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Impatience Growing Over Canada’s Slow Move To Ban Asbestos

Red stamp with text Warning Asbestos,vector illustrationOver the past several months, our blog has been monitoring the ongoing news story about our federal government’s commitment to implement a nationwide ban on asbestos. The longer it takes for the ban to take effect, however, the more that there is doubt that such a ban will ever commence. It is well documented that asbestos has been the cause of death for many hard-working Canadians.

So could possibly be the hold up for a nationwide ban? In several of our blogs, we’ve noted the number of cases and high costs for medical care caused by the hazardous material. The Chronicle Journal calls the delay “shameful” and pointed out that more than 55 other countries across the world have already implemented asbestos bans. For some reason, Canada is yet to join the list of countries that recognize asbestos for what it is: a deadly, toxic material.

“The roots of our dangerous obstinacy are political,” reports The Chronicle Journal, “Successive prime ministers have defended the deadly mineral in the hopes of winning votes in rural Quebec, where asbestos mining was an important industry for more than a century. Only last summer, three years after the last of Quebec’s mines shut down amid dwindling demand, did Ottawa finally acknowledge that ‘asbestos, if inhaled, can cause cancer and other diseases.’”

Even still, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet called for a nationwide ban, even though he announced, months ago, that Canada was “moving to ban asbestos” because “its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.” This came as welcome news to both health advocates and victims of asbestos-related diseases alike. Today, however, there are doubts that the ban is coming.

Just how much damage is asbestos causing Canadians? “A recent study found that in 2011 alone, nearly 2,100 Canadian workers were diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers,” reveals The Chronicle Journal, “It pegged the financial cost of such illnesses at $1.7 billion per year. One would hope that statistics like these would add some urgency to the government’s review.”

A nationwide ban may not be in effect yet, but people throughout Canada are practically implementing bans of their own. Earlier this week, Ricardo Veneza reported on BlackburnNews.com that the County of Essex, in Southern Ontario, is completely backing the call to ban asbestos in Canada. “Council approved a resolution that will see the county pressure the federal government to bring in a complete ban of the cancer-causing substance in Canada,” he writes.

Brian Hogan is the President of the Windsor and District Labour Council. “I think if enough councils, enough citizens push (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) that things will happen,” he is quoted as saying, “(It is) beyond tragic when you have so many citizens that have died — I’ve lost relatives — and you’re perpetuating it, that’s pure ignorance…Fifty-six countries now (have banned asbestos) so we’re not on the ground floor.”

It’s no secret that DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. also firmly supports a nationwide ban on asbestos. Understanding how hazardous it is to the health of Canadians, we are highly committed to offering our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services that include asbestos testing procedures. 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 Important Reasons To Test Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Profile of a beautiful woman relaxing lying on a couch at homeLet’s be honest. We all take the air we breathe for granted, don’t we? We know that it’s there, but we rarely ever pay attention to it. It’s safe to say that that is because we usually can’t see it or smell it. But that can actually be a problem. Just because nothing out of the ordinary is detectable, it doesn’t mean that the air we breathe is free of contaminants. Air pollution, unfortunately, is all around us.

And this is certainly true in our homes. Even for the most meticulous of “neat freaks”, poor indoor air quality is a factual concern. Everything from contaminated air from outside seeping in to pet dander to the growth of mould and mildew due to humidity can make our homes susceptible to housing air that is bad for our health. This is why an indoor air quality inspection is so important. Most often, poor indoor air quality is undetectable without one.

Here are three important reasons to test your home’s indoor air quality:

1. Undetectable gases. Not all gases have colours or odours. Carbon monoxide and radon are among them. And they often find themselves in our homes. CO, for example, is often emitted from such household items as furnaces, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters. “CO causes an array of symptoms — from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness,” explains Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network.

Radon enters our homes by seeping in through cracks and other openings. It is emitted from nearby soil that contains low levels of decaying uranium. While generally harmless in the outdoor air, it can become a health hazard when concentrated. As Joseph Loiero of CBC News reports, “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking.”

2. Volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, these are the types of air pollutants that we actually invite into our homes. We may not have done so purposely, but if you’ve ever installed new carpeting, painted your furniture, hung a new shower curtain or used cleaning products, you have subjected yourself to VOCs. You’ll know because of the smells that are emitted from these items and tasks.

“Countless products in your home emit VOCs, from cleaners to paint to furniture,” explains Michael Rosone on Aristair.com, “Even through you can’t smell all of them, they’re present in most homes at least at “background” levels, and can cause short-term health symptoms including headaches and nausea. Longer term (and scarier) health effects are also possible with repeated exposure.”

3. Asbestos. Over the past few months, we have been paying particular attention to a controversy in Canada over its intention to propose a complete nationwide ban on asbestos. Although the federal government made promises to do so a few months back, we continue to await any official word on an official ban. By now, it should be needless to say that asbestos in an incredibly hazardous material.

Especially if you live in an older home, there may be asbestos in your insulation materials. When disturbed by renovations, for example, asbestos can release airborne fibres that are known to cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. “Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea,” advises McLendon, “Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer expert services to detect and inevitably do away with the causes of poor indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services, Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services and Radon Services among many others. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Asbestos-Related Cancers Are Costing Canadians $1.7 Billion A Year

Concept of national healthcare system - Canada$1.7 billion. It’s a gross understatement to say that that’s a lot of money. But, indeed, it’s the whopping amount that it is costing Canadians to address asbestos-related cancers each year. As reported by Tavia Grant of The Globe and Mail, the Institute for Work & Health has conducted a study that found that an average of $818,000 per case is being spent by Canadians for health care costs stemming from lung cancer and mesothelioma due to work-related asbestos exposure.

As Tim Povtak explains on Asbestos.com, “researchers included the costs of treating mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, administration expenses, patients’ out-of-pocket costs, caregiving wages, workers’ compensation and employers’ costs to replace absent workers, among other economic burdens.” Grant informs that asbestos continues to be the top cause of occupational deaths in Canada.

Over the past couple of months, our blog has been addressing the need for Canada to implement an absolute ban on asbestos. As of yet, the federal government is yet to follow through on its plans to announce the ban. Although no longer exported, asbestos is still being imported into the country. Meanwhile, the statistics about Canadian workers being affected by asbestos in their workplaces makes clear that it is a dangerous substance.

It’s unknown what the holdup is. Grant reminds us that on May 10th of this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government was “moving forward on a ban”, acknowledging that the impact the material has on working Canadians is far too hazardous to justify the benefits of using it. The new Institute for Work & Health study found a total of 2,099 diagnosed cases of mesothelioma in 2011.

Grant notes that the asbestos-related cancer is bound to continue to impact Canadians at even greater rates going forward. “The study noted that new cases are likely to grow in the near future due to long latency periods of these diseases and continued exposure,” she informs, “The key question the analysis sought to answer is what the savings to society would be if no cases of cancer attributable to occupational asbestos exposures occurred in a particular year.”

Dr. Emile Tompa is a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health. “When you see the magnitude of the cost, it makes you aware there is a need to take action,” Potvak quotes him as saying, “I think you’ll also see an increase in the number of cases for a few more years because of the long latency period with asbestos cancers. We often think about how much will it cost to find substitutes [for asbestos], or how much it will cost to change production. But the cost of doing nothing is substantially higher.”

Dr. Tompa points out that the Canadian Cancer Society-funded study looked at both direct and indirect costs related to asbestos exposure in the workplace. Health care costs for mesothelioma were found to run at $46,000 per case while lung cancer costs about $28,000 a case. “Often times, the health-care costs are very low because the fatality rates are extremely high following diagnosis. Most of these people don’t survive a year,” Grant quotes Dr. Tompa as saying.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we firmly believe in a nationwide ban on asbestos. Understanding its dangers, we are highly committed to offering the best in Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. We recommend that you allow us to provide asbestos testing prior to your plan to perform any renovations to your home or office. This will protect you from the deadly effects of this well-known hazardous substance.

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

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Canadians Unhappy With Delay On Asbestos Ban

Grunge rubber stamp with text Danger Asbestos,vector illustrationOver the course of the last couple of months, we have dedicated a number of blogs to the horrifying effects of asbestos exposure in Canada. It’s no secret that the once-thought-to-be-helpful product is a major culprit for causing lung cancer and mesothelioma. The bottom line is that asbestos is a killer. Canada needs to ban it completely and it needs to be banned immediately. To be honest, we were hoping that we’d have news of a nationwide ban by now.

Last month, we blogged about the fact that Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was moving towards passing a law to ban asbestos in Canada. As of yet, it hasn’t happened. And, as Kathleen Ruff reports in the Ottawa Citizen, this slow move to go ahead with the ban is as good as a broken pledge. “It is inexplicable that at UN meetings, the Trudeau government’s position is that it has not made up its mind whether chrysotile asbestos should be put on the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances,” she writes.

Ruff also makes sure to highlight the fact that asbestos is the “biggest killer of Canadian workers”. So while the Trudeau government has taken steps to prohibit its use at Public Works and Government Services Canada workplaces, it has yet to pull Canada from the asbestos trade. In fact, Canada was the lone country to not list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance at the recent Rotterdam Convention. And according to Ruff, this is having “serious consequences”.

“The Rotterdam Convention is in deep crisis and fighting for its life and Canada is the country that created this crisis,” she insists, “Countries are asking what use is the convention if a tiny handful of countries can thumb their noses at the scientific evidence and refuse to allow a substance to be listed in order to hide its hazards and profit from its sale.”

For the record, chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used form of the hazardous substance and has often been used as insulation in roofs, ceilings, walls and floors. It was also commonly used in automobile brake linings, pipe insulation, gaskets and boiler seals. As you can imagine, it can be quite profitable to deal in chrysotile asbestos. As such, Ruff believes that Canada has outright lied about its knowledge of the product’s harmful effects.

She notes that the reasons that Canada chose not to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance include that it has not been proven to cause cancer and that it can be safely used. But these statements are blatantly false, Ruff affirms, noting that “Canada for decades funded and disseminated this false information overseas. It is unconscionable that Canada is regurgitating this deadly, false information now.”

Perhaps, the most glaring evidence that Canada is on the side of wrong on this issue is the fact that it’s the only country to not have listed chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance. “The most recent meeting to try to save the Convention has been taking place in Riga, Latvia from July 3 to July 5,” Ruff informs, “Now is a critical moment for Canada to end its sordid global asbestos-promoting history.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we certainly support Ruff’s stance on wanting Canada to ban asbestos nationwide. Our commitment to keeping Canadians safe is one of the reasons we offer Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. By providing asbestos testing prior to your plan to perform renovations, you will be protecting yourself from the deadly effects of this well-known hazardous substance.

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

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5 Reasons Canada Needs To Ban Asbestos Now

Depositphotos_53491423_s-2015In our last blog, we excitedly reported the fact that Canada is inching closer towards banning asbestos throughout the country. Once widely used for insulation purposes in the construction of homes and office buildings, among other things, asbestos is a well-known killer. Once airborne, its fibres can get lodged in our lungs causing various forms of lung cancer as well as mesothelioma.

The Canadian Labour Congress is lobbying for the federal government to make its ban of asbestos official as early as this summer. On their website, they note that “Canadian imports of asbestos are growing, from $4.7 million in 2011 to $8.2 million in 2015. As a result, more and more Canadians are being put at risk.” They go on to list a number of facts about asbestos that prove it should be completely outlawed.

Here are five reasons Canada needs to ban asbestos now:

1. It is a proven killer of Canadians. The CLC reports that asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related deaths in our country. Upwards of 2,000 Canadians die every year due to diseases associated with asbestos exposure. “Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012,” they reveal, “Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 107,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.”

2. Asbestos-related diseases are increasing. You would think that with an increase of knowledge about asbestos and its harmful effects that there would be greater precautions taken to protect Canadians from them. Not so. “In 1992, there were 276 recorded cases of mesothelioma,” informs the CLC, “Twenty years later the number of new cases of mesothelioma has more than doubled, with 560 recorded in 2012.”

3. Canada is importing asbestos at an increasing rate. Again, it’s puzzling why the nation would continue to import products made with asbestos. But, as we mentioned earlier, the imports of asbestos continues to rise. All evidence points towards this trend leading to increased deaths of Canadians. And it can all be avoided if the federal government outlaws the deadly material once and for all.

4. It puts Canadians’ jobs at risk. It’s bad enough that asbestos is bad for our health. But, as the CLC notes, it’s bad for our economy as well. Many of the asbestos-containing products that Canada is importing can be manufactured here at home. “Canada is importing replacement brake pads and linings containing asbestos, despite the fact that Canada manufactures non-asbestos replacement alternatives,” reveals the CLC.

5. 56 countries have already banned asbestos. Canada is well known for being one of the best countries in the world to live. The fact that it is lagging far behind the rest of the world when it comes to banning asbestos is nothing short of embarrassing. Industrialized nations like France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea have all banned asbestos already. It’s time we catch up!

DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. fully supports a nationwide ban of asbestos. As part of our commitment to keeping Canadians safe, we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that inspect duct work, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, ceilings and flooring for asbestos. 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 Finally Preparing For Official Ban Of Asbestos

Stop asbestos concept. Stop Asbeston written on road signA month ago, we blogged about a CBC News article by Julie Ireton that covered the diminishing health of Ottawa-based electrician, Dennis Lapointe. Having worked at a Canada Revenue Agency building for 16 years, Lapointe was exposing himself to asbestos without knowing it throughout his tenure. Sadly, he today experiences numerous health issues surrounding his respiratory system.

Interestingly, just a week after we posted that blog, Ireton released another report revealing that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made the federal government’s first commitment to move forward with a plan to ban asbestos.” And while much damage has already been done to workers, just like Lapointe, who have been exposed to asbestos while on the job, this comes as very positive news for Canada’s future.

Evidently, there is finally an acknowledgement that the dangers that come with using asbestos are far worse than the benefits the product is supposed to provide. Prime Minister Trudeau, in fact, aired these sentiments. “We’ve actually made the commitment that we are moving forward on a ban…here in Canada,” he responded when asked about the ban by a trade union leader, “We know that its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.”

While a nationwide asbestos ban would come as good news, there are many who may feel that it would be too much too late. After all, Ireton reports that although Canada hasn’t exported any asbestos in some time, it has strangely accepted imports of construction products and automotive parts that contain the toxic material. One may wonder why an official ban on all asbestos-containing products hasn’t already been made.

Hassan Yussuff is one such person. He is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress. Ireton reports that he hopes that an official ban of asbestos in Canada is announced before the beginning of summer. The ban, he hopes, will be a complete and extensive one. For Yussuff, an asbestos ban would provide a sense of personal gratification. He, himself, was exposed to asbestos during his time spent working as a mechanic.

As Ireton reports, the Canadian Labour Congress is calling for legislation that bans the use, import and export of anything containing asbestos. As well, they are calling for a national registry of all public buildings that contain asbestos in addition to a national registry of all workers diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases that is to be tracked by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

An asbestos ban this comprehensive would finally bring Canada to the respectable levels of Europe, Australia and Japan where such bans already exist. To make perfectly clear, asbestos is a proven cause of deadly cancers and lung diseases such mesothelioma. “About 2,000 Canadians die of asbestos-related diseases every year — many of those deaths have been linked to asbestos exposure in the workplace,” Ireton reports.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of asbestos exposure very seriously. We offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that inspect duct work, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, ceilings and flooring to ensure that our clients aren’t in any danger of being exposed its harmful fibres. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Asbestos Exposure Impacts Federal Building Worker

Illustration depicting a sign with an asbestos concept.Many people have been calling for the Canadian government to step in and take much more drastic measures as it relates to regulating asbestos use. Because of the numerous findings that prove asbestos is a leading cause of lung cancer, many have called for the ban of the product altogether. Popularly used, prior to the 1990s, as an insulation source in homes and office buildings, asbestos is now widely known as a killer.

Sadly, this message was received all too clearly by Denis Lapointe, who is an Ottawa-based electrician. Having worked at the Canada Revenue Agency building at 875 Heron Road in Ottawa for 16 years, he believed that he wasn’t putting himself in any serious danger while at work. After all, a federal building is one that can be assumed safe, right? Not so, says Lapointe, who discovered that he was exposing himself to asbestos throughout his tenure in the building.

As reported by Julie Ireton of CBC News in March of last year, Lapointe only learned of the full extent of his asbestos exposure after filing access to requests for information. “His job involved drilling and pulling wires through walls, floors and ceilings,” Ireton explains, “He says since he didn’t know he could be disturbing asbestos all those years — his fellow workers wouldn’t have known either.” Lapointe reveals that the experience has affected him both physically and emotionally.

“I was exposed and I wasn’t properly protected, and here I was walking through this place, using air hoses and whatnot and blowing it to other people, so I have a conscience…That eats me up,” he is quoted as saying. After obtaining the documents he requested, Lapointe learned that there was asbestos contamination on all floors of the Canada Revenue Agency building where he worked for the better part of two decades.

The discovery unfortunately proves the sad truth about asbestos exposure. Lapointe is a non-smoker. But as Ireton reports, he had suffered from poor health and breathing problems for years. And while he has not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, there is evidence of his exposure to the well-known cancer-causer. Lapointe should have been made aware, long ago, that his job presented such a danger.

Denis St. Jean is the national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “Since 1986 the Canada Labour Code applies,” Ireton quotes him as saying, “There should have been at least some risk assessments on whether or not these buildings have asbestos containing materials…so they can have readily available that information for their workers.” Without Lapointe’s sleuthing, he may never have discovered the truth.

Ireton reveals that after a reassessment of the CRA building, the facility was found to not be in compliance. As a result, a call for the removal of damaged asbestos containing materials and debris was ordered. In the meantime, Lapointe continues to struggle with his health. And as Ireton reports, “Lapointe’s concerns about the building and his health issues have now led to an investigation by the federal Labour Department.”

Needless to say, asbestos exposure is a very serious health concern. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that inspect duct work, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, ceilings and flooring. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Avoiding Asbestos Makes For A Happy New Year

asbestos road sign illustration design over a white backgroundOn behalf of everyone at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would like to wish you a very Happy New Year! Those who are familiar with our company know that we consider “happy” to be synonymous with “healthy”. So really, we wish you a very healthy new year. And, of course, the way we see it, the cleaner the air you breathe, the healthier you will be. Here’s hoping your New Year’s Resolutions will allow for that!

For many Canadians, home renovations are a big part of what makes them happy. And a lot of people place renovations on their New Year’s Resolutions lists. It’s important, however, to keep in mind that renovating your home can present some health hazards that are surely not in keeping with having a healthy new year. Specifically, if your home contains asbestos, you’ll definitely need to have it removed before you make any changes to your home.

Asbestos, when completely left alone, isn’t generally considered harmful. But disturbing asbestos so that its fibres become airborne can be deadly. Inhaling asbestos fibres is known to casuse lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other respiratory damage. Can you believe that the material was so widely used decades ago? In fact, Kat Sieniuc of The Globe and Mail reports that it was actually freely used in schools and homes in, what is now known to be, dangerous ways.

“Some 60 years ago, lumps of wet, grey material were given to students in art classes to shape and mould into art to proudly display at home,” informs Sieniuc, “It was especially good for objets d’art such as candle holders, since the substance was famous for stopping the spread of flames.” She goes on to make clear that today, asbestos is regarded as the toxic material that it is and that there is “no safe level of exposure.”

Before this was common knowledge, asbestos was popularly used in the construction of homes, office buildings and schools as a source of insulation. It was wrapped around pipes that are found behind our walls and above our ceilings. And now, asbestos is known as “the biggest workplace killer in the country”. Sieniuc reveals, however, that saying that asbestos is safe when undisturbed really isn’t a smart way to practice safety.

“The World Health Organization has declared all forms of asbestos carcinogenic and recommends its use be eliminated; the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said there is no safe form of asbestos, nor is there a threshold level of exposure that is risk-free,” she writes. However, there are many schools across Canada that attempt to “contain” asbestos during their renovations. This simply isn’t good enough.

The University of Manitoba’s Dr. Patricia Martens knows this all too well. Sieniuc reveals that in 2012, Dr. Martens was diagnosed with incurable mesothelioma. How did she contract the deadly disease? “Her accidental exposure came as a University of Manitoba student, she believes, in the huge dining-exam room in which she ate her lunch every day,” explains Sieniuc, “It had an open-slat ceiling with beautifully finished wood – and asbestos filling stuffed in the gaps.”

It’s vital that you remember to check for asbestos before making any renovations to your home or office. If asbestos is in your property, and it is disturbed, you make yourself susceptible to some very negative health implications. Let’s avoid that. Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. and ask about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services today. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Bad Habits To Break To Improve Your Air In 2016

Young woman opening window in living roomWe’re just a couple of days away from a brand new year! And with 2016 right around the corner, most Canadians (along with the rest of the world) have come up with New Year’s Resolutions they hope to stick to. In most cases, these annual resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits. And in many cases, eliminating these bad habits can improve one’s health. Quitting smoking is the perfect example.

But what other New Year’s Resolutions can improve your health? Many of the bad habits we have are carried out in our homes. And, as a result, we are causing the air we breathe to be a lot more harmful to our health. How can we protect ourselves and our families from poor indoor air quality? Breaking bad habits that impact the air you breathe will go a long way in improving the health of all of your loved ones.

Here are four:

1. Cigarette smoking. It only makes sense that we start with the most obvious bad habit that most people attempt to quit at the beginning of each new year. As Health Canada reminds us, cigarette smoke emits a long list of chemicals that include carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Arguably, the single most important thing you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality in 2016 is to eliminate all cigarette smoking.

2. Heating the home with gas-burning appliances. Canadian winters insist upon heated homes. But it’s important to heat your home without using methods that add harmful elements to the air. Health Canada reminds us that gas and wood fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces and gas water heaters all emit such gases as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as other VOCs and particulate matter.

3. Operating gas-powered machinery in the garage. It should probably go without saying that you should never heat your car up in the garage. The emissions from your muffler are deadly. However, you should also bear in mind that machinery such as gas-powered lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators and barbeques should all be operating in the open air. Health Canada points out that they emit CO, NO2, VOCs and other particulate matter that can enter the home.

4. Renovating without a thorough inspection of your home. Renovations aren’t generally considered bad habits. But making changes in your home without inspecting for asbestos is certainly a bad idea. By itself, asbestos is harmless. But when it is disturbed, its fibres can become airborne and lodged in your lungs if inhaled. This has been known to cause serious health effects such as lung cancer.

“Asbestos was used as an insulator and fire retardant for many years,” explains HealthLink BC, “It is sometimes still found in insulation around older hot water pipes and boilers. It is also found in old flooring material and some types of insulation used in attics and walls. Asbestos does not cause a health risk unless it is frayed or crumbling and releasing fibres into the air that can be inhaled.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services and Asbestos Containing Materials Services, among many others that serve to improve the indoor air quality of your home. This new year, have us inspect your home to ensure that you and your loved ones are enjoying life in a very healthy environment. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Happy new year!

2 Comments

  1. Tamara-Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I am inquiring about having an indoor air quality test done for our office building, as it is an older house, and we have had a very steep jump in staff illnesses and recurring illness throughout the office. I am wondering if a quote is available, and what type of testing you would be conducting etc.

    Please contact me at (403)324-1322 ext. 205

    • Dennis French-Reply
      January 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hello Tamara, I have been trying to reach you via phone and email reply with no luck. Phone number not in service.

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3 Household Items That Present Health Hazards

Vacuuming the carpetThis week, our blog has been focused on the dangers of asbestos. As we’ve mentioned, there is really no limit to the amount of damage that the material can do to our lungs. So, there should really be no limit to the amount of information you get about why to avoid it. As you may be aware, asbestos was once popularly used, predominantly as an insulation material in homes and office buildings. Renovations to such buildings have been known to send asbestos fibres into the air.

Breathing in these fibres has been known to lead to lung cancer as well as other fatal respiratory diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. There is no shortage to the amount of protection we should all be giving our lungs. So, in addition to checking your home for asbestos before any renovations are made, it’s pretty important that you keep mindful of other materials in your home that may also present health hazards.

Here are three:

1. Carpeting. These days, many home owners opt for hardwood flooring throughout their homes. Not only does it help for the home to have a sleeker and cleaner look, but it also helps for the home to be safer. Firstly, carpet is well known for collecting dust and, as such, requires regular vacuuming. The more dust in your home, the more susceptible you are to the allergens that are present as a result of dust mites.

As well, as Dr. Joseph Mercola reports on his website, “indoor carpeting has recently come under greater scrutiny because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with new carpet installation. The glue and dyes used with carpeting are known to emit VOCs, which can be harmful to your health in high concentrations. However, the initial VOC emissions will often subside after the first few days following.”

2. Pressed wood products. Not all of our wood furniture is made from solid wood. Many of our homes inhabit desks, coffee tables, shelves and other types of furniture that are made from pressed wood. And while these particular items are generally sturdy enough to do their jobs, it takes a little bit of extra work to keep all of that “faux wood” together. Dr. Mercola explains that the glue used to do so isn’t exactly safe.

“The glue that holds the wood particles in place may use urea-formaldehyde as a resin,” he reveals, “The U.S. EPA estimates that this is the largest source of formaldehyde emissions indoors. Formaldehyde exposure can set off watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty breathing, and asthma attacks. Scientists also know that it can cause cancer in animals. The risk is greater with older pressed wood products, since newer ones are better regulated.”

3. Laser printers. This one may catch you by surprise. What could possibly be wrong with using a laser printer? “A 2007 study found that some laser printers give off ultra-fine particles that can cause serious health problems,” reveals Dr. Mercola, “Another study confirmed that laser and ink-jet printers can releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates. All of these have been linked with heart and lung disease.”

He also points out that household items such as mothballs, paint, air fresheners, cleaning products and even baby bottles all pose potential health hazards. Dr. Mercola admits that this can be overwhelming, but there are ways to limit your exposure. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we believe strongly in the need to inspect your home to determine its indoor air quality.

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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