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Bert's Blog™

Bert's Blog™ features anything and everything to do with what is more suitable for those living with asthma and allergies. The blog also presents information for manufacturers aiming to provide products and services for those patients with asthma and allergic diseases.

Bert takes the science of certification and talks about it with you so that all can better understand what it means to be Certified asthma & allergy friendly™. He will also discuss tips, asthma and allergy news and resources, Q&As, newly certified products and services, and more.

Bert's Blog™ will occasionally feature guest bloggers from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) who will talk about manufacturer tips, new Certification Standards, and industry news.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Indoor air pollution can pose a health risk, especially for people with asthma and allergies. Your home may have small particles in the air or damaging gases such as carbon monoxide.

What causes indoor air pollution?

  • Tobacco smoke.
  • Mold. It grows in places where there is moisture, such as the kitchen, bathroom and basement. It can grow on window sills and even in walls, ceilings or carpet.
  • Dust mites and cockroach allergens, which come from different parts of the cockroach.
  • Fumes from burning oil, coal or wood.
  • Fumes called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Certain products like new kitchen cabinets, newly finished floors, new carpet and paints can give off VOCs.
  • Radon — a naturally occurring gas you can't see or smell. It can seep inside from the soil or rock under your home.
  • Carbon monoxide — another gas you can't see or smell - from furnaces, stoves and fireplaces that are not vented to the outdoors or not vented correctly.
  • Pollen, pet dander and outdoor air pollution can enter the home through open windows and doors.

What can you do to improve indoor air quality?

  • Make sure your home has adequate air flow.
  • Remove sources of moisture.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed during high pollen times.
  • Reduce clutter in your home.
  • Use products that are Certified asthma & allergy friendly™
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You Know Indoor Air Quality Matters, But Does Your Workplace or Child’s School?

10.16.15 Fellowes AeraMax Pro Image Product ShotAsthma and allergy management begins by controlling your indoor environment. And indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a key role in the quality of life for families like yours living with asthma and allergies.

You know to vacuum weekly; wash your bedding in at least 130°F water; change your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) or furnace system filter every 60-90 days; and place air cleaners in frequently-used rooms of your home. But does your workplace or local school know just how important IAQ is?

One in 4 Americans suffer from either asthma or allergies, and the prevalence of these conditions is only increasing. Common indoor triggers include airborne pollutants such as dust mite particles, volatile organic compounds, and mold spores.

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There’s a NEW Certified Product in Town and it’s the First of its Kind: The Dyson Humidifier

Dyson humidifierIf there’s one thing I stress over and over again, it’s that not all household products are equal. Humidifiers are no different. They can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can be circulated around the room and into the air you breathe.

Winter is on its way, and so is dryer air. No one wants those chapped lips, dry skin, or dry noses. So how do you find a humidifier that’s not going to trigger your asthma or allergies, yet still keep a room comfortable?

It’s not easy to navigate manufacturer claims such as “hypoallergenic” or “physician recommended,” especially when those claims are unsupported by scientific testing. That’s why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) started the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program with an independent, physician-led scientific certification organization called Allergy Standards Limited (ASL).

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Coming Clean on Washers and Dryers: What Does it Take to Pass Certification Testing

8.27.15 Washing Machines Image LG Blue MachineAllergen removal, reduction, and avoidance in the home are now accepted as a vital part of an effective asthma and allergy management plan. That means families living with asthma and allergies can help reduce exposure to their triggers by simply working to create a clean and healthy home environment with better indoor air quality (IAQ).

But there’s no single product or approach that can improve IAQ on its own. Earlier in the summer, I wrote a few blog posts about how to reduce allergens and irritants in carpet through frequent vacuuming and professional carpet cleanings with Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products and services. Today I’m going to talk about washing machines and tumble dryers! Each one can play a unique role in creating a healthy home.

Washing machines and tumble dryers that are Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ are proven through lab testing to considerably reduce allergens that can accumulate on washable items, such as sheets, pillows, comforters, clothing, washable rugs, small plush toys, etc.  Some washing machines can be an important tool in an overall plan of asthma and allergy management. But not all laundry machines are equal.

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Certified Products Feature: Benjamin Moore® Natura® Premium Interior Paint

8.6.15 Benjamin Moore Natura Paint Image Product ImageIf you’ve ever been in a freshly-painted room, you probably know that the strong fumes and odors can irritate your eyes, skin, and airways. This is largely due to potentially harmful chemicals—a.k.a. volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—commonly found in many paints used in the home. VOCs are emitted into the air as the paint dries, allowing the toxic fumes to potentially trigger your asthma and allergy symptoms.

Total VOC levels can increase even after the paint dries, and this can be especially problematic for people with asthma or allergic diseases. This means that their symptoms may not only be triggered immediately following paint application, but also over time.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is proud to announce that Benjamin Moore® is introducing a solution for families living with these chronic diseases that are looking to redecorate their homes and walls! Benjamin Moore’s Natura® Premium Interior Paint is now Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ because it is scientifically proven to considerably reduce your exposure to irritants that may trigger your asthma or allergies.

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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 4

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.

7.30.15 Berts Impact Part 4 Image Mark AwarenessThe third post of this five-part series about the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s impact talked about what “Health Mavens” do to improve their home’s indoor air quality.  In this post, I want to share what “Health Mavens” think when they see the Certification Mark.

From the last post, we know that not all household products are equal.  Only products with the distinctive asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Mark are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.  And recognition of the Mark is rapidly growing.

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Certified Products Feature: Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean

7.9.15 Samsung VU3000 Image Product ShotYou’ve probably heard many times before that hard-surface flooring is best suited for reducing asthma and allergy triggers in your home.  But what if you can’t rip up the carpet because you live in an apartment or because it’s too expensive to do so?  There has to be another way to reduce triggers, right?

Well, there is another way, and that’s to vacuum your carpets once or twice a week.  But it’s important to remember that not all vacuum cleaners are equal.  Only Certified asthma & allergy friendlyvacuums—like the Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean—are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.

So what makes theTop of FormBottom of FormSo so Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean a better option for people with asthma and allergies? This vacuum cleaner is scientifically proven to:

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Holly Haven
I would love to win this vacuum for my home! Thanks!
Thursday, 09 July 2015 18:24
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5 home-renovation tips that will reduce asthma and allergy triggers in your home

7.6.15 Matte Release Home Reno Tips ImageThis is the peak season for do-it-yourself projects, and maybe you already have your tape measure in hand, ready to tackle a bathroom remodel, open up the floor plan or finally reimagine that unfinished basement. There are plenty of considerations to take into account with any project, including space, budget and your desired results. But you also need to think about the people who will be enjoying this space with you, especially if any of them suffer from allergies or asthma.

Whether you undertake the project yourself or you hire a professional, each project has the potential to make life easier for the allergy and asthma sufferers living in your home. To help you create the best environment for them, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers these helpful tips from its asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program:

Shut the door on bad cabinets. If you’re looking to add or replace your cabinets, you may be considering common options like pressed wood, particleboard or composite boards. These materials, however, often release high levels of volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. To make your new cabinets more suitable for the asthma and allergy suffers in your home, talk to manufacturers about low-VOC options instead.

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CAROLINE
As a family who suffered through a home renovation it is,safe to say this information is much needed. I never experienced asthma... Read More
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:55
Bert
Hi Caroline - so sorry to hear about that! Severe symptoms can be extremely scary. You can find more detailed information and tip... Read More
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 16:08
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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 2

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.


7.2.15 Berts Impact Part 2 Image Health Mavens for ConsumersThe first post of this five-part series about the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s impact talked about why the program was created.  In this post, I want to talk about a special group of people that you just might be a part of.

From the last post, we know that asthma and allergies affect 1 out of 5—or 60 million–Americans.  That includes children and adults.  But did you know these diseases are the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18?  These children need help from their moms, dads, caregivers, teachers, and doctors to manage their asthma and allergies.

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