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Asbestos-Related Cancers Are Costing Canadians $1.7 Billion A Year

Concept of national healthcare system - Canada$1.7 billion. It’s a gross understatement to say that that’s a lot of money. But, indeed, it’s the whopping amount that it is costing Canadians to address asbestos-related cancers each year. As reported by Tavia Grant of The Globe and Mail, the Institute for Work & Health has conducted a study that found that an average of $818,000 per case is being spent by Canadians for health care costs stemming from lung cancer and mesothelioma due to work-related asbestos exposure.

As Tim Povtak explains on Asbestos.com, “researchers included the costs of treating mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, administration expenses, patients’ out-of-pocket costs, caregiving wages, workers’ compensation and employers’ costs to replace absent workers, among other economic burdens.” Grant informs that asbestos continues to be the top cause of occupational deaths in Canada.

Over the past couple of months, our blog has been addressing the need for Canada to implement an absolute ban on asbestos. As of yet, the federal government is yet to follow through on its plans to announce the ban. Although no longer exported, asbestos is still being imported into the country. Meanwhile, the statistics about Canadian workers being affected by asbestos in their workplaces makes clear that it is a dangerous substance.

It’s unknown what the holdup is. Grant reminds us that on May 10th of this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government was “moving forward on a ban”, acknowledging that the impact the material has on working Canadians is far too hazardous to justify the benefits of using it. The new Institute for Work & Health study found a total of 2,099 diagnosed cases of mesothelioma in 2011.

Grant notes that the asbestos-related cancer is bound to continue to impact Canadians at even greater rates going forward. “The study noted that new cases are likely to grow in the near future due to long latency periods of these diseases and continued exposure,” she informs, “The key question the analysis sought to answer is what the savings to society would be if no cases of cancer attributable to occupational asbestos exposures occurred in a particular year.”

Dr. Emile Tompa is a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health. “When you see the magnitude of the cost, it makes you aware there is a need to take action,” Potvak quotes him as saying, “I think you’ll also see an increase in the number of cases for a few more years because of the long latency period with asbestos cancers. We often think about how much will it cost to find substitutes [for asbestos], or how much it will cost to change production. But the cost of doing nothing is substantially higher.”

Dr. Tompa points out that the Canadian Cancer Society-funded study looked at both direct and indirect costs related to asbestos exposure in the workplace. Health care costs for mesothelioma were found to run at $46,000 per case while lung cancer costs about $28,000 a case. “Often times, the health-care costs are very low because the fatality rates are extremely high following diagnosis. Most of these people don’t survive a year,” Grant quotes Dr. Tompa as saying.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we firmly believe in a nationwide ban on asbestos. Understanding its dangers, we are highly committed to offering the best in Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. We recommend that you allow us to provide asbestos testing prior to your plan to perform any renovations to your home or office. This will protect you from the deadly effects of this well-known hazardous substance.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Prevent Mould And Mildew Growth In Your Home

worker with helmet, gloves and mask spraying ceiling with spray bottle on wooden vintage ladder, bottom viewCanada doesn’t get enough credit for its hot and sunny summers, does it? Our country is most often associated with wintery imagery and the stereotypes that we all live in igloos! The truth, however, is that our summers can be quite warm and humid. And humidity, as we all should know, is the cause of excess moisture. And when excess moisture seeps into our homes, it can be the cause of mould and mildew growth.

How can you prevent mould and mildew growth in your home? Here are three ways:

1. Repair all of the moisture problems that you can find. Mould and mildew spores have the ability to travel through the outdoor air and into your home. They gravitate towards moist surfaces, so it’s important to prevent leaks and spills. That means that you’ll need to repair any holes in your roof, leaky pipes and cracks in the walls. It’s also wise to replace old air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.

According to HorizonServicesInc.com, it’s important to not neglect your basement when searching for moisture problems. “If water and moisture accumulates in concrete slabs and basement walls, you may need to install a sump pump or dehumidifier,” the site recommends, “Don’t procrastinate…delays may have devastating consequences.”

2. Increase the air circulation throughout the home. Take advantage of the summertime by opening up your windows each and every day. Feel free to use fans as well. That way, you’ll be able to move the warm air around to all the areas of your home. Be sure to use the fans that your home is already equipped with too. That means that your exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchens should be active, especially during bathing and cooking.

On MoldBlogger.com, Jonathan reminds us of the importance of exhaust fans. “Your foggy mirror isn’t the worst problem you’ll have if you don’t use the fan during your shower,” he writes, “The moisture in the air is getting into every nook and cranny, the kind of places that are very hard to clean, even if you do notice the mould growing there. Exhaust fans help minimize the moisture level in the bathroom as well as the possibility of growing mould.”

3. Become a mopping and wiping master. Don’t allow for spills, drips and leaks to form into puddles that linger around your home. It’s imperative that you clean up all areas of wetness that may develop. This is especially important for wet carpets. The moisture can seep into the floor beneath the carpet and present mould and mildew issues that you can’t see. In fact, it’s best to remove carpets and replace them with hardwood floors.

HorizonServicesInc.com explains how bleach can be used as an effective killer of mould and mildew. “Floors, counters, window sills, appliances and kitchens and bathroom fixtures should be cleaned regularly with not just soap or detergent but an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent,” says the site, “One containing ammonia bleach is your best bet for overall effectiveness. But be careful — bleach can damage surfaces, clothing and skin, especially if you use it straight and don’t dilute. Be sure to wear gloves and protect yourself and surfaces from splatters.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we proudly offer Mould Assessment Services that thoroughly inspect your home or office for moisture sources that could produce mould and mildew. By inspecting building envelop failures, looking for leakage issues and detecting occupant-based moisture problems, we help our clients to avoid the major health risks associated with mould and mildew growth.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Canadians Unhappy With Delay On Asbestos Ban

Grunge rubber stamp with text Danger Asbestos,vector illustrationOver the course of the last couple of months, we have dedicated a number of blogs to the horrifying effects of asbestos exposure in Canada. It’s no secret that the once-thought-to-be-helpful product is a major culprit for causing lung cancer and mesothelioma. The bottom line is that asbestos is a killer. Canada needs to ban it completely and it needs to be banned immediately. To be honest, we were hoping that we’d have news of a nationwide ban by now.

Last month, we blogged about the fact that Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was moving towards passing a law to ban asbestos in Canada. As of yet, it hasn’t happened. And, as Kathleen Ruff reports in the Ottawa Citizen, this slow move to go ahead with the ban is as good as a broken pledge. “It is inexplicable that at UN meetings, the Trudeau government’s position is that it has not made up its mind whether chrysotile asbestos should be put on the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances,” she writes.

Ruff also makes sure to highlight the fact that asbestos is the “biggest killer of Canadian workers”. So while the Trudeau government has taken steps to prohibit its use at Public Works and Government Services Canada workplaces, it has yet to pull Canada from the asbestos trade. In fact, Canada was the lone country to not list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance at the recent Rotterdam Convention. And according to Ruff, this is having “serious consequences”.

“The Rotterdam Convention is in deep crisis and fighting for its life and Canada is the country that created this crisis,” she insists, “Countries are asking what use is the convention if a tiny handful of countries can thumb their noses at the scientific evidence and refuse to allow a substance to be listed in order to hide its hazards and profit from its sale.”

For the record, chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used form of the hazardous substance and has often been used as insulation in roofs, ceilings, walls and floors. It was also commonly used in automobile brake linings, pipe insulation, gaskets and boiler seals. As you can imagine, it can be quite profitable to deal in chrysotile asbestos. As such, Ruff believes that Canada has outright lied about its knowledge of the product’s harmful effects.

She notes that the reasons that Canada chose not to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance include that it has not been proven to cause cancer and that it can be safely used. But these statements are blatantly false, Ruff affirms, noting that “Canada for decades funded and disseminated this false information overseas. It is unconscionable that Canada is regurgitating this deadly, false information now.”

Perhaps, the most glaring evidence that Canada is on the side of wrong on this issue is the fact that it’s the only country to not have listed chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance. “The most recent meeting to try to save the Convention has been taking place in Riga, Latvia from July 3 to July 5,” Ruff informs, “Now is a critical moment for Canada to end its sordid global asbestos-promoting history.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we certainly support Ruff’s stance on wanting Canada to ban asbestos nationwide. Our commitment to keeping Canadians safe is one of the reasons we offer Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. By providing asbestos testing prior to your plan to perform renovations, you will be protecting yourself from the deadly effects of this well-known hazardous substance.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Keeping Your Indoor Air Quality Healthy This Summer

A young woman is standing in the doorway of her kitchen and is looking at the garden at sunriseAre you enjoying the summer yet? While not every day is a sunny one, the time of year when the weather is at its warmest is certainly here. Warm and sunny days are usually associated with summertime but, of course, we’re bound to experience our damp and rainy ones as well. Our neighbours, here in Calgary, Alberta know exactly what we mean. And because the summer isn’t without its rainy days, it’s important to know how our health can be affected by them.

Are rainy summer days bad for our health? Not necessarily. However, as AdvantaClean.com points out, “outdoor humidity and summer storms can carry damp air indoors. Damp air can bring on asthma symptoms and encourages dust, mould and mildew growth, so keep your doors and windows closed on those days.” There are also other weather conditions associated with summer than can present some health issues.

A combination of heat, humidity and wind can make for some air quality problems. When they all combine with pollution emissions, high levels of ozone can form near the ground. And this can be the cause of some harmful health hazards. Such a situation is referred to as an Ozone Action Day. Weather Underground explains further.

“Local air quality experts (usually meteorologists) use air quality computer models, weather data, measurements of pollution levels, and local experience to come with a daily air pollution forecast,” explains the website, “When this forecast indicates that high temperatures, light winds, no rain, and/or a wind direction blowing in polluted air from another area will combine to cause ozone levels in excess of the federal standards, an Ozone Action Day is declared.”

What can be done to limit ground ozone during Ozone Action Days? Controlling auto emissions is especially important on such days. Drivers should seek to significantly limit idling their cars and avoid any unnecessary driving. If possible, take public transportation instead of your own car to your destination or consider walking or riding a bike if the distance isn’t too great. You’ll also want to avoid the use of lawn mowers and outdoor grills until after 6:00pm.

How can indoor air quality be improved on Ozone Action Days? While at home, limit your use of aerosol cans. You’ll also want to conserve energy by turning off or unplugging any electrical devices that are not in use. It’s also wise to keep all of your windows and doors shut. Wait until those windy days to open them up so that the stagnant indoor air can properly circulate with the fresh air from outside.

What else can be done to keep indoor air quality healthy during the summer? “Good ventilation is the easiest way to improve indoor air quality,” states AdvantaClean.com, “A thorough air duct cleaning right before you kick your air conditioning into high gear isn’t a bad idea. Weatherizing your home against air leakage is a good idea as well, both to prevent unwanted moisture from coming in and to keep utility bills low.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re experts in the field of indoor air quality. If you have any concerns about the quality of the air you’re breathing in your home this summer, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Be sure to ask us about our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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