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Will A Live Christmas Tree Trigger Your Allergy Symptoms?

There are many Canadian families that already have their Christmas trees up. Of course, there are many others who are still in the process of picking out the right trees to grace their homes this holiday season. For those who choose to put up artificial trees, the decision can be made at any time. A live tree, however, requires watering and other care, so timing is important. Obviously, you don’t want to unwrap presents under a dead, wilted tree on Christmas morning.

There is, however, another concern when it comes to live Christmas trees. For those who suffer with allergies, live trees can create major problems. In most cases, bringing plants inside the home is advisable for the improving of indoor air quality. There are numerous houseplants that have detoxifying effects. However, with certain trees, the opposite is true.

Some live trees can trigger allergy symptoms.

On BabyCenter.com, it is explained that particular holiday trees, such as juniper and cedar can bring pollen into your home and contribute to allergies. In addition, such trees can create a mould problem. “Freshly cut trees can breed mould spores,” informs the site, “The spores grow all over the tree, and when they’re released into the air, inhaling them into the nose and lungs can trigger allergy symptoms.”

The website goes on to report that “researchers at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, found that a room containing a fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mould levels that were five times the normal level. Other studies have shown that levels this high can cause allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, says the study’s coauthor, allergist and immunologist Philip Hemmers.”

What can you do to protect your family from mould spores?

BabyCenter.com recommends that you use a leaf blower to blow as much potentially harmful debris off of the tree as possible before bringing it into your home. It also suggests rinsing the tree down with a garden hose and letting it dry before setting it up inside. Wiping down the tree trunk with bleach is another cleaning solution, says the site. Now, if each of these cleaning methods sound like too much trouble – or even seem unrealistic – you’re not alone!

We can’t imagine that all of the pre-set up maintenance is worth it. Chances are that you will not have guaranteed yourself or your family members an allergy-free holiday season even if you do employ the above mentioned cleaning methods. On VeryWellHealth.com, Jeanette Bradley proposes an alternative solution.

Choose an allergy-friendly tree.

“If pine pollen is a major allergy trigger for you, a fir, spruce, or cypress Christmas tree may be a better bet,” she advises, “The Leyland Cypress is a sterile hybrid tree, which means it does not produce any pollen. To find a Leyland Cypress Christmas tree, you may need to bypass the Christmas tree lots and big box stores and instead go direct to the source: a local Christmas tree farm.”

No matter which tree you decide to display in your home this holiday season, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to offer you the gift of cleaner air inside your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Asbestos Will Finally Be Banned In Canada On December 30th

December 30th, 2018. That’s the date asbestos officially becomes outlawed in the country of Canada. Announced by the federal government in December of 2016, the nationwide ban of asbestos will have taken a total of two years to come into full effect. We’re not going to lie. We can’t understand the long delay. Asbestos, quite frankly, should have been banned a long time ago.

It’s no secret. Asbestos is a killer. Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer are just three of the known deadly diseases brought on by asbestos exposure. The toxic substance, once a staple in the construction of homes and buildings, is known to be the number one cause of workplace deaths in Canada. “Good riddance” is all that comes to mind for the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team when thinking of asbestos.

What does the official asbestos ban entail?

As Kelly Franklin of ChemicalWatch.com, reports, “The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations will ban the import, sale and use of the material, as well as the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing it, with some exceptions.” Those exceptions, notes Franklin include legacy uses where asbestos was already integrated in structures that already contain the products.

In other words, old buildings that contain asbestos aren’t about to be torn down and replaced with asbestos-free constructions. Franklin also notes that mining residues are not covered by the new asbestos ban. She also points out that there are some time-limited exceptions as well as several ongoing exclusions to the ban.

What are the time-limited exceptions to the asbestos ban?

“The substance’s use in the chlor-alkali industry – where it is used as part of cell diaphragms to act as a filter in the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda – has been protected until the end of 2029,” Franklin reports, “The proposal had called for the use to be discontinued from 2025, but was extended to ‘provide sufficient lead time to safely adopt asbestos-free technology’.”

In addition, there are exemptions for particular products that are used to service military equipment as well as service equipment in nuclear facilities. These exemptions expire in 2023 unless a permit is issued by the government to allow for them to continue.

What are the ongoing exclusions to the asbestos ban?

The reuse of road asphalt containing asbestos for the purpose of restoring asbestos mining sites or to create new road infrastructure will still be permissible. As well, if there is no feasible alternative, Canada can still import, sell and use military equipment serviced outside of Canada with an asbestos-containing product. Finally, the import, sale or use of products containing asbestos for display in a museum or use in a laboratory will still be allowed.

“In most of these cases, reporting and record-keeping is required, in addition to the preparation and implementation of an asbestos management plan,” notes Franklin.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we suppose later is better than never. However, for the health and safety of all Canadians, December 30th can’t come soon enough. If you would like information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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What Happens When You Smoke Inside Your Home?

The vast majority of Canadians get it. Cigarette smoking provides an almost guaranteed ticket to the hospital, at some point. This cancer-causing habit is a known killer to the tune of nearly a quarter million Canadians every year! Each day, 100 Canadians die of a smoking-related illness, says Canada.ca. Does there really need to be a discussion about why everyone should quit smoking? We think not.

Nevertheless, there are still many people who simply cannot kick the habit. For smokers who live with their families, taking the nasty habit outdoors is usually the norm. It cannot be stressed enough that smoking cigarettes inside the home is one of the absolute worst things a person can do for his/her health and the health of everyone else living in the home.

Secondhand smoke is a killer too.

It’s no secret that you don’t have to be a cigarette smoker to have your health dramatically harmed by cigarette smoke. The smoke emitted from the cigarettes as well as the smoke exhaled from smoker’s mouths contain all of the harmful chemicals and toxins necessary to create life threatening diseases in those who come into contact with it.

“Children and non-smoking adults exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of lung cancer, and possibly cancers of the breast, lymphatic system, blood, larynx, throat, sinuses, brain, bladder, rectum and stomach,” details Laurel Heidtman on Livestrong.com, “Dust samples taken from the homes of smokers contain tobacco-specific carcinogens, making thirdhand smoke a possible risk factor for cancer as well.”

What is thirdhand smoke and what are its health implications?

Once the smoke clears, the health risks are gone, right? Wrong. Thirdhand smoke refers to the nicotine residue left behind on our furniture, drapes, walls, carpets and other surfaces of the home. It can even attach itself to toys making young children particularly susceptible to its harmful effects.

Children exposed to thirdhand smoke at home are more likely to have asthma, ear infections, frequent illnesses and even pneumonia, points out Kristeen Cherney on Healthline.com. “Additionally, children who grow up with parents who smoke are at an increased risk of smoking themselves,” she notes.

Take your smoking habit outdoors.

Other than quitting smoking completely, the only other solution to preventing both secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke from impacting the health of your family is to avoid smoking in the home. It should be mentioned, as well, that you’ll also diminish the risk of starting a fire in the home when you insist on lighting up outside only.

Heidtman explains that “the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says home fires caused by smoking materials kill almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers annually in the U.S. One in 4 killed was not the smoker, and more than one-third of those were children of the smoker.”

In addition, it’s pretty obvious that quitting smoking will vastly improve your home’s indoor air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you take your commitment to your family’s health one step further. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Making Your Home Healthier For The Holidays

Now that we’re a week into November, it’s pretty safe to say that the holiday shopping season is here. Many Canadians have already filled out their holiday shopping lists and are making plans to hit the malls in order to locate specially selected items. Of course, the official start of the holidays is still many weeks away. But you can never start your holiday shopping too early.

Be sure to include a special someone on your list. To be more accurate, it’s a special “something”. Your home deserves all the love you can give it! The more you take care of your home, the happier and healthier your family will be. This forthcoming holiday season, be sure to pick up some gifts that will make your home healthier.

Soy candles.

Who doesn’t love a pleasant smelling home? The problem, for most of us, is that keeping our homes smelling sweet often involves the spraying of air fresheners. These products commonly contain volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) which are detrimental to our health. To prevent wreaking havoc on our respiratory systems, opt for natural products that emit sweet smells. On Bustle.com, Carina Wolff recommends soy candles.

“Scented candles can make your home smell nice, but they come at a risk,” she explains, “Petroleum-based paraffin wax candles emit potentially hazardous chemicals that can lead to health risks such as cancer, common allergies, and asthma, according to a study from South Carolina State University. Vegetable-based options such as 100 percent soy candles don’t produce those harmful chemicals, so opt for those instead.”

Moisture meter.

Keeping your home’s humidity at a safe level is also imperative to its overall health. High levels of humidity promote breeding grounds for mould. And when mould spores become airborne, they turn into major irritants to our respiratory systems, especially for those of us with asthma and allergies. Best Health Magazine highly recommends that you buy a moisture meter for your home.

“Nothing helps mould to flourish like high humidity, so do all you can to get household moisture under control,” notes their website, “Obviously, that means keeping an eye out for roof leaks and drip-drip-dripping faucets…You might want to pick up a moisture meter (hygrometer) at a hardware store. If the indoor humidity in your home regularly exceeds 50 percent, a dehumidifier should solve your problem.”

New bedding.

Do you find you’re using the same sheets and pillowcases over and over again? Do you get lazy and just leave the same ones on your bed for weeks on end? To prevent an onslaught of dust mites, which provide major triggers of our asthma symptoms and other allergies, it’s important to remove your bed sheets and wash them in hot water at least once a week. To help with the bedding rotation, you may want to pick up a new bed set.

“Chronic exposure of dust mites can cause allergies and asthma, according to the American Lung Association, so be sure to vacuum frequently, change your bedding and pillowcases often, and reduce the humidity in your house,” advises Wolff.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d argue that an inspection of your home’s indoor air quality is the best holiday gift you could give it! For information about our Air Quality Services and/or 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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