» Indoor Health Matters

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.


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 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.

Earth Day Tips for Staying Eco-Friendly Indoors

Posted by Allison on April 20th, 2012

Earth DaySince its inception in 1970, Earth day has marked a time for festivals, rallies, and celebrations focused on the awareness of environmental issues that impact our planet’s health. People across the globe gather to plant trees or pledge energy conservation goals.

But what if you can’t find the time? You care about the Earth, and you’d like to do something to promote its well-being.

One of the best ways you can celebrate Earth Day is to inspect your indoor environment for ways you could improve energy efficiency, eco-friendly behavior, and indoor air quality.

You may be asking: how does my behavior indoors impact the health of our planet? While the air you breathe in your home can be drastically different than the air you’re exposed to outside, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consistently ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health.

Find out how to celebrate Earth Day without leaving the comfort of your home.

March Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Allison on March 26th, 2012

Air Quality EvangelistsLast month, we announced the launch of our new Air Quality Evangelist program. The goal of this project is to celebrate other blogs and websites that appreciate good air quality and provide insight on how you can improve yours.

Now it’s time to announce this month’s Air Quality Evangelists!

SafeMama SafeMama

Kathy Scoleri is a web designer, author, and mother of two boys. When she was expecting her first child in 2007 – and spending hours researching Bisphenol-A, hormone mimicking chemicals, and toy recalls – she knew she couldn’t be the only parent scouring the web for this information. So she created SafeMama to keep it all in one place.

Winning Post: There are many choices you can make to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out Of Your Home. In this article, SafeMama hits some major points – from losing the shoes while inside to using HEPA-filtered vacuums.

See March's Air Quality Evangelists!

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Air Quality

Posted by Allison on March 19th, 2012

Spring Cleaning Cleaning SuppliesThe beginning of spring is the one time of year that I get super jazzed about cleaning, so I always make sure to take it seriously. I leave no blind un-dusted and no pillow cover un-washed. Dust, dirt and allergens don’t stand a chance in my home.

This spring, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a clean that’s more than dirt-deep. I’m talking allergen-deep. Dust mite-deep. Get down to the nitty gritty and really tackle what’s lurking in your home’s air. With the help of these 10 spring cleaning tips, you can do it without making yourself crazy.

1. Make a schedule. If you have a basement, start there – this room usually has the worst air quality. The next day, tackle germs and bacteria in the bathroom. Move onto the living room on day three, and so on. Even if you live in a 600 square foot apartment like mine, this method helps you stay focused on the task at hand and avoid becoming overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of you.

bissell steam mop 2. Ditch the store-bought cleaners for a vapor steam cleaner. Typical household cleaners often contain harsh toxic chemicals that can aggravate allergies and ultimately cause health complications. Steam cleaners use pure vapor steam to naturally disinfect and deodorize counter tops, windows, appliances, and upholstery.

Keep reading for more spring cleaning tips.

February Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Allison on February 27th, 2012

Air Quality Evangelists Badge

When it comes to creating a safe and healthy indoor environment, the more you know, the better. However, sometimes online research can lead to an overwhelming amount of options.

That’s why we created the Air Quality Evangelist project!

Each month, we will scour the web for the best blogs and websites you can confidently add to your list of air treatment resources. These sites may focus on allergies, asthma, green living, air quality, anything – most importantly, they have a deep appreciation for breathing clean and healthy air. At the end of the month, we will choose our top picks and name a few Air Quality Evangelists.

An Air Quality Evangelist is someone who appreciates the importance of healthy indoor air and celebrates products and lifestyle choices that can help improve the quality of the air you breathe. Air Quality Evangelist blogs are invited to sport the Air Quality Evangelist badge so you can spot them easily.

Continue reading

Battle Early Spring Allergies

Posted by Ashley on February 24th, 2012

Are you battling a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a seemingly endless bout of sneezing? Don’t be so sure it’s just a cold. It could be spring allergies—in February. Strange, right?

Doctors think so too. For the past month, allergists across the country have been treating a new wave of patients suffering from spring allergy symptoms early, more than a month before the season typically begins. The reason, reports a recent WebMD article, is an uncharacteristically mild winter in many cities in the U.S.

Experts say that warmer-than-average winter temperatures around the country have triggered early tree pollination and led to higher pollen counts than normal for this time of year. As a result, we’re experiencing an early start to allergy season. And if you suffer from tree pollen allergies, you’re likely among the first to feel the effects.

Scientists have a hunch that an early allergy season could mean we’re in for a longer-than-average season. But because rainfall amounts have a bearing on how long trees and flowers pollinate; it’s too early to predict for sure. Whatever the outcome, if you are prone to seasonal allergies, now is a great time to get prepared.

Read on to learn simple tips to fight early spring allergies

Video: Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier

Posted by Allison on February 17th, 2012

One of the best and easiest things you can do for your air quality is invest in an air purifier. Once you start shopping around, however, the choices can seem endless and overwhelming.

Find out more about this video.

Are You At Risk for Radon Exposure?

Posted by Ashley on January 6th, 2012

Radon Gas Danger Sign
You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it, and you can’t see it—but you may have a serious air quality problem on your hands.

Radon, a cancer-causing gas that can reach toxic levels in your home, is responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Many victims never even picked up a cigarette. And even more frightening is the idea that at this moment, you may not even know you have a problem. That’s why it’s so important to test your home for radon. January is National Radon Action Month and there’s never been a better time to find out if you’re at risk.

Radon is formed when the chemical element uranium naturally decays in soil, rock, and water. As it breaks down, tiny radioactive particles are released into the air. These particles enter and become trapped in your lungs as you breathe, increasing your risk of developing lung cancer.

Read more about the dangers of radon