Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Snowmelt and Pollution: How To Minimize The Impact This Winter

2 minute read

Winter is here. For many, that means slippery roads, icy roofs, and frozen driveways or sidewalks.

Most areas use rock salt (sodium chloride) to clear the ice and snow. While effective, it also has the potential to release harmful levels of chloride into the environment, which can pollute nearby bodies of water.

Additionally, melted snow and ice turn into water runoff that can carry many types of contaminants.

Types of Contaminants:

  • Oil, grease, and toxic motor vehicle chemicals
  • Pesticides and nutrients from lawns and gardens
  • Viruses, bacteria, and nutrients from pet waste and/or failing septic systems
  • Road salts
  • Heavy metals from roof shingles, motor vehicles, and other sources
  • Thermal pollution from dark, impervious surfaces like streets and rooftops

These pollutants harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, spoil drinking water supplies, and make recreational areas unsafe for the people who use them.

Thankfully, local governments are mandated by the Clean Water Act to deal with runoff pollution by developing a “stormwater best management practices system”.

In addition to those larger efforts, here are some key ways you can help out:

How To Prevent Snow Melt Pollution

  • Minimize impervious surfaces around your home. Porous pavement materials such as bricks, gravel, cobbles, natural stone, or permeable pavers are available for driveways and sidewalks. This allows water to filter through the ground rather than flow unimpeded into bodies of water.
  • Plant native vegetation and use mulch to replace high maintenance grass lawns. Check out http://www.wildflower.org/plants or http://plants.usda.gov/java for native plant listings in your area.
  • Keep driveways, sidewalks, and roads clean by sweeping, as opposed to hosing them off. Start a compost pile for yard waste.
  • If necessary, homeowners should use fertilizers sparingly and learn to use Integrated Pest Management(IPM) to lessen the use of harmful pesticides.
  • Pick up after your pets. Bagging up pet waste and disposing of it in the trash helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Keep your septic system well-maintained. To prevent leaks and practice water conservation measures, a professional should inspect and pump your septic system every 3-5 years.
  • Check your vehicle for any leaks and be sure to promptly clean up any spills. You can also recycle your motor oil and antifreeze if you change these fluids yourself. Automotive repair shops will accept 5 gallons of used motor oil per resident per day.
  • Don’t over-apply salt. Minimize the amount of ice-melt you use and choose an environmentally-friendly alternative when possible, such as, organic salt-free deicer, alfalfa meal, or even coffee grinds.

Healthy Clean Air:

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

Learn More

Healthy Humidity |

Cleaning & Maintaining Your Aprilaire Humidifier

2 minute read

What is humidity? Humidity is the presence of water molecules in the air. As more water evaporates, the more water vapor rises into the air, making the humidity level rise.

💧 What should the humidity in my home be? 💧

Mold and overheating can result from too much moisture. While too little moisture can cause dry eyes, chapped lips, and an environment where bacteria and viruses can thrive.

For optimal comfort and health, you should keep the Relative Humidity of your home between 30-50%.

If you live in an area that experiences drastically different weather throughout the year, it can be difficult to stay in that healthy zone. To find the right balance, you can use a humidifier or a dehumidifier.

Cleaning Your Aprilaire Humidifier

Before we reach the driest months of the year, take the time to make sure your humidifier is in proper working order. While crucial to the comfort of your home, a humidifier can become a health risk if not properly maintained.

Tips to keep your Aprilaire Humidifier running smoothly:

● Change your humidifier’s water panel. The water panel is essential to increasing the moisture level in your home and is meant to be replaced on a regular basis to allow your humidifier to function at its highest potential.
● Clean out the humidifier’s reservoir. Bacteria and mineral deposits can build up rather quickly inside this tank and make their way back into the air if not taken care of. You should clean it out about every three weeks during frequent use. Simply add mild soap and water to the bucket and gently scrub it down. Rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry before putting it back.
● Clean mineral buildup from the orifice, solenoid, and all other components.
● Be sure the humidifier is level for proper operation.
● Do a check for any leaks or standing water around your humidifier unit.
● Check humidistat for proper operation.

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

Learn More
healthy hot chocolate

Archive |

4 Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try

2 minute read

Turns out there’s more to cozying up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate than the nostalgia of it all. There’s research that shows that cocoa has a number of health benefits and several disease-fighting properties. But we have 4 healthy hot chocolate recipes listed below to give you even a truly healthy hot chocolate.

Cocoa Benefits

  1. Rich in polyphenols, cocoa can help reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels, helping to decrease your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  2. Flavanols in cocoa can improve nitric oxide levels and blood vessel function, resulting in lower blood pressure
  3. Neuron production, brain function, and improved blood flow and supply to the brain are also a benefit of the rich flavanols in cocoa. There’s hope they could play a role in preventing brain degeneration
  4. Significant skin benefits such as improved surface texture, hydration, and sun protection also result from long-term ingestion of the polyphenols in cocoa

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipes

But before you run to the store and stock up on your favorite boxed hot chocolate off the shelf, keep in mind that those are often very high in sugar and very low in cocoa flavanols.

 

Thankfully, it’s rather simple to prepare a cup of healthy, chocolatey goodness all on your own. Not only is homemade hot cocoa healthy and delicious, but it’s totally customizable:

  1. Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Recipe

    Almond Milk
    Raw Cocoa Powder
    Pure Maple Syrup
    Vanilla Extract

    Full Recipe from Detoxinista

  2. Vegan, Low Sugar Hot Chocolate Recipe

    Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
    Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Dairy-free Semisweet Chocolate

Stevia

Full Recipe from Minimalist Baker

  1. Protein-Rich Hot Chocolate Recipe

    Milk
    Chocolate Protein Powder
    Cocoa Powder

    Try With Dr. Axe’s Chocolate Collagen

  2. Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipes With A Flavor Twist

    Try adding these flavor combinations to a mixture of cocoa powder and milk:- Vanilla Bean + Coconut Butter
    – Chai Spice: Cinnamon + Nutmeg + Cloves + Cardamom
    – Banana: Blend into hot cocoa + Coconut Milk for added creaminess
    – Peppermint Extract
    – Cayenne Pepper + CinnamonFull Flavor Additions from Healthy Maven

How-to-avoid-kids-toys-that-contain-vocs-and-other-toxic-substances

Healthy Clean Air | Family |

Avoiding Toys that Contain VOCs and Other Toxic Substances

< 1 minute read

The gift giving season is upon us and the pressure is on to find the perfect toys to light up the eyes of the children in your life.

Even with aisles and aisles of toys to choose from, it might be harder than you think to find a toy that is both fun and educational, and is also safe for kids.

What are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals/compounds that easily become gases or vapors and can be found in a majority of consumer products:

Building Materials

● Paint, varnishes, caulks, adhesives
● Carpet, vinyl flooring
● Wood preservatives
● Upholstery and foam

Home & Personal Care Products

● Air fresheners
● Cleaners and disinfectants
● Cosmetics
● Fuel oil, gasoline

Activities & Hobbies

● Cigarettes
● Dry cleaning fluids
● Photocopiers/ printers
● Cooking
● Burning wood

VOCs and Other Substances in Toys

Some of the toys that are designed for, marketed toward, and sold to kids contain toxic chemicals such as BPA, PVC, lead, phthalates, cadmium, chlorine, and arsenic. These substances can be found in:

● Paint
● Tents and Tunnels
● Glue
● Bath Toys
● Soft Plastic
● Electronics
● Wooden Toys
● Cosmetics
● Perfumes in kids lotions, body washes, etc.
● Slime
● Balloons

Safe toys are made from sustainable, non-toxic wood, organic cotton, and other natural materials. You may have to avoid some of the big stores with cheap toys to avoid containing toxic chemicals, but it’s worth it to ensure the safety of your kids.

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

Learn More
healthy-home-gym-exercising-in-healthy-indoor-air

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Healthy Home Gym: Healthy Air Exercise Tips

3 minute read

We all know the importance of exercise when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies need physical activity. Not just in the summer when the sun is shining, but all year round, even in the cold of winter. You’ll need to have the right workout, but also the right at-home gym equipment.

When the temperatures drop to freezing, it’s time to bring your workout indoors.

But before you go and sign up for a membership to the nearest gym, keep this in mind: a study published in the journal Building and Environment reported that excessive levels of pollutants (carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and gases like formaldehyde), airborne chemicals, and harmful surface bacteria can be found at many fitness centers.

This study isn’t implying that you should skip your workout, just that you should take some precautions to ensure the best air quality possible to get the most out of your physical activity. Here are some things you can try:

● Ask your gym about their ventilation and how much of their air is recycled
● Avoid cardio at the gym because heavy breathing will result in inhaling other people’s exhaled air
● Talk to your gym about using natural cleaning products to avoid the endocrine disruptors found in toxic cleaners
● Hold your gym to high standards and come to terms with the fact that fitness centers aren’t always the best option when it comes to getting in your workout

 At Home Gym Equipment for Healthy Air

But you don’t have to let the cold or air quality at the local gym keep you from getting in your daily exercise. A home gym is a great option, not only for the comfort and convenience factor, but also because you can control the Indoor Air Quality yourself.

A dehumidifier is a must for any room designated for working out. With the humidity added from your breathing and sweating, the risk for mold growth increases and the room can get hotter and hotter. A single room or whole-home dehumidifier can relieve some of the workload from your air conditioner.

An air purifier is also necessary because during a workout, you’ll breathe in more of whatever contaminants or impurities are in the air around you. Not only can it clean the air in your home gym but it can tackle odors, too.

Home Workout Ideas for the Whole Family

Being active indoors can sometimes feel like a chore, especially for kids. (The same kids who could run around for hours outside without getting tired.) The key to making sure they burn off that same amount of energy when they’re stuck inside is finding fun indoor exercises.

Here are some lists of exercise games and indoor activities to keep your family active and off the couch. Plus, some indoor exercises with little to no at home gym equipment:

Jumping Rope: Jumping rope for ten minutes straight is equivalent to thirty minutes of running.
Planking: Start off by holding a plank for as long as you can, and try to add a few more seconds each day until you reach your goal.
Cleaning: Two birds, one stone. Make “power cleaning” a family activity and you’ll end up with some calories burned and a cleaner house.
● Lunges: Lunge from one room to the next or up and down a hallway in your house for a great lower body burn. Adding weights or water bottles can add some difficulty once you’ve become a seasoned lunger.
Check YouTube: You can find a workout for any ability level, any duration, any target area you can dream of online. Once you find one you like, add it to a playlist so you can revisit it the next time you’re stuck inside.

At-home gym equipment to start with:

● Adjustable dumbbells
● Yoga mat
● Resistance bands
● Weighted jump rope
● Soft medicine ball
● Adjustable kettlebell
● Foam roller

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More
holiday-gift-ideas-for-health-air

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Holiday Gift Ideas: Healthy Air Gift Guide

3 minute read

Health-conscious gifts have become increasingly popular for the holiday season, from gym memberships to juicers. But if you want something that can really change someone’s home and life for the better, start with the gift of Healthy Air.

The air you breathe inside your home could be the most polluted air you breathe all day. In fact, the EPA has named indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. Air that is excessively polluted, stagnant, humid, dry, too hot or too cold, can cause problems including:
Discomfort
High Energy Bills
Damage to your home and belongings
Health Problems

With the amount of time spent indoors, it’s no wonder so many people suffer from allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. So whether you’re gifting to someone with a health problem or just a self-proclaimed health junkie, they’ll see the benefits from improved indoor air.

Here is your Healthy Air gift guide, with gifts that keep on giving:

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers reduce airborne pollutants, allergens, microbes, odors, and more. Installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system, they put you in complete control of indoor air pollution.

When your HVAC system fan is on, it delivers cleaner, healthier air not just in one room, but throughout your entire home. An air purifier can give the gift of clean air every single day.

Houseplants

Plants can act as natural air purifiers by balancing out the chemicals, humidity, and even mold spores in your air. Known for their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen, indoor plants are an excellent and beautiful way to remove harmful chemicals from your loved one’s home.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Humidity plays a major role in the health, comfort, protection, and energy efficiency of your home. Depending on the region, time of year, and activities of the family, most homes need control over both dry air and excess humidity. Aprilaire puts indoor humidity control in your hands with whole-home humidification and dehumidification solutions.

Beeswax Candles

Candles tend to be an easy go-to when it comes to holiday gift giving, but beware of the fact that scented candles are extremely hazardous to Indoor Air Quality and release all kinds of dangerous chemicals, like benzene, when burned.

Alternatively, beeswax candles, are chemical-free and burn with almost no smoke or scent, actually helping clean the air by releasing negative ions that can bind with and remove toxins from the air.

HVAC Filters

Proper air filters help reduce: dust and dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, gases, chemicals, smoke, and miscellaneous air particles. They are fairly inexpensive and can help prevent the spread of airborne pollutants when changed regularly.

Air Quality Tests

Pinpointing sources of pollution in the home is the first step in improving indoor air quality. Check out these at-home tests that can give homeowners peace of mind in their environment.

Posture Help

You can’t get all the benefits of Healthy Air if you’re not breathing properly. Poor posture is a major source of tight chest muscles, which can lead to more rapid, shallow breaths. This can be found in people who sit for long stretches of the day.

So for the office workers in your life, lend them a hand with tools like the “Upright GO”, which vibrates to gently remind the user to sit up straight. This position is more conducive to deep belly breathing and higher efficiency.

Improved Kitchen Ventilation

Cooking at home is a great way to eat healthier and save money. It’s becoming easier than ever with the availability of endless recipe ideas and fresh ingredients year-round.

If you have a friend who loves to fire up the kitchen every night, they may not consider the impact it’s having on their indoor air environment. Indoor cooking (especially heating oil, fat and other food ingredients at high temperatures), can release harmful VOCs into the air that aren’t always easy to quickly clear out.

Old exhaust hoods are often to blame, as they become less efficient when their filters get clogged and their fans wear out. Check out some of the best kitchen exhaust hoods, and help your favorite home chef breathe easy.

Sources:
https://www.aprilaire.com/benefits/health/what-is-indoor-air-quality

https://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/10-best-plants-for-cleaning-indoor-air-pictures

https://wellnessmama.com/4629/clean-indoor-air/

https://www.healthline.com/health/breathe-deeper-improve-health-and-posture#breathingrate

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More
Things-to-know-about-fall-allergies

Healthy Clean Air |

4 Things You Might Not Know About Fall Allergies

2 minute read

Fall allergies don’t get the same headlines as those in spring and summer, but this time of year can be especially bad for those who are allergic to mold and ragweed pollen.

Mild temperatures mixed with rain mean plant and pollen growth. And then when trees lose their leaves, all of that stagnant organic matter can easily produce mold.

Symptoms can include any or all of the following:

● Itchy, puffy, and red eyes
● Runny nose
● Sneezing
● Itchy skin
● Hives
● Trouble breathing
● Asthma attacks
● Fatigue

Triggers

The seasonal elements of fall aren’t the only triggers that can make these allergy symptoms worse. Here are a few lesser known triggers to be aware of this time of year according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology:

Hay Fever: Having nothing to do with hay, hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), is actually a general term for late summer allergies. Ragweed is the most common cause and will start to pollinate mid-August, peaking around Labor Day. During this time, the plant will send billions of pollen grains into the air that will travel up to hundreds of miles thanks to the wind. Ragweed often stays around until the first hard freeze of winter, but you can minimize your exposure by doing your exercising and yard work in the morning hours when fall rolls around.

Indian Summer: While unseasonably warm temperatures are usually celebrated, allergy sufferers are not members of the welcome committee. That’s because lingering warm weather can actually prolong allergic rhinitis symptoms due to the extra pollen in the air. Allergy sufferers should check the five day allergy forecast for their area, available at pollen.com.

Raking Leaves: It was long believed that raking was a necessity in the fall because all those leaves on the ground would kill the grass. But raking can agitate pollen and mold into the air, making allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Thankfully for allergy sufferers and all homeowners, the new recommendation is to STOP RAKING and start mulching. Fallen leaves provide good, organic matter to the soil.

Back to School Allergens: The start of a new school year can be filled with a lot of anxiety for kids who suffer from allergies and asthma. Dust mites, mold, pet dander, and even chalk dust (if anyone still uses a chalkboard these days), can all be triggers for kids. Even gym class and recess can be huge triggers for kids with exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) allergy symptoms. It’s important to communicate with your child’s teacher and other school staff about your child’s condition and treatment plan so everyone can do their best to keep your their symptoms at bay. Parents can also sign up for regular pollen count emails through the National Allergy Bureau so they can keep on top of their child’s allergy medication.

If you think you or your child are suffering from allergies or asthma, it is important to see a board-certified allergist to be properly diagnosed. An allergist will be able to help treat or even prevent your allergy problems.

Sources:
https://acaai.org/news/four-things-you-might-not-know-about-fall-allergies

https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/skip-rake-and-leave-leaves-healthier-greener-yard.html

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/how-weather-affects-allergies#1

https://www.mercy.net/newsroom/2018-08-16/fall-allergy-season-starts-now/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/07/stop-raking-your-leaves/

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/back-to-school-with-allergies-and-asthma

https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/when-see-allergist

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

Learn More