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3M Press Releases:

Indoor Air Pollution Can Be Much Worse than Outdoors

Tips On 'Winterizing' A Room Air Conditioner

Don't Get Left Out In The Cold

Filtrete Filters From 3M Become Official American Lung Association Health House Partner

 

Indoor Air Pollution Can Be Much Worse than OutdoorsReturn to Top

- American Lung Association and 3M Offer Tips to Improve Home Air Quality (Breathe Easy Month in May)-

NEW YORK - May 3, 1999 - Based on a recent survey that found 87 percent of homeowners nationwide are not aware air pollution can be worse inside the home than outdoors, 3M and the American Lung Association are offering a booklet called "A Guide for Creating a Healthier Home."

This booklet - released as part of an ongoing educational partnership between 3M, the American Lung Association and the association's Health House Project - includes dozens of tips to improve air quality in the home (perfect for Breathe Easy Month in May).

Given the Environmental Protection Agency has reported levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher - and occasionally more than 100 times higher - than outdoor levels, it may be wise to follow some easy tips to improve home air quality, such as these from the booklet:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in the home to detect high levels of this odorless and potentially deadly gas. According to the American Lung Association survey, only 37 percent of homeowners have a carbon monoxide detector in their home.
  • Store firewood in the garage or outdoors, rather than near the fireplace or anywhere else in the home. Drying firewood can generate mold spores, which can easily contaminate an entire house. The survey revealed that more than one in three Americans does not follow this recommendation.
  • Don't permit recycling items - such as newspapers, rags, cans and bottles - to accumulate in your living space. Store them in a covered area outdoors and recycle frequently.
  • Keep trees and shrubs at least 3 feet away from the perimeter of the home. Tree and shrub roots can give surface water an easy route into a basement, which can lead to mold growth.
  • Use a high-efficiency furnace filter -- such as the Filtrete micro particle and airborne allergen reduction filter from 3M -- and replace it every two to three months. According to the survey, 41 percent of American homeowners fail to replace their filters every two to three months and 9 percent have never replaced the filter in their furnace!

EPA research also indicates Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors and indoor air pollution is one of the five most urgent environmental problems facing the United States. But because nearly nine in 10 homeowners from the survey are not aware of the dangers of poor indoor air, millions may mistakenly believe they can avoid breathing unhealthy air by staying inside their homes and offices during "Code Red" days - days rated as unhealthy by the Environmental Protection Agency's Outdoor Air Quality Index. In fact, the survey shows the vast majority of Americans would limit their outdoor activities during such "Code Red" days.

"With all the attention surrounding dangerous levels of smog, ozone and other pollutants in the air we breathe outdoors, many lose sight of the fact that many of these same pollutants - as well as pollen and other allergens - can easily find their way indoors," said Mark LaLiberte, building expert and technical advisor to the American Lung Association Health House Project.

In conjunction with Clean Air Week (May 16-22), the American Lung Association will be releasing survey results on Americans' awareness of outdoor air quality issues.

 

 

Tips On 'Winterizing' A Room Air Conditioner Return to Top

NEW YORK - September 10, 1999 - While room air conditioners are used primarily during the spring and summer months, home improvement experts recommend "winterizing" the unit at the end of each cooling season. By doing so, you'll help ensure that your air conditioner will operate at peak efficiency for years to come. And a properly maintained air conditioner may even help improve the quality of air we breathe at home.

Here are several tips to winterize your room air conditioner from 3M's heating and air conditioning experts:

  • Clean the unit: At the end of the season, make sure you thoroughly clean the air conditioner before packing it away for the fall and winter. Just follow these easy steps:
    1. Unplug the unit and remove the front grille.
    2. Take out the air conditioner filter and replace it with a high efficiency filter, such as a Filtrete filter from 3M. (A high-efficiency filter can be up to 20 times more effective than traditional foam and slide-in mesh screen filters, resulting in better performance and cleaner indoor air.) By replacing the filter now, your air conditioner will run more efficiently when you begin using it again in the spring.
    3. Remove the side panels from the air conditioning unit by taking out the screws that attach the cabinet.
    4. Use a vacuum attachment to clean any dust or debris that may have lodged inside the air conditioner.
    5. Cover all electrical components with plastic bags. Then, clean the inside of the unit with soapy water. Tip: using a paintbrush makes this an easier task.
    6. Hose down the appliance and let it dry. Reassemble and reinstall the unit, but wait at least 24 hours to make sure everything is dry before turning it on.
  • Protect your room air conditioner from the elements in one of two ways:
    1. If you leave the unit in the window, wrap it with plastic and seal it with duct tape or use a standard air conditioner cover designed to fit your unit.
    2. If you remove the air conditioner from the window be careful not to bend or damage the cooling fins in the back. Do not store the unit on the garage floor where it could come in contact with corrosive salts that may drip from car tires.

 

 

Don't Get Left Out In The Cold Return to Top

- When Winterizing The Home, Don't Get Burned By The Furnace!

NEW YORK - September 10, 1999 - According to a recent survey conducted by the American Lung Association and funded by 3M, more than three in four American homeowners (77 percent) have a forced air heating or cooling system. Unfortunately, many of these homeowners do not have their furnace inspected on an annual basis as is recommended.

To help ensure your furnace is operating at peak efficiency and to avoid a chilling experience at home this winter, follow these simple tips courtesy of the heating and ventilation experts from the American Lung Association Health House Project and 3M:

Use a carbon monoxide detector in the home. It will alert you if lethal fumes begin escaping from your gas furnace and poisoning the air you breathe.

Make sure the gas furnace is properly lit with a steady blue pilot flame. If the pilot light goes out - or if it's burning with a yellow or orange flame that tends to flicker - have the furnace inspected by a professional home-heating contractor.

If the gas furnace is properly lit, beware of a smell like a burning clothes iron. Such a smell may mean the furnace is burning too hot because of a dirty furnace filter.

Use a high-efficiency furnace filter, such as a Filtrete filter from 3M, and replace it every two to three months. A high-efficiency filter not only protects the furnace but also can capture up to 30 times more allergens, such as pollen, pet dander and smoke, than standard fiberglass filters.

Have your gas furnace inspected on an annual basis by a professional home-heating contractor who follows industry standards for proper maintenance, and make sure he or she checks for the following:

    1. thermostat calibration - an improperly calibrated thermostat will result in too much or too little heat.
    2. heat exchangers - inspecting for cracks and corrosion helps ensure the safe and efficient operation of the furnace.
    3. blower - a clean, well-running blower promotes good filtration.
    4. burners - a professional should judge the characteristics of the flame to determine if there is a potential problem.
    5. manifold gas pressure - proper pressure is needed to control the amount of fuel that reaches the furnace burners.
    6. fan control - ensures that the fan turns on and off at predetermined temperatures to prevent the house from becoming too hot or too cold.
    7. high limit control - this is the furnace's main way of preventing overheating and possible damage to the unit.
    8. venting system - all flue connections and elbows should be firmly fitted. There should be no cracks or openings where the flue connects to the chimney or side wall. Also, there should be no obstructions in the flue or chimney.

The American Lung Association has been fighting lung disease for more than 90 years. With the generous support of the public and the help of volunteers, the association has seen many advances against lung disease. Along with its medical section, the American Thoracic Society, the association provides programs of education, community service, advocacy and research. For more information, please call 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit their web site at www.lungusa.org. The American Lung Association does not endorse products.

The Health House Project, a national education project, is raising the standards for healthier indoor environments through its national demonstration homes, training programs for consumers and builders, and educational partnerships and alliances. The Health House Project is developed and managed by the American Lung Association of Minnesota in cooperation with participating local Lung Associations. For more information, visit their web site at www.healthhouse.org. The Health House Project does not endorse products.

3M is a diversified manufacturing company with 1998 sales of $15 billion. Nearing its 100th anniversary, 3M has operations in more than 60 countries around the world and employs more than 73,500 people. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3M manufactures more than 50,000 products for the industrial, commercial, consumer and health care markets.

 

Filtrete Filters From 3M Become Official American Lung Association Health House Partner Return to Top

Goal: educating consumers about indoor air quality

ST. PAUL, Minnesota - April 8, 1998 - The American Lung Association Health House project and 3M have entered into a long-term partnership designed to educate consumers about ways they can improve home air quality. 3M, which manufactures 3M™ Filtrete™ air quality products, is a founding partner of the association's Health House project.

"We are pleased and excited to enter into this educational partnership which is built on our common objective of educating the public about the benefits of cleaner indoor air," said John Garrison, chief executive officer, American Lung Association.

Tighter, better-insulated homes were built in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s. As a result, much of the normal, natural ventilation has been eliminated so many airborne contaminants have become trapped in the homes without an adequate means for their removal.

"The Health House project is dedicated to raising the standards for healthier indoor environments," Jerry Orr, executive director, American Lung Association, Hennepin County, Minn., and creator of the Health House concept, explained.

The educational partnership involves all Filtrete air filters for residential heating and cooling systems and room air conditioners, as well as bags and filter systems for vacuum cleaners.

"This relationship is a natural fit for 3M and the users of our products," Mark Farmer, business manager, 3M Air Quality and Energy Saving Products, said. "Our goal is to provide innovative technologies which help improve indoor air quality. The Filtrete filter technology was designed specifically to help reduce the amount of small particles that can be continually recirculated in the indoor air we breath.

The 3M™ Filtrete™ Micro Particle and Airborne Allergen Reduction Filter for residential heating and cooling systems is up to 30 times better than ordinary fiberglass filters at capturing the micro particles and airborne allergens in the air, such as dust, pet dander, bacteria, mold and smoke. This Filtrete filter meets the American Lung Association Health House project's indoor air quality guidelines for a healthier living environment. It will be used in upcoming Health House demonstration sites in New Hampshire and Arizona.

The American Lung Association has been fighting lung disease for more than 90 years. With the generous support of the public and the help of volunteers, the association has seen many advances against lung disease. Along with its medical section, the American Thoracic Society, the association provides programs of education, community service, advocacy and research. For more information, please call 1-800-LUNG-USA, or visit their web site at www.lungusa.org

The Health House project, a national education project, is raising the standards for healthier indoor environments through its national demonstration homes, consumer and builders' training programs, and educational partnerships and alliances. The Health House project is developed and managed by the American Lung Association of Minnesota, in cooperation with local participating Lung Associations.

3M is a diversified manufacturing company with 1997 sales of $15.1 billion. Nearing its 100th anniversary, 3M has operations in more than 60 countries around the world and employs more than 75,000 people. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3M manufactures more than 50,000 products for the industrial, commercial, consumer and health care markets.