.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Air pollution slows brain development: study

Air pollution takes a double toll on babies' brains

Studies have tied air pollution to a wide range
of problems in children.
A common pollutant in vehicle exhaust, power plant emissions and cigarette smoke can shrink white matter in fetal brains and cause developmental damage during the toddler years, a new study suggests.

In 40 children examined by researchers, prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons was correlated with reduced white matter on the left side of children's brains during their early childhood.

Those physical changes in the brain's internal wiring also were correlated with slower cognitive processing and with symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

“They tend to be fidgety and hyperactive and very impulsive, so they leap before they look,” said Dr. Bradley Peterson, director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the lead author of the report.

The researchers had previously tied behavioral and cognitive problems to eight common types of these pollutants, which are a product of incomplete combustion of organic materials.

The new study now suggests those problems have a biological root in the altered architecture of the brain.

The research involved 655 New York City women of Dominican and African American descent who gave birth between 1997 and 2006.

During late pregnancy, the women carried detector backpacks that measured exposure to PAHs over 48 hours. Their children later were tested for exposure and underwent several rounds of cognitive and behavioral testing.

For the JAMA Psychiatry study, Peterson and his colleagues selected a representative sample from the original study group: 20 children whose own PAH readings were below the median and 20 whose PAH levels were above it.

All the children were about 8 years old when they underwent magnetic resonance imagery scans.

Those scans showed that white matter was significantly reduced from normal volumes throughout the left hemisphere, an area that controls language and cognition, among other higher functions.

In fact, the higher their prenatal exposure to PAH was, the more white matter was reduced and the more acute the behavioral and developmental problems were, the study found.

Scientists don’t know why the left side seemed to be affected more, but they suspect the compounds interfere with an early biochemical process that helps the fetal brain divide into slightly asymmetrical hemispheres.

The damage, however, is not isolated to prenatal stages, or to the left hemisphere. Postnatal PAH exposure, measured at age 5, correlated with diminished white matter in areas of the prefrontal cortex of both hemispheres, the study found.

“It’s a double hit,” Peterson said. “They have the abnormality from prenatal life throughout the left hemisphere and then on top of that they have this bilateral frontal hit from exposures around age 5.”

The 40 children were from nonsmoking homes and had little or no exposure to lead or insecticides that likewise have been linked to developmental and behavioral problems, according to the study. All were right-handed.

Although it remains possible that other pollutants could be affecting the results, the researchers said their sampling methods eliminated the major contenders, helping to isolate the effects of the PAH compounds.

Numerous studies have linked air pollution — especially particulate matter — to respiratory and cardiac problems. But over the last decade, researchers have accumulated more evidence that particles and other types of airborne pollution can affect brain development.

A 2012 study using a database of 19,000 nurses found greater cognitive decline among older women exposed to high levels of particulate matter.

A 2011 Boston study involving 680 men showed similar results. A series of studies involving children in Mexico City linked air pollution with the brain inflammation that is typical of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

“It is worrisome,” Peterson said of the latest findings. “California has gone a long way toward improving and cleaning up the air, but there’s a long way to go. Future generations depend on it.”

Source: LA Times

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Homeowners try to assess formaldehyde risks in floors

Laminate wood flooring may look nice, but some brands
release formaldehyde fumes into the air, experts say.
Installing a new wood floor is usually about aesthetics: brown or black? Glossy or matte?

Now, some Americans and businesses are grappling with another feature: formaldehyde.

Uneasy consumers have flooded state and federal safety agencies with inquiries about Lumber Liquidators, the discount flooring retailer accused in a “60 Minutes” episode of selling laminate wood with high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Should they rip it out? Leave it in? And what are the dangers to adults, children or even pets?

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York has opened an inquiry into whether the company violated safety standards. Safety officials in California are also likely to investigate.

But federal regulators, armed with murky rules or none at all, have scrambled to respond, leaving consumers largely responsible for assessing the risk.

Formaldehyde exposure can cause immediate health problems like respiratory and sinus effects, but the effects of long-term exposure remain unclear.

Regulators, at least for now, are advocating a tempered approach.

“We are not encouraging people to rip out their flooring right now,” said Lynn Baker, an air pollution specialist with the California Air Resources Board, which enforces the state formaldehyde rules that Lumber Liquidators is accused of breaking.

Commercial customers could also be affected, although Lumber Liquidators estimates that commercial sales make up less than 10 percent of the market for laminate flooring, a cheaper alternative to hardwood. Homeowners account for the bulk of its sales.

Lumber Liquidators disputes the “60 Minutes” report and says its flooring is safe. The company also said it was considering offering air testing services to reassure concerned consumers.

Installers, too, find themselves on the front lines after the report.

No federal rules for airborne chemicals in the home

While federal rules exist for workers, no federal rules protect consumers from formaldehyde or most other airborne chemicals in their homes.

And while research exists on formaldehyde’s health effects, experts have difficulty correlating levels of exposure with cancer risk since so many factors can affect the development of the disease.

“Any exposure to a carcinogen can increase your risk of cancer,” said Marilyn Howarth, a toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Mr. Baker, with the California agency, said consumers should ask two questions: How long has the flooring been installed, and have they been feeling sick?

“If the flooring has been installed more than a couple of years ago, most of it has probably already off-gassed,” he said, meaning that the chemical would probably have been released.

“If it was just installed last week, that’s a different story — you definitely want to ventilate the home.”

The floorboard controversy bears a resemblance to the cases of Chinese-made drywall that released sulfur gases into thousands of homes built after the 2005 hurricane season, which resulted in metal corrosion and health complaints.

But while the drywall gases were expected to be released for decades, formaldehyde emissions in flooring may not last as long.

Most new floors emit small levels of formaldehyde. But it also seeps out of adhesives used to bind furniture and other household items, affecting the quality of the air residents breathe.

To combat its harmful effects, governments around the world have limited the use of formaldehyde in household products, particularly those made of wood.

In Europe, chemical emissions from composite wood products are tightly regulated, and Japanese regulators put the onus on home builders to limit formaldehyde levels over all within houses they construct.

The United States, however, trails when it comes to such regulations. California enacted rules to cap emissions from composite wood products sold in the state.

As far back as 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering adopting California’s limits nationwide, and it issued a proposed rule in 2013.

But after many delays at the request of the wood products industry, the E.P.A. has yet to complete its rule. The E.P.A. said it had no plan to investigate Lumber Liquidators, citing the lack of a finished rule.

Agency proposes ventilation and air testing

The agency says it is trying to give consumers “actionable guidance” when it comes to formaldehyde from composite woods, according to Bob Axelrad, a policy adviser in the office of air and radiation.

That includes proper ventilation, when possible, and using reliable air testing methods.

David Krause, an environmental consultant at the consulting firm Geosyntec and the former state toxicologist of Florida, said ventilation helped but was not always a solution: Humidity, for example, can intensify the problem.

Testing indoor air quality is also not a simple proposition — mainly because federal standards are geared toward workplaces, not homes. There are no definitive testing levels, and people react in different ways to the chemical.

“We really don’t have anything that is enforceable,” Dr. Krause said.

Still, based on current knowledge of the Lumber Liquidators’ product, he added: “This is not a ‘Your hair’s on fire’ emergency.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission may take a lead role in investigating Lumber Liquidators. The commission can push for a recall if it can prove direct harm to human health.

But that would involve a long regulatory inquiry. Several consumers have begun pursuing a different path: suing the company.

Source: New York Times; This article has been edited for length.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke tied to clogged arteries

Exposure to tobacco smoke can have long-term
effects in cardiovascular health: Researchers
(Reuters Health) – In a Finnish study spanning 26 years, kids exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults than kids who were not exposed to secondhand smoke.

These findings and others suggest the health effects of passive smoking on children are not limited to respiratory or developmental health, but can have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health, said senior author Costan G. Magnussen of Menzies Research Institute Tasmania in Hobart, Australia.

Researchers used frozen blood samples from more than 1,000 kids ages three to 18 collected in 1980, along with parental reports of smoking status in 1980 and 1983 from a larger group of kids. They also had ultrasounds of the adult children in 2001 and 2007.

They tested the blood samples for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of cigarette smoke exposure, and looked for a buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries, two large blood vessels of the neck, on the adult ultrasounds.

Carotid plaque can cause narrowing of the arteries, increasing blood clot and stroke risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

About two percent of the grown-up kids had a carotid plaque uncovered by ultrasound at an average age of 36.

More than 84 percent of kids of nonsmokers had no cotinine in their blood, compared to 62 percent of those with one smoking parent and 43 percent when both parents smoked.

The authors assumed that kids with a parent who admitted to smoking who did not have cotinine in their blood had been exposed to less secondhand smoke, possibly because parents had been careful to keep their smoking away from the child.

Compared to kids of nonsmokers, these kids were about one and a half times as likely to have carotid artery plaque as adults. But kids of smokers with poorer “smoking hygiene” that exposed them to more smoke (and resulted in cotinine in their blood) were four times as likely to have carotid artery plaque as those with nonsmoking parents.

“What we were able to do that others have not, is show that parents who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking can still limit the impact of their smoking on their child’s future cardiovascular health by changing their smoking behavior to limit the amount of smoke their child is exposed to,” Magnussen told Reuters Health by email.
Early smoke exposure is dangerous in
many ways, health experts suggest.

Many smoking parents did not smoke inside the home or car, or smoked well away from their children, to the point where there was no evidence for passive smoke exposure in their child’s blood, Magnussen said.

Plaque buildup, or “atherosclerosis,” can begin in childhood so the results are not surprising, according to Karin B. Michels, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

But only 64 out of more than 2,000 grown subjects did develop plaque, which is a very small number, Michels told Reuters Health by phone.

“I would be a little cautious but overall I think it’s an important study and lends more support to the risk of passive smoking for children,” she said. “I don’t doubt that there is a risk and it could be affecting other things like blood pressure.”

Atherosclerotic plaque is particularly dangerous when it develops at an early age, she said.

This group of kids grew up in a time when smoking was much more ubiquitous, and they would have been exposed to more secondhand and thirdhand smoke, said Melbourne Hovell of San Diego State University, who was not part of the new study.

“Thirdhand smoke” is that which lingers on surfaces or in environments and may combine with other chemicals to create toxic substances over time, Hovell told Reuters Health by phone.

Early smoke exposure may have several deleterious effects other than just plaque buildup in the arteries, including an increased risk of later breast cancer and a predisposition to nicotine addiction, Hovell said.

Plus, children of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves, triggering a cascade of other health risks.

“It’s pretty much a perfect storm,” Hovel said.

“The other message for the lay public is to not allow any smoking in your home or car,” as it will contaminate the environment indefinitely, he said. “Parents with young children probably should avoid buying a used car that has been smoked in.”

Source: Reuters

Concerned about smoke exposure in your home or building? AllerAir has designed highly efficient air purifiers for tobacco smoke that not only trap particles associated with cigarette smoke, but also airborne chemicals and odors that come with it. For more information and a free consultation, contact AllerAir by calling 1-888-852-8247 or write to

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Video: Indoor air concerns in baby rooms and nurseries

The arrival of a new baby prompts periods of extreme happiness - and stress. Keeping babies safe and healthy is paramount, but the advice new parents get is often conflicting.

One thing is for sure: Newborns and babies are among the most vulnerable when it comes to polluted air and exposure to airborne contaminants.

Watch this video courtesy of Cochrane & Associates for more information:

Concerned about the air quality in your home?

AllerAir offers a wide range of air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA air filters that can help remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, particles, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Contact AllerAir for a free consultation by calling 1-888-852-8247 or write to

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why you need an air purifier in your home or office

Poor indoor air quality can lead to short-term and long-term
health effects, especially in children and the elderly.
As air purifier manufacturers, we get a lot of calls from people who are starting to notice the effects of poor indoor air quality.

This comes as no surprise. After all, people spend up to 90% of their time indoors (think about yourself – where do you spend most of your time? At home, at the office, in school, in other indoor spaces?)

Fact is, we spend most of our time indoors and many buildings are not equipped to provide the best quality air.

Common indoor air contaminants include:

  • Airborne chemicals coming from various sources such as building materials, cleaning products, cosmetics, scents (air “fresheners”), paint, furniture, cooking
  • Stale air
  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Dust
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pollen
  • Mold

We have no choice in breathing. But if we keep breathing contaminated air, we run the risk of developing health concerns, either short-term, or long-term.

The American College of Allergists says that 50% of all illnesses are either caused by, or aggravated by, polluted indoor air. Pregnant women, fetuses, infants, children and the elderly are most vulnerable to indoor air pollution.

And while short-term health effects sound merely bothersome, including irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches and fatigue, the long-term health effects are rather scary: These can include respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer (EPA). 

According to the latest research, cancer has become the second leading cause of death worldwide. Toxic exposures in the environment are responsible for a substantial percentage of all cancers, between 7 and 19%, according to Environmental Health Perspectives.

How to protect yourself from poor IAQ

Even though we have no choice in breathing, we can control the quality of the air we are exposed to the most. This can be done through source control, improved ventilation and humidity control,

Open windows regularly. Even when it is cold outside, it is important to avoid a buildup of stale and contaminated air indoors.

Avoid using products that can release harmful chemicals or fumes.

Replace your HVAC filters regularly.

Use an indoor air purifier. A complete indoor air purifier needs to have activated carbon, HEPA and UV filters as well as prefilters. They can be free-standing, or attached to the HVAC system and they can run continuously to help remove airborne chemicals, fumes, odors, particles, allergens, asthmagens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Not every air purifier is built the same. AllerAir offers the most trusted filters and a variety of options to give you the most effective air purifier for your IAQ concerns. Guaranteed.

Call 1-888-852-8247 for a free consultation or write to for more information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Air pollution affects children's memory, IQ: Study

Exposure to air pollution  can damage the brain,
a new study shows.
City smog lowers children's IQ.

This is among findings from a recent University of Montana study that found children living in cities with significant air pollution are at an increased risk for detrimental impacts to the brain, including short-term memory loss and lower IQ.

Findings by UM Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children with lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current U.S. standards, including fine particulate matter, are at an increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Calderón-Garcidueñas' findings are detailed in a paper titled "Decreases in Short-Term Memory, IQ and Altered Brain Metabolic Rations in Urban Apolipoprotein ε4 Children Exposed to Air Pollution," which can be found online here.

The study found that clinically healthy children who live in a polluted environment and who also carry a gene - the apolipoprotein ε4 allele, already known to increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease - demonstrated compromised cognitive responses when compared with children carrying a gene with apolipoprotein ε3 allele.

Urban growth leads to environmental pollution

Metropolitan Mexico City is an example of extreme urban growth and serious environmental pollution, where 8 million children are involuntarily exposed to harmful concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air every day beginning at conception.

The study matched two groups of children living in Mexico City by multiple variables, including age, gender, socioeconomic status and education, among others.

They then compared children carrying the ε4 allele to children carrying the ε3 allele and found that those with the ε4 allele had three significant alterations.

They had short-term memory shortfalls, an IQ that while within the normal limits measured 10 points less, and changes in key metabolites in the brain that mirror those of people with Alzheimer's disease.

"The results add to growing data suggesting ε4 carriers could have a higher risk of developing early Alzheimer's disease if they reside in a polluted urban environment," Calderón-Garcidueñas said.

She said the study also raises concerns about important educational issues. Since Mexico City children mostly attend underprovided public schools, children do not build cognitive reserves that serve as a defense to pollution impacts.

"A IQ difference of 10 points will likely have a negative impact on academic and social issues, including bullying and teen delinquency," she said.

A serious public health issue

The authors argue that sustained exposures to urban air pollution result in cognitive underperformance and metabolic brain changes that could lead to an acceleration of neurodegenerative changes.

Air pollution is a serious public health issue, and exposures to concentrations of air pollutants at or above the current standards have been linked to neuroinflammation and neuropathology.

In the U.S. alone, 200 million people live in areas where pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter exceed the standards.

There are significant associations between exposures to particulate matter and increased mortality due to stroke, cardiovascular disease and respiratory events. The problem in children living in megacities like Mexico City is much worse.

"There is an urgent need to have a broader focus on APOE ε4 and air pollution interactions impacting children's brains, and their responses could provide new avenues toward the unprecedented opportunity for Alzheimer's disease prevention," Calderón-Garcidueñas said.

"We have a 50-year window of opportunity between the time urban children experience the detrimental effects we are describing here and when they will present with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. We need support for studying the current pediatric clinical and imaging evidence in highly exposed urban children. Our efforts should be aimed to identify and mitigate environmental factors influencing Alzheimer's disease."

Source: Press release via EurekAlert

Breathe fresher air indoors

AllerAir offers units in all sizes and
price ranges.
When the outdoor air is polluted, indoor air can become a health hazard as well - since contaminants can build up indoors and affect your health and well-being in the long term.

AllerAir's complete air purifiers with activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV address common ambient air concerns, including airborne chemicals, odors, fumes, particles, allergens and biological contaminants.

AllerAir offers mobile general purpose air purifiers as well as units that address specific concerns, including allergies and asthma, MCS, smoke, and much more.

For a free consultation, contact our team at 1-888-852-8247 or by writing to

Saturday, February 07, 2015

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Apparently our hosting company has had a catastrophic equipment failure. Our websites are down. Please call during business hours for any help 1-888-852-8247 or email

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Build a cleaner fire this winter season

Woodsmoke contains fine particles
that may affect your health.
It's not just during the holiday season - all winter long, families and friends will gather around fires in woodstoves or fireplaces.

But how you build that fire – and what you burn – can have a significant impact on air quality and health, both inside your home and out.

Whether you’re using a woodstove, pellet stove, or your fireplace, seeing smoke from your chimney means your fire isn’t burning efficiently or cleanly as it could.

Woodsmoke contains fine particles – also called fine particle pollution or PM2.5  -- which can harm the lungs, blood vessels and heart. People with heart, vascular or lung disease, and older adults and children are more at risk.

Here are some simple tips for building cleaner-burning fires this holiday season:

  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Wet, or green logs, create excessive smoke – and waste fuel. How do you tell if wood has been seasoned? Listen for a hollow sound when you strike two logs together.
  • Wood burns best when the moisture content is less than 20 percent. You can purchase a wood moisture meter to test the moisture content of your wood before you burn it. You can purchase these meters for as little as $20 at most home improvement retailers.
  • Start a small fire with dry kindling, then add a few pieces of wood. Be sure there’s space between the pieces of wood – and give the fire plenty of air until it’s roaring.
  • A smoldering fire, “dirty” glass doors on a wood stove, or smoke from the chimney are all signs that your fire needs more air – or the wood is too moist.
  • Never burn household garbage, cardboard, painted or treated wood, or any wood that contains glue, such as plywood or particle board. These items release toxic chemicals when burned -- and if you’re using a woodstove, they can damage it.
  • Check your air quality forecast on before you burn. Some local areas limit woodstove and fireplace use under certain air quality conditions.

If you heat your home with wood, using an EPA-certified wood stove can help you save wood while putting less smoke into the air.

In January 2014, the agency proposed updates to its requirements for newly manufactured wood heaters that will make new woodstoves, outdoor wood boilers and other wood heaters cleaner in the future. EPA anticipates issuing final requirements by Feb. 3, 2015.

Source: EPA

Concerned about smoke and chemicals in your home? AllerAir offers a wide range of indoor air purifiers for the home and office, with a complete air filter system containing activated carbon, HEPA and UV (optional). Contact AllerAir for more information and speak to an IAQ expert to find the right air purifier for your needs.