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Gesundheit! Standards Alleviate Allergy Symptoms This Fall

Sniffling noses and watery eyes are a common affliction for many as the weather transitions into cooler months. Ragweed pollinates and mold spores are released in autumn, leaving many allergy sufferers in discomfort this time of year. Fortunately, following a few simple tips - made possible with the help of standards - can reduce these symptoms in the home.

Experts suggest washing sheets, pillowcases, and blankets at minimum once a week in water heated to at least 130° F. UL 2157-2004 (R2010), Standard for Safety for Electric Clothes Washing Machines and Extractors, assures that these household devices can operate safely in nonhazardous locations, in accordance with the U.S. National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I (CEC). This standard was developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Humidity control is key when managing allergy triggers. A high humidity level in the home can contribute to mold growth, while humidity that is too low dries out mucous membranes and leads to inflammation. The ideal indoor humidity level is 35 to 50 percent. Home dwellers can measure humidity in order to adjust it accordingly with a hygrometer. One standard developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, provides guidelines for these important devices. ASTM D4230-02(2007), Standard Test Method of Measuring Humidity with Cooled-Surface Condensation (Dew-Point) Hygrometer, covers the determination of the thermodynamic dew- or frost-point temperature of ambient air by the condensation of water vapor on a cooled surface, also known as the condensation temperature.

Finally, running an air filter in the house frequently is a simple but effective way to reducing allergy suffering. ANSI/AHRI Standard 680 (I-P)-2010, Performance Rating of Residential Air Filter Equipment, applies to air filters made for removing particulate matter including allergens such as dust mites, mold spores, and even pollen present indoors due to open windows or transfer from clothing and shoes. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

While it's nearly impossible to control allergens in the great outdoors, following these tips can make the home a safe haven for allergy sufferers.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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