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5 Ways To Treat Yourself To Improved Indoor Air Quality

depositphotos_2428997_s-2015Halloween is almost here! So the idea getting treats, by way of candy, is a hot topic this week. Believe it or not, participating in the annual trick-or-treating festivities can actually good for your indoor air quality. Sort of. You see, during the chillier months of the year, we Canadians tend to keep our doors and windows firmly closed in order to keep the cold out. This promotes the stagnation of our air and the keeping in of indoor air pollutants.

When we open our doors to trick-or-treaters, we allow for some of that stagnant air to circulate with the fresher air from outside. It is recommended that we open the doors and windows for even just a five minute period every day – even when it’s cold outside. This is just one of the things you can do to treat yourself to improved indoor air quality.

Here are five more:

1. Keep your home as neat and tidy as possible. It’s important to take on the habits of a neat freak as often as possible. This will be especially true over the course of the winter when you will be a lot less likely to keep the doors and windows open for long periods of time. Get used to vacuuming, mopping and dusting at least once a week. As well, place door mats at the entrance ways to your home to prevent dirt from entering it. And be sure to ask people to take their shoes off when they come inside – it’s a great Canadian tradition!

2. Monitor your humidity levels. It’s normal for Canadians to turn up the heat in their homes during the winter. But it’s important to remember that with excess heat comes excess humidity. Too much humidity is bad for your indoor air quality because it can produce mould and mildew. On Withings.com, Jonathan Choquel recommends that you keep your home’s humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.

“This will limit the growth of mould and the presence of dust mites that pollute the air,” he explains, “Some moulds produce allergens and mycotoxins – they can have adverse health effects, ranging from allergic reactions (like a stuffy or runny nose, or eye and skin irritations) to asthma attacks, depending on the exact type and amount of mould, and the sensitivity of those exposed. This is true even in non-allergic people.”

3. Filter your air. While it remains important to ventilate your home, extra measures should be taken to remove the air pollutants that can contaminate the air within it. “Portable air cleaners, particularly HEPA filters and electrostatic precipitators, can reduce some air contaminants,” informs the Healthy Canadians website, “HEPA filters collect particle pollutants with a fine filter. But electrostatic precipitators collect pollutants with electrostatic energy, which causes pollution to stick to the filter.”

4. Avoid synthetic fragrances. Most of us associate sweet and fresh smells with cleanliness. However, those air fresheners and laundry soaps that are infused with scents are actually pretty bad for our living environments. Containing harmful volatile organic compounds, these products can do a lot to irritate our eyes, skin and respiratory systems. “Choose fragrance-free products, or products with scents of natural origin for your laundry and cleaning needs,” advises Choquel.

5. Get a professional inspection of your home’s air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that target areas of concern in your home. Our team of trained professionals has a strong understanding of the indoor environment and is therefore able to maximize their inspection processes to ensure all of our clients’ questions about their homes’ indoor air quality are answered.

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

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How Does Cold Weather Worsen Indoor Air Quality?

Beautiful young woman sitting by the window having hot drinkAlthough we’re still in the middle of October, the cold weather has definitely returned. At least, here, in Calgary, the days have certainly gotten a lot chillier. As a result, most of us are turning up the heat in our homes, preparing for another long winter when staying indoors is more commonplace. It is our tendencies to stay inside more often that makes winter a season that wreaks havoc on our indoor air quality.

How does staying inside more often worsen indoor air quality? Considering that most of us prefer to keep warm and toasty during the winter, there is a desire to keep all of our doors and windows shut, even going so far as sealing any cracks in our insulation. And while this helps to eliminate cold drafts from entering our homes, it also seals out any fresh air. As a result, the pollutants in our homes become more concentrated.

What pollutants exist in our homes? Well, there’s certainly a bunch! Household cleaning products produce some of the most common indoor pollutants. Those disinfectants, personal care products and air fresheners that give off “fresh” scents are especially known for containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are hazardous air pollutants. VOCs are also commonly found in paints, varnishes and glues.

If you use any household appliances that use oil, kerosene, gas, coal or wood, you’ve got combustion sources that can produce dangerous levels of pollution. They are especially hazardous if not regularly cleaned and maintained. And those of us with pets are also susceptible to increased levels of indoor air pollution thanks to animal dander and other particles that often cause allergic reactions and asthma triggers.

What are the symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality? If you notice that you’re experiencing headaches, dizziness, fatigue or itchiness of the eyes, nose and/or throat, it could be due to the air pollutants in your home. Asthma sufferers will be especially aware of poor indoor air quality as respiratory issues often result. Naturally, it’s wise to take measures to improve indoor air quality during the coldest months of the year.

How do you improve indoor air quality when it’s cold outside? Sensibly, you should simply rid the home of pollution sources. Reduce gas emissions from the afore mentioned household appliances as much as possible by limiting their use and/or making sure that are very regularly cleaned and maintained. You’ll also want to promote ventilation throughout the home. And yes, this does mean opening the windows every now and again.

You’ll also want to clean very regularly. Stepping up your dedication to vacuuming, dusting and mopping throughout the winter will go a long way in improving the air quality in your home. This is especially true if you have pets, but will also aid in the prevention of mould and mildew growth. Mould can become a problem when the air in the home is too humid. A sign may be the condensation that appears on your windows.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we focus pretty strongly on keeping the indoor air quality of your home at the highest levels possible. If you have any concerns about the quality of the air you’re breathing in your home this winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask about our Air Quality Services. For more information, give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Scary Statistics About Asbestos In Canada

asbestos, red stamp on a grunge paper textureFor the past several months, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has kept a close eye on the asbestos situation in Canada. And by “situation”, we’re referring to the fact that, in May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government was “moving forward on a ban” of the deadly material. To date, there has been no confirmation as to when the nationwide ban on asbestos will take place.

We, along with the rest of Canada, continue to wonder exactly what is taking so long. As Tavia Grant reported in The Globe and Mail yesterday, the government is still “examining” a ban, but is providing few details as to why it hasn’t yet been implemented. Gabriel Miller is the director of public issues at the Canadian Cancer Society. “Our position, and the evidence, is as clear as it can be: that asbestos is a carcinogen that is a major cause of cancer, including lung cancers, that kill many Canadians,” he is quoted as saying.

Asbestos is a killer. The statistics make it clear. Grant, in fact, provides several scary ones. Here are four:

1. It is estimated that there are 2,331 newly diagnosed cancers caused by asbestos exposure in Canada each year. This stat, based on 2011 cases studied by the Institute for Work and Health, underlines the fact that far too many Canadians have been exposed to asbestos fibres while on the job. The majority (90 percent) of lung cancer and mesothelioma cases brought on by asbestos exposure impact men.

2. More than a third of workplace-related deaths in Canada are caused by mesothelioma. This startling statistic comes courtesy of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Over the past decade, reports Grant, 34.5 percent of all fatality claims filed involve the asbestos-induced cancer. Between the years 2006 and 2015, mesothelioma became “the most common occupational disease” in our country.

3. Inexplicably, Canada continues to import millions of dollars worth of asbestos every year. According to Statistics Canada, in the first eight months of 2016, our nation imported a whopping $4.3 million in imports of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. Meanwhile, the Institute for Work and Health notes that asbestos-related cancers cost Canadians an estimated $1.7 billion per year to fight.

4. There are 716 federal buildings with known presences of asbestos. There are 2,186 properties listed in Public Services and Procurement Canada’s new national asbestos inventory. This statistic shows that approximately one-third of them are unsafe for Canadians to work in. It’s no wonder that mesothelioma cases are dramatically increasing each year. According to Statscan, there were 467 deaths related to the disease in 2012 – a 60 percent increase from 2000.

“This year and every year, 150,000 Canadian workers will be exposed to asbestos, and thousands will be diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers in years to come,” vented Howard Elliot in The Hamilton Spectator yesterday, “We don’t need more study and review. We need national leadership to ban asbestos. Period.” We second that, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd.

We are adamant that even one more Canadian to suffer a life-threatening illness because of asbestos exposure is one too many. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. They include a number of asbestos testing procedures such as an onsite assessment and sampling and analysis of materials collected from various parts of your home or office.

Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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A Nationwide Ban Of Asbestos Is Imminent, Says Minister Of Health

asbestos medical warning sign illustration design over a white backgroundReaders of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog are well aware that we’ve been covering the topic of banning asbestos in Canada for quite a while now. Going as far back as May, we have been monitoring the status of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to eradicate the harmful material from our country. It’s a secret to no one that asbestos fibres are the cause of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other fatal respiratory diseases.

Meanwhile, in spite of ending its production in Canada, we continue to import products that contain asbestos. We join countless other Canadians in looking forward to the official banning of asbestos in our country once and for all. To date, there is still no word from the federal government about an exact date when this proposed ban is to take full effect. And to be perfectly honest, we can’t imagine what the holdup is.

However, earlier this week, Kathleen Ruff reported on RightOnCanada.ca, that Canadians can expect a comprehensive ban on asbestos very shortly. And to continue to be perfectly honest, “very shortly” are our words. Ruff reveals that Jane Philpott, who is Canada’s Minister of Health, has announced that an official ban of asbestos in Canada is imminent. This was confirmed in a message sent to RightOnCanada.

“I don’t have the precise date for a full announcement, but I can say that health and safety of Canadians is a priority for this Government and that we are committed to moving forward with a ban on asbestos in Canada and will announce an updated government strategy in the coming months,” Philpott wrote in her message. Kent Hehr, a Member of Parliament and Minister for Veterans Affairs, has confirmed this declaration.

In a letter to a worker who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, Hehr writes that “the Government of Canada has committed to moving forward on a ban on asbestos. Our government is currently reviewing its strategy on asbestos, including actions that can be taken using a government-wide approach.” This approach, notes Ruff, involves Health Canada officials consulting with officials in other governments that have already banned asbestos.

The objective, it would appear, is to gain a greater understanding of the measures that have been taken to protect different populations from the asbestos that has already been placed in their buildings and infrastructure. The idea, we suppose, isn’t simply to eliminate asbestos from being imported into Canada, but also to learn of how to protect Canadians from any further harm that may be caused by the asbestos that is already here.

“Issues concerning health, occupational safety, workers compensation, building standards, waste disposal, etc. come under provincial jurisdiction in Canada,” Ruff informs, “It is thus extremely important that, in addition to banning asbestos, the federal government show leadership to initiate, along with the provincial governments, national standards and a national program to protect Canadians from asbestos harm.”

As you’re likely aware, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. fully supports a nationwide ban of asbestos. We are very much aware of its harmful effects. It’s the reason we offer Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services which include a number of asbestos testing procedures such as an onsite assessment and sampling and analysis of materials collected from various parts 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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