Common Indoor Air Quality Myths | Chicago, IL

Indoor Air Quality | Chicago, IL

We spend a good deal of our lives indoors. It, therefore, makes sense to be concerned about indoor air quality. Sadly, many people believe myths about the air they breathe while indoors. These myths prevent them from taking the steps necessary to improve the quality of the air they breathe and therefore comprise their health.

If you believe the myths below, it’s time you made a change to improve the indoor air quality of your home and thus safeguard your household’s health.

  1. The air inside your home is cleaner than the air outside

The air in your home is actually more polluted than that outdoors. There are various pollutants within homes including air fresheners, aerosols, detergents, electronics, cleaning agents, refrigerators, dust mites, mold and much more. Efficient buildings are built to minimize the exchange of air indoors with the outdoors. You’re breathing stale polluted air while you’re indoors.

You can improve the quality of air in your home by investing in a ventilation system that circulates air into the home from the outdoors. This will prevent the buildup of pollutants in the home.

Indoor Air Quality | Chicago, IL

  1. Indoor air quality isn’t a big deal

The quality of the air you breathe can contribute to the development of health issues including asthma, congested sinuses, nausea, fatigue, headaches, allergies and other respiratory issues.

Taking the steps to improve the quality of air you breathe will cost much less than a lifetime of medications and treatments due to poor health. It is well worth investing your time and money in.

  1. A high-quality filter will ensure better air quality

Air filters in HVAC systems only help to reduce particulates in the air. Even the finest filters cannot get rid of gases that pollute the air such as radon gas. Investing in and changing your air filters regularly will only protect you from particulates such as dust and mold spores.

The best way to improve air quality in the home is to ventilate the home. This will remove stale air with pollutants and allow in fresh air from the outdoors. Ventilation takes care of all forms of pollution including particulates, gases and moisture.

  1. Improving indoor air quality is expensive

You can improve air quality in your home without breaking the bank. There are simple steps you can take right now such as ventilating your home and eliminating pollutants to improve air quality. You should however consider long term measures such as investing in a whole-home ventilation system for long term improvements and peace of mind.

Cleveland, OH | Indoor Air Quality | EZ Breathe Systems

Can Fragrances Make You Sick? | Minneapolis, MN

“Fragrance” can mean any of thousands of combinations of chemicals whose identities are not disclosed.

Miller is just one of countless Americans who are sensitive to “fragrance,” a cryptic category of ingredients manufacturers add to products from cleaning supplies to toiletries. This generic term encompasses thousands of combinations of chemicals that give consumer goods their odors, but the identity of those chemicals is rarely disclosed.

Click here for related information on how E-Z Breathe helps with fragrances, smells, and odors.

For decades, fragrance makers have insisted on treating their recipes as trade secrets, even as complaints about negative health effects have proliferated. A 2009 study, for example, concluded that nearly one-third of Americans were irritated by the smell of scented products on others, and 19 percent experienced headaches or breathing difficulties when exposed to air fresheners or deodorizers.

The fragrance industry, with projected global sales of $40 billion this year, insists it ensures the safety of its products through a rigorous system of self-regulation administered by its trade group, the International Fragrance Association. But Women’s Voices for the Earth, a small consumer advocacy group in Missoula, Montana, recently outlined some troubling flaws in the industry’s methods and identified scores of chemicals used in its mixtures as toxic substances.

The Fragrance Association’s North American branch declined to comment for this story, as did association member BASF, the chemical giant. Four other members—Phoenix Aromas & Essential Oils, Premier Specialties, Flavor & Fragrance Specialties Inc., and Bedoukian Research—did not return phone calls.

“There’s a real kind of state of ignorance on the part of scientists, on the part of researchers, on the part of consumers.”

“There’s a real kind of state of ignorance on the part of scientists, on the part of researchers, on the part of consumers, on what is in fragrance and how safe fragrances are for your health,” says Alexandra Scranton, director of science and research at Women’s Voices, whose mission is to eliminate toxic chemicals that predominately affect women. “We were trying to pick apart the claim that the industry is ensuring the safety of fragrance.”

This problem isn’t new. In 2005, California passed the Safe Cosmetics Act, which compels manufacturers to report any product containing ingredients suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. But the reporting database doesn’t include ingredients, including fragrance chemicals, that the companies identify as trade secrets—and experts worry some manufacturers are failing to comply altogether.

At the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees cosmetics, doesn’t require manufacturers to prove in advance that their ingredients are safe—the FDA must demonstrate harm before requesting a recall. And while the agency compels cosmetics makers to disclose their ingredients, it, too, has a trade-secret exemption for fragrance or flavor chemicals. Products such as laundry detergents and air fresheners fall under the purview of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which does not actively screen fragrances for safety.

“Government has failed to provide a real regulator…There are plenty of examples of where counting on the good graces of industry has wound up being a mistake.”

“Government has failed to provide a real regulator,” which is a problem, says Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “There are plenty of examples of where counting on the good graces of industry has wound up being a mistake.”

In May 2010, a coalition called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed the results of independent tests it commissioned on 17 popular perfumes, colognes, and body sprays. EWG analyzed the results: Each product contained more than a dozen undisclosed chemicals, including “chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions,” the group reported, and other “chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.”

Earlier that year, under pressure from Women’s Voices and others, the International Fragrance Association released a list of some 3,000 chemicals used by its members. Women’s Voices presented its analysis this past November: Well over 1,000 of the listed ingredients, the group reported, also appear on official listings of worrisome chemicals. The United Nations, for instance, has more than one-third of the fragrance chemicals flagged with the word “warning” and explicitly labels 190 of them a “danger.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, lists seven of the ingredients as possible human carcinogens. Fifteen of the chemicals, Women’s Voices noted, are banned from cosmetics in the European Union.

Scranton, the scientist who authored the Women’s Voices report, points out that the Fragrance Association’s list gives no indication of how often and in what quantity each chemical is used, which makes it difficult to vet. “When I see styrene [a possible carcinogen] on the list of chemicals in fragrance, that’s a red flag,” she says. “Is it only used very, very rarely, in very small amounts? Possibly. Is it used in every fragrance that you come across? Then it’s going to be a problem.”

In a brief paper posted on its website, the Fragrance Association touts the industry’s ability to ensure “the highest levels of safety,” and insists that the industry adapts to new scientific findings “more quickly and efficiently through self-regulation as opposed to diverse legislation in different countries on different continents.” The association works with its research arm, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, to produce standards it says are science-based.

“The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials is like a black box…None of their safety studies are publicly available.”

Women’s Voices cites several problems with this setup: First, the vast majority of fragrance safety studies are produced by the Research Institute—the Fragrance Association says it spends about $8 million a year on joint studies with manufacturers—or by the fragrance houses themselves. But the industry research is rarely published or peer reviewed, and there is no routine review of laboratory practices, Women’s Voices says, to ensure that results “have not been manipulated.”

Cleveland, OH | Fragrance Bottle | EZ Breathe Systems

Over the past year, however, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has examined studies by the Research Institute and found repeated failings in its methodology—including incomplete data and invalid protocols.

The industry vets safety data and creates safety standards with guidance from a panel of “independent experts“—but the panel’s deliberations are off limits to the public. These standards, according to the Fragrance Association’s website, amount to 186 substances it has banned or restricted over the years, but Women’s Voices contends that the group does little to police its standards.

“The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials is like a black box,” says Janet Nudelman, the director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund and director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “None of their safety studies are publicly available.”

The Research Institute did not argue with the findings of Women’s Voices but simply responded with a statement affirming that “the industry is committed to addressing consumers’ interests through a continuous health and environmental safety review.”

The Fragrance Association opposed a recent bill that would force manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose their top 20 ingredients.

But the industry remains opposed to greater transparency regarding the chemicals it uses. The Fragrance Association, for example, opposed a California bill—introduced last February by state Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles)—that would force manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose their top 20 ingredients on the label. In a letter to the assemblyman, the association said it was worried about counterfeiters.

Miller, the New York professor with fragrance sensitivity, says “it would be very helpful” for people like her if companies would come clean about what’s in their products. “Fragrance is not just some pretty concept,” she says. “It actually can be a fairly nasty combination of chemicals.”

Conatct EZ Breathe to have better quality indoor air today!

This story was reported by FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization focused on public health, safety and environmental issues.

Toxic Chemicals Are Hiding In Your House Dust | Chicago, IL

Toxic Chemicals Are Hiding In Your House Dust

When was the last time you dusted your house?

Your answer could reveal a lot about your home habits, but the findings of a new study might have everyone upping their game — and potentially keeping wet wipes and hand sanitizer nearby at all times.

Researchers at George Washington University say 45 toxic chemicals are found commonly in your house dust, with 10 of them lurking in 90% of homes across the country.

“We wanted to identify which chemicals were present at the highest exposure in homes,” said Dr. Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental occupational health who led the study. “Some chemicals were in virtually every dust sample.”

chemical-in-homes

To read the full article by CNN, please visit http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/14/health/toxic-chemicals-house-dust/index.html

 

Primary Sources of Indoor Air Toxins and Allergens

Primary Sources of Indoor Air Toxins and Allergens- EZ BreathePrimary Sources of Indoor Air Toxins and Allergens

Pity the poor bathroom fan.

Infrequently the concern of most homeowners. Seldom the recipient of adequate investment by builders. In most dwellings, it’s not uncommon for the vents to be furred with dust. Yet it can dramatically improve the comfort of a home or apartment’s atmosphere, and in some cases even help the occupants live longer and better. In fact, some experts on the subject leave theirs running constantly in certain seasons.

Click here for more related information on how EZ Breathe removes allergen triggers in your home.

This whitepaper will address several sources of indoor air contamination, some of which are well known. Others will be less so. For example, few people realize that one of the most common comes right from their stovetops: Spaghetti.

Download the whitepaper today.