Chemical Sensitivity And Air Purifiers

When most folks think of allergens they picture pollen, dust, mold or pet dander but there’s another type of allergen that’s even more prolific – chemicals.  If you frequently experience headaches, sore throat, or respiratory problems, even in the winter months, you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

Nearly everywhere you turn these days you come into contact with some type of chemical.  Since World War II when petrochemicals were first manufactured, plastic has become the main product, but you’ll find chemicals in cleaning products, pesticides, perfumes, synthetic fabrics, and even the carpeting and building materials used to construct your home.  Chemicals are now inescapable.

Products made with petrochemicals tend to emit toxic fumes, especially when they’re new.  These fumes contain formaldehyde and other dangerous compounds that, when ingested or inhaled, can cause sever side effects, including headaches, sore throat, respiratory difficulties, digestive problems, nerve disorders, allergies and cancer.

Symptoms Of Multiple Chemical SensitivityAt this time there is no medical test to determine if someone has MCS and there are still many in the medical community who don’t believe it’s a real issue.  However, millions of chemical-sensitive people would disagree.  If you regularly experience any of the following symptoms it’s possible you suffer from MCS:

  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chest congestion
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Nerve disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness

Protecting Yourself Against Chemical Sensitivity.

As you can imagine, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid chemicals.  Almost every surface in your home is a potential trigger for someone with multiple chemical sensitivity.  And since the medical community hasn’t yet recognized MCS as a true illness it might seem like a hopeless situation.  But there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure and alleviate symptoms:

  •  Use hypoallergenic cosmetics
  • Purchase bedding made of natural fibers.  Look for fabrics made without bleaches, dyes, or latex.
  • Look for green, organic, or natural cleaning products made without chemicals.
  • Purchase bottled water without chlorine or fluorine
  • Wear a protective mask when installing new carpeting or upholstery

Purchase A HEPA Air Purifier With Activated Carbon

An air purifier filters the air in your home, capturing minute particles of dust, pet dander, mold spores and dust mites, common allergens found in every home.  When you add a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, it also removes sub-micron particles of pollen, another common allergen.  But, even though a HEPA filter removes up to 99.97% of all particulates, by itself isn’t enough to trap and remove chemical allergens.

Most chemicals are in the form of vapor or gas and they pass right through even the toughest HEPA filter.  The best filter to remove VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) is a filter containing activated carbon.  Small pellets of activated carbon are treated with oxygen that forms tiny pores within the carbon, making it porous so the coal can absorb the chemicals from the air.  The more activated carbon in the filter, the better the filtration.

Choosing An Air Purifier

Many air purifiers are made of plastic, which might seem counter-productive.  After all, it’s the chemicals in plastic that are causing your allergy symptoms.  But there are different grades of plastic.  Choose an air purifier made of a high-quality plastic that doesn’t produce Volatile Organic Compounds.  (VOCs).

Look for a purifier that contains a medical grade HEPA filter with activated carbon.  This is absolutely essential for removing chemical vapors and gases.

Make sure you choose the right size purifier for the room you’ll be using it in.  And for best results, place one in the bedroom and one in the living room, and consider one for your office, too.

(For more information on Chemical Sensitivity, pay a visit to the Wikipedia page here..)

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