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Category: Water Quality

How to Avoid Laundry Detergent Allergies

How to Avoid Laundry Detergent Allergies

Laundry detergent allergies are complicated because they can be caused by any number of chemicals used in detergents.  Because of this, there’s no allergy test that can be done to detect detergent allergies. Though doctors can’t give you forewarning about possible detergent allergies, there are things you can do after you discover that you’re allergic to certain laundry soaps to help prevent further allergic reactions.

If you plan on using detergent, try some of these tips to protect yourself.

  • Once you discover a detergent that you are allergic to, make a list of all of the chemicals used in that detergent, and try to avoid other detergents that have a similar chemical makeup.
  • Check any other household cleaners and soaps you might use for similar chemicals to make sure you won’t have a reaction to those, as well!
  • Choose detergents that are hypoallergenic because these are less likely to cause allergic reactions. It’s most often the chemicals or fragrances within the detergents that cause allergies to flare up, so try to avoid heavily scented laundry soap or ones that include dyes.
  • Be sure to keep your washing machine well maintained. This should help minimize the amount of detergent left on your clothing after washing.
  • It’s also a good idea to try using softened water, or water that’s treated with an in-home water treatment system.  This can help cut down on the amount of detergent needed to get your clothes clean. If you’r really sensitive, either wear gloves while doing laundry, or thoroughly wash your hands immediately following any contact with concentrated laundry detergent.

To avoid detergents all together, invest in a detergent free cleaning system that connects to your washing machine. Commercial versions have been used by hospitals and hotels, and they’re now available for residential use as well! The added benefit of a detergent free system is that they don’t use hot water which makes them energy-efficient — helping save money on electricity bills while also protecting your skin.

 

 

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.

 

 

What’s the Difference? Distilled vs. Purified Water

What’s the Difference? Distilled vs. Purified Water

With all of the varieties of bottled water and water filtration systems currently available, it can be overwhelming to know which water is the best to use as everyday drinking water.  Understanding the differences between distilled vs. purified water can help clear things up a bit.

In some respects, all water is the same – it all contains two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.  The differences are in the minerals and chemicals that are also found along with the water.  Sometimes these minerals and chemicals are naturally occurring, while other times they are added for a variety of reasons.  Some of these are harmless, some are helpful, and some are dangerous when consumed in large quantities.

Distilled water is water that has gone through a specific process to remove all minerals and contaminants.  The water is boiled, and then the water vapor is cooled and collected.  Because the minerals and contaminants are heavier than the water vapor, they are left behind as the vapor forms. When the vapor is cooled, the water that remains is pure.  Distilled water is great for using any time minerals in water might cause stains or build-up – for example in your iron for ironing your clothes, or in cleaning products.  Unfortunately, distilled water doesn’t taste good, and may not be very good for you due to its lack of mineral content.  This makes it a less than ideal choice for daily hydration.

The term “purified water” is not as specific as distilled water; in fact, technically speaking, because the distillation process is a form of purification, distilled water would fall into the category of purified water.  Most of the time, purified water refers to water that has undergone some form of purification process, though there are no established standards for the actual process that is used.  It could mean that the water has been forced through a charcoal filter, treated with ultraviolet light, deionized, or ozonated.  Each of these processes removes some of the contaminants found in the water, and can make the water safer for drinking.

Different than distilled or purified water, electrolyzed or ionized water is usually in a category of its own, although it can include the benefits of purified water through the use of a one or two stage filtration process. The advantage of ionized water is the ability to control the water’s pH levels to maintain alkalinity while adding antioxidant properties.

In order to determine which water is best to drink, it’s important to research the type of process used for purification, consider the benefits of ionization and alkalinity, and decide which water is right for you.

 

What is Water Conservation and Can I Make a Difference?

What is Water Conservation and Can I Make a Difference?

When it comes to taking care of the environment, the term “water conservation” is often used, but what is it, exactly? The term water conservation can be used to describe efforts made to reduce the amount of water used in homes, businesses (and anywhere else), as well as efforts to recycle waste water for other purposes such as manufacturing, irrigation, or cleaning.

Earth globe in last drop of environment resources - 3d render

Water conservation can be beneficial in a variety of ways.  For example, water management – water purification, water diversion, etc. – uses a significant amount of energy.  This energy usage could be decreased by efforts to conserve water rather than using water in a wasteful manner.  Ideally, water should only be used at a rate that does not take more water out of the natural ecosystem than can be naturally replaced.  By doing so, natural habitats are preserved, which benefits the environment overall.

Conserving water is something everyone can take part in.  There are opportunities in every household to cut down on the amount of water used and the pollutants that enter the water system.  For example, using energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers helps reduce the amount of water used, and often cuts down on the amount of soap needed to get things clean.  Take a step further and invest in detergent-free laundry systems that help clean your laundry without the use of soaps and chemicals that can end up in the water supply and harm the environment.  Taking steps like this in your home helps you and helps the environment.

Not only is it important to reduce the amount of water used, but to protect the fresh water supply by keeping it clean and healthy.  Everyone can make sure that they are using environmentally friendly products to help avoid putting harmful chemicals and other waste products into the water supply.

Vollara cares about creating products that make environmental sense.  Our products are designed to make the lives of humans easier while still being responsible stewards of our beautiful environment.

 

Everyone’s Talking About It: Alkaline Water

Everyone’s Talking About It: Alkaline Water

The rumor is, Beyoncé insists on it[1]. Mark Wahlberg and Sean “Diddy” Combs are making a business out of it.[2] Professional athletes are onboard with it.

What are they doing? They’re drinking alkaline water.

Although it’s long been thought that alkaline water is great for hydration and wellness, it sometimes takes an unconventional method to push it into the limelight.

Last year, the UK’s Daily Mail broke the story of Beyonce’s concert rider for her Mrs. Carter tour. A rider is where celebrities will lay out, in no uncertain terms, the requests that must be fulfilled for themselves and their staff. According to online news sources, “The 31-year old singer is said to have a list of specific requirements for every venue on her Mrs. Carter world tour and her mandate includes alkaline water.”

And when one of the largest pop stars in the world is that serious about something, lots of people are going to take notice.

Beyoncé isn’t alone. Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg and hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs took it a step further, teaming up to promote and develop high pH alkaline water called AQUAhydrate. The water, which boasts a 9+ alkalinity, has caught the attention of other celebrities and athletes alike. And at well over $4 for a liter ($15 per gallon), sharing water with notoriety does come at a hefty price.

As it turns out, business titan and musical kingmaker Russell Simmons is also somewhat of a health enthusiast. He’s partnered with Skinny Water, who has its own high alkaline water[3]. At $1.99 a liter ($7.54 per gallon), it’s half the price of AQUAhydrate, but still not a bargain, especially if you drink more than a liter a day.

Seemingly, the benefits of drinking alkaline water are making the rich and famous into believers. So how can you get on board without paying nearly $8 a gallon for the stuff? Consider investing in your own machine. By filling your own reusable bottles with an alkaline water machine, you cut down on the cost associated with shipping and handling of bottled water delivery, and you help do your part to reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills every year.

When you own your own machine, you may also be able to access acidic water, which is a great natural alternative for harsh cleaning agents. Clean fruits and veggies, wash down your countertop, mop your floor – all with a natural, safe byproduct of alkaline water. Using fewer cleaning chemicals can add to your yearly savings and make your home a healthier place to live.

 

 

 

Note: This story highlights some of the recent buzz concerning alkaline water and is for informational purposes only.  Beyoncé, Mark Wahlberg, Sean Combs and Russell Simmons do not endorse Vollara products and this article is not intended to imply any such an endorsement.

[1] www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2318977/Beyonc-s-tour-rider-reveals-diva-demands.html

[2] blogs.wsj.com/dealjournalaustralia/2012/08/24/mark-wahlberg-and-p-diddy-want-to-change-the-way-aussies-drink/

[3] www.marketwired.com/press-release/entrepreneur-russell-simmons-invests-in-skinny-nutritional-corp-otcbb-skny-1540885.htm

What is Alkaline Water?

What is Alkaline Water?

What is Alkaline Water? Alkaline water is water with a pH of more than 7.0, normally between 8.5 to 9.5 pH for drinking. Some people buy alkaline water or an alkaline water machine because they believe drinking alkaline water has health benefits.

How Do We Save Water?

How Do We Save Water?

How Do We Save WaterWater conservation is an important part of taking care of the environment now and for future generations.  Everyone has an obligation to the planet to live responsibly and take care of the earth.  Saving water is one way to be environmentally friendly and live a healthier life.  So, how do we save water?

In order to save water in every way possible, there needs to be a shift in social thinking.  Ideally this shift will ultimately take place on a global level, but first, it has to begin with individuals.  Start by asking yourself every day, “How can I cut down on the amount of water I’m using?”

Little things can make a big difference.  For instance, remembering to turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth rather than letting it run the entire time.  Or, try to shorten your showers by one minute each day for an entire week to see just how efficiently you can use water.  Changing these small habits add up over time.

There are bigger steps you can take toward saving water as well.  Replacing the toilets in your home with low-flush toilets, and replacing showerheads with low-flow or energy-efficient showerheads can save a significant amount of water over time.  Replacing your washing machine with a High Efficiency washing machine that uses cold water technology can save water and energy. You can also combine these energy-efficient machines with appliances that eliminate the need for soaps and detergents, which help keep our water resources free of chemicals.

Doing things to intentionally live in an environmentally friendly way has the added benefit of saving money as well as keeping the earth beautiful for future generations.  It doesn’t take much for everyone to pitch in and do their part.