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CLC President Calls Asbestos Ban A Victory For All Canadians

Happy new year Canada! On behalf of the entire DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. staff, we would like to wish you a very happy and healthy 2017. And thanks to the recent announcement that asbestos will officially be banned in Canada, we can all breathe a little easier – literally. It’s no secret to readers of our blog that we have been big proponents of the ban on the hazardous material that is known for killing upwards of 2,000 Canadians a year.

We join people like Canadian Labour Congress president, Hassan Yussuff in celebrating the federal government’s decision to ban asbestos, which finally came on December 15th. Right before ringing in the new year, Yussuff took to writing a letter about the asbestos ban, declaring it a “victory for all Canadians”. He was and continues to be one of the hardest-working protestors of asbestos in Canada. As he points out in his letter, which was published on TheTelegram.com, the ban is bound to save thousands of lives.

“Banning asbestos will lead to better occupational health and safety protections for workers,” he writes, “Experts estimate that 150,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos at work, particularly in industries like construction, automobile maintenance, shipbuilding, trade contractors and waste management. Internationally, the World Health Organization reports more than 100,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.”

Yussuff admits to having a very personal attachment to his convictions. Asbestos has taken the lives of many people he has met throughout the years. In the many years he has been working towards a ban, he has been introduced to numerous families of workers who have unknowingly brought home deadly asbestos fibres. This exposed their children and spouses to the hazardous material. Today, many of them battle mesothelioma and other respiratory illnesses.

However, Yussuff himself has also been exposed to asbestos. In his letter, he recalls his days working as a mechanic, exposing himself to asbestos-containing brake pads and clutches. “Because asbestos-related cancers have such a long latency period, I don’t know yet if I’ll be one of the unlucky ones,” he admits, “What I do know is that there are far too many workers who, unlike me, may have been exposed to this killer for years without even knowing it.”

The comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos in Canada was a mandatory measure, as far as Yussuff is concerned. Although Canada stopped mining asbestos years ago, the nation still inexplicably imported products that contained the deadly substance. In fact, there became an increase in the imports of products such as brake pads and construction materials after Canada no longer produced asbestos itself.

Naturally, this only worked to increase asbestos exposure in our country. As a result, deaths from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012, Yussuff informs. “A ban on asbestos is about protecting workers, their families, and communities,” he insists, “It is about saving lives, here in Canada and internationally. I commend the federal government for its leadership, and I urge the provinces and territories to work diligently to help implement the ban.”

The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., would also like to commend the federal government for banning asbestos. We know, however, that there is still a lot of work to be done to protect Canadians from the material that already exists here. If you have any questions about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to ask them.

Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Have A Healthier Home In The New Year

Teenager girl throwing pillow into the air, having funMost New Year’s Resolutions focus on self-improvement in some way. Generally, people endeavour to quit smoking, exercise or change their diets to include healthier food choices as ways to better their health. However, most neglect to make resolutions about improving the air they breathe. It goes without saying that the air we breathe is vital to our health. So why not make 2017 the year you make your home the healthiest it has ever been?

Here are three ways to have a healthier home in the new year:

1. Focus on improving indoor air quality. This newfound focus will require many tasks – but they shouldn’t be hard to do. Regular vacuuming, dusting and mopping will do away with many of the dust particles that inhibit our air from being at its purest. Buying some houseplants to improve the oxygen content of the air is also advisable. As well, making sure to take your shoes off before entering your home will prevent excess dirt and grime to come in from outside.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we specialize in Air Quality Services. We employ a number of trained individuals who all have strong understandings of the indoor environment. They maximize their inspection processes in order to target all areas of concern in your home or office. The air you breathe in your home can cause health and wellness issues that you can avoid through thorough inspections.

2. Test for asbestos. Our blog has been closely covering our nation’s campaign for a complete ban of asbestos for many months now. Last week, we proudly reported about the federal government’s plan to completely rid Canada of asbestos by 2018. While we haven’t exported asbestos in quite some time, we were still importing it through such products as brake pads. Known for causing lung cancer, mesothelioma and other deadly respiratory diseases, asbestos is definitely a material you do not want in your home.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that involved onsite assessments as well as sampling and analysis of the materials collected. Our team will be able to locate asbestos if it is contained within such areas as your furnace, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, flooring and ceilings.

3. Limit the moisture in your home. When you shower – especially when you take those long hot showers during the winter – it’s important that you run your exhaust fan. When you’re cooking in the kitchen, running your exhaust fan is just as important. Limiting moisture in your home will help to prevent the growth of mould. When mould spores are airborne, they can present many health hazards to our respiratory systems. Asthmatics are especially aware of this.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we off Moisture Monitoring Services that evaluate buildings for moisture sources such as building envelop failures, leakage issues and occupant-based moisture sources that could be the cause of mould development. We also offer Mould Assessment Services that include inspections involving analytical sampling, moisture analysis and thermal scanning.

Let’s work together on making 2017 your healthiest year yet. For more information on any and all of the above mentioned services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Happy New Year!

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Canada Finally Follows Through On Comprehensive Asbestos Ban!

Large yellow skip bin filled with building waste showing No Asbestos stickerAt long last, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has come through on his promise. Since his announcement to move forward on a comprehensive ban of asbestos in Canada, this past May, many Canadians have been anxiously awaiting official word of its implementation. Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog are well aware of the attention we have been paying this matter. And now, we’re so very happy to pass along the good news about what we’ve all been waiting for.

As reported by several news sources including Julie Ireton of CBC News, the federal government has made official its plans to completely ban asbestos from Canada by 2018. The ban involves a change of the rules and regulations surrounding the disease-causing material. The changes involve revisions of national building codes to prohibit the use of asbestos in new construction and renovation projects throughout Canada. As well, there will be new actions to ban the import of asbestos-containing products such as brake pads and construction materials.

For far too long, asbestos has been the culprit behind the deaths of 2,000 Canadians a year. Used predominantly as an insulator in the construction of homes and buildings, asbestos is no longer welcome in any capacity in our country. The announcement of the ban came just last week Thursday as Science Minister Kirsty Duncan conducted a news conference at the Ottawa Hospital’s General campus.

“Asbestos, a known carcinogen, has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in some 50 countries around the world,” Ireton highlights, “With this announcement, Canada is committing to its own comprehensive ban — which is supposed to be fulfilled by 2018 — of a product that many Canadians believe was outlawed years ago.”

Hassan Yussuff, who is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, has been particularly adamant about a comprehensive ban of asbestos in Canada for quite some time. With the CLC, he has tirelessly campaigned to have the hazardous substance outlawed. Understandably, Yussuff was thrilled to hear the news of the official ban, stating in Times Colonist that it represented an important win for all Canadians.

“We can all breathe more easily after last week’s announcement that the federal government is finally banning asbestos,” he writes, “It is a move that will, without question, save lives for generations to come, and make workplaces and public spaces safer for all Canadians…Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related death in this country. More than 2,000 Canadians die every year from asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma, and because it can take 20 to 50 years for cancer to develop after exposure, that number will initially continue to rise.”

It is our sincere hope, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., that Canada’s comprehensive ban will result in a significant decrease of asbestos-related diseases and deaths in our country that will be noticeable in the not-too-distant future. The immediate benefits, however, will be hard to notice considering that it can take decades for asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer to surface.

This means that sadly, Canadians will continue to die due to asbestos exposure long after the ban takes full effect. It is our hope, however, that we can do our part to minimize as much damage as possible. It’s the reason we continue to proudly offer our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca. Happy holidays!

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Long Awaited Nationwide Ban Of Asbestos Expected This Week

Danger Asbestos Removal Sign posted on school window.Canadians have been patiently (or perhaps impatiently) waiting for a comprehensive ban of asbestos every since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government was moving towards one this past May. As has been covered extensively by the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog, no official announcement of a ban has been made yet. However, as CBC News reports, one is expected this week.

According to Julie Ireton, the federal government finally plans to announce a comprehensive ban on asbestos in Canada. “The country currently allows imports of construction products and automotive parts that contain the toxic fibre, even though Canada no longer exports the material,” she writes, “Asbestos is known to cause deadly cancers and lung diseases, and has already been banned in Europe, Australia and Japan. The World Health Organization recommends replacing asbestos with safer substitutes.”

Organizations such as the Canadian Labour Congress have been front and centre in the call for the nationwide ban of the hazardous substance. Formerly used in the construction of homes, office buildings and schools, primarily for the purposes of insulation, asbestos is known for having its airborne fibres cause lung cancer and other deadly diseases such as mesothelioma. All in all, it’s responsible for the deaths of about 2,000 Canadians per year.

And even though the production of asbestos came to a halt in Canada years ago, the nation has continued to import products, such as brake pads, that contain asbestos. As Ireton points out, asbestos, when undisturbed, isn’t particularly dangerous. However, once fibres are disturbed, they can become airborne. This causes major complications for the respiratory systems of anyone who inhales the fibres.

Such instances have occurred far too often in Canadian workplaces. “From time to time contractors, electricians, plumbers, custodians, firefighters and cable installers unknowingly disrupt pipes, walls, ceilings and other materials that contain the toxic fibre,” Ireton explains, “Public Services and Procurement Canada announced in April that it planned to ban the use of asbestos in that department’s construction projects.”

She goes on to report that “the department has also developed an inventory of its buildings that contain asbestos, and several other departments are expected to follow that lead.” Those who have been keeping up with the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog know all too well the deadly ramifications endured by far too many Canadians at the hands of inhaled asbestos fibres. And while the call for a comprehensive ban is expected this week, it still can’t come soon enough.

To be honest, we still can’t figure out what the hold-up is. Ireton’s CBC News report was published this past Friday. As of this writing, the ban has not yet been announced. You can expect for us to report on the announcement once it is made. Of course, we’re also continuing to do our part to help those who may have asbestos present in their homes and workplaces.

Our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services include a number of asbestos testing procedures such as an onsite assessment and sampling and analysis of materials collected from various parts of your home or office. 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 Easy Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Winter

Cozy winter composition in a room, with snowy landscape seen through the window.During the warm and sunny summertime, many Canadians keep their windows open in order to circulate the air from outside with the air from inside. Then again, maybe less Canadians do that than we think. Far too many of us are prone to turning on the air conditioning. As a result, the air inside our homes gets stale and stagnant during the summer. Who complains about the heat in Canada anyway? Don’t people remember what winter is like?

Well, it seems like most Canadians have excellent memories when the winter comes. Recalling just how cold it can get, they go ahead and seal their homes up again. This time, they keep the heat going inside. We can never be satisfied, can we? Here’s the problem: with our homes sealed up during the winter, we continue to promote stale and stagnant air inside. So, it’s important that we take measures to improve the indoor air quality in our homes throughout the winter.

How do we do that? Here are three simple ideas:

1. Fill your home with plants. It’s a win-win situation to have plants in your home. Not only do they beautify your living spaces, but they help to clean the air. As we’ve pointed out in past blogs, certain plants such as spider plants, dracaenas, golden pothos, areca palms, bamboo palms, English ivy, rubber plants, Chinese evergreen, peace lilies and chrysanthemums are highly recommended.

“Houseplants can clean and purify the air in a home, helping to remove formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins that can make indoor air unhealthy to breathe,” reminds TheReflector.com, “Benzene is an irritant that can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and blurred vision, among other side effects. Formaldehyde, which is often found in homes thanks to its widespread use in a range of products, can cause watery eyes, nausea and wheezing.”

2. Use cleaning products with natural ingredients. There are a number of cleaning products on the market that don’t contain harmful chemicals. Be sure to look for them when you go grocery shopping. They not only make your home pleasant smelling and cleaner overall, but they help you to avoid the toxic chemicals that can negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality. Don’t be fooled by sweet fragrances!

“It’s ideal to avoid heavy chemical usage inside a home throughout the year, but it’s especially important to do so during winter,” says MyValleyNews.com, “Solvent-based cleaners or cleaning products with strong fragrances can negatively affect indoor air quality and potentially trigger allergic reactions. In lieu of chemically-enhanced cleaning products, use natural products that get the job done without sacrificing indoor air quality.”

3. Absolutely insist on a no smoking policy. By today’s standards, smoking cigarettes indoors is considered bizarre. With laws protecting Canadians from secondhand smoke in nearly all indoor environments, it’s not uncommon to see people huddled outside on their smoke breaks from work. Insist upon this policy for your home. It’s hard to argue that cigarette smoke is among the worst possible ways to ruin the air you breathe.

“Many homeowners know that smoking indoors drastically reduces indoor air quality, putting even nonsmokers at heightened risk of developing various respiratory ailments,” notes TheReflector.com, “Homeowners concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes should ban smoking inside, no matter how low temperatures dip outside.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to help target any problems areas of your home to ensure that you are enjoying the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Canadian Imports Of Asbestos Have Doubled Since Mining Ban

Caution asbestos signCanada recognizes that asbestos is a killer. And not just any killer, mind you – it has been statistically proven that asbestos is Canada’s number one workplace killer and a known cause of mesothelioma. It takes the lives of over 2,000 Canadians each and every year. So, as a result, the nation has rightfully banned its production. But, we continue to import it at alarmingly growing rates. How does that make any sense?

As Doug Schimdt reports in the Windsor Star this past Monday, “asbestos imports nearly doubled in value between 2011 and 2015, to $8.2 million last year. Meanwhile, the numbers and cases of deaths attributed to mesothelioma — an aggressive form of cancer caused primarily by workplace asbestos exposure — has been on the rise, according to figures released this year by Statistics Canada.”

Evidently, the mining ban that was put in place five years ago has not been enough to reduce the health hazards that asbestos brings upon our population. Banning the production of asbestos in Canada, but continuing to import it, is no different than instilling a household rule that no family member is allowed to smoke – but guests are allowed to whenever they come over. How does that improve anyone’s health?

Well, the answer is simple: it doesn’t. And as Jo-Anne MacMillan pointed out at a news conference in Windsor, Ontario on Monday, it makes no sense to import a “horrific material” that is guilty of killing people. As Schmidt explains, MacMillan has lost three family members to asbestos-caused mesothelioma, including her brother Tom Dunn, who was only 35 years-old when he passed away in 1981.

Sadly, her other brother Paul and sister Rose-Marie, would suffer the same fates in 2005. They were 58 and 70 years of age respectfully. In May of this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made what appeared to be a promise to ban asbestos from Canada completely. We have been covering this incredibly important topic in many of our blogs ever since. Still, we await word on this comprehensive nationwide ban.

If you’re wondering why Canada would even think of importing such a deadly substance, Windsor & District Labour Council president, Brian Hogan can shed some light on the reason. “It’s cheaper,” he states simply in Schmidt’s article, noting that there are safer alternative products that are made in Canada. The asbestos-laden products that are still imported include brake pads, pipes, pipe fittings, tiles, paper products and even clothing and footwear.

Dr. Deborah Hellyer, who is a Windsor-based occupational health physician and lung disease specialist, remarks that asbestos is such a potent killer because of its presence in so many of Canada’s workplaces. Used in the construction of hospitals, libraries, factories and schools, workers in such places have been regularly coming into contact with asbestos for years. “Especially when disturbed — for example when it’s removed or cut — even minute amounts, once inhaled, can lead to potentially fatal disease years or even decades later,” she tells Schmidt.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we completely agree that asbestos should be completely banned in Canada. And because the hazardous material causes deadly diseases, we believe in testing for asbestos in homes and workplaces. Contact us to learn more about our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services which include several asbestos testing procedures. To learn more, give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Holiday Gift Ideas That Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

Bouquet of red flowers of chrysanthemums isolated on white background. Flat, top viewWe’re just a few days over a month away from Christmas Day. So, this is certainly the time of year when Canadians are out in the malls shopping for holiday gifts. This will be especially true in a couple of days when the annual Black Friday festivities kick off. And by “festivities”, we mean craziness. Holiday shoppers who have participated in Black Friday shopping events know just how much havoc can occur when people are actively seeking discounts on highly-sought after items.

There are some items, however, that may not necessarily be among the most popular holiday gift ideas, but they are among the most important. Why not consider buying a loved one a gift that will speak to their health needs? There are numerous items on the market that can improve the indoor air quality of one’s home. And, as any reader of our blog knows, improving indoor air quality is incredibly important for our health.

Here are three holiday gift ideas that can improve indoor air quality:

1. HEPA air purifier. In order to remove pollutants from our air, we often have to do more than simply open the windows. And yes, it is recommended that you open the windows during the winter time – even if it’s for a few minutes at a time. This will help circulate the stale and stagnant air from inside with the fresh air from outside. However, since the winter offers weather conditions that don’t allow us to keep the windows open for very long, a HEPA air purifier is an excellent addition to the home.

“Make sure to get an air purifier that does not produce ozone, and one that does eliminate VOCs that off-gas from paint, furniture, and cleaning chemicals,” recommends Cambria Bold on ApartmentTherapy.com. She points out that VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are a danger to our health. So while doing your holiday shopping, be sure to avoid such gifts as air fresheners and other scented cleaning products that contain VOCs.

2. Green plants and flowers. Plants and flowers are gifts that can satisfy a wide range of recipients because they add some nice decor to homes. However, they also help to purify the air. As reported by Ellen Ruoff Riley and Stuart Robbins on Healthline.com, “in 1998, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow…While plants have less horse power than air purifiers, they’re more natural, cost effective, and therapeutic.”

They recommend such plants as spider plants, dracaenas, golden pothos, areca palms, bamboo palms, English ivy, rubber plants, Chinese evergreen, peace lilies and chrysanthemums. “Florist’s chrysanthemums or ‘mums’ are ranked the highest for air purification,” write Riley and Robbins, “They’re shown to eliminate common toxins as well as ammonia.”

3. Pet grooming products. You’re bound to have an animal lover on your list of gift recipients this holiday season. If so, a gift certificate for grooming, non-chemical based cleaners, vacuums and mops are certainly some great ideas for helping them to keep their homes clean and air pollutant-free. On Mom.me, Sara Tan highly recommends the Swiffer Sweeper as a gift for pet owners.

“Any pet owner knows that pet hair and dander can accumulate on floors and other hard surfaces of your home,” she writes, “Stay on top of this cleaning challenge with Swiffer Sweeper. Swiffer’s trap and lock technology picks up pet hair and dander allergens on hardwood, tile and linoleum floor types.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., there is one more gift that we’d recommend you give yourself. Our Air Quality Services can help target any problems areas of your home to ensure that you are enjoying the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

4 Comments

  1. November 29, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Very concise yet detailed and it helped both of our confidence. Great work!

  2. Betty larose-Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    What is your recommendation on furnace cleaning? We have an electronic furnace filter, but are still finding the house dusty. We have both found we’ve had sinus issues since moving into this house. What should we check?
    Many thanks
    Betty

    • Dennis French-Reply
      December 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Hello Betty
      I will respond directly to you on this email rather than the public forum.

  3. December 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Great post! I agree that a combination of fresh air, air purifier, and plants can really make a big difference. Thanks for sharing!

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CLC Continues To Campaign For Nationwide Asbestos Ban

target asbestos concept illustration design over a white backgroundThe Canadian Labour Congress has made it no secret that they are vehemently opposed to the use, production, import or export of asbestos in Canada. They have long called for a comprehensive ban of the deadly substance, labelling it the most deadly cause of work-related death in Canada. Taking over 2,000 Canadian lives a year, asbestos is a substance that can no longer be tolerated as a viable commodity in our country.

The CLC’s campaign for a nationwide ban of asbestos has picked up steam ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that the federal government was moving towards a ban this past spring. To date, there has still been no official word on an official date when Canadians can safely say that they have been freed from the dangers of asbestos forever. As a result, the CLC continues to champion their cause. And it has received a lot of support.

As reported by CTV News last week, many Canadians are coming out with their often-tragic stories about being affected by asbestos exposure. Donnie Taylor, a retired shipbuilder, is one such Canadian. At a recent press conference in Halifax, Taylor shared his experiences with working in asbestos for 32 years, not knowing he was being exposed to health hazards throughout his work tenure.

“Every ship before the Second World War, was all asbestos, that was the miracle material,” he recalled, “Between new construction and repair work, you were in it every day, every day, there was no getting away from it.” Medardo Azocar is another Canadian who has suffered because of asbestos exposure. Immigrating from Chile to Edmonton in 1975, Azocar worked in a machine shop where we was exposed to asbestos for years.

As reported by Ameya Charnalia for Metro News, Azocar’s daughter Sandra was recently featured in a new CLC video calling for Canada’s official nationwide ban of asbestos. “My father was placed in a concentration camp for being in a union after the 1973 military coup in Chile,” she is quoted as saying, “You come from that and you try and look for a safer place to live in, and yet 20 years later – or however long it was – you get diagnosed with something that could’ve been prevented.”

According to the CLC, a comprehensive ban of asbestos is absolutely necessary because, for some reason, Canada continues to import such products as brake pads for automobiles, which still contain asbestos. Canada has stopped exporting the material, but for so many people who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, this isn’t good enough. Azocar is insistent that asbestos be “actually banned, from either import or export.”

Hassan Yussuff, is the president of the CLC. He is adamant that without a nationwide ban of asbestos, Canadians will continue to suffer the unnecessary consequences. “For every day we delay bringing in a comprehensive ban, there are so many workers who are exposed to asbestos-made products in our country, and we know that if they are exposed it to it without proper protection, it’s likely to do harm to their health,” Charnalia quotes him as saying.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are just as adamant that asbestos needs to be completely banned in Canada. Because we are well aware that the material causes life-threatening illnesses, we believe that testing for asbestos is absolutely necessary. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. They include a number of asbestos testing procedures such as an onsite assessment and sampling and analysis of materials collected from various parts of your home or office.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Preventing Mould Growth In The Home During The Winter

The damp is attacking the wall next to windowMould growth in the home can take place at any time of the year. But during the winter time, our homes are a bit more susceptible to mould infestations. Naturally, with the colder weather, we tend to keep our homes closed up – with the heat on. The warmer we keep our homes, the greater the chances are that we increase its humidity. Mould loves humidity. Dark, damp, warm places throughout your home make for ideal breeding grounds.

As IndoorMould.ca explains, mould “thrives in environments between 60 and 80 degrees and grows wherever there’s humidity or moisture. Mould can be problematic during winter since it can grow in your attic, walls, and other hard-to-reach places.” And because we tend to trap moisture in our homes throughout the winter time, the levels of humidity tend to steadily increase.

“By closing everything and insulating yourself, you actually produce a suitable environment for the fungus,” says IndoorMould.ca, “It’s also likely that you turn the thermostat up, creating a warmer air to combat the winter air. The downside to having your home too encapsulated with insulation is that it prevents warm air from escaping. Moreover, the insulation traps in the humidity and condensation for a longer period during this season because people don’t open their homes to the external environment as much.”

What can be done to prevent mould growth in our homes throughout the winter? Well, firstly, it pays to monitor your humidity levels. According to Luke Armstrong on RestorationMasterFinder.com, indoor humidity levels should be kept below 40 percent. He also advises those who use humidifiers to ensure that they don’t produce excessive amounts of humidity.

Armstrong also recommends that you increase your neat freak tendencies during the winter time. It certainly pays to keep a clean house. He notes that vacuuming and other forms of cleaning can help to remove possible sources of mould growth. The rooms of your home that generate the most moisture should especially be concentrated on. Think your bathroom and your kitchen. One great way to help reduce moisture is to always use the exhaust fans in both rooms.

“Use area rugs or washable floor surfaces rather than wall-to-wall carpeting in areas or rooms that have a moisture issue,” suggests Armstrong, “It’s not usually a great idea to have carpeting in your entryway, for instance, if you live in a cooler, wet climate…Paper, books and clothing are sources of food for mould, so don’t store them in humid parts of your home, such as your basement, especially close to the floor or walls.”

Can maintenance performed outside of the home prevent mould growth within it? It certainly can. Armstrong reminds us to make sure that our gutters and downspouts are clean. The areas underneath the downspouts may need to be extended in order to have water flow away from the foundation. And, if you have a crawl space under the house, you’ll want to cover the soil in that space with waterproof polyethylene plastic.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that assess, analyze and report on the findings of mould in your home, office or building. Our comprehensive assessments include visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Are Fireplaces Hazardous To Our Health?

Feets of a family wearing woolen socks warming near the fireplaceNow that November is here, we’re willing to bet that the majority of Canadians already have images of the holiday season on their minds. It would be hard to avoid them as the shopping malls are already decorated with festive colours to commemorate this exciting time of the year. Of course, cold weather is also commonplace during the year’s final months and, as a result, most of us seek ways to warm up all winter long.

How do many Canadians warm up their homes during the winter? You guessed it – the good old fireplace! The crackling of burning wood in a fireplace is as much part of the holiday season as Christmas trees. The only difference is that we tend to keep fires burning in our fireplaces long after the holidays are over. That, however, can present major problems for our health. Fireplaces, you see, are actually pretty bad for our indoor air quality.

How do fireplaces impact our indoor air quality? Well, let’s consider the obvious. With the burning of wood comes smoke. And with smoke comes contaminants in our air. As you can imagine, this can make it a lot harder to breathe. As explained by Cleveland Clinic, numerous scientific studies have found that breathing in smoke from fireplaces has “serious adverse health effects”.

“That’s because smoke from these fires contains small particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system,” their website explains, “The result can be burning eyes, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest health problems, because they can get deep into the lungs, and some may even get into the bloodstream.”

Cleveland Clinic also quotes Dr. Sheila Armogida as saying that wood smoke contains a number of toxic substances including benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and methane. She highly recommends that fireplace users significantly limit their exposure to the smoke that emanates from their fireplaces. This is especially important for people who have a history of lung disease and asthma.

However, one doesn’t need to have a history of respiratory system issues in order to be negatively affected by wood smoke in the home. Cheryl Katz of Environmental Health News reports that a University of Copenhagen study found that air pollution from wood stoves is also quite hazardous to the health of all who are exposed to it. Researcher, Steffen Loft found that wood burning stoves release a lot of particulate matter into the air.

“The tiny airborne specks of pollution known as particulate matter, or PM, produced by wood-burning stoves appear to be especially harmful to human health,” writes Katz of the study’s findings, “Small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, they carry high levels of chemicals linked to cardiopulmonary diseases and cancer, and they can damage DNA and activate genes in hazardous ways comparable to cigarette smoke and car exhaust.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very well aware that many Canadians enjoy their fireplaces during the winter – and for good reason. Who doesn’t like being warm and toasty and when it’s frigid outside? But since there are health implications to fireplace use, we would highly recommend our Air Quality Services to ensure that your home is a safe living environment for your family all winter long.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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