Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pesticide approved despite warnings, scientists claim

Methyl iodide is often used by
strawberry farmers and may be toxic.
California’s state officials may have ignored warnings coming from their own scientists when they approved the use of the chemical pesticide methyl iodide, according to a recent article published by California Watch.

The scientists have submitted an official protest, warning that the pesticide – which is often used by strawberry growers – may cause brain damage in developing fetuses.

The decision for approval was not based on the science, they charged. Their recommendation that farm workers should not be exposed to more than a trace amount to the pesticide was dismissed by the state official in charge as “excessive and difficult to enforce,” according to internal documents.

The chemical fumigant methyl iodide was approved in December 2010.

A coalition of environmental and farm-worker groups has sued the state to try to ban the chemical.

As part of the suit, the groups asked the Department of Pesticide Regulation to release documents explaining how the agency decided to approve the chemical.

The plaintiffs wanted to know how the agency had settled on exposure levels more than 100 times higher than what scientists within the agency believed were safe.

Scientists worried that methyl iodide could drift up from strawberry fields and be inhaled by pregnant farm workers or children playing nearby, causing subtle effects such as IQ loss, which might never be detected or traced back to the chemical.

"DPR has no benchmark with which to establish the limits of exposures that could be deemed as 'safe' for pregnant women and children living in agricultural communities or attending schools adjacent to fields where methyl iodide will be applied," one of the experts said.

Keep your indoor air clean and safe

Worried about airborne chemicals at your work or home?

Electrocorp has developed a wide range of industrial air cleaners that remove chemicals, odors, fumes, gases, particles, pathogens and allergens from the ambient air.

The air cleaners remove indoor air pollutants with the deepest beds of activated carbon, HEPA filters and UV germicidal filtration (optional). 

Connect with Electrocorp to find out more.
 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Living close to a Superfund site – the long road to remediation

Superfund sites take years to clean up
and redevelop.
When a hazardous waste sites are abandoned, they are often called Superfund sites.

“Superfund” is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, which was meant to curb toxic waste dumps.

The fund helps with the remediation of such sites or helps to hold companies and individuals accountable.

The cleanup process of a Superfund site involves a variety of steps, including site assessment, placement on the National Priorities List and the implementation of an appropriate cleanup plan. The actual process can take many years and is monitored with regular samplings that are taken.

The contamination on those sites can be in the ground, the groundwater and in the air in form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Environmental consultants and authorities often have to deal with soil vapor intrusion near those sites, where VOCs and other toxins enter nearby buildings through cracks and tiny fissures in the foundation.

Contamination can occur in nearby homes as well as businesses.

Is there a Superfund site close to you?

If you want to find out if there is a remediation going on close to where you live, you can check out the official EPA Superfund website.

The website details all the steps that need to be taken to start an official assessment and remediation process in case you are concerned about a possible contamination in your area.

During the Risk Assessment stage, the investigator will examine the possible health risks of the toxins at the site. Each Superfund site is unique in terms of the contaminants present and their potential health effects. Therefore, EPA conducts risk assessments on a site-by- site basis.

Minimize vapor intrusion risks with portable air cleaners

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants, consulting firms, environmental agencies and companies to provide industrial air cleaners that safely remove chemicals, gases, vapors, fumes and odors in indoor environments.

The powerful, portable air filters come equipped with the deepest beds of granular activated carbon on the market and provide a cost-effective indoor air quality solution with proven technologies to help reduce human exposure to contaminants.

Electrocorp’s small footprint, high-performance air filtration systems become efficient mitigation allies for challenging vapor intrusion and soil remediation projects that involve single- or two-family dwellings.

Recommended air filtration systems include:

Contact Electrocorp today for more information; toll-free: 1-866-667-0297.
  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pesticide complaint settled by EPA

Chemical pesticides can affect
children's health and well-being.
Latino school children were put at risk when California pesticide regulators approved the use of a dangerous pesticide near their schools, the US Environmental Protection Agency said last week.

A civil rights complaint was filed in 1999, alleging that the annual approval of methyl bromide affected the health of the school children nearby.

An AP article said this was the first time the EPA announced this kind of settlement in a civil rights complaint case.

Methyl bromide - which is injected into the soil to kill pests, weeds and diseases before crops are planted - is being phased out by 2015 under international treaty because it depletes the Earth's ozone layer.

Some farmers continue to use it, because they are granted an exemption by pesticide regulators.

In California, 17.1 million pounds of methyl bromide were applied in 1995, while 5.57 million pounds were applied in 2009, according to state regulators.

As part of the settlement with the EPA, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation has to expand monitoring of methyl bromide air concentrations by adding one monitor in the area of highest risk, a school in Watsonville.

But the measures and the settlement don't provide any remedy to the parents or children whose civil rights were violated, said Brent Newell, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment who filed the complaint 12 years ago on behalf of parents and children in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Ventura.

"It provides no substantive relief or remedy to the people who were affected," Newell said. "Those school children have since graduated from high school and the EPA gave them no remedy."


Source: The Ledger


Remove airborne chemicals indoors quickly and efficiently
Electrocorp's RAP Series

Electrocorp specializes in the adsorption and removal of airborne chemicals and gases with its industrial air cleaners. The company offers air cleaners for schools and universities and is proud to work with administrators to provide better indoor air quality in their buildings.

The air purification units feature a deep bed of granular activated carbon, HEPA and UV (optional) to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants – not only chemicals, but also particles, dust, biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, mold mycotoxins and mold spores, allergens and pollen.

Electrocorp offers portable or HVAC-compatible air filtration systems of all kinds and sizes and provides the most relevant filtration media, the largest adsorbent surface area and the most customizable options at the best price.

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

Companies face harsh fines for exposing workers to dangerous chemicals

Companies using or making chemicals
need to enforce health & safety standards.
A New Jersey chemical and solvent maker was recently cited for 20 safety and health violation at one of its facilities, after OSHA received complaints about strong solvent odors.

The total in proposed penalties is $135,000.

“By disregarding OSHA safety and health standards, this company is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death,” said OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy.

“It is vital that all identified violations be quickly corrected to protect the workers at this facility.”

OSHA inspections of indoor air quality

OSHA takes industrial hygiene samples as part of its compliance monitoring program. Many of these samples are submitted to the Salt Lake Technical Center for analysis.

The sampling results represent personal, area, and bulk samples for various airborne contaminants.

OSHA carries out inspection at companies and businesses to ensure that employees are not overexposed to hazardous substances. Exposure usually occurs by inhalation, contact, or ingestion.

Monitoring air quality can help prevent employees from inhaling hazardous concentrations of airborne chemicals. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for chemicals.

For hazardous chemicals not covered by an OSHA standard, departments should comply with other available recommended exposure limits, for example, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV), or the chemical manufacturer's recommended limits.

Most of OSHA's chemical exposure limits are found in the 1910.1000 Air Contaminant Standard. OSHA has also developed several substance-specific standards that regulate exposure to a single chemical.

Other important safety measures include
  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Wearing appropriate gloves when handling chemicals
  • Enforcing good personal hygiene standards
  • Not allowing foods and personal care products in areas where chemicals are used
Sources: SafetyBLR.com, OSHA, HealthFirst

Remove airborne chemicals with industrial air cleaners

Electrocorp specializes in the adsorption of airborne chemicals and features the deepest beds of activated carbon and the largest adsorbent surface areas for that purpose.

The multistage filtration systems also feature enhanced HEPA technology, pre-filters and the option of UV germicidal filtration.

Contact one of Electrocorp’s air quality experts for more information and recommendations based on your specific needs.
  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Industrial chemical fumes affecting nearby apartment residents

Residents are worried about chemical
odors coming from the business next door.
We may live in an industrial world, but there is such a thing as too close for comfort.

In Bakersfield, California, the residents of an apartment complex worry about chemical fumes from the industrial tank maker next door drifting over to their apartments.

The company is making above-ground tanks for industrial uses and the residents are most concerned about the irritating odors when their tanks are painted.

The residents have noticed paint droplets on cars and windows and say they worry most about the children living in the apartment complex.

Signs on the outside of Tiger Tanks’ fence warn that cancer causing chemicals are used on the property.
Authorities are investigating the complaints, but couldn’t determine any violations so far.

Source: 23 ABC News
Air purifiers for the home and office
to remove indoor air pollutants.

Improving indoor air quality in companies and homes

Electrocorp has designed industrial air cleaners for businesses and companies that are concerned about pollutants such as gaseous contaminants, chemicals, particles, dust and pathogens. The units can be portable or attached to existing ventilation systems.

The air cleaners remove odors and chemicals by drawing the air through a deep bed of granular activated carbon with a large adsorbent surface area and trap particles and pathogens in their pre-filter and HEPA filter.

Electrocorp belongs to AllerAir Industries, the premier manufacturer of air purifiers for homes and offices, offering versatile, portable air purifiers that help provide cleaner air.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.
  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facility management and chemical toxins

Toxic compounds lurk in older and newer
buildings and may affect people's health.
People are spending so much time indoors – either at work or at home – that they have become more and more concerned about the substances and chemicals that may affect their health and well-being.

Big office complexes and small commercial spaces alike harbor a huge number of chemical toxins that can be inhaled or ingested. 

Many of these indoor air chemicals have been linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, respiratory diseases, birth defects and chronic illnesses.

Whether you talk about Sick Building Syndrome or the dangers of poor indoor air quality, one factor remains the same – in order to protect workers and occupants of commercial and institutional buildings, facility managers must know about the dangers and face them head on.

Here are some tips for facility managers:
  
  • Make IAQ a priority in facility management: Poor IAQ does not only affect the health and well-being of workers, it can also affect productivity, absenteeism rates and morale
      
  • Educate yourself and other about the harmful effects of indoor air pollutants:
    - VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
    - Green building constructions and renovations and safe materials
    - Chemical products (such as harsh cleaning agents) and how to replace them with safer alternatives
      
  • Know the history of the building and the materials that were used: Materials that went into walls, insulation, ductwork and mechanical systems for decades might have contained chemical compounds that are now considered dangerous. As a result, many chemicals are in the DNA of buildings
      
  • Regularly check the ventilation system. In many older buildings, the ventilation system may not be enough to provide fresh air to occupants. Rather than undertaking costly renovations, an industrial air cleaner for offices and facility management provides a highly effective and versatile air cleaning solution
RAP air cleaner
from Electrocorp

Electrocorp offers portable as well as HVAC-compatible air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications, which remove a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including chemicals, odors, gases, fumes, particles, bacteria, viruses and mold mycotoxins and mold spores.

The units feature the most relevant filtration media, the largest adsorbent surface areas and the most customizable options in the industry.

The multistage filtration system in Electrocorp air cleaners contains
  • Granular activated carbon
  • HEPA
  • UV germicidal filtration (optional)
  • Pre-filters

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Law Enforcement Center attacked by mold

A badge won't help protect
officers from mold exposure.
The Douglas County Courthouse and Douglas County Services Center in the Alexandria area have been infiltrated by mold, according to recent reports, prompting air quality tests and causing concern.

The mold may be a result of the heavy rainfalls that have come down on the region this summer, an article in the Alexandria Echo Press said.

Mold was found in the license area and in the library, where walls with vinyl wallpaper were still wet. Water had also entered the child support offices, causing the subfloor to buckle and leading to a musty smell, one of the obvious signs of mold.

The Law Enforcement Center (LEC) also suffered from poor air quality caused by a foul smell, and mold was visible on several walls on the first floor.

Two Stachybotrys spores were found in the crawl space beneath the LEC.

Health effects of mold exposure

Commonly referred to as “black mold”, some strains of Stachybotrys mold are believed to produce mycotoxins that can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, sore throats, fatigue, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, dermatitis, immune suppression and possible fatal pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, according to many experts.

Federal standards regulating mold concentrations in the air do not exist, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Most typical indoor air exposures to mold do not present a risk of adverse health effects,” according to an OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin issued March 2010.

“Molds can cause adverse effects by producing allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions). Potential health concerns are important reasons to prevent mold growth and to remediate existing problem areas.”

Symptoms associated with allergic reactions to mold may include red eyes and sinus drainage, respiratory illnesses, skin or mucus infections, asthma attacks, irritation in eyes, skin, nose, or throat. Immuno-compromised individuals may experience infections associated with mold.

Mold needs to be removed, not just killed

OSHA recommended cleaning water leakage within one to two days to prevent mold growth.

“As a general rule, simply killing the mold, for example, with biocide is not enough,” the bulletin stated. “The mold must be removed, since the chemicals and proteins, which can cause a reaction in humans, are present even in dead mold.”

The officers and employees at the LEC had reported sore throats, scratchy eyes and respiratory issues after the July rain.

However, the complaints stopped after some air scrubbers, HEPA filters, and dehumidifiers were employed in the area and adjustments were made to the air-conditioning units for dispatch. Existing ductwork was changed and new ductwork installed.

The discussion is ongoing whether they should stay in the building or find another location.

Source: Alexandria Echo Press


Industrial air cleaners for law enforcement centers and evidence rooms

Electrocorp offers high-value, portable air cleaners for law enforcement applications that may involve Aspergillus and other mold spores and mold mycotoxins, heavy odors, airborne chemicals, fumes, particles and pathogens.

The air cleaners feature a multistage filtration system with the deepest activated carbon beds, the largest circumference adsorbent area, the most relevant filter media at the best price and the most customizable options and features.
RAP Series: Around-the-clock
chemical and particle removal.

Featured units:
  • RAP Series, which includes a variety of sizes and models, a 360-degree air intake, optional UV germicidal filtration and a deep bed of granular activated carbon
  • I-6500 Series: Ideal for larger law enforcement centers and areas where heavy odors, chemicals or mold is a concern
  • AirRhino Series: Versatile industrial air cleaner with interchangeable carbon and HEPA filters
  • Numerical Series: The most efficient air purifiers for smaller spaces, offering a large activated carbon filter, HEPA filtration and optional UV lamp; consider the 5000 Exec or 6000 Exec, among others.
Contact Electrocorp today for more information and suggestions uniquely suited to your needs.
  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Incorrect use, availability of banned pesticides worries experts

Hospital workers are often helpless when
faced with pesticide poisoning.
Industry experts warn that many small shops in Dubai sell pesticides that were banned by the government for being highly dangerous and toxic.

The ministry banned 167 chemicals in 2009 because they could kill people and 32 other substances were regulated so they could only be used by licensed operators.

The warning comes after a series of deadly events where consumers sprayed their homes or apartments with pesticides.

It can also affect residents in nearby places, as the death of two five-month-old babies showed. The boys died after inhaling pesticide fumes from an adjacent flat that had been fumigated.

Using pesticides indoors has long been frowned upon by health authorities because many pesticides have been linked to serious health condition, and death.

Some pesticides banned for high toxicity

One example is methomyl, an insecticide once commonly used on alfalfa grass but now banned because it is too dangerous. Despite the ban, it is sold illegally in many small shops and on the black market in Dubai.

Diazinon, once used to kill cockroaches, ants and fleas, is another example of a banned substance easily available on the black market.

Phostoxin tablets, although not banned for use by professionals, are restricted.

Still, the tablets are finding their way into the hands of the public, who use them without safety measures. The tablets release phosphine gas, which is lethal to many animals even in low concentrations.

False labeling and long-term effects most worrisome

False labeling is another worrying trend in the country. The practice can be dangerous for users, who need to know exactly what substances they are using, especially in cases of emergency.

If pesticides are inhaled or ingested, hospitals check the chemical's packaging to know exactly what treatment to offer.

While cases of death and grave injury attract the most public attention, the real danger in misusing pesticides lies in the long-term effects.

The fact that a person is not suffering symptoms immediately after handling banned pesticides does not mean they are out of danger. Serious health symptoms can develop years after exposure, and they are difficult to trace back.

Source: The National


Improve the indoor air quality at home and at work

Electrocorp’s mission is to provide commercial and industrial air cleaners that remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, vapors, fumes, odors, particles and pathogens.

Find out more about our multistage filtration system with activated carbon, HEPA and UV.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and a personal consultation: 1-866-667-0297. Always consult an expert when handling potentially dangerous chemicals.
  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Environmental pollutants affect air quality in schools

School children need to be protected
from poor indoor air quality.
Even at the risk of repeating ourselves (see posts below), we can’t stress the importance of good indoor air quality in schools enough.

Children are more vulnerable to environmental pollutants, and schools are often built in areas where outdoor air pollution may be a factor, or they may suffer from poor building maientenance leading to such problems like mold or a high count of allergens.

Like clockwork, experts see an increased number of asthma attacks and diagnoses when the school year begins, and they often blame poor indoor air quality in the buildings.

Industrial pollution and soil vapor intrusion can become even bigger problems, because the indoor air pollutants in these circumstances are often difficult to pinpoint.

Administration officials and parents should request regular indoor air quality tests conducted by professionals, which can provide the most accurate picture of the IAQ at certain times.

Arlington high school fears vapor intrusion

A high school in Arlington, Massachusetts, for example, is undergoing IAQ tests now after the presence of a harmful dry cleaning chemical in the ground near the school has been discovered.

PCE is a chemical used for dry-cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing operations. It is also known as “Perc” and Tetrachloroethylene.

If spilled onto or into the ground, it has the potential to dissolve in the underlying groundwater and subsequently travel under the ground in the direction of groundwater flow.

It has a propensity to volatilize or “evaporate” out of the groundwater and impact overlying structures through “vapor intrusion.”

Perc is currently being phased out of the dry cleaning industry because it has been linked to cancer.


Cleaner indoor air with activated carbon and HEPA air filters

Electrocorp’s portable, powerful industrial air cleaners use a deep bed of activated carbon and HEPA filtration technology to remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust and more.

Many units can also be equipped with a UV lamp to provide enhanced protection from biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold spores as well as mold mycotoxins.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for schools and universities offer a cost-effective and reliable solution for spaces of all sizes. Contact Electrocorp for more information and expert help.

See also:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Occupational health and safety issues: Asthma in the workplace

Asthma is on the rise in North America -
and IAQ at the workplace may play a role.
Occupational asthma is an issue in some workplaces, and it has been linked to poor indoor air quality.

Indoor air pollution is one of the main factors for Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), a health issue that has been recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than 20 years ago.

SBS can be caused by many factors, including poor lighting, improperly maintained HVAC systems, building materials etc.

It is estimated that in some countries up to 30 percent of all offices, hotels, instiotutions and industrial sites suffer from SBS. One manifestation of SBS is occupational asthma, which makes up around 15 percent of all adult-onset asthma cases in the developed world.

Putting that in context, occupational asthma is the most common, work-related lung disease in developed countries and is caused by occupational exposure to airborne substances known as asthmagens. Over 200 respiratory sensitizers already have been classified and others are being identified all the time.

Across the world, the incidence of asthma is on the increase as more people adopt western lifestyles and become exposed to greater numbers of asthmagens.

Internationally, there are an estimated 300 million asthma sufferers and, according to WHO, some 250,000 people died from asthma worldwide in 2005 alone.

The number of diagnosed asthma and asthma symptoms has been growing steadily over recent decades.

The most important risk factors for developing asthma are a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways.

These substances can be everything from pollen and dust mites to animal dander and chemicals released by adhesives. Miniscule dust particles settle in the lungs, and the smallest particles can end up in the bloodstream, with potentially serious consequences.

Early detection is important in occupational asthma, because people spend so much time at work. One estimate suggests that a person in a full-time office job will spend up to 1,800 hours a year in their office.

Employers, facility managers and health and safety officer should keep the following points in mind to develop the best prevention and control strategies:

  1. Conduct a workplace assessment to identify potential asthmagens
  2. Make changes to improve IAQ: For example, installing a better ventilation system or placing dangerous chemicals in a fume cupboard. 
  3. Make sure the building is cleaned regularly to control dust and particles, while avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals
  4. Ban indoor smoking, perfumes and air fresheners
  5. Speak to employees about IAQ, occupational asthma and what to do if someone suffers an asthma attack at the workplace

Source: Environmental Health and Safety Today


Improve IAQ at the workplace with industrial air cleaners
The numerical series and AirMedic
Series for smaller offices.

Even with source control and good ventilation, the indoor air quality at the workplace may suffer due to off-gassing materials (building materials, paint, electronic devices, large format printers).

Electrocorp has designed high-quality industrial air cleaners to help improve the indoor air quality in offices, large and small buildings, plants and workshops.

The air cleaners from Electrocorp are equipped with a multi-stage filtration system to effectively remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants by adsorbing chemicals, gases and odors in a deep bed of granular activated carbon, trapping particles and pathogens in a HEPA or Super-HEPA filter and by offering the choice of UV germicidal filtration, which helps neutralize live contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, mold spores and mold mycotoxins.
Electrocorp's I-6500 Series removes
airborne chemicals and particles.

With a complete line of products for small and large spaces, different carbon blends and filter materials depending on need and other features and customizable options, Electrocorp is sure to provide you with a cost-effective and reliable air cleaning solution.

Contact us for more information.






See also:
  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meth lab cleanups “on hold” as money dries up

Police need to find a way to
pay for methlab cleanups.
Law enforcement officials at the forefront of the war on meth in the United States had to make a sudden retreat after they ran out of funds to pay for the cleanups of the toxic waste that is generated by labs.

An AP article details the problems caused for police and sheriff’s departments across the nation by cutbacks from the federal government that helped law enforcement agencies to dispose of seized labs.

The government’s decision to cancel the program took away millions of dollars that were slated for the fight against meth labs.

Cutbacks affect investigative work

Law enforcement agencies often had to cancel special initiatives or assignments such as undercover work, door-to-door investigations and stakeouts to locate operating meth labs.

The AP analysis shows that the number of seized labs has dropped drastically in major meth-producing states.

Without the federal money, states have to find a way to replace the funds or make the cleanups less expensive.

Typical cleanups cost $2,500 to $5,000 per lab.

The problem is, meth labs are thriving in the US, with the number of new meth users rising each year and a growing number of shipments coming from Mexico.

What is meth?

Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs. It has high potential for abuse and addiction and in addition to psychological harm, physical harm such as cardiovascular damage, may occur with chronic use or acute overdose.

Short-term exposure to high concentrations of chemical vapors that may exist in methamphetamine laboratories can cause severe health problems or even result in death. Exposure to these substances can occur from volatile air emissions, spills, fires, and explosions.

Because meth is made using a volatile mix of ingredients such as battery acid, drain cleaner and ammonia, only cleanup crews with specialized training are allowed to handle the materials found in labs.

The waste and debris cannot be dumped in a regular landfill, only in specially approved waste sites.

Cleanup programs need to be adapted

The only solution seems to be for the states to implement their own cleanup programs.

In states where such programs already exists, local police and deputies are trained to remove meth waste and collect it in designated containers - essentially small metal storage buildings. The DEA picks up the waste and disposes of it.

The system is far less expensive - $500 for a typical cleanup.

Now some states that previously used the COPS money are developing their own container systems, including Michigan and Tennessee, which began its program last month. Arkansas also is looking at a container program.

Source: AP, Wikipedia

Industrial air cleaners for law enforcement agencies

Electrocorp has designed portable, powerful air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA to remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, fumes, particles and pathogens from the ambient air in evidence rooms and other indoor spaces.

Contact Electrocorp for more information about air cleaners for law enforcement as well as testimonials from clients. Always consult an expert when dealing with hazardous chemicals and substances.
  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IAQ industry expected to grow

Continuous improvement, collaboration
and innovation is needed in the IAQ industry.
Good news for the makers of air cleaners like Electrocorp: The demand for cleaner air has helped the indoor air quality (IAQ) industry grow, according to an analysis by Frost + Sullivan as reported by Consulting-Specifying Engineer.

A growing number of employers, workers, facility managers and environmental consultants have become aware of the health concerns that arise from indoor air pollutants like tobacco, bacteria, mold, chemicals and other substances, which means that the industry benefits from an increased demand for air cleaners.

However, the report also warns that the industry needs to adapt and continue to make improvements to existing technology to remain sustainable and profitable.

The experts suggest that air filters are the best choice for providing cleaner air in indoor spaces, which includes filters in an HVAC system as well as portable air purifiers.

The report points out challenges such as high initial costs and lack of innovation because it is difficult for innovators to enter the market and compete with established companies and technologies.

A potential solution, according to the study, is for companies to work together on projects and work with universities and college students on improvements.

Electrocorp has always valued and supported continued research and development in order to provide the most efficient industrial air cleaners for applications such as


Electrocorp’s air cleaners remove airborne chemicals, vapors, fumes, heavy odors, particles, biological contaminants and other toxins by drawing the air through dense pre-filters, deep bed of activated carbon, HEPA and UV (optional).

The product line includes portable, stand-alone air cleaners or HVAC-compatible air purification systems.

Contact us for more information on industrial air cleaners, customizable solutions and additional features.
   

Monday, August 15, 2011

Occupational risks: Police officer sues over chemical exposure

A police officer says he inhaled a lot of
ammonia gas and developed cancer.
In Hammond, Louisiana, a police officer has filed a lawsuit claiming that he developed cancer 10 days after being exposed to a large amount of ammonia gas.

In a Louisiana Record article, the police officer filed the lawsuit against a dairy farm and the associated businesses as well as the insurance and leasing companies.

The claim says that significant quantities of ammonia gas leaked from the dairy processing center or the distribution center on July 11, 2010. When the police officer arrived at the scene, he inhaled large amounts of the ammonia gas and had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for chemical burns to his mouth, nasal passages, lungs and trachea.

The lawsuit alleges that 10 days after the incident, the police officer discovered cancer in his lymph nodes, which according to the claimant metastasized from a small tumor on his tongue as a result of the chemical burns.

The lawsuit charges that the defendants failed to design and build the facilities in a proper and safe manner, and that it wasn’t operated and maintained properly.

The police officer is seeking damages for medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, disability and disfigurement, loss of consortium, court costs and interest.

Source: Louisiana Record


Industrial air cleaners for the removal of airborne chemicals and gases

Electrocorp has designed industrial-strength air scrubbers of all types and sizes to help owners, managers and workers remove indoor air pollutants in environments where chemicals, gases, fumes or particles may affect people’s health and well-being.

Solutions include air cleaners for

The air cleaners are equipped with deep-bed activated carbon filters with enormous adsorption strength, a HEPA or micro-HEPA filter for particles, pre-filters and UV germicidal filtration (optional) for the neutralization of bacteria, viruses and mold.

Electrocorp has worked with various companies, government agencies and other clients to give them the right air cleaner, the most effective carbon blend and the most useful features.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and a personalized solution to your IAQ concerns.
  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Labor department worried about chemical sector injuries

Authorities are concerned about the
work incidents in the chemical sector.
The South Africa labour department has identified the chemical sector as one of the six high risk sectors in terms of occupational incidents, according to a news release.

The other high risk sectors are
  • Iron and steel
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Building and construction
  • Food, drinks and tobacco

However, the chemical sector seemed to worry health authorities because of the high number of workers who became injured, ill or were killed because of exposure to harmful chemical substances.

The incidents, of course, caused human suffering, loss of production and high medical costs, and they underlined the importance of effective health and safety measures when dealing with chemicals.

Injuries from chemicals are often very serious, resulting in workers not being able to return to the work force once their injuries have healed and leaving them partially or totally disabled if they live.


Industrial air cleaners can remove airborne chemicals

Along with other health and safety measures, the industrial air cleaners from Electrocorp provide a cost-effective and versatile solution to cleaner, healthier air at the workplace.

The air cleaners from Electrocorp feature a multistage filtration system with a deep bed of activated carbon, HEPA, pre-filters and UV germicidal filtration (optional), which removes the widest range of indoor air pollutants in the industry.

Activated carbon is the most trusted and effective filtration material for the removal of airborne chemicals, odors, gases and fumes, and Electrocorp offers a range of custom carbon blends to target specific pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp to find out about the many different industrial uses, customizable features and successful track record.
  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dry cleaning industry looking for new solvents

Wearing dry cleaned clothes can expose
you to a cancer-causing chemical, perc.
The dry cleaning industry is in the process of changing.

As the widely used cleaning agent perchloroethylene, or perc, is being phased out by 2020, most dry cleaners have to find a new solvent.

The makers of cleaning agents are scrambling to find replacement cleaners for an industry that hasn’t changed much in decades. It is estimated that almost 80% of dry cleaners rely on perc to clean the clothes, and they have done so since the 1930s.

Perc is good at dissolving oil-based stains, much like turpentine, benzene, kerosene and gasoline (incidentally, all bad for your health if inhaled). Switching to a new cleaner can be costly, and many dry cleaners are worried that the new cleaning agent won’t work as well.

Most dry-cleaning businesses are independently owned and there are more than 24,000 dry cleaning businesses in the US alone.


What is perc (PCE)?

Perchloroethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene, is a colorless liquid widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics. The industrial chemical is sometimes called "dry-cleaning fluid." It has a sweet odor detectable by most people and it can cause a reaction in people who are chemically sensitive.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tetrachloroethene as a Group 2A carcinogen, which means that the cleaning chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans. It has been estimated that about 85% of tetrachloroethylene is released into the atmosphere.

Vapors that escape from poorly maintained or faulty dry cleaning machines can seep through walls and into adjacent apartments or businesses.

PCE is also one of the more difficult contaminants to deal with if it gets into water through spills or leaks because it sinks to the bottom of water supplies.

Clients bringing home dry-cleaned clothes can be exposed to perc when it is released by the fabric (one tip is to air out dry-cleaned clothes in a different room or the garage before hanging them up in the closet).


Industrial-strength air cleaners a boon for small businesses
RSU Series: Powerful air cleaners
for the removal of chemicals and more.

Whenever industrial chemicals become airborne, they can become a health hazard to workers and others who are exposed to them.

Until PCE-using dry cleaning machines can be phased out, small and medium businesses can help protect themselves and their surroundings simply by using a cost-effective and powerful air purification system.

Electrocorp’s industrial air cleaners feature the deepest beds of activated carbon and the largest adsorbent surfaces on the market to remove chemicals, gases and odors from the air, and they also feature HEPA and pre-filters for superior particle control.

If you are concerned about the indoor air quality in your business or neighborhood, contact Electrocorp today: 1-866-667-0297. Always consult a chemical or environmental expert when dealing with hazardous substances.
 
See also:
   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

IAQ challenge: Keeping schools healthy

Children can be affected by poor
indoor air quality in schools.
Facility management involves a lot of different factors, but indoor air quality is a recurring theme when it comes to problems reported in schools.

Right now, parents in New York City with children at the Bronx New School have to come to terms with the fact that the school needs to be closed because it is contaminated with high levels of the toxic chemical TCE (trichloroethylene).

The school was housed in a former industrial building and the problem was detected because air quality tests were undertaken as part of a lease renewal.

TCE is a toxic chemical that causes headaches and dizziness when breathed in small quantities. In larger doses, the chemical can kill or lead to nerve, liver and kidney damage.

Some parents are not surprised, saying their children have become sick after attending the school.

Authorities may have known about the chemical contamination for more than six months before acting on it, an article in the Daily News charges.

 
Mold another common IAQ concern in schools

Mold growth can develop quickly, especially if a building suffers from water damage like a leaking roof, a broken pipe or any other excessive humidity issues.

These problems need to be fixed right away, since mold can start growing in a matter of 24-48 hours.

Once mold is allowed to grow, it can affect the health and well-being of certain individuals (students, teachers and administrative staff). Health effects include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation, fever and shortness of breath, says the US Centers for Disease Control.

In some instances, like a recent example at a Chicago area elementary school, the mold can grow behind walls or above the ceilings and may not be visible at first.

At this school, mold remediation and renovation costs are estimated at almost $290,000.

 
Make indoor air quality a priority in schools
The RAP Series feature chemical,
particle and pathogen protection.

Poor indoor air quality has been associated with a wide range of concerns and problems, including possible health effects, aggravated symptoms, less productivity and learning ability, lower test scores and more absences.

Electrocorp has designed portable, stand-alone as well as HVAC-compatible air cleaners for schools and universities that provide a cost-effective and powerful air cleaning solution, removing indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, odors, particles, gases, fumes, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Electrocorp air scrubbers use a multistage filtration system with granular activated carbon (for chemicals and odors) and HEPA (for particles and pathogens) as well as UV (for bacteria, viruses and mold).

The air cleaners require little to no maintenance, they are robust and can be moved around to areas where they are needed most.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and available features.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Employee health and safety - OSHA obligations

Failure to follow health and safety guidelines
can lead to costly litigation and bad PR.
Keeping employees healthy and safe is a primary mandate for most employers - failure to do so can result in costly litigation, damaged reputations and loss of confidence in the public eye.

Thankfully, certain regulations are in place that make it easier for employers to know what their obligations are.

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand;
  • Observe testing that is done to find hazards in the workplace and get test results;
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses;
  • Get copies of their medical records;
  • Request OSHA to inspect their workplace; and
  • Use their rights under the law free from retaliation and discrimination.

Health and safety obligations under OSHA

Be familiar with OSHA guidelines. As an employer, you need to be sure that you are following OSHA guidelines, which are federal law. In particular, you need to be able to know what guidelines and regulations are applicable to your workplace, and have copies available for employees who request them.

Keep records of injuries and illnesses. Businesses with 11 employees or more at any time during a calendar year are required to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses. Some businesses are not required to keep records, such as those in retail trade, finance, insurance, real estate and service industries.

Display OSHA's Safe and Healthful workplaces poster. Employers are required to post this poster, or its state equivalent, somewhere where employees can look over the information.

Inform employees about hazardous chemicals. If your business uses hazardous chemicals, you need to inform your employees about these hazards and train them on proper safeguards.

Remember that your business is subject to inspection. Employees have the right to contact a local or state OSHA office to request an inspection if there is a hazard or danger in the workplace.

The above list is not exhaustive of all employer obligations under OSHA - certain industries may have different or more elaborate health and safety obligations.

Source: FindLaw.com

Indoor air quality is a major health and safety issue 

With more and more complaints and lawsuits being filed against employers for serious health conditions due to chemical exposure and polluted indoor air (see list below), companies need to make sure that the work environment is safe and free of IAQ concerns.

Most existing ventilation systems are unable to remove harmful pollutants from the ambient air, but rather than spending a lot of money on a new ventilation system, Electrocorp air cleaners offer a cost-effective, portable and versatile air purifying solution that can remove the widest range of airborne chemicals, odors, vapors, fumes, particles and pathogens.

The multistage filtration system uses a large granular activated carbon (GAC) filter, HEPA or micro-HEPA, UV germicidal filtration (optional) and particle-trapping pre-filters.

The Electrocorp product line includes portable and HVAC-compatible air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications of all kinds (and sizes).

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

Related posts
     

Monday, August 8, 2011

EPA pays companies to test more chemicals for toxicity

Authorities are concerned about the
effects of chemicals on human health.
Thousands of new chemicals are developed every week, but concerns are mounting that chemical exposure can lead to a range of sensitivities and diseases.

In many countries, environmental watchdogs have been pressing companies and governments to keep testing chemicals for their impact on human health and to make sure that harmful chemicals will be phased out.

Just last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ToxCast chemical screening program has awarded contracts to four United States-based companies to test up to 10,000 chemicals for potential toxicity to people and the environment.

ToxCast is designed to determine how chemical exposures affect human health. 

When fully implemented, ToxCast will be able to screen thousands of chemicals in fast, cost-effective tests.

The four companies will initially screen up to 1,000 chemicals currently in the ToxCast program using innovative technologies such as stem cell toxicity tests.

These new technologies can quickly determine the potential for a chemical to cause harm to the human body.

Screening results from the new technologies will be combined with data already being generated by the other 500 rapid chemical tests used by EPA’s ToxCast program.

The chemicals ToxCast is now screening are found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs.

ToxCast’s goal is to reduce EPA’s reliance on slow and expensive animal toxicity tests, enabling the agency to screen chemicals more quickly and to predict and identify potential risks to Americans.

EPA scientific studies using ToxCast have already been published in peer-reviewed science journals, and demonstrate the ability of ToxCast to predict a chemical’s potential to cause several diseases.

The four companies awarded the contracts have offices throughout the country and plan to hire new scientific staff to help with the project.

The companies are Vala Sciences, Cee Tox, CellzDirect and BioReliance. Two of the companies, Vala Sciences and BioReliance are small businesses based in San Diego, Calif. and Kalamazoo, Mich.

All four companies plan to hire new employees as a result of these contracts.

More information on ToxCast:  http://epa.gov/ncct/toxcast/
More information on ToxCast database:  http://actor.epa.gov/actor/faces/ToxCastDB/Home.jsp

Reduce exposure to airborne chemicals

RAP Series: Portable and
powerful air cleaners.
Whether it's in laboratories, in chemical plants or in large offices, many workers are routinley exposed to chemicals at the workplace.

Electrocorp Air Filtration Systems has designed air cleaners for industrial and commercial use, which can remove a wide range of chemicals, odors, vapors, fumes, particles and pathogens from the ambient air.

Electrocorp air cleaners feature the deepest beds of activated carbon, HEPA and UV filters and the largest adsorbent surfaces in the industry.

With a dedicated team of indoor air experts and engineers, Electrocorp provides customized solutions and air cleaners for spaces of all sizes.

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

Friday, August 5, 2011

Report names East Asia as biggest market for scrubbers and adsorbers next year

Air scrubbers like Electrocorp's Air Rhino
can remove airborne chemicals, odors and
other toxins in various industries.
According to a report by McIlvaine Company about the Scrubber/Adsorber World Markets on the Filtration + Separation website, East Asia will be the biggest market in 2012 for scrubbers and adsorbers, absorbers and biofilters, with revenues exceeding US$2.2 billion.

In this market, absorbers are likely to constitute the largest segment with revenues of over US$1 billion, the release says, due to Asia rapidly expanding industries that are the major purchasers of absorbers, such as incinerators, steel mills, municipal wastewater plants, chemical plants and refineries.

Absorbers are used to capture acid gases such as SO2, HF, and HCl, while adsorbers and biofilters are used to remove H2S and volatile organic compounds.

They are also used for odour control in food plants and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Absorbers are widely used in the chemical and petroleum refinery industries.

A big application for dry scrubbers in East Asia is municipal waste incineration, and the cement industry is also an important market. A recent contract for a new cement plant in East Asia included dry scrubbers to remove the SO2 and HCl.

Particulate scrubbers include low pressure drop spray towers, fluid bed scrubbers, and high pressure drop venturis, and East Asia uses particulate scrubbers in some applications where other regions have switched to fabric filters.

Source: Filtration + Separation  

Versatile and cost-efficient air cleaners from Electrocorp
Electrocorp's RSU Series

Electrocorp offers powerful, stand-alone as well as HVAC compatible air scrubbers for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.

The air cleaners provide excellent odor control with a deep bed of activated carbon and the largest adsorbent surface areas in the industry, HEPA or micro-HEPA particle filters and pre-filters as well as UV germicidal filtration (optional).

The versatile air cleaners come in small footprints and are designed for around-the-clock operation to remove the widest range of chemicals, gases, vapors, odors and particles quickly and efficiently.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and customizable options.
  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cashiers may be at higher risk of BPA exposure

Study to examine BPA
exposure in cashiers.
A lot of people rely on their part-time or full-time jobs as cashiers in stores, supermarkets or other types of businesses to make a living or supplement their income - but experts are worried that they could be exposed to high levels of a potentially toxic chemical.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences want to know if the high levels of bisphenol A, or BPA for short, on the slick receipt paper that many cashiers handle on a daily basis should be a reason of concern.

They are asking cashiers to volunteer to have blood and urine samples to be taken for the study.

What is BPA?

BPA is a common ingredient in durable plastics, like those used to make hard plastic water bottles and to line food cans. Recently, reports have been published about experts expressing concerns that BPA exposure might be much higher than previously thought.

There is some conflicting evidence that BPA can cause developmental damage in children and reproductive problems in adults, but more research is needed.

Some types of thermal paper used in cash registers are coated with BPA, and the chemical easily rubs off onto your fingers when you touch them.

In their new study, the NIEHS team will measure levels of BPA in the blood and urine of volunteer cashiers, said Stavros Garantziotis, who is directing the research.

Testing BPA levels before and after a cashier's shift will show how much BPA was absorbed into a cashier's body while he or she was working.

While there are some alternative paper sources using such substances as bisphenol S, not much is known about the effects of these chemicals, either, the experts warned.

Source: News Observer

Worried about chemical exposure?

Electrocorp offers high-quality, high-efficiency portable air cleaners for commercial and industrial spaces such as supermarkets, warehouses, bars, restaurants, department stores and many more applications.

The air cleaners remove a wide range of chemicals, particles and odors from the ambient air with a deep-bed activated carbon filter for the adsorption of chemicals and odors, a HEPA filter for particles and UV germicidal filtration (optional).

The diverse product line is filled with air cleaners of different sizes and strengths, and Electrocorp's team of engineers and air quality experts will gladly provide customized solutions and suggestions as well. Contact Electrocorp today for more information.
   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Green advances in paper mill industry

Paper mill waste can be used to make
industrial foams, says researcher.
A grad student in agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a method to use paper mill waste to produce ecologically friendly, industrial foams from renewable resources, a recent press release states.

Foams are used for numerous day-to-day uses, including in the manufacture of furniture and car interiors. In many composite material applications, they are used as core material in "sandwich" panels to achieve high strength, weight reduction, energy dissipation and insulation.

Conventional foams are produced from polymers such as polyurethane, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Since all of these current foams rely on fossil oil, they present a clear environmental disadvantage.

Shaul Lapidot, a Ph.D. student of Prof. Oded Shoseyov, along with his laboratory colleagues at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University in Rehovot, has formulated a procedure for production of nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) from paper mill waste.

NCC is further processed into composite foams for applications in the composite materials industry as bio-based replacement for synthetic foams.

Paper mill waste gets new purpose

The process of paper production involves loss of all fibers with dimensions lower than the forming fabric mesh.

Consequently around 50% of the total fibers initially produced are washed away as sludge. In Europe alone, 11 million tons of waste are produced annually by this industry, creating an incentive for finding alternative uses and different applications for the wastes.

Lapidot has found that fibers from paper mill sludge are a perfect source for NCC production due to their small dimensions which require relatively low energy and chemical input in order to process them into NCC.

He also developed the application of NCC into nano-structured foams. This is further processed into composite foams for applications in the composite materials industry to be used as bio-based replacement for synthetic foams.

The NCC foams developed by Lapidot and his colleagues are highly porous and lightweight.

Additional strengthening of the foams was enabled by infiltration of furan resin, a hemicellulose-based resin produced from raw crop waste, such as that remaining from sugar cane processing, as well as oat hulls, corn cobs and rice hulls.

The new NCC reinforced foams display technical performance which matches current high-end synthetic foams.

Source: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 


Working in the pulp and paper industry?

Pulp and paper mills use a variety of chemical substances that are potentially hazardous to human health. They affect not only the workers but also the surrounding communities.

While many dangerous chemicals have been eliminated or reduced in the paper industry, including asbestos, exposure to hazardous materials may still happen at any stage in the paper-making process.

It has been shown that workers often encounter gaseous sulphur compounds, chlorine and chlorine dioxide, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health concerns, but which have not been linked to cancer.

As part of a comprehensive health and safety strategy at the workplace, Electrocorp Air Filtration Systems has designed a number of powerful air cleaners for pulp and paper mills, laboratories, schools and universities  as well as many other industrial and commercial applications.

Contact one of Electrocorp's air quality experts for more information.

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