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Keeping Your Home Mould-Free During The Winter

Believe it or not, winter is the season when preventing mould growth in your home is most difficult. Consider the fact that it’s a very wet time of year. With all of the snow on the ground, we track wet slush into our homes on a frequent basis. However, we Canadians tend to turn up the heat in our homes during the winter. And can you blame us? The frigid outdoor temperatures are enough to keep us hidden indoors for longer periods of time than usual.

This cooped-up-in-our-homes routine is actually one of the top reasons mould becomes such an issue in the winter.

Naturally, we tend to keep our windows closed so as to avoid getting cold. However, this only causes our indoor humidity to rise. You’ll know that it’s too humid in your home when – as Steve Maxwell of the Ottawa Citizen puts it – our windows start to “sweat”.

Of course, he’s referring to the condensation that forms on our windows when the cold air from outside meets surfaces that are warmed from the inside. “Windows ‘sweat’ during winter as indoor air cools against cold window glass and loses its ability to hold moisture,” explains Maxwell, “This excess water has got to come out somewhere, and glass and window frames are excellent places for droplets of condensation to form.”

What can you do to prevent condensation during the winter?

Crack the windows. This is a tip that we’ve recommended numerous times before and we’re not likely to quit listing it. Yes, it’s cold outside. But cracking the windows helps for the stale air from inside to circulate with the fresh air from outside. It also helps to lower humidity levels so that mould-producing moisture doesn’t accumulate throughout the home. You can also reduce moisture by using your home’s exhaust fans.

“The easiest way to boost indoor air quality and reduce window condensation in a tight home is by opening windows a little and running exhaust fans more often in the bathroom and kitchen,” advises Maxwell, “For every cubic foot of stale air pushed outside by fans, another cubic foot of fresh air is drawn in through windows opened a little here and there.”

You’ll also want to be on the lookout for areas of the home that receive little ventilation.

Some rooms have no windows or exhaust fans. We’re thinking of basements and attics here – two places where mould is most likely to form. Make sure that these areas are clean and dry. It’s the best way to prevent mould from forming when increased ventilation isn’t possible.

“Look for areas in the home where air can become trapped,” recommends MouldDog.ca, “A common issue could be lack of ventilation in attics and near roofs. Hot air rises and if it gets trapped it can turn into condensation, which can lead to water and mould issues.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to keep your home mould-free, not just during the winter, but all year long. For more information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Canada Apparently Has To Wait Another Year For Asbestos Ban

A couple of weeks ago, we blogged about the new rules and regulations regarding asbestos in Canada. Of course, that blog entry was one in a long line of articles covering the proposed comprehensive ban set forth by the federal government back in December of 2016. For all intents and purposes, we have been made to believe that the ban would officially be launched this year.

For the past year, new reports have claimed that asbestos will be banned in Canada in 2018.

However, a report released by TireBusiness.com earlier this week, reveals that we will all have to wait until next year to celebrate the asbestos ban. Perhaps, we missed something. To be sure, we checked back and re-read The Canadian Press article published by CanadianBusiness.com cited in our blog from two weeks ago. The article informs us that the government is accepting feedback on its proposed changes between now and March 22nd. No word of the ban not coming into full effect until 2019.

The recent report, compiled by The Canadian Press and Rob Bostelaar of Automotive News Canada, provides much of the same information as the report from earlier this month. It, too, notes that “the government is asking the public and industry for feedback during a comment period, which ends March 22.”

Were we missing something the last time around?

We searched the internet for other news sources, attempting to confirm a date for the nationwide asbestos ban. There is no other article claiming it will take another entire year. You can rest assure that we will remain on top of this issue. Perhaps, a call to the federal government is in order. Needless to say, at this point, asbestos is deadly. Delaying its ban any further is nonsensical.

As TireBusiness.com explains, “asbestos is a carcinogen that has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in about 50 countries around the world…Asbestos was mined in Canada until 2011 and was used mainly for insulating buildings and homes, as well as for fireproofing. Many uses have been phased out, but asbestos still may be found in a variety of products, including cement pipes, industrial furnaces and heating systems, building insulation, automotive brake pads and clutches.”

Brake pads remain among the top sources of asbestos exposure in Canada.

The nation continues to import asbestos-laden brake pads to the tune of 333,000 units each year. The proposed regulations are attempting to get automotive stakeholders to switch to asbestos-free ceramic brake pads or ones that use synthetic fibres.

“Assuming that there is a $5 incremental difference in price between brake pads containing asbestos and asbestos-free brake pads, it is expected that the automotive industry would carry operating costs of approximately $21 million over the time frame of analysis,” says a government report, as quoted in the TireBusiness.com article.

If it seems like we’re growing impatient, you’re right!

Quite frankly, there really is no reason for Canada to delay its asbestos ban any further. In the meantime, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team remains dedicated to helping Canadians to remove asbestos from their homes and places of work. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Winter Cleaning Tips That Help Maximize Indoor Air Quality

Keeping your home clean, tidy and pollutant-free all winter long isn’t the easiest thing to do. Most of us keep our windows closed to avoid having the frigid temperatures outside impact the comfort of our indoor living quarters. Furthermore, we regularly track snow, slush and dirt into our homes, especially on those blistery, snowy days. Winter is the season when maintaining high-quality indoor air is most difficult.

As a result, it’s important that we all take extra measures to ensure that our indoor air quality is the highest it can be. In other words, we need to put added efforts into cleaning up around the house. Here are three winter cleaning tips:

1. Leave winter at the door.

As mentioned, the snowy days make for dirty homes. And that’s because we can’t help but enter our homes with wet boots. In addition to the creation of soggy entranceways is the bringing in of contaminants from the ground. Outside surfaces continue to be rampant with dirt, mud and other pollutants that get stuck to our footwear in the winter. As a result, it’s best to winterize your entry.

“Keep winter’s slush and gunk at bay by making your entryway a dirt guardian,” recommends John Riha on Houselogic.com, “Get a boot scraper…Add a chair or bench for taking off boots, and have a boot rack for wet footwear. Put down a tough coir outdoor doormat…for cleaning footwear.”

2. Clean your furnace and replace your air filters.

Let’s revisit the all-too-common practice of keeping our windows shut all winter long. Doing so insists upon you breathing in stale air throughout the season. Without cracking the windows, you don’t allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stagnant air from inside. We can’t say we blame you for wanting to keep warm. So, if you’re not one for cracking the windows in winter, be sure to replace your air filters and clean your furnace to ensure that the air in your home is as pollutant-free as possible.

“According to the EPA, you should change your HVAC filters at least every three months to ensure your air stays clean,” informs Clair Jones on ImproveNet.com, “After replacing the filters, soak dusty ventilation covers in a hot water and soap solution. Filters work to pull dust particles out of the air and create cleaner, healthier air for you to breathe. They also keep your floors and furniture from gathering dust, helping keep your home looking its best.”

3. Dust and clean in oft-forgotten places.

Most of us dust our furniture and vacuum our floors. However, what most of us don’t do is turn our furniture upside down or on the side to clean areas that often don’t get any attention. As well, it’s wise to pull out your fridge and stove to vacuum up the many crumbs and food particles that have likely accumulated unnoticed for months. Riha also reminds us to clean our ceiling fan blades. Imagine how much dust accumulates on untouched fan blades throughout the winter. Now imagine how much dust you’re spreading around once you turn the fan on in the summer!

“Those big blades on your ceiling fan are great at moving air, but when they’re idle they’re big dust magnets — dust settles on the top surfaces where you can’t see it,” Riha writes, “Out of sight maybe, but not out of mind.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc., we’d love to help you live in a healthy home all winter long. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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Federal Government Announces New Rules And Regulations Regarding Asbestos

It should come as no surprise to readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog to know that we are paying pretty close attention to the forthcoming nationwide ban of asbestos. Announced by the federal government, back in December of 2016, the comprehensive ban of the toxic material has been a long time coming. Scheduled for 2018, the ban is yet to be announced as having taken full effect.

Late last week, The Canadian Press offered some insight as to when Canadians can expect the ban to officially and finally come to pass. An article courtesy of CanadianBusiness.com revealed that “the federal government has laid out a tough set of proposed new regulations to prohibit the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products that contain it, as well as the manufacture of products containing the cancer-causing mineral.”

The rules and regulations are currently undergoing an examination period which is to last until March 22nd.

During this time, which is being called a “comment period”, the federal government is asking the public and the industry for feedback. According to the article, the proposed amendments are designed to ensure that there is no market for asbestos and its related products in Canada.

“Asbestos is a carcinogen that has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in about 50 countries around the world,” The Canadian Press reminds us, “Asbestos was mined in Canada until 2011 and was used mainly for insulating buildings and homes, as well as for fireproofing. Many uses have been phased out, but asbestos may still be found in a variety of products, including cement pipes, industrial furnaces and heating systems, building insulation, automotive brake pads and clutches.”

Under the new set of rules, the use or sale of any asbestos-containing products that currently exist in inventories across Canada, but have not yet been installed, would be prohibited. The regulations also stipulate that any asbestos-related materials that are currently stockpiled would have to be disposed of or destroyed.

There are exceptions to the new rules.

The Canadian Press article does note, however, that there are some exceptions to the new rules and regulations regarding asbestos. The material happens to be used in the chlor-alkali industry as part of cell diaphragms that are used as filters in the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda. That application will be exempted from the ban until 2025. The idea is that it will give the industry time to phase out the existing systems.

“The clean-up of millions of tonnes of asbestos residue around former mine sites will also be exempt from the regulations, to allow for the use of the material in redevelopment of the areas,” the article also informs, “Scientists would still be allowed to study asbestos under another exemption and asbestos or objects containing asbestos could still be imported for display in a museum.”

As mentioned, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team has made it no secret that it very much looks forward to the official launch of Canada’s asbestos ban. It also remains very dedicated to helping Canadians to eradicate the presence of asbestos from their homes and places of work. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Asbestos Found In Claire’s Makeup Products

Happy New Year everyone! It’s officially 2018! And for those of you who have been following the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog for the past year, you know how excited we are about the changing of the calendar. 2018 marks the year when Canada finally bans asbestos for good! We have extensively covered the news of our nation’s ban since it was first announced a little over a year ago. We now patiently wait for the day when the ban becomes official.

Make no mistake about it. Asbestos is deadly.

It is a known cause of mesothelioma and other forms of lung cancer and is the culprit behind thousands of workplace-related deaths in Canada each and every year. Formerly used as an insulation material in the construction of homes and office buildings, asbestos is still imported as parts of such products as brake pads for cars.

However, in a story that was published shortly before the new year, makeup users learned that the products they’re using on their faces may also contain the toxic material. According to Kate Sheridan on Newsweek.com, some makeup products that are sold at Claire’s are tainted with asbestos. This news stemmed from a report from WJAR which is an NBC affiliate station based in Rhode Island.

“The issue was discovered after a woman sent the makeup away for tests before her 6-year-old daughter used it,” reports Sheridan, “The woman, Kristi Warner, works at a law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. Nine potentially affected products are currently listed on Claire’s website…The company states on its website that it will offer refunds to customers who return the products while the investigation is ongoing.”

She goes on to inform that testing found millions of asbestos pieces in the Claire’s makeup samples. With more than 1,600 stores in North America, one can only imagine how many individuals have been impacted by the company’s hazardous makeup products. Sean Fitzgerald of the Scientific Analytical Institute in North Carolina tested 24 samples from 17 products purchased in nine different cities.

“Every time we tested, in every Claire’s product that contains a talc-based cosmetic, we found tremolite asbestos,” he is quoted as saying in Sheridan’s article. He points out that talc-based products are particularly susceptible to being contaminated with asbestos because of the way talc and asbestos form in the earth. “Talc minerals and asbestos-forming minerals are related. They’re both magnesium silicates,” he adds.

The article doesn’t make mention of any customer complaints related to Claire’s products.

One can only imagine the impact of asbestos-laden makeup used on a person’s face. As Sheridan mentions, “Asbestos-related diseases usually affect people who are exposed to it through their job; the risk is especially high if a person is exposed over a long period of time.” As of her article’s writing, an investigation is ongoing.

As we’ve made no secret, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team takes the issue of asbestos very seriously. If you have any concerns about the possibility of asbestos being present in your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us and ask us about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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