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3 Major Reasons Air Quality Tests Fail

Clean AirAt DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., it is our mission to ensure that the air you’re breathing is clean and pure. Our indoor air quality experts provide top-of-the-line Air Quality, Moisture Monitoring and Mould Assessment Services as just a few of the many ways that we seek to keep your breathing air as pollutant-free as possible. Testing your breathing air is obviously an important step in ensuring the health and safety of your loved ones and co-workers.

Whether it is your home or office, any property that you spend a significant amount of time in should be tested for its air quality. As you’re probably aware, air quality isn’t exactly something you can test with the naked eye – or naked nose for that matter! While odour is often a telltale sign of an unclean airspace, there a number of other factors that contribute to failed air quality tests. Here are three major ones.

1. High humidity. Moisture is one of the top factors in the development of mould and other irritants to our respiratory system. The more humidity found in an area, the greater the chances of there being negative health effects. On CubeSensors.com, Alja Isakovic explains that high humidity can create a feeling of stale air that can make your hair frizzy. “That’s because more humidity in the air means your sweat is not evaporating as fast as it usually does,” she writes.

She goes on to note, however, that a high degree of humidity can have serious side effects. Among them are sleeping problems and the aforementioned development of moulds, as well as harmful bacteria and dust mites. “And moulds are not just an eye sore,” Isakovic reminds us, “They release mould spores into the air you breathe throughout the day. Some of these spores can trigger allergies, asthma attacks, irritate your eyes, nose or throat, and bring on a whole bunch of other respiratory problems.”

2. High carbon dioxide. We all know that we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. And there’s a reason for that. We’re expelling air that the body does not require. If there are high traces of carbon dioxide in your breathing air, it could be a sign that the area is not well ventilated. However, the small concentration that results from our breathing isn’t considered dangerous. Of course, carbon dioxide isn’t only created by the air that we expel into the atmosphere.

“There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions,” explains the What’s Your Impact? blog, “Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.” If you work in these fields, it is important to monitor the air quality of your working environments as carbon dioxide can be dangerous in high concentrations.

3. High carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide doesn’t need high concentrations to be dangerous. This gas can be deadly within minutes. Because it is odourless, colourless and tasteless, it is practically impossible to detect without a professional inspection. As SilentShadow.org explains it, “once carbon monoxide has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, thus killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen.”

Carbon monoxide is arguably the most alarming reason for an air quality test to fail. The presence of this gas in your home or office requires immediate attention. “The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream,” informs SilentShadow.org, “When breathed in, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen which cells need to function.” As a result, flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells and confusion can occur.

Let’s ensure the safety of your breathing air. For more information about the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Answering Questions About Abrasive Blasting And Our Breathing Air

20130318_152649It should go without saying that clean breathing air is a necessity for all of us to live healthfully. Now that we’ve gotten the obvious out of the way, it’s important to tackle an important issue for many Canadians. And it’s something that’s not so obvious. Just how clean is our breathing air? The truth is, it’s different for everyone. And oftentimes, the differences lie in our lines of work. Do you work in an industry where compressed air is required?

Sand blasters and painters are two vocations that are examples of jobs where compressed air may be necessary. According to Medline Plus, abrasives manufacturing, glass manufacturing, mining, quarrying, road and building construction and stone cutting also fall into that category. And what do each of these jobs have in common? They each commonly involve some form of abrasive blasting that uses compressed air. This brings up some important questions.

Firstly, what is compressed air exactly? “Compressed air is a gas, or a combination of gases, that has been put under greater pressure than the air in the general environment,” informs WhatIs.com. The site goes on to explain that compressed air can be used in a variety of applications that include everything from jackhammers and tire pumps to air rifles and even aerosol cheese. It is widely used because of its ability to be a “clean, inexpensive, and infinitely renewable energy source.”

Secondly, what exactly does abrasive blasting do? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or the CDC) defines abrasive blasting as a technique that forcefully projects “a stream of abrasive particles onto a surface, usually with compressed air or steam. Because silica sand is commonly used in this process, workers who perform abrasive blasting are often known as sandblasters.” That brings up another important question.

What is silica? As Medline Plus explains it, “Silica is a common, naturally-occurring crystal. It is found in most rock beds. Silica dust forms during mining, quarrying, tunneling, and working with certain metal ores. Silica is a main part of sand, so glass workers and sand-blasters are also exposed to silica.” Now that we’ve answered a bunch of important questions, one more query needs answering.

How does all of this impact our breathing air? Inhaling silica can cause silicosis. “When workers inhale the crystalline silica used in abrasive blasting, the lung tissue reacts by developing fibrotic nodules and scarring around the trapped silica particles,” explains the CDC, “This fibrotic condition of the lung is called silicosis. If the nodules grow too large, breathing becomes difficult and death may result.”

This is why it’s so important for sand blasters, painters and other workers of similar professions to wear air respirators while doing their jobs. Respirators protect such individuals from inhaling harmful dusts, fumes, vapours and gases. But what about the quality of the air once the job has been completed? How do you know when it is safe to enter an area where abrasive blasting has taken place?

As you can imagine, it’s important for the quality of our breathing air to be tested. And at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly suggest that you allow the professionals to inspect the air for you. We offer top-quality Air Quality Services that thoroughly test the indoor air quality of your home or office. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Examining The Impact Of Marijuana Grow-Ops On Air Quality

Depositphotos_48013807_xsWhen buying a new home or renting a new office space to conduct business, most Canadians have a “must-have” list containing points they feel the need to check off. An open concept, several bathrooms and a functional kitchen are just a few of the “must-haves” that often make these lists. However, there is a very important necessity that often goes overlooked by many property seekers. And it’s likely because it’s a necessity that they can’t see.

Good air quality. There’s no question that clean breathing air is a must-have in any environment that you plan on living or working in. It should go without saying that healthy living dictates that you regularly breathe in clean air. But how do you know that the air quality of your new property is up to par? After all, do you know who inhabited your property before you took ownership of it? You may be surprised to know what took place there before you discovered it.

Yvonne Zacharias of The National Post reveals that more properties are used for marijuana growing-operations than you may assume. Grow-ops, she writes, is becoming a growing problem in British Columbia, where there are over 1,300 licensed grow-ops in the city of Surrey alone. Whether or not the grow-op is legal isn’t the biggest problem, Zacharias points out. It’s the air quality of the surrounding areas that has become the main issue.

“Several Metro Vancouver municipalities are having to deal with a crop of complaints from residents over the smell from medical marijuana-growing operations,” she reports, “Burnaby, Langley Township, Maple Ridge and Surrey have had to grapple with the problem. Last year, Surrey shut down three grow-ops for odour and forced four others to clean up their act, using a nuisance bylaw as ammunition.”

The most noticeable problem with B.C.’s grow-ops, Zacharias highlights, is the smell. She reveals that “Langley Township recently introduced a bylaw that would permit bylaw officers to issue tickets of up to $500 a day for foul smells from these production facilities.” But as annoying as the smell of marijuana grow-ops can be to neighbours, the health effects that these facilities can have on future residents is even more alarming.

Arguably, the biggest ramification of a former grow-op is the presence of mould. In order to grow marijuana, a facility requires a high degree of humidity and moisture. These are two of the best conditions for mould to grow. Complete with round-the-clock grow-lights and regular supplies of water, marijuana grow-ops are ideal places for mould to develop. The hotter and more humid the grow-op, the more likely it is that mould will form in the warped wood and drywall among other spots.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, there are some tell-tale signs that your property may have formerly been a marijuana grow-op. They include modified ductwork that doesn’t seem to make sense; circular holes in floor joists or roof trusses from venting; chunks of brickwork on the exterior that have been replaced and brown stains in soffits, created by external venting, or brand-new soffits.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we employ a team of trained individuals with a strong understanding of Indoor Air Quality. If there are signs of a former grow-op in your new property, our team will find them. We offer Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services that include thorough inspections of your home or office. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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