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Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts


The Importance Of Monitoring Temperature And Humidity In The Home

Mold and moisture buildup on wall of a modern houseIt’s official. Summer is over. We’re now approximately one week into the autumn season. And that means that Canadians can be guaranteed one thing: much colder days are ahead! And while most of us enjoyed the warmth and sunshine that traditionally came along with the summer season, the time has finally come to admit that those warm and sunny days won’t be back for a while. The sun may shine over the next few months…but it will be chilly out there!

So what do Canadians do when it’s cold outside? Well, they stay inside more often, of course. And, naturally, they turn up the thermostats. And while it’s generally quite enjoyable to stay warm and toasty during our lengthy winters, the heat that we’re inviting into our homes has the potential to bring about legitimate health concerns. With heat often comes humidity which involves added moisture in the air. Moisture, as you’re likely aware, invites mould into your home.

It’s important, therefore, for us all to be mindful of just how much moisture is in the air when we are heating our homes. Preventing mould growth begins with being able to adequately measure air moisture. You see, the warmer the air, the more moisture the air can hold. And the more moisture in the air, the more likely your home will be to develop mould. Mould spores, once airborne, can significantly impact our breathing.

How does mould impact our breathing? When a person is exposed to indoor mould, his/her allergies really begin acting up. This is especially true for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory issues. Mould can irritate our eyes, our skin and our lungs even if we don’t have any allergies. And that’s because mould spores can very easily find themselves living throughout our indoor environments making us all susceptible to coming into contact with them.

How does the heating of our homes promote mould growth? When warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces – say, for example, windows, furniture or walls – it can create condensation. This is because the cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warmer air. So it forms as liquid on those surfaces. Because liquid is present, it provides the perfect conditions for mould to grow. This is why it’s so important to monitor the humidity in your home.

How is humidity measured? Humidity can be measured with a device called a hygrometer. There is a wide variety of hygrometers which ranges from simplistic instruments to multi-functional devices that can measure both temperature and humidity levels. Temperature readings are available in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and humidity scales range from 1% to 100% relative humidity.

What is an ideal indoor relative humidity level in the winter? “Experts have developed rules of thumb to help homeowners make decisions regarding humidity levels in their houses,” informs Mark Salerno in The Toronto Sun, “For example, during the winter, relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%, or even lower to avoid condensation on windows. High relative humidity promotes the growth of mould and dust mites.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Moisture Monitoring Services that evaluate your home for moisture sources. They may include building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based sources. Our assessments may involve moisture meters, thermal scanning and hygrometer readings. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Mesothelioma Branded Asbestos-Caused “Death Sentence”

Female doctor carefully x-ray of patientIt’s no secret that asbestos is a killer. When its fibres become airborne and are inhaled by unsuspecting individuals who work within environments where asbestos is rampant, a death sentence has all but been written. Sadly, this has been the case for far too many Canadians. And former General Motors engineer, John Guay was one of them. As reported by Paul Forsyth on NiagaraThisWeek.com last week, Guay suffered a “gruesome death” following a battle with mesothelioma.

The fatal lung cancer, which is a known result of asbestos exposure, invaded Guay’s life after a 30 year stint at GM. While there, he worked in a boiler room breathing in asbestos fibres on a daily basis. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, Guay faced a very painful battle that saw him attempt alternative therapies in order to beat the disease. His daughter, Rene recalls his immense struggles with trying to get to his appointments.

“He couldn’t manage to walk to the car because of the pain,” the health and safety advocate said through tears, “I saw it in his face: his every hope, his every dream just diminish and fade away. That was the moment that he’d just given up because the cancer was just too painful and excruciating.” Sadly, Rene’s father is not the only asbestos victim in her family. Her uncle is also battling mesothelioma.

“There have been countless family members who have washed the clothing of unsuspecting victims and who have died from this,” she is quoted as saying, “Mesothelioma is a death sentence. It can take just one fibre for you to become fatally ill 20, 30 or 40 years down the road. Just because you can’t see the fibres doesn’t mean they aren’t present: no amount of exposure to asbestos is safe.”

As you may have noticed, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has paid pretty close attention to the topic of asbestos in Canada over the past few months. It is of special interest because our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau proposed a nationwide ban on asbestos months ago, but has not yet followed through on officially implementing it. We, along with the rest of the country, continue to wonder what the hold-up is.

Forsyth notes that “while the last asbestos mine in Canada closed in 2012, Grawey said products containing asbestos such as brake pads, clothing and footwear, pipes, floor tiles, friction materials and paper products are still being imported into Canada.” Like many others across Canada, we are of the mind that the removal of asbestos from Canadian buildings is as important as preventing it from entering our country through other means.

Rene Guay likens the need for the asbestos ban to the imprisonment of killers. Her view is that there must be an urgency placed on decisions that prevent more people from dying. And we couldn’t agree more. This is why, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we not only fully support a nationwide ban on asbestos, but we also seek to protect our community’s citizens from its airborne fibres through the work we do.

Our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services offer a number of asbestos testing procedures such as an onsite assessment and sampling and analysis of materials collected from various parts of your home or office. Asbestos can be found in furnaces, electrical wiring, attics, walls, ceilings and flooring just to name a few places. For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Benefits Of Vinegar And Baking Soda For Mould Removal

baking soda and vinegar on the white backgroundFor most of us, mould is pretty hard to avoid. Although we may all take measures to prevent it from rearing its ugly head in our homes, it appears inevitable that some mould will show up. This is especially true in the warmest and dampest areas of our home. The bathroom, of course, is the location that usually first comes to mind. And that’s because, for obvious reasons, it often gets wet in there.

Do you have a problem with black mould appearing in your shower stall or bathtub tiles? If so, you’re not alone. Because so many of us have seen such mould forming in our bathrooms, it tends to be considered normal. But there’s nothing normal about allowing mould to live in our homes. It should go without saying that measures should be taken to remove it as quickly as possible.

The thing is, when we begin attacking mould, we often do so with store-bought products that contain a lot of toxic chemicals. The stronger the smell of these products, the harsher the chemicals usually are. It’s important, therefore, to come up with mould-removing solutions that won’t present any health hazards. And there are two household products that actually form quite the tag team in the world of mould removal – vinegar and baking soda.

How does vinegar combat mould growth? As explained by Maids.com, “Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mould species.” And because we often use vinegar in our food, you may have guessed that it isn’t hazardous to our health. Perhaps, its potent smell is the only downside to using it in our bathrooms to remove mould. But it generally subsides shortly after its use anyways.

“Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down,” instructs Maids.com, “Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours, but if it lingers, you can freshen up the space with bowls of lemon water around the area.”

How does baking soda combat mould growth? “Baking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mould in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets,” assures Maids.com, “In addition to killing mould, it will absorb moisture to help keep mould away.” As you may already be aware, baking soda is used for a wide variety of purposes and is incredibly inexpensive – so it comes in quite handy as a multi-purpose household product.

“To properly care for your bathroom and remove the mould from tile grout, you will need a good scrub brush and baking soda,” asserts Melissa Maker on NaturallySavvy.com, “To effectively scrub the mould away, treat the grout between tiles and the caulking with a paste made of water and baking soda. Leave on for as long as you need to…Spray the tiles with water and use a scrub brush to clean the grout with a brisk back and forth motion. Rinse well and buff dry.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we understand that mould removal isn’t always that easy. That’s why we offer our 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.

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CLC Launches New Website To Campaign For Asbestos Ban

Concept of website under constructionHere’s hoping you enjoyed your Labour Day long weekend! Most Canadians spent it with family and friends, doing their best to make the most of the last official weekend of summer vacation. The Canadian Labour Congress decided to make the most of Labour Day by launching a new website: FairnessWorks.ca. The site is dedicated to making jobs better for everyone in Canada and has already launched a number of online videos to highlight their cause.

Of particular interest to the team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., is a video entitled “Safe Jobs: Asbestos” which speaks to Canada’s continued request to have the hazardous material banned from the country. Released this past Sunday, the video showcases a poignant tale of a father who works as a mechanic and is unknowingly exposing himself to airborne asbestos fibres. He comes home everyday to play some basketball with his daughter. That is, of course, until he is unable to come home anymore.

The video is dedicated to the memory of Clem Côté and the 2,000 Canadians who die every year from asbestos-related diseases. As we’ve reported on this blog before, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been urged to follow through on his promise to ban asbestos in Canada. To date, there has been no official passing of such a ban.

“On Thursday, July 21, 2016, former boilermaker Clem Côté passed away from mesothelioma – a deadly cancer caused by asbestos,” reads the video’s YouTube blurb, “His family, including daughter Michelle Côté, live with the possibility that they may have been exposed to asbestos second-hand. Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related death in Canada, accounting for over 2,000 deaths each year. Canadian unions are working hard to win a ban on asbestos, to make workplaces and public spaces safer for all.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re quite proud of the launching of FairnessWorks.ca. Naturally, we have a particular attachment to the anti-asbestos campaign as we know just how deadly the material can be. Hassan Yussuff is the president of The Canadian Labour Congress and is a former mechanic who was exposed to asbestos. As reported by The Canadian Press via CityNews yesterday, Yussuff is also very proud of the new campaign.

“We have a long, proud history of winning changes that improve workers’ lives, and this Labour Day we are celebrating and showcasing ways we are making a difference to all Canadians today,” he is quoted as saying, “Many Canadians don’t know where asbestos is in their own communities, or that imports of asbestos-containing products are on the rise, and that puts all of us at risk. Winning a full ban will mean making workplaces and public spaces safer for everyone.”

As FairnessWorks.ca explains, Public Services and Procurement Canada banned the use of asbestos in its new construction and renovation projects this past April. And in May, Prime Minister Trudeau informed workers that a ban was coming. However, he did not provide a timeline or specific plan for implementing the ban. “That’s what Canada’s unions, along with our allies in the medical, research and legal community, are working for now,” states the site.

Obviously, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. fully supports a nationwide ban on asbestos. Knowing how dangerous its airborne fibres are, we are strongly dedicated to providing Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services. They include a number of asbestos testing procedures. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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