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Product Review 1 – Allergies & Asthma:

“You are what you Eat, Drink & Breathe” – Feb. 2000–

WESTFIELD:   “A recent study commissioned by The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has found that the number of Americans suffering from allergies is nearly double what had been originally thought,” says Keith Petersen of The Eardly T. Petersen Co. in Westfield. “The study also found that millions of people suffer unnecessarily or rely on medications.”

“Allergies fall broadly into two main categories,” states Mr. Petersen. “They are caused either by what is ingested orally (or, absorbed through the skin) or by what is breathed. In the last few years the acceleration of asthma and allergies has begun to receive increased media attention, and the average person is now much more aware that we are suffering from an international epidemic of allergies and asthma. The difficulty we see is that either through inertia or ignorance (we speak not harshly) the average person is frequently unable to effectively deal with such problems in their own household.”

“Food allergies,” states Mr. Petersen, “are usually caused by a number of food groups that have already been pretty specifically defined. These include milk & dairy products, wheat, sugar, eggs, peanut butter, cocoa, food coloring, corn & related products, preservatives and citrus products.”

“Airborn pollutants – especially indoor pollutants – are now known to be the preponderant cause of allergic respiratory problems – i.e., allergies per se, rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, etc. These difficulties have largely arisen from the fact that the oil energy crisis of some fifteen years ago caused people to better insulate and seal their home and office indoor environments – effectively trapping such pollutants inside. Common indoor pollutants are now recognized to be smoke, pollens, molds, bacteria, animal dander, dust mite parts and feces and chemical gases. The average indoor environment – house, office, school, etc. – is filled with these pollutants. The air indoors is a literal miasma of chemical gases and hundreds of millions of microscopic particles – all breathed in with each breath. We spend about 85% of our time indoors – it’s small wonder that the respiratory complaints are at an epidemic level!”Mr. Petersen states, “Allergic responses in affected individuals can range from mild to severe – even to life-threatening. It is now known, for example, that a mold sensitivity might literally incapacitate an individual who has developed a trigger to what might even be a common, ubiquitous mold. We recently had a customer – a young bodybuilder – with a mold sensitivity relate to us how “One week I was bench-pressing 225 lbs.; the next week I couldn’t get out of bed.” He was helped by using a good air purifier which worked to oxidize the mold.”

“It has even been found that some allergic responses can affect personality behavior or performance, and children labeled dysfunctional or dyslexic in school might only be suffering an allergic reaction to common pollutants found in ordinary school air. A child labeled a “problem” child might simply be experiencing a personality change due to a sensitivity to some particular allergen. An excellent book on airborne and food allergies for children is entitled Is This Your Child’s World? How You can Fix the Schools & Homes that are making Your Children Sick by Dr. Doris Rapp (Bantam Books 1999), and the principles and information contained therein all apply to adults, as well.”

“Many of these problems can be prevented – or, at least, alleviated,” says Mr. Petersen, “by some common-sense approaches. If someone has a suspected food allergy, for example, institute an elimination diet whereby food groups are eliminated and then gradually reintroduced one at a time. This can identify which foods are causing the problem. In respect to indoor (airborne) pollutants, the problem becomes much wider. The variety of such pollutants and the sheer, staggering numbers of them result in what can be a very difficult problem to surmount. Testing for certain airborne allergens can be done; however, a simple, straightforward approach is to realize that the indoor environment is highly polluted – statistics show that it is as much as 5 to 10 times more polluted than the average outdoor environment – and that the need is to effectively clean that indoor environment. This can be accomplished by using a high-quality vacuum designed with a totally sealed system and HEPA filtration. Very few vacuums are engineered to the degree that is needed to completely contain the millions of microscopic particles that are removed during vacuuming. The latest tests show that the Miele vacuum cleaner is such a machine – instead of emitting the tens of millions of tiny, lung damaging pollutants (LDP) every minute of vacuuming as do most vacuum cleaners – the Miele sealed system safely retains them.”Mr. Petersen strongly advocates cleaning the air with a proper air purifier, as well. “Most air purifiers are simple filters of some sort,” he remarks, “and, by their very nature suffer such severe limitations that they are not an effective answer to the air cleaning issue. The indoor environment is too architecturally diverse, there are too many air flow problems, the pollutants are too varied (gases, microbiological contaminants, etc.) and most of the particles are too small (below .3 microns in size) to be effectively removed by filtering devices. The simplest and most effective air purifier on the market today is made by Alpine Industries and, using the same principles by which a thunderstorm cleans the outdoor environment, will very quickly purify an indoor environment. The most popular Alpine model can be “tuned” to clean an indoor environment from 20 square feet to 3,000 square feet for pennies a day – with dramatic results.”

“Drink clean water, as well,” urges Mr. Petersen. “Tap water is undesirable – `way too many contaminants; and, besides, the taste is poor. Bottled water can be uncertain in quality, and there is the expense and transportation effort associated with using it. A good-quality Point-of-Use (POU) Drinking Water System (DWS) in the kitchen will provide the convenience of safe, clean and delightful-tasting water for all your cooking and drinking needs for about 10 to 16 cents a gallon. It is a highly cost-effective antidote to tap or bottled water usage; and, if you like tea or coffee – wait `til you taste your coffee or tea made with fresh, clean water!”For questions on HEPA vacuums & allergies, air purifiers, drinking water systems or related inquiries, please contact The Eardly T. Petersen Co., 224 Elmer St., Westfield, NJ at 908-232-5723; or, e-mail them at or visit their website at