Posted by Ivey on September 10th, 2012
Have you noticed a strange pungent odor in your home lately? Perhaps you have been coughing, sneezing, or suffering from other allergy-related symptoms and can’t find the trigger? These can all be signs that your home has a mold problem. Before you condemn your home and call a demolition crew, here are a few tips for identifying a mold problem, treating it, and avoiding future issues.
Most mold experts agree that small amounts of mold are present in every home. However, large amounts of mold can cause hay fever symptoms and be particularly irritating to people with allergies, immune suppression, and asthma, according to the CDC.
Find out where to look for mold, how to remove it, and more
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 Allison on August 30th, 2012
August has been full of excitement. Kicking off with the Olympic Games, spiraling into back to school madness, and coming to a close with America’s eyes locked tight on a hurricane named Isaac.
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!
See this month's Air Quality Evangelists.
Posted by Pam on August 28th, 2012
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.
Read more about surprising sources of formaldehyde in your home.
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 Allison on August 13th, 2012
“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.
Find out how to prepare for the Games without jeopardizing your respiratory health.
Posted by Tony on August 8th, 2012
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:
Read more about the ACs and dehumidifiers that are on sale now!
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.