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Like Canaries in A Coal Mine
BY RICHARD TAYLOR

As an early warning system, miners would take a canary down deep into the coal mines with them. When the bird would stop singing or die, the miners knew it was time to leave the mine. It is estimated that thirtyfour percent of Americans report symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). Like the canary, the chemically sensitive are acutely susceptible to odors and chemical gases. They may become dizzy or lightheaded, and experience headaches and asthmatic reactions.

It is estimated that about half of the chemically sensitive are allergic to dust and household mold. As with most allergies, avoidance is the key in treating MCS. For the chemically sensitive, it makes the utmost sense to avoid as many toxic chemicals and odors as possible. Sounds like a tall order considering these chemical vapors are everywhere in our daily lives. Harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, are present in carpets, new clothing, gas stoves, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, house paints, building materials and furnishings, fragrances, and paper products.

As daunting a task as avoidance might be, for those who are chemically sensitive, the removal of these toxins is a must. Personal portable air cleaners can be a very effective way to remove these threats. But be cautious, all air cleaners are not alike. In fact, some can make the problem worse. Electrostatic precipitators must be cleaned regularly, remove particles gradually, and are not effective in removing gases and odors. In addition, beware of products that utilize plastic or painted components because they can off-gas vapors into your home. The most efficient way to remove these triggers is by utilizing an air cleaner with plenty of True Medical HEPA (to remove dust and particles), activated carbon (to remove odors and gases), and another key ingredient, Potassium Iodide (to remove more harmful chemical vapors and odors).

In independent testing on a variety of makes and models, Austin Air cleaners have been consistently rated near the top. The HealthMate Plus™ is one of Austin Air's high-end air cleaners and is the preferred unit for those with MCS. This unit includes all-steel construction with powder coated finish (no off-gassing), sixty square feet of True Medical HEPA, and nearly 15 pounds of activated carbon and zeolite. This combination clears an average room of 99.97 percent of all airborne particulates, larger than 0.3 microns, in a matter of minutes. For people with chemical sensitivity, the HealthMate Plus™ contains an additional layer of filtration (potassium iodine and zeolite) to remove formaldehyde, ammonia, and other harmful chemicals.

The powerful motor in the HealthMate Plus™ provides 15-second relief by creating a Clean Air Pocket™ in a 6-foot radius from the unit. Within 15 minutes, 750 square feet are cleaned thoroughly. Unlike electrostatic precipitators that require constant maintenance and are not effective with gases and odors, the HealthMate Plus™ is virtually maintenance-free and is guaranteed for five years.

It makes you wonder…if the coal miners had had a HealthMate Plus™, those canaries just might still be singing!


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