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indoor air quality

The Beauty Of Opening The Windows In The Summertime

Most Canadians can admit that they spend far too much time indoors. Then again, it’s hard to blame those of us who choose to stay inside for the majority of the coldest months of the year. Summertime, however, offers us many amazing opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The warmth and sunshine make spending time outside as inviting as it gets!

Of course, there will be plenty of time spent indoors during the summer as well. After all, we do have to hit the hay at some point, right? It wise, then, to invite some of the outdoors inside by keeping the windows open. Yes, we’ve recommended this practice during the wintertime in order to get the air in your homes circulating and renewing itself with the fresh air from outside. But, opening the windows in the winter should only be done for short intervals of time.

Clearing out the “nasties”.

During the summer, however, the warm temperatures practically give us no excuse to not keep the windows wide open all day long. As you may have guessed, the health benefits are many. One of the most obvious is the release of air pollutants. On PhantomScreens.com, Esther de Wolde reminds us that much of our indoor activities can produce air pollutants. This includes the acts of dusting, cleaning and painting.

“Some paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be harmful to health,” she explains, “And other delightful things like dust mites can cause asthma. So it may be a bit obvious but opening your home to the outside can clear out the nasties.”

Strengthening the “human microbiome”.

On MindBodyGreen.com, James Maskell agrees that keeping the windows open is a healthful practice. He advocates the open window policy, however, for a pretty unique reason. Maskell explains that the human microbiome (the bugs that live inside us that aid in digestion, metabolism and immunity) is important for our overall health. Opening windows, he argues, helps to build the human microbiome.

“For most of human history, the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature,” he explains, “Yet modern humans spend a whopping 93% of their lives indoors, inside buildings or vehicles. Opening a window and increasing natural airflow has been shown to improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit everyone inside.”

Preventing condensation and mould growth.

Another reason to keep the windows open during the summer: the circulation of air in your home also helps to prevent condensation and mould growth. “Damp window frames, condensation on your windows and worst of all: black mould,” says De Wolde, “Without adequate ventilation your home becomes a steamy box of germs. Nasty. Open the windows and get the air flowing through your home to stop the damp.”

The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. supports the act of keeping windows open during the summer. We also are committed to helping improve the quality of air in your home via our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Just How Important Is It To Dust Regularly?

Dusting – it’s one of those household chores that many of us are guilty of putting off for weeks at a time. After all, it’s just dust, right? Harmless little specks that accumulate on our furniture and other belongings that do nothing more than make the place look a little bit more drab than usual.

We’ll just go ahead and stop with the misnomer there. Dust is so much more than harmless little particles!

“Dust is the collective term used to describe the wide variety of organic and inorganic particles that collect in our homes,” explains SixWise.com, “Here’s an unpleasant thought: The majority of dust is made up from shed skin cells. That’s why the areas of your home that are used most often also tend to have the most dust. (Dust mites like to eat these skin cells.) Dust on mattresses, bedding and sofas will contain a particularly large amount of skin cells.”

Why are dust mites a problem?

Although dust mites are so miniscule that they are invisible to the naked eye, these little critters live in our bed linens and mattresses along with other places in your home where you shed your skin. Your skin flakes make up their favourite meals. And when they leave behind waste, you are forced to endure a major allergen. People with allergies and respiratory illnesses such as asthma face a much greater risk of suffering from symptoms the dustier their homes are.

“When dust mite waste is inhaled, people can develop a number of nasty symptoms,” explains Jill Buchner on CanadianLiving.com, “Those with allergies might develop itchy eyes, a runny nose or sneezing, particularly when they first wake up, since the bed is a major site of exposure… Asthma sufferers might also experience wheezing or shortness of breath. About 50 percent of asthma sufferers will find they react to mites.”

What is the best way to minimize dust in the home?

One way to minimize dust, and more specifically the presence of dust mites, is to regularly wash your bed sheets in hot water. It’s advisable to keep the same sheets on your bed for no more than a week. Secondly, it’s a good idea to remove the carpeting from your home, especially if you’re an asthma sufferer. The easier you make it to remove dust that accumulates in your home, the better your health will be.

And then there’s the obvious solution. Let’s put it this way: becoming a neat freak is good for your health! Make dusting and vacuuming a regular activity in your home and try not to forget all of its nooks and crannies. “Microfiber materials collect dust much better than other dusting cloths or materials,” informs The Cleaning Blog, “Go over hard surfaces, light fixtures, shelves, books, desks, knick-knacks, everything from top to bottom until the dust is gone.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd, we strongly believe in giving people the opportunity to enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. Contact us today to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Easy Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Summer

Most Canadians are counting down the days until the official start of summer. With under a month left, most of us are looking forward to the time of year when we can enjoy regular warmth and sunshine. We also anticipate the ability to keep our windows open more often to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stagnant air from inside – a practice much harder to do during the winter, for obvious reasons.

However, keeping the windows open isn’t the only thing we should do to improve indoor air quality this summer. In fact, keeping the windows open isn’t even recommended on particularly hot days when it is humid. This is especially true for allergy sufferers. So if keeping an open window isn’t the only answer to cleaner indoor air, what else can we do to improve indoor air quality this summer?

Here are three simple ideas:

1. Service your air filters.

Yes, there will be days when the heat may just be too unbearable to keep your windows open. And while air conditioners can work wonders in helping us to beat the heat, it’s important to remember that a lot of debris can get trapped within them. Checking your air filters and ridding it of build up will help to ensure that the cool air circulating in your home isn’t polluted.

“Air conditioner filters (whether in a central-air system or a window unit) trap a lot of the junk that comes in from the outside—pollen, smoke, smog, and dirt—but they also filter out dust, dust mites, and pet dander that builds up in recirculated indoor air,” explains Emily Main of Rodale’s Organic Life, “Check your system’s filter once a month and either change it or clean it, depending on the type.”

2. Insist upon a no smoking rule.

If this rule hasn’t been fully implemented already, allow us to firmly reiterate that cigarette smoking should be outlawed in your home – all year round. Just a couple of weeks ago, we blogged about the fact that the harmful effects of cigarettes can remain in your home long after the smoker is done with his/her nasty habit. If you have smokers in your home, remind them that the summertime is the perfect time of year to smoke outdoors!

3. Practice pest control…safely.

When we think of summer, we often think of bugs. And yes, they’re bound to creep into our homes. Generally speaking, bug sprays are considered the answers to pest control. But, it should come as no surprise to you that such products contain harmful chemicals that can negatively impact our health. Main highly recommends that you control bugs with boric acid.

“Rather than reach for that smelly ant spray, which likely contains pyrethrins that have been found to trigger headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks, use a less-toxic product like boric acid, which isn’t harmful unless eaten or directly inhaled,” she advises, “Better still, use ‘integrated pest management’ techniques, such as caulking cracks where bugs enter, keeping trash bins tightly covered, and storing food in the pantry in airtight containers rather than the box or bag in which it was sold.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly recommend our Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the highest indoor air quality possible this summer. They focus on problem areas in your home that may be presenting health hazards to your family and its visitors. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. Dautti Legault-Reply
    June 5, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Hi, this may be a long shot but I am wondering if you can do air quality testing in a vehicle? I have a terrible smell coming from my vents in a 3 year old car and the smell has been there from day 1. There are no mice behind any of the filters but the mechanic said there may have been something in the dash directly in the vents. Removing the dash to see if something is there would be very costly. And insurance would not cover it if there is found to be nothing there. Would it be possible to test the air coming from the vents to determine if it needs to be looked into further ? Or if it is safe for me and my children to breathe in.

    • Dennis French-Reply
      June 6, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      The testing could possibly be performed but usually we would have to look at the vehicle to see what the issue may be as each type of air quality test requires a somewhat different approach. I have seen in the past where there has been bacteria and mould growth deep inside the air ducts of a vehicle before and it required a complete dismantling of the dash to access the areas for cleaning.

      I suspect the testing would cost as much as pulling the dash.

      This is probably not the answer you were looking for however.

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How Does Hoarding Impact Indoor Air Quality?

For the past couple of years, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has made it no secret that one of the easiest ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home is to keep it clean. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Dust, vacuum, mop and sweep – these simple tasks can do a lot to ward off allergens that significantly impact our respiratory systems. However, not everyone is a neat freak.

In fact, there are those who are the polar opposite of neat freaks. Hoarders are individuals who pack their homes with so many items that there is barely enough space to move around. And, as you can imagine, these items can get piled up in ways that create near-impossible-to-clean messes. Naturally, this only promotes poor indoor air quality in a variety of ways. And, interestingly, we’ve found that not enough is being said about it.

We were surprised to find that when typing in “hoarding” and “indoor air quality” into a Google search, the first three articles to appear belonged to our website! Admittedly, we’re pretty proud of that. But even we must admit that it’s been couple of years since we’ve revisited this topic. Naturally, we felt it was the right time to shed some light on how dangerous hoarding can be. It negatively impacts indoor air quality in a number of ways.

It promotes mould growth.

Hoarders tend to toss their belongings into random piles that never seem to stop growing. Everything from clothing to food to electronics can be found in various stacks throughout the home, creating nearly no space for walking, eating or sleeping. What this does is give mould countless opportunities to develop and grow. Mould, you see, requires warmth and moisture.

In addition to the various hidden pockets throughout a hoarder’s home that provide warmth and moisture, mould is also never cleaned when hidden from plain sight. With the presence of mould in the home, it enables mould spores to be released into the air. “Mould is associated with some untoward health effects in humans, including allergies and infections,” says clinical toxicologist, Rose Ann Gould Soloway on Poison.org, “Some health effects attributed to mould may in fact be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc., found in mould-colonized environments.”

It diminishes ventilation.

It probably goes without saying that when you hoard, you limit or eliminate the ability to get any ventilation going in your home. Many hoarders have so many items piled on top of each other that they cover windows disallowing any air from the outside to enter. Without allowing air to circulate throughout the home, it enables pollutants to accumulate. Simply put, a hoarder’s home is full of stale and contaminated air.

As outlined by Manitoba Hydro’s handbook on indoor air quality and ventilation: “Ventilation of a home and the exchange of ‘stale’ indoor air with ‘fresh’ outdoor air are essential to keep pollutants from accumulating to levels that pose health and comfort problems.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are committed to helping hoarders reverse the effects of their habits on the air they breathe in their homes. We know that the compulsion to hoard is a complicated one. But it’s important that the quality of air in one’s home isn’t causing any further complications. If you have an issue with hoarding or know a loved one who hoards, you’ll want to contact a professional for help.

You’ll also want to learn more about our Air Quality Services so that we can accurately assess the indoor air quality of your home. 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 Important Reminders Of How To Keep Air Pollutants Out Of Your Home

With the spring now in full swing, many Canadians are undergoing their annual spring cleaning routines. And while the act of cleaning our homes is clearly something we all should do on a regular basis, there is a special feeling of “out with the old” that comes with the cleaning that is done at this time of year.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recommend you take extra measures to clean your home in ways that will eliminate air pollutants. Readers of our blog are well aware of the major culprits of poor indoor air quality.

Allow us to offer you a few important reminders of how to keep air pollutants out of your home. Here are four:

1. Dust and vacuum regularly.

There are a variety of allergens that exist in our carpets and on our furniture. For those of you with pets, pet dander is certainly a concern. Regular vacuuming will help to you eliminate the fur, dead skin cells and dander left by your pets. Of course, dust is also a problem you’ll want to regularly eliminate. What may appear harmless is actually an indication of the presence of dust mites – microscopic insects that thrive in warm, humid environments and are known for triggering asthma attacks.

How do you minimize dust mites? “First, try to keep the humidity inside your home to less than 50 percent,” advises Reynard Loki on Alternet.org, “Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help. Protect your bed by covering it with allergen-resistant covers. Make sure you wash your sheets and blankets regularly in hot water…And don’t give mites a place to hide and breed: keep your home as dust-, dander- and clutter-free as possible. Regular vacuuming is a must.”

2. Do away with scented cleaning products.

Air fresheners, laundry detergent, hand soap, perfumes – they all smell really nice, don’t they? The sad fact is that those smells are actually harmful to our health. Synthetic fragrances represent the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are known for causing skin irritation and respiratory problems. If you’re looking to keep your home smelling sweet without imposing health risks on its inhabitants, try a few natural methods.

On Withings.com, Angela Chieh lists a number of great ideas. “Arrange slices of lemon on a plate to delicately perfume the air in a room,” she suggests, “Use baking soda in a small bowl to eliminate odours (it works particularly well in fridges). Choose fragrance-free products, or products with scents of natural origin for your laundry and cleaning needs. Stop using aerosol spray products that create a mist of liquid particles (hair sprays, air fresheners…).”

3. Tell smokers to practice their nasty habits outdoors.

When you have visitors to your home who are prone to lighting up, insist that they do so outside. In fact, you’d be doing yourself a big favour if you asked them not to smoke at all during their visits. Both secondhand smoke (exhaled from smokers) and thirdhand smoke (embedded in the clothes and hair of smokers) can be deadly. If one of the inhabitants of your home is a smoker, enforce the same strict rule.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds of toxins, about 70 of which can cause cancer,” Loki reminds us, “Secondhand smoke is very harmful to children, who can experience ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia and a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.”

4. Get a thorough inspection of your home.

Want to guarantee that the indoor air quality of your home is excellent? Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. to learn more about our Air Quality Services! We offer solutions to the health hazards that may be present in your living environment. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Vacuuming To Promote Optimum Health

There is a growing trend emerging in homes all across Canada. And that is to rip up carpets and have them replaced with hardwood floors. The commonplace thinking behind this trend is that hardwood floors provide more desirable and even sophisticated appearances to living spaces. Further to that, homeowners feel that hardwood floors increase the value of their homes.

And there are those who believe that hardwood floors are easier to keep clean than carpets. This is especially true in the event of spills. These people wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, the concept of cleanliness is one that speaks to a larger issue: the health of Canadians nationwide. It can be stated with confidence that the less carpet you have in your home, the more likely you will be to avoid numerous health concerns. Sufferers of asthma and other allergies know this all too well. Simply put, carpet is a breeding ground for allergens and other allergy-triggering irritants.

“When you vacuum, you’re not simply cleaning your house or apartment for appearance’s sake, you’re also safeguarding the health of yourself and your family,” insists Jason Roberts on VacuumsGuide.com, “There are dozens of tiny microbes constantly floating around, which can cause a lot of problems for people with asthma and inhalant-related allergies such as hay fever. Dust mites, bacteria, and mould attack an asthma sufferer’s respiratory system, making them wheeze, have difficulty breathing, and cough violently at night.”

Roberts also provides an infographic that offers up ten different reasons why we should all be vacuuming our homes at least once a week. Topping the list is the fact that we all shed millions of skin cells by the hour. They accumulate in our carpets and rugs, creating environments that are rife with dangerous microorganisms.

Because of this, experts often recommend taking vacuuming practices a step further. On FullHouseCS.ca, A.J. Pipkin discusses the importance of installing a quality HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner. “Dirt, hair and dust particles can trigger the onset of allergy symptoms if there is a large amount of dust mites in your home carpets or in the air,” he points out, “Not vacuum cleaning regularly will cause those in your home to be unprotected from allergies and asthma symptoms.”

Regular vacuuming is an even more essential requirement for smokers. It’s important to note that the reality of “thirdhand smoke” can impact the health of non-smokers who enter environments where a smoker had previously lit up. Roberts’ infographic reveals that carcinogens and other substances from cigarettes can “impregnate” carpets, rugs and upholstery. This has the ability to increase the risk of cancer in both children and pets.

And, by the way, it’s time to do away with the so-called “five second rule” that many people practice towards dropped food. When people drop food on the floor, it should be recognized as immediately contaminated. The infographic explains that our floors carry Salmonella, E-coli and other viruses that have the potential to wreak havoc on our digestive systems. This provides all the more reason to regularly vacuum our floors, regardless if they are carpeted or not.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know the importance of keeping a clean home. Our Air Quality Services focus on problem areas that may be presenting health hazards to your family and other visitors to the home. For more information on how we can help you to live in a healthier environment, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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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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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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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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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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