Dandruff Improves Indoor Air Pollution

household dustHumans shed their entire layer of skin every 2-4 weeks. Skin flakes contain skin oils – cholesterol and “squalene” – which are major components of household dust. Recent research shows that dust, though often a nuisance and the source of allergies and respiratory problems, may actually be beneficial at reducing indoor air pollution.

It sounds contradictory, but it’s true. Squalene actually reduces ozone levels from 2 to 15 percent.

So… to dust, or not to dust? That is the question. Previous research shows the mere presence of humans in a room can reduce ozone levels. Ozone is a major component of smog, and exposure to it may increase one’s risk of lung irritation, asthma, heart attacks and death. The removal of ozone from indoor spaces seems to be a good thing. However, other studies show that the reaction between skin flakes and squalene produces byproducts which are known to be lung irritants and may be just as or even more harmful to your health.

Until more research is done, we are going to recommend dusting and using an air purifier to remove dust and other allergens from your indoor spaces. Just make sure the air purifier does not emit ozone.

From dust we came, and to dust we shall return…

 

Refrigerators Add New Features to Keep Food Fresh Longer

produce crisper drawerConsumer Reports recently stated that refrigerator manufacturers, including GE, LG and Whirlpool, are adding new technological features that will help keep your food fresh longer. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, this may be something worth considering before you buy. Here are some highlights of the new features being added:

Whirlpool’s Freshflow Produce Preserver

This technology will be in select models, starting this year, and consists of ethylene absorption packets located in crisper drawers. These packets contain potassium permanganate, which neutralizes ethylene – a naturally occurring, odorless, harmless, tasteless gas, given off by fruits and veggies, causing them to ripen more quickly. Whirlpool claims that FreshFlow will make your produce last 25 percent longer, but the packets must be changed every six months.

GE ClimateKeeper Dual Evaporator System

As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” The same goes for evaporators in your refrigerator. Older fridge models have one evaporator in the freezer, so that all of the cold air for the fresh food section in the refrigerator comes from the freezer. This causes the airflow from the fresh food section to mix with the air in the freezer. If you notice that your ice cubes taste like onion or broccoli, this may very well be why. (That, or you need to change your fridge filter.) With a dual evaporator system like GE’s ClimateKeeper, there are two evaporators, rather than one, so that the fresh food section and the freezer cool independently from one another. The humidity inside your fresh food drawers is also significantly higher, allowing fresh produce and unsealed foods to retain moisture and stay fresh longer.

Bosch VitaFresh Technology

With Bosch’s VitaFresh system, a high-tech lining inside your fresh food drawers works with climate sensors to maintain ideal temperature, humidity and air circulation, so that your food stays fresher longer. Bosch also claims that this technology also preserves vitamins and nutrients.

Viking’s Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier

Similar to room air purifiers for the home, a Plasmacluster Ion air purifier inside your refrigerator helps eliminate odors associated with airborne pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi, helping your food to stay fresher, longer.

LG Push ‘N Seal Crisper Drawer

This drawer uses a vacuum to seal your produce inside, apparently keeping it crisp and fresh for longer.

Despite freshness claims from various refrigerator manufacturers, Consumer Reports recommends that you first look for a fridge that has excellent temperature performance. You can keep your produce fresh through proper food storage, eliminating the need for advanced refrigeration technology. And, of course, remember to replace your refrigerator water filter every six months.

 

Water filter for rotting corpse particles?

Corpse found in water tankThe dead body of an Indonesian maid was found in the rooftop water tank of a residential building in Singapore, a few days ago. A Bangladeshi man has been arrested in connection with the case; he was seen choking her. It is believed that they were in an intimate relationship, and both were seen arguing on the morning her body was found. The case has been classified as a murder by the police, but the exact cause of death has not been determined.

All of those details seem trivial, however, in light of this significance: her corpse may have tainted the drinking water of 700 residents. One resident reported seeing white bubbles in her water while bathing her children. Doctors recommended boiling the water prior to consumption, in order to kill any bacteria or other pathogens present from the corpse, but I’m not sure that I could stomach the thought of drinking water tainted by a dead body, boiled or not.

Incidents like these are few and far between, so I don’t think that a mass manufacture of water filters designed to remove rotting corpse particles would be necessary. (We already have filters that will remove radioactive particles – perhaps they will filter dead body remnants as well…) I’m curious, though, as to what our readers would do in this situation. Boil the water and drink it? Purchase bottled water until the tank is cleaned and sterilized? Buy a Katadyn emergency water filter? Or move out of the building altogether?

With news of more frequent natural disasters, dead bodies found in residential water tanks, and reports of a potential zombie apocalypse from the CDC, now might be a good time to get prepared for the days ahead. We suggest you start by reviewing our post on “How to Survive the Apocalypse with Filters Fast,” as well as our article on Emergency Water Purification.