Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Demystifying household chemicals: Xylene

Xylene is found in many different types of paint
"Demystifying household chemicals" is a series that aims to inform people on the types of chemicals found in and around our homes. The series will be featured every Wednesday where a different chemical, and its everyday uses, will be discussed.

When we buy cleaning products, or even recreational goods for the home, we rarely know what the ingredients on the labels mean.

Is this ingredient toxic? Is repeated exposure putting me and my family at risk? 

These are questions many of us ask ourselves when deciding what to buy.

Xylene is a common chemical found in many cleaning and recreational products, but few people know what it is.

This chemical, also called dimethylbenzene or xylol is usually found in a clear, liquid form. Designated as an aromatic hydrocarbon, xylene is an organic compound made of hydrogen and carbon that gives off a sweet odor. In the commercial world, it is often combined with other compounds to make everyday items such as polyester or plastic bottles.

Though this may start to sound overly technical, you might be surprised to know how present this chemical is in our daily lives. 

Xylene may be found, in varying concentrations, in the following products:

  •     Perfumes 
  •      Insect repellents 
  •     Dyes  
  •      Insecticides 
  •      Floor polish 
  •      Liquid and aerosol household cleaners 
  •      Markers, fine point and broad-tipped 
  •      Paint 
  •      Pet flea and tick products, including collars 
  •      Art materials (i.e. clay, water/tempera colors, finger paint…) 
  •      Automobile body polish and cleaners

These everyday materials may not contain large quantities of xylene, but long-term or extensive exposure to it in enclosed spaces can lead to various skin irritations, anemia, depression and even liver problems.

Choosing organic materials when cleaning the house is a far safer option, but if you must use xylene-based products, keep the windows open while engaged in your activities.  Leave them open for another 20 minutes after completing your chores. 

Ensuring a safe home for you and your family

AllerAir's 5000 D Vocarb
Taking precautions when using some of the products above is highly recommended, but using an air purifier, such as AllerAir’s air purifiers for chemical and odor control, will give you the peace of mind necessary to protect you and your family.

These air purifiers can be purchased as is, or customized for our clients' individual needs. The units not only rid the air of odors, but remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles from your indoor space with the help of our HEPA  filters.

Additionally, our special carbon filters adsorb several household chemicals, thereby providing an environment that is safe for you and your family.
Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about xylene? Let us know by posting a message. We’ll be happy to respond.

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For more information on AllerAir’s air purifiers, please visit our website.

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