Throughout the history of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog, we have contributed a large number of tips for improving indoor air quality. After all, our Air Quality Services are among our specialties. Inspecting homes and office buildings for airborne health hazards is all part of our commitment to making Canadians healthier.
As mentioned, there are numerous ways to improve the quality of air in your homes and places of work. But there is one, in particular, that is cost-conscious, incredibly effective and entirely effortless to perform on a daily basis: having houseplants. There are many types of plants that are known for cleansing the air of its pollutants and offering us cleaner, breathable oxygen-enriched air in their place.
“One famous NASA experiment, published in 1989, found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene,” informs Markham Heid on Time.com, “(Those NASA researchers were looking for ways to effectively detoxify the air of space station environments.) Later research has found that soil microorganisms in potted plants also play a part in cleaning indoor air.”
It should be noted that plants have natural ways of cleaning air that man-made air purifiers cannot duplicate. Plants are known for producing cleaner air within indoor spaces that mimic the fresh air from outside. This isn’t too surprising considering that houseplants effectively bring some of the outdoors inside. MatterOfTrust.org explains further.
“Plants can absorb pollutants while providing oxygen,” confirms the website, “Ventilation systems can imitate this effect by providing a constant supply of fresh air and exhausting indoor air, but strictly speaking the air in the building is not purified. Only plants are capable of restoring the air already inside a building to the state in which it is found in nature.”
The site goes on to reiterate a point we made earlier. After a plant is purchased, it costs next to nothing to maintain. All plants need in order to live are soil, water, sunlight and cleaning. Man-made filters, on the other hand, are not only costly to purchase, but they require regular cleaning, maintenance and repair.
MatterOfTrust.org lists a number of air purifying houseplants but highlights the Chrysanthemum, Dracaena, Peace Lily, Flamingo Lily and Snake Plant. The website also cites a 2008 study published by the Government of India that focused on the Areca Palm, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue and Money Plant as natural air purifying sources.
A total of 1,200 plants of the three species were planted and the findings included 34 percent less respiratory ailments, 52 percent less eye irritations and 24 percent less headaches. Among the particular respiratory ailments that were decreased, MatterOfTrust.org details, lung impairments were reduced by 12 percent and asthma by percent.
As we stated earlier, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. team remains committed to helping you improve your home’s indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Simply give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at email@example.com.
There was once a time (that actually wasn’t all that long ago) when Canadians could smoke in restaurants. A common question asked of patrons entering restaurants was “Smoking or non-smoking?” referring to the two separate sections of the establishment available for seating. It sounds crazy, by today’s standards. No one needs to be reminded that cigarette smoking is deadly.
Between the warnings on the cigarette cartons and the countless “no smoking” signs strewn throughout public places all over the country, it has been made abundantly clear that cigarettes are unwelcome. To put a clear stamp on it, they are cancer-causing killers – no question about it. You would think that cigarette smoking couldn’t get any worse. But, believe it or not, when paired with another culprit for lung cancer, it can. That culprit is radon.
“Radon gas is one of the most deadly and overlooked health risks today,” explains Lung Cancer Canada, “Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas created from the decay of uranium in minerals present in rock, soil and water. Radon is present in every indoor environment…Radon is extremely radioactive. It emits alpha radiation as it decays. Once inside the lungs, radon decay products can genetically damage delicate tissues – this can lead to the development of lung cancer.”
The Lung Cancer Canada website goes on to explain that radon is the leading environmental cause of lung cancer, the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers. Needless to say, it’s important to minimize exposure to radon as much as possible – whether you’re a smoker or not.
Cigarette smokers are advised to take extreme precautions. As the Government of Canada reveals, “people who smoke and are exposed to elevated levels of radon have a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer.” In fact, the Canada.ca website reveals that “radon exposure is linked to approximately 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada and is the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers.”
Radon is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas. The only way to detect it, in order to minimize exposure, is to have your home tested. Canada.ca points out that the risk from radon exposure is long term and depends on the level of radon, the length of the exposure and one’s smoking habits. The risks are not to be taken lightly. Lung Cancer Canada reports that approximately 3,200 Canadians die annually from radon exposure.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Radon Services that are designed to determine the precise levels of radon in your home or office to see if they are safe or not. As explained, radon testing can mean the difference between life and death. It is highly recommended that radon tests be conducted at least every two years.
For more information about our Radon Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some people classify themselves as “neat freaks”. It’s important to them that they have all of their personal possessions kept in neat, organized fashions, their homes are constantly dusted and vacuumed and that their kitchens and bathrooms are kept immaculate. There’s a lot that goes into being a neat freak. Those of us who really have it bad can’t stand the sight of a speck of dust!
However, an argument can be made that those of us who “have it bad” actually have it pretty good. Keeping a neat and tidy home isn’t just pleasant on the eyes, but it’s good for your health as well. It probably goes without saying that the more dust and dirt you eliminate from your home, the lesser your chances are of contracting some sort of bacterial infection. But the benefits of cleanliness extend beyond well that.
Dust, mould and pet dander – these are common household irritants for those who have asthma and allergies. Anyone with respiratory issues knows just how dangerous these seemingly harmless examples of a dirty home can be. On ApartmentTherapy.com, Cambria Bold explains that asthma and allergy triggers are one of three categories of indoor pollutants that have the potential to cause serious health problems.
“Common household triggers include mould, dust mites, pollen, secondhand smoke, and pet dander,” she writes, “At any given time a home may have mould growing on a shower curtain, dust mites in soft textiles like pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, and cat and dog hair on the floor and upholstery.”
How exactly can you make a home dirtier by cleaning it? Well, it all depends on what you’re using to clean. Many household cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Chemical based cleaners only add further irritants to the air, making it difficult for those with asthma and allergies to breathe. A true cleaning of your home involves natural cleansers without all of the harsh chemicals.
As Bold points out, VOCs are widely found in household products, including paints and varnishes, pesticides, craft materials like glues, adhesives and permanent markers, air fresheners and other synthetic fragrances and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. “A few common VOCs are: Acetone, Benzene, Ethylene glycol, Formaldehyde, Methylene chloride, and Perchloroethylene,” she reveals.
Sometimes, a “dirty” home isn’t visibly dirty at all. The elements contained within it may be polluting the air without anyone even knowing about it. As Bold highlights, homes may contain combustion pollutants such as “gases or particles that come from burning materials, including space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces that are either improperly vented or not vented at all.”
As we always point out, your home’s indoor air quality is extremely important to your overall health. And the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to ensure that you’re breathing the best air possible! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Over the past few years, The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has dedicated many of its posts to the ever-important topic of indoor air quality. In our opinion, it is something that deserves more attention in the mainstream media. Is there anything more important to our health than our ability to breathe clean air? Obviously, we can’t survive without breathing. This is why it’s imperative that we all take measures to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
With that said, it’s still important to acknowledge the fact that not everyone breathes easy. Many of our blogs have been dedicated to asthmatics and sufferers of other allergies that impact the respiratory system. For them, important steps must be taken to ensure that they are giving themselves the best opportunities to enjoy optimum health. Avoiding cigarette smoke at all costs is one of the most obvious pieces of advice.
It may sound like a silly question, but it’s an important one to ask, nonetheless. The majority of us take breathing for granted. For the most part, it’s something we don’t even think about. Our lungs take care of the job for us day in and day out. We breathe whether we’re asleep or awake, so there’s no real thought that needs to go into breathing. Or is there? Robert Ronald of Reader’s Digest highly encourages people to change their breathing habits.
“Breathe from your abdomen for at least 5 minutes every day,” he recommends, “This kind of breathing, called diaphragmatic breathing, involves training and strengthening your diaphragm so that it requires less effort to take in each breath. To do it, inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from the bottom up. If you’re doing it right, your stomach will push out. Exhale and repeat.”
Many health specialists agree that we shouldn’t take breathing for granted. On EverydayHealth.com, Dr. Brian W. Carlin, a pulmonologist in Pittsburgh and chair of the National Lung Health Education Program, recommends a pursed-lip breathing technique. He advises that you practice breathing out with your lips closed. He also suggests a diaphragmatic breathing technique which involves controlling your breaths in by allowing your diaphragm to move downward and your stomach outward.
Ronald agrees, submitting his method of helping your chest to expand and boost your lung capacity. “Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor,” he instructs, “Place your hands behind your head and bring your elbows together so they’re nearly touching. As you inhale, let your elbows drop to the sides slowly so your arms are flat on the floor when your lungs are full. As you exhale, raise your elbows again.”
As mentioned, the quality of the air inside your home should not be underestimated. It’s important to ensure that it is as free of pollutants as possible. Of course, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is here to help you with that! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time has finally come! Tomorrow, we get to celebrate the official start of summer! It’s a great time of year for Canadians as most of us spend a good portion of our days complaining about cold weather. During the summertime, however, Canucks enjoy being outside. But that doesn’t mean that an attention to the indoor air quality of our homes should be taken away. In fact, it’s vital to increase our commitment to improving the air in our homes.
High humidity usually creates condensation on the cool surfaces of our home. When this takes place, it’s not uncommon to see pools of water in places where they usually don’t occur. Left alone, these little pools of water can generate the growth of mould which is certainly hazardous to our health.
“How do you know when ozone is high?” asks the Reliance Home Comfort website, “Environment Canada has a real-time map of the ozone levels across Canada on any given day. They also provide a UV Index Forecast for each major Canadian city so you can get an idea of what the levels will be tomorrow or the day after. If it’s raining or it feels very humid outside, those are other times to keep your windows closed.”
Naturally, the summer also produces warmer temperatures. And, as a result, many of us tend to crank up the air conditioning. While this may help to cool things down inside the home, it also stands to spread around the dust particles and other debris that may have been accumulating throughout the year’s colder months. It’s vital that before you start using the A/C you clean its filters.
“Air-conditioning systems are always working to give your home that perfect temperature all year round,” acknowledges Petro.com, “But while they’re cycling through all that air, they’re filtering out some of those common air pollutants. Eventually, their air filters fill up and stop doing their job. Not only does that cause trouble for your indoor air quality, it also wears down your AC system, which can lead to costly repairs down the road.”
This is an important question to answer when considering the quality of the air inside of it. As we’ve pointed out in numerous blogs before, homes that were built prior to the 1990s often contain asbestos materials for the purpose of insulation. Any disturbance of these materials can release asbestos fibres in the air presenting a major health hazard.
Canadian Living also reminds us that homes built before 1960 were often painted with lead paint, which is found in household dust. “Remove a paint chip to have it tested,” insists their website, “If you have lead, keep your home dust-free to protect against lead poisoning and hire an experienced contractor to sand or remove wall and ceiling materials contaminated with lead.”
It’s no secret that at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. We’d recommend a professional inspection of the air in your home this summer. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Quit smoking. These are two words that are uttered on a regular basis by people all over Canada. They serve as instructions to friends and family members who are still trying to drop their cigarette smoking habits. These days, it absolutely goes without saying that smoking is bad for you. That’s old news. Heart disease and various cancers are known to be the result of habitual cigarette smoking. And still, it’s hard for many smokers to quit.
Here’s hoping the following information will serve as inspiration to all smokers out there. Did you know that you immediately begin reaping health benefits once you stop smoking? On the Government of Canada website, it is revealed that 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette, your blood pressure will drop to a level similar to what it was before that last cigarette. Eight hours later, the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to a normal level. And, only 24 hours later, you will have already lowered your risk of having a heart attack.
Canada.ca goes on to list the health benefits that quitters experience over the course of the next 15 years of their lives. Within a year, a former smoker will have cut his/her risk of coronary heart disease to half that of a current cigarette smoker. Within five years, the risk of stroke is the same as a non-smoker and within fifteen years, the risk of coronary heart disease is similar to a non-smoker.
The Canadian Cancer Society acknowledges that those who quit smoking will enjoy benefits that extend beyond health. Smoking is expensive, they point out on their website. With money no longer being spent on cigarettes, a former smoker puts him/herself in a much better financial position. The costs of those packs add up! In addition, the Canadian Cancer Society highlights how much easier life can be when cigarette smoking is no longer an issue.
“Being a smoker is hard work,” they say on their site, “With so many restrictions on smoking in public places, you have to plan ahead and sneak away to have a cigarette. Not being able to have a cigarette when you want one can make you irritable, taking the fun out of everyday events. And sneaking out of social and family activities can put a strain on relationships. You’ll be surprised how freeing it is to be smoke-free!”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we look at the issue of secondhand smoke as a huge deal. Quite obviously, cigarette smokers don’t just bring harm to themselves but they endanger the health of everyone around them. Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. Cigarette smoking is unquestionably one of the worst things a person can do for the air quality around him/her.
The Canadian Cancer Society points out that your family and friends will also benefit when you kick the habit. “If your loved ones worry about your health because you smoke, they’ll be happy when you quit,” they write, “You’ll be helping them be healthier too – by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.”
Be sure to make the air quality in your home the best it can be! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday was World Environment Day. Started 44 years ago by the United Nations, WED encourages awareness and action for the protection of our environment. The campaign addresses such environmental issues as marine pollution, human overpopulation, global warming, sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. World Environment Day is recognized with a new theme by over 143 countries each year.
However, it’s important to note that when we think about protecting our environment, it’s not just the great outdoors that we should be concerned with. Most of us spend the majority of our time indoors. So it stands to reason that protecting the environments within which we live is of paramount importance.
“The term ‘air pollution’ usually brings to mind the images of vehicles and factories with fumes and gases,” writes Vinay Pathak for The Economic Times, “But often, people don’t think of their own homes and offices. But according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times worse than outside air. Since we spend nearly 90% of our times indoors, improving the air quality at home and work is very important.”
Pathak first addresses some of the obvious measures such as eliminating cigarette smoking in the home. He also strongly suggests the avoidance of products that contain volatile organic compounds. What many people don’t realize is that many of their cleaning products – the same products they believe are improving their home environments – contain VOC’s and are, therefore, hazardous to our health.
“Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids,” Pathak explains, “They can have both short and long-term adverse health effects. Some of the most commonly found VOCs at home include paints, solvents, aerosol sprays, cleansers, disinfectants, hobby supplies, pesticides, etc. In offices, common VOCs include building materials, furnishings, copiers, printers and even correction fluids.”
Most people are fully aware that smoking is deadly and that chemical-rich products only worsen air quality. However, there are some methods of improving the air in our homes that you may never have thought about. Salt lamps, for example, have been picking up in popularity, as of late. As Jessica Miley of Interesting Engineering explains, salt lamps can help asthmatics to breathe easier.
“If burning candles in your home isn’t your thing, you can achieve the same effect by having a salt lamp,” she reveals, “These lamps, which are created by putting a light source into a large mass of Himalayan salt, emit negative ions when lit. These negative ions will help fight against the positively charged particles and contaminants that cause allergies.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. Especially if you suffer from asthma and allergies, we’d recommend a professional inspection of the air in your home. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We’re now less than a couple of days away from the beginning of June. And for people all throughout Canada, it’s a very exciting time of year. Just 21 days into June, summer will officially get underway. Most Canadians long for summer. Having to endear seemingly endless months of cold, blistery weather conditions, the summer season is one that most of us really enjoy! We stress the words “most of us”.
Especially on days when the humidity is high, the usually-simple act of breathing becomes difficult. Asthmatics know of this all too well. Not to mention, high humidity levels are often a culprit from mould growth in the home. The presence of mould, it needs to be highlighted, is a major health hazard.
As Canada.ca points out, “damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mould-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.” The Government of Canada’s site goes on to list a number of symptoms associated with mould growth in the home.
Among them are eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm build-up, wheezing and shortness of breath and the worsening of asthma symptoms. “The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents,” says the site, “Some people are more susceptible than others.”
Because mould thrives in dark and damp locations, it’s best to keep a close eye on areas of the home where the build up of moisture is most likely. The kitchen and the bathroom are two places that quickly come to mind. That’s why they are both usually equipped with exhaust fans. One of the first steps to preventing mould growth in the home is to use those exhaust fans any time you are in either of those rooms.
In a special to The Toronto Star, Steve Maxwell writes that mould is mostly likely to be found in three locations: “frames on windows that get wet each winter from condensation; drywall and wooden wall frames that get wet periodically in basements and bathrooms; underneath basement carpets; and any area that stays wet because of flooding or leaks.”
In a separate article for The Ottawa Citizen, Maxwell reveals that his favourite mould killer is a Canadian product called Concrobium Mold Control. “It’s an odourless liquid that’s non-toxic,” he informs, “So how can something non-toxic kill anything? It works by mechanically crushing mould and mould spores as it dries, and that’s why it offers residual killing action that goes beyond the old standby, bleach.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend an inspection of your home to ensure that it is mould-free. Our Mould Assessment Services includes 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carbon monoxide is poison. There’s no clearer way to put it. The odourless, invisible gas kills upwards of 50 Canadians and 400 Americans every year. It should go without saying that detecting the presence of carbon monoxide in the home should be a mandatory step for all households. Of course, a carbon monoxide detector is required for such a feat.
As explained by Lambeth Hochwald of Reader’s Digest, CO alarms can’t just be stuck anywhere in the home in order for them to work. They must be placed strategically throughout the home to properly detect the gas known as “the silent killer”. Firstly, one must be placed on every floor of the home.
Hochwald writes that they should be placed right outside of sleeping areas so that no one sleeps through the alarms. CO detectors should also be installed near appliances that could possibly leak carbon monoxide (but at least 15 feet way to avoid false alarms). She also notes that alarms should be kept away from drafty areas such as windows and bathrooms where high humidity could falsely set the alarms.
The importance of carbon monoxide detectors cannot be understated. Remember that the gas cannot be detected by the human senses. There is no smell to whiff and no physical appearance to gaze upon. The colourless, odourless gas is called “the silent killer” for a reason. This is why steps should be taken to prevent it from leaking into your home.
Do you own any appliances or equipment that burn natural gas, oil, coal, charcoal, propane or wood? If so, you are likely producing carbon monoxide in your home which is incredibly dangerous. Hochwald alerts us to inspect such appliances as furnaces, boilers, water heaters, ovens, ranges and wood burning stoves. It’s important to inspect the garage as well. Both gas-powered lawn mowers and our cars can emit carbon monoxide into our homes.
In a separate Reader’s Digest article, Lisa Milbrand informs us of just how toxic fireplaces can be. “Wood smoke actually contains some pretty potent toxins, including benzene, formaldhyde, acrolein, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), according to the EPA,” she writes, “It also adds particulates to the air, which can harm your lungs.”
Milbrand goes on to note that fireplaces can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, CO is listed as one of the biggest dangers of fireplaces, especially since it’s so hard to detect. In her article, Milbrand quotes Dr. Ian Tong who is the chief medical officer for Doctors on Demand.
“Carbon monoxide is the odourless, colourless toxic byproduct of burning fuel,” he is quoted as saying, “Exposure to this gas can literally poison or suffocate you without warning, but it can also cause numerous symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and nausea.”
Evidently, protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We are about to embark on a very special time in Canada. The summer is almost here! We are just over one month away from the official start of summer. It’s a time of year that most Canadians look very much forward to. And can you blame us? We spend upwards of half of every year enduring cold temperatures. Most of us can’t wait for a long stretch of warm and sunny days.
Asthmatics, on the other hand, may disagree. Even those who much prefer the summer over the winter know that the warmest season of the month can exacerbate asthma symptoms. This is especially true when there is high humidity. Sufferers of asthma need to be on high alert during the summer months to ensure that they keep their asthma triggers at bay.
The smells of a barbeque are among the most joyous experiences of the time period between June and September. Most people enjoy a good barbeque. And that includes people with asthma. Our suggestion is not for asthmatics to avoid the events themselves, but to stay clear away from the actual barbeques at those events. Smoke is one of the worst irritants of asthma symptoms.
“Smoke from fires such as barbecues, bonfires or fire pits can also trigger asthma,” warns the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “If you are hosting the party, consider cooking indoors. If you are attending someone else’s party, try to stay out of the path of smoke.”
Where there is heat, there is often humidity. On especially hot and muggy days, it’s important for asthmatics to find locations where they can cool off. Sometimes, this can be as simple as finding a spot in the shade. But, oftentimes, it requires an indoor space that is air conditioned. As Madeline R. Vann explains on EverydayHealth.com, inhaling hot air can create problems for asthma sufferers.
“If you have asthma, try not put yourself in situations where you would have to inhale very hot air,” she advises, “This may be tough if you have a job that requires you to be outside in the heat, but consider asking for another task assignment if it’s possible to spend the hottest days or the hottest parts of the day in an air-conditioned space.”
Who doesn’t like to smell nice? Perfumes and colognes are the norms for people who are dressing up for special occasions. Many people spray them on every day. However, for those with asthma, these scented products are the equivalent of air pollution. This summer, you’re likely to be invited to many a party. You may want to pass on the fragrances when getting ready for them.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America warns that products such as scented candles, oil in tiki torches, air fresheners and the perfumes and colognes worn by other party-goers can all trigger asthma symptoms. “If scents trigger your asthma, you may need to send a polite request to the host in advance of the party to ask that they not use these types of products,” they suggest on their site, “It’s not a fun celebration for anyone if a guest experiences breathing distress during a party.”
If you’re an asthma sufferer, it’s also wise to get a professional inspection of the air in your home. For more information about the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.