Is Your Building Sick?

Sick building syndrome or SBS refers to situations where “building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified,” according to the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality website. This can occur either in a specific room or area, or throughout the building.

Symptoms can include:

  • headache
  • eye, nose, or throat  irritation
  • dry cough
  • dry or itchy skin
  • dizziness and nausea
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • fatigue
  • sensitivity to odors

Although the cause of the symptoms is usually not known, sufferers usually report feeling better soon after they leave the building. Poor ventilation, as well as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) not effectively distributing air throughout the building, seems to be a major contributing factor in SBS.

Indoor and outdoor pollution sources can also contribute to SBS. Indoor air pollution sources include:

  • adhesives
  • carpeting
  • upholstery
  • manufactured wood products
  • copy machines
  • pesticides
  • cleaning agents

These sources can emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde.  Tobacco smoke emits high levels of VOCs, as well as other toxic compounds, and breathable particulate matter. The products of combustion, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and breathable particles come from burning sources like unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces and gas stoves.

Outdoor pollution sources such as motor vehicle exhausts, plumbing vents, and bathroom and kitchen exhausts can contribute to indoor air pollution. Also, biological contaminants including bacteria, molds, pollens, and viruses may breed in standing or stagnant water in various locations throughout a building.

Removing or modifying the pollutant source when it is known and controllable is perhaps the best way to resolve an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problem. Also increasing ventilation and air distribution can help the problem.  Another method is to use air cleaners. Finally, using furnace or air filters, especially high performance filters that capture smaller, breathable particles is a great way to alleviate SBS.

7 Unique Gifts for Mom from Filters Fast

I love you momPerhaps you hadn’t thought about Filters Fast as the place to buy your mom that special gift that says “I love you.” But, we do carry a few items that are practical and will manage to make mom feel extra-special too. Even if you don’t buy one of these in time for Mother’s Day this year, there’s always her birthday, Christmas, next Mother’s Day, or even “just because.”

1. PUR 3-Stage Horizontal Silver Faucet Water Filter

This faucet filter removes or reduces lead, mercury, sediment, dirt, microbial cysts, and the bad taste and odor of chlorine. A stainless steel finish makes it the perfect addition to mom’s kitchen, and best of all, installation is easy. Simply snap the PUR 3-Stage faucet-mount filter onto your faucet with just one click. No messy, under sink installation for dad this Mother’s Day.

2. Mavea Elemaris Filtered Water Pitcher

Recently dubbed “the sexiest water filtration pitcher in town,” the Mavea Elemaris filtered water pitcher has a soft, rubber grip handle and a sleek look that is perfect for entertaining guests, while providing fresh filtered water, free from contaminants like chlorine, mercury, copper, benzine, atrazine, limescale, rust and more. This is one gift that mom will use over and over again.

3. Reusable Water Bottle

As we stated in a recent post, reusable water bottles are the perfect active wear fashion accessory. Besides that, they will help mom save money that she’d otherwise spend on single-use, plastic bottled water. A Klean Kanteen filled with already-filtered tap water, or a Brita bottle that comes with a built-in filter are the perfect gifts for moms who are constantly on-the-go.

4. Sprite Shower Falls Multi-Position Filtered Shower Head

Sprite is known for manufacturing some of the highest-quality water filters, and this particular filtered shower head not only reduces harmful chlorine; it features a beautiful chrome finish along with a 5-way massaging spray. Here is a gift that encourages relaxation and good health, all in one system.

5. Rainshow’r Gard’n Gro Garden Filter System

Help mom out with her garden this summer with a Rainshow’r Gard’n Gro Water Filter System. This non-toxic dechlorinator promotes healthy plant growth and nutrition by removing harsh, toxic chlorine from your water, before it reaches your plants. Those garden-fresh tomatoes, squash and zucchini will be better than ever, this year.

6. A Year’s Supply of Filters Fast Air Filters

Has mom been suffering from allergies this spring? A 6-pack of Filters Fast 1″ MERV 13 air filters will efficiently improve indoor air quality for at least an entire year. Give mom a gift that will last through next Mother’s Day.

7. A New Microwave Filter

This is one set of products that many people don’t know we carry. In fact, it’s one of the most neglected items in the home, as most people do not even turn on their microwave & hood range vents while cooking. Even if they do, the filter likely hasn’t been cleaned or replaced in quite some time. To learn more about the necessity for range hood filters, check out this post we did last year. In the meantime, mom’s microwave filter probably needs replacing, so buy her a new one from Filters Fast.

All the moms out there: which one of these items says I love you, best?

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.