Now that we are at the official midway point of November, we think it’s safe to say the following: Happy Holidays everyone! Okay, perhaps we jumped the gun a bit. The official holiday season doesn’t kick off until the end of December. However, we all know that holiday parties are already getting underway. It’s really never too early to enjoy all of the wonders that come along with the holiday season.
This is certainly the time of year when you’re a lot more likely to entertain. Having guests over at your home for holiday festivities is always a joyous way to welcome the season. What’s more fun than the gift-giving, song-singing, meal-eating activities that come with celebrating this time of year? Of course, you know we have to mention that with the significant increase in visitors to your home comes the increased risk of polluting its air.
“With the holidays now upon us, it is important you know the dangers posed by indoor air pollution so you can combat the risks,” writes Tara on BioFriendlyPlanet.com, “Although indoor air pollution is not a topic most people are likely to bring up while preparing for holiday visitors and guests, it is a subject worthy of discussion.”
Let’s lay down a few ground rules so you can enjoy a healthy holiday season!
Firstly, don’t assume that because it’s cold outside, the windows need to stay closed 24/7. At some point each day, it’s a good idea to crack the windows and allow some of the cool, fresh air from outside to circulate with the warm, stale air from inside. This will be especially important when you have a large number of guests come over. A lot of people together in one environment can make for an indoor air quality nightmare.
This should actually be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to holiday parties. Chances are you’re bound to have some smokers come over to celebrate the holidays with you. Let them know that they are welcome, but their cigarettes are not. Insist that all smoking be done outside. It should go without saying that the many toxic chemicals found in secondhand smoke are detrimental to your health, the health of your family members and all of your home’s visitors.
This very-Canadian tradition is an excellent way to keep the pollutants from outside from coming into your home. Naturally, we all walk on outdoor grounds that are dirty. Why track that dirt into the house?
“You and your family will benefit from improving indoor air quality as well…Leave your shoes at the door, and ask guests to do the same,” insists Tara, “Shoes can track in quite a bit of dust, pollen, chemicals and pesticides.”
Of course, there is so much more you can do to ensure a healthy holiday season for your family. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc., we’d love to help you have your healthiest holiday season yet! 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 email@example.com.
Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. Blog are well aware of our insistence on maintaining high indoor air quality. Our penchant for doling out tips and advice that will help for your home to be a safer place to live exists with good reason. The air we breathe, quite obviously, has a huge impact on our health. The cleaner it is, the better our lives will be. It’s really that simple. However, keeping the air in our homes is a lot less simple than most of us believe.
Take, for example, the cleaning products most of us use. We assume that because we are dusting, polishing and mopping, we are keeping our homes free of respiratory irritants and health hazards. Many of those cleaning products, however, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are themselves contributing to the health hazards we are trying to avoid.
This is especially important given the news that recently came out via Lancet. As Jen St. Denis reports on MetroNews.ca, the medical journal commissioned a study that concluded that pollution causes 16 percent of all deaths around the world. The study, she notes, is the first to analyze together the impact of air, water and soil pollution.
“Examples of pollution include air pollution from vehicle exhaust and exposure to solvents, pesticides and lead,” informs St. Denis, “The social costs include the long-term effects of exposure, such as the long-term cognitive problems associated with lead poisoning.” She goes on to note, however, that the study provides hope. At least, this is the impression received by one of the study’s authors, Bruce Lanphear – a health sciences professor with Simon Fraser University.
“What’s so exciting about studying things like pollution is that it’s entirely preventable,” he is quoted as saying, “Pollution is man-made, we know how to control it. That contrasts with other potential causes that haven’t been fully fleshed out.” A perfect example of a preventable disease, lists St. Denis, is childhood leukemia. It’s known to be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. Naturally, taking steps to significantly decrease or eliminate exposure would help to save lives.
In fact, 92 percent of all deaths caused by pollution take place in poorer nations. Canada, argues Lanphear, should not have its citizens at risk of dying due to pollution-related causes. As well, our nation should be doing its part to help other nations by not exporting toxic substances such as asbestos or lead-based paint.
“Because exposure to pollution is such a serious health risk, it’s important that all levels of government adopt policies to reduce pollution,” says St. Denis, “Lanphear pointed to Vancouver’s commitment to have 75 per cent of city trips completed by biking, walking or public transit by 2040 as an important goal.”
It’s no secret that DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. is on board with keeping Canada as pollution free as possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how our Air Quality Services can make your home a safer environment! Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re going to be completely honest here. We know carpets are comfy. They’re soft, warm and quite cozy to lie down on. We understand those who feel that their homes are much more comfortable places to live if they incorporate wall-to-wall carpeting. But, if we’re going to be completely honest, we have to say – it just isn’t worth it. The health hazards presented by carpeting are too many to keep it installed all over the house.
The first and, perhaps, most obvious reason to remove the carpeting in your home is to help allergy sufferers run much lower risks of experiencing their symptoms. It’s likely no surprise to you that carpets are havens for dust and other allergens. Simply take a look at your vacuum cleaner canister or bag, if you don’t believe us. Columbus, Ohio-based Scott Hall Remodeling explains that removing carpet is a to-do list topper for those with allergies.
“This can be especially true in the basement area,” they note on their website, “Carpets can often collect allergens that you can’t see, along with those you can, such as pet hair. If anyone in your family has allergies, this may be a good reason to remove the carpets in your basement. This is especially true if that person spends a good amount of time in the basement.”
Not surprisingly, the older your carpets are, the more likely they are to contain allergens. Naturally, one of the top reasons to replace or remove your carpeting is because it’s simply too old. “Often, older carpets catch and retain more allergens and particulate matter, which may cause your allergies to act up,” says Lacey Nix on AngiesList.com, “If you notice an increase in allergies, one source may be your older carpet.”
Carpets don’t just impact the health of allergy sufferers because of the dust, crumbs, pet dander and other particles that may fall onto it and get trapped. Carpets are also known for holding in moisture. As a result, mould can form in the floor underneath the carpet without you being able to detect it. Mould spores, of course, are also hazardous to our health. And those with respiratory issues are the first to notice.
This is why Scott Hall Remodeling advocates for the removal of wall-to-wall carpeting in the basement. The basement, they point out, is susceptible to more moisture than the rest of the house. “While this isn’t always the case, it’s something to look into,” reads their site, “Excess moisture can cause water damage and mould buildup in carpets and you may not readily see it on the surface.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are dedicated to helping you avoid the many health hazards that come with having carpet in your home. We offer Air Quality Services, Moisture Monitoring Services and Mould Assessment Services, among many others, to ensure that you enjoy the best possible indoor air quality.
For more information about any and all of our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Canadians are prone to cracking the windows in the summertime. Obviously, right? With the warmth and sunshine so prevalent during the summer, it only makes sense to let some of the fresh, warm air from outside circulate with the otherwise stagnant, stale air from inside. But now that the fall is in full swing, Canadians are prone to keeping their windows shut. Considering the much cooler temperatures, that would make sense right?
It’s what can happen when we keep our windows closed all the time. Known as SBS for short, sick building syndrome refers to the health issues that may arise when we keep ourselves locked in tightly sealed spaces with little ventilation. In a special to the National Post, Mike Holmes of “Holmes On Homes” fame explains that there are a number of symptoms that people experience when they keep themselves cooped up.
Headaches, dizziness and nausea are among them. “Not only can keeping openings closed cause condensation issues inside your house (i.e. weeping windows), which we know can lead to mould, it also allows toxins already inside the home to build up,” writes Holmes, “That includes volatile organic compounds, mould spores, dust, smoke, radon, viruses and bacteria. Breathing these in over an extended period of time isn’t good for your health.”
When we keep our windows closed, we trap air pollutants in our home. By opening the windows, we let them out. It’s really that simple. And yes, even during the colder months of the year, it’s wise to crack the windows to allow for that healthy circulation of air to take place. Of course, you don’t have to keep the windows open all day long. On MindBodyGreen.com, it’s explained that only a few minutes a day are necessary.
“Even when it’s chilly outside, you should open a window for at least five minutes a day to significantly decrease the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home,” says the website, “Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Manual is the way to go.”
Holmes believes that cracking the windows is an activity that shouldn’t be limited to the summer or fall. He advocates for the opening of windows during the ever-frigid wintertime too. “You don’t need to do this for hours; 15 to 20 minutes is enough to make a difference,” he points out, “It’s also a good solution for homes that don’t have forced air. Yes, you will be losing some energy, but the health benefits you get from bringing fresh air into your home can offset this energy loss.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we regularly champion any act that will help to improve indoor air quality. And while we agree that opening your windows each day, throughout the year, is a good idea, we know that there is more that can be done. And we’d like to do it for you!
Contact us to today to learn about our Air Quality Services. Call 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Just keep your home dry. That way, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of having any mould or mildew growth. It really isn’t all that simple though, is it? When you really think about it, we all require the presence of moisture in our daily lives. We cook, we clean, we drink, we bathe – our daily routines demand the presence of water. So how can we reasonably keep things dry?
As Better Homes & Gardens explains, mould and mildew can quickly grow anywhere there is moisture. “They serve an important purpose in our environment by helping to destroy organic materials such as leaves, thereby enriching the soil,” explains the site, “But that same attribute can cause a serious health issue for people living in a mouldy home: respiratory problems; sinus congestion; eye, nose, or throat irritation; and headaches.”
The site goes on to reveal that infants, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals and people who have existing respiratory conditions are at the highest risk of experiencing the symptoms associated with mould and mildew presence. Heidi Hill of the Mother Nature Network seconds the call for wet areas to be dried up immediately. She points out that without paying attention to the moist areas of the home, mould can appear.
“Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours,” writes Hill, “If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don’t leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower.”
Hills goes on to mention that even the simplest of acts like leaving wet clothes in the washing machine can promote mould growth that can spread quickly. “Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation,” she advises.
Naturally, the bathroom is an area of the home where moisture is always present. Keeping things dry in there is especially important if you want to prevent mould from growing. As a result, it’s important to keep your bathroom well ventilated. If you’re home alone, shower with the bathroom door open. If you want to guarantee privacy and keep the door closed, be sure to run the exhaust fan.
Better Homes & Gardens also offers the following tips to keep your bathroom mould-free:
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to keep your home mould-free. It’s imperative for promoting optimum health for everyone who dwells within it. For more information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We’re now less than three months away from the beginning of 2018. And while time is known to fly, the new year can’t come soon enough for thousands of families all across Canada. Sadly, so many of them have been gravely affected by the hazardous substance known as asbestos. Taking far too many lives each year and earning top spot as the number one cause of workplace deaths in Canada, asbestos will finally be banned nationwide next year.
While the announcement of the comprehensive ban last December was met with widespread approval, many rightfully believe that it came far too late. As Tavia Grant points out in her recent article in The Globe and Mail, asbestos leads all carcinogens as the top cancer-causing agent in workplaces within the province of Ontario. She cites a paper released by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Care Ontario last week as evidence.
The study, notes Grant, is the first to estimate the number of cancer cases from workplace exposure in Ontario. It is part of a four-year national project. Paul Demers is the OCRC director. “I can’t count the number of times that I have talked about how important it is to prevent exposure to carcinogens, but raising awareness doesn’t always lead to action,” he is quoted as saying, “I think the numbers are important to make this real and push action towards preventing exposure to these causes of cancer.”
The OCRC paper exposes the fact that Ontario workers spend approximately a third of their waking hours in their workplaces. Nevertheless, very little has been done by way of researching the impact of the cancer-causing agents that are present in their places of work. The recent OCRC study identifies four key carcinogens: asbestos, diesel-engine exhaust, silica and solar ultraviolet radiation (outdoor sun exposure).
Asbestos is clearly highlighted as the worst of them all. Grant notes that it “causes an estimated 15 laryngeal cancers in Ontario each year, as well as some ovarian cancers. By industry, most workplace exposure to asbestos is in construction, largely through maintenance and renovations of homes and buildings, as well as in manufacturing.”
She goes on to highlight the fact that even though the forthcoming ban of asbestos seeks to eliminate its use in Canada, there are still a number of asbestos-laden products that are being used throughout the country.
Insulation and tiles have been widely used in the construction of homes and public buildings such as schools and universities, Grant reminds us. It can easily be concluded that by eliminating asbestos use in any and all products all throughout Canada, the risk of people contracting deadly lung cancers will significantly be reduced.
As Grant reports, “the study recommended strengthening rules on workplace exposure limits, reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances on the job, and creating registries of worker exposures to occupational carcinogens.”
It should come as no surprise that the team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is practically counting down the days until Canada’s nationwide asbestos ban takes full effect. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dust is in all of our homes. No matter how often we clean, it always seems to return. Dust is primarily made up of our skin flakes and microscopic fibres, so there’s no real way to eliminate it from our homes for good. However, proper upkeep is integral removing dust and improving indoor air quality in order to live in a healthy environment. This is especially true for allergy and asthma sufferers.
So how can you minimize all of that pesky dust in your home? Here are three ideas:
You may not assume that your bed is among the dustiest areas of your home…but it is. What you may not realize is that while you’re dozing each and every night, your skin flakes. In addition to the fibres that your bedding regularly sheds, your nightly place of rest actually becomes a haven for dust – and therefore, dust mites. These microscopic creatures eat your skin flakes and leave behind microscopic droppings that only add to the list of asthma irritants already in your home.
Your best bet? Change and wash your sheets every single week. “To minimize the fallout (of dust), wash sheets and pillowcases weekly,” advises Gary Wentz of Reader’s Digest, “Items that aren’t machine washable don’t need weekly trips to the dry cleaners—just take blankets and bedspreads outside and shake them. You can smack some of the dust out of pillows, but for a thorough cleaning, wash or dry-clean them.”
Branching off of that last point, Wentz also suggests that you take things a step further with your carpeting. Firstly, the less carpet you have in your home the better. Naturally, dust gets trapped in carpet and no matter how much you vacuum, it’s hard to remove it completely. As a result, Wentz advises that you take your removable carpets and rugs outside and give them some good beatings!
“Drape them over a fence or clothesline and beat them with a broom or tennis racket,” he recommends, “Give your cushions the same treatment. Upholstery fabric not only sheds its own fibers but also absorbs dust that settles on it, so you raise puffs of dust every time you sit down. Beat cushions in the backyard or use slipcovers and give them a good shake. If you want to eliminate upholstery dust, buy leather- or vinyl-covered furniture.”
Do away with dusters. Those feathery little trinkets only spread the dust around. A standard rag also won’t do the trick, even when using them with store-bought furniture polish. As FamilyHandyman.com, explains, “microfiber products attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge, unlike dry rags and feather dusters, which just spread dust around. Machine washable microfiber products can save you money over disposable brands because you can use them over and over.”
As you can imagine, there are many other ways to minimize dust accumulation in your home. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend having the indoor air quality of your home tested. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
This Friday marks the official start of the fall season. And, for most Canadians, that means the official start of the “stay at home more often” season. It’s not at all surprising that we tend to enjoy the great outdoors on a more regular basis when it’s warm and sunny outside. It’s also pretty commonplace to keep the windows open, when at home, to enjoy the warm fresh air from outside.
Come fall, these practices change. We tend to stay indoors to avoid chilly temperatures and we usually keep the windows shut to keep all of that chilliness outside.
As you may have guessed, it means that the air inside your home is more prone to having its quality lowered. By virtue of the fact that we’re inside the home more often and we’re generally keeping the air inside trapped, it stands to reason that it’s going to be of a lesser quality. In other words, we’re more likely to make ourselves sick during the colder months of the year, in part, by keeping ourselves cooped up.
One thing is for sure – it’s important to keep your home clean. This is important all year round, but during the time of year when you’re less likely to let fresh air inside the home, it’s best to become a neat freak. This will minimize the accumulation of dust and other respiratory system enemies. GetCold.net reminds us not to forget those often-overlooked areas where dust collects in abundance.
“Use a damp cloth to wipe any dust away from ceiling fans, air registers, and kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans,” the site instructs, “You should also look inside your ductwork. You will only be able to see so far, but if there is noticeable debris within the area you can see, it is likely that the rest of the ductwork is also dirty. If you see dirt, dust, cobwebs, or debris, call a professional to have the ductwork inspected and cleaned.”
Remember that they help to rid your home’s air of particles – and those particles build up. Without cleaning or changing them regularly, they aren’t of much use to you.
“When air filters are dirty, they aren’t as effective, which means that more particles will be in the air that you and your loved ones breathe,” says SeaCoastAir.com, “Make sure to change the air filter each month before it becomes saturated with dust and other particles.”
As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There are numerous other ways to ensure the high quality of the air inside your home during the fall. However, we would argue that there are none better than securing the services of DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Our Air Quality Services are made up of inspections that target areas of concern to ensure the best possible living environment for your family all year round.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some asthmatics have likened their respiratory conditions to having someone trapped in their chests, gripping their lungs and closing off their airways. Simply put, asthma makes it hard to breathe. Therefore, it’s wise for all asthmatics to take important precautions when it comes to keeping their airways free of irritants.
For many asthmatics, smoke is a major trigger for symptoms. Some have described the presence of smoke in their vicinities as “poison” that has a “severe choking effect”. Naturally, asthmatics generally stay clear away from smoke as well as other irritants such as dust, pollen and pet dander. And this makes many an asthmatic a neat freak.
But did you know that the very act of cleaning the home can present problems for asthmatics? Here are two important cleaning tips that will help:
Most of us are pretty used to opening up scented bottles of cleaning products so that our homes smell clean and fresh once we’ve completely our housecleaning chores. Those smells, however, are actually signs that there are harmful chemicals lingering in the air. Volatile organic compounds do favours for no one’s respiratory system. Asthmatics should stay away from them. On AllergicLiving.com, Jennifer Van Evra refers to such products as “chemical soups”.
“With their cheerful advertisements and colorful bottles, it’s easy to forget that many household cleaners are chemical soups that may set off respiratory and skin reactions in people who are sensitive,” she writes, “But not only are they triggers, Massachusetts research scientist Anila Bello says they can actually cause new sensitivities to form.”
Evra goes on to point out that Bello has even helped Boston-area hospitals to use safer cleaning products after their nurses complained of respiratory issues after entering rooms that had just been cleaned.
Sometimes the best way to clean is not to have to clean at all. And, in the case of pet dander, that’s especially true. It can be hard for an asthma sufferer who is also an animal lover. But the fact that dog and cat fur can trigger breathing trouble makes it so that being a pet owner isn’t always a good idea. On EverydayHealth.com, Elizabeth Shimer Bowers suggests that asthmatics think twice before bringing a dog or cat home.
“Pet dander is one of the most problematic triggers when it comes to allergic asthma symptoms,” she informs, “it’s the proteins in a pet’s dander, saliva, and urine that aggravate asthma symptoms.”
She goes on to quote Ohio-based allergist, Dr. Princess Ogbogu, who notes that “When people with asthma inhale (pet dander) particles, this can really set off an asthma attack… If you do choose to have a pet…limit your exposure to the animal by keeping it out of your bedroom.”
Of course, there are many other cleaning tips that asthmatics should consider. De-cluttering the home to minimize dust accumulation and keeping smokers out of the home are just two more. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend having the indoor air quality of your home tested.
For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
As we’ve covered extensively on our blog, Canada will be implementing a comprehensive nationwide ban on asbestos next year. Lobbyists all over the country have long petitioned for the toxic substance to be outlawed. For reasons that not many know, short of economic gain (read: greed at the expense of the nation’s health), asbestos continues to be imported into Canada in such products such as brake pads.
Prior to the 1990s, however, asbestos was a staple in the construction of homes and office building, primarily for its insulating abilities. Renovations of any such buildings threaten to send asbestos fibres airborne. These fibres are well known for getting trapped in the lungs of anyone who is exposed to them. Thus, deadly lung diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis have taken the lives of thousands of Canadians.
Yes, a ban is coming. But that doesn’t prevent the numerous buildings across Canada that are already asbestos-laden from threatening the health of those who enter them. Such is the case in northwest Edmonton where the New West Hotel is currently undergoing an investigation due to the mishandling of asbestos removal during recent renovations.
According to a recent CBC News report by Scott Stevenson, the hotel’s employees have reported the potential of asbestos exposure since no asbestos testing was done prior to the construction work. Stevenson notes that in spite of a stop-work order issued by Occupational Health and Safety, construction at the hotel continues. The hotel, in fact, has received two stop-work orders.
Stevenson reveals that Alberta Labour has confirmed that a stop-work order was issued to the hotel on July 5th. The order was lifted August 18th after tests confirmed the presence of asbestos, however, another stop-work order was issued on the 23rd because of ventilation issues. Clearly, there are unsafe working conditions at the New West Hotel – a business that has been operational since 1954.
Rebecca Grant, a 31 year-old mother of two, used to work there as a housekeeper. She spoke to CBC News and admitted that she became concerned for her health and quit her job, as a result. “They kept busting drywall after the stop-work order was in place,” she is quoted as saying, “It was my job to clean the rooms they had renovated.” Grant goes on to describe the hotel as “disorganized, unhealthy, and unsafe” during the renovation process.
She didn’t just quit her job on suspicion of asbestos exposure. She was beginning to feel the symptoms. An asthma sufferer, Grant felt her job was not worth the risk to her health. “It was making me sick,” she told CBC News, “I’d go into work and I’d have a really hard time breathing as soon as I hit the upstairs. I have asthma. So I decided I had to quit because of the work conditions. I mean, you could see the shiny, crystallized dust particles in the air.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate for safe working environments for all Canadians. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.