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…

 

Scented Candles May Cause Indoor Air Pollution

scented candles air pollution

Studies show that scented candles can cause air pollution. We recommend one or more of these alternatives.

Indoor air quality experts at the Oregon Environmental Council say that the chemicals used in scented candles can cause indoor air pollution, potentially causing a wide range of respiratory health effects, including asthma. Companies are not required to disclose the specific chemicals used in scented candles on the labels, and many labels simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient, without revealing any specifics. Some contain “pthalates”, which are used in the production of plastic, and have also been found in bottled water. According to an EPA report on pthalates, these chemicals may cause birth defects and reproductive problems.

Many people will use scented candles or fragrance sprays to mask odors that linger indoors. But there are other alternatives  to these chemical-laden, pollution causing solutions. Spring is in the air, and opening the windows of your home for even just a few minutes a day can improve air circulation, while letting in the natural scent of fresh flowers. Running the fan in your bathroom and turning on the fan inside the hood vent above your stove, during and after cooking will also help. It is important to clean and change your microwave and hood range filters on a regular basis, as these prevent the spread of odor-causing smoke and food particles. We also recommend changing your HVAC furnace filters regularly, and investing in a HEPA air purifier if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Most air purifiers remove odor-carrying particles naturally, without adding chemical-laden fragrance to your home.

If you’re not sensitive to fragrances, and you absolutely can’t do away with your craving for cinnamon or french vanilla, or if it’s too cold to open the window, supplement your air filter with a Fresh Scents Air Filter Freshener in “Fresh Flowers” and other scents. This fragrance gel pad attaches easily to any air filter, providing subtly scented air throughout your home, without the smoke given off by candlewicks.

Charity of the Week: 2011 Fight for Air Climb

American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb 2011This #charitytuesday, we are taking a break from Water Charities to pay tribute to our first ever featured “air charity.” The American Lung Association held their first Fight for Air Climb in Cleveland, this past Saturday, March 5, 2011. Climbers, walkers, runners, firefighters and supporters of the ALA challenged themselves by climbing the 42 flights of stairs in Terminal Tower (804 steps total), in an effort to raise money to support the fight against lung disease. The goal was to raise $80,000 to support lung health, research and advocacy in Northern Ohio. Together they raised over $40,000, and the option to donate is still available on the Cleveland Fight for Air Climb event website.

Fight for Air Climbs are unique events for the ALA, taking place in large towers in cities across the US. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America, and the ALA is dedicated to helping people know what is needed to manage and take control of asthma and other chronic respiratory ailments. We at Filters Fast are dedicated to this cause as well, and know that indoor air quality can be a key factor in the development of chronic lung illness. Take care of yourself by making sure your environment is free from harmful air pollutants. Clean regularly and change your air filters on a consistent basis. You and your family may also want to consider investing in one or several room air purifiers for your home, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma.

Show your support publicly, by signing up for a Fight for Air Climb in a city near you.