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Air Quality

Fort McMurray’s Air Quality Advisory Finally Lifted

Depositphotos_109086304_s-2015Back in the beginning of May, a massive wildfire raged throughout Fort McMurray, Alberta destroying thousands of homes and forcing an evacuation of the city’s residents. It was the largest wildfire evacuation in our province’s history. Now, as we approach the end of June, we’re happy to report that the Government of Alberta has already begun the re-entry process so that residents can return to their homes.

We’re thankful that the wildfires have been deemed to no longer be a threat to those who call Fort McMurray their home. As you can imagine, even with the fires no longer burning, there was a great cause for concern about poor air quality last month. As reported by Phys.org, the air quality around the entire Fort McMurray area remained very poor right up until the end of May. As a result, it wasn’t quite ready to be re-inhabited.

“The Alberta Health Services has issued warnings for the entire area with Health Quality Index of 10+ (very high risk of triggering health issues) reported in the area,” revealed the website on May 26th, “The Alberta Health Services has issued an air-quality advisory for the Fort McMurray area, as well as a precautionary air-quality advisory for Edmonton and communities in the North Zone due to wildfires.”

At the time, the wildfires were still raging out of control, covering an area estimated at 522,892 hectares or 2019 square miles. This included 2496 hectares, which is nearly 10 square miles, in Saskatchewan. “Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation and Fort McKay First Nation remain under a mandatory evacuation order,” reported Phys.org. That order, however, has since been lifted.

As Stephanie Jellett of FortMcMurrayToday.com reported last week, the air quality advisory that had been in place in Fort McMurray since May 2nd was lifted as the community was no longer being impacted by the smoke from the wildfires. “Alberta Health Services (AHS) lifted the advisory on June 14 stating that there’s no risk to the public,” she writes.

As of the afternoon of June 15th, the Air Quality Health Index was at a two, compared to a high of 10. “Last month, the wildfires created an AQHI rating as high as 51,” informs Jellett. Not only is the fire no longer out of control, but there is no indication that the air quality will worsen in the future. Even the temperatures have dropped. As a result, Fort McMurray is inhabitable again.

Jellett does note, however, that “although the Fort McMurray advisory was lifted, Kirsten Goruk, North Zone senior communications advisor with AHS said the precautionary air advisory for the entire north zone, which was issued on May 5, is still in effect.” She goes on to reveal that AHS no longer recommends delaying children who are either younger than seven years-old or have acute medical conditions to return to their Fort McMurray homes.

On behalf of the entire DF Technical Consulting Services Ltd. team, we would like to offer our best wishes to everyone who has been affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires. If you would like to donate to the Alberta Fires Appeal through the Canadian Red Cross, you can do so HERE. All donations will be matched by the Government of Canada.

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

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3 Unconventional Approaches To Quitting Smoking

Young caucasian woman quiting smoking isolatedWith the weather slowly, but surely warming up, most Canadians are relishing the idea of being able to spend more time outdoors. And while the impending summer months provide ample reasons to get out of the house, it remains a fact that most of us spend the majority of our time indoors. The time is takes to sleep, for example, puts us in our homes a minimum of a third of each day. As a result, our indoor air quality will always remain a concern.

Yes, warmer temperatures give us more opportunities to open the windows and allow the stale, stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside. But there is one particular habit that will keep your indoor air quality at dangerous lows if it is not put to an end. You likely won’t be surprised to know that we’re referring to cigarette smoking. Arguably, there isn’t a more obvious detriment to the air we breathe than cigarette smoke.

As you’re likely aware, cigarette smoke affects everyone who comes into contact with it. Of course, that doesn’t just mean smokers. Our blog has covered the impacts of secondhand smoke and even thirdhand smoke in the past. So, needless to say, if you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality of your home and the health statuses of everyone within in, you’ll find a way to quit smoking immediately.

Every smoker is aware, however, that that’s easier said than done. Attempting to quit cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. While some people who have experienced major health scares are able to kick the habit immediately, there are others who need even more incentive to finally do away with their addictions to nicotine. Perhaps, in their cases, some unconventional approaches to quitting smoking are necessary.

Here are three:

1. Create a non-smoker’s savings jar. For some people, saving money is an excellent incentive for accomplishing any goal. If protecting your health isn’t motivation enough, consider putting the money you would otherwise spend on cigarettes into a jar to physically show you just how much money you can save by quitting. For an added push, put a picture of a vacation spot you’d like to visit on the jar to remind you of an alternative use for the money.

2. Trick yourself by limiting your access. People who are approaching new paths towards better health and nutrition will inhibit their previous bad eating habits by simply not storing bad foods in their homes. The principle is that it’s hard to cheat on your diet when junk food isn’t readily available. It’s the same idea here. Force yourself to leave the house without your pack of cigarettes. Carry just a couple of them on you so that you can’t satisfy every craving you have throughout the day.

3. Create a list of alternative activities. Smokers often justify their bad habits simply by referring to them as “something to do”. If that sounds like you, it’s time to come up with other things to do. Reader’s Digest offers the following suggestions for people trying to quit smoking. “Take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car (and) clean out a cupboard or closet” are just a few of their recommendations.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we fully support your quest to quit cigarette smoking. To reiterate, it will greatly improve the health of both you and the people around you. With the improvement of indoor air quality being our specialty, we urge you to learn more about our Air Quality Services – especially if you have done any smoking in your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.


  1. Theresa Croft-Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 1:16 am

    how much does it cost to have an assessment of a home?

    • Dennis French-Reply
      April 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Theresa, I have emailed you directly to discuss the assessment. I hope to hear from you to sort out your concerns.

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7 Bad Habits That Worsen Indoor Air Quality

Stop bad habits. Word cloud illustration in shape of hand print showing protest.Let’s be honest. It’s our fault. Each and every day, we humans engage in activities that serve to worsen our indoor air quality. Our often-not-even-thought-about bad habits can have serious health implications considering how much time we spend in our homes. We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. And when we keep up with our naturally bad habits, it only serves to cause health problems – especially for those with asthma and allergies.

So what bad habits worsen indoor air quality? Here are seven:

1. Not opening the windows. We know – it’s the winter time in Canada. But guess what? Opening the windows for a few minutes a day won’t freeze you to death. By contrast, it can be good for your health. Exchanging the fresher outside air with stale indoor air out is “one of the simplest (and most affordable) things you can do to improve your home air quality,” according to NaturallySavvy.com.

2. Not cleaning heating and air conditioning filters. We often take the appliances that cool and heat our homes for granted. We can’t forget that they need to be regularly maintained. “Heating and air-conditioning filters and vents that are not regularly cleaned can trap pollen, dust and other allergens,” explains Mary West on Wakeup-World.com, “They are easily accessible in many systems, but if yours are in a difficult-to-reach area, have a professional cleaning service take care of them periodically.”

3. Opting for carpet over hardwood floors. Most of us probably grew up in homes that were predominantly carpeted. And such homes provided a warmth and comfort that we grew up to love. It’s hard to argue that carpets offer a cozy softness to walk on, making the home seem friendlier. However, carpets trap dust and other indoor pollutants creating a nightmare for allergy and asthma sufferers. Simply put, remove carpeting from your home for better breathing.

4. Using traditional household cleaning products. Most of us are still caught up with the idea that if our homes smell clean, then they must be clean. So we use scented aerosol sprays and other fragrance-riddled disinfectants that only serve to add harmful chemicals to our living environments. “Traditional household cleaning products are one of the leading contributors to poor home air quality,” says NaturallySavvy.com, “In fact, the average home contains 62 harmful chemicals.”

5. Not owning houseplants. It’s important for us to bring certain elements of the outdoors inside with us. Plants are especially useful as many of them serve as perfectly natural air filters. Plants such as the peace lily, the bamboo palm, aloe vera and the English Ivy (or Hedera helix) are known for removing such harmful chemicals as formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air we breathe.

6. Not making use of essential oils. “Essential oils will impart a wonderful scent into your home, and many have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can enhance indoor air quality,” writes West, “Use diffusers but place them on a high shelf out of the reach of children. Good ones to try include citrus, eucalyptus, thyme or peppermint. A nice one for the bedroom is lavender, which has an intoxicatingly fresh scent that promotes relaxation.”

7. Smoking indoors. Does this bad habit really need an explanation? There is literally nothing worse that you can do for your home’s indoor air quality than to light up a cigarette within its walls. Secondhand smoke as well as thirdhand smoke (as discussed in last week’s blog) can create disastrous health hazards that have been well documented. If you can’t quit smoking, at least endeavour to quit smoking in your home.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strive to improve your indoor air quality by seeking out all contaminants and pollutants through 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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Celebrating 25 Years Of Non-Smoking Flights

Depositphotos_14568615_s-2015Some of you may be too young to remember that there was once a time when cigarette smoking was permitted on airplanes. By today’s standards, smoking on a plane is an unheard of and crazy-to-even-think-about practice. Not only does cigarette smoke present the foulest of odours, but it carries countless toxins that pollute the air. As if horrible indoor air quality wasn’t bad enough, cigarette smoking also presents quite the fire hazard!

In 2015, we don’t even have to think about worrying about poor indoor air quality on planes due to cigarette smoke. In fact, in the past year, Canada and the United States marked the 25th anniversaries of the official bans on cigarette smoking on domestic airline flights. As No-Smoke.org informs, February 25, 1990 marked the official beginning of the cigarette smoking ban on airlines in the U.S. The site notes that the historic decision was made to benefit the health of all flight attendants and passengers.

It goes on to reveal just how much effort was put into finally making the ban a reality. According to No-Smoke.org, “2015 marks the 25 year anniversary of this important public health achievement – made possible by a broad coalition of health groups, incredible legislative champions – Senator Lautenberg and Senator Durbin (then Rep. Durbin), and tenacious flight attendants who were willing to speak up publicly for their right to breathe.”

In Canada, however, we can proudly say that we came to the no-smoking-on-planes decision a couple of months earlier. On December 18, 1989, Peter Mansbridge of CBC News revealed that, as of that date, it was illegal to smoke on commercial flights between Canadian cities. The ban was part of the Non-Smokers’ Health Act, he reported. “It has to be done in light of the fact we want to protect people working on the flights and also all those people who are really disturbed by smoking,” said Minister of Transport, Benoît Bouchard in an interview.

“This is fantastic news for preventive medicine,” added Ken Kyle of the Canadian Cancer Society, “Canada will now be the first country in the world to totally ban smoking on all domestic and international flights.” Incredibly, many Canadian airlines were upset at the news, citing upwards of $40 million in losses due to the smoking ban. Times have changed, however. Today, we should all celebrate the fact that, when flying, we will not be forced to succumb to the worst possible indoor air quality.

And why should we all celebrate? Stacy Simon of the American Cancer Society adds that years prior to these decisions, the US Surgeon General officially named secondhand smoke a serious health risk. In 1986, “the National Academy of Sciences called for a smoking ban on all domestic flights, citing research that showed flight attendants were exposed to smoke levels similar to those of a person living with a pack-a-day smoker,” she reveals.

Not that this information isn’t widely known in the year 2015, but back in the 1980’s, it appeared that the dangers of cigarette smoking weren’t all that obvious to everyone. Not that it needs to be reiterated today – or perhaps, it does – but cigarette smoking is arguably the worst thing a person can do for his or her health. But even worse, secondhand smoke can present lethal effects to those around the smoker!

It should go without saying that you should adopt a smoking ban in your own home. 25 years ago, airlines finally recognized the dangers that cigarette smoke brings to passengers and flight attendants. In 2015, there is no excuse to allow for it to enter your home and disrupt the breathing of anyone who enters it. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we greatly promote top-of-the-line indoor air quality and applaud any efforts to make it so.

Contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Call 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How Does Cold Weather Impact Air Quality?

blonde wrapped in pullover by cold weatherWelcome to the end of summer. For many Canadians, this is a very sad time of year. While the calendar doesn’t officially indicate summer’s end (we still have until the 21st), the fact that it’s the first day of school for most students across Canada today, signifies that summer vacation is indeed over. Hopefully, we still have several warm and sunny days ahead of us. But, we all know what’s coming. It’s bound to get colder sooner than later!

Canadians are pretty much experts when it comes to preparing for cold weather. Most of us probably have our winter jackets, scarves, mittens and toques all ready to go. But the impending colder weather has implications other than the need to bundle up. How does it affect the air we breathe? Naturally, the air is colder. And for those with respiratory issues, that can present some problems.

What respiratory issues can cold weather cause? Alberta’s Fort Air Partnership notes that warmer air has the ability to carry pollutants away. Contrasting warm air’s tendency to rise, colder air stays closer to the Earth’s surface and, therefore, is more likely to keep pollutants closer to our lungs. The Fort Air Partnership website notes that this is a “weather phenomenon called temperature inversions.”

“In other seasons or weather conditions, warm air sits near the ground and the air can rise easily and carry away pollutants,” the site informs us, “In a temperature inversion, cold air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air. The warm air acts like a lid, holding these substances down. During a temperature inversion, smoke can’t rise and carbon monoxide can reach unhealthy levels.”

Who is most affected by cold weather conditions? As you may have guessed, those who have respiratory issues such as asthma and other allergies get it the worst when the cold weather hits. As a result, such individuals are advised to take extra precautions when they are outside in the cold. According to Senior Life Newspapers, there are some recommendations made by the American Lung Association that asthmatics should follow.

They include preparing for winter conditions by wearing scarves over their noses and mouths in order to prevent asthma attack symptoms. As well, “when an individual with asthma experiences a mild attack, it is recommended to stay calm, administer prescribed relief medication, take slow deep breaths, and sips of water or warm liquids. Signs of a mild asthma attach include a continuous cough, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or restlessness and irritability.”

How else does the cold make breathing more difficult? You know how you can see your breath when it’s cold outside? You can see the fumes from car exhausts too, can’t you? Fort Air Partnership informs us that the cold doesn’t just make this vapour more visible to the eye – it increases the level of pollution as well. They note that idling vehicles in the winter (a common occurrence as a method of warming cars up before driving) only add carbon monoxide to the air.

Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to worry about severely cold weather conditions for several more weeks. But, it certainly pays to be prepared for when it comes. In our next blog, we will explore ways that you can improve your home’s indoor air quality during the winter. Believe it or not, cold weather conditions don’t just impact the air outside. Will you be prepared to safeguard your home this winter?

For more information about the Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Do E-Cigarettes Contribute To Poor Indoor Air Quality?

young female smoker smoking e-cigarette outdoors. Head and shoulders, side viewIn the past, we have posted blogs on the harmful effects of cigarettes and the incredibly negative impact that they have on indoor air quality. By today’s standards, such blogs can be argued as belonging in the “tell us something we don’t know” section of our website! All jokes aside, it is unlikely that there is anyone left on Earth who doesn’t realize that cigarette smoking is deadly. It’s hazardous to the health of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Secondhand smoke, as we all should know, contains just as many harmful toxins as the smoke being inhaled by the cigarette smoker. So, it goes without saying that if a person is smoking while indoors, the air of the room is severely impacted. Plain and simple, there are no positive aspects of smoking cigarettes indoors – or outdoors for that matter. However, it needs to be reiterated that for the best indoor air quality, cigarette smoking must be prohibited.

We understand that, for cigarette smokers, quitting is a hard task. Nicotine addictions are hard to break – and that’s putting it mildly. However, many cigarette smokers are taking strides in breaking their habits by trying alternatives to natural cigarettes. In recent years, e-cigarettes have become all the rage. No, these aren’t virtual cigarettes that are “smoked” on the internet. They are “electronic” versions of the real thing that emit vapour instead of smoke.

What is an e-cigarette exactly? Here’s how the Society for the Study of Addiction explains it: “E-cigarette use produces a visible vapour that is usually able to be smelled, depending on the flavours and other contents of the fluid. The vapour is discharged into the air only when the user exhales (i.e. there is no sidestream vapour), in contrast to tobacco cigarettes that discharge smoke continuously while kept alight, and when the user exhales.”

But are e-cigarettes any safer than the real thing? You would think that they must be if they are considered a habit-breaking alternative. However, research has shown that while e-cigarettes may not contain as many harmful toxins as their authentic counterparts, they aren’t exactly “healthy” choices. According to the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, e-cigarettes aren’t doing any favours to indoor air quality.

They report that Bud Offerman, an indoor air quality expert, published a paper in the June 2014 issue of ASHRAE Journal, commenting on the subject. He found that the aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes “consists of condensed submicron liquid droplets, which contain many chemicals including some that are carcinogenic, such as formaldehyde, metals (cadmium, lead, nickel), and nitrosamines.”

So how are e-cigarettes bad for the air? “E-cigarettes emit harmful chemicals into the air and need to be regulated in the same manner as tobacco smoking,” Offerman explains, “There is evidence that nitrosamines, a group of carcinogens found specifically in tobacco, are carried over into the e-cigarette fluid from the nicotine extraction process. There is also evidence that the glycol carriers can by oxidized by the heating elements used in e-cigarettes to vaporize the liquids, creating aldehydes such as formaldehyde.”

We’re sorry to have to report to you that although e-cigarettes certainly emit less harmful toxins into the air than regular cigarettes, they can’t necessarily be considered “safe” for use. That being said, the best alternative to smoking cigarettes is still smoking nothing at all. And the best way to ensure that the indoor air quality of your home is the purest it can be is to test it. For information on our Air Quality Services, call DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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  1. Elisabeth-Reply
    February 26, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Anyway, I have read in many blogs that Smoking is harmful for health

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Finding Natural Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Lighted beeswax candles on wooden tableAll week long, we have been concerned about the air quality, here in Calgary, Alberta where DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is headquartered. As we alerted you in our last blog, wildfires in the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia have sent smoke the way of our province, causing catastrophic damage to the quality of the air that we are all breathing.

As a result, Environment Canada has issued some protective guidelines to Albertans that include recommendations to stay inside. Obviously, the cleaner the air we are all breathing, the better it is for our health. The current situation in Alberta sheds light on the mission statement that is practiced year-round by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. We are committed to fostering clean breathing air in your home as it is imperative to achieving optimum health.

On BobVila.com, Michael Franco echoes these sentiments. “Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even improve digestion,” he writes, “But if the air you’re breathing in isn’t as clean as it should be, taking those breaths might actually be causing more harm than good.” Franco goes on to note that the best way to improve your home’s indoor air quality is to clean it naturally.

“You can improve the air quality in your home most simply by cleaning with natural, odour-free products,” he advises us, “having people remove their shoes before entering to avoid dragging in dust and dirt; and opening windows when the weather permits to keep fresh air circulating throughout the home.” In other words, the fewer chemicals you use to clean your home, the safer you’ll be. As well, limiting the amount of outdoor pollutants that enter your home is wise.

Given the present situation in Calgary, however, minimizing pollutants from outside is a tough task right now. Nevertheless, Franco reminds us to always “go green” when possible. You don’t need an air quality warning to know that the air in your home should always be treated with respect. He recommends that you not just switch to natural, scent-free cleaning products, but that you fill your home with plants.

“Plants can be a great way to not only freshen the air, but also warm and personalize your home,” says Franco, “Studies by NASA have shown that certain houseplants are good at eliminating harmful substances in the air. Aloe vera, for example, is effective at clearing formaldehyde, which can be found in some plywoods, carpeting, and furniture as well as in certain cleaning products.”

Katie of WellnessMama.com adds that some of our common indoor practices should also be curbed. You may think that there is nothing wrong with lighting candles to either create relaxing atmospheres or improve a room’s smell. But depending on the candle you use, you could be causing more harm than good. “Regular paraffin candles are petroleum derived and can release chemicals like benzene, toluene, soot and other chemicals into the air,” reveals Katie.

She highly advocates the use of pure beeswax candles which emit almost no smoke or scent and actually clean the air. “Beeswax candles are often especially helpful for those with asthma or allergies and they are effective at removing common allergens like dust and dander from the air,” Katie reveals, “Beeswax candles also burn more slowly than paraffin candles so they last much longer.”

If you have any questions about how you can improve your home’s indoor air quality, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca. Ask us about our Air Quality Services!

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Poor Air Quality In Calgary Creating Health Concerns

Depositphotos_38623741_s-2015Here in Calgary, Alberta, where DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is headquartered, the air quality has been referred to as “off the charts bad” by weather analysts in recent days. And they’re not kidding. According to the Government of Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index, health risks due to air quality are rated from 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Anything above 10 is considered “very high”.

As of this morning, Daniel Martins of The Weather Network reports that Calgary’s air quality health index peaked at 19 last night! It goes without saying that this is horrible news. For those who don’t live on Canada’s west coast and may be unaware, the poor air quality in our province has come as a result of the awful wildfires that have been burning in British Columbia for days now.

Martins reports that air quality advisories have been issued for parts of both B.C. and Alberta by Environment Canada. These record-breaking wildfires have been exacerbated by others taking place in the state of Washington, which is just south of B.C. “Southerly winds,” he writes, “have continued to push the smoke northward into this week, and forecasters say there’s little relief ahead in B.C.”

Those of us living in the Calgary area have seen our sunny skies diminish in place of hazy, grey darkness as of late. And unfortunately, the smoky air is doing nothing positive for our respiratory systems. It should come as no surprise that the air quality we are currently experiencing has great potential to cause numerous health problems. As Martins, puts it, “diminishing air quality levels pose a risk to everyone living in the affect areas.”

He goes on to reveal a statement made by Environment Canada which reads: “In the current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.” So what should Albertans be doing to minimize the risk of negative health effects due to the poor air quality? Staying indoors is your best bet. The less bad air you breathe, the better.

Unfortunately, we are in a situation where our indoor air quality is bound to be better than outside. “Outdoor activity should be kept to a minimum during the current advisories,” reiterates Martins. It should be noted, as well, that safety precautions shouldn’t just be followed by individuals with asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. The air is bad enough that everyone should be engaging in safety measures.

Melissa Ramsay of Global News reports that Dr. Jason Cabaj, who is the Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services, strongly suggests that Calgarians stay inside. “Normally with air quality, we’re especially concerned about people with chronic concerns and other vulnerable people such as young children and older adults,” Dr. Cabaj is quoted as saying, “but in this case, the air is poor enough that everybody needs to pay attention to it.”

As well, Martins points out that Calgarians are being asked to follow additional safety measures. He reports that “the Calgary Fire Department has implemented a fire ban, prohibiting the use of fire pits, recreational campfires and fireplaces. The ban is in place in order to minimize additional levels of smoke adding to already poor air quality.” Ramsay adds that Alberta Health Services has offered a number of tips to follow in order to reduce the presence of smoke in homes.

They include locking all windows and doors, turning down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum settings, closing the fresh-air intake on your air conditioners, switching all floor registers to the closed position, closing fireplace dampers on wood burning fireplaces and avoiding the running of “whole-house fans” and “fresh air ventilation systems” that bring smoky outdoor air inside.

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. blog will endeavour to keep an eye on this unfortunate situation. However, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. December 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Air pollution in Calgary has taken a drastic turn. In the major cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, we need proper precautions and safety measures in place to curb air pollution. Hope that the government takes this issue seriously.

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Examining The Negative Impact Of Cleaning Products

Depositphotos_9424092_s-2015By now, readers of our blog are very well aware about the damaging effects of VOCs. Volatile organic compounds, which can be found in many of our cleaning supplies, are known to significantly impact indoor air quality in a negative way. While most of us view our cleaners and disinfectants as companions in the battle against dirt and grime, they can sometimes present more problems than solutions.

How have VOCs been known to negatively affect our health? The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the “key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.”

How do VOCs contribute to poor indoor air quality? It all depends on the ingredients of the cleaning products you are using. Health Care Without Harm reports that “some of these products contain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs), are classified as hazardous waste, and/or otherwise contribute to environmental pollution during their manufacture, use, or disposal.”

How can some disinfectants actually contribute to worsening the problems that they purport to solve? While many cleaners are advertised as bacteria killers, Health Care Without Harm notes that the anti-bacterial nature of many products can enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics. As a result, people can be placed at greater risk of negative health effects. On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola provides further insight into this matter.

“Chemicals used to kill bacteria could be making them stronger,” he reveals, “Biocides are commonly used in cleaning hospitals and home environments, sterilizing medical equipment and decontaminating skin before surgery. At the correct strength, biocides kill bacteria and other microbes. But if lower levels are used, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to treatment.”

What chemicals in cleaners can cause health problems? Have you ever heard of triclosan? According to Health Care Without Harm, it’s “an antibacterial biocide increasingly prevalent in liquid detergents and soaps (janitorial products), could enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics, and poses a long-term threat to wildlife and to human health. Traces of triclosan have been found in human breast milk.”

So what is the solution to reducing VOCs in our homes? It’s all about using natural or “green” products. The fewer chemicals your cleaning products contain, the better. Dr. Mercola even points out that there are no studies that confirm that regular disinfecting leads to fewer illnesses in the home. However, research has shown that families who use chemical-laden products double their chances of experiencing respiratory issues.

Of course, the health and well-being of your family is important to you. So it’s clearly important to be mindful of the ways in which you clean your home. Are your cleaning products actually making you sicker instead of safer? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to ensure that your family is 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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6 More Plants That Improve Indoor Air Quality

Pink Chrysanthemum Flower Isolated on White Background. Macro CloseupIn our last blog, we pointed out the fact that houseplants can work wonders in the world of indoor air quality. They often say that plants can brighten up a room. But, as we pointed out, many plants also have the ability to purify the air. The aloe plant and the peace lily, for example, are known for absorbing formaldehyde and benzene. They are actually quite remarkable plants. And the good news is that there are many more like them!

Here are six more plants that improve indoor air quality:

1. Chrysanthemum. This pretty and colourful flower does a lot more than simply brighten up a room with its beauty. “The blooms also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent,” says the Mother Nature Network, “This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.”

2. English Ivy. Our blog has often listed mould and pet dander as two major enemies to indoor air quality. Thankfully, English Ivy or Hedera helix, serves as a superhero in that regard. According to Ellen Ruoff Riley and Stuart Robbins of Healthline.com, this evergreen climbing plant is recommended for removing allergens from the air such as mould and animal feces. It also eliminates benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

3. Snake plant. The name may sound a bit scary, but its benefits are sure to brighten your day! The Mother Nature Network informs us that “this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.”

4. Chinese Evergreen. While they are native to tropical Asian forests, they are not uncommon in North American living rooms. And there’s a good reason for that. These attractive plants remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air you breathe in your home, say Riley and Robbins. The Chinese Evergreen also works to eliminate benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

5. Gerber daisy. Daisies are widely heralded as pretty flowers. And thankfully, they also have the ability to do much more than make rooms look pleasant. The Mother Nature Network notes that the Gerbera jamesonii has the ability to remove trichloroethylene from the air. “It’s also good for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks,” notes the website, “Add one to your laundry room or bedroom — presuming you can give it lots of light.”

6. Areca Palm. Arguably, we’ve saved the best for last. Riley and Robbins note that “according to NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, Areca Palm is the most efficient air purifying plant and is an excellent air humidifier.” They reveal that this plant, with its attractive arching leaves, helps to eliminate benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air.

The importance of top-notch indoor air quality in your home cannot be understated. Consider the amount of time that you spend in your home. It’s important for the air within it to be as pollutant-free as possible. Surely, houseplants can help. But the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. can help even more! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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