Monday, February 28, 2011

Navy to tackle TCE vapor intrusion at Moffett Field

The news about vapor intrusion concerns in North America keep on coming. Workers in the buildings at Moffet Field in Mountain View, California, may soon be able to breathe easier, after the U.S. Navy agreed to clean up the toxic vapors that pollute their indoor air.

This announcement in the Mountain View Voice article comes after a long dispute between the Navy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA tested the indoor air quality at the Moffet Field Museum “several times since 2008 and indoor air concentrations have exceeded EPA indoor air cleanup levels," according to EPA records.

The problem is a big underground plume of TCE, an industrial solvent that contaminated the soil and groundwater at Moffett years ago.

Navy accepts responsibility for toxic vapor cleanup

Under the agreement, the Navy may have to install ventilation systems or other mitigation measures, which can cost as much as $200,000 for a 20,000-square-foot building. But first it needs to find out the extent of the soil vapor intrusion. More than 30 occupied buildings at Moffett have not been tested since 2003.

Moffett Field used to be a base airport for the U.S. Navy and is now a joint military-civil airfield with moderate air traffic used by California Air National Guard, NASA,and others.

TCE a health risk
An air purifier with activated carbon
can remove airborne chemicals and odors.

TCE (or TRICHLOROETHYLENE) is a recognized carcinogen, and suspected additional health risks include toxic effects on the cardiovascular, developmental, gastrointestinal, the reproductive and respiratory systems as well as on human organs such as liver, kidney and skin.

It is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. If TCE has polluted the groundwater and soil beneath buildings, its vapors can enter buildings through cracks and fissures in the foundations. It needs to be filtered or aired out to prevent high concentrations in the ambient air.

If you’re concerned about vapor intrusion in your building, contact one of our Air Quality Experts now, or take advantage of our Live Support system.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Mold wreaks havoc on material stored in evidence rooms

Law enforcement officers have a dangerous job – even when their primary responsibility is to guard the property evidence and storage rooms. One of the biggest hazards they face is mold, and more specifically, the Aspergillus fungus.

Marijuana attracts the Aspergillus fungus.
Aspergillus grows on any biological item, but it really likes marijuana and it doesn’t need much moisture to prosper and grow. When marijuana is stored in plastic, even minute amounts of moisture that is held by the plastic can support the growth of Aspergillus.

Aspergillus can affect law enforcement officers' health

The problem is that even perfectly dried marijuana plants still contain 10-15% water. When property evidence officers handle the decaying material, they can be exposed to mold spores that enter the human body through the ears and nose. Reported health effects are stuffiness, a feeling of being unwell, coughing, wheezing and lung damage.

Another issue with plastic is the destruction of evidence. When officers use plastic to hold evidence, the retained moisture can cause it to mold, corrode or rust, and plastic is often blamed for destroying latent fingerprints. Some law enforcement officers ask that plastic is only used for drug-related items, except marijuana, and jewelry.

To stave off mold infestations, evidence storage rooms need to
  • Install adequate ventilation systems and make regular filter replacements
  • Implement an improved storage system: Don’t store copious amounts of marijuana, especially after a case has been adjudicated. Document and photograph excessive amounts of marijuana, and only keep samples. The samples must be cleaned and sealed appropriately
  • Ensure good housekeeping procedures: discard all materials that are visibly affected by fungi, clean all surfaces and disinfect the area, supply workers with protective equipment
  • Recognize the hazards and the best ways to deal with them
  • Look into other air cleaning methods to protect law enforcement officers. Electrocorp’s industrial air purifiers, including the RAP and RSU series are powerful air scrubbers that can help provide better air in storage rooms
  • Consider each case individually for marijuana storage. Burlap or paper bags let the moisture escape, but they also won’t hold off mold spores. Impermeable bags made out of plastics can cause the contents to turn into a mushy soup of questionable evidential value. The best choice is dependent on the amount of time it is stored, the quality of the material and the existing situation in the evidence room.
RAP Series

Electrocorp offers a variety of stand-alone, industrial-strength air purification systems that address not only live airborne bacteria and fungi, but also provide superior particle and chemical filtration capabilities. An air purifier provides better, cleaner and more breathable air. To learn more about Electrocorp’s powerful air cleaners for evidence storage rooms, click here.

Sources: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, International Association of Property and Evidence

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Protect yourself from explosive chemicals

Minimize risks when working with chemicals.
Remember the chemical disaster in Bophal, India, in the 1980s or the 2008 Bayer CropScience explosion in the U.S.?
For industries and laboratories that handle toxic chemicals, there is a constant threat of dangerous developments and near-accidents.
The National Academies Press says that “prudent execution of experiments requires not only sound judgment and an accurate assessment of the risks involved in laboratory work, but also the selection of appropriate work practices to reduce risk and protect the health and safety of the laboratory workers as well as the public and the environment.”

Be extra careful when dealing with chemicals
They outline four fundamental principles that all laboratory workers dealing with chemicals should keep in mind:
  • Plan ahead. Determine the potential hazards associated with an experiment before beginning it.
  • Minimize exposure to chemicals. Do not allow laboratory chemicals to come in contact with skin. Use laboratory hoods and other ventilation devices to prevent exposure to airborne substances whenever possible.
  • Do not underestimate risks. Assume that any mixture of chemicals will be more toxic than its most toxic component. Treat all new compounds and substances of unknown toxicity as toxic substances.
  • Be prepared for accidents. Before beginning an experiment, know what specific action to take in the event of the accidental release of any hazardous substance. Know the location of all safety equipment and the nearest fire alarm and telephone, and know what telephone numbers to call and whom to notify in the event of an emergency. Be prepared to provide basic emergency treatment. Keep your co-workers informed of your activities so that they can respond appropriately.
I-6500 series
Electrocorp has developed a range of air purifiers for laboratory workers, including the RAP series, the RSU series, the I-6500 series and Fume Hoods. Where high concentrations of flammable vapors (according to the MSDS) pose a threat of ignition, the I-6500 Explosion Proof promises to keep things safe.  It removes the toxic chemicals from the air and comes with explosion proof motor and switch, an after-filter housing, special carbon blends and particle filtration. The unit must be hard-wired by a certified electrician.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New alloy gives welders a less toxic choice

A new chromium-free, nickel alloy invented by Ohio State University engineers gives welding professionals a safer option when doing their job.

According to the press release, the alloy is a welding “consumable” – the material that melts under the welder’s torch to fill the gap between parts that are being joined. It is more expensive compared to other alloys on the market, but it promises to lessen welders' risk of breathing toxic fumes in tight spots with less-than-ideal ventilation.

When the new alloy melts, it does not release hexavalent chromium into the air.

Toxic fumes a problem in welding profession

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets limits on workers’ exposure to hexavalent chromium in welding fumes, which affect welders themselves and their surrounding coworkers. Reduced exposure to such toxic fumes requires either extreme ventilation or use of a chromium-free consumable.

The Center to Protect Workers’ Rights has warned that stainless steel contains nickel and chromium, which can cause asthma. Nickel and chromium 6 can cause cancer, while chromium can cause sinus problems and “holes” between the nostrils.

Electrocorp has developed a series of effective source-capture air purification systems, including the Fume Extractor series and SafeSolder series, to help remove toxic fumes from the welders' environment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

If you can’t trust (lead) inspectors…

Official health and home inspectors are supposed to protect the public by carrying out unbiased examinations in their respective fields and alerting authorities or owners if they discover anything out of the ordinary.

So what happens if the inspector betrays that trust?

In the case of a former city of Detroit Health Department lead inspector, it put children and residents at risk. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently released a press release about a former lead inspector, who was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to declare homes free of lead even though he either failed to do an inspection or gave fraudulent lead removal training.

Lead in homes pose health risk

Lead: Children are most at risk.
Lead can be found in many homes since it used to be a common ingredient in construction or renovating materials, including lead-based paint. According to EPA, lead can be found in home dust and residential soil and it can enter drinking water from plumbing materials.

Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.

Fraudulent behavior exposed children to lead

The convicted inspector accepted cash from the homeowners or renters of the home to falsely attest that the homes were lead-free or that lead removal training had been provided.

He admitted that he accepted at least $1,350 in connection with fraudulent abatement of lead hazards.
Children at four separate properties were exposed to dangerous levels of lead.

So thankfully, this inspector’s bad behavior has been stopped, but it is disconcerting to think that some homeowners and parents would opt to put their children at risk and offer these cash payments in the first place. And how many other inspectors are willing to accept them?

If you are worried about lead levels in your home, invest in a serious air purifier with HEPA to collect particles and an activated carbon filter to remove lead fumes and other chemicals from the air.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Diesel generators pollute air at fashion week

From The New York Times' Green blog:

Green: Is Fashion Week Smoking?

 A video filmed on Jan. 31 as the fashion village was being noisily erected at Lincoln Center shows smoke spewing into the air as diesel generators are turned on.

The smoke has residents up in arms.

Blog post by Mireya Navarro; published on February 18, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fears of vapor intrusion prompt EPA studies

The news of suspected soil vapor intrusion in various homes in Haverford, Pennsylvania and Moraine, Ohio, has caused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assign vapor intrusion studies in those areas.

In Haverford, the tests will record the presence of trichloroethylene in the groundwater at the Havertown Superfund site, explains an article in the Delaware Country Daily Times.

Apart from sampling TCE levels in homes, the tests also involve installing new groundwater wells.

Vapors seep through cracks in foundation

TCE is a nonflammable, colorless liquid that is often used as a solvent to clean or degrease metal parts. Chemical spills and improper disposal can cause it to enter groundwater.

TCE vapors can volatilize or off-gas through soil and pollute indoor air by seeping through cracks in basements and foundations. Long-term exposure has been linked to risk of nerve, kidney or liver damage and cancer in these organs.

Vapor intrusion a relatively new concern

According to EPA spokesperson Roy Seneca, who was quoted in the article, EPA “now looks more closely than ever at vapor intrusion as a potential pathway. Vapor intrusion was never considered so much in the past to be a problem.

“If there was TCE in groundwater, but a public water system was in place, it wasn’t looked upon as a potential health concern. But vapor intrusion is something they look upon now as a ... concern.”

It can take up to six weeks to get results back from the laboratory.

Vapors at former auto plant sites a concern in Ohio

In Moraine, Ohio, 60 residences will be checked for vapor intrusion close to where the former GM plant operated.

GM and Motors Liquidation Co., which now owns the former plant site, have been tracking a plume of contaminated water, according to an article in the Dayton Daily News.

EPA has asked residents to sign an open access agreement. The organization has already tested groundwater and ground vapors, a spokesperson said, and they now want to check if vapors have entered homes southwest of the former manufacturing site.

Previously, groundwater around former plant sites has been found contaminated with petroleum-based chemicals or VOCs.

Industrial air cleaners a powerful ally against soil vapor intrusion

Vapor intrusion is an emerging problem in North America. The phrase "soil vapor intrusion" refers to the process by which chemicals move from an underground source into the indoor air of the buildings above.
RAP series

The chemicals seep into the soil and enter a building though cracks in basement floors and walls or openings around pipes or wires.

As a result of a difference in pressure, a building’s HVAC system can actually draw these chemical vapors into a building.

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants to provide industrial air cleaning solutions for facilities and residential dwellings affected by vapor intrusion.

Contact an Electrocorp air quality representative today for more information on vapor intrusion and our advanced activated carbon filtration systems designed to safely remove chemicals, gases, fumes and odors.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prevent and control mold growth in commercial settings

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following steps to prevent the growth of mold in commercial buildings:

Inspect air vents regularly to prevent mold
  • Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
  • Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
  • Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.

Other helpful tools to combat mold in commercial buildings

Besides airing out the building, ensuring that there is adequate ventilation and using a dehumidifier, a serious air purification system can help extract irritants and chemical mycotoxins out of the air and improve indoor air quality.

An ideal filtration system for the battle against mold combines the strength of three powerful air purification methods: a HEPA filter for particle and dust mite control, a UV lamp to neutralize live bacteria, mold spores and viruses and a deep bed of activated carbon to adsorb as many odorous gases and chemical vapors as possible.

Electrocorp manufactures industrial-strength air cleaning systems for all types of commercial and industrial applications, which can remove a wide range of indoor pollutants from the air. Talk to one of our Air Quality Experts today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The mold factor - mold issues, health effects and cleanup

Mold does not shy away from busy commercial or industrial sites.

On the contrary -- as a natural part of the environment, airborne mold spores will start to grow anywhere if they land on spots with sufficient moisture and humidity.

In commercial buildings, moisture and subsequent mold problems often stem from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, unvented combustion appliances and insufficient maintenance.

Exposure to mold can affect workers' and occupants' health

If these issues are not addressed, the occupants or workers in a building can be exposed to mold and develop serious health problems, starting with irritation in the nose, eyes and throat.

As public outcries over mold problems in schools show (Haughton Middle School, Louisiana, and an Andrew Jackson Middle School in Kanawha, West Virginia, both in 2009), failure to provide good IAQ can lead to damaged reputations and legal action, not to mention the anxiety and anger parents will feel over their child’s compromised health.

Mold remediation needs to be done right

To control mold in commercial buildings or schools, maintenance workers or superintendents need to address humidity issues first.

During cleanup, they need to make sure that the irritants, toxins and pollutants associated with molds won’t bother people on site who may be sensitive to them. The cleanup is best done at a time when the least number of people are around. It’s not enough to just kill the mold; it needs to be removed as well.

If the mold covers an extensive area, it's best to get advice from an environmental consultant or hygienist and professional remediation services.

Air purifiers provide cleaner air

Electrocorp offers a variety of stand-alone, industrial-strength air purification systems that address not only live airborne bacteria and fungi, but also provide superior particle and chemical filtration capabilities.

An air purifier provides better, cleaner and more breathable air. Learn more about Electrocorp’s powerful air cleaners for schools, universities and commercial buildings and air filtration systems for mold and asbestos remediation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Traveling? Take note of the indoor air quality in your hotel

Poor indoor air quality is a common complaint in public lodging establishments such as hotels, apartments and motels. 

Websites like tripadvisor feature many warnings by concerned hotel guests about issues such as poor housekeeping and mold. A search for “mold” brought up hotels in the U.S., Italy, Taiwan, Mexico and Thailand.

Hotels often suffer from poor indoor air quality because they have a greater density of people per square foot than office or apartment buildings and cannot control environmental conditions in rooms.

Hotel guests can be sensitive to mold and mildew

Mold spores are a natural part of the environment and they will settle down and thrive when they find a spot with enough moisture or humidity. Many people will notice a bad smell in rooms that harbour mold.

According to mold remediation professionals, typical causes for mold in hotels or motels are deficient air conditioning systems and air and water leaks in the building walls. Most hotel rooms have little fresh air exchange and let mold and bacteria thrive in an environment of vinyl wall paper and shower steam.

Reported health problems to mold exposure include breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal ailments, skin rashes, severe allergic reactions and neurological damage.  

Mold growth a costly concern in public lodgings

Mold problems not only turn off visitors, they can also be expensive. Insurance companies are catching on to an increase in mold claims and are raising their prices accordingly.

When a hotel in Hawaii had to close 453 rooms in 2004 to take care of a mold problem, the estimated cost for finding the source of the mold and removing it was $10 million.

Thankfully, more and more hotel administrators and public health authorities are addressing mold abatement concerns. For example, the Florida Department of Health  has set up a division where people can call or write in to lodge complaints about indoor air quality in hotels and motels.

Industrial air cleaners offer additional protection against the effects of mold

If a mold problem already exists, an industrial-strength air purifier is an important tool in the mold abatement process. Improper clean-up practices may result in health and liability issues, especially if hazardous materials are released in the air and contaminate neighboring areas.

For a list of powerful air scrubbers, click here. Electrocorp has designed industrial air cleaners for the hospitality industry.

In terms of mold prevention and improvement of overall experience, hotel owners and managers are starting to make improved indoor air quality, air exchange systems and other IAQ services a priority.

Some hotels have realized that better, cleaner air is an important part of their business and even offer a free-standing indoor air purifier in certain rooms, on top of well-maintained ventilation systems. The best air cleaners feature a combination of activated carbon, HEPA and a UV light to remove odors, chemicals, gases, particles, dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air.

Hotels are in the business of keeping customers happy. The more people realize the dangerous effects of mold and demand rooms with top indoor air quality, the more hotels will listen and act accordingly.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and the best air cleaners for your hotel, motel, inn or hospitality business.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scientists discover new method to detect air pollution

Researchers at Kyoto University have successfully completed a study where they used a newly formulated entangled framework of porous crystals (porous coordination polymers, or PCPs) to capture air pollutants.

The mixtures start glowing in a variety of different colors when exposed to ultraviolet light and are visible to the naked eye.

The CPC reacts with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, xylene, anisole and iodobenzene.

According to the Jan. 26 article in Science Daily, this breakthrough could lead to the development of new mobile, solid-state pollution detectors. So far, chemical sensors have to be custom-designed to detect certain compounds, and another mechanism is needed to prove that VOCs have been captured.

Toxic chemicals and bad air quality in schools

Worried about PCBs in schools? You are not alone.

A recent article in the New York Times described parents’ concerns about their children’s exposure to carcinogens in schools.

Tests revealed that old lighting ballasts -- devices that regulate electric current for fluorescent lights -- leaked PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) onto the light fixtures and floors. PCBs are toxic chemical compounds that have been linked to cancer.

The tests indicated that this was a widespread problem, since the aging classroom fixtures still remain in some 800 of 1,200 school buildings in New York City alone. EPA issued recommendations in December urging schools across the country to replace all of the old light fixtures as soon as possible.

Action sought to provide quality air in schools

Parents are urging schools and government to take action and to resolve the issue. Health risks may not be immediate, but they increase with longer exposure. It may be costly to replace the ballasts, but how does it compare to future health-care costs? It has been shown that children are much more affected by pollution than adults.

The use of PCBs has been regulated since the late 1970s, but before that, the chemicals were widely used in electrical products and building materials like caulk. A federal ban came into effect after it was shown that PCBs were linked to cancer, impairment of immune and reproductive functions, and other illnesses, as well as lower I.Q. levels.

Poor indoor air quality a common issue in schools

It’s not only PCBs that can affect children in schools.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, over half of U.S. schools have problems linked to poor IAQ.

With nearly 56 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, spending their days inside elementary and secondary schools, EPA warns that IAQ problems in schools are a significant concern.

EPA lists the most common indoor air pollutants in schools:
  • Biological contaminants (mold, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, etc.)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Dust
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or Secondhand Smoke
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2)
  • Pesticides
  • Radon (Rn)
  • Other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, solvents, and cleaning agents
  • HVAC System: the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is not able to control air pollutant levels and/or ensure thermal comfort

Poor IAQ in schools can be costly

Maintaining or restoring good air quality in public and private schools is important for many reasons. According to Health Canada, “Good IAQ contributes to a favorable learning environment for students, productivity for teachers and staff, and a sense of comfort, health, and well-being for all school occupants.”

Conversely, indoor air pollution in schools can be costly over the long term. Besides the health risks, poor air quality can set schools back financially due to the potential for expensive investigation and hasty solutions during a major indoor air problem, higher heating and cooling costs, damage to the building structure and mechanical equipment as well as higher liability.

In the US and Canada, facility managers can turn to helpful checklists, maintenance tips and remediation procedures provided by national institutions such as EPA and Health Canada.

For immediate help with removing airborne pollutants and to keep the air clean, schools can also benefit from free-standing industrial-strength air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA filters. These can be moved from one room to the next and clean the air quickly and efficiently.

Contact us today for a customized product recommendation: 1-866-667-0297.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When buildings make you sick

Because of modern building materials and airtight constructions, the indoor air quality (IAQ) in many commercial buildings can have an adverse effect on people’s health and productivity.

This building sickness has been termed “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS) and its cause cannot easily be identified.

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome:

- Headache
- Eye, nose or throat irritation
- Dry cough
- Dry or itchy skin
- Dizziness and nausea
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue
- Sensitivity to odors

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, these complaints can stem from other causes, including allergies and other illnesses, but studies show that symptoms may be caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality.

What to do when you suspect Sick Building Syndrome

Step 1
Identify possible causes

Sick Building Syndrome has been associated with environments that feature inadequate ventilation. Does your building have a ventilation system and does it provide enough clean, outdoor air for every person in the room? Familiarize yourself with the recommended ventilation standards by organizations such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Building sickness can also be caused by chemical pollution released by building materials and furnishings in the building. Examples include adhesives, carpeting, copy machines and cleaning agents. Many modern-day products emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. Often, chemical pollutants also enter the building from the outside, through poorly placed air intake vents.
Another possible cause for sick building syndrome is biological in nature. Bacteria, molds and viruses plague many interior spaces, and they thrive in moist and humid environments.
Keep these possible causes in mind during the initial walk-through.

Step 2
Introduce measures to improve indoor air quality
Source control: If the source of the pollution has been identified, you can take the appropriate steps toward removal and future protection. These steps depend on the specific problem in the building and may include periodic cleaning and maintenance of the filters in heating and air conditioning systems, fixing water leaks promptly as well as repairing any affected materials and using less pollutant products or limiting exposure to building occupants.
Ventilation: See above.
Air cleaning: EPA recommends using an air purification system as an adjunct to the two previous measures to capture smaller particles as well as chemicals and gaseous pollutants that are floating through the air. Many industrial and commercial settings have specific requirements when it comes to cleaning the air. You can find the right air purification system for offices, printing environments, workshops and other applications on Electrocorp's website.

Step 3
Collect information about indoor air quality
It’s better to know too much than to be ignorant, right? There are many useful resources out there that can help sort out your indoor air quality problems, provide odor control solutions and make workplaces healthier. Standards often change and air quality tests can provide helpful information.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chemical accidents: A question of occupational health and safety

There are more and more reports of chemical accidents in the manufacturing industry: One recent incident at a manufacturing and plating company in Santa Ana raises fresh concerns.
A chemical reaction on Jan. 19, 2011 in the company’s filtration system triggered an explosion. The ensuing fire burnt a small hole into the roof of the building, according to the fire captain. Four staff members had to be taken to the hospital because they were exposed to fumes.

A workplace safety issue
This raises numerous questions with regards to the filtration system. Was it regularly maintained? Did it have the right filter media? A HEPA filter will get rid of the particle pollution, but it won't remove chemicals from the air. This is better done by an activated carbon filter.
When working with chemicals, health and safety precautions have to be taken seriously. Chemicals can be corrosive and toxic, and they may react suddenly and explosively. The most common concerns over chemical accidents and hazardous materials spills is acute, or short-term, toxicity as well as chronic, or long-term, effects.

Commercial air purifiers can boost industrial safety
For an industrial-strength air purification system that can add chemical and particle filtration power to the HVAC system, or for a powerful portable unit that has been designed for commercial and industrial settings, speak to a representative at Electrocorp.

Electrocorp’s air purification systems have been equipped with many pounds of activated, highly adsorbent carbon as well as other filtration technologies. Electrocorp air cleaning systems use only safe and proven technology and are designed for reliable, 24/7 operation.

Source of news article: The Orange County Register, Jan. 19, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Minerals in new building materials reduce indoor air pollution

A groundbreaking new method using minerals in particleboard could significantly reduce formaldehyde emissions indoors.
Formaldehyde, one of the many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that have been classified as dangerous to human health by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), can be found in the adhesives that are commonly used for gluing particleboard. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pressed wood products that use adhesives with urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins are one of the most significant sources of formaldehyde in homes.

Formaldehyde emissions reduced
According to an article published in January 2011 on the website ScienceDaily, researchers in Germany have developed a new method using mineral compounds with zeolites that were modified with amino groups to boost adsorption rates. When they put the zeolite powder into the sample particleboard, they measured a reduction in formaldehyde emissions of 40 percent in both long-term and short-term tests.
This technology could potentially reduce indoor air pollutant levels, the researchers say.

Air purifiers with carbon filter remove VOCs from the air
The development of the mineral compound method is great news for the improvement of indoor air, but until it is commercialized and available for builders and contractors, it’s up to powerful air purifiers with highly adsorbent activated carbon to remove VOCs such as formaldehyde from the air.

Electrocorp offers a wide range of commercial and industrial air purifiers, and if you are looking for powerful air filtration units for the home or office, check out AllerAir’s assortment of units.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bed bugs: Cleaning up after the cleanup

Firm fined, ordered to clean up homes it treated with hazardous chemicals to combat bed bugs

Sometimes, doing wrong comes back to bite you.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Jan. 31 fined a pest control company $860,000 for using hazardous pesticides to combat bed bugs in residential homes.
TVF Pest Control used dangerous chemicals in at least 50 homes in the first half of 2010, according to the report in The Jersey Journal.

Pesticides not approved for indoor use
The DEP investigation found that the company used Malathion and Carbaryl in the homes, even though the two pesticides have not been approved for indoor use. They can be absorbed through the skin and cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, muscle twitching and vomiting.

Exposure has been linked to chronic health effects
Pesticides are among the most widely used chemicals in the world, and also among the most dangerous to human health, as said by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Exposure to pesticides can lead to chronic health effects. In this case, the firm used two widely used insecticides that are deployed in agriculture and residential landscaping. They should not have been used indoors, and it’s sad to think that the residents of these 50 homes were exposed to them in the first place.

Health organizations warn against using pesticides to treat bed bugs
The US Environmental Protection Agency recently released a stark warning against using pesticides to treat bed bugs, saying it is dangerous for humans and doesn't solve the problem.

Companies that use any kinds of chemicals inside of buildings have to make sure that the air is clean and not laced with dangerous contaminants. Industrial-strength air purifiers from Electrocorp have been used successfully by contractors in various applications.

Contact us today for a customized product recommendation: 1-866-667-0297

Friday, February 4, 2011

New "Air Laser" to measure environmental pollutants

Now there is a new tool for remote measurements of trace amounts of chemicals in the air.

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a new laser sensing technology that may help soldiers detect hidden bombs and allow scientists to take note of environmental pollutants and greenhouse gases in the air.

The engineers’ technology sends out a laser pulse that reacts with the molecules in the air. It returns as an entirely new laser beam generated by oxygen atoms, whose electrons have been “excited” to high energy levels, explains the article from ScienceDaily, posted on Feb. 2, 2011.

They call it the "Air Laser," and once it is fine-tuned it could be a powerful tool for remote measurements of environmental pollutants.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Improve the Workspace to Increase Productivity

It’s no secret that happier employees affect a company’s profitability. In fact a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, reported job satisfaction had a direct impact on an employee’s commitment to an organization and turnover rates. Improving how your employees perceive their physical surrounds can actually go a long way towards increasing productivity and job satisfaction. Here are a few tips to consider when looking boost productivity without breaking your budget:

Upgrade your lighting
Experts agree that lighting upgrades can not only save money but have a significant impact on productivity and satisfaction. One study by the Light Right Consortium discovered that people who are more satisfied with their lighting rate the space as more attractive, are happier, and are more comfortable and satisfied with their environment and their work. 

Allow workers to personalize their space
Employees (particularly the much discussed Millennial generation) want to enjoy their work and their workplace. Encouraging employees to personalize their space is a simple, no-investment strategy to make workers feel like they’re more than just another cog in the wheel. An employee who feels more comfortable  in their workspace, is an employee that will be happier and more productive.

Clear the air 
The World Health Organization, EPA and numerous other organizations have all shown that cleaner office air can actually reduce employee absenteeism and improve productivity. The challenge is how to tackle the issue in air-tight buildings that constantly recirculate polluted indoor air. One suggestion is installing a number of high quality room air cleaners that remove a wider range of pollutants including chemicals, odors and particles. These easy to use air cleaners will not only provide fresher, cleaner air, but act as a visual reminder to your commitment to workplace health and safety. 

Interested in learning more about improving workplace air quality? Contact an air quality expert today for a free assessment 1-866-667-0297 or visit our website to start a live chat session.