Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Retirement homes: For a greener future

Seniors are at greater risk for
respiratory and auto-immune diseases
As people live longer, the need for retirement homes, nursing homes and adult congregate living facilities increases.

To date, approximately 10 million seniors in the United States are or will live in one of these types of homes.

For the average healthy person, exposure to harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, furniture and paints may not have immediate or long-term effects. Seniors, however, are particularly at risk.

As we age, our immune systems become less effective, making us more vulnerable to disease and infection. As a result, autoimmune diseases and cancers are more prevalent, as are cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

What the experts suggest

Indoor environmental experts have come up with three important elements necessary for ensuring good indoor air quality:         
  • Source control
  • Ventilation
  • Air cleaning

Source Control

Source control is the process of eliminating the causes of air pollution at the source, such as in building materials. The EPA agrees that source control is the only way to eliminate indoor air pollution, but it is impossible to completely rid the air of contaminants. As a result, it is suggested that buildings are outfitted with furniture, paint and cleaning products that are low in volatile organic compounds. It is also important to regularly test for high humidity. This is a sure-fire way of detecting early signs of mold. By starting as simply as that, the quantity of pollutants will be reduced.

Ventilation

A good HVAC ventilation system will allow for a constant flow of air to pass. It can also aid in minimizing the threat of mold. But an HVAC system alone is not enough. It can bring in pollutants, such as pollen and dust from the outside as well as circulate pollutants that are already indoors. Ensuring a regular cleaning of the filters in the HVAC system will aid greatly in reducing built-up contaminants indoors.

Air Cleaning

A good ventilation system is incomplete without an air cleaning solution. Because HVACs are limited in their capacity to rid the air of allergens and pollutants, air cleaners will pick up the slack. These cleaning units will adsorb airborne chemicals with activated carbon filters. HEPA filters will trap particles and the need for constant cleaning will be significantly reduced.

Source: GREENGUARD

Electrocorp’s air cleaners

Electrocorp's air filtration systems can outfit retirement homes with air cleaners that will help reduce the risk of illness through airborne chemicals. With options for HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and even UV germidical lamps, Electrocorp can provide cleaner air solutions for seniors.

Do you or someone you know live in a retirement home, nursing home or adult congregate living facility? Tell us your indoor air quality stories.

Show your support for greener and healthier working and living environments by becoming a follower of this blog!

To learn more about Electrocorp’s products, contact us through our website.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Workplace IAQ: How important is air duct cleaning in offices?

Offices can expose workers to dust, mold and chemicals.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Many people don’t mind being indoors in their air conditioned offices during the hot summer months, but office buildings have to be well maintained in order to avoid indoor air quality problems.

Spending day after day in offices with poor indoor air quality can lead to reduced productivity and health effects such as chronic coughs and sneezing, scratchy throats, itchy eyes, headaches and aggravated respiratory conditions like asthma.

When it comes to indoor air pollution, a lot of people tend to blame mold for health issues, occupational hygienists say.

However, mold may not be the cause of the IAQ concerns – in many cases the culprits are airborne chemicals and dust.

Health effects of dust exposure

Dust, which contains fine particles of fibers, skin scales, insect parts, pollen, cobwebs, dirt, dander and more, settles on surfaces everywhere in the office.

Regular cleaning can help control this aspect of indoor air quality, although companies should insist on non-toxic cleaning agents to avoid the spread of irritating chemicals throughout the office.

Unfortunately, experts note that even with regular cleaning, dust may settle in areas that are inaccessible, including the building’s air ducts.

Once dust gets in the air ducts, it can stay there for years, or it might be circulated throughout the office where it can affect employees’ health and well-being.

Since people spend so much time in offices and there could be a lot of dust, yearly air duct cleanings are recommended, as long as they are done by professionals with the right equipment.

Source: Digital Journal press release

Removing pollutants from the office air
The PrintSafe features a custom
source capture hood that removes
pollutants from the printer exhaust.

Dust, allergens, fine particles, chemicals, VOCs, odors, gases and biological contaminants can be removed easily and efficiently with Electrocorp’s air cleaners for offices and air cleaners for office printers.

As an industry leader in air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications, Electrocorp offers some of the largest adsorbent surface areas, the most customizable options and features and the most relevant filtration media at the best price. The air cleaners contain a multistage filtration system with activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV germicidal filtration.

The company’s portable and HVAC-compatible air cleaners can help keep the office air clean and healthy.

Contact Electrocorp to talk to an IAQ expert about your concerns and space.

Is the air in your office making you sick? We’d like to hear from you.

Show your support for green and healthy working environments by becoming a follower of this blog.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vapor intrusion forcing people out of their homes

Toxic chemicals from contaminated soil can find their
way inside homes and affect the residents.
Whenever homes, schools or other buildings are constructed on top of previously contaminated land, toxic chemicals and gases may find their way inside, where they can affect people’s health and well-being.

This is supposedly what happened in a Scottish neighborhood near Glasgow.

Built on a site that was used by industrial plants from the 1940s until the 1970s, homes that were tested showed high levels of toxic chemicals in the ambient air.

The toxins were
  • Trichloroethylene (an industrial solvent)
  • Tetrachloroethylene (dry-cleaning fluid)
  • Polychlorinated biphenols
  • Polyaromatic carbons

The air inside 25 homes was tested in June and July 2011 and found levels of the chemicals at much higher levels than deemed acceptable by WHO standards. Apart from the high levels of chemicals, experts also worried about the mixture of toxins people are exposed to.

One family moved away after the wife developed nose bleeds, headaches and nausea a few years after moving there.

The family is suing the landlord over the toxic fume exposure in a test case that may be of interest to more than 40 families living in the area.

The plaintiffs allege that a required remediation of the place did not take place.

The chemicals in question have been linked to irritations, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and developmental disorders.

Source: The Scotsman

Air cleaners for vapor intrusion and environmental concerns

Soil vapor intrusion is a common concern in buildings atop contaminated sites, and the right air cleaners with deep-bed activated carbon filters can help reduce gaseous pollutants inside those homes.

Electrocorp, an industry leader in air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications, works with environmental consultants to help improve the indoor air quality in single- and double-family dwellings.

The air cleaners from Electrocorp feature some of the largest adsorbent surface areas, and the company also offers more than 40 different carbon types and blends to address specific chemical concerns.

The air cleaners are portable, affordable and long-lasting, and the carbon filters can be refilled according to need.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Heart defects at birth linked to solvents at work

Women can be exposed through synthetic textiles
and dyes, among many other sources.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Women who are exposed to organic solvents at the workplace have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with a heart defect, new research shows.

Many pregnant women may be exposed to solvents, which are often used in chemical manufacturing and in industries where substances such as fats, oils and waxes need to be dissolved or cleaned.

Organic solvents are common ingredients in
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Adhesives
  • Degreasing and cleaning agents
  • Dyes
  • Polymers
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic textiles
  • Printing inks
  • Agricultural products

By handling these products, workers may breathe in organic chemicals, or they may enter the body through mouth or skin.

The researchers assessed the levels of workplace exposure to solvents in 5000 women in the United States from one month before conception up to the end of the first trimester.
Pregnant women exposed to solvents at work
may put their babies at risk, a study shows.

The women took part in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and their babies were delivered between 1997 and 2002.

Since exposure to organic solvents (chlorinated solvents, aromatic solvents, hydrocarbons) is relatively common in the workplace, industrial hygienists focused on these chemicals and possible associations to birth defects.

Their approach showed a 4-5% higher risk of heart defects, but they cautioned that the results did not allow the drawing of definitive conclusions on specific types of exposure and specific congenital heart defects.

The study appeared online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Source: Science Daily Press Release

Cleaner air at the workplace

Since many industries and workplaces rely on the use of solvents, the indoor air quality may be affected by the volatile organic compounds and chemicals known to be a health risk.

Electrocorp has specialized in air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that come in customizable sizes and with the most efficient filters to provide cleaner and healthier air.

The air cleaners are equipped with an activated carbon and HEPA multistage filtration system to remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, VOCs as well as particles and other IAQ concerns.

More than 40 different carbon blends can also target specific chemicals and gases, such as those from organic solvents.

For more information on Electrocorp and its products, contact us.

Show your support for green and healthy working environments by becoming a follower of this blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A greener resting place: Formaldehyde and funeral homes

Most Americans still choose
burial over cremation.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
The business of death is often a difficult one. How does a family put their loved one to rest? Do they choose cremation or burial? 

In 2010, more than 50 percent of Americans chose to bury their loved ones. 

Traditionally, burial practices have been difficult on the environment. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it is also very difficult on the morticians.

Although there is a trend toward greener burial practices:
  • Using biodegradable caskets
  • Dressing the deceased in clothing made from natural fiber
  • Using a combination of ethyl alcohol-polyethylene glycol for embalming
most bodies are still preserved with formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and morticians need to work with it almost daily as it is one of the major components used for embalming. 

From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, arsenic was the chemical of choice for embalming. When its poisonous long-term effects were revealed, arsenic was replaced with formaldehyde.

Since the 1980s, formaldehyde has been studied for its ill-effects.

Many funeral homes have made some changes in the way they handle the product, but most continue to use it regardless of the greener alternatives that are now available. 

Though more effective protective gear is used and many mortuaries have installed ventilation units at their work benches, the noxious fumes are simply being moved from inside to outside. 


A safer, greener option for formaldehyde removal

The best way to rid both the indoor and the outdoor air of formaldehyde is to use an air cleaner, which can be attached to a ventilator. 

Electrocorp's RAP series is a perfect
complement to a ventilation system
Electrocorp’s RAP series will take the air ventilators have sucked out from the room and clean it with activated carbon filters. The carbon will adsorb the chemicals and either release clean air back into the workroom or push it outdoors (depending on the air-flow configuration of the ventilation system).

Using an air cleaner to complement the ventilation system will not only help eradicate the toxic effects of formaldehyde for people working in the industry, but it will also create a greener working environment that reduces its toxic output.

Have you considered what imprint you’d like to leave on earth?  Will you support green practices in funeral homes? 

Post your comments, questions and concerns and we’d be happy to reply.

Show your support for a greener, healthier work environment by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp’s air cleaners, call us toll free at 1-866-667-0297 or contact us through our website.  
   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

EPA stresses a healthy environment in schools

Poor indoor air quality impacts students as well as
teachers and school staff, experts warn.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has long been a promoter of good indoor air quality in schools as well as greener administration practices, and helps schools make changes for the better with their Tools for Schools guidance.

In a recent webinar on Green Ribbon Schools (GRS), a US Department of Education project, experts demonstrated why indoor air quality is so important for a healthy school environment as well as for academic success.

Environmental health is one of the main pillars of GRS, and focuses on integrated pest management (employing healthier alternatives to pesticides), ventilation and contamination controls of indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, tobacco smoke, mold, radon and more.

IAQ often overlooked

According to the webinar experts, indoor air quality can affect the students, teachers’ and administrators’ health, comfort and ability to perform.

IAQ is a major component of the school’s physical environment that is the most easily overlooked, they said.
In schools, IAQ should always be a priority because children are more vulnerable to environmental pollution.

Indoor air pollution can cause or aggravate asthma.
They breathe more air than adults in relation to their body size and their immune systems and organs are still developing.

Health effects of poor IAQ can be immediate or long-term. For example, many indoor air pollutants can cause or trigger asthma, or aggravate the symptoms.

With one out of every 10 school children suffering from asthma, the missed school days also affect their overall performances.

Academic performance linked to IAQ

The experts cited scientific evidence that showed how improved indoor air quality increases productivity, the ability to concentrate and recall information and can reduce respiratory illnesses.

It can also save schools money, as better academic performances may mean increased funding for the district. A healthy school environment in a well-maintained school also means fewer costly, major repairs have to be done. Schools also have to spend less on substitute teachers, if there are fewer health-related absences.

The experts gave the following tips for schools:
  • Change the HVAC filters regularly
  • Fix water infiltration problems immediately to avoid mold and mildew
  • Implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices
  • Keep rooms clean and free of clutter
  • Store hazardous products safely
  • Ban idling vehicles outside
  • Use healthy cleaning agents and materials
  • Conduct regular inspections
Source: EPA

Air cleaners for schools, daycares and universities

Children and staff need to be protected from indoor air pollutants. Aside from making the changes outlined above, learning institutions can use affordable and portable air cleaners to help provide cleaner and healthier air.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for schools and universities feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases, odors and fumes, a HEPA filter for particles, dust and pollen, and optional UV germicidal filtration for biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

The air cleaners can be placed in individual classrooms, or they can be attached to existing HVAC systems.

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

China leads the world in eco-cities


Eco-cities are now becoming more the norm than the exception
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
A recent survey by the University of Westminster indicates China builds the most eco-friendly cities in the world. 

Despite having a reputation for being one of the most polluted countries on earth, China has been making some significant strides in creating housing complexes that are both cost-effective and help residents consume less.

These eco-cities are popping up all over China, but people seem to move there more for the low prices and health benefits than for environmental reasons. 

Despite the fact that questions still abound with regards to China's primary source of energy used (coal-fired electricity) and how easily plant life can survive in polluted cities like Dezhou, steps have been taken toward building more eco-conscious, energy-saving apartment buildings.

The second-most eco-friendly country has been slated at the United States. Unlike the Chinese, Americans tend to prize eco-friendly homes for the positive impacts they have on the environment.

Source: USA Today

 Building safe and ecological homes

When environmentally-friendly apartment complexes are planned, many different building materials are needed.

From sustainable lumber to formaldehyde-free insulation to multiple air filtration systems and VOC-free paints, there are a lot of elements to incorporate into the design and construction of these complexes. 

For buildings that are built in polluted or industrialized areas, it is extremely important to protect the residents’ health; both on the inside and outside of the buildings.

Merely using eco-friendly materials is not enough. Living in polluted surroundings will undoubtedly affect the indoor air quality. This is why installing air cleaners in the central air system is extremely important.

Air cleaners for eco-friendly homes

An integral part of the planning process is the environmental consultant. He or she will suggest which materials are most beneficial for the environment.

Working in conjunction with architects, environmental consultants can determine the best industrial-grade air cleaners to use with regards to the size of the buildings and their proximity to polluted areas. 

Electrocorp's I-6500 series
Electrocorp’s I-6500 AH is an industrial-grade air cleaner which contains a filter of up to 160 pounds of activated carbon.

This filter is used to eliminate pollutants, like ozone, exhaust fumes and other organic chemicals, from the air. It is also refillable.

An additional 12-inch deep medical-grade HEPA filter helps to rid the air of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

The unit is completely customizable and can be attached to the building’s central air system. 

Installing units such as this one will result in an eco-friendly home, from the inside out.

Do you or someone you know live or have been to an eco-city? Share your story with us!

Show your support for green working environments by becoming a follower of this blog.

Electrocorp offers air cleaners for commercial, residential and industrial applications. For more information on Electrocorp and its products, contact us.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Poor air quality = Poor productivity


Welding without proper ventilation
is a health-risk
A British lighting company has been prosecuted for subjecting its employees to poor working conditions. 

Despite specialists giving recommendations on how to improve standards, and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector uncovering multiple areas where the company was not meeting health guidelines, it continued to function under the same circumstances for at least eight more months. 

The company was recently fined for sub-standard bathroom facilities, defects in the electrical system, little to no heating in the building, and no ventilation in the welding and powder-spraying sections.

These failings highlighted the extreme risks workers took when going to work every day. One inspector even stated he had never seen such poor conditions in the ten years he’d been an inspector. 

This company is representative of poor indoor air quality sometimes found in the industrial sector. Many health hazards surrounded the workers, such as bacteria from the bathrooms, the risk of being electrocuted by the faulty systems, catching various colds or flus due to a lack of proper insulation and heating, and breathing in toxic fumes in both the spray booths and the welding area.

In 2010/2011, statistics revealed that work-related illnesses affected approximately 100,000 people in Yorkshire and Humber, England.


Indoor Air Quality in the Industrial Sector

Working in the industrial sector can be very stressful. Many people are faced with tasks that involve welding, sawing, electrical work, and/or the handling of toxic chemicals. Working with such materials requires a safe and healthy environment. 

It is the companies' responsibility to provide clean and toxic-free working conditions so employees will work more efficiently, and absenteeism, due to work-related illnesses, will be minimized. 

A healthy working environment makes for a happier and healthier employee.

Improving a company’s indoor air quality

Electrocorp's Fume Extractor
If you’re a company that is predominantly in production or manufacturing, and many duties involve welding, soldering, sawing, etc…, the best way to mitigate poor air quality is to use Electrocorp’s Fume Extractor series of air cleaners. With metalwork, it is recommended that each person have a Fume Extractor by his or her side. 

The units have a spark arrestor as well as a maneuverable arm and intake hood which can be moved close to the fumes and sparks. The hood allows the toxic chemicals to be absorbed from the source and immediately taken out of the ambient air, thus providing a healthier indoor air quality for all employees. 

The units use 40-80 lb activated carbon filters to adsorb the toxic chemicals, and HEPA filters help extract particles from the air.

Have you ever been ill from poor air quality at the workplace? 

Do you run a company where you make sure the quality of the air keeps your employees healthy? 

We want to hear from you. Tell us your stories, or feel free to ask any questions. We’d be happy to respond.

Show your support for green working environments by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp, please contact us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Roofing tiles now 'eat' smog

As people are becoming more health-conscious, the need for eco-friendly products in and around the house is increasing. Now, it is possible to install roofing tiles that are not only environmentally conscious, but actually help reduce smog. See the video below for details.


How do you feel about these smog-eating tiles? Send us your comments, questions or concerns and we'll be happy to respond.

Air cleaners for indoor work

Though these smog-eating tiles are an added benefit to the construction industry and to the people living and working in these buildings, indoor air cleaners are an equally important component for reducing air pollution.

When working in construction and restoration, using an air cleaner, such as the AirRhino series, will help crews work and breathe better indoors. A highly versatile cleaner, the AirRhino can be used to filter particles, chemicals, gases and odors from the air. Filters range from traditional bag filters, to HEPA, UV and activated carbon filters. Switch the filtration system on site for whichever function you need the unit to have.


Show your support for green working environments by becoming a follower today!

For more information on Electrocorp's air cleaners, please contact us online.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spas inch ever closer to ‘green’ care

Organic spa products are becoming more common.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
While most spas and salons across North America use products that are choc-full of chemicals such as ammonium lauryl sulfate (a skin and eye irritant), and quaternium-15 (a known allergen), more and more spas in the United States are opting for the organic route. 

Be Pure Organic Salon and Boutique in Pittsburgh is just one of several spas taking the high road, and owner Kelly Miller takes this business very seriously.

In an article by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Miller explains that each ingredient should be so natural that none of us would be afraid to eat it.

Miller is not the only believer in her area. Many other salons and spas in Pennsylvania, like Tula Organic, are embracing the organic route and utilizing big-name products, like Aveda, to do so.

Becky Spitler and Emily Askin own Tula Organic. They believe people are looking for a more sustainable life, both inside the home and out.

Despite the move toward more organic, plant-based products, some chemicals continue to be used. There is, therefore, still a need to mitigate the effects of those chemicals within the spas and salons.  

As treatments are performed within closed spaces, both customers and employees are at risk for indoor air pollution. It is important to find an air cleaning solution that will create a healthier environment.


Finding the right air cleaner for your spa or salon

Electrocorp's CleanBreeze 3 was
conceived specifically for salons and spas












When deciding what to purchase for your establishment, factor in the different services you offer.

Do you have a manicure and pedicure service? Do you dye hair? Do you use aerosol hairsprays?

All of these different services and treatments include varying degrees of chemicals. Even a simple shampoo and blow-dry can release chemicals into the air.

Electrocorp offers several air cleaners for salons and spas.

The CleanBreeze 3 is an







easy-to-maneuver air cleaner that can be wheeled over to a manicure table, a hair dyeing station or a styling station. It has an articulating arm with a precision cap you can angle according to the type of treatment or service you are providing. The cap draws in the harmful chemicals as well as any odors and particles in the air. 

Manufactured in North America and using a carbon filtration system, the energy-efficient CleanBreeze 3 is yet another way you can safely and easily contribute to the green movement.

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about chemicals in spas or salons? Let us know by posting a message. We’ll be happy to respond.

Show your support for a green working environment by becoming a follower to this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp’s air cleaners, please visit our website or contact us directly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mold in Toronto factory contaminates bladder cancer drug

Mold may affect the world's supply of ImmuCyst
Sanofi Pasteur’s Toronto plant is suspending production of ImmuCyst, a bladder cancer drug, until further notice.  This news comes one month after the company recalled its tuberculosis vaccine, BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin).

The vaccine and drug-making giant’s Toronto facility experienced a setback when its manufacturing plant was flooded last October. Sanofi Pasteur has since struggled to maintain Canadian health and safety standards there. 

Last week’s announcement comes on the heels of an inspection by Health Canada. The government agency discovered mold on the premises, leading to concerns about the safety of the drug.  

ImmuCyst is one of the leading drugs used for bladder cancer treatment and is made with the BCG bacteria.

There is concern that this latest blow will have a negative impact on the world’s supply.

Source: CBC

Mold: not a small matter

Mold is present all around us. Whether it is as innocuous as fruit going bad in your refrigerator, or as potentially dangerous as the permeating smell of mold coating your bathroom ceiling, mold can have varying effects on people and materials. 

Within a context where chemicals need to be produced and stored in a sterile environment, such as in chemical plants or hospitals, the presence of mold can have devastating effects, not only on the products, but also on the workers’ health and well-being. 

It is important to keep indoor air quality safe for all people working in their respective industries.

Indoor pollution in the form of mold (as well as chemicals, particles and other contaminants) can have many negative consequences.

Adverse affects to prolonged or acute contact with mold can range from sneezing, coughing and skin irritations to liver cancer, lung cancer and damage to your nervous system.

Air cleaner solutions for mold in the workplace

Electrocorp's AirRhino scrubs the air
of particles, chemicals, gases and odors
To purify the air in the best possible manner,Electrocorp has developed a series of air cleaners that are specifically designed to mitigate mold and asbestos.

These machines effectively ‘scrub’ the air of toxins, resulting in a safe and healthy work environment. 

The robust AirRhino series is best used in larger rooms and has the option for a 12-inch deep, 100-pound carbon filter which is geared toward ridding the air of chemical toxins.

These units can also be used for particle removal and have a 12-inch deep medical-grade HEPA filter, a one-inch prodense filter and a one-inch dust filter.  

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about mold? Let us know by posting a message. We’ll be happy to respond.

Show your support for a greener working environment by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp’s air cleaners, please visit our website.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The benefits of greener hospital ORs

Operating rooms produce large amounts of waste,
researchers say.
Researchers say that greener operating rooms can not only save hospitals money, but they can also reduce the environmental impact, while offering the same patient care.

Traditionally, operating rooms in hospitals have produced large amounts of waste and were responsible for 20-33% of all waste in hospitals.

Figures from 2007 showed that US health care facilities contributed 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions and produced more than 4 billion pounds of waste. Canadian hospitals were also huge energy consumers, using the energy of 440,000 homes.

The high levels of waste come from a need for sterility, the scientists say, but there are certain ways operating rooms can become greener:

  • Waste separation: The waste should be divided into normal waste and biohazard or medical waste
  • Liquid waste discharge: Installing a closed collection system into sanitary sewers would reduce the amount of waste needing high-energy treatment
  • The right technology: Smart monitors can reduce energy use when the ORs are not being used.
  • Advocating greener packaging: Plastic packaging is a major contributor to waste.
  • Making donations: Giving unused equipment away to developing countries is a great way to be greener and less wasteful.
  • Reusing devices: It is better to find alternatives to single-use devices.
  • Involve the staff: Greening activities can be coordinated by staff team members.

The analysis was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal CMAJ.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

Greener hospitals, better indoor air quality

Making hospitals and operating rooms a greener place not only helps the environment and hospital budgets, it can also be beneficial for patients – especially insofar as indoor air quality is concerned.

The air in many hospitals is polluted; apart from the obvious culprits like bacteria and viruses, there can be mold spores, chemicals, gases, odors, dust and particles, which can all have an impact on the health and well-being on patients and staff.

Electrocorp has developed a wide range of air cleaners for hospitals and healthcare settings that can tackle these types of indoor air contaminants and help provide cleaner and healthier air.

The air cleaners feature a multistage filtration system with a medical-grade HEPA filter, a deep-bed activated carbon filter for odors, chemicals and fumes and an optional UV lamp for additional protection from pathogens.

They can easily be moved from room to room, or they can be attached to existing HVAC systems or mounted on the walls or ceiling.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options. Become a follower on our blog to get the latest industry and commercial news on indoor air quality concerns and solutions.
  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life after gas stations – watch out for vapor intrusion

Abandoned gas station in Illinois. Photo by Dual Freq
Thousands of U.S. gas stations have been abandoned in the past 20 years, often remaining vacant and boarded up.

Apart from being an eyesore, these closed-up gas stations can also become a health and environmental hazard, leaking petroleum into the soil and water supplies underneath.

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, more than one quarter of the 200,000 nationwide gas stations have closed since 1991.

Higher oil costs and stiff competition from big-box retailers have pushed smaller stations out of business.

And while many of these abandoned stations sit on desirable land close to busy streets and communities, it is no wonder that so many remain boarded and locked up.

Converting former gas stations into a thriving new business opportunity may be challenging, if the ground has been contaminated. Cleanup costs are high and state and federal assistance is limited.

The contaminated soil can lead to vapor intrusion on new construction and in nearby buildings, elevating cleanup costs even further.

Small lot sizes and people’s persisting  perceptions are other big challenges, developers say.

Still, others see the potential and turn old gas stations into electric charging pump stations, office space or modern coffee shops.

Source: New York Times

Air cleaners for petroleum chemicals and more
Activated carbon is a safe and effective filter
for gases, chemicals and odors.

Vapor intrusion is a big concern when it comes to old gas stations, and exposure to these types of chemicals and fumes has been linked to health problems.

As a market leader offering air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications, Electrocorp’s portable air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA can remove petroleum chemicals, volatile organic compounds, odors, fumes, particles, dust and biological contaminants from the indoor air.

Electrocorp works with individual clients, environmental consultants and government buyers to provide the most efficient and affordable air cleaners to these types of sites.

Contact Electrocorp for more information. For residential air purifiers, please contact AllerAir Industries Inc.
  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

High-risk workplace a reality for mechanics and auto body shop workers

Motor oils and solvents pose serious air quality
risks for auto mechanics and shop workers.
Auto workers step into a potentially dangerous work zone every day and have to deal with a wide range of risks and hazards in garages and auto body shops.

One of the most dangerous aspects of the job involves working with materials that emit harmful fumes, mist or fine dust and contribute to poor indoor air quality.

When working with these types of products, employees should be wearing a respirator and using it properly.

In some cases, a formal risk assessment may be necessary to guarantee safe working conditions.

It’s also critical to have care and control when operating machinery or equipment to avoid accidents.

Loud noises and high decibel levels increase the workers’ risk of hearing loss.

Here are some other tips for car mechanics and auto body shop workers:
  • Be aware of the risks and hazards and the environment in general. Knowledge is key in prevention and safety.
  • Report hazards immediately to your supervisor
  • Take part in or ask for monthly safety meetings
  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment at all times, no exceptions.
Source: WorkSafeBC (WorkSafe Magazine July/August 2012)

Air cleaners for garages and auto body shops

Polluted indoor air in garages and auto body shops is an occupational health hazard that needs to be addressed.

Electrocorp has developed industrial-strength air cleaners for garages and auto body shops to tackle all those harmful chemicals, fumes, odors, volatile organic compounds, mists and fine particles that can affect the health and well-being of workers.

Multistage filtration system: The air cleaners contain deep beds of activated carbon, one of the most efficient (and affordable) filtration methods for gaseous pollutants, as well as medical-grade HEPA or micro-HEPA filters for particles and dust.

The air cleaners come in portable sizes, or they may be attached to the ceiling or the wall.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Occupational health: How to control presenteeism

Going to work when
feeling sick can be
costly for companies.
The right occupational health and safety measures can help manage presenteeism and productivity

Presenteeism – a term that describes an employee coming to work despite feeling ill or unwell – can affect not only the affected person’s productivity but it can have other impacts on the workplace as well.

A sick employee can spread the infection or disease at work, can disturb others and can bring down overall productivity.

Studies have shown that presenteeism can cost companies billions of dollars and even though the term has been talked about quite a bit, managers are often at a loss about how to handle it.

How can presenteeism be managed?

The term presenteeism applies to two different kinds of employee behaviors:
  1. When employees come to work sick or tired and may be less effective because they are stressed, depressed, suffering from headaches or a chronic physical disorder
  2. When employees work excessively long hours because they are over-committed to the job or have a fear of losing it

Organizations should be aware that physical conditions often have a psychological connection, studies show.

In many instances, employees with chronic conditions hesitate to tell their employers for fear of stigma, loss of employment or general distrust of managers.

Experts suggest developing a working culture that allows employees to experience optimum well-being. 

Organizations must provide a culture that respects the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers, they say, and certain strategies may help to improve communication, trust and cooperation.

Source: Personnel Today

A better work environment for healthier employees

Electrocorp's RAP series:
Carbon + HEPA filtration
The right working culture is important, but a healthy work environment also takes good indoor air quality and other health-related factors into account.

Cleaner and healthier air has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, sickness and the occurrence of presenteeism at the workplace.

Indoor air at work can be teeming with airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, chemicals, odors, particles and allergens that can affect employees’ health and well-being.

Electrocorp has developed portable and powerful air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA as well as optional UV germicidal filtration to treat the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

Among the many industrial and commercial applications are

The air cleaners are made for 24/7 air purification, minimal maintenance and maximum protection.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laser engraving and cutting machines can pose a health risk

Laser engraving and cutting can
produce harmful fumes and dust.
People may not need engraved mementos all the time – but when they want to mark special occasions, a laser engraving and cutting machine can help create the right product.

Laser engraving and cutting machines are often the heart of small businesses that rely on creativity and the ability to engrave memories into keepsake items.

Most of these customized engravings are done in the store, and many engravers use computers connected to engraving machines and 3D designs to stand out among others.

Many businesses also combine laser engraving and cutting services with other services such as design, business branding and marketing as well as product design.

In industrial settings, laser engraving is also often used to mark certain products and materials.

What are the health risks of laser engraving and cutting?

Laser engravers and cutters work with wood, glass or other hard surfaces to engrave logos, messages of personal interest and for special occasions such as wedding or anniversary presents. They also make glass and acrylic awards for companies and sporting organizations.

The laser cutting machines should ideally produce smooth edges that don’t require polishing, they should work quietly and produce no dust, and they should have a fast processing speed, high precision, less waste and high efficiency.

Unfortunately, even large laser cutting machine manufacturers acknowledge that the dust and fumes produced in the engraving process can pose a health hazard.

That is why many machines come with a blower, vacuum, fan or other device to pull dust and fumes from the work area of the laser machine. Not only can the dust damage the equipment itself and destroy the optics, the fumes can be irritating and unhealthy.

How do air cleaners help?
Electrocorp's carbon + HEPA
filters can remove dust, gases
and other contaminants.
Shown: RSU Series

By connecting a portable air cleaner with activated carbon and HEPA to the laser cutting machine, operators can remove chemical vapors, laser cutting fumes and fine particles while preventing the constant clogging that plagues other air cleaning systems.

Electrocorp has developed highly effective source capture air cleaners for laser engraving and cutting, to remove airborne pollutants before they become airborne and circulate.

This capture method offers superior protection for laser cutters and engravers, prevents product contamination and safeguards sensitive laser optics on the machine.

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

From green buildings to toxin-free buildings: Homes of the future?

Popular green options were not always the least toxic
or "healthy" materials, a couple's research showed.
When a Minneapolis couple decided to replace their mold-riddled, 1950s-era home, they wanted to use the least toxic materials available.

Since the wife had just undergone treatment for ovarian cancer, the couple wanted to reduce their exposure to chemicals and toxins linked to cancer to help prevent occurrences.

Their quest was not an easy one, since there exists no official standard for building a “healthy” home, and the couple had to do their own research into materials, studies and marketing claims to get what they wanted.

The inside of their luxuriously large house now features curved stone and wood walls, high ceilings, glass-and-steel floating stairs and copper accents.

The couple's non-toxic options include:
  • Cast-iron pipes instead of PVC piping
  • Water purification system
  • Air purification system
  • American Clay plaster on inside walls that resists mold
  • Wood floors with toxin-free, water-based finishes
  • A green roof for insulation and better indoor air quality
  • Recycled-glass counter tops

It is still a fact that non-toxic and green homes often cost a bit more, but a growing public awareness about chemical exposures and potentially harmful materials may help make them become more available to the general public.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Air cleaners for better indoor air quality

Whether it’s during construction or after completion, the indoor air in most buildings tends to be polluted in some way, exposing people to airborne chemicals, odors, dust, particles, biological contaminants and mold.

Electrocorp has developed portable and extremely powerful air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications as well as for residential use.

The air cleaners purify the air with a multistage filtration system containing deep beds of activated carbon for chemicals, odors and gases, HEPA for particles and dust, pre-filters for larger pollutants and optional UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of molds, bacteria and viruses.

Contact Electrocorp for more information or recommendations.
 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Workplace issues: Dust can become a health risk

Ventilation and air cleaning are important for better
indoor air quality and higher productivity.
Indoor air pollution can affect anyone working indoors for the majority of the day, including office workers, police officers, social workers and court employees.

Common symptoms are
  • Chronic coughs and sneezing
  • Scratchy throats
  • Itchy eyes
  • Headaches
  • Recurrent bouts of sinus infections, bronchitis, allergies and asthma
The symptoms may only be apparent in some workers, while other remain unaffected, making it difficult for sufferers to be taken seriously.

The health effects can be caused by indoor air pollutants such as mold, chemicals and dust.

In fact, dust is often overlooked as a main irritant in indoor environments, according to an occupational hygienist working at Connecticut’s OSHA division.

Every indoor environment will be polluted by dust, which is generally comprised of fine particles, skin dander, insect parts, pollen, cobwebs, dirt and other contaminants. Dust can also be a source of exposure for chemicals and bacteria that have attached themselves to the particles.

Indoor air pollution - a hidden danger at the workplace

With less money available for cleaning services and similar tasks, indoor air quality has become a growing problem in most buildings.

Workers may be too busy or unwilling to clean their own work spaces, and the rising occurrence of extreme weather events leads to increased leaks and flooding and possible mold infestations.

According to the EPA, poor indoor air quality costs tens of billions of dollars annually in lost productivity and health care.

Source: The Day Connecticut

Tips for a healthier and cleaner office
  1. Keep offices free of clutter and obstructions. Airflow is essential to good air quality, so an overcrowded and cluttered office will be a challenge
  2. Maintain heating and air conditioning equipment. This includes regular cleanings or at least spot checks to ensure that there is no mold or other biological growth. Air vents and intakes should not be obstructed.
  3. Regular dusting and cleaning of the office space should include the walls and floors behind desks and all surfaces, regardless of whether people like to have their things moved or not.
  4. Keep it healthy. Do not use scented air fresheners or harsh cleaning products
  5. Use an air cleaner with activated carbon and HEPA. This combination of air filters can remove airborne pollutants such as dust, particles, mold, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, odors and fumes.
Want to know more about air cleaners for offices and large buildings? Electrocorp offers a wide range of air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that feature an activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV filter combination. Contact an IAQ specialist from Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.
  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Universities, colleges ponder smoking bans on campuses

Tobacco smoke is not the only indoor air pollutant
affecting students, faculty and staff.
Almost half of campuses in the United States are considering bans on tobacco in all its forms, or have already enacted such policies, according to a recent AP article in the Washington Post.

That means not only is smoking not allowed inside the buildings, but it may be banned from the entire campus as well.

Despite opposition from student smokers and some staff and faculty members, the bans are perhaps a natural result of the mounting evidence presented by researchers about the dangerous effects of tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke exposure.

The main reasons speaking for such bans are:
  • Health risks
  • Reduced costs of smoke-free dorms and facilities
  • Minimizing enticements to form a dangerous lifelong habit

Universities in California, New York and Missouri are planning tobacco bans in the near future.

The surgeon general’s report for 2012 identified the ages of 18-26 as the most critical for young people to start smoking and become lifelong users.

About a quarter to a third of college students smoke, studies show.

However, campus tobacco bans have gained popularity across the nation, growing from pretty much zero a decade ago to more than 700 today.

Source: Washington Post

Improving indoor air quality in universities and schools

The ban on tobacco products is a good first step, but many universities, colleges and schools still suffer from poor indoor air quality, which can impede the students’ ability to retain information, lower their productivity and affect everyone’s health and well-being.

The air in the learning institutions often contains mold spores, dust, pollen, chemicals, VOCs, odors and other irritants, which can be removed by Electrocorp’s air cleaners for schools and universities.

The air cleaners feature the most complete air filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA as well as optional UV germicidal filtration to be able to tackle of all of the aforementioned pollutants.

Electrocorp has worked with hundreds of universities across North America, providing air cleaners to classrooms, laboratories, welding labs, office/administrative tracts, libraries and archives, painting and art studios as well as other environments.

For more information, contact Electrocorp.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fragrances banned in some government offices and hospitals

Providing relief to allergy sufferers and chemically sensitive persons
Public buildings can accommodate allergy sufferers
and MCS sufferers with no-scent policies.

As chemical sensitivity and allergy rates soar, many public buildings have become a “no-scent” zone to accommodate those who may react to strong fragrances and perfumes.

In Tuttle, Oklahoma, city hall visitors wearing perfumes are asked to remain at the front of the building. City workers in Portland, Oregon, have been banned from using fragrance.

A medical center in Bremerton, Washington, also asks employees and visitors to skip scents and to choose less fragrant flowers, and a hospital in Windom, Minnesota has been fragrance-free since 1999.

What is in fragrances and perfumes?

Perfumes and fragrances, or aroma compounds, are chemical compounds that have a smell or odor.

Perfumes can also contain essential oils, solvents and fixatives. The precise formula of commercial perfumes and fragrances is often kept secret.

Evidence in peer-reviewed journals shows that some fragrances can cause asthmatic reactions in some individuals, especially those with severe or atopic asthma.

Many fragrance ingredients can also cause headaches, allergic skin reactions or nausea.

In a two-phase population study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, perfume was one of three main culprits of triggering attacks in people with chemical sensitivities, along with cleaning agents and pesticides.

Source: USA Today, other

Cleaning the air indoors with carbon + HEPA filters

While source control is one of the most effective ways to control irritants and indoor air pollutants, it’s not always possible to ensure that such a ban or policy is followed at all times.
Activated carbon: Best filter for
chemicals, odors and gases.

Fortunately, the right type of air cleaner can provide cleaner and healthier air around the clock and without adding any harmful byproducts to the ambient air.

Electrocorp has developed air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that feature a powerful activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration combo to offer the best overall protection from common indoor air contaminants.

Among other uses, Electrocorp air cleaners can be found in

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to create a healthy indoor environment at the workplace

Poor indoor air quality can affect workers' health
and productivity, studies show.
The indoor air in offices and other types of workplaces has long become a major concern to health officials – it exposes employees to many different pollutants and toxins that can affect health and well-being as well as working performance.

Indoor air pollution can come from
  • Office equipment (e.g. printers)
  • Building materials (paint, finishes, stain repellents)
  • Personal care products and air fresheners
  • Cleaning products
  • Poor ventilation
  • Poor air exchange
  • Water damage (mold) or other indoor air quality problems

When a workplace exposes employees to poor indoor air quality, common complaints include headaches, sneezing, discomfort, lower productivity, respiratory conditions and other ailments.

Studies have confirmed that a healthier indoor environment can increase productivity and benefit a company’s bottom line.

There are certain things every workplace can do to provide a cleaner and healthier indoor environment:
  1. Ban smoking indoors and close to the building
  2. Make sure garbage is regularly and properly disposed of
  3. Act quickly to fix water leaks and spills to avoid active mold growth
  4. Use an air purifier – the best air purifiers contain activated carbon, HEPA and UV filtration technologies to remove the widest range of contaminants
  5. Avoid clutter in the workplace for best circulation of air
  6. Make sure fresh air can get inside the building
  7. Get professional help if there is a serious indoor air quality problem
Source: Wamda

Air cleaners with carbon and HEPA filters

Air cleaners and air purifiers are invaluable tools when it comes to improving the air quality at the workplace.

Electrocorp specializes in air filtration systems for industrial and commercial applications and has developed portable as well as HVAC-compatible or wall-mountable air cleaners for the office, office printers, and air purifiers for facility management.

The air cleaners feature a large activated carbon filter for gaseous pollutants and odors, a HEPA filter for particles and optional UV germicidal filtration for pathogens.

Electrocorp also works with environmental consultants and other experts to solve indoor air quality concerns in all types of environments.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.