Chemical Injury / MCS Instruction Guide and F.A.Q
MCS Customers rest assured we will make certain our units help you breathe in cleaner air but also that the materials in our units will not aggravate your Chemical Injury / Multiple Chemical Sensitivities symptoms
The carbon kit works for most of our MCS clients. However, you may want to consult a naturopath, who can test your particular level of sensitivity with specialized techniques and equipment or with a muscle stress test.
Your carbon test kit includes six blends of high quality virgin activated carbon in granular form. These are the blends that have been shown to be most popular and effective for MCS customers. The goal is to determine the best carbon blend for you. Some may aggravate your condition, others may be tolerable. It is quite possible that you won’t have a reaction at all to any of the samples; however, we believe in a proactive approach to bringing you relief. We thereby recommend the following testing procedure:
6 step procedure to determine which carbon sample is best suited for you
Open one container. It’s important to open only one sample at a time. It does not matter which container you start with.
Keep the sample at the approximate distance you would keep your air purifier (at least 12 inches away from your nose). You can, however, bring the sample closer, while inhaling 2-3 times, for a more concentrated effect. Leave the open container close to you for about 20 minutes and breathe normally. You can leave it open for a few hours if your reactions are typically slow to appear. Keep in mind that the Carbon Test Kit has traveled a distance and that there will be small traces of carbon dust. Inhaling the dust can cause a reaction.
Assess your response to the carbon blend. Keep track by writing down notes. Remember, you may not react to the blend in any way. It is recommended to give each carbon sample, one at a time, a rating of 1 to 10 (1 being least offensive).
Close the container. Take a break by going outside for 5 to 10 minutes before proceeding with the next sample.
Repeat steps 1 to 4 until you have evaluated all six samples. Choose the blend that you tolerate best and mark it down below. If you did not have a reaction to the samples and are unsure as to which blend to choose, contact one of our Air Quality Experts (1-888-852-8247).
Report your results to one of our Air Quality Experts (1-888-852-8247) or your authorized AllerAir dealer. When you place your unit order, the price of the Carbon Test Kit will be deducted from the purchase price of the unit – kindly remind your contact person.
Chemical Injury / MCS Test Kit - F.A.Q
Here is a compilation of the most commonly asked questions regarding our test kit that we send to you before hand so that we can choose the most optimal filter for your needs and one that will not upset your MCS / Chemical Injury conditions.
I am sensitive to synthetic fragrances and detergents, but I do not think that I have MCS – is there a way for me to tell?
There are many possible reasons why you might react to common household products and fragrances. One of the first steps is to go see your doctor and get tested for allergies. You should also gather as much information as possible on MCS, its symptoms and possible causes. We have compiled a list of resources at the end of the booklet. Keep a record of your reactions, symptoms, suspected culprits and any other observations that can make a diagnosis easier.
Does the MCS test kit tell me if I have MCS?
The Carbon Test Kit has been designed to help you decide which carbon blend is the most tolerable for you if you already know that you are chemically sensitive. It is not a test for MCS. It is, however, a useful tool to make sure that you can tolerate the carbon in the air purifier.
How do I use the MCS Carbon Test Kit?
When we send a Carbon Test Kit to your home, we include a sheet with instructions that outlines a 6-step process to evaluate the carbon samples. You should test only one container at a time and take a break in between samples, by going for a short walk outside, for example. Assess each sample individually and mark down your rating in terms of tolerance. The test kit will help you determine which carbon blend works best for you.
If I react to all samples, can I send the test kit back?
The Carbon Test Kit is a final purchase and cannot be returned. You will, however, get the full price of the test kit deducted from the purchase price of your air purifier once you place your order. Kindly remind the Air Quality Expert that is assisting you.
What do I do if none of the carbon blends work for me?
If you have extreme chemical allergies and react to the faintest odors, you may have a reaction to all of the carbon blends in the test kit. Try keeping the carbon samples at the same distance that you would keep your air purifier and see if that makes a difference. When we prepared the kit for you, we chose the carbons that are most popular and effective with MCS clients. We believe that there are no better carbon blends on the market to help remove the chemicals in your environment. That is why we recommend you choose the carbon blend that is the least offensive to you. Otherwise, you may have to rely on source control to reduce your exposure to offensive chemicals and odors
What is the difference between granular and pellet form for the activated carbon? Which one do you have?
Activated carbon in granular or pellet form is made from the same material, and both types boast remarkable adsorption abilities. Granular activated carbon is the raw form of the filtration media, while pellets have been pressed into their shape. AllerAir offers both versions, but most of our units feature granular activated carbon. It depends on the availability and choice of air purifier. In all, AllerAir can fill their units with 40 different carbon blends. And don’t forget, since activated carbon is made from organic matters, including coal or wood, each batch is different – but the adsorbent properties remain.
My doctor told me I can use only peat moss carbon. Do you make peat moss carbon?
AllerAir used to offer peat moss carbon in their air purifiers. After listening to customers’ preferences, including MCS clients, the company gradually moved away from peat moss to other types of activated carbon (including our popular Vocarb blend that tackles VOC's and a carbon-zeolite blend that proved to be one of the least offensive carbons for chemically sensitive customers).
What is the difference between your MCS models and your AirMedic Pro 5 Exec?
AllerAir’s AirMedic Pro 5 Exec is one of our most popular general purpose air cleaning units. It is a great choice for people concerned with odors, chemicals, gases and particles. AllerAir units feature all-metal housings and easy-clean pre-filters.
AirMedic Pro 5 Exec: 18 pounds of carbon, 2.5 inch depth, Super HEPA filter
For people with MCS, AllerAir has developed units with even more inert materials to ensure that off-gassing is kept to a minimum. The filter canisters have a powder-coated finish and the motors are burned-in (they are kept running for two days to take out the most offensive new-motor smells). The units are easily identifiable because they feature the word “MCS” in their title:
AirMedic Pro 5 MCS: 15 pounds of carbon, 2 inch depth, Super HEPA filter,
AirMedic Pro 5 D MCS: 24 pounds of carbon, 3 inch depth, Super HEPA wrap (less binder than Super HEPA filter)
What do I do to see if I have a reaction to my new air purifier?
It is not uncommon for MCS customers to notify us of odors being emitted by their custom-made AllerAir air purifiers. One of the most common mistakes people make when they first get their air purifier is to get very close to the air vent to inhale the cleaned air and measure their reaction. However, AllerAir does not recommended getting too close to the air vent, since the air blowing onto the skin may cause a very faint odor. It has been found that all skin (no matter how clean!) emits VOC's. These VOC's include a large number of volatiles that can be listed as carboxylic acids, aldehydes, alcohols or ketones (Bernier et al., 2000). When the air is blowing onto your skin, this is what you may be reacting to if you are chemically sensitive. For that reason, we recommend keeping a reasonable distance when trying out a new air purifier. Simply plug it in and leave it running on the lowest setting – the lowest setting is the most effective for the removal of airborne gases, chemicals and odors with the help of activated carbon.
If the unit is giving off a distinct odor that you are sure isn’t from yourself (because you are standing away from the exhaust and not right up against it), then it is important to note that it is possible for approximately 1 percent of some faint odor to make its way through the unit – especially in a heavily polluted location. However, your AllerAir unit is also adsorbing a plethora of odors from your ambient air. The net result of this air purifier will be extremely beneficial.
What do I do when I first get my air purifier?
Our units are designed to make it easy for you. Many models are fully operational when you take them out of the box – simply plug the unit in, set it to high and let it run for 1-5 minutes. After the elapsed time, set the unit on low speed and keep it at that speed all the time. If you opted for a very deep carbon bed for extra protection against chemicals and odors, then the unit may be too heavy to be shipped in one box and it has to be assembled before use. Instructions are included in the shipment.
In order to fully benefit from your AllerAir unit, you must leave your air purifier on 24 hours a day. It is also important to keep the unit at least 4-6 feet away from your face at all times. For people with multiple chemical sensitivities, AllerAir recommends letting the air purifier run on the lowest setting in a closed room for seven days or more before using it in the area where they spend most of their time. This is to ensure that all of the new part smells are gone and won’t trigger a reaction.
Will the motor of the MCS have that new motor smell?
A brand new motor often emits an odor when the electrical parts and wiring heat up for the very first time. Before sending you the unit, AllerAir keeps the motor running for 48 hours to reduce the new motor smell. For people with multiple chemical sensitivities, AllerAir recommends letting the air purifier run on the lowest setting in a closed room for seven days or more before using it in the area where they spend most of their time. This is to ensure that the new motor smells are gone and won’t trigger a reaction.
Do you make the MCS model for 220 V?
Yes, all of our MCS models are available for 115/60Hz or 230/50Hz. The standard model is for 110 V, so if you want the one for 220 V, please make a special mention when you place your order.
Is your MCS model good for ordinary people, too?
Yes, our MCS models are powerful air filtration systems that use the safest, proven technologies to remove odors, chemicals, gases, dust and particles as well as biological contaminants from the air.
Can I change my MCS filters for ordinary filters if my MCS goes away?
Yes, you are free to change your filters once you feel it is safe to do so. All of our filters are very effective in removing a wide range of contaminants from the air.
Another company advertised an MCS unit, but it was plastic -- how does the AllerAir machine compare to that product?
AllerAir units feature all-metal housings and do not contain Styrene or Styrofoam. The MCS units feature the most inert materials possible, including powder-coated filter canisters and organic, unbleached cotton pre-filters. The motors are burned in and sealed to combat any new motor smell.
Plastic housings and other synthetic materials such as Styrene and Styrofoam often emit VOC's through off-gassing. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The powder-coated filter canisters used by AllerAir do not emit an odor, as paint has been shown to do. Other pre-filters may have been treated or bleached and could emit odor-causing chemicals. At AllerAir, we look at every possible element of an air purifier to make sure it can best do its job without disturbing you.
Do you use any plastic or glue in the MCS model?
AllerAir takes care to use the least amount of plastic in its models to reduce the chances of off-gassing. All the housings are made out of metal. The filters are locked in place with metal caps that press against the inside gaskets on either side to form a perfect seal. The filter canisters are powder-coated for an odorless finish.
Only the 2-inch swivel casters and control knobs are made out of plastic – because there is no way around it. Metal wheels could damage floors and be very noisy when you move the unit. In addition, most electrical household units feature plastic power knobs.
AllerAir units don’t use glue or binder unless absolutely necessary. Super HEPA filters are held together by a small amount of binder. For people with extreme sensitivities, AllerAir suggests Super HEPA filter in all MCS units, since they capture fine particles, do not off gas and features no binding materials unlike regular HEPA filter.
Do you guarantee that I will be helped with this machine?
Our air purifiers feature the deepest carbon beds on the market and proven technologies to remove a wide range of odors, chemicals and gases as well as particles from the air, but it does not constitute a medical treatment. In fact, the information contained in this booklet is not meant to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure a disease or condition. You should always consult a physician when you feel unwell.
However, if you know that you react to chemicals and odors, then an air purifier is a great tool to help reduce the chemical count in your environment, along with many other measures you need to take to make your living space as healthy as possible. We have added helpful tips at the end of the booklet. We invite you to read our testimonials and reach out to the MCS community to see how air purifiers have brought relief to others.
What is the best way to use my AllerAir machine to get relief?
Use the machine in the room where you spend most of your time. For example, create a “safe zone” in your bedroom and keep the unit running on the lowest setting. AllerAir’s air purifiers are very energy-efficient and they are most effective when they run on the lowest setting because it gives the air more time to make its way through the carbon filter. The longer the dwell time, the higher are the chances that pollutants will get trapped. If you want, you can move the air purifier around the house on the wheels. That way, it can clean the air in your living room during the day and keep it clean at night in your bedroom. Position it close to the middle of the room or as close to the source of contaminants as possible.
Are UV lamps good for MCS – I heard that they can smell?
In general, UV lamps are a good addition to an air purifier because they neutralize the live contaminants that pass through the rays, including bacteria and viruses. However, they may not be a good choice for people with multiple chemical sensitivities because they do give off a slight odor when in use. If you know that you react to the slightest odors, then it is better to forego the UV technology.
Do you use any plastic and Styrofoam when packaging the MCS model?
AllerAir is committed to use the least amount of plastic and absolutely no Styrofoam in their air purifiers, but in order to send it toyour home intact, it needs to be packaged properly. So yes, we use Styrofoam when packaging the unit. If you are very sensitive to the Styrofoam, we recommend unpacking the unit outside or in the garage and disposing of the packaging material right away. Often, people with MCS enlist someone else’s help to unpack the unit and move it to the desired space. They can wait a few hours to let it purify the air before they come back. Often, they can tell the difference right away!
Do I still need to use non-VOC products if I have an AllerAir machine?
An AllerAir machine will do its part to remove chemicals and odors in your indoor environment, but you still need to practice source control and keep your indoor space as clean as possible. Whether you suffer from MCS or not, we always recommend choosing the healthiest and most natural products possible in indoor environments. This applies to cleaning agents, personal care products, paints, construction materials, furniture and even food! In terms of smaller products, look at all the ingredients before you buy anything and make sure you know which ingredients to avoid at all costs. When it comes to larger products, talk to the manufacturers to make sure it is a good choice for you.
I am looking for a whole home MCS model. Can you recommend anything?
For best results, we recommend keeping a portable air purifier on a low setting, in the room(s) you frequent the most. However, if you have forced air circulation in your home, you may want to install one MCS unit in the basement, so that the system circulates cleaner air. AllerAir offers air purification units that can be attached to the HVAC system; it might be a good additional option for your home.
Someone told me that HEPA is bad for MCS. I have severe allergies and need a pollen filter -- does AllerAir manufacture an MCS allergy filter or only a chemical filter?
We are proud of our deep beds of activated carbon, which have been proven to be most efficient in adsorbing airborne chemicals. The carbon does not filter particles, however, so we combine it with a Super HEPA filter, the most efficient filter media for pollen and particles. Super HEPA filters are held together without any glue / binding agent. Some people with severe MCS may react to it's various binding agents.Super HEPA is an odorless filter that uses no binding agent.
How do AllerAir units compare to the competition?
Many competing products claim to use HEPA and carbon filtration, AllerAir air purifiers feature the most carbon, the most customizable options (such as a UV lamp and custom carbon blends) and the best value for money. Super HEPA is more resilient, does not off gas since it does not contain any polymers, are binder free. Also unlike regular HEPA, Super HEPA does not contain borosilicate. Super HEPA is an advanced particle filtration tool that cleans the air and does not add any farther chemicals to the air you are trying to clean and this filter is unique and exclusive to AllerAir.
It is always a good question to dig deeper and find out specifics, especially with regards to filtration methods. Some companies may claim that they use activated carbon filters, but it may only be a thin mesh-filter made out of carbon dust, water and glue that will soon be saturated. In order to effectively treat chemicals, odors and gases in the home or office, you need many pounds of granular activated carbon and a deep-bed filter to provide a large surface area for toxins to be adsorbed.