In all likelihood, we all breathe in a little bit of radon each day. At low levels, you’re not bound to experience any symptoms or endure any long-term health effects. However, at high levels, radon exposure can be deadly. As a result, it’s a must that we all do our part to minimize our exposure to radon as much as possible.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced outdoors by the breaking down of uranium, thorium and radium in soil, rock and water. However, radon exposure, at its worst, occurs indoors. When we are outside in wide open spaces, radon has little to no impact on us. However, because radon is odourless, tasteless and invisible, it’s impossible to detect it when it enters our homes.
Radon tends to seep through the cracks of the foundations of our homes. When it builds up in poorly ventilated areas, it can be very dangerous to our health. The problem is that without testing for radon, you’re not likely to ever be aware that it is in your home. The importance of radon testing cannot be understated. When people are exposed to high concentrations of radon, it can have disastrous effects.
According to Statistics Canada, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, after cigarette smoking. It accounts for 16 percent of lung cancer deaths, or 3,200 deaths every year. Healthline.com reports that radon gas is responsible for approximately 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths in the United States.
As mentioned, detecting radon can only be done through tests. But there are early signs and symptoms of lung cancer to watch for that may have been caused by radon exposure. Healthline.com lists them as persistent coughing, coughing up blood, wheezing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, chest pain (especially when coughing or even laughing) and frequent infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue may also occur over time.
“In 2015, the Households and the Environment Survey found that 55% of all Canadian households indicated that they had heard of radon, up from 45% in 2013,” reports Statistics Canada. While it is promising that the percentage of knowledgeable Canadians is rising, it’s clear that more awareness is necessary.
By today’s standards, everyone knows how deadly cigarette smoking is. With radon being the second leading cause of lung cancer, it should be considered unacceptable that only 59 percent of Canadians surveyed could correctly identify what radon was when presented with a list of possible descriptions.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Radon Services that are designed to determine the exact levels of radon in your homes and offices and whether or not they are safe. Testing for radon can literally mean the difference between life and death. It is recommended that radon tests be conducted at least every two years.
For more information about our Radon Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month, our blog reported on the fact that Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is one of the few leaders of our country to avoid living at 24 Sussex Drive. Traditionally known as the home of the sitting Prime Minister, the Ottawa-based mansion appears to be in ruins. Requiring millions of dollars in renovations, the property is now becoming known as a very high health hazard.
As Catharine Tunney reports today for CBC News, 24 Sussex Drive has more asbestos contained within it than previously thought. Who can blame Trudeau for ditching the residence for nearby Rideau Cottage? Of course, as the son of Pierre Trudeau, our current Prime Minister spent time living at 24 Sussex Drive as a child. He is unlikely to ever return thanks to the presence of asbestos.
“Asbestos has been condemned by the World Health Organization as a health threat and the once-common fireproofing material is now banned in some 50 countries around the world,” Tunney explains, “Canada was once a leading world supplier of the carcinogenic mineral. It’s linked to mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that can develop in the lining of the lungs as a result of inhaling asbestos dust and fibres.”
She goes on to reveal that in 2015, an engineering firm called Exp Services Inc. investigated the main building, the pool house and the neighbouring RCMP building at 24 Sussex. They surveyed for hazardous materials including asbestos and lead paint. Previously, they had received reports that the plaster contained within the walls was asbestos-free. However, their investigation discovered that wasn’t the case.
CBC News obtained a report through the Access to Information Act that revealed that the grey coarse plaster within the property was indeed asbestos-containing. The report notes that should the plaster go undisturbed, 24 Sussex would be safe for its inhabitants. Any renovations, however, would send asbestos fibres airborne. And, as we pointed out last month, the property is in serious need of renovations.
Laura Lozanski is an occupational health and safety officer with the Canadian Association of University Teachers and one of Canada’s most active asbestos educators. In Tunney’s article, she reveals that just rubbing up against the plaster or drilling into it will release toxic asbestos fibres. “Once the fibres are disturbed they go into the air and that’s how we either breathe them in or ingest them,” she is quoted as saying, “So we always have quite serious concerns.”
Since 2011, no asbestos has been removed from 24 Sussex Drive. Of course, should there be any renovations made to the property, construction workers will be placed at risk. Staffers who have already been inside the mansion may already be at risk. “That’s why the Public Service Alliance of Canada has been pushing the federal government to create a national registry of public buildings that contain asbestos,” Tunney writes.
As you’re very likely aware, the team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. takes the matter of asbestos exposure very seriously. As we patiently await the nation’s official implementation of the comprehensive asbestos ban, we continue to work with Canadian home and business owners to keep their properties as safe as possible.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
This may sound like a weird question, but how many living beings do you believe are in your household? We imagine that it would be your first inclination to state the number of actual residents such as yourself, your spouse, your children, and/or your parents. Perhaps, you live alone. As a result, your answer to the question above would be one. You get the picture.
What if we were to tell you that the actual number of living beings in your household is probably a lot closer several million? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, the fact is you have millions of dust mites living and feeding inside your bed, carpeting, soft furnishings and even your clothes. And while this sounds gross, it’s more important to highlight the fact that dust mites are an allergy’s sufferer’s nightmare.
Allergic reactions to dust mite debris and waste include difficulty breathing, coughing, nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, itching and even eczema. Especially if you have asthma, dust mites can be among your worst enemies. They tend to live in dark, warm areas of your home where your skin tends to shed. Read: your bed. This is why it’s important to “get rid of their homes”, as AllergyStore.com puts it.
“Get rid of their hiding places and their home, sweet home,” insists the website, “That means giving a heave-ho to rugs and carpets. Small throw rugs that can be washed weekly are acceptable. Get rid of all other fibre-based floor coverings. Replace them with tile, hardwood, laminate, engineered wood, vinyl, or concrete floors. Hard surfaces can be vacuumed and mopped regularly to remove all dust, dust mite feces, and dust mites.”
Your dead skin flakes provide an excellent buffet for dust mites. Not only is your bed a warm, dark and humid place (a dust mite’s dream come true), but it’s also a place where you shed most of your dead skin. Your bed (a place where you spend upwards of eight hours every night) arguably deserves the most cleaning attention. Wash the sheets every week in hot water to minimize the presence of dust mites.
“Fortunately, dust mites don’t take too kindly to hot temperatures,” explains Doc Wordinger on Dengarden.com, “Putting your bed sheets through a 140°F (60°C) wash is usually enough to kill them and remove their fecal matter and skin particles. If you have a tumble dryer, put the sheets through a spin-cycle until they are fully dry. The heat from the dryer should take care of any mites that survived the wash.”
You may be surprised to know that being a bit on the untidy side can help your dust mite problem. Wordinger reminds us that dust mites prefer moist areas. And since most people make their beds first thing in the morning, they don’t give their beds much opportunity to air out. Doing so “gives the moisture excreted from our bodies time to dry,” he informs, “By reducing moisture and humidity within the bed, we’re making life difficult for (dust mites).”
As you can imagine, there are many other ways to reduce the dust mite population in your home. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly recommend having the indoor air quality of your home tested to help you along the way. 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.