Monday, October 31, 2011

Art conservator challenge: Keeping acrylic paintings spotless

Additives in acrylic paint turn paintings into dirt
collectors and make them difficult to keep clean.
Photo by Cameraman Phil
They were made famous by artists like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, and David Hockney: Acrylic paintings.

But 60 years after they first garnered public attention, art conservators are having trouble protecting these paintings from obvious signs of aging.

Acrylic paints were invented in the 1940s and quickly developed into an artistic mainstay. Many artists preferred using acrylic paints to oil because acrylics dry within hours, while oil paints can take weeks or months to dry.

The problem, as art conservators are experiencing these days, lies in the additives that hold acrylic paints together in the liquid stage. The additives turn acrylic paintings into dirt collectors and can make them appear soiled.

Scientists specializing in art conservation are currently concentrating their efforts to find ways to rejuvenate the paintings and keep them looking their best.

Source: American Chemical Society news release

CleanBreeze 3 air cleaner with
source capture hood.
Source capture air cleaners for art conservation

For valuable 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 can target specific contaminants and the units feature many other customizable options that can help conserve the artifacts.

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ventilation problems shut down new welding lab

Gases and fumes released in
the welding process are dangerous.
The students enrolled in the welding program at Washington's Columbia Basin College learned a tough lesson this week about the importance of proper ventilation and adequate protection against welding fumes.

Their lab was shut down after several students were affected by welding fumes that were not vented properly.

After working in the lab, several students reported
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Visible fumes that lingered
  • Sore throat
  • Other symptoms and complaints
Welding can produce noxious fumes from the metal, the coatings, residues and solvents, many of which have been linked to short-term and long-term health effects.

The university is installing new metal hoods to improve ventilation.

Source: NBC News 

Portable welding fume extractors can help protect welders

Electrocorp has designed a customizable line of welding fume extraction air cleaners with a spark arrestor, flexible arm and source capture attachment that can remove chemicals, fumes, gases, odors and particles.

The activated carbon and HEPA filtration system combines the most efficient filter media for enhanced protection against harmful fumes.

Contact Electrocorp and ask about our different models and customizable options.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Green hotel chains lead the way

Hotels can make big and small changes
to be more green and profitable.
Big hotel chains seem to have the advantage when it comes to going green, a new analysis by Washington State University researchers shows.

Chain hotels often have more green practices in place, including:

  • Energy efficient light bulbs
  • Staff training to conserve energy by turning off lights, heaters and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms
  • Bulk purchasing to save on packaging
  • Using less toxic cleaners and chemicals
  • Offering tips to guests on how to save water and energy during their stay (reusing towels and sheets, for example)

The researchers found that the appearance of being green impacted a guest’s decision when it came to similar rooms at the same price.

Traditionally, hotels have had large environmental footprints in the hospitality industry because they use so much water and cleaning chemicals, electricity by keeping lights on all night, etc.

The green hotel movement has become more and more popular since the 1990s.

"It's a smart practice for hotels," says Dennis Reynolds, Ivar B. Haglund Endowed Chair in the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management.

"When it started, no one acknowledged that. They said, 'This is a green practice. We're doing it for the environment.' That caught on very quickly because, yes, it's good for the environment but it's also good for the bottom line."

Greener buildings with better insulation, improved ventilation systems and increased control over room temperature and air quality can cut energy costs significantly.

Source: Washington State University press release

Improve a room’s air quality for more comfort

9400 Ceiling Mount air cleaner
Many hotels are seeing the benefits of green practices - and indoor air quality plays an important role in the experience provided to guests.

A portable air cleaner with activated carbon and HEPA air filters can remove the widest range of odors, chemicals, gases, allergens, molds, bacteria and viruses and provide relief to guests affected by allergies and asthma or chemical sensitivities. Units can also be ducted or otherwise incorporated into existing ventilation systems.

Contact Electrocorp for more information about our line of air cleaners for the hospitality industry and other options.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Companies benefit from green buildings and better IAQ

Workers often complain about office
temperature and air quality.
While workers’ productivity and satisfaction depend on a variety of factors, one important aspect is indoor air quality, experts say.

Green buildings that offer improved indoor air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, views and acoustics can have a positive effect on worker health and well-being, morale, comfort and productivity, a growing number of studies show.

Companies, in turn, can save money on sick leaves, absenteeism, replacement training, overtime pay, compensation and other costs.

A case study done by Sustainability Victoria and the Kador Group in 2005-2006, examining a green retrofit and the effects on the workers showed that there was:
  • A 44 percent reduction in the monthly average cost of sick leave
  • A 9 percent improvement in the average typing speed of secretaries and notciable improvement in overall accuracy
  • Up to 20 percent reduced incidence of headaches among workers and improvements in colds and flu, sore eyes, fatigue and concentration issues
  • A 12 percent rise in self-reported productivity

According to a March 2010 British study of 10,000 property and construction professionals, more than half (55 percent) complained about the office temperature and 45 percent were unhappy with the ventilation or air quality.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Improve IAQ at the workplace

Electrocorp specializes in a variety of versatile air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications.

The air cleaners can be stand-alone, plug-and-play units, they can be attached to the HVAC system or they can be mounted to the ceiling.

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Contact Electrocorp for more information and customizable solutions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chemicals used in gas fracking to be listed: Trade group

Most members will disclose fracking
chemicals, coalition says.
With mounting concerns over the chemicals used in the natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process by natural gas drillers in the Marcellus shale region, people in the area might soon be one step closer to knowing what may be in their water or air.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the industry trade group representing 200 gas drilling companies, has said that most of its members have agreed to disclose voluntarily the chemicals that are used.

They are planning to make the chemicals used in each well public, by listing them in a national database titled

The companies have previously declined to disclose the chemicals in their fracking fluids because they claimed it was a “trade secret”.

As of January 1, 2012, the coalition will require all of its members to disclose the chemicals, a spokesman said in an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The chemicals are mixed into the millions of gallons of water and sand pumped underground to release the natural gas.

Many of the chemicals can be found in most household cleaners, according to the article, and often, the fluid contains acids, chlorides, methanol and ethylene.

The controversy has centered on the potential health effects linked to the fracking fluid that returns to the surface and how the waste is handled.

Top 5 gas drillers in the U.S.

As the natural gas industry keeps growing at an explosive pace, concerns are starting to surface about the safety of the hydraulic fracturing process and the health effects that may be associated with it.

The concerns center on the chemicals that are being used in the process (which are often deemed proprietary and are not publicized), the VOCs that may be entering nearby residents’ homes and the symptoms that may be linked with the chemical exposure.

More research and studies may be needed to get an accurate picture of the human and environmental impact of gas drilling, but in the meantime, it may help to learn more about the industry itself.

While the industry has kept more than 14,000 oil and gas companies busy in 2009, here are the top 5:
  1. Exxon Mobil
  2. Chesapeake Energy
  3. Anadarko
  4. Devon Energy
  5. BP
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, ProPublica

Industrial-strength air cleaners for businesses and homes: Electrocorp works with environmental consultants and government agencies on providing simple and cost-effective solutions for better indoor air quality. Contact us for more information.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fumes and chemicals in nail salons an occupational hazard

Nail salon workers may be exposed
to dangerous chemicals and fumes.
The chemical smell wafting out of most nail salons may be familiar, but they can pose a health threat to the workers that are exposed to them every day.

A growing concern over the “toxic trio” – the chemicals toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde that can be found in many nail polishes and treatments – have prompted some authorities to pass new regulations regarding the health and safety of nail salon workers, but most continue to work in poorly ventilated areas with little or no protection against the fumes.

Since many nail salon workers are newly arrived immigrants less likely to complain, and many health effects may only become apparent over the long-term, the issues has been flying under the radar for some time.

However, with a growing public awareness of the danger of chemical exposure, and after the toxic trio chemicals were listed as substances that can cause cancer and birth defects, action seems overdue.

In addition, studies have shown that nail salon workers have a greater prevalence of respiratory and skin conditions as well as headaches.

What is the toxic trio?
  • Toluene – a solvent found in nail glues, can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, linked to short-term memory loss and neurological problems
  • DBP – a chemical used to reduce polish brittleness and cracking, is hazardous for pregnant women and has been linked with reproductive problems
  • Formaldehyde – a hardener and preservative, is a known carcinogen and has been linked to asthma

Experts recommend using more natural, organic products and opting for nail treatments with the least amount of chemicals in them. Nail salon workers should have work stations that are well ventilated.

The Salon 5000 and 6000 are ideal
for nail salons and spas.
Wearing a mask will only protect from dust and tiny particles, but not from chemical fumes.

A portable air filter with activated carbon and HEPA and a source capture attachment can reduce the amount of chemicals, fumes and particles right at the source. Electrocorp offers a variety of air cleaners for beauty salons and spas.

Contact us for more information.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are indoor swimming pools bad for your health?

Researchers are trying to pinpoint the long-term effects of the chemicals in pool water and ambient air

The chemicals used in indoor swimming pools
may affect people's health and well-being.
Photo by Lee Coursey
For professional swimmers and lifeguards, the constant exposure to chemicals and odors in indoor swimming pools may lead to health problems down the road.

The chlorine used in the water and chloramines, which are formed when chlorine reacts with other contaminants give off strong odors, and previous studies have linked swimming in indoor pools with asthma and bronchitis in children.

Chlorine is such a common ingredient in pool water and tap water because it inactivates most disease-causing germs in seconds.

Chemical reacts with other contaminants

But each swimmer that delves into a pool is inadvertently adding contaminants to the water, including sweat, hair, urine, makeup, sunscreen and more.

When these pollutants react with the chlorine, they produce strong-smelling chloramines – an odor that regular indoor swimmers are familiar with.

Without a proper ventilation or filtration system, the volatile organic compounds tend to hang around and be inhaled by coaches, lifeguards, spectators and swimmers.

More research on inhalation hazards
is needed, experts say.
The answer, experts say, may lie in finding a better system for water disinfection. They also recommend better training and regular testing and maintenance to use the chemicals in proper amounts and to store them safely.

Swimmers themselves can minimize their contribution to the pollutants by taking a shower before entering the pool.

Source: CNN Health

Remove airborne chemicals and odors with industrial-strength air cleaners

Electrocorp is a leading provider of industrial air cleaners for a wide range of applications.

Equipped with a multistage filtration system with a deep-bed activated carbon filter and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration, the air scrubbers can remove gaseous pollutants, odors, pathogens, particles and allergens from the ambient air.

The units are designed for 24/7 operation, they are energy effective and require little maintenance.

Call Electrocorp for a personal consultation and a recommendation based on your industry, space size and contaminants.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simple ways to improve IAQ in educational facilities

Educational facilities are in need of
improved indoor air quality.
With roughly one fifth of the U.S. population spending their days in educational facilities such as schools, day care and child care settings, universities and the like, experts are warning about the effects poor indoor air quality can have on students and teachers.

Studies have linked indoor air pollution with health risks and problems such as asthma, nausea, fatigue, headaches and other respiratory conditions.

By subjecting the student population as well as staff at educational facilities to poor indoor air quality, the polluted air can affect the health and well-being, concentration, attendance rates and student and staff performance.

Be aware of indoor air pollutants

Just because you can’t see or smell something, it doesn’t mean the air is clean.

In fact, any indoor environment will be polluted with biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold, allergens and dust particles, chemical and gaseous pollutants coming from building materials, paints, cleaning agents, inks, arts and crafts materials and more.

Take simple steps to improve the indoor air quality
  1. Reduce chemical pollutants: High-efficiency room air filters with activated carbon provide a quick and simple way to remove gaseous pollutants. Switch to low emission cleaning products and avoid introducing more chemicals into the rooms as much as possible.

  2. Control humidity: High humidity levels can lead to active mold growth and helps mildew, bacteria and dust mites to thrive. Keeping the humidity under 51 percent with the help of dehumidifier systems and using a room air filter with a medical-grade HEPA or UV germicidal filtration can help keep these types of contaminants under control.

  3. Counter carbon-dioxide: A lack of proper ventilation and fresh air supply to students and staff has profound negative effects on their ability to concentrate and retain information. Make sure the ventilation systems are adequate, and that an adequate amount of fresh air is introduced into the different rooms.

  4. Reduce allergens and asthmagens: A growing number of children are suffering from asthma and asthma-related school absences are common. High-efficiency air purifiers with HEPA and UV germicidal filtration can capture common asthma triggers such as pet dander (brought in on kids- clothing), roaches, dust mites and mold.
  5. Electrocorp's RAP Series:
    Powerful air cleaners


Choose the best all-in-one solution

Electrocorp specializes in high-efficiency, portable or HVAC-compatible air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters as well as optional UV germicidal filtration and has developed a range of air cleaners for schools and universities.

With a wide variety of options, models and sizes, Electrocorp will have the right air cleaner to provide the cleanest most breathable air in any facility.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Former grow-op houses a risk in real estate transactions

Illegal marijuana grow-ops often lead to
mold problems and structural damage.
Experts say new homeowners may be in for a rude awakening when it comes to houses that have been used as marijuana grow-ops.

That’s because cannabis production in residential homes is often linked to moisture problems and structural damage and may lead to mold infestations as well as electrical and chemical contamination, according to an indoor environmental consultant interviewed for the Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Remediation and reconstruction may be a costly expense for unsuspecting homeowners.

With hundreds of grow-op busts each year, there are often no rules or regulations requiring sellers to declare that the house was used for illegally growing cannabis.

In some jurisdictions in Canada, health authorities, municipal building inspectors and municipalities become involved and have recognized the problem as a serious public health issue.

Experts recommend having a home properly inspected before buying it and to hire professionals to deal with any mold problems, electrical and structural damage.

Portable industrial air cleaners for on-site protection

Electrocorp's 5000 Pro
Breathing in airborne mold spores and mold mycotoxins, chemicals, VOCs, tiny particles and other pollutants may affect the health and well-being of contractors and workers.

Electrocorp has designed powerful and portable air cleaners for mold and asbestos remediation, construction and renovation work and for chemical and odor control.

Designed with an efficient multistage filtration system containing activated carbon and HEPA, the air cleaners remove the widest range of pollutant from the air, including chemicals, gases, VOCs, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses, mold, allergens and more.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupational risk: Welding in underground spaces

Underground welding operations
produce dangerous fumes.
Welding creates harmful fumes that should be vented to protect workers – but what if a person works in a difficult-to-vent spot, like a subway station or any other kind of tunnel or underground structure?

Studies have shown that the levels of pollutants generally stay below established safety limits. Still, the toxins are there, and research is lacking in terms of health effects due to long-term exposure to these toxins.

At least two studies completed in Paris and Seoul have found that toxic pollutants like manganese and chromium can be present in the ambient air of underground transport systems and pose a health risk to workers who spend a lot of time there, according to an in-depth article published by Science Line.

The effects might also be felt by vulnerable populations (i.e. asthmatics, the elderly, children and older subway workers), and it is certainly a consideration for the thousands of workers who work underground every day, including those repairing equipment, driving the trains and welding the tracks.

A New York study found that the level of pollutants in subway stations could be 100 worse than the levels measured outside. One major contaminant is steel dust with tiny metal particles.

Steel welding also creates toxic fumes like hexavalent chromium, one of the most carcinogenic substances known to man.

Source: Science Line

Use portable fume extractors in underground welding operations
The LD450 is a portable fume
extractor with flexible arm.

Electrocorp’s line of portable fume extractors removes the widest range of pollutants at the source with an industrial-strength activated carbon + HEPA filtration system and flexible source capture arm.

They adsorb gases and chemicals in a deep bed of activated carbon, using 40 to 80 pounds of this efficient filtration media. The HEPA filter and pre-filters remove 99.97% of dust particles at 0.3 microns.

The units are designed for TIG, MIG and arc welding operations and they feature a spark arrestor and custom carbon blends.

Contact Electrocorp for more information: 1.866.667.0297.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poor IAQ a drain on company’s time and money

Poor IAQ at the workplace can be
detrimental to workers and the
company's bottom line.
Poor indoor air quality can have a profound effect on a company’s bottom line – and it’s time for management to step up and protect workers from indoor air pollutants, activists say.

A new initiative launched by the Campaign for Clean Air in London highlights the financial and health implications of poor IAQ and suggests solutions that can easily be implemented, according to an article online from Business Green.

One of the main recommendations is a high-quality filtration system, which can help remove up to 90 percent of indoor air contaminants for up to 90 percent of the time, the campaign founder says.

And while London's air quality is known to be poor in general, the dangers of poor IAQ affect workers worldwide.

Studies have shown that poor indoor air quality, often caused by humidity issues and mold infestations, poor ventilation, off-gassing building materials, equipment and furniture as well as cleaning agents and scented products, can affect the health and productivity of employees and cost the company a lot of money.

Portable air cleaners a cost-effective and simple solution

A good air filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA filters will remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants from the ambient air.

Portable air cleaners: RAPs
Electrocorp has developed an extensive product line of industrial air cleaners for various commercial applications, which feature the powerful multi-stage filtration system and which can be customized according to a client’s IAQ concern, space, budget and other requirements.

The air cleaners are either portable, plug-and-go units with a small footprint, or they can be hung from the ceiling or wall or attached to existing ventilation and HVAC systems. The air cleaners are designed for around-the-clock operation to clean the air continuously, with low energy consumption.

Indoor air management is an important objective for companies – and the right air filtration system is key to improved air quality.

Contact one of Electrocorp’s IAQ experts for more information.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cleanup method for dangerous chemicals in the textile industry

Is it possible to end up with clean water
after the textile dying process?
Clothing and fabrics are often defined by their color and patterns – but the textile dying process is one of the most environmentally hazardous aspects of the textile industry.

During the dying process, harmful chemicals are used and released into the ambient air and the environment, as waste is often disposed of in rivers and on agricultural land.

A new, environmentally friendly purification process developed by Biotechnology doctoral student Maria Jonstrup at Lund University promises a much greener way of getting rid of the chemicals by leaving only clean water at the end.

The research has been tested only at the lab, not at the factory, but "in the long term it should be possible for textile factories in India, China and Bangladesh to use the technique. If it works on a laboratory scale it is quite likely that it will also work in a real-life situation", Jonstrup says in a news release.

The new method combines two types of purification processes, one biological and one chemical.

In the biological step, microorganism break down the dyes in a reactor and the chemical step involves the use of small amounts of iron and hydrogen peroxide in combination with UV light.

The research will next be tested in larger volumes of water to reflect industry conditions, and researchers will try to use sunlight instead of UV.

Source: Lund University news release

Capture airborne chemicals and other toxins in industrial applications

Electrocorp has designed versatile industrial air cleaners that combine the most efficient filtration technologies to remove airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, pathogens and other contaminants.

The air cleaners are equipped with deep-bed carbon filters, the most effective filtration media to adsorb gaseous pollutants, HEPA and particle filters for particulate matter and other options such as UV germicidal filtration to neutralize bacteria, viruses and molds.

The air cleaners come in many different styles, sizes, filter combinations and customizable forms. They can be used as stand-alone air treatment systems, hung up on the ceiling or on the wall or attached to existing HVAC systems.

Speak to an Electrocorp representative about industry-specific solutions and recommendations based on your needs and requirements.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hundreds of lab accidents involve dangerous toxins

Workplace accidents in laboratories can be a public health risk.
In many laboratories, a workplace spilling accident can mean the release of harmful viruses or toxins into the environment.

In the United States, labs need special approval from the government to handle these toxins, which can pose a severe threat to humans, animals or plant health, and they need to have the appropriate equipment to handle them.

Despite these restrictions, there were 395 “potential release events” of “select agents” in U.S. labs between 2003 and 2009 reported to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), according to a Scientific American blog.

Those workplace accidents involved loss of containment, spills, accidental needle sticks or sharps injuries, but many are not officially reported, the writer says.

While the U.S. plans to build a new Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation facility, the full range of potential exposures for the scientists and residents in the area need to be considered first, experts warn.

Lab hoods and industrial-strength air cleaners for additional protection

Electrocorp has designed a range of air cleaners for laboratories, which can remove a wide range of contaminants, including chemicals, pathogens, particles and more.

Along with other preventive health and safety measures, a portable air treatment system with activated carbon, HEPA and UV germicidal filtration will help keep the air clean.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mother’s workplace exposure linked to children’s asthma risk

Most offices and other workplaces expose pregnant women
to a variety of pollutants that may affect their offspring.
Breathing indoor air pollutants during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of the baby developing asthma later, a Danish study has found.

According to a Reuters article, the researchers analyzed the data of more than 45,000 children at age 7 and found that 18.6 percent developed asthma after their mothers has been exposed to low-molecular weight particles at work during pregnancy.

This was a slight increase from the general growing risk of developing asthma, which is 16.1 percent of the general population.

The study adjusted for risk factors such as age, BMI, allergy and hypersensitivities, smoking, medication and pets, but researchers warn that other factors may have influenced the results, which are not easily accounted for.

"Whilst a link has been found, our results at this stage are modest and further research is needed into specific chemicals and substances to determine those that could be most harmful," the study’s leading researcher was quoted as saying.

Cleaner indoor air at work with industrial-strength air filters

In many workplaces, existing ventilation systems are simply incapable of providing workers with enough air exchanges and enough fresh air to keep exposure to indoor air pollutants to a minimum.

Most indoor environments are filled with pollutants of a chemical nature (VOCs from building materials, paints, electronic equipment, cleaning products, etc), biological nature (mold growth due to moisture or humidity issues, bacteria and viruses) and particulate matter (dust and particles, which can also be laced with other toxins).
The PrintSafe, for example, removes VOCs
from printer ink and paper particles right at
the printer exhaust. More info: Office printers

Electrocorp has developed industrial-strength air cleaners for virtually any type of indoor air environment, which can target the widest range of pollutants with a versatile multistage filtration system.

Deep bed carbon filters filled with many pounds of granular activated carbon offer the largest adsorbent surface area in the industry to remove chemicals, odors, VOCs, gases and fumes from the ambient air.

The filtration systems also contain pre-filters and HEPA filters for particulate matter and pathogens, and they may accommodate UV germicidal filtration for enhanced protection against biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold mycotoxins.

Ask about Electrocorp’s exclusive carbon blends and speak to one of our air quality experts to find the right air cleaner for your industry, IAQ need and application.
See also:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Asbestos still a health risk in many countries

Factories processing asbestos often
neglected health and safety precautions.
Years after asbestos factories are shut down, the onset of asbestos-related diseases continues to plague countries where people were exposed to the dangerous asbestos fibers.

One such example is Egypt.

A recent in-depth article about the impact of asbestos on Egypt’s population cited studies by the National Cancer Institute and Abbasseya Hospital that revealed a rise of asbestos-related cancer diagnoses in the past few years – despite the fact that Egypt’s asbestos factories were officially shut down in 2005.

The numbers are expected to continue to rise, since there is often a 20- to 30-year time span between exposure to asbestos fibers and the onset of asbestos-related disease.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos describes a group of naturally occurring minerals that can be mined and used in thin, durable threads in a wide variety of materials to make them more resistant to heat, fire and chemicals.

Because of these qualities, asbestos was a common material in home construction and other industries throughout the 20th century.

The health risk is linked to inhalation of minuscule asbestos fibers when the material is disturbed or processed.

The tiny fibers of blue and yellow asbestos (another type of asbestos, white asbestos, is not as harmful to human health, experts say) can penetrate deep into the lungs and stay there, causing the growth of malignant tumors decades later.

Asbestos often causes mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer of the thin membranes lining the chest and abdomen. Symptoms include chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath and tightness of the chest.

A lack of health and safety measures

Even after many western industrialized countries had become aware of the dangers associated with asbestos, they continued to export it to developing countries.

At least 14 cement factories located around Cairo were using asbestos in the manufacture of water pipes, and failed to introduce security measures - such as the wearing of a mask - to protect their workers, the article says.

Asbestos waste was often carelessly disposed of close to the plant, near residential areas or schools.

Removal of asbestos-containing materials in buildings is difficult because it’s not known or documented where the dangerous asbestos was used, the article says.

And even though asbestos has been banned, companies continue to import the material under the names of subcategories (crocidolite, amosite and chrysotile for blue, yellow and white asbestos), which are not mentioned in the legislation.

Worried about asbestos exposure?
AirRhino: Versatile air cleaner that
can go from particle abatement to
chemical and odor filtration on site.

Asbestos is so dangerous that experts agree it’s better to leave materials undisturbed or to ask remediation professionals to mitigate the problem.

Proper health and safety measures are vital to protect the health and well-being of workers, occupants and residents.

Electrocorp manufactures highly efficient industrial air cleaners for asbestos and mold remediation.

The air scrubbers feature a variety of HEPA and particle filters to trap 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns, and they can be re-configured to also remove odors and chemicals with deep-bed activated carbon filters.

Contact an Electrocorp IAQ expert for more information and recommendations: 1-866-667-0297.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old dry cleaning businesses in need of contamination cleanup

Dry cleaning. Photo by Simon Law
When a longtime dry cleaning operation in Little Chute shut down after almost 50 years in business, the real work started.

That’s because the owners left not only decaying machinery at the downtown facility, but high levels of tetrachloroethylene, a popular dry cleaning chemical commonly known as “perc.”

Perc is a colorless liquid and 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.

NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) considers the chemical a possible carcinogen.

The site needed official remediation services by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which cleaned up the contaminated soil and groundwater.

This is certainly not a unique example of perc contamination caused by dry cleaners.

The use of perc is widespread. While it is slowly being phased out, between 65 and 70 percent of the country's estimated 25,000 dry-cleaning facilities still use the solvent, industry representatives have said.

Many businesses have been operating since before environmentally safe waste disposal regulations existed and it was a common practice to dump the cleaning chemical in the backyard or down the drain.

Often, the contaminated soil needs to be dug up and replaced with clean dirt.

Source: Post Crescent article

Use industrial strength air cleaners to breathe healthier air

Electrocorp specializes in portable, highly efficient air cleaners for businesses and commercial applications.

The air cleaners remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants with a multistage filtration system that contains activated carbon, HEPA, UV (optional) and pre-filters.

The units can also be customized with custom carbon blends, special bag filters, or deeper carbon beds to target industry-specific pollutants.

For dry cleaning operations and businesses with high levels of airborne chemicals, consider Electrocorp's versatile RSU Series, which features air cleaners in various sizes and filter configurations.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Take steps to prevent illness and injury in the lab

Laboratory workers handle a variety of chemicals, solvents, etc.
Lab technicians and managers are routinely exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals, gases, particulate and biological contaminants.

Those toxins as well as other occupational hazards can affect the health and well-being of workers and hurt the bottom line.

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that injuries and illnesses sustained in the workplace cost the U.S. more than $53 billion in worker’s compensation in 2008.

One way to keep those costs down and workers healthier and safer is to put one or more programs in place that are designed to limit sickness and injury on the job.

OSHA recommends the following three options:

  • Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which includes collaboration between OSHA, workers and management, training, worksite analysis and hazard prevention and control.
  • The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes and rewards small businesses that implement health and safety management systems.
  • The OSHA Challenge Program advocates preventive measures to stop workplace accidents and rewards companies making gradual improvements in safety and health.
Source: Lab Manager Magazine

Lab managers can always contact OSHA or their respective health and safety agencies to obtain information on voluntary and essential health and safety standards and requirements to protect workers.

One important aspect of lab health and safety concerns the workplace's indoor air quality.

Generic air cleaning solutions are usually ineffective to keep the indoor air quality in laboratories at a satisfactory level and to contain the fumes, chemicals and odors that may affect workers even if they wear personal protective equipment.

Electrocorp specializes in customized air quality solutions and versatile units that remove a wide range of serious airborne contaminants to maintain safe, healthy and comfortable working environments in laboratories.

Laboratory air purifiers with many pounds of activated carbon and custom carbon blends can adsorb chemicals and help clean the air 24/7.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and personalized recommendations.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welding industry looking for young workers

Electrocorp's welding fume extractors capture many toxins
right at the source.
While it may be difficult for people in some industries to find a job these days, it doesn’t look like qualified welders will run into that problem anytime soon.

According to some sources, there is a mass shortage of skilled welders, as more than 50,000 workers retire each year and only 25,000 new prospects enter the workplace annually.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates there will be 450,000 open welding positions by 2014.

The average welder is in his or her mid-50s, according to the agency, and the job, with its toxic fumes and ultrabright flames that can damage the eyes, isn't amenable to older workers.

Welding is one of those professions dominated by men, although women's share of the field inched up from 5 percent to 6 percent in the five years ending in 2005, according to the Department of Labor.

Protect yourself from harmful welding fumes

Welding is a respected profession with good pay, but risks include loud noise, intense heat, glaring light and toxic welding fumes.
The Fume Extractor LD450

Welders are protected under occupational health and safety standards, but being aware of the risks and making sure that individual protection is adequate is essential for long-term job viability.

The dangerous fumes and gases originate from the metals that are welded and the coatings, residues and solvents. A wide range of toxins can be captured at the source with ventilation hoods and/or an industrial-strength air cleaner with fume extraction.

Electrocorp’s portable fume extractor series is designed for TIG, MIG and arc welding operations. The air cleaners feature a spark arrestor, a flexible source capture arm, a 40 to 80 lb. activated carbon filter to adsorb and trap welding fumes, gases and chemicals, custom carbon blends to enhance the adsorption power for certain gaseous pollutants, and HEPA filters for particle control.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options and ask about our free webinars: 1-866-667-0297.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TCE more dangerous than previously thought

TCE contamination is a public health risk.
The industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) just got an upgraded risk assessment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which found that it causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems.

As one of the most widespread groundwater contaminants in the nation, TCE may thus be more dangerous than previously thought.

The findings could lead to higher cleanup costs and a new federal drinking-water standard for the contaminant, which currently stands at 5 parts per billion in water and 1 microgram per cubic meter in the air.

According to EPA officials, the new risk assessment could affect cleanup strategies at 761 Superfund sites. TCE has been found in almost every state, but a lot of it is in California, including two Superfund sites on military bases Camp Pendleton and Edwards Air Force Base.

Underground plumes of TCE often lead to high ambient levels of the chemical in the air and affect people in their homes, at work or on the move. Soil vapor intrusion in homes above contaminated groundwater is a major concern, experts say.

What is TCE?

The chlorinated solvent was developed by chemists in the late 19th century and was widely used after the Second World War as a metal degreaser, as a chemical intermediate and extractant, and as a component of some consumer products.

TCE is designated as a Hazardous Air Pollutant, is a common groundwater contaminant, and has been found at more than 1,500 hazardous waste sites, according to EPA.

TCE can be released to indoor air from the use of TCE-containing consumer products, volatilization from water supplies, and vapor intrusion through walls and floors from contaminated soil and groundwater.

Air cleaners for better indoor air quality
RAP 204:
Strong air cleaner

Only an industrial-strength air cleaner with a large activated carbon filter can remove airborne chemicals, odors, gases and fumes that contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Electrocorp’s portable air treatment systems are equipped with the largest carbon filters in the industry as well as HEPA and other filters to capture the widest range of contaminants from the ambient air.

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants and government agencies to provide cleaner air in many indoor spaces and also offers residential air purifiers with carbon + HEPA filtration for single- or double-family units that may be affected by soil vapor intrusion or other IAQ concerns.

Contact Electrocorp today for more information on our air cleaners, our exclusive carbon blends to target specific contaminants and other available options.

Source: Los Angeles Times, EPA
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Hospitals: If it’s dusty and dirty, what’s in the air?

A clean environment is important in hospitals and clinics.
An unannounced inspection at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the UK found four out of nine wards had unacceptably high levels of dust and dirt, especially on curtain rails, overhead lights and cable trunking.

The inspectors also found dirty toilets, dusty floors and badly stained walls, according to an article by UKPA.

These surprise inspections are an effective method to remind hospital staff and healthcare personnel about the importance of keeping a clean and healthy patient environment.

After all, if the floor is dusty, what kind of pollutants may be in the air?

Previous air quality studies in hospitals have found that hospital staff and patients are breathing high levels of PCBs, bacteria, viruses, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particles, mold and many chemicals used in cleaning products, sterilizing and preservation fluids and other procedures.

Remove indoor air pollutants with industrial-strength air cleaners

Electrocorp is a global innovator when it comes to making portable, versatile air cleaners for a variety of applications, including hospitals and healthcare centers and laboratories.

The high-performance industrial air cleaners are engineered to treat complex indoor air quality concerns and feature an activated carbon + HEPA filtration system to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.
RAP Series: Powerful air cleaners.

Options include UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of bacteria, viruses and mold mycotoxins and custom carbon blends for the targeted adsorption of certain chemicals, gases and odors.

Apart from the stand-alone air cleaners, Electrocorp also offers HVAC-compatible units and ceiling mount air cleaners.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations based on your needs and requirements, space size and budget.
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