Back in December of 2016, the Government of Canada finally announced its plan to implement a nationwide ban of asbestos, set to take effect this year. As we’ve been highlighting in numerous blogs since then, the comprehensive ban of the toxic material can’t come soon enough. Among the many deadly diseases caused by asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. And sadly, it’s something that is bound to continue to threaten the lives of Canadians long after the ban is in place.
This is evidenced by the fact that Australia continues to be haunted by health hazards that have been brought on by its legacy of asbestos mining. As reported by Alex Strauss on SurvivingMesothelioma.com, the ‘land from down under’ banned all forms of asbestos nearly fifteen years ago. However, a new report reveals that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases continue to affect the lives of Australians.
The report, authored by researchers at the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, explains that while mesothelioma cases have levelled off over the past decade, more than 16,000 Australians were diagnosed with the disease between 1982 and 2016.
Strauss notes that the country’s status as the top user of asbestos in the world between the 1960s and 1970s has a lot to do with its high rates of pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Evidently, Australia took too long to ban asbestos even though there were growing concerns about the toxic mineral all those decades ago. Asbestos was not officially banned in Australia until 2003.
Dr. Matthew Soeberg of the University of Sydney is the first author of the new report. He believes that Australia is headed in the right direction but, along with his colleagues, believes that a greater focus must be placed on “preventing the devastating effects of avoidable asbestos-related diseases.”
Individuals who attempt to take on home renovation projects on their own are putting themselves in danger. If their buildings contain asbestos, they are at a high risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. This is true in both Australia and the United States.
“In the US, virtually every home and public building constructed before 1980 is presumed to contain some amount of asbestos,” writes Strauss, “To minimize the risk for pleural mesothelioma, homeowners are urged to seek professional guidance before starting a remodelling project that could disturb asbestos.
He goes on to point out that Australia is one of 55 countries that have official asbestos bans in place. Both the United States and Canada are excluded from that list. Of course, we continue to wait, somewhat impatiently, for Canada’s asbestos ban to officially take effect. But even when the ban is in place, measures will still need to be taken in order to limit asbestos exposure and significantly diminish the number of future asbestos-related disease diagnoses.
But, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are certainly willing to do our part! For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Believe it or not, spring is almost here! The frigid temperatures outside don’t make it appear as if the warming up of the weather will soon be upon us, but as of March 20th, the seasons will officially change over. There’s no promise that you’ll be able to put the winter boots and coats away in little under a month. But that’s no reason to not get into the spring spirit. And we all know what one of the most popular spring pastimes is – cleaning!
There’s never really a bad time to clean your home and improve its indoor air quality. Any chance you get to remove dust, mould, pet dander and the remnants of smoke is a chance you should take. It’s important to note that to really get a good clean, you need to take things a bit further than the standard dusting, sweeping and mopping of the floors. On Oprah.com, Lynn Andriani advises us to vacuum and wipe the walls and ceilings as well.
“If you clear them annually of the almost imperceptible grime that builds up, then you won’t have to deal with the impossible-to-remove kind that can accumulate if they’re left untouched for a few years,” she writes, “Vacuum first, using the brush attachment. Then, wipe them with all-purpose cleaner, which is fine for painted walls. Don’t forget the wall that’s behind you every morning when you do your hair and makeup; it could be coated in hairspray, perfume or other beauty products.”
Andriani makes an interesting point. All too often, we forget the areas of the home where there may be unwanted build-up. And that’s because we usually can’t see the build-up. As a result, we assume there’s nothing to clean. But our noses tell us a different story. Earlier, we mentioned the need to rid your home of the remnants of smoke. If you live with a cigarette smoker, you’re likely enduring the ramifications of thirdhand smoke.
Thirdhand smoke refers to the residual nicotine and other chemicals that are left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. You are exposed to these harsh and toxic chemicals whenever you’re breathing anywhere near them. As well, when you touch the contaminated surfaces, you take on health risks. To avoid the effects of thirdhand smoke, it’s wise to wash any bedding, rugs, curtains and parts of your home’s decor that can be uninstalled and thrown in the washing machine.
Reader’s Digest lists the “curtain call” as one of its top ways to spring clean like a pro. “Don’t forget the curtains,” their website reminds us, “If you don’t clean them thoroughly at least once a year they will rot. Dry-clean velvet, tapestries, brocades, chenille, and interlined curtains. Cotton and similar textiles can be washed. Just remember to remove any hooks.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc., we’d love to help you get started with your spring cleaning! Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how our Air Quality Services can assist you in vastly improving your home’s indoor air quality this spring. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at email@example.com.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! To couples everywhere, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to wish you a very happy and exciting day! However, we’d also like to send our best wishes to everyone out there whether they are in romantic relationships or not. After all, we’re all deserving of love, aren’t we? This is especially true if you live in a home with a large number of people.
Sharing a living space can be tough. And one of the toughest things about having many others live in your home with you is keeping it clean. A clean home, by the way, is one of the top ways you can show your family members and other housemates that you love them. As we often say, a healthy home is a happy home. And happy homes are ones that have high-ranking levels of indoor air quality.
What can you do show your home some love? Here are three ways:
Most of us are well aware that we humans expel carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen while plants do the opposite. So it stands to reason that filling a home with both humans and houseplants is a wise thing to do. However, it’s important to know that numerous houseplants provide many other pollutant-ridding qualities that can vastly improve the overall indoor air quality of a home.
One of those houseplants is Spathiphyllum, which is better known as the Peace Lily. “NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene,” explains Jeff Flowers on AllergyAndAir.com, “Simply put it in a dark corner, give it water once a week and this little plant will help purify the air around that general area.”
As mentioned earlier, keeping your home clean is a great way to keep it a healthy environment. That is, unless you’re using cleansers that contain harsh and toxic chemicals. Those volatile organic compounds we just mentioned are found in most common household cleaners. It’s important to beware of ingredients that can cause more harm than good. Opt for natural cleansers instead. Among them are white vinegar, baking soda, club soda, salt and lemons.
“Dilute some lemon juice with water to clean stains on cutting boards and kill germs,” instructs Reynard Loki on AlterNet.org, “Dip an old toothbrush in lemon juice to remove grout. Add some salt and you’ve got an effective cleaner for metal grills and a polisher for chrome. Soak plastic food containers in lemon juice overnight to remove smells. Put diluted lemon juice in a spray bottle to keep your kitchen countertops clean and smelling great.”
You can never be too safe. It’s certainly worthwhile to get a professional assessment of your home’s indoor air quality to ensure the optimum health of all those who dwell within it. Of course, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. would be happy to help with that! For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The White House in Washington, D.C. is world famous for being the residence of the sitting President of the United States. Known to a lesser degree, but widely recognized throughout Canada, is 24 Sussex Drive – the Ottawa, Ontario residence of Canada’s Prime Minister. That is, of course, until now. Reports have described the 19th century structure as one that is practically uninhabitable.
As Catharine Tunney of CBC reports, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was raised at 24 Sussex Drive during his father Pierre’s tenure as Prime Minister in the early 1980s, isn’t likely to return to the “deteriorating, mouse-infested, hydro-draining and oft-spoofed official residence of Canada’s head of government”.
Originally named Gorffwysfa, which is Welsh for “place of peace”, the stone mansion which sits at 24 Sussex Drive is in desperate need of renovations. However, the Prime Minister is of the mind that taxpayer money shouldn’t go to the upkeep of the home of its nation’s leader.
“There’s a real challenge in this country,” Trudeau is quoted as saying in Tunney’s article, “Anything that a prime minister decides that they can potentially benefit from — that’s one of the reasons that that house has gone into the ground since the time I lived there — is that no prime minister wants to spend a penny of taxpayer dollars on upkeeping that house.” The Trudeau family lives in a nearby Rideau Cottage instead of the traditional home of the Prime Minister.
Tunney notes that an auditor’s report from ten years ago reported that a repair bill would run upwards of $10 million. The 35-room residence, in fact, hasn’t had any major renovations since 1951. “It also found the windows, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning in poor to critical condition, and noted the home had no fire sprinklers and contained asbestos,” she reports.
As if this description of the Canadian Prime Minister’s intended home isn’t bad enough, the presence of asbestos in the mansion is yet another reason it has become so undesirable. In fact, there have been calls by former residences of 24 Sussex Drive for it to be torn down and replaced with a structure befitting the leader of a nation.
One such former resident is Maureen McTeer. The wife of former Prime Minister Joe Clark feels that the building isn’t worth saving, especially considering that its 1951 renovations stripped it of all of its original fixtures. In a separate CBC report by John Paul Tasker, McTeer also points out that the presence of asbestos at 24 Sussex Drive simply makes the residence unlivable.
“This residence is much more than just a house — or even a place where prime ministers live while they’re in office — it should represent an idea of Canada,” she is quoted as saying in an interview with Rita Celli on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today, “That’s why an old, crumbling building with asbestos, which we know is poison, really is so lacking of vision, if you will, and [does not reflect] who we are as Canadians.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are definitely of the mind that our nation’s leader deserves a better home. However, we also believe that all Canadians deserve to live in asbestos-free residences. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.