Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


Why Flood Clean Up Is Important for Your Indoor Air

Posted by Tony on November 9th, 2012

Between Hurricane Sandy and a powerful “nor’easter” storm, the Northeast United States has had a rough couple of weeks. Some much needed sun is in the forecast for this weekend, but unfortunately, water damage doesn’t leave with the clouds.

In fact, water damage can do more than just ruin your favorite items; it can actually make the air in your home unhealthy. Failing to remove contaminated materials and reduce moisture in your home can present serious long-term health risks. It’s a breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and mold.

When household items are wet for more than a day or two, they usually get moldy, collect germs, and become a hot-bed for bugs. So what you can you do? Here are a few tips to make sure your home is dry and safe to enter after flooding: Learn More Flood Clean Up Tips!

The Miele S8 Series: A Vacuum Without Limits

Posted by Jenna on October 24th, 2012

miele s8 line

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love when I went to the Miele S8 premiere party in Atlanta last month, where I rubbed elbows with the Southeast’s most avid vacuum aficionados and Miele ambassadors. And then, from across the room, I locked eyes with the Alize.

This vacuum is everything I ever wanted: artisanal quality, check. Next-level filtration, check. Criminally cute design? Yeah buddy. We just received the S8 line at our corporate headquarters, and before I run away to Reno with my Alize, let me tell you what makes these vacuums so cool. Read more about the S8 line!

Sylvane’s 20% Off Space Heater Sale – Prepare for Winter Weather Now!

Posted by Tony on October 22nd, 2012

Sylvane Space Heater Sale

The leaves just started changing, but cooler weather is on its way—and in some places, it’s already here. High electricity costs and expensive, outdated heating systems can waste a lot of money this winter. Combine that with consumers’ desire to only heat specific rooms (the ones they actually use!), and it’s pretty clear why space heaters have become so popular across the country.

A space heater can save you money, energy, and provide spot heating to any area of your home. With a wide-range of heater types, capacities, and safety features, finding the right space heater is easier than you may think.

It’s a great time to buy one too, because many of our most popular models are 20% off during Sylvane’s Space Heater Sale going on now. Read More About Sylvane's Space Heater Sale!

Is That Artificial Air Freshener Harming Your Daughter?

Posted by Pam on September 6th, 2012

Artificial Air Fresheners May Pose Health Threat To Young GirlsMy mother, a long-time smoker, loves every product on the market that makes her house smell “clean” and “fresh”. As for me, I’m not so sure. The intellectual part of my brain eschews this whole concept of corporate fragrance, but those smells from a bottle do fill my heart.

“What’s the harm?” My emotional brain pleads with the intellectual brain.

For the longest time, Intellectual Brain could only argue that those fragrances were so strong and artificial, there simply had to be something wrong with them. Science will figure it out someday.

Well folks, that day is here. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has linked dichlorobenzene, one of the chemical common to air fresheners, to early puberty in girls.

In the past 100 years, the age of a girl’s first menstrual cycle has decreased about 4 years, with the average onset now around 12 to 13 years. In the 1990s, nearly every American tested was positive for the presence of dichlorobenzene in their urine.

Read more about how we are exposed to this pollutant.

Should You Be Worried About Formaldehyde?

Posted by Pam on August 28th, 2012

Formaldehyde SmellsEver opened up a new toy for your kid, or a box of assembly-required furniture, and been knocked over by the smell in the box? After romanticizing about being the first person to breathe in that air since the box left its country of origin, my attention goes to a little voice inside my head that says, “Cough cough – run! Nobody should breathe that stuff in!”

But then I shrug it off, believing that if there really were a danger, my government would put a label on the box or run public service announcements warning me of the danger of breathing in factory air from China.

Turns out we should give pause when opening that box.

A recent study followed formaldehyde release from the unpacking and assembly of self-assembly furniture. Researchers found that unpacking and setting up a 2-door wardrobe increased the formaldehyde concentration in the home in a measurable way. And the formaldehyde levels differed with the finish on the wardrobe, with the unfinished models emitting higher levels of formaldehyde than the highly-lacquered glossy models.

Read more about surprising sources of formaldehyde in your home.

Must-Haves for a Healthier, More Comfortable Dorm Room

Posted by Ashley on August 17th, 2012

college signSchool is getting back in session. Whether you’re heading off to college, heading back to college, or sending your child off for the first time—there are some things that can make the experience go much smoother. Most dorm packing lists cover the basics, but they don’t take into account those things that can help you feel more comfortable in your home away from home. Plus, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you have more to think about, not knowing what symptom triggers await you.

To help you (or your studious son or daughter) create a healthier, more comfortable dorm room, check out our list of must-have products.

Table Fan

Many dorms lack central air conditioning. Other dorms have it, but it might not be powerful enough to cool you during the late summer months and you might not have control over the thermostat. A great stand-in, a compact table fan fits easily on your bedside table, window sill, or desk to circulate a gentle breeze that cools you and keeps your space refreshed while you hit the books.

Vornado 573 Air Circulator FanOur Pick: Weighing just under 4 pounds, the Vornado 573 Air Circulator features 3 cooling speeds, quiet operation, and a sleek minimalist design that looks great on your nightstand.

Read on for more dorm room essentials

Headaches, Asthma, Nausea: Is It Something in Your School’s Air?

Posted by Ivey on August 7th, 2012

Teacher in Classroom with StudentsIt seems like it just began and already the 2012 summer season is quickly coming to a close, which can only mean one thing for many parents, teachers, and kids. It’s time to head back to school. While students worry about first impressions, parents race around to secure the necessary school supplies, and teachers get their curriculum in order, there may be unseen dangers lurking in schools.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution levels can be two to five times higher than outdoor areas. The EPA also points out that approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population spends their days indoors in elementary, middle, and high schools. USA TODAY notes that thresholds for chemical exposure are typically based on results from adults exposure. As a result, little is known or can be accurately predicted about child and adolescent exposure to airborne chemicals. This is significant since children can be more vulnerable to the effects of chemical exposure due to a variety of factors, including still-growing bodies and their inability to properly protect themselves from exposure to environmental hazards.

Find out ways that you can improve your school's indoor air quality.

Traveling with Allergies: The Secret World of Allergy-Friendly Hotels

Posted by Vivian on August 1st, 2012

Traveling can be fun and relaxing, but if you have allergies or chemical sensitivities, it can also be stressful. Luckily, hotels are increasingly offering “allergy-friendly” room options, and some hotels are entirely allergy-friendly.

According to a 2010 survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, in fact, 38 percent of hotels offer allergy-friendly rooms.

What do these promises mean, however? Can you count on hotels that claim to be allergy-friendly to really be so?

Allergy-friendly offerings can vary greatly from hotel to hotel, so as a traveler, it’s up to you to find out exactly what a hotel will offer before you book a room and stay there. Doing your research upfront will help save you headaches down the road.

Read on for more tips for finding an allergy-friendly hotel.

Wildfires Create Unhealthy Air in Colorado & Beyond

Posted by Vivian on July 12th, 2012

Colorado Wildfire Air QualityThe Colorado fires have affected more than just homes, forests and livestock. They’ve also impacted many people throughout the state and beyond who live downwind from them. Toxic smoke has filled the air around Colorado for weeks, and people with a sensitivity to smoke have had little relief from the fumes.

Forest fire smoke contains a soup of nasty chemicals, including nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and more. When these fires start burning houses the chemicals get even more toxic. The air was rated as “unhealthy” for days throughout Colorado this summer by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. According to AIRNow, this smoke can cause an increase in asthma attacks and other respiratory disorders among those exposed to it even for short periods, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of negative health effects. Those with heart or lung diseases, the elderly, and children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of smoke exposure.

Read more about how you can protect the respiratory health of you and your family in case of a wildfire.

Improving Air Quality in Your Kitchen: Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Allison on June 22nd, 2012

Improving the Air Quality In Your KitchenYour kitchen is where you prepare your child’s favorite meals. It’s where you share your secret family recipes with your new spouse. It’s also one of the dirtiest rooms in your home.

According to a new study, kitchens can contain air that is three times more polluted than what you breathe on a busy city street.

What can you do to improve the indoor air quality in your kitchen? Here is a list of do’s and don’ts.

Do:

Turn on ventilation fans while cooking.

cookingCooking generates a lot of heat, steam, and odors that need to be ventilated. Ventilation fans help suck in cooking fumes, which can be dangerous at high concentrations. It is easier for these fans to ventilate the air while you’re cooking, versus after the gases disperse throughout your kitchen.

Ventilation fans can also help relieve your air conditioner. A typical home stove generates 7,000 BTUs of heat per burner, on average. That’s 28,000 BTUs when four burners are in use. Most residential room air conditioners have cooling capacities that range from about 6,000 BTUs to 12,000 BTUs per hour. So when you’re cooking an elaborate dinner, your AC is working just as hard as you are!

Read more tips for improving the air quality in your kitchen.

20% Off Fans and Air Conditioners Sale Kicks Off Summer Fun!

Posted by Tony on June 20th, 2012

It may feel like it’s been summer for a while now (it certainly has here in Atlanta), but summer didn’t officially start until today. To celebrate the season, we’re offering a 20% off Cooling Sale! Several popular brands of air conditioners, fans, and evaporative coolers are on sale, so you can enjoy summer instead of sweating through it.

Here are a few products you’ll find 20% off at Sylvane.com through Sunday, July 8, 2012:

Keep Reading About Our 20% Off Cooling Sale

The Truth About Chlorinated Pools and Asthma

Posted by Allison on June 1st, 2012

Swimming in Chlorinated PoolSwimming is my favorite form of exercise. To feel so weightless while working every muscle in your body is invigorating to me. I’ve been on swim teams since I was twelve, and as an adult I try to swim three times a week; and almost every pool I have used has been indoors.

Is it a miracle I haven’t developed asthma?

For years, studies have shown that children who spend a lot of time in indoor pools have a higher risk of developing asthma than non-swimmers. This is traditionally attributed to the addition of chlorine to the water.

Actually, the problem with chlorinated pools isn’t the chlorine itself, but the gases produced when it combines with organic chemicals like sweat and saliva.

Learn more about the link between chlorinated pools and lung damage.

May Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Allison on May 30th, 2012

It’s that time again! Each month, we give shout-outs to some of our favorite websites and blogs. These sites are written by folks who appreciate the importance of indoor air quality. Whether they suffer from allergies, have children with severe asthma, or work as respiratory therapists – everyone has a story to tell, and we want to share theirs with you.

Here are this month’s Air Quality Evangelists!

green building advisorGreen Building Advisor
Green Building Advisor is the go-to website for green builders, remodelers, and designers. Their articles are written by experts in a variety of fields – sustainability, design, energy-efficiency, indoor air quality, and more. This site covers everything about green building, from product guides to building strategies. If you are in the business of building, you should definitely check them out.

Winning Post: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 4.6 million of asthma cases in the U.S. are attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home. Often rain and plumbing leaks are the cause of moisture problems. In this article, Allison Bailes III (Ph.D and asthma-sufferer) discusses a scarier reason there is so much mold growth in homes: wet, moldy building materials.

See the rest of this month's Air Quality Evangelists!

Prep for Summer Heat With Our Memorial Day Sale!

Posted by Tony on May 26th, 2012

It’s shaping up to be yet another scorching summer in most U.S. cities. Make sure you’re ready by taking advantage of our site-wide Memorial Day Sale! You’ll save 10% on all orders over $150 this weekend, May 26-May 28, 2012, using coupon code MEM10*.

We offer several new products to help you beat the heat, including air conditioners, misting fans, and dehumidifiers. They’ll all keep your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the fast-approaching, hot summer days.

Read more about our summer products on sale this weekend.

Is Air Pollution Making Us Fat?

Posted by Allison on April 27th, 2012

fat bellyYou know breathing clean air benefits your lungs and heart. But what about your waistline?

More and more researchers are uncovering links between obesity and long-term exposure to toxins, chemicals, and compounds.

A recent hypothesis suggests that rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the environment might be contributing to the obesity epidemic in our country. The idea is that breathing too much CO2 causes our blood to become more acidic, which triggers neurons that regulate appetite, sleep, and metabolism to fire more rapidly. As a result, we could be eating more, sleeping less, and gaining more weight.

Read more about air pollution's impact on this rising obesity epidemic.