Posted by Stephanie on September 25th, 2012
Summer has come to an end, and if you’re like me, you’re not quite ready to pack up your patio furniture, put away your grill, or move your decorations indoors.
Luckily, you won’t have to this fall! As cooler weather begins creeping in, adding an outdoor heater and colorful fall decor to your patio can help you enjoy your outdoor retreat – even on the chilliest autumn nights. See more tips for enjoying your patio this fall.
Posted by Ivey on September 19th, 2012
Are watery eyes, itchy skin, runny nose, or hay fever symptoms keeping you from relaxing at home? Chances are your home comfort could be compromised by allergens.
Here’s a quick rundown of five of the most common household allergens to help you identify the source and restore the health of your home. Read more about common household allergens.
Posted by Pam on September 17th, 2012
I’m an environmental consultant that specializes in air quality, so people are always surprised to hear I live in one of the United States’ major centers for oil refining. It’s known as one of the most air quality-challenged regions of our country, and needless to say, I get a lot of questions around town about air quality and the risks associated with where I live.
Here’s what I know:
Exxon Mobil’s largest North American petrochemical complex is in the middle of my town. This is where plastic ingredients and the specialty chemicals for foods and personal products come from. In fact, most of the other big oil and chemical companies are also within a half hour drive.
Find out more about this expert's take on air quality.
Posted by Pam on September 6th, 2012
My 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.
Posted by Tony on August 31st, 2012
Historically, Labor Day celebrates American workers, but we’re switching it up here at Sylvane by giving our customers great deals! Along with your day off on Monday, enjoy discounts on some of our most popular brands and products—including Dyson’s top-of-the-line products that are always consumer favorites.
Find out more about our Labor Day Sale!
Posted by Ashley on August 17th, 2012
School 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.
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.
Our 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
Posted by Ivey on August 7th, 2012
It 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.
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.
Posted by Allison on July 31st, 2012
Do you ever come across a blog or website that makes you feel validated? One that answers the questions that have been burning in your head for a while, and some you hadn’t even considered? Us too.
Occasionally, we stumble upon a new website and think, “Wow…these guys get it.”
That’s why we started the Air Quality Evangelists award program. Each month, we share our favorite websites with you, including the best articles written during that month (in our opinion). These sites may focus on green living, energy efficient design, allergies – anything, really – and they show a clear appreciation for indoor air quality.
Check out the latest Air Quality Evangelists!
See this month's Air Quality Evangelists.
Posted by Vivian on July 24th, 2012
Dogs are beloved members of many families. They offer unconditional love, reduce stress levels, encourage exercise, and even lower blood pressure. And now, research has shown they might also reduce cases of childhood asthma.
According to research presented at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, children who live in homes with dogs may be less likely to develop asthma. In the study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco fed house dust from homes with dogs to mice. Compared to a control group, the mice exposed to this dust had increased immunity to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is associated with childhood asthma.
While still in its early stages, the research suggests that children who spend time around dogs might have a similar immunity to this virus. This is exciting news for dog-lovers, especially since a study last year proved there’s no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs.
Read on to discover tips for healthy living with dogs.
Posted by Vivian on July 18th, 2012
Steam cleaners are wonderful, since they can clean just about anything without the use of harsh chemicals – car exteriors, sealed hardwood floors, leather upholstery, most kitchen appliances, windows, mirrors, and showers.
There are some surfaces, however, that aren’t ideal for steam cleaners.
Let’s look at how steam cleaners work. Essentially, they turn ordinary tap water into deep-cleaning steam vapor. They do this with heat – lots of it. In order to kill germs, they need to heat water to at least 225 degrees F. In fact, the most powerful steam cleaners, like Ladybug steam cleaners, heat the water as high as 325 degrees F.
Read more about surfaces that can't be steam cleaned and non-chemical alternatives to steam.
Posted by Vivian on July 12th, 2012
The 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.
Posted by Vivian on July 3rd, 2012
It’s that time of year again, when we celebrate 4th of July by watching fireworks displays and setting off backyard fireworks. It’s a time of fun, family and happiness, and fireworks have come to symbolize all of those good things we associate with the holiday.
Unfortunately, though, all the chemicals and smoke associated with fireworks contribute to unhealthy air conditions. The fine toxic dust created by fireworks can enter our sensitive nose and lung tissues and cause health problems. The dust, in particular, threatens those people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or asthma. In addition to the dust, firework smoke contains a toxic mixture of chemicals, gasses, heavy metals and sulfur.
Keep reading for safe firework alternatives you can try on Independence Day.
Posted by Allison on June 22nd, 2012
Your 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.
Cooking 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.
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: