Browsed by
Category: Environment

Water Conservation: A Job for Everyone

Water Conservation: A Job for Everyone

In most first-world countries, water seems like a plentiful resource. Even in times of drought, it’s still easy to walk into a convenience store and grab a bottle of water – a luxury many countries and people don’t have. And while 71% of the earth is covered in water it is still a sought-after and essential necessity. (Just ask the state of California right now!) By some estimates, the average person uses 50 gallons of water a day. If each of us made a concerted effort to conserve water, it could make a measurable, positive impact on our local and global environments. Are there actually ways to practice water conservation without dramatically altering our lifestyle? As it turns out, yes!

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “Conservation is simply a protection from loss or waste. Therefore, water conservation activities reduce the demand for water, improve the efficiency in use and reduce losses and waste of water.”

Basically, there are two different approaches to conservation: short-term measures and long-term measures, and both can influence each other. Building better facilities and reconfiguring landscape design may require more water in the beginning to actually construct or institute the change, but over time, the long-term gain could be seen for years and years.

While individuals perhaps have lesser control over instituting larger-scale, long-term solutions, there are so many solutions that are available to persons and families looking to make a positive difference. For example:

 

The average person uses 10.9 gallons of faucet water a day.

You can help reduce this amount by incorporating small changes like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, shaving and washing dishes.

 

A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons per month.

A simple repair could lead to considerable savings, not only in water itself, but probably your water bill as well!

 

The average dishwasher uses 8 – 12 gallons each time its run, regardless of whether the machine is full or not.

Waiting until you’ve got a full load is a smart idea.

 

In addition to the actual gallons of water you can save, conservation is also about keeping the water supply as clean as possible. Pesticides, paints, gasoline, fertilizers, old medications and household cleaning chemicals can all leach into the water supply, which, as you might imagine, can pose quite a problem.

The good news is, there are ways to still tackle household cleaning without the use of harsh chemicals which can easily make their way into surrounding water and soil supplies.

Vollara launched a “Saving 1 Billion Gallons” mission as a challenge: just how much could be accomplished if we all took measures to conserve gallons and protect the quality of our water? As it turns out, over 286 million gallons have been saved so far…and counting!

One great tool that’s leading the way in water conservation is the LaundryPure.

LaundryPure by Vollara
LaundryPure by Vollara

A simple hook up to your existing washing machine allows the user to forgo detergents, bleaches, softeners and other added chemicals, and instead clean their laundry using only cold water and the bubbling power of oxygenated water. This technology has been around for a while, widely used in professional applications like hospitals and hotels.

The LaundryPure not only helps keep chemicals from leaching back into the water supply, it also keeps soap and softener residue from building up on your laundry and inside your washer, and from irritating your skin. This is great for babies, kids and people with skin sensitivities.

Being mindful of what you and your household are expending, water-wise, and what goes down your home drain, is a great way to do your part to keep Earth’s most precious resource available and clean for generations to come.

To learn more, visit www.saveonebilliongallons.com

 

 

Sources:
[2] http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5009.html
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid

The Chemical Side of Clean

The Chemical Side of Clean

Whether we like it or not, most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues at low levels on a daily basis. When these chemicals are used, their fumes linger in the air and we breathe them in. Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and other “cleaned” surfaces. When used cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can seriously impact aquatic ecosystems.

Disinfectant by-products, or DBPs, form as a reaction between oxidizing agents and naturally present organic matter during the water disinfection process. Many hundreds of DBPs exist in treated drinking water and at least 600 have been identified, but it is increasingly recognized that the genotoxicities of the DBPs not subject to regulatory monitoring are comparatively much higher than those that are commonly monitored in the developed world. [1]

Since WWII, more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been invented, and many of these chemicals have been dispersed widely into the environment. Some will persist in the environment for decades and even centuries. Most of these chemicals did not previously exist in nature.[2] Not many of these substances have been tested for safety, yet are present in our food, water, and cleaning products.

According to the National Research Council, “no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and less than 10% have been tested for chronic, reproductive, or mutagenic effects.”[3] The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) depends on industry-sponsored tests for approval. In 1981, one company was found guilty of falsifying over 90 per cent of more than 2000 studies. Those products are still readily available.[4]

So, what can you do to protect your loved ones from chemical exposure? Educate yourself. Research, identify, and use safer, natural alternatives for cleaning as much as possible. Store all cleaning agents in their original containers out of reach from children. Follow the directions and use only the amount recommended. Read labels, follow safety precautions, and contact the manufacturer when you have questions.

Additionally, you can use technology in your home that is capable of cleaning the air and surfaces of your home without chemicals. Vollara’s exclusive ActivePure is the only air cleaning technology awarded the prestigious Certified Space Technology seal by the Space Foundation, and works to continuously clean and protect air and surfaces 24 hours a day.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinfection_by-product

[2] http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/children/areas-of-care/childrens-environmental-health-center/childrens-disease-and-the-environment/children-and-toxic-chemicals

[3] http://www.alive.com/articles/view/16745/crack_down_on_household_chemicals

[4] Ibid

How To Remove Chlorine From Your Drinking Water — And Why You Should

How To Remove Chlorine From Your Drinking Water — And Why You Should

Since water is an essential part of your everyday life, you might wonder how to remove chlorine from water at home.  You want the water that you drink to be safe and clean.  It would be wonderful if all tap water were truly safe, but it does sometimes contain both chemicals and impurities.  Chlorine is added to tap water to kill off harmful bacteria.  Unfortunately, chlorine, even in the relatively small amounts used in tap water, can be unhealthy to consume.  One solution to this problem is buying bottled water, but that can get expensive and it isn’t good for the environment.  Here are some some suggestions to remove chlorine from water at home.

Use water filters. There are many different brands of pitchers available on the market that have built in filters.  These activated charcoal filters remove chlorine and other impurities from your drinking water.  Over time, however, replacing these filters can get kind of expensive to replace. It can also be inconvenient when your filter pitcher’s alerts you that your filter needs replacing…and it’s 10 pm on a Sunday night.

Install a water treatment system. Better yet, install a water ionizer with treatment capabilities that include filtration and chlorine removal. Although the upfront cost of installing a water ionizer treatment system is greater than using the boiling method, or buying a water pitcher with a filter in it, over time this option can be very cost efficient. And additionally, you not only get the benefits of removing the impurities and chemicals like chlorine from your water, you also end up with alkaline water which has many health benefits and uses that you won’t get from tap or filtered water.

Use Immediately. Chlorine is added to water to make it safer to store and transport. Once the chlorine has been removed, the water should be used as soon as possible. Having water that’s ready to use immediately is another good reason to install your own water treatment system. There’s no waiting for the water to seep through a pitcher filter or to boil then cool down enough to drink.

 

 

Battling Spring Allergies

Battling Spring Allergies

 

By now, most people are already feeling the effects of Spring and the oncoming allergy season. Pollen levels are already wreaking havoc on many Americans, and they are only expected to get higher.

 

You might know the symptoms well:  that throbbing headache, itchy, watery eyes and runny nose are all signs that your allergies are kicking in. Knowing what allergens you’re sensitive to can give you an advantage when dealing with an allergic reaction. If you know that you are allergic to certain tree pollens, you can prepare for combat ahead of time.

 

But don’t wait until your allergies have gotten the best of you! Being proactive — like taking over-the-counter antihistamines in advance to prevent symptoms before they begin — is a good first step. The sooner you can treat them the less intense the actual fallout may be.

 

About 50 million Americans have seasonal allergies according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. There are many ways to minimize occurrences of allergic reactions as well as prevent them altogether. Here are a few of our favorite allergy-busting tips!

 

  1. Know your allergy triggers to avoid them.
  2. Take antihistamines about a half hour prior to going outdoors.
  3. Limit time spent outdoors during peak hours and on days with high pollen counts.
  4. Avoid yard work, or wear gloves and a filter mask when gardening.
  5. Try not to touch your eyes after being exposed to allergens.
  6. Wash your hands and hair when coming in from outside and leave shoes at the door.
  7. Keep your home clean; wash throw rugs and change bed sheets often.
  8. Use an air conditioner, preferably with a HEPA filter.
  9. Invest in a sealed HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  10. Use a quality air purifier.

 

Practicing these allergy-fighting tips can help reduce the effects of the Spring allergy season. If your allergy medications don’t provide sufficient relief, consider speaking to an allergy specialist.

Asked & Answered: What is ozone, and does it have benefits?

Asked & Answered: What is ozone, and does it have benefits?

Q:

What is ozone, and what, if any, are its benefits?

 

A:

To put it simply, ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It’s both a natural and man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper and lower atmosphere. It absorbs UV light, reducing human exposure to harmful UV radiation that causes skin cancer and cataracts[1], damages crops and destroys certain types of marine life.[2]

 

Because it’s a cleaning and sanitizing agent, ozone systems now operate in many food industries, including poultry, seafood, produce and water bottling.[3]

 

In fact, in 2000, the Electric Power Research Institute published “Food Industry 2000: Food Processing Opportunities, Challenges, New Technology Applications.” The report contains the following statement: “Ozone destroys bacteria, mold, mildew, spores, yeast and fungus. It inactivates viruses and cysts. Chlorine is not very effective against viruses and has limited effect on some types of bacteria … ozone reacts much faster than chlorine.”[4]

 

Dr. Andrew Weil is the Harvard-educated Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. On his eponymous website, DrWeil.com, Dr. Weil noted that in 2001, the FDA approved the use of “ozone as an additive to kill food-borne pathogens, a decision that enabled food processors to use ozone in their plants. Since then, the Lotus Sanitizing System designed for home use was introduced and named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2006’ by TIME Magazine,” noting it “has gotten a lot of enthusiastic press elsewhere.”[5]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.epa.gov/apti/ozonehealth/what.html

[2] http://environment.about.com/od/ozonedepletion/a/whatisozone.htm

[3] http://www.foodquality.com/details/article/807905/The_Case_for_Ozone.html?tzcheck=1

[4] Ibid

[5] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400305/ozone-for-food-safety

Is Particulate Matter Harming Your Health?

Is Particulate Matter Harming Your Health?

Pollution has long been connected to breathing difficulties, and considering the average adult breathes 3,000 gallons of air per day, that can be a huge problem. City dwellers often flee urban settings in favor of the “fresh air” of the country – and sometimes, with good reason. Those who suffer from respiratory complications can have an especially hard time with air quality in highly polluted areas.

 

It can be particularly harmful – not just to those with asthma and allergies, but children in particular. The American Academy of Pediatrics posits that children and infants are among the most vulnerable to air pollutants due to their higher levels of activity and higher minute ventilation.[1] But virtually everyone is affected by the presence and subsequent levels of particulate matter (PM) in the environment.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been raising concerns over particulate matter (also known as particle pollution) for years. Defined as “a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets,”[2] PM is made up of numerous components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. According to the EPA, the size of these particles is what causes the alarm, since the size of the PM directly correlates to the potential to cause health problems.[3]

 

As noted on their website, the “EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.”[4] They group PM into two main categories: inhalable coarse particles and fine particles.

 

Inhalable coarse particles, which are often found near roadways and industrial areas, are larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter. Fine particles can be classified as what’s found in smoke and haze, and are easily inhaled deep into the lungs. Once there, they may accumulate, react, be cleared or absorbed. These kinds of PM measure 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. The EPA states that they “can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or they can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air.”[5]

 

PM is a problem in most industrialized cities worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “…fine particulate matter is associated with a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illness, such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Worldwide, it is estimated to cause about 16% of lung cancer deaths, 11% of COPD deaths, and more than 20% of ischemic heart disease and stroke.”[6] WHO goes on to point out that particulate matter is “an environmental health problem that affects people worldwide,” but that “low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience this burden.”[7]

 

NASA phrases it this way: “In most cases, the most toxic pollution lingers for a few days or even weeks, bringing increases in respiratory and cardiac health problems at hospitals. Eventually the weather breaks, the air clears, and memories of foul air begin to fade. But that’s not to say that the health risks disappear as well. Even slightly elevated levels of air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. Over long periods and on a global scale, such impacts can add up.”[8]

 

The Health Department of New York has suggestions for anyone interested in lessening their exposure to PM. “When outdoor levels of PM2.5 are elevated, going indoors may reduce your exposure, although some outdoor particles will come indoors. If there are significant indoor sources of PM2.5, levels inside may not be lower than outside. Some ways to reduce exposure are to limit indoor and outdoor activities that produce fine particles (for example, burning candles indoors or open burning outdoors) and avoid strenuous activity in areas where fine particle levels are high.”[9]

 

While staying indoors can reduce exposure to PM, the EPA has also stated that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air.[10] Using a high-end air purifier while inside your home can help, and there are some on the market that can filter out PM up to 0.3 micron. This double approach to reducing PM in the air you breathe is be a smart idea, especially if you or those in your family suffer from breathing difficulties.

 

 

 

[1] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528642/

[2] www.epa.gov/pm/

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] www.who.int/gho/phe/outdoor_air_pollution/en/

[7] Ibid

[8] earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82087

[9] www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/pmq_a.htm

[10] www.epa.gov/region1/communities/indoorair.html

Green Technology Trends in 2011

Green Technology Trends in 2011

Each time a new green technology is revealed, it becomes clearer that humans can live in a more efficient way that’s not only better for the environment, but healthier as well.  Here are some top green technology trends for 2011 that are going to revolutionize the way you live and how you spend your money.

 

Saving Water

In the United States, the average family of four can use 400 gallons of water every day. On average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors. The EPA has several tips to help you conserve water, including changing your washing machine and toilet to something energy efficient. For example, traditional model washing machines use between 27 and 54 gallons of water per load. However, new, energy- and water-conserving models use less than 27 gallons per load. They come in both front and top loading styles. We recommend joining one of these efficient models with a laundry cleaning system that eliminates detergents, and you will not just be saving water but making sure that the water you do use washing clothes is free from irritating soaps and bleach. Pairing these two green technologies for water and energy efficiency is a great way to be kind to the environment and save on your water and energy bills!

 

Indoor Air Quality

Many people worry about pollution outside, but are you considering how clean the air is inside your home as well? The EPA says that indoor air can be five times more polluted with dust, mold, and contaminants than outdoor air! Because modern homes are sealed for energy efficiencies to minimize the amount of air that travels between inside and outside, the inside air can collect pollutants that might accumulate to levels that pose health problems. Many green technologies have been developed to negate the effects of this issue. Active Technology air purification systems can reduce contaminants and pollutants so the air in your home is safer for your family!

Energy Efficiency

Did you know that electricity can surge and spike in your home? Either of these irregularities may damage appliances and electronics like computer equipment and televisions, and are not efficient uses of energy. New green technologies are available that do more than protect your electronics from dangerous electricity surges — they also optimize the power coming into your home as they condition it!  Once again, this green technology may help save on your energy bill while also protecting the earth.

 

Avoiding Water Bottles

Only 27% of the 2.4 million tons of plastic water bottles produced in the US are recycled! That means that 73% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills – or worse, as litter! Is bottled purified water worth that cost? Before you answer, consider that up to 95 percent of the cost of bottled water is for things other than the water, like bottling and marketing. This is why many people are changing to a better type of water: point-of-use, pH optimized, alkaline water.  In addition to the wasted bottles, some “purified” water bottles are often filled with water that is both acidic and from a source that may not be easy to identify. In order to give your body the water nature intended and save the environment from the millions of tons of plastic bottles, a new trend for 2011 is to install a water treatment system at home!

 

Efficient living is good for you, and for the earth. These green technology trends all fit into the biggest green trend in 2011: saving the environment and saving you money!

 

Vollara offers home air purification options to consumers

Vollara offers home air purification options to consumers

Not all home air purifiers and home air filters are equal. One of the best ways to choose may be to examine the specific needs of yourself and your family, and to understand the differences in types and costs of available air purification systems.

air purification systems improve healthWhat is the source of air contaminants in your home? This is the most important question you need to ask yourself before buying an air purifier. Are you trying to keep your kids safe from airborne contaminants? Is there a smoker in your home, and you need to get rid of unpleasant tobacco odors? Do you have pets? Is pollen a concern? How large is your indoor living area? Once you have narrowed down what you are specifically looking for in an air purifier, you can choose one that best fits your needs.

Understanding different types of purification: There are essentially two ways to purify air – active and passive. Passive purification uses traditional methods ranging from simple open weave furnace filters to extremely restrictive HEPA filtration designed to help control things like pet dander and dust. Activated carbon may be also be added to filters for odor reduction. Active purification may include both high intensity UV light to reduce biological contaminants and odor-causing bacteria, and ionization technology for controlling particles and tobacco smoke. Many air purification systems use variations and combinations of these technologies to increase their effectiveness in certain situations. The main thing to remember is that passive purification works on the air passing through the machine while active purification works out in the living environment. Try to pick the right combination for your lifestyle.

Consider long term and short term costs. When you compare air purification systems, keep in mind the total amount of your investment. Active systems may cost a little more up front, but increased coverage and long-term savings could make that initial investment worthwhile. For example, when looking at total coverage, an active air purification system can cost as little as $0.25 per square foot while a simple HEPA filter may set you back between $0.40 and $1.40 or more per square foot to operate. Also, be sure to look at filter replacement costs and other maintenance items.

Making the decision. Since every home is different and it’s important to get the most for your money, you may want to begin by talking to other air purifier owners or possibly looking for a free in-home trial. Actually placing the unit in your living environment will tell you exactly what it can do for you and may make your decision much easier.

 

Vollara, a Natural Health Focused Top MLM Company, Unveils New LaundryPure

Vollara, a Natural Health Focused Top MLM Company, Unveils New LaundryPure

Dallas, TX, August 29, 2010 –(PR.com)– Vollara, LLC, a global leader in direct sales of natural health products, top MLM company, and a truly unique work from home opportunity unveiled its new LaundryPure technology product –designed to be a no-soap purified water system that effectively cleans clothes — at a National Conference in Dallas this past weekend.

“There is no such thing as eco-friendly laundry soap,” said Troy A. Sanford CN., ND, Vollara’s Vice President of Sales & Health Sciences. “Many laundry soaps contain harsh surfactants, plasticizers, binders, and dyes that may contribute to the contamination of our water supply. On top of that, residues may remain in clothes and therefore be in close contact with your skin. LaundryPure super oxygenates the water for cleaning action without using soap. No contamination in your local water and it is so much healthier for humans!”

LaundryPure is a healthier ‘no-suds’ way to do laundry. It incorporates the power of our revolutionary, exclusive ActivePure Technology with the cleaning action of activated oxygen to lift dirt and grime away from the fibers of fabric and prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. LaundryPure is an amazingly effective cold water laundry system for residential use and is available for either front load or top load washers, and installs on all brands and models.

About Vollara
Vollara, which is derived from the Latin verb “to fly”, is a subsidiary under the umbrella of Aerus Holdings L.L.C. Our family of companies has a rich 80-year history dating back to Electrolux, USA, a company known for excellence in its technology, unmatched service, and endless accomplishments. Its products have been honored in the Smithsonian and its satisfied customers number over 50 million.