The Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation

Charly-MEACThe Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation is the only non-profit studio of its kind in the state of Maine, helping to restore not only artwork from museums and public collections, but pieces of artwork privately owned by families and individuals as well.  The project is based in Portland, Maine, where they work out of a small studio.  During the conservation process, their artists are exposed to a number of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from the chemicals used in restoration, including acetone, alcohol, naptha, turpentine, methyl-ethyl-ketone, toluene and xylene.  While these chemicals are vital for the restoration of the artwork, they can be irritating or even dangerous when inhaled in high concentration. For years, the project has been searching for an air purifier that would effectively reduce these VOCs from the air and protect their conservators, who were working to restore artwork in order to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Maine.

Bonnie-MEACRabbit Air donated two of our MinusA2 air purifiers to the project, for use in their “in-painting” rooms.  We equipped them with our specialized Toxin Absorber Customized filter, designed to increase the air purifier’s efficiency at removing VOCs from the air.  After running our air purifiers, the project was happy to report that they noticed a significant reduction in VOCs from the air, and they sent along these fantastic pictures of their team and our MinusA2s in action.  We thank the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation for their great work and we look forward to continuing to provide them with cleaner, more breathable air!

How Heat Waves Hurt Air Quality

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1397489While everyone loves a little summer sunshine, when temperatures keep rising dangerous conditions may occur.  Heat waves are more than mere annoyances; they can increase the risk of health concerns from mild conditions such as heat rash to more serious problems such as strokes.  Even when limiting one’s exposure to the sun and heat, heat waves can still create health risks in areas one might not expect.  Air quality can worsen during a heat wave, to the point of becoming deadly in extreme circumstances. When the air is heated, chemicals compounds such as the fumes from our cars combine with the already present nitrogen oxide in the air to create thick layers of smog. The risk for this is particularly strong in urban areas, where there is already a greater concentration of chemical compounds in the air due to larger populations and more industry.

Smog is never healthy to breathe in, and during a heat wave when smog is found in higher concentrations it can cause lung tissue to become inflamed which over time can cause more serious complications. The increase in smog during a heat wave is especially dangerous for those who are suffering from respiratory illness, such as asthma, as it can increase or induce symptoms. During a heat wave, keep your lungs as healthy as possible by avoiding spending time outdoors in highly populated areas.  While in your home, keep an air purifier running that can trap the harmful VOCs from smog, such as our MinusA2 with the Toxin Absorber Customized Filter.  Stay cool, breathe clean air, and avoid direct sun exposure to stay as healthy as you can during a heat wave.

What are VOCs?

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are gasses that are emitted from some solids and liquids. Although VOCs can come from a variety of places, in the home they are typically associated with paint or cleaning products. Many other household substances can release VOCs as well, such as glues, solvent, or fuels. The inhalation of these VOCs can be quite dangerous for your health. In the short term, they can irritate the lungs and cause headaches or nausea, while over time they can cause more serious issues such as damage to the internal organs. It is important to be aware of any VOC emitting substances in your home, and to keep indoor levels of VOCs as low as possible.

Photo by Icekitty37 One of the most important things that you can do to minimize contact with VOCs is to keep your home well ventilated whenever you are actively using a product that emits these gases. When cleaning or painting, make sure to keep windows open and not work in enclosed spaces. Even after these substances have been used, they can still emit VOCs where they have been applied or from their storage containers, so it is important not to forget about them once you put them away.  Make sure to follow all label instructions for storage, and to purchase these products in small quantities so that you do not have large unused amounts sitting in the home for a long time.  To help get rid of VOCs, you can also use an air purifier to help remove these gases from the air. Rabbit Air has a special Toxin Absorber Customized Filter for our MinusA2 air purifier that is specially designed to capture harmful VOC emissions. Protect yourself and your family by keeping smart about VOCs and their harmful side effects.