Friday, September 05, 2008

Australians: Change the diet, save the world.

Global warming and rising Co2 emissions are a global concern. All of the world, citizens are constantly asked to go green. Hybrid cars and cost effective light bulbs are some you might be used to hearing about today. One you might not have heard about is “new" the low Co2 emitting live stock. One of the most over looked air pollutants are the worlds live stock. That’s right animals gasses are helping kill the O-zone. Sheep burps and cow farts contain a large amount of carbon emissions. But how big is that? Well in Australia are accounts for over 67%. In fact, it accounts for the country’s 11% total emissions.

Austrians are hardly the vegetarian type. So how the blokes and sheila’s at The University of New South Wales propose to fix this problem? Kangaroos, those hoppy, jumpy marsupial and national icons of Australia. Kangaroos in their native land are hardly considered a delicacy. It is a cheap high protein, low fat meat, strong in flavor and considered to be tender. Legalist nation wide in 1993, stores nation wide have been stocking steaks, fillets, minced meant and kanga bangas which are sausages. But most importantly the kangaroo produces barely any methane at all, making their gasses much, much, harmless

It is important to note that the Kangaroo is a free range wild animal, it is only hunted and not yet farmed. yet the Austrlian government is quickly try to past last legislature to make it easier. Scientists agree that Australia could support enough kangaroos to feed the nation, stating that the environment can handle 240 million kangaroo without damaging the eco-system and only 170 million are needed to produce the same amount of meat they get from sheep, pigs and cows.

Making this sort of change could be a major step globally to fighting global warming and Co2 emissions. These animal Co2 emissions from Australia account for 1.5 of the worlds carbon emissions. This has gotten the rest of the world into looking on how it could change its diet. For instance the U.S. is looking into Bison, the U.K. into red deer and South Africa into springbok, all of which have low carbon emissions. But for now, Australians are looking to change their diet and save the world.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Cleansing Power of the Sun in the NewAir ACP-1400E and ACP-1400H

Air purifiers and central heating and air systems have used UV (ultra violet) lamps to destroy unhealthy, airborne bacteria for some time now, but it's a relatively new trend in portable air conditioners. UV lamps are installed into HVAC systems, where they irradiate AC coils and kill bacteria in the stagnant waters of drip pans, on top of the main purpose of keeping the air pumped out cleaner and healthier.

But what about the millions of Americans that are apartment-bound or in other rental situations? Usually they're at the mercy of ancient room air conditioners that are only up to the air-quality standards of twenty years ago, and they're the lucky ones! Many have to spend the unbearable summer months at the mercy of electric fans stuck inside a window, which not only do a mediocre job of actually cooling a room, but have no sort of filtration system to purify the polluted air it's pulling in and pushing right down into their lungs.

The solution to this problem has been, in recent years, the portable air conditioner, and they've done a great job at incorporating some of the qualities of an air purifier into their standard operations. Most come with at least some sort of HEPA filter or carbon filter to keep the big microbes and dust particles from circulating back into the room, but what about going that one step further? As I stated earlier, the bigger HVAC systems and air purifiers have been using UV lamps to kill even more bacteria for some time now, so why have portable air conditioners (and heaters), on the whole, not followed suit?

Thankfully, one portable air conditioning company, NewAir, realizes that the future should not only be climate controlled for people in all living situations, but they should have every opportunity to breathe the cleanest air they can, and that means taking that extra step and bringing UV technology to the "central-air-impaired" masses.

One of the first of its kind, the NewAir ACP-1400E (portable air conditioner) and NewAir ACP-1400H (portable air conditioner and heater) do their utmost to give you the power to relax in the most comofortable and clean environment possible. This model not only uses germicidal UV lamp technology to kill bacteria, but has both a carbon filter, washable dust filter, and ionizer to keep the circulating air sterile. The ACP-1400H also has a built in heater, giving you clean, healthy comfort all year round. NewAir wants to be a company you can trust, and does not overrate their portable air conditioners' power ratings. The ACP-1400E and ACP1400H are rated at 14,000 BTU's, and actually have that cooling capacity in reality. Other comapanies inflate their ratings, on top of the fact that they aren't using the lastest purification technology, as NewAir does.

Hopefully, with the ACP-1400E and ACP-1400H, NewAir will be setting a new standard for the ideal portable air conditioner, so help them, and the health of everyone that comes into your home, by checking these units out, and let the other companies know that you and your family won't settle for anything less than the benchmark set by the NewAir ACP-1400E and NewAir-1400H, so that, in time, more and more people can beat the heat, and beat those microscopic menaces!

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Are You Breathing in Polluted Air?

We often think that air pollution only occurs outdoors, but unfortunately, studies have repeatedly shown that the air inside our homes or offices can be many times more polluted than the air outside due to building materials, smoke, and consumer products. In fact, according to a 1987 study conducted by the EPA, indoor air pollution was ranked fourth in cancer risk among the top 13 environmental problems analyzed. Also, because buildings constructed after the 1970’s were built to be more air-tight and energy efficient, these indoor pollutants can build up at a much higher rate than outdoor levels.

Therefore, to educate the public on the effects of indoor air pollution, the California Air Resources Board has published information about the sources and potential health effects of indoor air pollutants in an attempt to educate the public. Here is a brief overview:

Pollutant: Tobacco smoke
Major Indoor Sources: Cigarettes, cigars, and pipes
Potential Health Effects: Respiratory irritation, bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease

Pollutant: Carbon monoxide
Major Indoor Sources: Unvented or malfunctioning gas appliances, wood stoves, and tobacco smoke
Potential Health Effects: Headache, nausea, impaired vision, and death at high concentrations

Pollutant: Formaldehyde
Major Indoor Sources: Pressed wood products, furnishings, wallpaper, and durable press fabrics
Potential Health Effects: Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; allergic reactions; cancer

Pollutant: Particles
Major Indoor Sources: Cigarettes, wood stoves, aerosol sprays, house dust
Potential Health Effects: Eye, nose, and throat irritation; respiratory infections; bronchitis; lung cancer

Pollutant: Radon
Major Indoor Sources: Soil under buildings, construction materials, and groundwater
Potential Health Effects: Lung cancer

Pollutant: Biological agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, animal dander, and mites)
Major Indoor Sources: House dust; pets; bedding; humidifiers and dehumidifiers; wet or moist structures; and furnishings
Potential Health Effects: Allergic reactions, asthma, eye, nose, and throat irritation; influenza; humidifier fever; and other infectious diseases

Of course, the above is just a partial list, but to decrease exposure to indoor air pollution, the Resources Board recommends preventing or minimizing the release of indoor pollutants in the first place. This involves using products safely, restricting smoking, using appliances properly, selecting building materials and furniture carefully, and providing adequate ventilation. In addition, using a quality air purifier with True HEPA filtration will also help eliminate up to 99.97% of large particles 0.3 microns or larger, such as dust, dander, and mold.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Air Quality and Aging: What's the Relationship?

As we age, our bodies become less able to compensate for the effects of environmental hazards, and studies have shown that air pollution can actually aggravate stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). All of these health problems eventually lead to increased medication use, admissions to emergency rooms and hospitals, and sometimes even death.

Particulate matter and ozone have the greatest potential to affect the health of the elderly, and fine particles have been repeatedly linked to cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, bronchitis, and premature death. In addition, ozone has also been shown to exacerbate respiratory diseases.

In an attempt to address the issue of older adults and air quality, the EPA has developed and published fact sheets that are intended to inform older adults about environmental health risks and how to reduce those risks.

One such fact sheet deals with the problem of COPD, and the EPA notes that the disease includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema – lung diseases which frequently coexist and are characterized by obstruction to air flow, making it difficult to breathe. In terms of environmental triggers for COPD, the EPA also notes that exposure to outdoor air pollution can pose a significant risk, especially to those suffering from lung disease. As well, ozone has also been shown to aggravate respiratory diseases and may result in increased emergency room and hospital admissions.

Regarding indoor air, because older people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, common indoor airborne pollutants such as tobacco smoke, dust, animal dander, mold, and pollen can trigger COPD and asthma attacks. In addition, combustion products such as oil, gas, coal, and buildings and furnishings made of pressed wood can also exacerbate the above diseases.

If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of COPD or asthma, the EPA recommends consulting a doctor and taking the following precautions:

- Check the Air Quality Index if planning to spend extended time outdoors
- Avoid smoke from wood-burning stoves
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Reduce mold and dust from your home
- Regularly check furnaces and heating units annually
- Keep pets out of sleeping areas

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Do You Have an Asbestos Problem?

Asbestos is a mineral composed of long, thin fibrous crystals, and the name is derived from a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks named asbestos the “mineral miracle” because of its soft texture and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.

Asbestos became very popular among builders and manufacturers during the late 19th century because of its resistance to heat, electricity, chemical damage, sound absorption, and strength. In fact, many building materials manufactured before 1975, including insulation, floor tiles, cement shingles, roofing, and ceiling tiles, contained large amounts of this mineral. However, due to the health effects associated with asbestos, the EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have banned it from use, and most products made today do not contain the mineral.

Nonetheless, as mentioned above, long-term exposure to asbestos fibers have been associated with a range of health problems. Asbestos fibers are too small to be visible and they can become airborne when materials containing asbestos are disturbed or improperly removed. Once inhaled, asbestos can lead to increased incidence of lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining and chest), and even irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal (also known as asbestosis). Unfortunately, symptoms of these diseases often do not show up until many years after exposure begins, and most people suffering from asbestos-related diseases were exposed to high concentrations while on the job.

To address asbestos problems, it is sometimes best to leave asbestos material alone, assuming it is in good condition, because material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. However, these materials should also be periodically inspected for damage and properly handled and disposed according to appropriate officials. Also, if the asbestos material is even slightly damaged, the EPA recommends removal by a professional.

If you have had asbestos removed or sealed from your home or workplace, your second level of clean up can involve using an air purifier with a high-quality, warm-rolled, True HEPA filter, or even vacuuming floors with a HEPA vacuum. Asbestos fibers range anywhere from 0.1 to 50 microns and length, and HEPA filters must be capable of removing at least 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. Therefore, while a HEPA air purifier or vacuum should not be your only line of defense against asbestos, it can certainly help filter out large fibers and keep you breathing cleaner air.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Yamaha to Pay California $2 Million for High Emissions Motorcycles


Last week, a ruling found that Yamaha Corporation, USA and South Seas Cycle Exchange of Honolulu will have to pay over 2 million dollars to the state of California in order to settle a 2005 lawsuit over the importation of motorcycles that failed to meet California emissions standards.

The California Air Resources Board is the "clean air agency" in California, and given California's track record for high levels of air pollution, the organization was established to maintain healthy air quality; to protect the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants; and to provide innovative approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations. As well, the CARB is also the agency responsible for banning ozone air purifiers by the year 2009 in the state of California.

With that said, the CARB began an investigation into Yamaha’s case back in 2002, and they concluded that Yamaha had imported over 400 illegal motorcycles, registered them to Yamaha in California, obtained state license plates, and eventually sold the vehicles to California residents.

Air Resources Board Mary Nichols stated that the reason why Yamaha was targeted was because of California’s already poor air quality and she stated that "too many parts of California still fail to meet federal health levels for air quality." She also noted that due to the high levels of emissions, the Yamaha motorcycles in question "could well have contributed to Southern California’s already fouled air."

Other California motorcycle dealers had already settled this case with the Air Resources Board, but Yamaha and South Seas Cycle apparently held out until the end. In addition to paying 1.2 million dollars to the Board, the company will also be forced to pay $500,000 to fund a project to test the impact of ethanol fuel blends on emissions from off-road gasoline engines, and $300,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for attorneys' fees.

Yamaha and South Seas Cycle will also have to begin a vehicle purchasing program to buy back, remove, or destroy any motorcycles not certified for use in California. California motorcyclists can find out if their bike is illegal by looking at the emissions label, and if it does not state "California," the bike has only met federal, but not California, emissions standards.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quiz: Is Your Indoor Air Unhealthy?

We've all heard about recent reports regarding home structural problems and illnesses associated with indoor airborne contaminants such as fungal problems, toxic mold, dust, and chemicals. These pollutants can cause health problems such as eye and nose discomfort, skin irritation, increased asthma and allergy attacks, airway stress, and even cancer after long-term exposure. Although you may think your immaculate home is free from these pollutants, think again. Take this quiz and see if your air may be affecting your health.

1. Do you live near a street, commercial area, or farm?
Yes
No

2. Does your home have carpeting?
Yes
No

3. Do you have other occupants in your home?
Yes
No

4. Do you have an attached garage?
Yes
No

5. Do you get some of your clothes dry cleaned?
Yes
No

6. Do you have any pets?
Yes
No

7. Do you use cleaning products in your home?
Yes
No

8. Do you smoke in your home?
Yes
No

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you may be breathing in polluted air. Read below for the reasons why:

1. Cars, businesses, and animals can create large amounts of pollution such as odors and chemicals which can enter your home.
2. Carpets have the ability to capture dust, chemicals, and dirt that is tracked in from outdoors.
3. People constantly shed skin, cough, and sneeze; therefore, we’re naturally pollution producers.
4. Even if a car is running for a few minutes, carbon monoxide can enter the home (regardless of how well insulated it is).
5. Dry cleaners use many chemicals to clean clothes, and these can oftentimes offgas into the air.
6. Pets are notorious for creating dander, dust, and odors in the home.
7. Ninety-nine percent of cleaning products available in stores are toxic, and the fumes often linger in the air and on surfaces.
8. Smoke is composed of over 400 chemicals, and is one of the most difficult odors to remove.

Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental risks, and one of the best ways to control this risk is to eliminate the source of pollutants and ventilation a home with clean air from outside. Due to weather restrictions and/or contaminants, this may be impractical, and for this reason, an air cleaning device such as an air purifier may be extremely useful, as they help control the levels of particles, chemicals, and gases.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Can a Dehumidifier Benefit You?


During the wintertime in Southern California, winter humidity levels rarely rise about 30%, but unfortunately, the rest of the country isn’t so lucky. Temperatures can stay below freezing, and humidity levels can very easily rise above 50% in many areas. As a result, these increased humidity levels can cause mold and mildew to grow inside homes, which can subsequently cause a variety of health risks and even damage walls and furnishings. To address high humidity levels, a dehumidifier can help reduce the level of humidity in the air, protect your health, and prevent damage to buildings and property.

Dehumidifiers are vital for environmental control in areas where humidity can rise above 50% naturally, and this appliances work by drawing water from the air and collecting it into a holding tank or pushing it out through a hose connection. There are primarily 2 types of dehumidifiers – active and passive.

The internal machinery in an active dehumidifier is almost identical to that of an air conditioner. However, whereas an air conditioner cools on one side and releases heat on the other, a dehumidifier cools and then reheats the air. When the air is cooled inside the vent of a dehumidifier, the water in the air condenses in the same way it condenses on the surface of a cold beverage can on a hot day. This condensed water then drips into a collection area and away from the airflow.

On the other hand, passive dehumidifiers employ a desiccant material to produce a dehumidification effect. Because they are generally only effective for low-temperature and low humidity levels, they are only used for certain climates or in conjunction with an active dehumidifier.

Here are some additional features to look for when choosing a dehumidifier:

- Auto shut off when the water storage container is full, or even a unit with a continuous drainage system. These usually require a floor-level drain in the room they are being used, but this will save you time and effort in the long run.
- Built-in humidistat that can automatically control the humidity in the room. This helps prevent the air from getting too dry.
- Variable fan speeds.
- Extra features such as an air filter that can help trap airborne particulates

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Monday, October 22, 2007

What Is Your Community's Air Quality Index?

As wildfires continue their march through seven Southern California counties, outdoor air quality has taken a turn for the worst. Air quality in these areas is expected to gradually deteriorate, and citizens are encouraged to check updates on their community’s Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI, a value calculated by the EPA, informs the public on how clean or polluted the outdoor air is and determines what associated health effects may be experienced within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. In order to calculate air quality, the EPA determines the Air Quality Index (AQI) on a daily basis for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act:

1. Ground-level ozone
2. Particle pollution, or particulate matter
3. Carbon monoxide
4. Sulfur dioxide
5. Nitrogen dioxide

For each of these pollutants, the EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health. The purpose of the AQI is to help you understand what local air quality means to your health. The AQI is divided into six categories:

"Good": The AQI value for your community is between 0 and 50. The air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risks.

"Moderate": The AQI value for your community is between 51 and 100. Although air quality is acceptable, for a small percentage of people, some pollutants such as ozone may present a moderate health concern.

"Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups": The AQI value for your community is between 101 and 150, and members of sensitive groups may experience health effects, but the general public is not likely to be affected when the AQI is in this range.

"Unhealthy": The AQI value for your community is between 151 and 200, and everyone may begin to experience health effects. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

"Very Unhealthy": The AQI value for your community is between 201 and 300. This can trigger a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious side effects.

"Hazardous": The AQI value for your community is over 300, and this will trigger health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

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