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Frequently asked Questions...

    Lighting

  1. Should I be concerned about mercury in compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and their impact on the environment and my family's health?
  2. Why would I want to replace my regular light bulbs with CFLs? They cost so much more!
  3. I noticed there are three different "spiral" CFLs in your store at different prices. Can you explain the difference between them?
  4. Water

  5. I know that tap water is not good for me, besides I hate the chlorine taste. How do I decide between bottled water and a water filter? Bottled water seems more convenient.
  6. My city water has fluoride added to it. They say it reduces cavities in our teeth. What do I need to know about fluoride in my water?
  7. I drink filtered water but don't have a filter on my shower. How important is it to filter my shower water?
  8. Air

  9. I'm hearing and seeing more about indoor air quality problems in the news. How do I know if I have a problem in my home, and what can I do about it?
  10. I have a dog and a cat and recently found out from my doctor that I am allergic to their hair and dander. I love them and really don't want to have to give them away. What can I do?
  11. My husband smokes but I don't. I find the odor on his clothes and in the house offensive. Is there anything I can do to get rid of these smells?
  12. Mold

  13. Sometimes I notice a musty smell in different parts of my house. How can I find out if there is a mold problem in my home?
  14. I found black mold in my home. Should I be concerned?
  15. I have been using chlorine bleach on the mold in my bathroom but it keeps coming back. What do I need to do to get rid of it?

 

1. Should I be concerned about mercury in compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and their impact on the environment and my family's health?

Today's CFLs have a hundred times less mercury in them than the mercury thermometers our parents used when many of us were children. No mercury is released from a CFL unless it is broken. So simply using a CFL does not expose you to mercury.

TCP® brand (sold on this website) uses amalgam technology which helps to protect us from mercury should the bulb break. This means that almost all of the mercury in an unlit bulb is contained in a pellet form in the base of the bulb and not released when the glass portion is broken.

However, all CFLs should be properly recycled. The easiest way to do this is to take them to the Home Depot store nearest you for their recycling program. If you do not live near a Home Depot store, go to www.911.org/usa/master.asp for information on a location near you that recycles.

But if you are concerned about mercury in the environment you should know that,

“By using less electricity, CFLs help reduce mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants, which are the largest source of human-caused mercury emissions in the United States,” says EPA press officer Ernest Jones.

Most of the electricity in the Midwest is produced by coal-fired power plants, and according to a recent report by the Washington, D.C.-based Earth Policy Institute, a worldwide shift to CFLs would permit the closing of more than 270 coal-fired power plants. Switching to CFLs in the U.S. alone could save the energy output of 80 plants. The use of CFLs will actually cut down on toxic mercury pollution. Do your part by properly recycling them when they have burned out.

 

2. Why would I want to replace my regular light bulbs with CFLs? They cost so much more!

While it is true that a good quality CFL (such as the ones sold on this website) will cost more to purchase than an incandescent (regular) light bulb, in order to look at your true costs you need to look at two other factors as well: how long does the bulb last, and how much does it cost to operate? Because a CFL can last 15 to 20 times as long as a regular light bulb they are actually more economical. If you also look at the fact that they use up to 77% less electricity to provide the same amount of light they actually pay for themselves many times over the life of the bulb.  Since your biggest cost is the electricity to operate them, the energy savings alone make them more economical than regular light bulbs.

Green Lightbulb

3. I noticed there are three different levels of "spiral" CFLs in your store at different prices. Can you explain the difference between them?

In order to simplify our comparison here, let's refer to them as "good" "better" and "best". The "good" bulbs are residential bulbs and are for use in your home. They have a rated life of 10,000 hours but since they are for home use where lights are on an average of 3.5 hours per day, they have a warranty of nine (9) years.

The "better" bulbs are commercial-rated bulbs used in locations where they are on for longer periods each day (in some cases up to 24 hrs per day). Although they are rated for 10-12,000 hours they have an 18 month warranty.

The "best" bulbs are also commercial-rated bulbs but have a 24 month warranty. They also have higher energy efficiency ratings than the "good" and "better" bulbs.

The new "Pro" Series bulbs although they are a 12,000 hour bulb, they also have a 24 month warranty. They have the added advantage of being smaller and the T3 series is even more energy efficient with a higher lumen output than the 15,000 hour bulbs. And they cost less!


4. I know that tap water is not good for me, besides I hate the chlorine taste. How do I decide between bottled water and a water filter? Bottled water seems more convenient.

First of all, not all bottled waters are the same. Some are nothing more than tap water sold in a plastic bottle for much higher price than you can get the same water out of your tap. In fact, tap water, because it is regulated by the EPA is held to higher standards than bottled water which is regulated by the FDA. It doesn't make sense, does it? While the EPA requires large public water supplies to test for contaminants as often as several times a day, the FDA requires private bottlers to test for contaminants only once a week, once a year, or once every four years, depending on the contaminant. Plus, you don't know how often the bottler changes the filters on the equipment or what quality control processes are or are not used to guarantee the purity of the water you are drinking.

In a study done by the Environmental Working Group, they found that some bottled waters were contaminated with chemicals, prescription drugs and toxic elements that would not be allowed in tap water at the same levels. The 10 brands of bottle water included in the two-year study were found to contain 38 impurities, including bacteria, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals, the radioactive element strontium and the pain reliever acetaminophen with each of the 10 tested brands containing an average of eight chemicals.  Disinfection byproducts (DBPs), caffeine, nitrate, industrial chemicals, arsenic, and bacteria were also detected.. "In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better," said study co-author and environmental engineer Jane Houlihan.

And then there's the plastic bottle that most bottled water in packaged in. When you consider the massive amounts of non-biodegradable plastic required for all these billions of gallons of bottled water being consumed each year, it’s no wonder we have a plastic “stew” twice the size of Texas swirling through the Pacific Ocean. And bottle that holds 1 liter of water requires 5 liters of water in its manufacturing process.

Remember that you cannot tell if your water is safe or not by the way it looks, tastes, or smells. Some contaminants in water are so harmful they’re measured in “parts per million,” or as in the case of DBPs, “parts per billion.” This means that just a drop of these poisons added to several gallons of water can be harmful to your health.

Additionally, since your skin easily absorbs chemicals in water -- as illustrated in the study on swimming pool contamination and cancer risk mentioned above – purifying your drinking water alone may not be enough. For optimal protection, you’ll want to install a system that filters all the water in your home.

Do you want to trade "convenience" for your health?

 

5. My city water has fluoride added to it. They say it reduces cavities in our teeth. What do I need to know about fluoride in my water?

Fluoride, one of the most consumed drugs in the United States, is deliberately added to about two-thirds of U.S. public water supplies, theoretically to reduce tooth decay, even though there’s no scientifically-valid evidence proving either safety or effectiveness.

Why Does Toothpaste Carry a Warning But Fluoridated Water Does Not?

A tube of toothpaste clearly carries the warning: “Do not swallow,” and “in case of accidental ingestion, contact the poison control center.”

The amount of fluoride they’re talking about is a quarter milligram of fluoride, contained in a pea size amount of toothpaste.

But here is the kicker, This is the same amount of fluoride you find in 8 oz of water. Yet toothpaste carries a “Do not swallow” warning, whereas you’re typically told to drink eight 8oz glasses of water each day, without any concern for the amount of fluoride you will ingest.

Depending on the source, water fluoridation has been said to reduce tooth decay by anywhere from 20 to 80 percent. But when you compare the statistics between different countries, you see that no matter whether they fluoridate their water or not, tooth decay has steadily been reduced by the same amount.

Likewise, when you compare states in the U.S., you find that increased amounts of fluoride in the drinking water make no difference. We have the same amount of good healthy teeth, regardless of water fluoridation.

So, if there’s no benefit, WHY are we fluoridating?

Why Do We Fluoridate Drinking Water if It’s Not Healthy?
The evidence points to it being little more than a well-orchestrated PR stunt to aid an industry in trouble – a fascinating story in and of itself, as described so well in Christopher Bryson’s book The Fluoride Deception and in one of the best web sites on this topic, Fluoride Action Network (FAN).

Other pro-fluoride advocates go so far as to try to make you believe that fluoride is a nutrient that naturally helps build strong teeth and bones. One such example is the Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, which lists “fluoride” as one of only 28 vitamins and minerals permissible for sale for human consumption within the European Union.

But let’s make this point clear: fluoride is NOT an essential nutrient. The fluoride added to your drinking water is in fact a chemical waste product! It is NOT something you should use as a supplement to your diet.

There are plenty of studies showing the dangers of fluoride to your health, such as:
Increases lead absorption
Disrupts synthesis of collagen
Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
Muscle disorders
Brain damage, and lowered IQ
Arthritis
Dementia
Bone fractures
Lowers thyroid function
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
Inactivates 62 enzymes
Inhibits formation of antibodies
Genetic damage and cell death
Increases tumor and cancer rate
Disrupts immune system
Damages sperm and increases infertility

 

6. I drink filtered water but don't have a filter on my shower. How important is it to filter my shower water?

So you thought that by drinking bottled or filtered water you were protecting yourself from the toxins in tap water? Only if you are also using shower and bath filters.

Your body absorbs more chlorine in a 10-minute shower than if you drank two quarts of the same water. How can that be? You not only absorb these toxins through your skin directly into your bloodstream, you also inhale the chlorine vapors.

"The National Academy of Science estimates that 200 to 1000 people die in the US each year from cancers caused by ingesting the contaminants in the water. The major health threat... is far more likely to be from their inhalation as air pollutants....."

ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY - Dr. Lance Wallace, a Professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh: "exposure to vaporized chemicals in the water supplies through showering, bathing, and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking water."

American Chemical Society:
"...The chemicals evaporate out of the water and are inhaled. They can also spread through the house and be inhaled by others. House holders can receive 6 to 100 times more of the chemicals by breathing the air around showers and baths than they would by drinking the water"

Chlorinated water can also exacerbate:
• asthma
• sinus conditions
• allergies
• skin rashes including eczema and psoriasis
• emphysema

While water purifiers and ionizers can circumvent the tap water issue, the dilemma of daily shower safety has remained. Unless you are using shower and bath filters.

 

7. I'm hearing and seeing more about indoor air quality problems in the news. How do I know if I have a problem in my home, and what can I do about it?

The only way to know for sure is to have your home tested. Often, there are many chemicals present in the home that have off-gassed from furniture, carpeting, building materials and even the products you use to clean your home that may be present in sufficient quantities to negatively affect your health but you cannot smell them. Rather than paying for expensive testing equip your home with an air purification system that can oxidize these chemicals rendering them harmless. Our air purifiers will not only oxidize these chemicals they will also kill mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses. All of these are present to some degree in all homes. Having one or more of these air purifiers in your home will protect you.

Another danger is radon, a gas that comes from underground and can enter your home through floor drains and cracks in the walls and floor of your basement and crawlspaces. Long term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer even if you have never smoked cigarettes. You cannot smell it and the only way to know if it is present in your home is to test for it. An air purifier will not protect you from radon gas. Call or email us for more information.

 

8. I have a dog and a cat and recently found out from my doctor that I am allergic to their hair and dander. I love them and really don't want to have to give them away. What can I do?

Having an allergy to cat or dog hair or dander doesn't necessarily mean you have to give them up. Many people find that if they use an air purifier to control the airborne particles and use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner they can live comfortably with their beloved pets. Our air purifiers are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you find that you still have problems simply return the air purifier for a refund. (see our return policy for complete details).

 

9. My husband smokes but I don't. I find the odor on his clothes and in the house offensive. Is there anything I can do to get rid of these smells?

Many of our customers use our air purifiers to remove unwanted odors from clothing that is otherwise still clean. It can be very expensive to frequently dryclean business suits simply because of smoke, food, cologne or perfume odors, not to mention increasing your exposure to toxic cleaning chemical residues left in your clothing when they come back from the cleaners. Simply put the air purifier in your closet and turn up the purifier setting to quickly remove unwanted odors.

 

10. Sometimes I notice a musty smell in different parts of my house. How can I find out if there is a mold problem in my home?

The only way to know for sure is to have a certified mold inspector come to your home and test. We recommend using NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors) Certified Mold Inspectors. Mold can only be properly identified by looking at it under a microscope. Mold may also be present but not visible to the eye either because it is not present in sufficient quantities yet or it may be inside walls, under floors, in attics or crawlspaces or otherwise not visible to the untrained eye. Even a certified mold inspector cannot tell you whether or not it really is mold unless it is viewed at a microscopic level.

You also want to know what type of mold is present and this is best done by taking samples and sending it to a certified lab where cultures are grown and the mold is then identified by licensed microbiologists. The type of mold present determines how the mold is remediated and the degree of danger from it to you and your family. Some molds require strict isolation during remediation to protect workers and the rest of yor home from contamination during the remediation process

Never use a company for testing that also does the remediation. This is a conflict of interest. The person or company doing the testing should not have a financial interest in the remediation work, if any, that is done.

 

11. I found black mold in my home. Should I be concerned?

Yes, however not all "black mold" is stachybotrys the dangerous mold that has gotten so much publicity. Several other molds that are not as dangerous can appear black also in the right conditions. Since the only way to tell if it is stachybotrys is to have it tested and testing should only be done by a certified (or licensed in some states) mold inspector, you should always call if you suspect a mold problem.

 

12. I have been using chlorine bleach on the mold in my bathroom but it keeps coming back. What do I need to do to get rid of it?

Chlorine bleach is not effective in killing mold for these reasons:

(1) The object to killing mold is to kill mold at its "roots". Mold remediation involves the need to disinfect wood and wood-based building materials, all of which are porous materials. Thus, chlorine bleach should not be used in mold remediation as confirmed by OSHA's Mold Remediation/ Clean Up Methods guidelines. The use of bleach as a mold disinfectant is best left to kitchen and bathroom countertops, tubs and shower glass, etc. (What is Mold?, About Mold, Mold Facts).

(2) Chlorine Bleach does kill bacteria and kill viruses, but has not been proven effective in killing molds on non-porous surfaces. Bleach itself is 99% water. Water is one of the main contributors of the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. Current situations using bleach re-grew and regenerated mold and bacteria twice the CFU counts than were originally found before bleaching, within a short period of time. Bleach is an old method used for some bacteria and mold. It is the only product people have known for years. The strains now associated within Indoor Air quality issues are resistant to the methods our grandmothers employed to clean-up mold.

(3) What potential mold 'killing' power chlorine bleach might have, is diminished significantly as the bleach sits in warehouses, on grocery store shelves or inside your home or business 50% loss in killing power in just the first 90 days inside a never opened jug or container. Chlorine constantly escapes through the plastic walls of its containers.

(4) The ionic structure of bleach prevents Chlorine from penetrating into porous materials such as drywall and wood---it just stays on the outside surface, whereas mold has enzyme roots growing inside the porous construction materials---however, the water content penetrates and actually FEEDS the mold---this is why a few days later you will notice darker, more concentrated mold growing (faster) on the bleached area.

(5) Chlorine Bleach accelerates the deterioration of materials and wears down the fibers of porous materials.

(6) Chlorine Bleach is NOT registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold. You can verify this important fact for yourself when you are unable to find an EPA registration number for killing mold on the label of any brand of chlorine bleach.

(7) Chlorine bleach off gases for a period of time. Chlorine off gassing can be harmful to humans and animals. It has been known to cause pulmonary embolisms in low resistant, and susceptible people.

(8) Chlorine bleach will evaporate within a short period of time. If the area is not dry when the bleach evaporates, or moisture is still in the contaminated area (humidity, outside air dampness), you could re- start the contamination process immediately and to a greater degree.

(9) Chlorine is a key component of DIOXIN. One of the earliest findings of dioxin's toxicity in animals was that it caused birth defects in mice at very low levels. This finding led to dioxin being characterized as "one of the most potent teratogenic environmental agents". The first evidence that dioxin causes cancer came from several animal studies completed in the late 1970's. The most important of these, published in 1978 by a team of scientists from Dow Chemical Company, led by Richard Kociba, found liver cancer in rats exposed to very low levels of dioxin. This study helped establish dioxin as one of the most potent animal carcinogens ever tested and, together with the finding of birth defects in mice, led to the general statement that dioxin is the "most toxic synthetic chemical known to man."

Opposing Views and Confusion.
Chlorine bleach, commonly referred to as laundry bleach, is generally perceived to be an "accepted and answer-all" biocide to abate mold in the remediation processes. Well-intentioned recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal, state and local agencies are perpetuating that belief. And confusing the issue is one federal agency, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), taking an opposing point of view by NOT recommending the use of chlorine bleach as a routine practice in mold remediation.

Does Bleach Really Kill Mold?
Will chlorine bleach kill mold or not—yes or no? The answer is yes, but with a caveat. That answer comes from The Clorox Company, Oakland CA, manufacturer and distributor of Ultra Clorox® Regular Bleach. The company's correspondence to Spore°Tech Mold Investigations, LLC stated that their Tech Center studies supported by independent laboratories show that "…3/4 cup of Clorox liquid bleach per gallon of water will be effective on hard, non-porous surfaces against… Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (Athlete's Foot Fungus)". Whether or not chlorine bleach kills other molds and fungi, the company did not say. The words "hard, non-porous" surfaces" present the caveat. Mold remediation involves the need to disinfect wood and wood-based building materials, all of which are porous materials. Thus, chlorine bleach should not be used in mold remediation as confirmed by OSHA's Mold Remediation/ Clean Up Methods guidelines. The use of bleach as a mold disinfectant is best left to kitchen and bathroom countertops, tubs and shower glass, etc.

Why Chlorine Bleach is NOT Recommended for Mold Remediation.
Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is corrosive and that fact is stated on the product label. Yet the properties of chlorine bleach prevent it from "soaking into" wood-based building materials to get at the deeply embedded mycilia (roots) of mold. The object to killing mold is to kill its "roots". Reputable mold remediation contractors use appropriate products that effectively disinfect salvageable mold infected wood products. Beware of any mold inspector or mold remediation company that recommends or uses chlorine bleach for mold clean up on wood-based building materials.

Chlorine Bleach Is Active Ingredient in New Mold & Mildew Products.
The appearance of new mold and mildew household products on store shelves is on the rise. Most are dilute solutions of laundry bleach. The labels on these mold and mildew products state that they are for use on (again) hard, non-porous surfaces and not for wood-based materials. Instructions where not to apply the products are varied. A few examples where the branded products should not be applied include wood or painted surfaces, aluminum products, metal (including stainless steel), faucets, marble, natural stone, and, of course, carpeting, fabrics and paper. One commercial mold and mildew stain remover even specifically states it should not be applied to porcelain or metal without immediate rinsing with water and that the product isn't recommended for use on formica or vinyl.

Before purchasing a mold and mildew product, read and fully understand the advertised purpose of that product — and correctly follow the use instructions of a purchased product. The labeling claims on these new products can be confusing — some say their product is a mold and mildew remover while another says their product is a mildew stain remover and yet others make similar 'ambiguous' claims. Make double sure that the product satisfies your intended need on the surface to which it is to be applied. If your intention is to kill mold, make sure the product does exactly that and follow the directions for usage. Consumers may find that mixing their own diluted bleach solution will achieve the same results as any of the new mold and mildew products — keep in mind that the use of chlorine bleach is not for use on mold infected wood products including wall board, ceiling tiles, wall studs, fabric, paper products, etc.

Conclusion.
Laundry bleach is not an effective mold killing agent for wood-based building materials and NOT EFFECTIVE in the mold remediation process. OSHA is the first federal agency to announce a departure from the use of chlorine bleach in mold remediation. In time, other federal agencies are expected to follow OSHA's lead. The public should be aware, however, that a chlorine bleach solution IS an effective sanitizing product that kills mold on hard surfaces and neutralizes indoor mold allergens that trigger allergies.

WARNING: Never mix chlorine with ammonia products, as the result is extremely toxic.

Using bleach can cause serious health problems.

The fumes are very caustic and great care must be taken not to breath it in too much.

It is also very damaging to clothing and carpeting, the human body, and the environment.