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Mould: A Major Health Problem Caused By Flooding

Our hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas. On behalf of the entire team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to express our sorrow and concern while wishing for a speedy return to safety for all residents of the city that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey in recent days. Now a tropical storm, Harvey is expected to continue to batter Houston and its surrounding areas in the days to come.

“The Category Four storm rolled in on Friday, battering Corpus Christi before plowing towards Houston the following day,” reports Laura Mallonee on Wired.com, “It dumped 12 trillion gallons of rain on south Texas, forcing some 30,000 people to flee their homes and leaving at least nine dead. With Harvey predicted to drop 20 more inches in the next few days, the hurricane could be the biggest rain-producing storm to pummel the US in more than a century.”

A reminder of the Alberta floods.

While we haven’t exactly experienced a hurricane, here in the Calgary, Alberta area, we can’t help but be reminded of the Alberta floods that took place in June and July of 2013. Much of our city was under water thanks to several days of heavy rainfall. Until the Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016, the Alberta floods were the costliest disaster in Canadian history. Damages totalled about $1.7 million.

But let’s forget about the money for a second. At times like this, we’re strongly reminded that people’s lives matter the most. Even when the recovery process is able to begin, it can take years before victims of natural disasters are able to get their lives back in order. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we can’t help but be mindful of the fact that flooding causes major property damage – which leads to major health issues.

Mould makes flooding all the more dangerous.

It should come as no surprise to you that mould is a more than likely result of experiencing flooding in your home. Mould thrives on warmth and moisture. Flooding, of course, provides plenty of moisture. And, as Moldpedia.com points out, the excess moisture caused by flooding can lead to mould growth very quickly.

“Mould can start to grow after just a day or two so it’s important to act as quickly as possible if your home has been flooded,” warns the site, “Make sure you only enter your home once it’s safe though. If you’re going to perform the flood clean up yourself then you should begin my moving things outside that didn’t get wet. This is to protect them while you clean up the rest of the house.”

We can only imagine just how irreparable much of the property in Houston must be. We suspect that many homes will be beyond repair and have to be rebuilt from scratch. Especially because of the flooding and the mould it causes, this is likely the wisest choice. A mould-infested home is safe for no one. We sincerely hope that relief efforts will make the transition back to normalcy as speedy as possible for the people of Houston.

How can you help Houston?

The Canadian Red Cross is accepting online donations to aid with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Let’s show what Canada is all about and help out as much as we all can!

For information about 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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B.C. Seeing A Rise In Asbestos-Related Work Site Violations

In last week’s blog, we revisited the topic of asbestos and pointed out that, in spite of Canada’s soon-to-be-enforced nationwide ban, the substance continues to wreak havoc on our health. We highlighted the fact that asbestos not only has long-lasting health implications but that exposure to the toxic material can come by way of a secondhand nature.

Many Canadians have endured respiratory complications because their family members have come home from work with asbestos fibres attached to their clothing. And, sadly, this still seems to be the case. Just yesterday, Jeremy Shepherd of North Shore News reported that asbestos-related work site violations are on the rise. According to WorkSafeBC, there have been more asbestos-related stop work orders and fines in the first eight months of 2017 than in all of 2016.

“More than 600 British Columbian workers died from asbestos-related disease in the past decade,” writes Shepherd, referring to comments made by WorkSafeBC vice-president Al Johnson, “In 2016, more than one-third of the 164 construction deaths in B.C. stemmed from asbestos-related illness. Asbestos is set to be banned in Canada in 2018 but workers still face exposure as escalating property values have triggered a rash in home demolitions.”

Shepherd reminds us that before 1990, many homes were built using asbestos-laden building materials. It was also commonly used as an insulation source. He also notes that asbestos was sprayed on many of the beams that supported buildings erected in the 1960s and ’70s. “The prevalence in asbestos resulted in many workers suffering scarring of the lungs as well as mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop as late as 40 years after asbestos exposure,” Shepherd informs.

Naturally, demolitions of homes constructed with asbestos leave workers highly susceptible to asbestos exposure. And this is happening with increased frequency in British Columbia. As a result, WorkSafeBC has been handing out fines at higher rates this year.

“WorkSafeBC levelled a $3,959 fine on Living Balance International Trading Ltd. in July during a North Vancouver demolition job,” reports Shepherd, “The penalty came after a report revealed asbestos-containing materials where labourers had already begun work. The firm also failed to inspect the site to identify hazardous materials before beginning demolition, according to WorkSafeBC.”

Johnson asserts that the fines are intended to encourage business owners to take the proper precautions before going ahead with home demolitions. Removing all asbestos from the building prior to its demolition is one such precaution that seems to be neglected by far too many companies and contractors. Johnson urges workers to report if they are being made to work in unsafe conditions.

“Not only is it a right, it’s a responsibility to refuse unsafe work,” Johnson is quoted as saying. Shepherd explains that British Columbia workers who see serious injuries, chemical releases or general unsafe conditions, should call WorkSafeBC at 604-276-3100. “Workers have the option to remain anonymous,” he affirms, “WorkSafeBC also provides safeguards to ensure whistleblowers aren’t treated unfairly.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have made it pretty clear that we strongly support safeguards against asbestos exposure. For more 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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Asbestos-Related Diseases Are Proving Very Costly For Canadians

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has covered the topic of asbestos quite extensively. We feel it safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we declare our approval for the nationwide ban on the toxic substance that is set to take effect in the coming year. However, we also feel that it’s safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we express our sadness and concern about the way that asbestos-related diseases have impacted the lives of so many Canadians.

As Tim Povtak reports on Asbestos.com today, asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma are both costing Canadians their lives and costing the nation billions of dollars. “The annual cost of asbestos-related occupational disease in Canada is estimated at $2.35 billion,” he informs, citing new findings by a panel of epidemiologists, public health experts and medical professionals that were published by Occupational and Environmental Medicine last month.

The report documents no less than 427 cases of mesothelioma, pointing out that the deadly disease is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Povtak reveals that the findings highlight the fact that many mesothelioma patients are exposed to asbestos via “secondary” or “secondhand” exposure. In other words, they inhaled fibres that came home on the clothes of family members who worked in direct contact with asbestos.

Evidently, asbestos is so hazardous to our health, you don’t even have to receive direct exposure from the source in order to be significantly impacted. This has lead to an estimated $831 million in direct and indirect costs for cases first identified in 2011, says Povtak. Direct costs include traditional health care, drug costs, out-of-pocket patient expenses, caregiver costs and home health care expenses. Indirect costs involve output and productivity losses caused by mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Clearly, the comprehensive nationwide ban on asbestos can’t come soon enough. Even though the last asbestos mine in Canada closed in 2011, the product continued to be imported for the construction and automotive industries. More than 50 other countries have already banned the toxic substance. The United States, interestingly, is not one of them. “The U.S. continues to import small amounts of asbestos, which is tightly regulated,” reveals Povtak.

Obviously, Canada’s forthcoming nationwide asbestos ban won’t have an immediate impact. Not only do many Canadians need to continue fighting the diseases already caused by asbestos, but the nation will continue to endure the economic burden of battling the illnesses. “The lengthy latency period (20-50 years) between asbestos exposure and a diagnosis of mesothelioma is a continued cause for concern,” Povtak writes.

Dr. Emile Tompa works at the Institute for Work and Health in Ontario. He is well aware that asbestos-related diseases will continue to afflict Canadians for some time. “The number of new cases annually is still rising,” he is quoted as saying in Povtak’s report, “This isn’t going away on its own. Awareness to these issues is growing. Hopefully, these studies help with the decision-making process. Efforts now are out there to mitigate these problems in the future.”

As you’re likely aware, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. continues to be dedicated to doing its part to help. For more 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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How To Safely Remove That Nasty Black Mould From Your Shower

Icky. Yucky. Gross. Yes, these are words commonly uttered by four year-olds. But, nonetheless, they make for the perfect descriptions of the black mould that impacts the bathtubs and shower stalls of far too many Canadians. Many of us are left with no choice but to endure unsightly black mould in our bathrooms. But it doesn’t mean we have to live with it forever. There is a way to win the battle against black mould. And it can be done in a safe way!

Use a baking soda and water solution.

Thankfully, the use of harsh chemicals isn’t necessary to remove black mould from your shower. By mixing household baking soda and water, you’ve concocted a safe and effective black mould remover. As recommended by HowToRemoveBlackMold.com, simply use a quart-sized bottle containing this solution. “This will minimize the number of mould spores from being released into your airspace and spreading throughout your home,” says the site.

Spray the solution everywhere that you see the mould and allow it to sit and work its magic for approximately five to ten minutes. Then grab a brushing utensil – even an old toothbrush should help you to do the trick. Scrub away at the mould with the brush and you should see it begin to disappear. It will be easier to clean some areas more than others. A little elbow grease is all that’s needed for a full and thorough clean.

Once you’ve completed the scrubbing routine, wipe away any excess mould and rinse the area. You may need to repeat the process for especially stubborn stains. Don’t forget to wipe the entire area down once you’ve completed your cleaning. Remember that mould develops in warm and moist areas. The drier you keep your bathroom environment when it is not in use, the less likely mould will develop and grow.

Practice mould removal maintenance.

On CleanMySpace.com, Melissa Maker also champions the use of baking soda and water for black mould removal. She points out that, in some cases, you may need to let the solution set on the mould for up to an hour or two. She agrees, however, that a decent scrubbing should eventually do the job. However, Maker notes that black mould doesn’t just stay away because you’ve gone through the motions of one cleaning. Much like tooth health, mould removal requires constant care.

“If your bathroom is not properly maintained between cleanings, it does not take long for mould to come back,” informs Maker, “In fact, think of mould prevention like oral care—we have to maintain our teeth to keep plaque away. Like a dentist, I am going to suggest some preventative maintenance for you to keep mould out of your bathroom. It only takes seconds to do and is much easier than what the dentist tells you!”

It’s important to remember that all of the mould in your home isn’t always visible. It could be hiding underneath tiles and flooring and stuck between cracks. Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. to learn more about how our Mould Assessment Services can help you to prevent the health risks associated with mould. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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More Needs To Be Done To Protect Canadians From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (or CO, for short ) is known as “the silent killer” because it is a gas that is undetected by smell or sight. Sadly, it takes the lives of Canadians at a rate of 50 per year, as reported by Camille Bains of The Canadian Press via TheStar.com. She reveals that this information comes courtesy of the director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, Pierre Voisine, who notes that Canada has no official database to house such statistics.

Voisine, who is also the fire chief in Cornwall, Ontario, believes that that not enough is being done to protect Canadians against carbon monoxide poisoning. He points out that homeowners aren’t required to install detectors the way they are smoke alarms. Bains reports that, in 2010, a national building code made it mandatory for new homes to come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, but homes built before that year are susceptible to undetected exposure.

Because of its odourless and colourless nature, carbon monoxide is a gas that often kills people while they’re sleeping. Naturally, mandatory CO detectors would save a lot of lives. “It’s very difficult for a community to try to enforce something that’s not mandated,” Voisine is quoted as saying in the article, “Until that happens everywhere it’s very challenging.”

There is, however, hope for the province of Ontario. In 2014, Voisine explains, Ontario updated its fire code to include carbon monoxide detectors in both new and old homes. The amendment was inspired by the 2008 deaths of a police officer and her family who were killed by CO poisoning due to a blocked chimney in their Woodstock home.

Not only is carbon monoxide undetectable by the nose or the eyes, but it’s difficult to tell if the symptoms associated with exposure to the gas are actually being caused by exposure to the gas. Raynald Marchand is the general manager of the Canadian Safety Council. In Bains’ article, he explains that people exposed to fumes can experience headaches, dizziness and nausea. Considering the commonality of these symptoms, it’s not surprising that most people don’t associate them with a possible CO problem in their homes.

Carbon monoxide, however, is more common than most people think. It can be produced any time fossil fuels are burned. Furnaces, stoves and fireplaces are most commonly guilty of this. Marchand, himself, was saved by a CO detector in his home in December of 2014. While experiencing a mild headache, the detector started beeping. He and his teenage daughter left the home, likely saving their lives in the process.

Briana Koop of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan also owes her life to a carbon monoxide detector. It alarmed her and her family as well as her daughter’s friend during a sleepover on an early Sunday morning in January. “For sure our whole family would have been gone if that didn’t happen,” Koop recalls, “The thing that was really most haunting to me was picturing these friends coming to pick up their kid in the morning and finding all five of us in the home.”

Clearly, protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Canada Inching Closer Towards Full-Fledged Asbestos Ban

In December of last year, the Government of Canada finally followed through on its promise to announce a comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos. The deadly substance – known for its role in causing mesothelioma and other fatal respiratory diseases – is set for a complete abolishment from the country in 2018.

Of course, “abolishment” means the ceasing of any importing or exporting of the product. What we do about the asbestos that is currently in our country is another story altogether. Thankfully, there is some good news to report coming out of Gatineau, Quebec. Earlier this month, the federal government announced that it was lowering the acceptable level of workplace exposure to airborne chrysotile asbestos to as close to zero as possible.

As reported by Jeff Cottrill on OHSCanada.com, the move took effect on July 12th, and was announced via news release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Patty Hajdu is the federal Minister of Employment at Workforce Development and Labour. In the release, she shares her sentiments about the nation’s responsibility to keep its workers as safe from harm as possible.

“Every employee has the right to a safe workplace,” declares Hajdu, “I’m proud to be announcing these long-overdue regulatory changes on asbestos, a key element of our government’s comprehensive ban.”

Kirsty Duncan is the Federal Science Minister. She too had some words to say about the federal government’s duty to keep Canadians free from harm in the workplace. “Canadians can be confident my colleagues and I will continue to work hard to ensure that families, workers and communities will be protected from the harmful impacts of asbestos exposure, so they may lead healthy, secure lives,” Duncan shared.

“The move is part of the federal government’s ongoing strategy to ban all asbestos and asbestos-containing products by next year,” writes Cottrill, “Canada’s occupational health and safety law regulations require exposure to airborne asbestos to follow the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values at 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre, according to a backgrounder on the ESDC website.”

Never one to be quiet about the subject of asbestos, Canadian Labour Congress president, Hassan Yussuff, was also vocal about Canada’s recent step towards better protection against asbestos exposure in the workplace. The CLC has long lobbied for the complete ban of asbestos in Canada. Yussuff agrees that the recent move towards lowering acceptable exposure levels at work is a step in the right direction.

“We welcome the action of the government,” said Yussuff. “There’s always going to be argument on what level of threshold is acceptable for workers to be exposed, and we believe no amount of asbestos fibres is safe. So lowering the threshold certainly brings us one step closer to the inevitable situation that the government already announced, a complete ban of both import and export of asbestos.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we applaud the actions being taken by the Canadian government to reduce the potential for asbestos to cause more illnesses and deaths in our country. Of course, we’re mindful that much work still needs to be done in order to keep all Canadians safe.

For more 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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Finding Ways To Minimize Humidity In The Home All Summer Long

Humidity represents the amount of water vapour in the air around you. And, as we all know, the summertime is generally when the air around us is the most humid. During the summer, the air holds more moisture. That’s what gives us that “sticky” feeling that the dry and cold winter air never provides. And while we shouldn’t really complain about the heat (winter is long enough, isn’t it?), it’s important for Canadians to find ways to limit the humidity in their homes.

Since humid air is filled with moisture, it is bound to cause some concerns within our households – not the least of which is mould growth. With mould present in the home, it leaves individuals who live within it susceptible to respiratory problems. This is especially true for people with asthma and other allergies. So what can you do to minimize the humidity in your home all summer long?

Crack the windows and turn on the exhaust fans.

Just last week, we blogged about the beauty of keeping the windows open in the summertime. Allow us to reiterate the importance of allowing the air from outside to circulate with the air from inside. Now, you may be wondering – “if the air from outside is hot and humid, how does letting it inside reduce humidity?”

When warm air is “trapped” within the home, it ends up attaching itself to colder surfaces creating condensation – perfect breeding grounds for mould. This is why it’s also important to always turn the exhaust fans on in your bathrooms during bathing and kitchens during cooking. Ventilation is the key to reducing moisture. In addition, believe it or not, a closed up home can become more humid simply by virtue of the people inside it breathing.

“Mathematically speaking, it only takes between four and six pints of water to raise the humidity level inside of 1,000 square feet from a mere 15% to 60%,” says CriticalCactus.com, “The amount of people within the home can affect how much humidity is in the air as well. One person breathing produces about ¼ cup of water within an hour’s time.”

Invest in some moisture-absorbing houseplants.

In keeping with the concept of bringing the outside inside in order to minimize moisture in the home, it’s a good idea to have houseplants throughout your home. But, it’s important to know which plants add moisture to the air and which ones absorb moisture.

As CriticalCactus.com points out, some houseplants are particularly adept at reducing moisture in the air. “Tropical plants called epiphytes such as English Ivy, Peace Lily, Reed Palm, Boston ferns and Tillandsia are plants that get all their water from the air instead through roots,” says the site.

Limit your laundry loads.

With all of that extra sweating in your clothes that you’re doing this summer, you’re likely to have more loads of laundry than normal. However, it’s important to only do the laundry when you have full loads to wash. That way, you can limit how often you use the washing machine and dryer. Both machines produce a lot of humidity. In fact, you may want to consider drying your clothes outdoors. This saves you money as well!

Thinking your home may be too humid?

Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. to learn more about how our Moisture Monitoring Services can help you! Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Beauty Of Opening The Windows In The Summertime

Most Canadians can admit that they spend far too much time indoors. Then again, it’s hard to blame those of us who choose to stay inside for the majority of the coldest months of the year. Summertime, however, offers us many amazing opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The warmth and sunshine make spending time outside as inviting as it gets!

Of course, there will be plenty of time spent indoors during the summer as well. After all, we do have to hit the hay at some point, right? It wise, then, to invite some of the outdoors inside by keeping the windows open. Yes, we’ve recommended this practice during the wintertime in order to get the air in your homes circulating and renewing itself with the fresh air from outside. But, opening the windows in the winter should only be done for short intervals of time.

Clearing out the “nasties”.

During the summer, however, the warm temperatures practically give us no excuse to not keep the windows wide open all day long. As you may have guessed, the health benefits are many. One of the most obvious is the release of air pollutants. On PhantomScreens.com, Esther de Wolde reminds us that much of our indoor activities can produce air pollutants. This includes the acts of dusting, cleaning and painting.

“Some paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be harmful to health,” she explains, “And other delightful things like dust mites can cause asthma. So it may be a bit obvious but opening your home to the outside can clear out the nasties.”

Strengthening the “human microbiome”.

On MindBodyGreen.com, James Maskell agrees that keeping the windows open is a healthful practice. He advocates the open window policy, however, for a pretty unique reason. Maskell explains that the human microbiome (the bugs that live inside us that aid in digestion, metabolism and immunity) is important for our overall health. Opening windows, he argues, helps to build the human microbiome.

“For most of human history, the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature,” he explains, “Yet modern humans spend a whopping 93% of their lives indoors, inside buildings or vehicles. Opening a window and increasing natural airflow has been shown to improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit everyone inside.”

Preventing condensation and mould growth.

Another reason to keep the windows open during the summer: the circulation of air in your home also helps to prevent condensation and mould growth. “Damp window frames, condensation on your windows and worst of all: black mould,” says De Wolde, “Without adequate ventilation your home becomes a steamy box of germs. Nasty. Open the windows and get the air flowing through your home to stop the damp.”

The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. supports the act of keeping windows open during the summer. We also are committed to helping improve the quality of air in your home via our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Crazy Ways To Kick That Nasty Habit

When it comes to maintaining good health, everyone seems to have their own opinions. While you’re not likely to come across anyone who suggests that exercising and eating nutritious foods is a bad idea, it is not uncommon to hear people suggest that you do “everything in moderation”. It’s debatable as to whether or not certain foods are safe to eat “sometimes”. But when it comes to one bad habit, in particular, there is no question that complete abstinence is the only path to better health.

Cigarette smoking is horrible for you. We’re not sure if there’s any simpler way to put it. Even most smokers themselves will admit that it’s a nasty habit that offers absolutely no health benefits. Most people also know that you don’t even have to be a smoker in order to be negatively impacted by cigarette smoke. Both secondhand smoke (exhaled by smokers) and thirdhand smoke (the lingering smells attached to surfaces) are known to cause poor health.

When it comes to indoor air quality, there is no enemy worse than cigarette smoke. It impacts both the smoker and the people around the smoker. Quitting, it should be no surprise to discover, is one of the best things a person can do for his/her own health and the health of his/her family and friends. Here are three crazy ways to kick that nasty habit:

1. Get hypnotized.

Not everyone believes in hypnosis. Many regard it as a cheesy form of entertainment. This might be true when it comes to certain hypnotist acts who perform live on stage. But research has shown that hypnotherapy can actually help for smokers to lose their urges to light up.

“A 2007 study, for example, found that hospitalized patients who smoked were more likely to quit when they used hypnotherapy than when they tried other methods like nicotine replacement therapy or cold turkey,” reports Kevin Gianni on RenegadeHealth.com, “Another study in 2008 combined hypnosis with nicotine replacement patches and found success.”

2. Create an “I quit smoking” money jar.

Is money a motivating factor for you? If so, you may want to visually understand just how much money you can be saving if you were to stop spending it on cigarettes. Each time you plan on buying a pack of cigarettes, put the amount of money your pack would cost you in a jar. Clearly, it will accumulate. Plan on doing something special with all of that money you save!

3. Initiate a quitting contest.

If you’re the competitive type, you may care more about showing up friends and members of your family by challenging them to a quitting contest. Who can quit first? Who can stay off cigarettes the longest? If there are other smokers who you can challenge, your path to quitting may be made easier. If there are no smokers within your circle, perhaps you can make a bet of some kind.

“If you’re the type who responds to peer pressure, get your friends involved,” suggests Gianni, “Make a bet that you can do it, with a nice, juicy reward at the end. Or agree to pay your friends a hefty amount if you fail.”

When you think about it, these nasty habit-kicking solutions aren’t so crazy at all. What is crazy is continuing to be a cigarette smoker! What is does to your lungs and the air around you is simply lethal.

The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. not only supports you in your quest to quit smoking, but promotes the improvement of the quality of air in your home. For more 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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Celebrating Canada’s 150th With Better Health

The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services would like to wish you an amazing Canada Day long weekend! As you’re well aware, this coming weekend isn’t going to be like any old Canada Day long weekend. It’s our nation’s 150th birthday! We’re happy to say that, as proud Canadians, we look forward to enjoying the various festivities that this forthcoming weekend will bring.

However, we’re also quite proud that Canada’s 150th birthday will mark the very last one when asbestos is legal in our country. Readers of our blog know how intensely we’ve focused on the comprehensive nationwide asbestos ban that passed by the federal government in December. Outlawing the toxic material completely by next year, Canada has taken an extremely important step in bettering the health of Canadians.

Formerly used primarily as an insulation material in the construction of homes and office buildings, asbestos is now widely known as a major cause of lung cancer. Taking the lives of 2,000 Canadians each year, asbestos is a substance that should have been banned a long time ago. It not only impacts the lungs of people performing renovations in buildings containing the substance, but it also affects members of the automobile industry.

Asbestos is often used in brake pads. And as the President of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, Larry Lantz writes in The Toronto Star, “when asbestos brake pads wear out or disintegrate, the asbestos escapes into the air. The risk to technicians is that cleaning brake assemblies and grinding brake linings can expose them to this potentially toxic asbestos dust.”

In his recent special to the paper, Lantz also explains that brake friction products, clutch plates, hood liners and other aftermarket parts have all been made from asbestos. As a result, workers in the auto industry are among the most at-risk Canadians when it comes to asbestos exposure. Lantz notes that according to Statistics Canada, “more than $6 million in asbestos-related items are imported into Canada each year, and asbestos brake linings and pads represented the lion’s share of these items.”

Asbestos is good absorbing heat, Lantz points out, addressing the reason the toxic substance is so heavily used in his industry. Because of this characteristic, upwards of $100 million worth of asbestos-laden automotive parts have been imported into Canada over the past ten years. Of course, all of that is going to stop in 2018.

Lantz does express concern, however, that an increase in automotive parts containing asbestos will be shipped to Canada before the ban is officially implemented. “Since Canada has taken so long to ban auto parts made with asbestos, I hope that our country doesn’t become a dumping ground for aftermarket asbestos parts,” he writes, “There are already concerns that asbestos products imported before the ban is in place could be sold legally.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we join Lantz and all other Canadians in applauding the nationwide asbestos ban. As far as we’re concerned, it couldn’t come soon enough. Happy 150th Canada! Here’s to a nation that enjoys better health!

For more 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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