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Revisiting The Fact That Hoarding Is Hazardous For Your Health

In some strange coincidence that we cannot explain, we have only posted blogs about hoarding in the month of April. We have no idea why. Before composing today’s blog, we Googled the terms “hoarding” and “indoor air quality” only to find our previous three blogs on the subject appear at the top of the list of articles – all published in previous Aprils.

Interestingly enough, our last blog about hoarding was posted a year ago almost to the day! And in that very blog, we commented on the fact that, during a previous Google search, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. website was found to have the top three most relevant pieces on the subject of hoarding’s impact on indoor air quality.

Well, it’s the middle of April, so we obviously must be due for another blog about hoarding! But, we have to admit – it’s an issue that certainly requires more than once-a-year attention. By packing your home with loads of possessions that can only be described as an uncontrollable mess, you put yourself at great risk of health hazards.

Hoarding leads to the development of unseen mould.

Firstly, you’re unable to see more than half of your possessions when you live in a house with a hoarder. As a result, you’re unaware of any mould forming on those possessions. Mould growth is promoted by dark, dank areas – a perfect description of the many regions of a hoarder’s home. When mould is airborne, it triggers allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.

“There are three basic classifications of mould related health concerns: infectious, allergenic, and toxic,” explains Karen Robinson on behalf of Canadians For A Safe Learning Environment, “Allergic reactions are the most common and can include the following symptoms: watery eyes, runny nose, itching, rashes, hives, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulties, headache, dizziness, fatigue and in extreme cases tremors.”

Hoarding creates poor ventilation.

Clearly, a house full of trash – if we’re being quite frank here – doesn’t allow for the circulation of air. Not only is a hoarder not likely to be able to access his/her windows to open them, his/her home is void of much free space for air to even exist. The air in the home is bound to be stale, stagnant and polluted with the dust, dander and debris that hasn’t been cleaned up in ages. Once again, poor conditions for breathing are made present by the act of hoarding.

“Good ventilation removes stale indoor air and reduces the amount of indoor air pollutants,” Canada.ca reminds us, “It also helps to limit the buildup of indoor moisture, which can contribute to mould growth. Ventilation increases the amount of outdoor air that comes indoors. The level of outdoor air pollution should be considered when ventilating your house. If there are strong indoor sources and outdoor air pollution levels are low, you may need to increase the ventilation.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for the air in your home to be free of contaminants. If you have issues with hoarding or if you’re living with a hoarder, your health is at risk. We would highly recommend a major clean up of your home with the help of professionals. It is then wise to follow up with an indoor air quality inspection.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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Proposed Asbestos Ban Facing Some Criticism

Since December of 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would finally implement a comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has been following the story quite closely. Originally, the plan was to have the toxic substance completely outlawed by 2018. Well, here we are in 2018 and we’re still awaiting word of the official passing of the long-promised ban.

In one of our several blogs covering the topic, we revealed that a “consultation period” was being requested to ask both the public and industry for feedback about the new policy regarding asbestos. This period concluded on March 22nd. Now, nearly three weeks removed from that consultation period, Canadians are left wondering what the holdup is.

What are the issues surrounding the asbestos ban?

According to Muller & Green – an organization that specializes in research, analysis, consulting and PR activity for local and global brands – the new asbestos policy may not be what it’s cracked up to be. In a recent report published by Newswire.ca, Muller & Green revealed that the Canadian government’s proposed ban of asbestos is facing some criticism. Although $114 million has been committed to implement a new policy, there are some holes in the specifics.

As Muller & Green report, there is apparently “no distinction between harmful asbestos such as the various amphibole asbestos and chrysotile, and ‘white asbestos’, still used in various products today. This omission is critical for numerous businesses and industries in Canada, which rely on products containing the non-harmful form of the mineral.”

Because of the lack of distinction between the different forms of asbestos, the proposed ban is likely to force a number of Canadian businesses to shut down. And while the health of Canadians is clearly far more important, the plan is also being criticized for not taking into consideration the work already being done to prevent asbestos-related diseases.

“One of the rationales for the proposal is economic, in terms of savings that will be made in health services from reduced cases of asbestos-related diseases,” reads the report, “However, regulations and prevention of asbestos-related diseases have been established, contradicting the health argument.”

What other concerns have arisen from the new proposal?

By not distinguishing the differences between the various forms of asbestos, there is a concern that billions of dollars will end up being wasted on removing “safe asbestos” from public buildings. The financial figures for the implementation of the plan, says the report, appear to be understated.

As well, the planned proposal for the ban has apparently exempted mining activities and the use of asbestos in the chlor-alkali industry. It has been reported that the use of asbestos in the chlor-alkali industry will remain acceptable until 2025.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re not convinced that there is a reasonable and safe way to continue to use any asbestos in this country. The damage that it has caused has been well documented. We need not another Canadian death that is asbestos-related. The time for the ban to take effect has come. In fact, it is well past due.

Of course, in the meantime, our 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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Are You A Cigarette Smoker Looking For Ways To Quit?

By today’s standards, the warning “smoking is bad for you” is a mundane statement of the obvious. However, it’s as important as it ever was to stress the importance of eliminating all cigarette smoking from your life. By that we mean that even if you aren’t a smoker yourself, you should take all measures to avoid cigarette smoke at all costs. Simply put, it’s deadly. And it should have no place in your home – ever!

Secondhand smoke is as hazardous to the health of a non-smoker as firsthand smoke is to a smoker. As Statistics Canada explains, secondhand smoke is a combination of smoke exhaled by smokers and the smoke that is released into the air from burning cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Exposure to such smoke can result in a long list of fatal diseases. Among them are lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, middle-ear infections and pneumonia.

If you’re still a cigarette smoker looking for ways to quit, don’t worry – help is certainly available to you.

Nicotine replacement therapy is an option.

Understandably, quitting smoking is easier said than done. It is an addiction. And beating an addiction takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are, however, some scientifically-proven ways to help smokers quit their nasty habits. Among them is nicotine replacement therapy. As explained by Joe Brownstein on LiveScience.com, this can come in the form of a nicotine patch or nicotine gum.

Glen Morgan is the program director in the Behavioral Research Program at the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute. He contributes to Brownstein’s article by noting that some people may not like the taste of the gum and instead, consider the patch more convenient. Others don’t like the continuous delivery of the patch and instead, prefer chewing the gum. Some, however, combine the two to combat intense urges.

Will power is essential.

No matter what scientific methods of assistance you may employ, it’s important to be dedicated to your mission to quit smoking. In some cases, that entails significantly limiting your access to cigarettes. Do you tend to buy cartons? If so, start buying cigarettes in smaller quantities. This will hopefully help you to use them a lot less. At least, this is what is believed by Debra L. Gordon and Dr. David L. Katz.

On the Reader’s Digest website, they suggest that you change your cigarette buying habits. “As you’re getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes,” Gordon and Katz advise, “Instead, only buy a pack at a time, and only carry two or three with you at a time (try putting them in an Altoids tin). Eventually you’ll find that when you want a smoke, you won’t have any immediately available. That will slowly wean you down to fewer cigarettes.”

Cigarette smoke in the home makes for a very hazardous living environment.

Even if no one smokes inside its four walls, the remnants of cigarette smoke on the clothes, skin and hair of the smokers in your household can create some ill health effects. Perhaps, it’s time for a home inspection. For more information about the Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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