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3 Reasons Why Ventilation In The Home Is So Important

By this time next week, we will all be able to say that wintertime is over. Or will we? We Canadians know better. The calendar may indicate the beginning of spring next Monday, but we understand that when frigid temperatures persist and there’s still snow on the ground – it is still winter. As a result, the time for opening our windows to let the fresh air come inside is still several weeks away. Here’s the thing though – it shouldn’t be.

In fact, it’s recommended that we all keep our windows open all winter long. No, we’re not saying that your windows should remain open all the time. Instead, we’re saying that it’s wise to let the fresh air from outside circulate with the stagnant air from inside for, at least, a few minutes every day – no matter how cold it is. The reason for this, quite obviously, is to promote ventilation. And ventilation in your home is incredibly important.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Ventilation helps to lower VOC concentrations.

Our homes are filled with harmful VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are found in many of our household cleaning products, furnishings, paints and carpets. If you can smell the scents that emanate from these household items, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re in the presence of VOCs. In high concentrations, VOCs are toxic.

However, as Dustin DeTorres explains on ZehnderAmerica.com, VOC concentrations can be decreased with ventilation. “Maintaining adequate ventilation can help to control concentrations of existing VOCs within a home, as it is nearly impossible to eliminate VOCs from indoor air,” he writes.

2. Ventilation helps to reduce condensation.

Those droplets of water that often form on our windows are created when warm air hits cool surfaces. Because the warm air is no longer able to hold its moisture when it is cooled, it ends up forming water droplets in various parts of our homes. Windows, walls, furniture – these are all locations where condensation may be present in the home. The problem is that these collections of moisture promote the development of mould.

“Condensation is the most common form of dampness and will eventually lead to mould growth,” explains Envirovent.com, “If it is left to develop over time then damp patches may start to appear on walls, which means that wallpaper may peel and ultimately black mould will grow. This leads to musty smells, damage to the fabric of the house and it can even result in health problems.”

3. Ventilation helps to filter our allergens.

In last week’s blog, we highlighted some of the issues presented by dust mites. Known allergens, the waste products left behind by dust mites are often triggers for asthma attacks. When we ventilate our homes, we give ourselves better opportunities to filter out such allergens as dust, pet dander, pollen and other irritants that can become trapped and concentrated inside our homes.

“Proper ventilation will help to remove large particles and dust from the air,” says DeTorres, “This can effectively help to reduce allergy symptoms, making the indoor air much more comfortable for allergy sufferers.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate ventilation of the home all year round. As part of our commitment to helping Canadians live healthy lives, we offer Air Quality Services that work to eliminate health hazards from the air in their homes. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Winning The Battle Against Dust Mites With Regular Bed Sheet Washing

How often do you think you should wash your bed sheets?

Some people wash their bed sheets once a week. Some decide to throw them in the washer every other week. And some even think that once a month will suffice. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend the weekly routine. As Marisa Ramiccio puts it on SymptomFind.com, “if you’re washing your sheets only once a month, that’s not going to cut it. Your sheets need to be washed at least every other week, but weekly is ideal.”

Why is it so important to wash your bed sheets at least once a week?

Let’s consider how often you sleep and what you leave behind when you sleep. On average, you’re in your bed approximately eight hours each night – that is, of course, if you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep for optimum health. Let’s suppose that you’re in your clothes for approximately the same amount of time each day. Usually, you’ll put them in the wash after one wear, right?

When you sleep, you leave behind hair, oil, sweat, bodily fluids and even food crumbs (for those in-the-bed snackers). We also leave behind a bunch of dead skin cells. And, as far as dust mites are concerned, this means you’ve left behind a scrumptious buffet meal! Your body sheds about a million skin cells a day. So, as you can imagine, this attracts a lot of dust mites who practically live in your bed.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that aren’t visible to the naked eye. As Ramiccio explains, “these little things live, die and reproduce in the same bed sheets that you sleep in. The only way to keep these creatures under control is to wash your bed sheets on a regular basis. Otherwise, you may develop an allergy, or even a lowered immune system.”

On AllergicLiving.com, Dory Cerny goes into greater detail about these “cousins to the spider”. She explains that “they spend their two to four months of life eating, creating waste and reproducing. A female will lay 100 eggs in her lifetime, and each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste pellets a day…Mites eat minuscule flakes of human skin and animal dander. They can’t drink, but absorb moisture from the atmosphere.”

So how do dust mites impact our health?

The waste produced by dust mites is a known allergen that triggers asthma attacks. Because dust mites thrive on warmth and moisture, your mattress and bed sheets are often sought out as their ideal homes. The skin flakes and other above mentioned things that we all leave in our beds are consumed by dust mites, giving them more opportunities to leave behind allergy-triggering waste products.

“An average mattress contains between 100,000 and 10 million bugs,” informs Cerny, “A study in 2000 found that more than 45 per cent of American homes had detectable dust mite levels associated with the development of allergies, and 23 per cent had bedding with concentrations of allergen high enough to trigger asthma attacks.” This is why regular bed sheet washing is so important. Washing your sheets in hot water on a weekly basis is the best way to win the battle against dust mites.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly promote the need for Canadians to live in healthy homes. This is why we’re so proud to offer Air Quality Services that work to eliminate health hazards from the air we breathe. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How To Minimize The Risk Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is carbon monoxide?

Also known as CO, carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is made when substances such as oil, coal, wood, gasoline, propane and natural gas are burned. It is also found in second-hand smoke from cigarettes. CO is known as the “silent killer” because of our inabilities to detect it without the help of carbon monoxide detectors. Its nickname is apt. CO is known to cause illness and death.

What puts us at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Many of our homes contain appliances that run on fuel. They include furnaces, wood stoves, water heaters and boilers. Especially during the winter months, when our homes require heating from within, these appliances are put to greater use. As a result, the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning increases.

There are also a number of items that we tend to keep in our garages that can also be sources of carbon monoxide. When kept in such an unventilated area as a garage, generators, charcoal grills and vehicle exhausts can create concentrated amounts of CO that may seep into our homes. Chimneys are also known for housing carbon monoxide.

On NewsCanada.com, a tragic story about retired Ontario firefighter, John Gignac’s family highlights all too well the dangers of having a blocked chimney vent. In late 2008, Gignac lost his niece, her husband and their two children due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Their chimney vent was blocked and the family didn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm. A national charitable foundation was set up by Gignac in the family’s memory.

He has made it his mission to protect other families from suffering the same fate. Gignac highlights the fact that you don’t need a chimney or a fireplace to be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. As mentioned, there are a number of gas-burning appliances that are known culprits for emitting the deadly and undetectable gas into our homes.

“People need to take this threat seriously and realize that it comes from sources beyond just furnaces and fireplaces,” Gignac is quoted as saying, “Year-round we use gas stoves and water heaters and park vehicles in garages and attached carports. Never let down your guard…People think they don’t need a carbon monoxide alarm because they have electric heat and no fireplace. But when I ask them if they have a gas stove or water heater, or attached garage or carport, they realize their families have been at risk for years.”

How do you know if your home has put you at risk for CO poisoning?

It’s important to look out for the symptoms. When we breathe in carbon monoxide, it reduces our bodies’ abilities to carry oxygen in the blood. Shortness of breath, therefore, is an obvious symptom to watch for. At low levels, the symptoms of CO poisoning also include fatigue, headaches and muscle weakness. At higher levels, symptoms include dizziness, chest pain and problems with vision and concentrating.

What can be done to minimize the risk of CO poisoning?

Getting a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended. Smoke alarms only alert you to the presence of smoke, not CO. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to take measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We offer Air Quality Services that detect any indoor air quality problems including CO.

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

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3 Harmful Substances In Our Household Cleaning Products

Who doesn’t like a clean and tidy, fresh-smelling home? Most of us, we’d think, relish the idea of walking into our homes with everything in their proper places, having no dust to look at and enjoying the smell of a fresh summer day. Oh, those pleasant smells! Too often, they have us thinking our homes are clean and safe to inhabit. And that’s why cleaning product manufacturers go to great lengths to add fragrances to cleaning products.

But are scented cleaning products good for our health? Overwhelming evidence insists that they are not. And that’s because they contain an array of harmful substances.

What are those substances and how do they impact our health? Here are three to watch out for:

1. Phthalates. These are commonly found in many of our fragrance-enriched cleaning products such as dish soap, air fresheners and even toilet paper. As Jessie Sholl explains on ExperienceLife.com, the word “phthalates” doesn’t appear on product labels due to proprietary laws. Therefore, it’s important to look out for the word “fragrance” instead. It’s a sign that phthalates are present.

“Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors,” explains Sholl, “Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem…Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.” It is highly recommended that you opt for fragrance-free or all-natural organic products to clean your home.

2. Ammonia. Ammonia is a more commonly known cleaning substance, but it’s a powerful irritant. It’s especially hazardous to sufferers of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, the chemical is found in numerous polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewellery. It’s also found in glass, floor and oven cleaners.

According to Dr. Edward Group on GlobalHealingCenter.com, if a product is at least 5 percent ammonia, it must be labelled as poisonous. He notes that studies have confirmed that ammonia can irritate, burn and even damage the eyes and skin. “Ammonia is irritating to the respiratory tract and causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath,” he explains, “Higher exposure can cause pulmonary edema, a life-threatening issue.”

3. 2-Butoxyethanol. The sweet smell that emanates from window cleaners is thanks to a chemical known as 2-Butoxyethanol. And just like phthalates, law does not require it to be listed on a product’s label. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that the Environmental Protection Agency has found that 2-Butoxyethanol can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema and severe liver and kidney damage, reveals Sholl.

Safer options for cleaning mirrors and windows are diluted vinegar. “For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple cleaning compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers,” Sholl suggests, “You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils.”

As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There is a long list of harmful substances that are found in many of our household cleaning products. Every time we clean our homes with them, we’re doing our health a disservice.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping our clients enjoy safe air to breathe in their homes. Our Air Quality Services are designed to locate any areas of concern in your home that may be presenting reasons for poor indoor air quality. Allow us to help you eliminate them!

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

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4 Ways To Show Your Lungs Some Love

Even though another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the time is certainly not over to show love. And when it comes to your lungs, the time to show love is each and every day. Ironically, most of us neglect our lungs, taking them for granted with the assumption that the air we breathe is always adequate. However, there are many things we can do to ensure that our homes constantly provide safer air to breathe.

Here are four ways to show your lungs some love:

1. Go vacuum crazy! Who knew the vacuum cleaner could be such a life saver? Its ability to remove dust and other filth from our homes provides us with a much greater service than just having neat and tidy houses. Vacuums also eliminate many of the health hazards that impact our respiratory systems. This is especially true for vacuums that include HEPA filters which are extra layers of protection for allergy sufferers.

“Vacuums suck up dust that settles on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces,” Daniel DiClerico of Consumer Reports reminds us, “Choose a top-rated one that cleans while minimizing emissions back into the air…For day-to-day maintenance, you might consider a robotic vacuum. It can scoot around your home sucking up dirt and other surface debris while you’re out living your life.”

2. Improve the ventilation in your home. It’s not easy to rid your home of pollutants during the winter. With it being so cold outside, the concept of opening the windows can be construed as a ridiculous one. However, it’s not so ridiculous when you consider how beneficial it is to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stale air from inside. As Aylin Erman points out on OrganicAuthority.com, “to reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants in your home, it is important to increase the flow of outdoor air coming indoors.”

“Ventilation helps to remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources,” she informs, “Most homes are equipped with heating and cooling systems that don’t allow outdoor air to enter indoors. To remedy this, try keeping a few windows ajar, weather permitting, or install local bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors and thus transfer contaminants from the inside of your home, to the outside.”

3. Allergen-proof your bedroom. Naturally, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. After all, considering the fact that we spend about a third of our days sleeping, it stands to reason that where you lay your head at night should be an environment as free from pollutants as possible. Especially because dust mites are such pesky allergens that love living in our bedsheets, it’s important to take measures to minimize their appearances.

“Encase box springs, mattresses, and pillows in covers made from woven microfiber fabrics (with a pore size no greater than 6 micrometers) designed to keep them free of dust mites and animal dander,” recommends DiClerico, “Wash your bedsheets weekly in hot water and dry on high heat. If you have a high-efficiency top-loader, choose a low spin speed when washing waterproof fabrics to prevent them from trapping water and causing the drum to become unbalanced.”

4. Identify and remove products containing harmful chemicals. Too often, we get tricked into thinking that the fresh scents that emanate from our cleaning products indicate that our homes have been rid of pollutants. And while these products do serve to present our homes in more acceptable fashions, they have a penchant for adding toxic chemicals to our living environments. Erman recommends that you remove the “obvious culprits” from your kitchens and bathrooms.

However, “if you are having trouble identifying the culprits (it’s not always that obvious), hire a professional to test your house for moulds and toxins,” she advises. We couldn’t agree more. The Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. are incomparable in the world of indoor air quality. To truly show your lungs the love they need, contact us today!

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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Nationwide Asbestos Ban To Save Many Lives In The Auto Industry

Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog are well aware of our stance on asbestos. We have long been among Canada’s many advocates for a nationwide comprehensive ban of the cancer-causing material and were thrilled to announce news of the ban just before the start of the new year. It should be a secret to no one that asbestos is unquestionably, the number one on-the-job killer in our country, taking thousands of lives a year.

And while Canada ceased the manufacturing of asbestos years ago, the recent ban will finally put a stop to its import by next year. As Bill McLauchlan reports on TireBusiness.com, “The Canadian government will ban the ‘manufacture, use, import and export’ of asbestos-containing products — including brake pads — by 2018.” And while this is clearly good news for health advocates everywhere, McLauchlan points out that the ban will especially benefit members of the auto industry.

Among the various asbestos-laden products that Canada has been importing are brake pads for vehicles. As a result, members of the Canadian automotive industry have regularly been exposed to asbestos, not knowing whether or not the brake pads they’ve been handling contain the deadly substance. McLauchlan cites Rick Jamieson, who is the president and CEO of Guelph, Ontario-based brake pad manufacturer ABS Friction Inc., as an individual who is especially happy about the recently-announced ban.

“This news was most heartening to us,” Jamieson was quoted as saying, “While the ban is long overdue, we are thankful it is finally going to happen. We have twice seen ‘ban asbestos’ private-member bills reach second reading, only to stall for one reason or another.” ABS Friction Inc. has long been campaigning for the banning of asbestos in Canada as it eliminates a major health risk to employees.

“By removing asbestos from braking systems, the new legislation also addresses a health risk to employees of more than 400 vehicle-recycling companies and dismantlers who handle about 1.6 million end-of-life vehicles a year in Canada,” McLauchlan informs. Up until the announcement of the ban, Canada was importing brake pads from countries including the United States, South Korea, China, Chile and Peru.

Jamieson does point out, however, that asbestos is not the only dangerous material that members of the auto industry regularly come into contact with. With the new asbestos ban finally having been passed, he is hopeful that the federal government will take a serious look into banning others substances as well. Chromium, mercury, copper, cadmium, lead and zinc are among them, as they all have toxic properties.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we continue to support Canadians who have been affected by the deadly ramifications of asbestos exposure and we stand beside those who wish to see the government take further action. We’re also committed to helping those who may be at risk of asbestos exposure in their homes. We proudly offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that include onsite assessments, sampling and testing.

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

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What Is ETS And How Does It Impact Indoor Air Quality?

It’s no secret that cigarette smoking is one of the absolute most harmful activities that a person can engage in. In fact, it’s surprising that cigarette smoking still exists given how dangerous it is. In Canada, cigarette packages are well known for their graphic depictions of the diseases that can be caused by smoking the product. And, as many know, cigarettes are so destructive, they even impact the health of people who don’t smoke!

Secondhand smoke is a major health concern. While it’s common knowledge that cigarettes can cause cancer and other deadly respiratory diseases like emphysema in their users, the smoke emitted from the mouths of smokers can cause the same diseases in others. It can be argued – pretty easily, actually – that secondhand smoke is the arch enemy of our air. And it’s fair to say that there is nothing worse for our indoor air quality.

What is ETS? The Lung Association explains that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (or ETS, for short) is the term used to define the smoke that is exhaled by smokers and the smoke that is emitted from the burning ends of cigarettes, cigars and pipes. They note that ETS is one of the most widespread and harmful indoor air pollutants there is, pointing out a long list of harmful toxins that are contained within it.

According to The Lung Association, “ETS contains more than 4700 chemical compounds including: arsenic (rat and ant poison), benzene (rubber cement), lead (car battery material), phenol (used in production disinfectants and plastic), and hydrogen cyanide (poison used in gas chambers). It often produces levels of carbon monoxide and other toxins well above accepted standards for human exposure.”

ETS is so harmful, it even causes something that has been referred to as “thirdhand smoke”. The chemicals from secondhand smoke can get trapped in the fabric of our clothing or the drapes, linens and furniture in our homes. Have you ever entered a room and smelled cigarette smoke even after the smoke had already disappeared? That remaining stench is the thirdhand smoke that can still impact your health.

How can ETS be avoided? Unfortunately, no one is immune to ETS. It’s important for non-smokers to learn that they shouldn’t even be around those who smoke because they can still be exposed to the deadly toxins contained in cigarettes. However, sufferers of asthma are especially cautioned to keep away from cigarette smoke in any form. ETS is known to worsen asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Pregnant women are also advised to avoid ETS at all costs. When exposed to it, they run the risk of having miscarriages, giving birth prematurely or enduring stillbirths. Babies born to mothers who were exposed to ETS generally have lower birth weights and shorter lengths, says The Lung Association.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recommend that you insist upon a smoke-free home. Even those who smoke outside of your home should not be permitted inside after smoking as they will be bringing harmful chemicals indoors. It’s important, of course, to maintain a living environment that is free of harmful chemicals. So, we offer Air Quality Services to help you enjoy 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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4 Reminders Of How To Eliminate Mould From Your Home

Never let it be lost on you that mould isn’t just unsightly, it’s unhealthy. It’s also important to remember that mould doesn’t just grow in our bathroom tiles and on food that is left out too long. It’s certainly true that where there is moisture, a breeding ground for mould is available. But mould can grow in areas of our home other than our bathrooms and kitchens. So, it’s important to be reminded of how to eliminate it from your home.

Here are four reminders:

1. De-clutter your home. Being a neat freak doesn’t just help to present your home in a tidy fashion. It helps to keep its inhabitants healthy. Sure, freeing your living space of clutter will help to prevent slips and falls. That’s certainly one way to stay safe. But by eliminating clutter, you will also present fewer opportunities for moisture to accumulate and for mould to find places to develop.

As a mould prevention tip, removing clutter is highly recommended by Karin Beuerlein on HouseLogic.com. “Cast a critical eye on household clutter, and pare down your stuff,” she advsies, “Clutter blocks airflow and prevents your HVAC system from circulating air. Furniture and draperies that block supply grilles cause condensation. All this moisture creates microclimates in your home that welcome and feed mould growth.”

2. Immediately attend to any leaks. The drip, drip, dripping of your faucet is more than just an auditory nuisance. With each drop of water that falls under your sink, the more moisture accumulates in the area. This provides a perfect opportunity for mould to grow. It’s important not to just place a bucket under the drip in order to collect the water, but to repair the source of the leak as soon as possible.

“Even the smallest leak can support mould growth,” informs Tim of All Systems Mechanical, “Water is probably the biggest contributing factor to mould growth in the home so take the time to fix even the smallest leaks. A drop or two here or there under your sink might not seem like much, but after a drop per minute for an entire day, how much water would be there fuelling mould growth?…Fix all of your leaks and make no exceptions and if you don’t know how then choose a good plumber.”

3. Monitor the humidity in your home. It’s important to remember that humidity breeds moisture which breeds mould. During the winter, it’s common for Canadians to keep their windows and doors shut in an effort to keep warm. However, it’s important to ensure that the indoor environment doesn’t become too humid. Opening the windows for short periods of time helps to improve indoor air quality while lowering humidity.

Beuerlein suggests that you invest in an indoor humidity monitor. “An indoor humidity monitor will help you keep track of moisture levels that, ideally, fall between 35% and 50% relative humidity; in very humid climates, at the height of summer, you may have to live with readings closer to 55%,” she writes, “But if you reach 60% relative humidity, it’s time to look for the source of the added moisture; above 70% relative humidity, certain species of mould can begin growing.”

4. Call a professional for help. “If you can’t find the moisture problem on your own, or you aren’t sure how to correct a problem you do find, call a home inspector or indoor air quality consultant,” recommends Beuerlein. And we couldn’t agree more! At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we feel that it’s necessary to remind Canadians that mould growth in the home is more prevalent than they may think.

We also feel it necessary to help out when we can. We proudly 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.

2 Comments

  1. April 23, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Hi, what is the process when calling a health inspector to come detect my apartment for mold? I am certain there’s is mold I’m just not sure how much mold is too much mold when it comes to your health while pregnant?

    • Dennis French-Reply
      April 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Hello Jessica

      Depending on where you live you simply have to call the local health inspector and they can talk to you about it and whether they will attend your apartment. If they wont, contact me via email to discuss your situation further. dennisf@dftechnical.ca

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Environmental Lawyers See Asbestos Ban As Big Step In Protecting Canadians

Asbestos has killed far too many Canadians. And, unfortunately it will continue to take lives for years to come. So, of course, the recent announcement by the federal government to implement a nationwide comprehensive ban of asbestos by 2018 was welcomed by Canadians nationwide. But as environmental lawyers, Will Amos and David R. Boyd write in the Ottawa Citizen, it’s a ban that should have come a long time ago.

While the pair acknowledges that the recently-announced ban will certainly save lives, they argue that it came decades late. With asbestos being the leading occupational killer in Canada, harming both workers and their families who are exposed to asbestos at home and school, a much more aggressive approach to banning the deadly substance should have been taken in the past.

“The dangers of asbestos have been known for a long, long time,” state Amos and Boyd, “Roman historian Pliny reported that working with asbestos led to difficulty breathing and respiratory illness. A British government report published in 1898 warned that inhaling asbestos dust was killing workers. In 1918, the Prudential Life Insurance Company stated, ‘In the practice of American and Canadian life insurance companies, asbestos workers are generally declined on account of the assumed health-injurious conditions of the industry.’”

With asbestos having been recognized as a harmful material for more than a century, it begs the question: Why was it being produced all these years? You’re not likely to be surprised that the answer is simply: money. Amos and Boyd explain that as the 20th century progressed, the profits from asbestos-laden products steadily rose. Meanwhile, medical evidence was also mounting connecting “dire health consequences” to asbestos exposure.

“The industry responded with a decades-long campaign to distort, manipulate and falsify scientific evidence,” the duo explains, “Industry-funded studies that connected asbestos exposure to cancer were suppressed. Researchers were pressured to change their results, amend their conclusions or avoid discussing asbestos in public.”

Countries like Japan and Australia banned asbestos years go. Amos and Boyd applaud Canada’s decision to jump on board but stress that the proverbial dragging of our nation’s feet to reach this decision will have long-term ramifications. They also insist that Canada further its commitment to protecting its citizens by taking measures to very seriously examine the impact of other dangerous substances on the Canadian public.

“The asbestos debacle has already cost Canada dearly,” they write, “For other dangerous toxic substances and environmental contaminants, we must rigorously regulate to the highest international standards. Asbestos underscores how Canadians deserve world-class standards to protect human and ecosystem health.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have taken the issue of Canada’s asbestos ban very seriously. We recognize the extreme importance of keeping Canadians safe from this toxic material. 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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Are Air Fresheners Really That Bad For Our Health?

Do you use air fresheners in your home or your car? If so, you’re a lot like most people. It’s natural to want your environment to smell fresh and pleasant, especially considering that there are numerous products on the market that offer up a wide variety of sweet scents. However, if you’re one of the many individuals who use aerosol sprays and other air freshening mechanisms, you are creating an unhealthy living space.

As April McCarthy informs us on PreventDisease.com, artificial fragrance sales exceed $8 billion a year although they emit “toxic fumes”. Among the health ramifications of spraying your air with such products are headaches, earaches, depression, allergies, irregular heartbeat and even diarrhea, she notes. “Fragrance can be made up of more than 100 chemicals, most of which are synthetic, and most of these chemicals are harming our health,” writes McCarthy.

What chemicals in air fresheners are causing the most damage? McCarthy reveals that phthalates are regularly used in common household air fresheners in order to prolong the length of time that the scented products maintain their fragrances. Phthalates, in fact, are also used as plastic softeners, anti-foaming agents in aerosols, in vinyl found in children’s toys, automobiles, paints, pesticides and in cosmetics and fragrances.

According to a 2007 Natural Resources Defense Council report, 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained phthalates, reports McCarthy. “Regular exposure to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems,” she reveals, “Amazingly, some of the brands that tested positive for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients; some of these brands were even labeled as being ‘all-natural’ and ‘unscented.’”

The NRDC also points out that exposure to phthalates can interfere with the production of the male hormone testosterone which can be linked to reproductive abnormalities. However, phthalates are far from the only chemical found in air fresheners that can be hazardous to our health.

What other dangerous chemicals are found in air fresheners? On Grandparents.com, Sara Schwartz reminds us that air fresheners also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They include such toxic chemicals as acetone, ethanol, d-limonene, pinene, and acetate. “Depending on your exposure and sensitivity, toxic VOCs can produce a range of health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and headaches, and even damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system,” she explains.

What chemical-free ways can we freshen the air in our homes? According to Dr. Anne Steinemann, who is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Melbourne, the best smell is no smell at all. In Schwartz’s article, she advises opening up the windows even for a short period each day. And yes, this includes the wintertime. “Why use an air freshener at all? It’s not designed to clean and disinfect the air; it’s a chemical mixture that masks odor,” she is quoted as saying.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we agree that having fresh air in the home is of major importance. However, maintaining a living environment that is free of harmful chemicals is most ideal. 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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