Some of you may be hoping August never ends. Others are glad it’s coming to a close. Either way, there are just a few short days left in the month of August. It’s time to give shout-outs to our favorite blog posts during the month, written by these new Air Quality Evangelists!
Ever 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.
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.
“Your child has asthma.” Four little words that have struck fear into the hearts of parents for decades. As a parent, your one wish for your child is to make his dreams a reality. Will asthma keep him from reaching his goals?
Ask Amy Van Dyken, Kristi Yamaguchi, or Laura Trott.
Amy Van Dyken was the first American female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympic games. Kristi Yamaguchi is an Olympic figure skater and two-time World Champion. Laura Trott is the reigning double European, World, and Olympic champion in track cycling.
All three women are diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes. About 8% of Olympians have diagnosed asthma or airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), according to a study by the University of Western Australia.
The study goes on to say that, despite their condition, athletes with asthma historically perform better in the Olympics than those who don’t suffer from it.
Is your AC struggling after a long, hot summer season? Need a new dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your home? Now is a good time to upgrade, because we’re offering 20% off select air conditioners and dehumidifiers with our Summer Cooling Savings!
Whether you need to replace an out-of-date unit at home or you’re sending a child off to survive dorm life, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers improve indoor air quality anywhere you need them.
Room ACs and dehumidifiers are great options for keeping rooms, offices, dorms, garages, or basements comfortable all year. Many models include multiple operating modes and loads of convenient features.
Some of our most popular brands are on sale for a limited time, so check out which ones may work best for you:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s face it: we don’t always have all the answers. Here at Sylvane, we know a lot about appliances that treat indoor environments. We can tell you which dehumidifier or air purifier would work best for your space. But when it comes to the wide world of air quality, we often have to do our own research to stay on top of things.
Where do we look for information? Air Quality Evangelists.
Air Quality Evangelists are bloggers, writers and website owners who demonstrate a passion for clean, healthy air. Their sites contain reliable information about air quality – from personal accounts of living with chemical sensitivities to medical opinions about air treatment appliances. Each month, we feature a few of these Air Quality Evangelists on our blog.
We added a few more to the list!
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!
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: