Friday, December 30, 2011

IAQ concerns at work: Even health departments can be unhealthy

Poor indoor air quality can affect workers' well-being
and productivity.
Indoor air quality has become a top public health concern, and the problems are not confined to people’s homes.

In many cases, their offices and work sites also expose them to indoor air pollutants such as VOCs, mold, chemicals and dust or smaller particles.

Long-term exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to a wide range of health effects for some people, including respiratory issues, Sick Building Syndrome and more.

Even health departments are affected.

In the case of the Fairfield County Health Department in Connecticut, workers were exposed to moisture and mold problems as well as a flea infestation, bats and rodents, poor indoor air quality due to a lack of air circulation, lead and high radon levels.

Officials say some of the concerns have been addressed already, but humidity problems and black mold as well as other IAQ concerns have been too costly to fix.

The employees have been submitting complaints and voicing their frustration, but finding a new location may take some time, they say.

Source: Columbus Dispatch

Improve IAQ with powerful air cleaners

Electrocorp has designed portable and multistage air filtration systems for many industrial and commercial applications, including

The air cleaners remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants from the ambient air with the help of a deep-bed activated carbon air filter (which adsorbs airborne chemicals, gases, odors and fumes), a HEPA filter (to trap as much as 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size) as well as UV germicidal filtration (to neutralize mold spores, bacteria and viruses).

Along with source control and proper ventilation, the right air cleaner can help keep the indoor air clean and healthy.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.
  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Report pegs industrial air cleaner market at $6.3 billion US for 2012

Activated carbon is a preferred adsorbent for
gaseous contaminants in many industrial applications.
The Scrubber/Adsorber/Biofilter World Markets report by McIlvaine paints a positive outlook for the industry for next year – forecasting demand from the pulp and paper, chemicals, metals, mining, waste incineration, refining and waste-water industries.

The biggest market will be East Asia by far, the report says, with North America in the second position.

The Canadian and American pulp and paper industry may be looking at scrubbers for recovery furnaces, lime kilns and toxin remobal elsewhere in the processes.

China and Indonesia are expected to be big purchasers, especially for the steel industry (to capture dust and other emissions) and the cement industry, while Indonesia and other East Asia countries have a growing pulp and paper industry in need of odor and chemical control.

Source: Filtration+Separation

Industrial air cleaners for improved IAQ
AirRhino: Powerful air cleaner

Electrocorp offers complete air treatment solutions for a range of industry and business application, including

The air cleaners feature a large activated carbon filter, HEPA and UV filtration to remove many chemicals, odors, gases, fumes, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold from the ambient air.

Different carbon blends are available to target specific gaseous pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.
  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Researchers develop new cleaning technique for hospital rooms

Disinfection system a cost-cutting tool for health care and hospitality industries
Hospital-acquired diseases
are preventable: Experts

Infectious diseases acquired during a hospital stay cost 100,000 people their lives each year – a number that is entirely preventable, researchers say.

A Queen’s University infectious disease expert and others have developed a new disinfection system that can be used to clean hospital rooms as well as bed-bug infested hotel rooms.

The new technology pumps a specific ozone and hydrogen peroxide vapor gas mixture into a room to sterilize all surfaces, including floors, walls, drapes, mattresses, chairs etc.

The technique takes its cue from natural human responses:  If an antibody attacks a germ, it generates ozone and a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide for a new compound that neutralizes bacteria, viruses and mold.

Study results on the process are published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

The technique will be commercialized and is expected to be ready for sale in 2012.

Source: Queen’s University

Air cleaning for hospitals and hotels
I-6500 air cleaner for hospitals,
hotels and other applications.

For the times between sterilization processes, hospitals and hotels can help keep the air clean and healthier with stand-alone air filtration systems.

Electrocorp has developed complete industrial-strength air cleaners with deep-bed activated carbon filters and HEPA as well as UV to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Find out more about air cleaners for hospitals and healthcare plus air cleaners for the hospitality industry.

For more information, contact Electrocorp at 866-667-0297.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Study determines high-impact indoor air pollutants

Gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde can affect
a building's occupants, study says.
Indoor air pollution can affect a person’s health and well-being, health authorities say, but not all contaminants are equal.

In a study on the negative effects of poor indoor air quality, gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde and acrolein as well as small particles and particulates turned out to be the bad guys.

Formaldehyde and acrolein had the largest estimated number of annual disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost per 100,000 people of all the various indoor pollutants considered, at 46 (95% CI 0.2 to 14,000) and 47 (95% CI 2.4 to 1050), respectively, according to Jennifer Logue and colleagues from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California, as reported by MedPage Today.

The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

This means that these pollutants are just as bad as or even worse than radon and secondhand smoke.
Tiny particles proved to be another concern, because they have been linked to incidents of stroke, chronic bronchitis, and premature death.

The researchers wanted to find out the health impact of poor indoor air quality at home. They used disease impact models and incidence to identify those indoor air pollutants (IAPs) with the greatest impacts on health.

Without taking radon and secondhand smoke into account, the researchers estimate that the total annual health impact of poor IAQ in U.S. homes is 1,100 DALYs per 100,000 people.

Simple steps to clean indoor air

Concerned building owners and facility managers can easily improve the indoor air quality in their home, with three simple action steps:
  1. Source control: Limit chemical-laden products and choose more natural products whenever possible. This pertains to renovation and constructions materials, furniture, cleaning products, textiles, etc.
  2. Ventilation: Make sure the existing ventilation system is working and is well maintained. Change the filters regularly.
  3. Air cleaning: A portable air cleaner with many pounds of activated carbon + HEPA can help remove contaminants from the air, including many chemicals and VOCs such as formaldehyde and acrolein, particles, dust, allergens and more.
Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners for specific rooms or to be attached to existing ventilation systems, featuring large activated carbon filters, HEPA and UV (optional).

The multistage filtration system traps a wide range of contaminants, including VOCs and gases, particulate matter, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and more options.
  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Smoking bans in hospitals need consideration: Researchers

Indoor air quality in hospitals is an
important health issue.
The indoor air quality in hospitals should be the best and healthiest possible. That's a given.

But it may not be as simple as banning smoking from indoors and around entrances or parking lots, a new study shows.

The researchers enrolled 186 participants (82 patients and 81 health care professionals) at two large hospitals in Canada.

They found that despite the ban and prohibiting signs, patients and staff continued to smoke on hospital grounds, probably because strict bans don’t take into account that some tobacco users are actually addicted.

Patients and staff identified safety concerns over leaving the hospital wards to smoke. The researchers say that hospitals need to view the tobacco smoking ban as a treatment issue and offer support and guidance to manage tobacco withdrawal symptoms and abstain from smoking during the hospital stay.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

Clean air in hospitals

Even when smoking is banned, the indoor air in hospitals can be polluted – and conventional heating and ventilation systems are generally not enough to filter out contaminants.

Portable, stand-alone air cleaners with activated carbon + HEPA + UV can help clean the air by removing many chemicals, odors, dust, particles, bacteria, viruses and mold. Electrocorp has specifically designed air cleaners for hospitals and healthcare environments.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Refinery chemicals blamed for man’s bladder cancer

Health and safety lawsuits can damage a company's
reputation and bottom line.
Exposure to carcinogens throughout his career has allegedly caused the development of bladder cancer for one man, who is suing his employer.

A Texas man working as a journeyman machinist and a machinist mechanic for more than 30 years claims he was exposed to nitrates in a lawsuit filed in November.

The suit alleges that he got bladder cancer because of the exposure to the chemicals, and also suffered physical pain and mental anguish. Part of the claim concerns disfigurement and lost wages.

The man’s wife is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, claiming the chemical exposure and subsequent suffering cost her her husband’s affection, solace, comfort, companionship, assistance and sexual relations among others.

The complaint states that the defendants (a long list of chemical and oil companies) failed to protect, warn and monitor workers.

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified judgment, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Source: Southeast Texas Record 

Occupational health and safety a must

Employers have a responsibility to put appropriate health and safety measures into place to provide the safest and healthiest workplace possible.
The AirRhino: Effective odor,
chemical and particle control.

In many cases, these measures include a proactive indoor air quality management program.

The ventilation system in a lot of buildings and factories may be unable to provide enough air exchanges and filtration to keep the air clean and healthy.

That is when a portable or ceiling-mountable air cleaner from Electrocorp provides an affordable and effective solution.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners are equipped with a powerful activated carbon and HEPA filter combination, which can remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

The air cleaners are versatile, customizable and can be filled with different carbon types and blends to enhance adsorption capacity for specific gaseous pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.
 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A great idea: State grants that help address health hazards in homes

Almost all homes have some kind of
indoor air quality concern.
The Minnesota Department of Health has awarded a quarter of a million dollars to seven health agencies in order to reach out to homeowners about health hazards in the home.

The initiative hopes to raise awareness of common indoor health hazards such as:
  • Lead
  • Radon
  • Indoor air pollutants such as tobacco smoke
The funds are supposed to support local efforts  to encourage prevention activities as well as providing guidance and support.

The program builds on another initiative that is already addressing lead poisoning prevention for people moist likely to be exposed.

It was expanded because many homes that have one type of health hazard also suffer from other indoor air pollution issues, officials say.

The grants are set up to help target high-risk population groups, including young children, low-income and minorities, the elderly and areas with high levels of radon or lead hazards.

The local agencies that received a grant will set up healthy home networks in their communities consisting of professional staff, community members and other members.

The goal is to raise awareness of indoor air quality issues and to help people get healthy homes for a healthy population.

Source: Echo Press

Air cleaners for IAQ concerns

Electrocorp has designed industrial-grade air cleaners for a wide range of industry applications, including mold and asbestos abatement, construction, environmental consulting and more.

The air cleaners are equipped with a multistage filtration system featuring activated carbon and HEPA, capable of removing the widest range of indoor air contaminants (including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, pathogens and more).

For more information, contact Electrocorp: 866-667-0297.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is silica dust the new asbestos?

Health and Safety officials warn against
gaseous and particulate contaminants.
Health and safety officials are honing in on a new threat in the construction industry – silica dust, which is emerging as an occupational risk for workers in the industry.

Airborne chemical contaminants, including silica dust, have been identified as an area of concern for occupational health and safety enforcers.

According to information by WorkSafeBC, a Canadian health and safety organization, statistics show that traumatic work site fatalities have dropped, while fatalities due to occupational disease are on the rise.

Health effects due to chemical exposure typically take longer to emerge, but people that are exposed over a lifetime are dying in the 50s to 70s, meaning that preventative measures should be put in place.

Silica dust is one of many potentially harmful exposures on construction sites. Crystalline silica dust is commonly found in sand, rock and building materials, such as concrete and brick, and is released into the air each time these materials are cut, ground or drilled.

Prolonged exposure to the fine particles at higher than accepted concentrations can lead to lung damage, experts say, and it is a suspected carcinogen. Chronic silicosis develops after 10 or more years of exposure in relatively low doses.

The Canadian exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica (including quartz) is 0.025 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). 

Workers could be exposed to this concentration eight hours per day, five days per week, without adverse health effects, according to the occupational health and safety regulation. However, the official word is that exposures should be kept as low as possible at all time.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers
  • Protect themselves with a respirator
  • Have the right equipment, including special vacuum cleaners  that capture concrete grinding dust and drills with built-in vacuums
  • Use the safest materials possible, ideally without silica

Air monitoring is also advisable to make sure that certain exposure limits are not exceeded.

Source: Journal of Commerce

Air cleaners for the construction industry

Tiny particles, airborne chemicals and other indoor air pollutants can become a burden for workers and employers alike.

Electrocorp has designed portable yet powerful industrial air cleaners that can help keep the air clean at construction sites.

Whether it’s high efficiency particle filter for woodworkers, chemical and odor control on site, asbestos and mold remediation or any other restoration process, Electrocorp’s product line offers the right unit.

Contact Electrocorp for more information or recommendations.
 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Report warns of rising levels of flame retardants

Researchers found that flame retardant levels are rising.
They replace one type of chemical with another, but the health effects of new flame retardants have become a new topic of concern.

Originally created to replace older chemicals that were believed to be a threat to the environment, the new flame retardants are now widespread in the air near the Great Lakes, a new report shows.

Back in the 1970s, manufacturers started using old flame retardant chemicals in their products (including upholstered furniture, electronics, clothing, mattresses).

The problem with those flame retardants was their volatility. The polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) easily off-gas into the ambient air where they can become an environmental threat.

In order to replace PBDEs, the industry introduced new formulations  that contain 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH). But these chemicals could also have environmental risks: Research has suggested that the compounds can build up in fish and damage their DNA.

As it turns out, these new flame retardants can be found in the air in the Great Lakes region. Researchers monitored the air for levels of TBB and TBPH and collected samples between 2008 and 2010.

They detected TBB and TBPH in the vast majority of samples from Chicago and Cleveland, where levels of the compounds doubled approximately every 13 months.

It wasn’t only an urban phenomenon, as they also found the compounds in air samples from rural sites (those levels doubled every 19 months).

More research is needed into the effects of these new flame retardants on the environment.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News 

Want to know more about indoor air quality and the pollutants that may affect employees at the workplace? Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners that can help remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, VOCs, odors, mold, bacteria, viruses, particles and dust. Contact us for more information.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Laser printers as bad for the lungs as cigarettes, studies show

Printers and copiers may emit VOCs.
Large-scale laser printers are a common sight in office buildings across North America - but their emissions may be putting employees at risk.

A 2008 study on laser printer emissions by the German research company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft measured numerous pollutants that were emitted during laser printing, including

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as ozone
  • Silicon oil
  • Paraffin
  • Tiny particles
In an Australian 2007 study, 17 out of 62 laser printers were "high particle emitters" because they released such elevated quantities of particles, which the researchers believe to be toner, the ultra fine powder used in laser printers instead of ink to form text and images. One of the printers released particles into an experimental chamber at a rate comparable to the particle emissions from cigarette smoking, the report stated.

The ozone emitted by laser printers is a concern because it can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

When toner cartridges are new, they are emitting more particles than when they are old.Tiny particles have been shown to penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can cause permanent damage.

Other printers that do not use toner but some other form of high heat printing mechanism were also found to emit certain types of chemicals.

The researchers concluded that office laser printers contributed to high levels of indoor air pollution in certain office buildings, especially when they were used in unventilated spaces.

Electrocorp's PrintSafe air cleaner
PrintSafe for a cleaner office environment

Electrocorp realizes large office printers can lead to poor indoor air quality and has designed a number of industrial-strength air cleaners for the office.

One of the specialized air cleaners for office printers is the PrintSafe, which features a custom-built intake hood that covers the exhaust outlet of the printer and draws the air through a deep-bed activated carbon filter as well as a HEPA filter to remove a wide range of VOCs, chemicals, particles and odors.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Healthy schools? Many students report asthma symptoms

Breathing problems are widespread in schools, study shows.
A recent survey of school-aged children in Ohio showed that almost four in 10 fourth-graders said they had asthma symptoms, while only one in 10 had an official diagnosis of asthma by a doctor.

According to an article in the Dispatch, the research took indoor and outdoor air quality into account and included more than 1,050 children at 13 central Ohio schools.

The goal of the study was to pinpoint where asthma is most prevalent and develop ways to make schools healthier.

The data is still being analyzed, but preliminary findings already highlight the connection between schools and asthma, researchers say.

The survey contained questions pertaining to the child’s breathing (is it noisy or wheezy?), whether the child found it difficult to take a deep breath or stop coughing.

An average of 37 percent of children answered with “sometimes” or “a lot” to three or more to these questions, which gives them a high asthma score. It doesn’t mean they all have asthma, the experts say, but it could mean they are not getting the appropriate medical care.

The preliminary findings already offer some clues as to how schools can improve their indoor air quality and become healthier:
  • Eliminate aerosol cleaners
  • Ban markers that aren’t water-based
  • Clean up dusty piles of paper
  • Stop idling buses in front of schools
  • Properly filter air inside of schools

Almost all of the schools in the study had a problem with ventilation.

IAQ in schools gets poor grade

It is not a big secret that most schools could use some help in improving their indoor air quality.

Most ventilation systems are simply not enough to provide adequate air exchanges and filtered air to the students, who could be experiencing health effects or suffer in terms of concentration and productivity.

Electrocorp offers simple yet efficient air filtration solutions with its product line of air cleaners for schools and universities.

The air cleaners feature a complete air filtration system with many pounds of activated carbon (for the adsorption of chemicals, gases, odors and fumes) plus HEPA (for particles, dust, allergens and pathogens) plus UV (to neutralize biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold).

The air cleaners are designed for quiet, 24/7 operation and come in different sizes and models to address specific IAQ requirements.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.
 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Productivity suffers from poor air quality at the workplace: Experts

Poor IAQ at work can hamper productivity, experts say.
Poor indoor air quality at work is a widespread phenomenon and may have a detrimental impact on the economy, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says.

Indoor air pollution can affect workers’ health, they say, which in turn hampers productivity and absenteeism.

PAHO is set to visit Antigua & Barbuda early next year to help the Ministry of Health raise awareness about poor indoor air quality.

The building that houses the Ministry of Health is among the IAQ-challenged buildings. It has been identified as having asbestos in the roofing and other health and safety concerns.

The employees continue using the building on a half-day basis.

The organization hopes to address various IAQ issues at the workplace, including asbestos and other hazardous substances, air monitoring, cleaning agents and more.

Source: Daily Observer 
 
Take care of workplace air

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers' comfort but also for their health.

Workers exposed to poor IAQ may experience symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lung, OSHA says, and the problems can come from many different areas.

Ways to control indoor air quality issues include good building maintenance, regular cleaning (without harsh chemicals), ventilation and air cleaning.

The industrial-strength air cleaners from Electrocorp are user-friendly, powerful and versatile. They feature an activated carbon + HEPA filter combination to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including many chemicals and gases, particles and dust, bacteria and viruses or mold.

For more information, contact Electrocorp.
  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Experts say nose can be re-trained for better sense of smell

A new study gives hope to people who are losing their sense of smell.

A loss of smell can be the result of disease or aging,
experts say.
New York University researchers have identified possible ways to reverse the loss of smell due to aging or disease and say training may be the answer.

Human sense of smell is not easily explained or treated, the authors suggest.

The olfactory bulb, a structure beneath the frontal cortex that receives nerve impulses from the nose, also has direct connections to the amygdala, which controls emotions and physiology, and to higher-order regions like the prefrontal cortex, involved in cognition and planning.

"Unlike information from your eyes and ears that has gone through many connections to reach the frontal cortex, the olfactory system is just two connections away," says Donald A. Wilson, PhD, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and senior research scientist at the Emotional Brain Institute at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, who led the study.

"The result is an immediate pathway from the environment through our nose to our memory."

Loss of smell linked to disease, aging

Many illnesses can bring about a loss of smell, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia, and it is also often associated with normal aging.

While the exact cause remains unknown, the researchers discovered the part of the brain where loss of smell may happen, and they showed in the lab rat study that training can affect it for better or for worse.

“In some cases it may be a 'use it or lose it' phenomenon," says Dr. Wilson, adding that smell training therapies have the potential to restore smell function in some cases.

The study’s findings are published online in Nature Neuroscience.

Source: New York University

A bad smell may be linked to poor indoor air quality and potential health effects. Find out more about industrial-strength air cleaners with activated carbon plus HEPA or contact Electrocorp directly.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fear of lawsuits drives employers to take Health and Safety seriously

Health and Safety lawsuits can involve
a lot of money, cases show.
Sometimes, fear can be a good thing.

Fear of court is a powerful motivator for employers to go above and beyond the necessary health and safety regulations, says a new UK report.

Researchers reviewed the regulations and approved codes of practice by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and how they are interpreted and applied.

It seems an employer’s fear of court is justified, as they are often encouraged to
  • Keep large numbers of paper records as evidence
  • Settle compensation claims if possible

Even if employers are doing everything “reasonably practicable”, they might lose a court case because of some strict regulations.

This type of compensation culture is widespread in the UK and in North America, where employees tend to seek financial compensation for perceived failings in occupational health and safety measures.

Source: Health Insurance & Protection

Indoor air quality is part of health and safety

Whether it’s people working in an office, at a welding workstation or in a chemical processing plant – the air may contain harmful pollutants.

Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners for a wide range of applications that can be portable, HVAC-compatible, wall- or ceiling-mountable to fit into any space.

The air cleaners help keep the air clean by removing gaseous pollutants, particulate matter and pathogens from the air with the help of a powerful multistage filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA.

For more information, contact Electrocorp.
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Canadian government buildings get costly asbestos removal work done

Asbestos removal is costly
and dangerous, but necessary.
The Canadian government is spending millions of dollars to remove asbestos-containing materials from the Parliamentary Buildings, while at the same time refusing to include asbestos on the UN agreement on hazardous materials.

A total of more than 1,000 metric tons of asbestos have been removed from buildings since August, according to an in-depth article in The Hill-Times.

Some of the buildings housing offices, committee rooms, food production facilities and more are still in the demolition phase, which include asbestos abatement.

Many of the buildings were built in the early 20th century, when asbestos was still commonly used. It was hailed as a miracle substance once because of its high resistance to fire (it is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Celsius).

Canada was a major exporter of chrysotile asbestos to developing countries and the fifth largest producer in the world. However, the two asbestos mines in Quebec recently stopped production, and no one knows if or when they will open again.

The World Health Organization has named asbestos as a proven human carcinogen. The danger of exposure is highest when asbestos fibres are being disturbed and can be inhaled, for example during renovations, demolition and construction work.

Protect workers and occupants with air cleaners

Electrocorp designs and manufactures customizable industrial air cleaners, including air cleaners for asbestos abatement.

They feature a multistage filtration system for particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, the largest adsorbent surface areas in the industry and more relevant filter media than other units at the same price point.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.
 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Indoor air quality improves with restaurant smoking bans

A Michigan-wide smoking ban has led to much
better indoor air quality in restaurants, study shows.
Restaurants in Michigan are serving up much cleaner and healthier air these days.

After 18 months of a no-smoking rule, a study found a 93 percent reduction in indoor air pollution from secondhand smoke, the Michigan Department of Community Health says.

The study tested 77 restaurants from 13 cities before the law was passed, in the time between 2005 and 2008.

The cities include Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Midland, Novi, Saginaw, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City and West Branch.

The law came into effect on May 1, 2010, and the restaurants were then re-tested, the agency said.

The study included three casinos from Detroit. Casinos are exempt from the smoking ban, which is why the study results were not 100 percent reduction of indoor air pollutants, they say.

The agency hopes for better health outcomes because of the ban as well and plans another study to measure hospitalizations and heart problems. Another study is planned to measure the overall impact of the Smoke-Free Air Law and economic results.

Another year-long study by the American Cancer Association showed that more than 90 percent of residents support the ban.

Source: Holland Sentinel

Persistent tobacco smells can be cured with an air cleaner

The cigarettes may be gone, but the smells may still be there.

Tobacco smoke toxins have a habit of infiltrating every nook and cranny of a room, making it extremely difficult to remove odors after the fact.

An air cleaner that promises to be able to handle lingering stale tobacco smoke odors and other smells in restaurants and bars needs a complete air filter system with activated carbon and HEPA.

Activated carbon is the most efficient and affordable filtration media to adsorb chemicals, gases and odors, while HEPA is the gold standard in particle and dust filtration. Together, the filters can help keep the air clean and patrons happy and comfortable.

For more information on Electrocorp’s air cleaners for restaurants, bars and the hospitality industry as well as other customizable options, please contact Electrocorp (toll-free): 866-667-0297.
 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Louisiana oil refineries admit to accidental air pollution

The refineries call the accidents
"unauthorized discharges."
The state of Louisiana supports 17 oil refineries, which have been polluting less and less in the past 20+ years, but a new study shows that accidents still spew toxic emissions into the air.

According to an article in the Times-Picayune, a new study led by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade found the refineries averaged about an accident a day in 2010, often due to poor maintenance and aging piping.

The air pollution from accidents made up a little less than half of the total emissions by refineries.

One accident per day seems to be a bit worrying, but at least the 2010 accident rate was lower than the average rate for the five previous years.

State records could be underestimating pollution from refineries, the study’s leader says, since departments generally rely on company self-reporting and on estimates rather than direct measurements.

In one accident on March 2, 2010, about 100,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds were released when an emergency flare’s pilot flame failed to light.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Industrial air cleaners to remove chemicals and VOCs

Electrocorp is a leader in customized industrial air cleaners with activated carbon + HEPA air treatment systems for best air cleaning results.

With the largest adsorbent surface areas, safe and proven air filters and powerful airflow configurations, the industrial air cleaners can remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, VOCs, fumes, particles, dust and pathogens.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and more options.
 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Business success tied to workers' health and safety

A functional health and safety program requires team work.
Putting a health and safety program in place and making sure to educate and oversee all workers has many benefits, especially for manufacturing companies and plants.

It’s often the fear of major disasters or leaks propelling businesses to action, but it can also improve employee morale and productivity.

A good health and safety program, especially for chemical manufacturers, should include (among other things):
  • A risk assessment process
  • Communication with workers and managers about risks and safety steps
  • Highly visible safety regulations (hearing protection, hand-washing, etc)
  • Personal protective equipment when needed
  • Regular maintenance of building envelope, equipment
  • Annual medical assessments when warranted
  • Responsible waste management
  • Etc.

Source: Business Day 

Industrial air cleaners improve indoor air quality

Poor indoor air quality at the workplace has been linked to a variety of pitfalls for businesses, including occupational illness, absenteeism, low productivity, high turnover, legal action and more.

In indoor environments where high levels of chemicals, gases, particles or dust may become a problem, an industrial-strength air cleaner with activated carbon + HEPA + UV can help.

Electrocorp has designed portable and powerful air cleaners for chemical processing plants, chemical and odor control, and many other commercial applications.

Contact us for more information.
 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More lawsuits filed over alleged benzene exposure

Living near an oil refinery may expose
you to airborne chemicals and gases.
Shell Oil Co. and others have been hit with a steady stream of lawsuits claiming that benzene leaks around the oil refinery caused cancer.

The latest comes from a 28-year-old man who attended school next to the Shell Oil Co. refinery. His complaint states that he suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system (blood cancer).

He is the sixth plaintiff to file a lawsuit against the company, but the only one with non-Hodgkin’s so far – the other plaintiffs had different blood cancers.

In their complaints, the plaintiffs allege that Shell and BP Amoco knew about the dangers of benzene and publicly minimized the risks. They are each asking for damages well above $50,000.

The complaint alleges that Shell has known about the dangers of airborne benzene because of a high incidence of cancer at the Wood River Refinery in the 1970s and soil vapor intrusion studies in the 1980s.

Soil vapor intrusion describes the process of contaminants from soil or groundwater entering a home or building through cracks and fissures in the foundation.

In May 2008, the Illinois EPA cited Shell for violating the Illinois Environmental Protection Act 41 times by exceeding the standards for the release of benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene into the groundwater of Roxana, the complaint says.

Shell has filed an answer in at least one of the cases. It admits that the company has processed, handled and stored benzene. It admits that benzene has been classified as a human carcinogen "when exposed to it at significant levels over a sufficient period of time."

However, Shell denies it caused or contributed to injuries and damages, any cover-up or negligence and that it knew of the dangers it allegedly caused. BP has filed a similar answer.

Source: The Telegraph

GAC air scrubbers can remove gaseous pollutants

Electrocorp has designed deep-bed activated carbon + HEPA air cleaners for soil vapor intrusion and environmental concerns, which can adsorb a wide range of gases and chemicals, including benzene, toluene and xylene.

The air cleaners can be equipped with custom carbon blends or impregnated carbon to increase their adsorption capacity, and they are portable and powerful enough to be used in single and multi-family dwellings.

For more information, contact Electrocorp: 1-866-667-0297.
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Respiratory hazards could cost company almost $100,000 in fines

Worker health and safety is a
must for any business, OSHA says.
Whether you work with metals, wood or plastics, you have a right to breathe healthy air and employers have a responsibility to protect workers from dangerous exposures.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Northern Steel Castings Inc. for two safety and four health violations at its Wisconsin Rapids carbon steel foundry, including for overexposing workers to crystalline silica, a known respiratory hazard. Proposed fines total $95,480.

Crystalline silica is found in soil, sand, granite and other minerals. Workers can be exposed to it when they chip, cute, drill or grind objects that contain silica.

Health effects:
Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, an incurable condition that reduces the ability of lungs to take in oxygen.

The company was cited for a willful safety violation as well as other health violations.

Read the entire press release.

Industrial air cleaners to help keep workers safe

Electrocorp offers specialized air cleaners with many pounds of activated carbon for odor and chemical control and/or HEPA and bag filters for superior particle and dust control.

Contact Electrocorp to find out which air cleaner is most recommended for your industry and IAQ concern.
  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Most companies lie about formaldehyde content in hair straightening products: Study

Straight hair may come at a price: Most straighteners contain
more formaldehyde than advertised, a new study claims.
A new study that tested the formaldehyde content in four keratin hair straighteners found that three out of the four products contained more formaldehyde than what was claimed.

The research was done by the San Francisco-based scientific consulting firm, ChemRisk, and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

The four products reviewed were:
  1. Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution
  2. Global Keratin Juvexin Optimized Functional Keratin
  3. Coppola Keratin Complex Blonde Formula
  4. La-Brasiliana Escluso Keratin Treatment

Out of these four, only La-Brasiliana Escluso Keratin Treatment tested formaldehyde-free as claimed on the product.

Brazilian Blowout was labeled as formaldehyde-free, but contained 11.5% formaldehyde and Coppola contained 3% formaldehyde, the study found. Global Keratin correctly identified its product to contain formaldehyde, but it was more than twice as much as it claimed: 8.3%.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical that is used in many industries, including the beauty industry and the funeral business (body preserving fluid).

Formaldehyde helps bind keratin to hair and helps straightening it. It is released when hair treated with keratin products is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron, as the labeling recommends.

Salon workers using a formaldehyde-releasing hair straightening product have complained about the following health effects:

  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Burning sensations
  • Breathing problems
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting 
  • Rashes

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel said that formaldehyde is safe in cosmetic products when formulated with minimal effective concentrations. The panel said those concentrations should not exceed 0.2%.

Formaldehyde exposure an occupational hazard

The study examined the occupational health and safety risks for beauty salon stylists and workers by measuring the formaldehyde content over the duration of the treatment and in different parts of the salon.

For the three products that contained formaldehyde, "the highest exposures were measured for the salon worker and client receiving the treatment," said the study's lead author, Jennifer Pierce.

Brazilian Blowout ranked highest in terms of exposure, followed by Global Keratin and Coppola.

The air was tested in a salon with an effective ventilation rate of two to three air replacements per hour.

Source: Los Angeles Times
CleanBreeze 3: Filters out
chemicals, gases and fumes.

Air cleaners for hair salons and spas

Salon hair products like hair straighteners, hair dyes and hair sprays can release harmful pollutants into the ambient air.

Electrocorp has designed air cleaners for hair salons and spas that feature a large activated carbon filter to adsorb chemicals and odors as well as a HEPA filter and pre-filters for the removal of particles and dust.

The stand-alone air cleaners with source capture attachment provide a cost-effective and powerful air cleaning solution to salons and spas where floor space is limited, and Electrocorp also offers source capture solutions that can be incorporated into the design of the salon.

Contact us today for more information and recommendations: 1-866-667-0297.
 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Canada’s ongoing affair with asbestos

Asbestos tarnishing Canada’s international reputation

The medical community agrees that asbestos
can scar the lungs and cause illness.
It seems to be a question of profits vs. conscience.

At this point, everyone has to admit that asbestos is a dangerous product.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), more than 100,000 people die every year from lung cancer and other respiratory diseases due to asbestos exposure.

The numbers will continue to grow because 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces today and every day.

While Canada has banned asbestos from being used, it still happily exports it to other countries where the health standards still have to catch up.

Canada’s province of Quebec was operating two asbestos mines, but a recent CBC article says both have halted production for the first time in the industry's history (see link below).

The industry has changed a lot over the years. Once touted as a miraculous substance that could not be burned or damaged by fire, asbestos soon appeared everywhere – in homes, at workplaces, in cars, in industrial and household products. It seemed to be the perfect material - until the first illnesses became apparent.

It takes up to 40 years after exposure to asbestos fibers to affect people’s health, but the tiny fibers can scar people’s lungs and lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma and other cancers.

For an in-depth look at the history and current state of the asbestos industry in Canada, read the Globe and Mail article.
The AirRhino can go from particle-only
to odor and chemical air scrubber on site.

Asbestos and indoor air quality

Asbestos becomes an exposure hazard when asbestos fibers become airborne during demolition, renovation and construction processes.

Electrocorp has designed powerful air cleaners for asbestos and mold remediation sites that can easily be moved around and feature multistage air filtration systems with HEPA, dust filters, activated carbon and more.

Contact us for more information.

Related posts:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Workplaces may expose women to breast cancer carcinogens

Women may be exposed to carcinogens at work, group says.
There are many factors that can increase the risk of a woman developing breast cancer, including being over 50 years old, having a family history, being childless, etc – but experts are warning about the role of environmental factors as well.

The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. (OHCOW), an organization dedicated to prevent occupational illnesses and injury and to promote the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of all workers, is pointing to carcinogens at the workplace as a possible reason for concern.

Some occupational factors  are related to higher rates of breast cancer, they say, and some exposures, especially at a younger age can be a factor.

They warn against exposure to
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), potent atmospheric pollutants that occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Electromagnetic fields (EMF)
  • Pesticides – all workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling hazardous materials

The best chance against breast cancer is early detection through regular examinations, they say.

Source: Cottage Country Now

When masks are not enough

It’s a sad fact that many masks keep out only dust and particles and let chemicals and gases through.

RAP Series: Versatile air cleaners
Employers need to be vigilant about the health and safety of their workers and ensure the workplace has adequate ventilation and safety measures in place. An industrial strength air cleaner can help keep remove dangerous contaminants and circulate cleaner air.

Electrocorp’s versatile and powerful air cleaners are equipped with deep-bed activated carbon filter and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration to remove many chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, particles, dust, viruses, bacteria and molds.

Electrocorp’s comprehensive product line includes air cleaners for the office and for a wide range of other workplaces.

Contact us for more information.
 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Air pollution proves to be a challenge for art conservators protecting masterpieces

Art restoration and conservation can be
impacted by indoor and outdoor air pollutants.
Some artists’ masterpieces have survived long decades or centuries and wars, but they are now facing a much graver threat: Damage from air pollution.

One such example is Da Vinci’s Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church in Milan, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

In order to conserve the painting and keep pollution to a minimum, officials installed a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

University of Southern California researchers were called to monitor the air quality at the site because their air samplers are quite and compact and don’t disturb visitors.

The monitoring showed that air pollution inside the church has been dramatically reduced, especially with respect to fine and coarse particulate matter. These were reduced by 88 and 94 percent respectively, from corresponding outdoor levels.

The next challenge will be indoor sources of pollution, the researchers warn, which often comes from the visitors themselves.

Even though the number of visitors and the length of visits is strictly regulated, the airborne lipids coming from visitors skin still appeared in significant quantities around the painting. They can mix with dust and soil the masterpiece, the authors warn.

The painting itself may also emit tiny particles of wax that was used in previous repair efforts.
 
Source: University of Southern California


Electrocorp's CleanBreeze 2
Stand-alone air cleaners for art conservation and restoration

For paintings and collection pieces at risk of soiling or damage from indoor air pollutants, Electrocorp has designed highly efficient portable air cleaners for art conservation and restoration, with a flexible arm and source capture attachment to keep the air as clean as possible.

The air cleaners remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, VOCs, gases, fumes, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and molds with an activated carbon + HEPA filter combination.

Exclusive carbon blends are available to target specific contaminants and the units feature many other customizable options that can help conserve the artifacts.

Contact Electrocorp for more information: 1-866-667-0297.
  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Working when sick – why do we do it?

Montreal researchers study the phenomenon of “presenteeism”

Going to work when sick is not always
the most productive option, study shows.
It’s a familiar sight once the temperatures drop and the official “cold” season starts: Workplaces filled with employees sporting runny noses, a hacking cough or horrible congestion.

The question is, why do people go to work when they are sick? Are they insecure about their jobs or are they workplace troopers?

A new study from Concordia University in Montreal, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, has found that presenteeism, i.e. attending work when ill, isn't always a productive option.

While some workers seem to be able to overcome their symptoms and be fully functional, others tend to be present solely in person, but not in true form.

Caregivers, educators and team workers often present when sick

Caregivers and people working in early education, for example, report higher rates of presenteeism compared to people from other fields.

"Often, a person might feel socially obligated to attend work despite illness," says study author Gary Johns, a management professor at Concordia's John Molson School of Business, "while other employees feel organizational pressure to attend work despite medical discomfort."

The study followed 444 people for 6 months, and the participants reported an average of three presenteeism days as opposed to 1.8 absenteeism days due to illness.

Presenteeism was elevated among workers engaged in interdependent projects or teamwork. Those who were insecure about their jobs also engaged in more presenteeism.
What is the true cost of working
when ill?

The study author says that many organizations and businesses could spend more attention to the cost of presenteeism.

"Estimating the cost of absenteeism is more tangible than counting the impact of presenteeism," says Johns. "Yet a worker's absence — or presence — during illness can have both costs and benefits for constituents."

The importance of indoor air quality at the workplace

Poor IAQ can have a detrimental effect on workers’ well-being, productivity and health.

Electrocorp air cleaners offer an affordable and low maintenance solution to stagnant, inadequately ventilated office air.

The air cleaners can be easily integrated into an existing ventilation system, or used as stand-alone room air purifiers.

The air cleaners remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, odors, chemicals, molds, particles and dust by drawing the air through the deepest carbon bed filters, a medical-grade HEPA or Micro-HEPA and other filters.

For enhanced protection from contaminants such as bacteria and viruses, the air cleaners can be equipped with UV germicidal filtration.

For more information and options, contact Electrocorp.
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Renovation industry gets IAQ guidelines from EPA

New protocols protect indoor air quality while enhancing home energy efficiency
Home energy upgrades can lead to poor indoor air quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades, an initiative designed to give the home energy industry the tools to identify, manage, and reduce health risks during projects.

The guidelines will help protect families, homeowners, occupants and workers during home energy upgrades, retrofits or remodeling projects, EPA officials said in a press release.

The new protocols involve a step-by-step process for conducting assessments to evaluate indoor air conditions and the potential for risks that may arise during residential energy upgrades.

They include recommended minimum specifications and best practices to maintain or improve indoor air quality.

The protocols serve as a companion document to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) guidelines for Home Energy Professionals.

The DOE guidelines are intended to foster the growth of a skilled work force that will increase the homeowner’s confidence in the retrofit industry and increase the demand for home energy retrofits.

The documents are available here:

Improve indoor air quality with industrial air cleaners

A good health and safety program includes personal protective equipment, on-site assessments and industrial-strength air cleaning.

Electrocorp offers versatile, portable and highly efficient air cleaners for the home energy industry and construction/renovation businesses.

The air cleaners remove the widest range of pollutants such as chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold with a multistage filtration system of activated carbon and HEPA.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

See also: Avoid release of toxins during home energy renovations, experts urge
 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupational chemical exposure linked to Parkinson’s risk

TCE is widely used as a metal degreasing agent.
If your work exposes you to solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PERC), you could be at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, a new research report found.

A NIH (National Institutes of Health)-funded study looked at twins, where one of the pair had developed the disorder and assessed their exposure to six chemicals previously linked to Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers concluded that two common chemical solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PERC), are significantly linked to development of this disease.

The study appears in the Nov. 14, 2011 issue of Annals of Neurology.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder caused by the loss of brain cells that produce a molecule called dopamine.

Health symptoms of Parkinson's include tremor, stiffness, slowed movement and impaired balance, and as these symptoms progress, patients may also develop difficulty walking, speaking or completing other activities of daily living.

Genes play a role in Parkinson's disease, but fewer than 10 percent of cases are due to a single gene mutation, and not all people with these mutations develop Parkinson's, suggesting that environmental factors also contribute to the likelihood of developing the disease.

About the chemicals
Researchers suspect that environmental
pollution affects the risk of Parkinson's.

TCE is a widely used metal degreaser (it also used to be a general anesthetic and coffee decaffeinating agent), while PERC is more commonly known as the dry cleaning fluid and often used in garment dry cleaning operations.

The occupations with the strongest link for TCE were the industrial machinery repairer and industrial worker categories.

TCE has also been linked to Parkinson's by other research groups. Researchers at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the Kangwon National University in South Korea have reported an association between TCE and Parkinson's in highly-exposed industrial workers, and have also demonstrated that TCE causes neurodegeneration in animal models.

About the study

The study involved 99 pairs of twins because they are so genetically similar and help in identifying environmental influences in disease.

The study team assessed the twins' lifetime work and hobby activities, specifically inquiring about occupational tasks such as electrical work, industrial machinery repair, and dry cleaning, which would potentially expose people to chemicals previously linked to Parkinson's.

The researchers also collected information on head injuries, which are suspected to increase Parkinson's risk, and smoking history, which is reported to decrease Parkinson's risk.

Expert evaluators, unaware of which study subjects had Parkinson's, reviewed this information and calculated lifelong exposure to six chemicals: TCE, PERC, carbon tetrachloride, n-hexane, xylene and toluene. Of these, TCE and PERC posed a notable risk for developing Parkinson's.

"The potential importance is great, since both solvents persist in the environment and are commonly used," said Samuel Goldman, M.D., M.P.H. in a press release. "Parkinson's was sixfold more common in twins exposed to TCE, and ninefold more common in twins exposed to TCE or PERC."
I-6500 is a powerful air cleaner.

There was also a trend toward a tenfold increase in Parkinson's disease in twins exposed to PERC alone.
However, one limitation of the research is the small number of individuals studied, the researchers warn.

Reduce chemical exposure at the workplace

In some industries, you have to deal with certain solvents or chemicals, but employers need to protect workers with a comprehensive Health and Safety program.

Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA to remove airborne chemicals, gases and fumes as well as other pollutants from the ambient air.

Find out more about Electrocorp’s units for heavy chemical and odor control, chemical manufacturing, and more.

Contact us for more information.