Friday, May 22, 2009

A Fragrance-Free Future for All?

I am a second-generation Vietnamese American who grew up in Anaheim. I had a variety of friends but I was very conscious about the smell of my house. The Vietnamese are notorious for not only pho (beef noodle soup) but also their nguoc mam (fish sauce). My mother was aware of it too, and we usually wanted the house to smell more "American" so she clipped out coupons for Glade Plug-Ins every weekend.

I remember how the plastic Glade Plug-Ins would soften and eventually burn its plastic cover if we left it in for too long. At one time each power outlet had a Plug-In, but the combination of "Tropical Breeze" and "Pinewood" started to give me dizzying effects. My mother eventually stopped buying them...and now she has turned her passion into buying air filters.

It led me to wonder about the fragrance industry in the world. With Americans generally bathing or showering each day, it's quite amusing to research history. In Elizabethan times, about 500 years ago, bathing once a month was the epitome of cleanliness. Perfumes and potpourri were created from dried organic materials, but nothing was really synthetic at that time. Nowadays, it's much cheaper to create chemical compounds imitating the scents of these fragrances without environmental threats (ex. musk).

I read an article that was reprinted online. It made me think about the fragrance industry and the chemicals we create in pursuit of fragrances.

Synthetic fragrances are used to scent products, and sometimes to mask odors or unpleasant smells that a chemical compound may produce. One good example is a product that I've used in my home for years, Comet, which I recently bought in a lavender scent. I was not particularly happy with the change, as it smelt nothing like lavender.

Since the rise of synthetic fragrances we've been layering ourselves day in and out with chemicals. I have eczema-prone skin and while I lived in Riverside, the dry air caused several major outbreaks. I thought air purifiers would help, which it did, but my condition did not improve as much as simply using oatmeal-based skin products and moisturizers. But beware, just because it is unscented or fragrance-free does not mean that they are chemical free.

Not to mention that some people are just plain allergic to some fragrances. Do you remember any product you've used that caused your skin to break-out? I remember that applying anything on my inflamed skin would cause a burning, itching feel. And have you tried any scented product that gave adverse reactions? For you lucky ones, no. But for those who have...there's a good reason for it. Reactions in fragrances can quickly become medical lawsuits, so much that magazines must adhere to a strict fragrance protocol to prevent accidental exposure.

It is very creepy to know that most fragrances can be launched on the American market without any approval process. Basically, until it makes some kind of adverse reaction, the fragrance manufacturer can go about its business and the FDA would not have any jurisdiction over the matter.

I would recommend simply investing in a good air purifier over the hundreds of dollars you may spend in home fragrances and to begin using organic and wholesome chemical-free products. Granted, some individuals prefer the scent of ocean in the morning, or dew in the evening, but the truth is that it is most likely chemicals and toxins you are exposing your body to. Potpourri may also be an alternative, but keep in mind that some potpourri is also soaked in fragrant chemicals. Fragrance yourself free from chemicals. I am sure it would not only be good for the environment but for your body, too.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Air Pollution Linked to Developing Asthma While in the Womb

A recent study has proven that air pollution causes genetic changes while babies are still in the womb and often increase a child’s risk of developing asthma. This study was conducted from 56 children. Scientists discovered that when exposed to traffic fumes which include a wide variety of airborne impurities; children’s genes were actually reprogrammed. These genes just so happened to be the ones that were associated with asthma symptoms that usually develop around age five.

This is a significant study because it is the first time that pollution has been shown to actually influence and change genes. The study also happens to record the mothers exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are a by product of combustion and are usually present in heavy traffic areas. Researches discovered that there is a connection between chemical changes and high levels of air pollution exposure.

This is an example of epigenetic change which is where environmental factors are able to change the activity of genes without creating structural or mutation changes. There is still plenty of research to be done however. Results have shown that exposure to pollution can interact with genes that effect you later on in life. The benefit of the study is that scientists believe that this could help reduce 25% of asthma or at least reduce the potential damage it could have in the early stages of life.

While the test moves on with continued research for more clear solutions, there are some steps that you could take now to reduce the chances of asthma in your baby while pregnant. It is best that if you are pregnant to stay away from air pollution, but if you are unable to there are other options. If you live in a high traffic areas, look towards vacuum cleaners and air purifiers with HEPA to help control the air pollution within your household , office or apartment. These household appliance have been shown to greatly improve indoor air quality up to 99.97%. Remember proper protection will only aid in help preventing or reducing any potential asthma problems while your child is still in the womb.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How to Solve Your Dust Mite Problems


How would you feel if your house or apartment had thousands of microscopic insects that are known to cause health problems? There is a good chance you already do. Dust mites are small insects that have a tendency to feed on organic detritus and flourish inside human households. 40,000 dust mites can inhabit up to one speck of dust and their fecal matter, which is produced up 20 times a day is a common cause of asthma and allergies making them uninvited guests in your home or office. So how can you stop these nuisances from invading your personal dwelling? Do you call an exterminator? Use harsh toxins to stop shorten their life cycle? A recent study has shown that none of these are needed. There are plenty of inexpensive options to help stop the spread the of dust mites that are cheap, safe and efficient.

Bedding:

Bedding like sheets and pillow cases are prime real estate for dust mites. Remember to keep your bedding cleaned and changed regularly. If you have a tendency to suffer from significant allergies, look into purchasing special covers that help eliminate dust mites.

Washing:

Like bedding, remember to frequently wash your clothes as well. Washing in 130 F water instantly kills all dust mites. Cold water only kills 90 percent of dust mites. Try adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil for added efficiency. If you are sensitive to eucalyptus, try lavender of rosemary instead.

Heating:

Steam cleaning your carpets is a great way to eliminate mites found on the floor as they hate heat. Other great ways to use heat to your advantage to help stop dust mites is to tumble dry rugs and carpets in a dryer or open up windows for direct sunlight as dust mites can’t stand it.

Air Conditioning:

Air conditioning is another great way to help dust mites from spreading. Air conditioners help dry out humid indoor environment which tend to be a dust mite feeding ground. By reducing humidity you are in turn reducing the food supply for dust mites.

Air purification:

The best tool against dust mites is a quality air purifier. Through constant air filtering you not only eliminate their food supply but also the mites themselves. Air purifiers are the best way to allow allergy sufferers to breath easy.

Cleaning:

Remember that dust mites do have the word dust in their name and the best way to stop dust is constant and through cleaning. A quality vacuum cleaner will help this problem. Also remember to dust or get a dusting attachment for your vacuum so you can clean hard to reach places.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Southern California’s Air Proves to be as Dirty as it is Expensive.


A recent report has shown that 28 billion annually in health-related costs is attributed to poor air quality. Both San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles are the prime culprits in this case. Both regions rank among the nations dirtiest air. Because of poor air quality the report found that there is an increase in health problems and the costs that go along with them. From missed work days because of longer sicknesses, to increased respiratory troubles to premature deaths, these figures add up to cost the state, employers and the average person a pretty penny.

One of the main culprits is the emissions from fossil fuels. Jane Hall, an economics professor at Cal State Fullerton who worked on the report states that a lot of these problems can be reduced by merely reducing combustion of fossil and diesel fuels in these areas. More energy efficient cars and better public transportation will aid in keeping pollution levels low.

So what exactly is the general cost of these air pollutions? Well in the Los Angeles area, the cost of health problems for the average citizens is $1,250 and $1,600 if you life in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the reasons of the lower cost in the Los Angeles area is because of its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The constant air circulation from the ocean pushes the pollution east. The San Joaquin Valley’s air pollution is trapped by mountains that keep harmful emissions in.

What We Recommend:
Luckily there are air purification units that can keep you and your family safe from these harmful factors. Air purification units differ and vary and it is important to find one that fits your needs best.

If you life in the Southern California area, or any other city with high air pollution we recommend the Airgle 750. Prevent damaging health effects and keep your medical bill low with a high quality air purifier. The Airgle 750 is ultra-quiet and super powerful to keep you breathing easy.

The Airgle 750 has received the highest Clean Air Deliver Rate or CADR out of 159 leading air purifiers. To achieve this high honor it uses a 12 step filtration process to leave the air super clean removing 99.97% of all pollutants from the air you breathe.

It is extremely easy to operate and offers both manual and remote control. The LCD control panel is a breeze to use and alerts you when the filter needs to be replaced. The Airgle 750 is extremely green as well. It uses a low power output and is made from environmentally safe material. The activated carbon filters removes troublesome odors and its optional aromatherapy, leaves pleasant smells in its wake.

Its petite and light weight allowing for you to place it easily in any room. It offers 5 speeds and has timer and a great light sensor mode. The Airgle 750 has everything you could want in an air purifier and will help protect you from polluted air, especially if you live in an area that is troubled with bad air pollution.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Nano-Technology Air Purification?

High nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds continue to contribute to smog and high ozone layer and bad health. People around the world are looking for new ways to create cleaner air, not only for their health but for the environment as well. International laws are tightening as a united step to try and curb air pollution. Air purification units are also becoming more and more adept at handling pollution whether it is in the home or office. However, scientists are still looking for better ways to break down organic pollutants.

Scientists in Japan are now turning to nanotechnology to effectively remove VOC’s nitrogen and sulfur oxides from room temperature. Nano-technology refers to the science of dealing with matter on an atomic or molecular scale. Their findings have shown that gold nano-particles remove volatile organic compounds (V.O.C’s) and helps break them down. The study occurred at Toyota central R&D labs. They used the dangerous pollutants of acteldeyde, touene and hexane as their test subject. All three of these pollutants were effectively removed from the air and degraded by the catalyst. The test showed that gold nano-particles clean and purify significantly better then other systems that are currently in use. One of the reasons for this is that the area of magnesium oxide which is found in the gold nano’s is extremely porous allowing for easy and effective absorption of most pollutants.

Don’t be expecting to see this technology available to the public just yet as there is a catch to it. The only way this process works is if the material is produced in a very specific, costly and timely manner. The gold must be deposited onto the manganese oxide by a UV laser for it to reach effective levels of absorption. So until this process becomes a little bit more simplified and cost effective, we recommend purchasing an air purifier that is currently available and can do effectively clean your house and office.

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