yours a healthier home in 2004
By Nancy Maes
Special to the Tribune
January 2, 2004
People are cocooning these days
because home is supposed to be a safe haven. But news stories sometimes
tell a different tale.
"A search [by an indoor air
quality testing laboratory] found 1,500 articles about the health
problems caused by mold in homes," says William Gartner, president
and CEO of Health Chek. "Sometimes the mold problem is so bad
that houses have to be abandoned."
To add to the air-quality problems,
people's desire to make their homes energy efficient has produced
some unwanted side effects. Now pollutants that cause allergies
remain locked inside.
To battle problems that prevent
a home from being a healthy place, manufacturers are developing
products that check for mold and allergens, purify the air, filter
tap water and keep surfaces clean.
A variety of these products are
described below, including suggested retail prices. Contact the
manufacturer for help in finding a retailer in your area.
Just because mold and allergens in your home may not be obvious
to the eye doesn't mean they can't be hazardous to your health.
Microscopic spores of cladosporium and alternaria, dust mites, pet
dander and cockroaches may cause respiratory illnesses, skin infections
and other health problems. The Mold Chek and Allergy Chek sampling
kits from Health Chek offer the first step in detecting them. Samples
collected are sent to an accredited laboratory that analyzes them.
It then sends a detailed report of the results and suggested remedies
for eliminating the problem.
Price: $14.95 each for Mold Chek
and Allergy Chek, $39 for the Mold Chek laboratory analysis, $69
for the Allergy Chek laboratory analysis. Health Chek, 4250 E. Camelback
Rd., Suite K-135, Phoenix, AZ 85018. Phone: 866-234-7579. Web site:
www.moldchek.net and www.allergychek.net.
Home Health Product's new air sanitizer was developed to purify
the air throughout the whole house. Called air health, the sanitizer
does not use a traditional filter but instead is installed in the
main supply or return duct of central heating or air conditioning
systems. It is based on a process of ultraviolet radiation, that,
according to the manufacturer, kills airborne mold, bacteria, viruses
and other pathogens. The device is designed to be installed in about
10 minutes, then operates 24 hours a day. The ultraviolet bulb should
be replaced once a year.
Price: $199 for the air health
air sanitizer, $49.95 for replacement bulb. Home Health Products,
PMB 322, 9702 Gayton Rd., Richmond, VA 23233-4907. Phone: 866-765-1587.
Web site: www.airhealth.com.
Breathing is easier when the humidity level is between 40 and 50
percent, but in heated rooms, the air can become drier. The Ultrasonic
Personal Humidifier from Sunbeam stands ready to add moisture to
the air thanks to an ultrasonic nebulizer that transforms water
into a fine mist. The humidifier is small, so it's easy to carry
from room to room. Yet it holds enough water to operate for up to
10 hours on one filling, and do so quietly. To help freshen the
air, Sunbeam's Waterless Vaporizer uses pads scented with essential
menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oils. When heated the aroma is released
for up to 12 hours.
Prices: $34.99 for the Ultrasonic
Personal Humidifier, $23.99 for the Waterless Vaporizer. Sunbeam
Products, Inc., Consumer Affairs, P.O.Box 948389, Maitland, FL 32794-8389.
Phone: 800-435-1250. Web site: www.sunbeamhealth.com.
Drinking to your health
Now you can have cleaner water for your refrigerator's dispenser
and ice maker thanks to two products from Culligan. The company's
IC-750 compact filtration system does away with the unpleasant taste
and smell of chlorine. Model IC-1000 goes further by not only reducing
the chlorine taste and smell but also filtering lead, cysts and
certain herbicides and pesticides. The filters of both models are
easy to change; all it takes is a quick twist to remove and another
to install the replacement.
Prices: $16.99 for the IC-750
Easy Change Water Dispenser/Icemaker Filter, $12.99 for the 750R
Replacement Cartridge, $29.95 for the IC-1000 Easy Change model,
$19.99 for the 1000R Replacement Cartridge. Culligan, 502 Indiana
Ave., P.O. Box 1047, Sheboygan, WI 53082. Phone: 800-634-1455. Web
Avoiding sticky situations
Goo Gone Spray Gel dissolves those annoying gummy spots left when
stickers are removed from new purchases and gets rid of ink blots,
crayon marks and candle wax. This citrus-based product, according
to the manufacturer, is safe on hands, clothes, rugs and upholstery,
doesn't use harsh solvents and is biodegradable. The goo is gone
with no harm done.
Price: $5.59. Magic American Products,
23700 Mercantile Rd., Cleveland, OH 44122. Phone: 800-321-6330b.
Web site: www.magicamerican.comCopyright (c) 2003, Chicago Tribune