Personal Care Products contribute to air pollution – in your home!

Personal Care Products contribute to air pollution – in your home!

A newly published study finds that pollution from vehicle emissions is down – great news! – but also that there is a surprisingly high contribution to total pollution that comes from paint, perfumes, pesticides and – household cleaners. The study focused on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and concluded that around 50% of VOC pollutants in industrialized cities now come from chemical products such as “pesticides, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products”. “As transportation gets cleaner, those other sources become more and more important. The stuff we use in our everyday lives can impact air pollution.” The surprising thing here is that personal care products are now included along with vehicle exhaust emissions and industrial plant emissions as a significant source of air pollution.

What ‘Stuff’ are they talking about?

That ‘stuff’ comes from those bottles and cans under the sink, from those little bottles on your dressing table, and from petroleum-based products such as varnish, paint, fingernail polish, perfumes, lotions and so on. They are called “Volatile Chemical Products” (VCP’s) and are found in common cleaning solvents and personal care products.

Part of the issue is that in modern home construction, our homes seal up tightly to keep our energy usage low during cold or hot weather. When you varnish that shelf in the living room, it releases VOC’s for some time. Those VOC’s cannot escape because of the tight seals around doors, windows and vents and so they accumulate indoors. The study found that “indoor concentrations [of VOC’s] are often 10 times higher indoors than outdoors” and thus, people indoors are exposed to very high concentrations of VOC’s in their own homes.

Why Do VOC’s matter?

VOC’s are linked to health issues including respiratory irritation, asthma, headaches and dizziness. Long-term exposure may cause damage to liver, kidney and may contribute to cancers. Additionally, long term exposure to indoor concentrations of VOC’s may be a factor in people who develop Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). For strong healthy people, exposure to small amounts of VOC’s may not be a problem. But for more vulnerable people, minimizing exposure to concentrations of VOC’s in the home is the smart thing to do. You wouldn’t want your child or elderly parent to breathe in the exhaust from your car, and you also wouldn’t want them to be exposed to pollution in your home either.

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Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

What to Do?

Your home doesn’t have to have such high concentrations of VOC’s. Here is a list of things you can do to clean up the air inside your home.

  1. Air out your home when possible. If your home is a bit drafty, then you are already doing this. If your home is newer and seals more tightly, this airing out becomes more important. Just flush out the old air by opening windows and doors.
  2. Choose cleaning products that do not have fragrances and do not contribute to VOC formation. Both SNiPER and Nok-Out are good examples of products that won’t harm your indoor environment, or you!
  3. Do away with products that have chemical fragrances. Air fresheners, laundry products, scented candles and so on. Check the labels to ensure this.
  4. Check your favorite cosmetics.  Google “are my cosmetics safe” and check the ingredients.  Here’s one list for you: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/red-list/
  5. Keep houseplants. NASA did a study showing that common houseplants can extract things like benzene and formaldehyde from your indoor environment. See https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-the-green-solution/ for more information.
  6. Whenever possible, use petroleum products such as paints, varnishes, nail polish, and some adhesives outside. Allow them to dry thoroughly before bringing them back indoors.

 

https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-cai020718.php
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6377/760

Safe Humidifier Use Eases the Pain!

Safe Humidifier Use Eases the Pain!

The cold dry air of Winter is a real pain – dry eyes, dry itchy skin, dried-out mucosal membranes in the nose and throat, and so on. When suffering from this ‘winter condition’ many people turn to the use of room humidifiers or vaporizers for relief, and this is a great idea! Safe humidifier use eases the pain caused by the cold air of winter because breathing moist air can soothe the respiratory tract and ease congestion and coughing. But too much moisture can be a negative rather than a positive.

Humidifier as Biological ‘Farm’

Many molds and fungi infestations can exist and perhaps thrive, on humidity they pull from the air. Excessive humidity can also increase growth rates for dust mites,  contributing to allergic reactions. And since humidifiers and vaporizers are wet for long periods of time, they can become a little ‘farm’ for the growth of biologicals such molds, mildews, fungi and so on. When a humidifier is allowed to operate as a ‘mold farm’ they can spread spores and other biological elements around a room. Yuck! So let’s look at how to use a humidifier safely.

The key – as with so many things in life – is balance. We need to find the ‘Goldilocks zone’ that is not too humid, and not too dry. Not too humid to prevent runaway growth of biologicals and not too dry to provide relief from that itchy feeling.

Hitting the Goldilocks Zone

A ‘hygrometer’ is a nice little tool to accurately measure the relative humidity. They are available starting at $4 or so (for a cheapie) that  might last you through the winter. Between 45 and 55 percent relative humidity will be enough to feel comfortable but not so much as to allow biological growths we prefer to inhibit.

Humidifier / vaporizer maintenance becomes a safety issue if you start using one regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully! If your water has a high mineral content, calcification can build up on furniture, walls or other areas in a room. Use distilled or de-mineralized water to minimize any buildup. Change the internal filters regularly.

As a further deterrent, you can add a bit of SNiPER disinfectant to the reservoir to prevent growth of mold inside your unit. Periodically, add four ounces to a quart of water in your machine. This will be sufficient to keep your machine clean and free of biological growths.

With good cleaning and maintenance, a humidifier or vaporizer can provide comfort and health benefits during the months of cold dry air. Be safe! Keep that machine clean and safe, and it will keep you more comfortable and healthier.

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Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

There is a  great way to treat a room for odors, where you don’t know the exact source. Learn more here: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html

As part of your normal weekly cleaning, remember that humid air will often condense near windows. Spray a bit of SNiPER there every week  to prevent the growth of mold in the little puddles of condensate near those windows.

Living the mold-free life is good for you, good for your family and good for anyone who visits your home.

Seal your home to lower your energy bills – here’s how

Seal your home to lower your energy bills – here’s how

Brrrr! When these cold winds blow, we all put on an extra layer of clothing and hunker down inside. And if you want to reduce your energy bills, you can get to work to seal your home against that cold so that you will enjoy lower energy bills. The Federal Energy Star program tells us “Most people can save as much as 20% on their heating/cooling costs just by sealing all the air leaks in their house”. This is especially true if you live in an older home.

Those Leaks are Money! What you can do about it.

  1. Check your weatherstripping around doors and windows. Maybe you can just get the caulking gun out and go around repairing things that need a bit of love. But if it’s too far gone, weatherstripping is cheap.
  2. Check the places where there are gaps and holes in your walls, such as behind the electrical outlets, where plumbing comes out of the walls, floors, ceilings and under the sinks. If you can feel air moving, seal it up!

Ted’s Tip: Light an incense stick and watch the smoke to easily see where air is moving, and more important, where it is coming from or going to. Seal up those places and come back later with the incense to make sure you got it all. Be quick though, you don’t want to smoke up your home!

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Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator
  1. Foam gaskets can go behind switch plates and outlets in walls to stop the flow of air.
  2. Look for dirty spots in your insulation that could mean air flows. If it is dirty, it could be trapping dust as it goes by, thus alerting you to a small air leak. Repair any leaks with low-expansion foam.
  3. Other dirty spots may indicate unwanted air flows near ceiling and floor joists. You can seal these leaks with caulk.
  4. That foam sealant is also great for closing larger gaps around windows and baseboards. Smaller gaps can be sealed with caulk.
  5. Check your dryer vent as a place where air leaks may occur. That foam is really handy stuff and is useful for sealing around these vents.
  6. Check the weatherstripping around doors at the bottom very carefully. If there are gaps or the material has hardened, replace them with pliable materials that can seal properly.
  7. Check fireplaces and chimneys. Sealing these requires fire resistant materials. Also check the flue, An open flue in an unused fireplace can leak an enormous amount of air.  Be sure and check that the flue itself is not   warped or damaged and thus, unable to seal properly.

What does this have to do with Nok-Out or SNiPER?

Spending a little time and effort to seal up your home can save you plenty in energy bills. So it is well worth doing. Now that after you have sealed your home effectively, it is important to think about what cleaners you use. The reason is that now that your home is sealed up, if you use cleaners with toxic components, how will you get that toxic stuff out of your tightly sealed home? If that toxic stuff can’t escape, then it will begin to accumulate and the indoor environment in which you live, can become much more toxic than the air outside. This is how “Indooor Air Pollution” can become a problem.

Both SNiPER and Nok-Out are easy on your indoor environment.  Use one or both of these instead of bleach or ammonia and breathe easier in your home.

See our previous blogs regarding IAP here:

https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-part-1/
https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-sick-building-syndrome-part-2/
https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-the-green-solution/
https://blog.nokout.com/allergy-season-and-indoor-air-quality/

Six Reasons to Choose SNiPER to Kill Mold and  Remove Odor

Six Reasons to Choose SNiPER to Kill Mold and Remove Odor

Now that all the waterlogged homes from Harvey and Irma are drying, there is a real need for products that can kill mold, mildew, and fungus infestations and the spores that accompany all this wetness. But so many of the disinfectants out there are highly toxic and are a real danger to your health. What to do? Why choose SNiPER?

There are 6 great reasons why choosing SNiPER is a good decision for you and your family.

  1. High degree of efficacy. Many cleansers can kill mold, but not that many can also kill the spores. SNiPER kills the spores too!
  2. Very low toxicity. The EPA rates all disinfectants and assigns them a score in each of 4 categories of toxicity: Toxic to skin, toxic to eyes, toxicity if inhaled and toxicity if ingested (eaten or drank). SNiPER receives the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA hands out in ALL FOUR categories. You can apply SNiPER without needing to wear gear to protect you from the disinfectant.
  3. Non-corrosive product. Because of its non-corrosive nature, you can put SNiPER into your favorite fogger to make application a breeze! Quick and easy application is the third big reason to use SNiPER for any kind of disinfection. It also means you can apply SNiPER and walk away – you don’t need to come back later and wipe toxic residues away.
  4. Ease of application. SNiPER can be applied using a hand pump sprayer, a pump-up garden style sprayer, a fogger (either ULV or electrostatic). You will not need to wear special gear to apply this product.
  5. Hypo-allergenic. SNiPER is unlikely to trigger any allergic response from people suffering from asthma or other allergies.
  6. Many odors are associated with mold, mildew and the like. SNiPER will eliminate odors at the same time it disinfects.
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SNiPER is a Proven Solution for your Disinfection needs

Taken together, it is easy to see why SNiPER is considered to be among the top products to use against biological infestations resulting from prolonged wetness. It is strong enough to stop these biological problems dead in their tracks, but it does not contribute to a toxic household. In our formulation, SNiPER can kill the mold and the spores safely, without endangering your home with toxic cleansers. You can breathe easy!

How to Use SNiPER to Kill Mold

https://www.nokout.com/Cleaning-Mold-and-Mildew.html
https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Musty-smells.html
https://www.nokout.com/Basement-Mold-and-Mildew-Removal.html
https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Black-Mold.html
https://www.nokout.com/Mold-and-Mildew-Problem.html
https://www.nokout.com/Keep-black-mold-out-of-your-shower-stall.html
http://blog.nokout.com/to-fog-or-not-to-fog/
http://blog.nokout.com/water-damage-small-flooding/
http://blog.nokout.com/flood-recovery/

To Fog, or not to Fog

To Fog, or not to Fog

Using a fogger is an excellent way to apply Nok-Out or SNiPER very efficiently.  It is especially useful when you want to apply over large areas – such as your basement, or the whole of your house. A fogger is simply an electric sprayer. A good one will be adjustable and you can  dial the droplet size up or down. Using the smallest setting, the droplets are around 15 microns across and are nearly invisible they are so small. At this size, the airborne droplets can float around on the air currents in a room.  When dialing in the larger droplet size, the volume of spray is increased and so it sprays out much greater quantity of liquid.  The larger size droplets will not ‘float’ in the air as long as the smaller size droplets.  Foggers are tools used by professionals because they allow you to be  efficient and they are fast.  Many consumers use them also, for the same reasons.

If your basement has a tendency to get a little damp at times, a fogger is a great way to spread a very thin coat of Nok-Out or SNiPER very evenly over large areas.  It is quick and takes only a few minutes to ‘fog’ large areas.  Being able to spray such a thin coat makes it efficient, because you don’t use much of the spray, so it can help you be efficient as well as effective.

How to use a fogger

You can ‘paint’ the walls and other surfaces you would like to spray, treating the fogger as if it were a ‘paint sprayer’.  A larger droplet size makes this very quick.  Or you can spray the air until the atmosphere becomes saturated with moisture. At this point, the excess moisture will begin to condense onto literally every surface in the room. When you start spraying the air, the little droplets will also come in contact with mold spores, dust and dander and will fall to the ground where they can be vacuumed up easily.  In this way, you can lay down an extremely thin layer of Nok-Out or SNiPER onto literally every surface of a room.  This is perfect for some things, such as when you are trying to get rid of smoke odor, which, as you know, get’s onto every surface in a room.  Fogging a smokers room is the perfect way to get Nok-Out or SNiPER to come into direct contact with residue from smoke, whether it is fire or tobacco.

When ‘painting’ surfaces using a fogger, the idea is to spray enough that the surface gets wet.  But not so much that the liquid begins to run down the wall, or that puddles form on horizontal surfaces.  In this way, you can be most efficient in your use of Nok-Out or SNiPER.  This efficiency and ease is what using a fogger is all about.

Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator SNiPER Kills Mold
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

Uses for a Fogger

  • sanitize a locker room or sports facility using SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator
  • get rid of cooking odors with Nok-Out
  • remove smoke odor (tobacco or fire) using Nok-Out
  • treat large areas using SNiPER for mold, mildew or fungal infestations (SNiPER)
  • hotel smoking rooms  (Nok-Out)
  • remove smoke odor or musty odors from upholstered furniture (Nok-Out)
  • remove smoke odor from cars (Nok-Out)
  • basement odors (SNiPER for microbial related odors, Nok-Out for non-biological odors)
  • sanitize or disinfect a kennel (SNiPER)
  • sanitize or disinfect a day care center, or elder care center (SNiPER)
  • hospital or clinic settings (SNiPER)
  • micro-sanitizing of mouse droppings (SNiPER)

At Nokout.com, we like the ‘Fogmaster Jr’ and keep them in stock. It is available here: https://www.nokout.com/Fogmaster-Jr.html. A more professional fogger is the RL Flo Master 1035B.  Foggers are very nice tools, but they are expensive. Maybe you only have a one-off need for this type of application. In this case, you could consider using a ‘vaporizer’ or room humidifier or a pump up atomizing sprayer, etc., which will be much slower, but can also put Nok-Out or SNiPER in vapor form into the air. It is really slow though, and if time is an issue, may not be a good alternative. See: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html to see if this may be right for you.

If you decide you need a fogger, be sure that the one you get is NOT a ‘thermal’ fogger because the high heat will damage and reduce the effectiveness of Nok-Out or SNiPER.

Ideas to Help You Keep a Healthy Home in the Heat of Summer

Ideas to Help You Keep a Healthy Home in the Heat of Summer

It’s that HOT time of year again, when we button up our homes tightly, to keep the cool air in, and the hot humid air out. This is great for keeping your electric bills from skyrocketing, but it also has an effect on our indoor air quality. Here is how that works – when your home is buttoned up tightly, there is little outside ventilation available.  That ventilation ordinarily would dilute any accumulation of toxic chemicals released as by-products from the use of some cleansers.   And that is the problem – tightly sealed homes trap indoor air. Since we spend so much time indoors during these HOT months, it become extra important to pay attention to maintaining the quality of your indoor environment and a healthy home.

Principles of a Healthy Home

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is promoting 8 “Principles of a Healthy Home” that they hope will help you keep your indoor environment as healthy as it can be.  We are happy to share this with you here.

1. Keep your home Dry Mold and moisture increase allergens and asthma triggers, and can cause deterioration of your home.

2. Keep your home Clean Clean homes help reduce pest infestations, dust, and exposure to contaminants.

3. Keep your home Pest-Free Many pest treatments pose risks for families with health problems or expose young children and pets to poisonous residue. Non-pesticide treatments are best for a first line of defense.

4. Keep your home Safe A majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

5. Keep your home Contaminant-Free Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

6. Keep your home Ventilated Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health. Air filters in HVAC units collect and protect families from many particulates found in the air.

7. Keep your home Maintained Poorly-maintained homes increase the risk for deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing which is the primary cause of lead poisoning in children less than 6 years of age.

8. Keep your home Temperature Controlled Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.

Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator SNiPER Kills Mold
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

Other ideas to maintain the highest standards for indoor air quality

  • Use an extra air filter if you have pets because  pets release ‘dander’ and shed hair. You can tape a 20 x 20 air filter to the back of a 20 inch box fan to make a very effective DIY air filter. They work great and can reduce the load on the filtration in your AC unit.
  • Clean your carpets regularly. Carpets act like a filter and catch dust, dander, hair, dust mites, cockroach and mice allergens as well as  other particulates. Cleaning this accumulation helps keep your indoor environment its cleanest.
  • Avoid the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals. Use Nok-Out instead! It is a multi-purpose cleaner that can be used all around the house. See: http://blog.nokout.com/replace-your-toxic-household-cleaning-chemicals-for-a-safer-home-environment/ for more on this idea.

Links to more information regarding Indoor Air Quality