Choosing Healthier Candles and Incense

Candles 1 Many people love burning candles and incense in their homes for the scent and atmosphere they create. Unfortunately, research shows that this isn’t the healthiest practice for your indoor air. According to a recent environmental study, candles and incense give off a high level
of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), damaging indoor air quality. This is due to the ingredients in many of them, particularly petroleum and fragrance.

Fortunately, there are less harmful ways to replace your habit of burning candles and incense—in fact, you can even improve your indoor air with some of these healthier alternatives!

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November Air Quality Evangelists

Each month we feature Air Quality Evangelists who offer helpful information to people regarding the importance of air quality. These Evangelists make clean air (and a healthy environment) a priority in their lives. We appreciate the information they provide, so let’s hear from November’s winners who discuss everything from allergies to reducing toxins in your home.

Scientific American Blog Network – Observations

If you haven’t heard of the Scientific American, then you’re one of the few. It’s read in print by nearly 4 million people a year and has long been a leading source for science, technology, and policy information.

Last July it launched the Scientific American Blog Network, which has quickly become the go-to hub for various editorial, community, and opinion blogs. Their wide range of topics include Energy & Sustainability, Health, Evolution, and Technology. “Observations” posts feature opinions and analysis from Scientific American editors.

Winning Post

Warmer weather is increasing pollen counts across the country, and this winning “Observations” post analyzes research about climate change and its influence on seasonal allergies. Research suggests allergy issues increase significantly with climate change and will only get worse moving forward. Allergy season will start earlier and affect a larger segment of the population, so review the findings and what they mean for you. Continue reading…

Are Noxious Odors Interrupting Your Sleep?

Memory Foam QuestionableI’ve moved quite a few times—for school, career, and even to find the perfect neighborhood once I decided to call Atlanta home. Regardless, I always had a familiar place to lay my head since I’ve had the same mattress since high school. Unfortunately, my trusty mattress no longer provides a comfortable night’s rest. After several sleepless nights, I have decided to say, “Goodbye,” and look for a replacement.

After trying out several types of mattresses, including innerspring and memory foam models, I decided that a memory foam mattress was best for me. The mattress seemed to contour perfectly to my body and provided just the right amount of support. Search over, right?

Not quite. I only slept on a memory foam mattress a few times, so I decided to do a little more research to find out about people’s long-term experiences with these beds. As I read review after review, one concern kept re-appearing: “Why does my mattress smell?” I was a little shocked to find out that the smell is the result of off-gassing. When a new mattress is removed from the packaging, it sometimes emits a strange odor as the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released. Some of the most common VOCs include formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, ethanol, and acetone.

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Resolve to Breathe Better Air This Year

New Year's Celebration and a ClockAs the year draws close, most of us are reflecting on the past year and assessing what we would like to change or improve in the upcoming year. Most of the time, these changes focus on ways to be healthier and improve your quality of life, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or going to the gym more often. Instead of making the same resolutions year after year, try something new for 2011—improving the quality of your indoor air!

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution levels can be two to five times higher than pollution levels outdoors. This increase in indoor pollution levels is even more shocking when you consider that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time doors. The good thing about indoor air quality is that it is absolutely within your ability to dramatically improve it. Continue reading…

Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes

American Profile recently interviewed Michael Vogel, director of the Montana chapter of Healthy Indoor Air for American’s Homes. He has been offering indoor air quality advice for over 20 years.

Vogel points out that “Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an article on the importance of fresh air and ventilation back in the 1800s” – but today, experts know much more about the risks of various pollutants. Continue reading…