Pff, air — that is so overrated (Day 352)…

hepa filter

I love Apartment Therapy, mostly because they love me. No, just kidding, I actually love them because they’re like this friend who’s earthy and stylish without being annoying and using stupid terms like “eco-chic” all time.

Anyway, their Re-Nest team recently posted about air purifiers, and it’s a subject I’m pretty torn about. On one hand, as an allergy sufferer, I understand the desire for clean air and nostrils that don’t itch all the time; but on the other hand, it just seems like yet another big plastic thing that sucks up electricity and claims to clean something you can’t actually see.

As well, I’ve noticed that while doing this green challenge, my allergies have improved significantly. I’m not sure if it’s the houseplants I bought, the beeswax candles I’m using, the various all-natural, fragrance-free products or what — but it’s become very clear to me that there are ways to purify indoor air that are preventative rather than… er… reactionary? Is that the right word? My brain’s asleep today.

Anyway, if I were to wager a guess, I’d say it’s the fragrances moreso than the dust or dander or whatever that gets to me most because my nose starts going crazy now whenever I use someone else’s lavender-scented soap (and I mean fake purple lavender, not the essential oil) or “Spring breeze” scented laundry detergent or whatever.

So while I’m tempted to plug my humidifier back in and invest in a big HEPA-filtered air purifier, I’ll be going the more environmentally friendly route instead and simply making my indoor air clean by opening a window every now and then and opting for products that are fragrance-free or hypoallergenic whenever possible.

Image from AT

11 Responses to Pff, air — that is so overrated (Day 352)…

  1. Emma says:

    I can’t get over how close you are to being DONE! It’s gunna start getting intense when you only have to do something for a couple days! (ie. not breathing fresh air on your last day haha)

  2. Red says:

    There’s something very american about *adding* a device to fix your problem instead of taking something away.

    IE, you’re fat? Don’t take away food, add exercise!

    You’re poor? Don’t stop spending, invest!

    Similarly, if your air quality is poor, don’t worry about what’s producing it, just add an expensive HEPA filter.

  3. arduous says:

    Ooh yeah. What’s the most crazy environmental thing you can do for your last day? Do you have it planned Vanessa? Is it awesome? Does it involve swimming with polar bears in the Arctic Sea? Does it involve wearing a cape? Or street theatre? Or a marching band? Or marching penguins?

    Can you tell I haven’t gotten much sleep?

  4. Lissa says:

    I agree with the proactive vs. reactive ways of dealing with allergies; I’m so much healthier and less likely to struggle with headaches since dropping the toxic cleansers, the fake-scent candles, the “air fresheners,” etc. 100% cool, Vanessa.

    I’ll say that I’m a step beyond you with AT, and have reached the breaking point with Danny Seo’s blog, too — they seem like nothing so much as new product endorsements to me, green-ness notwithstanding. If either still brings you joy, though, go for the joy!

    Here’s to counting down the last two weeks…

  5. Jen (SLC) says:

    If you have a forced are furnace, you can do just as well to regularly replace your furnace filter with a new high quality filter. You can get ones aimed specifically at allergy sufferers. Best of all, you aren’t using any extra energy.

  6. linda says:

    off topic, kind of

    John Webster’s Recipes for Disaster’s first public screening at CBC Newsworld, Passionate Eye, Canada, on Sunday the 17th of Feb. at 10 pm. See their website for more information:

    This is a film about climate change. About catastrophe. And it’s funny, painfully funny. We love to blame the corporations and industries for what’s going wrong with the planet, but we are mistaken. It’s us, baby. You and me. We’re the real bad guys

  7. linda says:

    Removing pollution at its source is best, so congrats on taking that route, but air cleaners can be helpful too, for what prevention cannot deal with. Hepa and pounds of charcoal are necessary for any real benefits. Ionizers don’t do much and ozone is harmful.

    The thing to watch out for with HEPA filters, if you are at all chemically sensitive, are the glues that hold the filters together. While the HEPA itself is a great thing, many people do not tolerate the molecules released and dispersed from the glues. Sometimes the activated charcoal takes care of that, but not always.

    Today there is a report about a study being released about HEPA (sorry – from another network – I can’t get the Post’s link to work)

    HEPA filters may improve cardiovascular health: study Last Updated: Friday, February 15, 2008 | 11:51 AM ET CBC News

    Health Care Without Harm
    Exposure to fragrance chemicals can cause headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; nausea; forgetfulness; loss of coordination, and other respiratory and/or neurotoxic symptoms. Many fragrance ingredients are respiratory irritants and sensitizers, which can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate sinus conditions.

    Canadian Lung Association
    Scents can cause serious health problems for people, especially for people with lung diseases like asthma or COPD. Being near a scented product- perfume, scented candles, or even scented laundry detergent- can make some people sick.

  8. HEPA filters work wonders when you live in a hermetically sealed living space 😉 Typically, eliminating or reducing dust-producing and -harboring items–such as super-fluffy towels, carpeting (many times the culprit in the indoor air quality evalutions I conduct), incense, petroleum-based candles, paper products–will significantly allieviate the dust levels common in indoor air. HEPA filters have their use, but are not a cure-all, as others have pointed out.

  9. mark says:

    not having cats helps too, at least until they can genetically modify cats to be dander-free. i’ll be on the lookout for cute dander-free kittens for ya.

    On another note…waiting to see what you do for the last day is like the suspense before the last episode of M*A*S*H or Seinfeld or South Park…oh wait, south park is still going strong but i’m sure it will be just as suspenseful.

  10. ashley says:

    what a GREAT point. you’re absolutely right.

    it goes along with the concept of the absence of smell means it’s clean. NOT the artificial fruit or peppermint or friggin’ LYSOL.

  11. The big thing the baby books recommend for purifying air? Plants. Big green ones. Drew’s room has more plants than the rest of our house, and she doesn’t even sleep there… Hey, if they help with diaper smell AT ALL, I am so in!!

    (yea, I am a bit behind on your blog 🙂

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