Our hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas. On behalf of the entire team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to express our sorrow and concern while wishing for a speedy return to safety for all residents of the city that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey in recent days. Now a tropical storm, Harvey is expected to continue to batter Houston and its surrounding areas in the days to come.
“The Category Four storm rolled in on Friday, battering Corpus Christi before plowing towards Houston the following day,” reports Laura Mallonee on Wired.com, “It dumped 12 trillion gallons of rain on south Texas, forcing some 30,000 people to flee their homes and leaving at least nine dead. With Harvey predicted to drop 20 more inches in the next few days, the hurricane could be the biggest rain-producing storm to pummel the US in more than a century.”
While we haven’t exactly experienced a hurricane, here in the Calgary, Alberta area, we can’t help but be reminded of the Alberta floods that took place in June and July of 2013. Much of our city was under water thanks to several days of heavy rainfall. Until the Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016, the Alberta floods were the costliest disaster in Canadian history. Damages totalled about $1.7 million.
But let’s forget about the money for a second. At times like this, we’re strongly reminded that people’s lives matter the most. Even when the recovery process is able to begin, it can take years before victims of natural disasters are able to get their lives back in order. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we can’t help but be mindful of the fact that flooding causes major property damage – which leads to major health issues.
It should come as no surprise to you that mould is a more than likely result of experiencing flooding in your home. Mould thrives on warmth and moisture. Flooding, of course, provides plenty of moisture. And, as Moldpedia.com points out, the excess moisture caused by flooding can lead to mould growth very quickly.
“Mould can start to grow after just a day or two so it’s important to act as quickly as possible if your home has been flooded,” warns the site, “Make sure you only enter your home once it’s safe though. If you’re going to perform the flood clean up yourself then you should begin my moving things outside that didn’t get wet. This is to protect them while you clean up the rest of the house.”
We can only imagine just how irreparable much of the property in Houston must be. We suspect that many homes will be beyond repair and have to be rebuilt from scratch. Especially because of the flooding and the mould it causes, this is likely the wisest choice. A mould-infested home is safe for no one. We sincerely hope that relief efforts will make the transition back to normalcy as speedy as possible for the people of Houston.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting online donations to aid with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Let’s show what Canada is all about and help out as much as we all can!
For information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
In last week’s blog, we revisited the topic of asbestos and pointed out that, in spite of Canada’s soon-to-be-enforced nationwide ban, the substance continues to wreak havoc on our health. We highlighted the fact that asbestos not only has long-lasting health implications but that exposure to the toxic material can come by way of a secondhand nature.
Many Canadians have endured respiratory complications because their family members have come home from work with asbestos fibres attached to their clothing. And, sadly, this still seems to be the case. Just yesterday, Jeremy Shepherd of North Shore News reported that asbestos-related work site violations are on the rise. According to WorkSafeBC, there have been more asbestos-related stop work orders and fines in the first eight months of 2017 than in all of 2016.
“More than 600 British Columbian workers died from asbestos-related disease in the past decade,” writes Shepherd, referring to comments made by WorkSafeBC vice-president Al Johnson, “In 2016, more than one-third of the 164 construction deaths in B.C. stemmed from asbestos-related illness. Asbestos is set to be banned in Canada in 2018 but workers still face exposure as escalating property values have triggered a rash in home demolitions.”
Shepherd reminds us that before 1990, many homes were built using asbestos-laden building materials. It was also commonly used as an insulation source. He also notes that asbestos was sprayed on many of the beams that supported buildings erected in the 1960s and ’70s. “The prevalence in asbestos resulted in many workers suffering scarring of the lungs as well as mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop as late as 40 years after asbestos exposure,” Shepherd informs.
Naturally, demolitions of homes constructed with asbestos leave workers highly susceptible to asbestos exposure. And this is happening with increased frequency in British Columbia. As a result, WorkSafeBC has been handing out fines at higher rates this year.
“WorkSafeBC levelled a $3,959 fine on Living Balance International Trading Ltd. in July during a North Vancouver demolition job,” reports Shepherd, “The penalty came after a report revealed asbestos-containing materials where labourers had already begun work. The firm also failed to inspect the site to identify hazardous materials before beginning demolition, according to WorkSafeBC.”
Johnson asserts that the fines are intended to encourage business owners to take the proper precautions before going ahead with home demolitions. Removing all asbestos from the building prior to its demolition is one such precaution that seems to be neglected by far too many companies and contractors. Johnson urges workers to report if they are being made to work in unsafe conditions.
“Not only is it a right, it’s a responsibility to refuse unsafe work,” Johnson is quoted as saying. Shepherd explains that British Columbia workers who see serious injuries, chemical releases or general unsafe conditions, should call WorkSafeBC at 604-276-3100. “Workers have the option to remain anonymous,” he affirms, “WorkSafeBC also provides safeguards to ensure whistleblowers aren’t treated unfairly.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have made it pretty clear that we strongly support safeguards against asbestos exposure. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has covered the topic of asbestos quite extensively. We feel it safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we declare our approval for the nationwide ban on the toxic substance that is set to take effect in the coming year. However, we also feel that it’s safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we express our sadness and concern about the way that asbestos-related diseases have impacted the lives of so many Canadians.
As Tim Povtak reports on Asbestos.com today, asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma are both costing Canadians their lives and costing the nation billions of dollars. “The annual cost of asbestos-related occupational disease in Canada is estimated at $2.35 billion,” he informs, citing new findings by a panel of epidemiologists, public health experts and medical professionals that were published by Occupational and Environmental Medicine last month.
The report documents no less than 427 cases of mesothelioma, pointing out that the deadly disease is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Povtak reveals that the findings highlight the fact that many mesothelioma patients are exposed to asbestos via “secondary” or “secondhand” exposure. In other words, they inhaled fibres that came home on the clothes of family members who worked in direct contact with asbestos.
Evidently, asbestos is so hazardous to our health, you don’t even have to receive direct exposure from the source in order to be significantly impacted. This has lead to an estimated $831 million in direct and indirect costs for cases first identified in 2011, says Povtak. Direct costs include traditional health care, drug costs, out-of-pocket patient expenses, caregiver costs and home health care expenses. Indirect costs involve output and productivity losses caused by mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Clearly, the comprehensive nationwide ban on asbestos can’t come soon enough. Even though the last asbestos mine in Canada closed in 2011, the product continued to be imported for the construction and automotive industries. More than 50 other countries have already banned the toxic substance. The United States, interestingly, is not one of them. “The U.S. continues to import small amounts of asbestos, which is tightly regulated,” reveals Povtak.
Obviously, Canada’s forthcoming nationwide asbestos ban won’t have an immediate impact. Not only do many Canadians need to continue fighting the diseases already caused by asbestos, but the nation will continue to endure the economic burden of battling the illnesses. “The lengthy latency period (20-50 years) between asbestos exposure and a diagnosis of mesothelioma is a continued cause for concern,” Povtak writes.
Dr. Emile Tompa works at the Institute for Work and Health in Ontario. He is well aware that asbestos-related diseases will continue to afflict Canadians for some time. “The number of new cases annually is still rising,” he is quoted as saying in Povtak’s report, “This isn’t going away on its own. Awareness to these issues is growing. Hopefully, these studies help with the decision-making process. Efforts now are out there to mitigate these problems in the future.”
As you’re likely aware, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. continues to be dedicated to doing its part to help. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Icky. Yucky. Gross. Yes, these are words commonly uttered by four year-olds. But, nonetheless, they make for the perfect descriptions of the black mould that impacts the bathtubs and shower stalls of far too many Canadians. Many of us are left with no choice but to endure unsightly black mould in our bathrooms. But it doesn’t mean we have to live with it forever. There is a way to win the battle against black mould. And it can be done in a safe way!
Thankfully, the use of harsh chemicals isn’t necessary to remove black mould from your shower. By mixing household baking soda and water, you’ve concocted a safe and effective black mould remover. As recommended by HowToRemoveBlackMold.com, simply use a quart-sized bottle containing this solution. “This will minimize the number of mould spores from being released into your airspace and spreading throughout your home,” says the site.
Spray the solution everywhere that you see the mould and allow it to sit and work its magic for approximately five to ten minutes. Then grab a brushing utensil – even an old toothbrush should help you to do the trick. Scrub away at the mould with the brush and you should see it begin to disappear. It will be easier to clean some areas more than others. A little elbow grease is all that’s needed for a full and thorough clean.
Once you’ve completed the scrubbing routine, wipe away any excess mould and rinse the area. You may need to repeat the process for especially stubborn stains. Don’t forget to wipe the entire area down once you’ve completed your cleaning. Remember that mould develops in warm and moist areas. The drier you keep your bathroom environment when it is not in use, the less likely mould will develop and grow.
On CleanMySpace.com, Melissa Maker also champions the use of baking soda and water for black mould removal. She points out that, in some cases, you may need to let the solution set on the mould for up to an hour or two. She agrees, however, that a decent scrubbing should eventually do the job. However, Maker notes that black mould doesn’t just stay away because you’ve gone through the motions of one cleaning. Much like tooth health, mould removal requires constant care.
“If your bathroom is not properly maintained between cleanings, it does not take long for mould to come back,” informs Maker, “In fact, think of mould prevention like oral care—we have to maintain our teeth to keep plaque away. Like a dentist, I am going to suggest some preventative maintenance for you to keep mould out of your bathroom. It only takes seconds to do and is much easier than what the dentist tells you!”
It’s important to remember that all of the mould in your home isn’t always visible. It could be hiding underneath tiles and flooring and stuck between cracks. Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. to learn more about how our Mould Assessment Services can help you to prevent the health risks associated with mould. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carbon monoxide (or CO, for short ) is known as “the silent killer” because it is a gas that is undetected by smell or sight. Sadly, it takes the lives of Canadians at a rate of 50 per year, as reported by Camille Bains of The Canadian Press via TheStar.com. She reveals that this information comes courtesy of the director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, Pierre Voisine, who notes that Canada has no official database to house such statistics.
Voisine, who is also the fire chief in Cornwall, Ontario, believes that that not enough is being done to protect Canadians against carbon monoxide poisoning. He points out that homeowners aren’t required to install detectors the way they are smoke alarms. Bains reports that, in 2010, a national building code made it mandatory for new homes to come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, but homes built before that year are susceptible to undetected exposure.
Because of its odourless and colourless nature, carbon monoxide is a gas that often kills people while they’re sleeping. Naturally, mandatory CO detectors would save a lot of lives. “It’s very difficult for a community to try to enforce something that’s not mandated,” Voisine is quoted as saying in the article, “Until that happens everywhere it’s very challenging.”
There is, however, hope for the province of Ontario. In 2014, Voisine explains, Ontario updated its fire code to include carbon monoxide detectors in both new and old homes. The amendment was inspired by the 2008 deaths of a police officer and her family who were killed by CO poisoning due to a blocked chimney in their Woodstock home.
Not only is carbon monoxide undetectable by the nose or the eyes, but it’s difficult to tell if the symptoms associated with exposure to the gas are actually being caused by exposure to the gas. Raynald Marchand is the general manager of the Canadian Safety Council. In Bains’ article, he explains that people exposed to fumes can experience headaches, dizziness and nausea. Considering the commonality of these symptoms, it’s not surprising that most people don’t associate them with a possible CO problem in their homes.
Carbon monoxide, however, is more common than most people think. It can be produced any time fossil fuels are burned. Furnaces, stoves and fireplaces are most commonly guilty of this. Marchand, himself, was saved by a CO detector in his home in December of 2014. While experiencing a mild headache, the detector started beeping. He and his teenage daughter left the home, likely saving their lives in the process.
Briana Koop of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan also owes her life to a carbon monoxide detector. It alarmed her and her family as well as her daughter’s friend during a sleepover on an early Sunday morning in January. “For sure our whole family would have been gone if that didn’t happen,” Koop recalls, “The thing that was really most haunting to me was picturing these friends coming to pick up their kid in the morning and finding all five of us in the home.”
Clearly, protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.