Wednesday, May 31, 2006
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia averaged one human bird flu death every 2 1/2 days in May, putting it on pace to soon surpass Vietnam as the world's hardest-hit country.
The latest death, announced Wednesday, was a 15-year-old boy whose preliminary tests were positive for the H5N1 virus. It comes as international health officials express growing frustration that they must fight Indonesia's bureaucracy as well as the disease.
"We're tying to fix this leak in the roof, and there's a storm,"
World Health Organization spokesman Dick Thompson said. "The storm is that the virus is in animals almost everywhere and the lack of effective attention that's being addressed to the problem."
Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands with a population of 220 million people, has a patchwork of local, regional and national bureaucracies that often send mixed messages. The impression, health officials said, is often that no one is truly at the helm.
"I don't think anyone can understand it unless you come here and see it for yourself," said Steven Bjorge, a WHO epidemiologist in Jakarta. "The amount of decentralization here is breathtaking."
He said Health Ministry officials often meet with outside experts to formulate plans to fight bird flu, but they are rarely implemented.
"Their power only extends to the walls of their office," Bjorge said, adding that the advice must reach nearly 450 districts, where local officials then decide whether to take action.
Indonesia has undergone a sometimes rocky transition to democracy since dictator Suharto was ousted in 1998, with many powers held by the central government being transferred to regional and community control.
But the process has been haphazard, and funding and policy decisions are often at the whim of inexperienced officials, mayors and village heads.
National government officials concede there is a problem.
"The local government has the money, thus the power to decide what to prioritize," said Hariyadi Wibisono, director of communicable disease control at the Ministry of Health. "If some district sees bird flu as not important, then we have a problem."
Indonesia has logged at least 36 human deaths in the past year - 25 since January - and is expected to soon eclipse Vietnam's 42 fatalities. The two countries make up the bulk of the world's 127 total deaths since the virus began spreading in Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.
Attention has been fixed on one village on Sumatra island where six of seven relatives died of bird flu. An eighth family member was buried before samples were collected, but the WHO considers her part of the cluster.
Experts have not been able to make a direct link between the relatives and infected birds, which has led them to suspect limited human-to-human transmission. But no one outside the family of blood relatives - no spouses - has fallen ill and experts say the virus has not mutated.
Scientists believe human-to-human transmission has occurred in a few other smaller family clusters, all involving blood relatives. Experts theorize that may mean some people have a genetic susceptibility to the disease.
On Wednesday, WHO said 54 uninfected relatives and contacts of the Indonesian family cluster are under quarantine and are taking the antiviral drug Tamiflu and being monitored by health workers. The quarantine is voluntary and the teams are also visiting all the homes in the 400-household village in North Sumatra to look for signs of illness. It said there are no signs the disease has spread since May 22.
Bird flu remains hard for people to catch, and most human cases have been traced to contact with infected birds. Experts fear the virus will mutate into a highly contagious form that passes easily among people, possible sparking a pandemic.
Experts say the best way to battle bird flu in Indonesia is to tackle it in poultry. But that message is not always getting through. Many local governments have refused to carry out mass poultry slaughters in infected areas, and vaccination has been sporadic at best.
Such measures helped other hard-hit countries like Vietnam and Thailand curb outbreaks. Both have strong central governments that have taken a leading role in the effort.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has been working with officials to improve poultry surveillance in Indonesia and quicken response times to outbreaks.
But public awareness and bio-security standards remain low in the densely populated countryside, home to hundreds of millions of backyard chickens.
"It's not quite so easy here, where you have to have the local authorities and provincial authorities and national all on board," said Jeff Mariner, an animal health expert from Tufts University working with the FAO in Jakarta.
"We find outbreaks every week scattered throughout Java. It's a diffusely endemic disease. In most districts, you can find it at any time," he said. "It's a staggering undertaking in a decentralized country."
(Help protect your family, staff, patients from harmful airborne pathogens, contaminants, pollutants- Avian (bird) Flu, Seasonal (human) Flu, Pandemic Flu, Tuberculosis, SARS, etc.)
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
A Possible Source of Health Problems
Formaldehyde is a chemical widely used in many building materials and household products. According to the Environmental Defense Scoreboard it is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds to ecosystems and human health.
Possible Health Problems
Exposure to formaldehyde affects people differently. Some experience no adverse reactions when exposed to moderate levels, while others do, even after low exposure. This colorless, pungent gas can cause one or more of the following health problems:
- Eye irritation or watery eyes
- Nose irritation
- Skin rashes
- Throat irritation
- Upper respiratory tract irritation
Possible Sources in the Home
Formaldehyde exists in every home to some degree. The concentrations in the home vary depending on the age of the home and the quantity of pressed wood products. Here is a partial listing of products that may contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasing agents.
- Air fresheners
- Carpet backings
- Cigarette smoking
- Drapery fabric
- Floor polishes
- Fuel burning appliances - wood, kerosene or natural gas
- Household liquid scouring cleaners
- Household rug and upholstery cleaners
- Paper products
- Particle board - furniture, fixtures, cabinets
- Permanent press clothing
- Plywood paneling resins
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Scatter rugs and bath mats
- Sheet vinyl flooring
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Wall coverings
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking the following steps to reduce household exposure to formaldehyde:
- Use "exterior-grade" pressed wood products (lower-emitting because they contain phenol resins, not urea resins).
- Use air conditioning and dehumidifier to maintain moderate temperature and reduce humidity levels.
- Increase ventilation, particularly after bringing new sources of formaldehyde into the home.
Other steps include:
- Buy formaldehyde-free products.
- Wash permanent press clothing prior to use.
- Avoid products that contain these formaldehyde releasing agents such as bronopol, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl, and quaternium 15.
[ Air filtration systems, air purifiers, air cleaners, air scrubbers with activated charcoal / carbon filtration ]
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Limited human-to-human transmission of bird flu might have occurred in an Indonesian family and health experts are tracing anyone who might have had contact with them and putting them on antiviral drugs as a precaution, the World Health Organization said.
But a senior WHO official said in Jakarta this was not the first time the world was seeing a family cluster and stressed that fresh scientific evidence has shown the virus in Indonesia has not mutated to one that can spread easily among people.
Bird flu has killed 124 people in 10 countries since it re-emerged in Asia in 2003. It remains essentially a disease in birds and has spread to dozens of countries in wild birds and poultry.
In China, where the virus has been entrenched for the last 10 years, fresh trouble may be brewing as authorities confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1 among wild birds in its remote far-western Qinghai province and Tibet.
About 400 wild birds had been found dead "recently," its state Xinhua news agency said, quoting the Agriculture Ministry.
An outbreak of the H5N1 killed thousands of birds in Qinghai Lake this time last year and this strain of the virus has since turned up in parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Markets are also nervous about a suspected cluster in Iran.
An Iranian medical official told Reuters on Monday that a 41-year-old man and his 26-year-old sister from the northwestern city of Kermanshah had tested positive for bird flu.
But Health Minister Kamran Lankarani denied this although international health officials are still investigating.
The two siblings were among five members of a family who became sick and the other three remain in the hospital.
The rest of the article >>>>
Help protect your family, staff, patients from harmful airborne pathogens, contaminants, pollutants- Avian (bird) Flu, Seasonal (human) Flu, Pandemic Flu, Tuberculosis, SARS, etc.
Monday, May 22, 2006
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Air Quality in the News
More Advances in Green Building
The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Green Building Conference recently took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hot topics in sustainable building include more efficient HVAC systems, environmentally friendly materials, solar energy panels that can be concealed inside rooftops, thicker walls for better insulation and low-flow toilets. Innovative builders are looking toward the area’s indigenous peoples for building practices that take advantage of nature. Ray Tonjes, chairman of the NAHB, and local designer Armando Cobo point to indigenous homes built from adobe bricks positioned to take advantage of the sun’s rays. Other indigenous homes were built into mountain slopes to protect them from the north wind. The number of homes built according to green practices has increased fivefold since 2002.
Homes not built according to green practices may significantly improve indoor air quality through the use of AllerAir air filtration systems, air cleaners, air purifiers.
From an article in The Chief Engineer online at chiefengineer.org
Indoor Air Quality in the Arts
The Balzer Theatre of Atlanta, Georgia has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first theatre in the United States to earn it. Theatre management, thrilled with the designation, point to the many advantages of having a healthy building, such as knowing that allergic and sensitive clients will be as comfortable as possible, and ensuring that the audience “doesn’t get oxygen-deprived and sleepy in act two.” Theatres in older buildings may achieve similar effects with AllerAir air filtration systems, air cleaners, air purifiers installed.
From an article by Linda M. Eberle at gbj.com.
The Dangers of Radon
Radon, a colorless, odorless and invisible gas, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The naturally-occurring gas results from the decay of uranium in rock, water and soil. Previously considered a danger only to miners working deep inside the earth, radon is now known to occur above ground, and it is increasingly found in people’s homes. Radon breaks down into radioactive particles inside the lungs, increasing the risk for developing lung cancer by 11 to 21 percent. The same goes for Canada: on April 24 of this year, Health Canada introduced a proposal for new guidelines on indoor radon gas that are
four times more stringent than the previous ones. "Poor indoor air quality can pose significant health risks. This recommended guideline is an important step in informing Canadians about the number one cause of lung cancer after smoking,” said Tony Clement, the Health Minister.
Radon gas can be reduced with air filtration systems, air cleaners, air purifiers, equipped with HEPA Filter and activated carbon / charcoal filters.
VOC Regulations affect Mainstream Manufacturers
Indoor air quality is increasingly on the agendas of state lawmakers. In January, 2005, VOC restrictions were imposed in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the Benjamin Moore website. The manufacturer of household paint now makes low VOC products of its own. Low and no-VOC products were previously the domain of marginal companies catering to a limited clientele. Now that more and more customers, and lawmakers, are becoming aware of indoor air quality issues, even mainstream companies are forced to take notice.
AllerAir air filtration systems, air cleaners, air purifiers are equipped to address most VOC concerns, including formaldehyde.
From pages at benjaminmoore.com.
Indoor Air Quality near Forest Fires and Wildfires
People living in regions affected by wildfire and forest fires should pay close attention to the quality of their indoor air. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) specifically recommends air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Those with respiratory disorders, allergies, asthma, and COPD will be particularly susceptible to respiratory discomfort due to the amount of smoke produced by burning plants and trees. Other air quality measures include refraining from: smoking, burning wood or candles, and vacuuming.
AllerAir HEPA filters are DOP tested for quality. They are capable of trapping 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns (1/233 the width of the average human hair), and their efficiency improves over time.
From an article at floridatoday.com.
Indoor Pool Fumes
Chlorine fumes at an Indiana indoor pool probably caused interstitial lung disease in a 55-year old volunteer. J.C. Davis, an airline pilot by profession, was likely exposed to toxic levels of fumes when he worked at a computer near a floor vent over the course of a four-day swim meet. His lawsuit cites chloramines, chlorine by-products that arise with heavy pool use, as a probable cause for his disease. The pool’s builder admits that chloramines have been a problem since state ventilation standards for indoor pools were adjusted in 1993. The new standards save money at the expense of indoor air quality, asserts a local veteran swim coach. While previous methods brought in fresh outdoor air at a rate of 100 percent day and night and exhausted pent-up fumes, the new standards dictated a combination of dehumidifiers and energy-conserving vents working together, reducing the rate of fresh air intake to just 20 percent during the day, and zero at night.
Mr. Davis’ doctors, after ruling out lung cancer, suspected chemical exposure as the likeliest cause of his disease, which may jeopardize his career.
Indoor pool management teams in Indiana have found success in reducing chloramines with the aid of UV light, a popular option available in most AllerAir air filtration system, air cleaner, air purifier models.
From an article by James A. Gillaspy at indystar.com.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
What started out as a solution to his wife's severe allergies has become a $5-million-a-year air-purification business for Sam Teitelbaum.
With the carbon-based air-cleaning technology he helped develop to counter spouse Florence's condition attributed to extreme sensitivity to various environmental chemicals found in the air, food, water, building materials and fabrics, Teitelbaum founded AllerAir Industries Inc. 10 years ago.
Sam posing beside an explosion-proof air filtration system
With fewer than 20 employees, the private company is challenging industry multinationals like Bionaire, Honeywell International Inc. and Sharp Corp.
"We're kind of the specialists now," the president said from the cramped headquarters and manufacturing facility in St. Laurent.
Jeffrey Kanel, vice-president of business development, noted AllerAir is among the first firms to combine HEPA filters with a mass acitivated carbon bed that together trap 99.97 per cent of all airborne particles as well as absorb chemicals, gases and odours.
Activated carbon - the type used in military gas masks, hospitals and large food-storage facilities - is a natural substance that has been treated to open millions of tiny pores which attract and trap odors, chemicals and gases. It is made from a wide range of source materials from coal and coconut shells to peat moss and bone.
Kanel and Teitelbaum said that most mass-market air cleaners/filters only trap particles and have no more than a few token ounces of carbon while AllerAir's MAC-B filters contain pounds of carbon to safely and effectively remove dangerous substances from the air.
"We hope air purifiers will some day be as common as bottled water," Kanel said.
AllerAir systems have applications for residential, commercial, industrial, medical and military use. They've been installed in school classrooms, fashion houses and military installations in Iraq. The company recently received orders from South Korea after the government there introduced new indoor air-quality standards for public buildings.
Custom-made specialized models are used for smokers, disaster restoration, security threat situations and microbiological contamination. "We're 100 per cent safe," Teitelbaum said. "We even use unbleached,organically grown cotton for our pre-filters."
Kanel said the company works with allergists and respiratory specialists.
"Everybody needs an air purifier," environmental medical specialist Dr. Doris Rapp told The Gazette from her Arizona clinic.
The pediatric allergist and New York Times best-selling author - her latest book is Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call - said she uses AllerAir products because "they have very high standards and they have different machines at affordable costs. Others might be as good, but I'm not familiar with them like AllerAir."
Teitelbaum said there are about 5,000 permutations of the basic filter model. The units range in price from $259 U.S. for the small home or office models with four pounds of carbon to $25,000 U.S. for the explosion-proof military-strength purifier using 2,000 pounds of carbon.
Kanel said sales have been increasing 25 per cent a month the past three years, with 98 per cent of AllerAir's market outside of Canada. About 4,200 units a year are sold.
For more information on AllerAir air filtration systems, air cleaners, air purifiers, air scrubbers, call (888) 395-0330 or visit www.allerairsolutions.com
article credit: MIKE KING, The Gazette, Published: Friday, May 19, 2006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Help protect your staff and patients from harmful airborne pathogens, contaminants, pollutants- Avian (bird) Flu, Seasonal (human) Flu, Pandemic Flu, Tuberculosis, SARS, etc.
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Motor windings in the Allerair air purifier, air cleaner, air scrubber have no varnish to off gas.
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