Thursday, March 31, 2011

The right training reduces deadly mistakes in dangerous jobs

Workers who may encounter hazardous events such as fires, explosions and toxic chemicals benefit from hands-on safety training to avoid making deadly mistakes, researchers say.

According to an article published by ScienceDaily, psychologists have interpreted more than 40 years of data, including results from 113 safety training studies to see how training affected safe work behavior.

For the most dangerous jobs, interactive training sessions such as simulation, behavioral modeling and hands-on learning proved to be more effective than less engaging training methods, which included lectures, films, reading materials and videos.  The latter still remained valuable training tools for less dangerous jobs, however.

The study’s lead author Michael Burke, PhD, of Tulane University, said that more interactive training showed better results when it came to instilling the dread factor and teaching workers effectively about possible dangers and awareness. In other words, interactive training is better suited to create a sense of dread in workers, make them realize the danger they could be in and let them proceed with care.

Reduce dangers with comprehensive safety measures

For health and safety concerns in jobs that involve toxic chemicals, strong odors and other airborne pollutants, consider cleaning the air with the appropriate industrial-strength air purifiers, along with other important safety measures.

Electrocorp manufactures air purifiers for industrial and commercial odor management, including Law Enforcement, Hospitals and Healthcare, Chemical Processing, Fire Restoration and Laboratories.
Activated carbon is the most adsorbent material
to remove many chemicals, gases and odors.

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I-6500 Series: Superior air cleaning for polluted environments

I-6500 Series: Complete air cleaning solution
for commercial and industrial use
In industrial or commercial settings where biological contaminants, odors and particles are the main concern, the I-6500 has become one of Electrocorp’s most sought-after units.

With its sleek, cabinet-style design and small footprint, this powerful air cleaner is as tall as it is effective. The all-metal unit takes in dirty air on the bottom and pushes it through a multi-stage filtration system before it releases the purified air on top, allowing for large-volume airflow and circulation.

The I-6500 series features the most activated carbon for chemical, gas and odor control in its price class and can accommodate 80 pounds or up to 160 pounds of this highly adsorbent filtration media.  A wide range of carbon blends helps to mitigate almost any chemical, gas and odor problem.

Cleaner air with Carbon + HEPA filter combination

These versatile air cleaners also remove particles from the ambient air with an ultra-efficient HEPA filter as well as particle-trapping pre-filters, which prolong the life of the other filters. A pressure gauge facilitates the monitoring of the filters and indicates when a change is required. It is possible to add UV light technology to help neutralize any biological contaminants such as mold spores, bacteria and viruses.

The filter compartment of the I-6500 Series is easily accessible through a hinged door that is secured with latches. No tools are required. A second, similar door provides access to the motor compartment. The motor can run on two speeds at 750 CFM (cubic feet per minute) up to 1000 CFM (and in customized units up to 1500 CFM). We recommend running it at the lowest speed, which is the most effective for activated carbon.

The I-6500 air purifiers function as stand-alone, plug-and-go units that can be moved at will on their wheels, or they can be attached to an existing HVAC system in small to medium-sized buildings.  The I-6500 complies with national and international standards and is CSA-certified.

Industries that benefit from I-6500 Series:

Contact Electrocorp to find out more and to customize the unit to help solve your specific indoor air quality problem.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chemicals need to be tested more, say scientists

Thousands of chemicals are being registered
with the American Chemical Society each day.
Eight societies from the fields of genetics, reproductive medicine, endocrinology, developmental biology and others have written a letter in the journal Science to say that some 12,000 new chemicals are registered with the American Chemical Society daily.

While only a fraction of them make it into the environment, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still don’t have all the pertinent information about the types of chemicals that are produced in large quantities.

According to the Health and Medicine News article, the letter states, "The need for swifter and sounder testing and review procedures cannot be overstated.”

The scientists urge the top two federal regulators to evaluate more than the toxicity of chemicals with the help of a variety of experts, who can help interpret available data to determine how the chemicals are affecting humans. They suggest enlisting the help of geneticists, developmental and reproductive biologists and clinicians.

Chemical testing lags behind

"As things stand now," the article quotes Patricia Hunt, a professor in the Washington State University School of Molecular Biosciences and corresponding author of the letter, "things get rapidly into the marketplace and the testing of them is tending to lag behind."

The scientists are especially concerned about chemicals like the plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) and others that mimic the effects of hormones.

"Hormones control everything -- our basic metabolism, our reproduction," she said. "We call them endocrine disruptors. They're like endocrine bombs to a certain extent because they can disrupt all these normal functions."

Because of growing health concerns, BPA has been widely outlawed in children’s food containers, bottles and drinking cups, but they are still exposed to a wide variety of chemicals in products, water and air.


If you want to improve the air quality at your work or at home, contact one of our air quality experts to find out more about our complete air cleaning solutions for chemical, odor and particle control.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Global project to monitor dangerous chemicals in the air

Australian scientists have started monitoring air pollution levels of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals as part of a global project, explains an ABC News piece.

The researchers are taking air samples at weather stations in north-west Tasmania, Melbourne and Darwin as part of a push to ban the use of POPs (persistent organic pollutants), which are used in pesticides and manufacturing. The danger of these chemicals is that they do not break down and make their way through the food chains into our bodies in concentrations that can be quite high and potentially deadly.

"They can effect cardiovascular disease, so they can affect the way we breathe and our heart rates etc, so cause heart disease," the article quotes CSIRO's Melita Keywood as saying. "They also cause cancers and they also affect the way we metabolise food."

The results will be sent to the UN and used to develop a global approach to reducing exposure to the potentially deadly chemicals.

More information:

Worried about your indoor air quality? Talk to one of our air quality experts about our industrial-strength air purifiers with deep-bed activated carbon filters plus HEPA filters for superior chemical, odor and particle control.

Friday, March 25, 2011

RSU Series – versatile air purifiers for odor removal

RSU Series: Get rid of odors fast
with these powerful air purifiers.
Electrocorp’s Radial Scrub Unit (RSU) series represents one of the most versatile and effective series in the company’s diverse lineup of industrial-strength air purifiers.

The units are available in many different sizes and feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for the removal of chemicals, gases and odors as well as an electrostatic particle filter. The powerful HEPA + carbon combination gives these air purification systems an extensive adsorbent area, allowing them to capture odor-causing pollutants more quickly than other units.

They can accommodate between 18 and 360 pounds of activated carbon and can be customized even more with regards to the filter media and carbon blends.

Simple and impressive air purification solution

The RSU units are portable, free-standing, plug-and-go air purifiers with a round design for maximum efficiency.  Users can easily change the air flow according to preference. The main body of the air purifier is covered by a wrap-around pre-filter to capture larger particles and allow for large-volume air intake. The RSU will clean the air and then recirculate it in the room.

The overall design and capabilities of the RSU Series makes these units the best choice for clients who need fast and effective chemical and odor relief.

Industries that benefit from RSU units include:

Electrocorp is a global leader in the research and development of complete and reliable air quality management solutions for industrial and commercial odor removal that feature the most filtration media on the market for the most reasonable prices. For more information, call  one of our air quality experts at 1.888.667.0297.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Examining the link between pulp and paper mills and cancer

The pulp and paper industry gives us
paper - but researchers are concerned
about the chemicals that are involved.
The pulp and paper industry has become an important part of modern life because paper products are so prevalent in virtual every aspect of human life -- even in this digital age.

Pulp and paper mills produce 9 million tons of pulp annually according to the U.S. EPA. With approximately 565 facilities and over 200,000 employees across 42 states in the U.S. alone, the pulp and paper mill industry is a huge part of the American economy and our everyday lives.

However, paper mills also have a considerable effect on humans in terms of occupational hazards and environmental impact, according to a 2010 review by Colin L. Soskolne and Lee E. Sieswerda that is  available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

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

Chemical exposure varies from one mill to another and depends on factors such as
  • Wood species
  • Pulping process
  • Bleaching process

Because of modern insight into the dangers of certain substances, some chemicals have been eliminated or reduced in the paper industry, including asbestos.

However, exposure to hazardous materials may happen at any stage in the paper-making process. It has been shown that workers often encounter gaseous sulphur compounds, chlorine and chlorine dioxide, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health concerns, but which have not been linked to cancer.

Other vapors that pulp and paper industry workers may be exposed to include:
  • Terpenes
  • Sodium hydroxide mist
  • Methanol
  • Ethanol
  • Sulphuric acid
  • Furfural
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Acetic acid
  • Formic acid
  • Gluconic acid
  • Hydrogen peroxide, and more.

In addition, the presence of dust particles that contain lime and sodium sulphate during the chemical recovery process can be harmful. Long-term exposure has been associated with lung cancer.

Other materials workers may be exposed to include pesticides used for control of slime and algae, chlorinated organic compounds and hexavalent chromium in stainless steel welding during maintenance work. Historically, pulp and paper mill workers have been exposed to asbestos, which may affect cancer rates for some time to come.

The two writers acknowledge that it has been difficult to study the effects of chemical exposure at pulp and paper mills. However, “given the known hazards and the potential for both environmental and human exposure by any number of pathways, vigilance on the part of governments for regulation and ongoing workplace and environmental monitoring remains a health imperative,” they conclude.
The SSU Series:
A serious industrial air purifier

Clean the air with industrial air purifiers

Electrocorp manufactures industrial-strength air purifiers for superior chemical and odor control and has designed units that are specifically suited for the pulp and paper mill industry. Electrocorp's IAQ solutions are both efficient and affordable.

For room-to-room ventilation (filtering the air from a contaminated room and pushing clean air into another or out into the atmosphere) the SSU module air scrubber is ideal.

This system can also be used to scrub the air in the room and keep the clean air circulating in the same space. Our carbon air scrubbers rely on virgin activated carbon filtration to remove the most chemicals, gases and odors from the air. Contact us for more information.

Source: Cancer risk associated with pulp and paper mills: a review of occupational and community epidemiology.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Welding hazards: Protect yourself from welding fumes and soldering fumes

Most welders know they should protect themselves from the toxic fumes and gases produced in the welding process. According to the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights, the hazards of welding depend on the

•    welding method,
•    welding rod,
•    filler metals and base metals,
•    paints and other coatings on the material and
•    ventilation.

Safe Solder series
Harmful weld fumes can be released by metals, coatings, residues and solvents. Shielding gases like argon can displace the oxygen and be downright deadly, if they are allowed to accumulate around the indoor work station.

When it comes to choosing the right air purifier or fume extractor for welders, an industrial-strength activated carbon and HEPA filtration system has been proven to counteract harmful toxins and particles.

Electrocorp’s specially designed Fume Extractor Series features portable, powerful units that capture many toxic fumes at the source, directly at the work station. They adsorb gases and chemicals in a deep bed of activated carbon, using 40 to 80 pounds of this efficient filtration media.

Fume Extractor LD450
The units are designed for TIG, MIG and arc welding operations and they feature a spark arrestor, flexible arm and optional custom carbon blends. Electrocorp also offers air purifiers specifically designed for soldering applications, including a tabletop unit with an intake hood and a smoke particle filter as well as an activated charcoal filter.

Air purifiers by Electrocorp can easily be modified and converted to purify the air in any industrial and commercial environment where chemical and odor control is a main concern.

Contact us today to speak to one of our air quality experts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

EPA cautions online shoppers about toxic, illegal pesticides

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced March 21, 2011 that it has warned more than 2,800 customers across the United States about risks associated with a banned pesticide in an ant-control product they purchased online through

The product, Fast Ant Bait, contained mirex, a pesticide that was banned in 1978 because it can cause liver, skin, reproductive and nerve damage.
Pesticides can be harmful to human health.

“Illegal pesticides are often much more toxic than approved pesticides,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  “When EPA takes a pesticide off the market, it means that pesticide was not safe. Consumers should use only EPA-registered pesticides and always follow the label directions to ensure their safety.”

Woman became ill in her home after using pesticide

EPA became aware of the product after the Washington State Department of Health reported that a woman became ill after using it in her home. In response, EPA identified and warned three online companies, Inc., CCNow, Inc. and eBay Inc. to cease processing orders for the product that was produced and mailed from China.

The three companies cooperated, immediately ceased processing orders and consumers can no longer purchase products from, the original site that offered the product for sale.  The companies also worked with EPA to provide sales information, which allowed the agency to contact customers directly about the dangers posed by the pesticide and proper disposal methods.

The letter EPA sent to customers who bought the product provides detailed directions on how to safely clean up and dispose of the illegal product and what to do if they believe they were exposed or harmed.

For more information on mirex or other pesticides, consumers can call the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Information Center at 1-888-422-8737 or the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378.

EPA provides information on using pesticides safely.

If you are concerned about the indoor air quality in your office, home or building, contact us today to find out more about the most efficient chemical and odor control solutions on the market.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Researchers develop tool to measure VOCs

Manufacturers of construction materials
could test their products for VOCs.
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Virginia Tech have come up with a new approach for measuring harmful indoor air pollutants.

The measurement tool is a reference sample for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could assist testers of indoor air quality as well as manufacturers of paints, carpets, cleaners and building products.

The prototype test material is made of thin squares of plastic that were saturated with vapors of a common solvent. They provided more accurate test results than other more costly and time-consuming methods.

VOCs are common indoor air pollutants

VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids in various common building materials, including paints, glues and furniture as well as common household products such as cleaning agents, air fresheners and scented personal care products.

Reported health effects to exposure include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

According to the article, VOC emissions from building materials and products have also been linked to occupant illness, reduced worker productivity, and increased requirements for ventilation/air cleaning, leading to increased energy consumption. As a result, low VOC emitting products are being used more widely in buildings to help achieve a healthy and sustainable indoor environment.

Even though several programs for testing VOC emissions from building products exist, manufacturers who want to test their products to determine that emissions are below limits set in regulations or voluntary standards got results that often varied significantly.

How the new tool works to measure toxins

The researchers prepared two batches of sample material—thin films of polymethyl pentane, a plastic used in gas-permeable packaging, saturated with toluene, a common VOC found in paint and other products.

A mathematical model developed by the research team accurately predicts rates of emission from the sample over time. The preliminary multi-laboratory tests showed that the prototype reference material is uniform in composition and sufficiently stable and that rates of VOC emissions within and between production batches are consistent.

The researchers conclude that their prototype could reduce inter-laboratory variability in results to less than 10 percent—much better than current methods. An international pilot will be conducted later this year.

More information: "New tool debuts for measuring indoor air pollutants." March 16th, 2011.

Are you concerned about volatile organic compounds or VOC emissions in your environment?

Electrocorp manufactures industrial-strength air purifiers for superior chemical and odor control and features special carbon blends for VOC concerns.

Our carbon air scrubbers rely on virgin activated carbon filtration to remove the most chemicals, gases and odors from the air and they also feature a HEPA filter for particle control. Contact us for more information.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't sit next to the photocopier – and other tips to keep heart and lungs healthy

Large office printers often emit VOCs.
Researchers have now pinpointed one of the biggest risks for a heart attack – air pollution. Polluted air contains particles of dust and soot less than ten microns wide (one micron is a millionth of a meter) which get into the lungs and cause inflammation.

Poor air quality – outdoors and indoors – has been linked to strokes, heart attacks, cancer and aggravated respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Here are some tips to reduce your exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants.

  1. Take measures to have cleaner indoor air. Avoid plug-in or aerosol air fresheners and open the window or use a high-quality air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA
  2. Cut down on scented household products (cleaning agents and personal body care);
  3. Place certain plants throughout the house
  4. Watch out for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can be emitted by carpets, treated fabrics, furniture, TV screens, glues and paints. Again, an air purifier with activated carbon can help with chemical and odor control.
  5. Common office photocopy machines with wet toner emit very high levels of VOCs, so ask to be moved if you sit near one at work.
  6. If you work with chemicals or harmful substances, make sure all safety measures are in place and you are protected accurately.
  1. Avoid busy streets – Opt for side streets whenever possible, parks and routes with lots of trees. This applies to drivers, pedestrians, joggers and cyclists;
  2. Walk on the inside of the sidewalk;
  3. Don’t be afraid of “bad” weather: Windy conditions mean lower air pollution, and rain washes the pollutants away. Hot, humid days present a challenge for the body – if you want to go for a run, do it in the morning.

Electrocorp is a leading manufacturer of high quality air purifiers in North America and offers a combination of deep bed carbon filters and particle filters for complete air purification solutions. For more information about industrial air filtration or home and office air purification, start a live chat with one of our air quality experts.

Please note: The information contained herein is not meant to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure a disease or condition. It may be necessary to consult a physician.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Commitment to transparency: More and more toxic chemicals will need to be identified

Public access to chemical information
is to be increased.
EPA removes confidentiality claims on studies of chemicals submitted under TSCA

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified five companies that the identities of 14 chemicals associated with a number of health and safety studies submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and claimed as confidential are not eligible for confidential treatment.

The action comes as part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s continued efforts to increase public access to chemical information to help Americans understand risks posed by chemicals in our environment.

Last year, EPA put in place a plan to review confidentiality claims for the name of chemicals addressed in health and safety studies. Under these new procedures EPA is moving to declassify many chemical identities so they are no longer secret.

EPA soon to release more chemical names

More chemical names connected with health and safety studies will be released in the future. The agency plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies provided to the agency under TSCA unless the chemical identity contains process or mixture information that is expressly protected by the law.

“The public deserves access to critical health and safety information on chemicals, but if the name of the chemical is kept secret in the health and safety report, the information is of no real value to people,” said Steve Owens, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We are committed to increasing the American people’s access to this important information.”

Many companies claim name of chemicals to be confidential business information

Under TSCA, companies may claim that information they submit to EPA should be treated as confidential business information (CBI) and not be disclosed to the public. Companies that manufacture, process, or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. The reports are made available on EPA’s website, but when the identity of the chemical has been claimed confidential by a company, the name of the chemical has been removed from the copy of the report that is made public.

EPA has begun reviewing past CBI claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies. Where EPA determines that the information is not eligible for confidential treatment under the law, the agency will notify companies of the determination and that EPA will make the information public on the 31st day after receiving the determination unless the company challenges the disclosure in federal court.

More information on EPA’s efforts to increase transparency, for a copy of the letter, and additional information on the notifications on declassifications:

Worried about exposure to chemicals? Electrocorp carries a range of air cleaners designed specifically for chemical processing plants, laboratory air quality control, chemical and odor control and a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. Call today for a free consultation or visit our website to start a live chat with an air quality expert. 1-866-667-0297

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

EPA proposes national standard for mercury pollution from power plants

Toxic emissions a national
concern in the United States.
WASHINGTON – In response to a court deadline, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. 

The new power plant mercury and air toxics standards – which eliminate 20 years of uncertainty across industry – would require many power plants to install widely available, proven pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases, while preventing as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year.

Proposed standards to provide health benefits

The new proposed standards would also provide particular health benefits for children, preventing 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. The proposed standards would also avert more than 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions and 850,000 fewer days of work missed due to illness. This rule will provide employment for thousands, by supporting 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

“Today’s announcement is 20 years in the making, and is a significant milestone in the Clean Air Act’s already unprecedented record of ensuring our children are protected from the damaging effects of toxic air pollution,”  said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “With the help of existing technologies, we will be able to take reasonable steps that will provide dramatic protections to our children and loved ones, preventing premature deaths, heart attacks, and asthma attacks.”

Power plant pollution linked to many health risks

Toxic air pollutants like mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants have been shown to cause neurological damage, including lower IQ, in children exposed in the womb and during early development.  The standards also address emissions of other toxic metals linked with cancer such as arsenic, chromium and nickel. 

Mercury and many of the other toxic pollutants also damage the environment and pollute our nation’s lakes, streams, and fish. In addition, cutting these toxic pollutants also reduces fine particle pollution, which causes premature death, heart disease, workdays lost to illness and asthma.

Authorities concerned about mercury and acid gas emissions

Power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants – responsible for half of mercury and more than half of acid gas emissions in the United States. The updated standards will provide a first-ever level playing field for all power plants across the country. The proposed rule provides up to 4 years for facilities to meet the standards and, once fully implemented, will prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being released into the air.

Today’s announcement is long awaited; coming 11 years after EPA announced it would set such limits for power plants. A final rule is expected to be completed by November 2011.

More information:

Electrocorp carries a range of industrial-strength air cleaners designed specifically for chemical and odor control.
Call today for a free consultation or visit our website to start a live chat with an air quality expert.

Financial boost for bioactive paper research to detect pathogens and toxins

Burnaby, B.C. -- Researchers working to commercialize bioactive paper received a second-term, five-year boost of $7.5-million last month from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC). The federal funds will support Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network's five research platforms formed to commercialize bioactive paper.

Bioactive paper has global human health implications, as it can provide fast, easy and inexpensive detection of pathogens and/or toxins in food, water and air. Sentinel researcher and McMaster University Professor Dr. John Brennan's recently created a toxin-detecting dipstick (which detects organophosphate pesticides) and the consensus is that bioactive paper strips will be able to detect a range of biohazards affecting humans and animals worldwide.

"Canada leads the world in the development of bioactive paper," said Dr. Robert Pelton, Sentinel's Scientific Director, McMaster University Professor and a Canada Research Chair. "The pesticide sensor paper is the first example of Brennan's printed sol-gel encapsulated sensors -- a new technology platform. This paper has generated enormous interest and Sentinel is working with industry partners towards pilot scale production of the sensors. More sensors are in the pipeline aimed at food safety."

The Network will be able to accelerate the development of simple, rapid and inexpensive "tests" such as anti-listeria meat wrap, water and food quality dipsticks, trace contaminant alert tests and pesticide detection paper-sensors. Bioactive paper's low-cost, simplicity and rapid response make it an attractive food and water safety tool for developed and developing countries.

For more information, go to:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Health-care workers asked for input on chemical health & safety practices

Survey aims to identify workers'
exposure to harmful chemicals
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) invites health-care personnel to participate voluntarily in an online survey about health and safety practices in working with hazardous chemicals on the job. The survey is open until March 26, 2011.

The voluntary survey can be accessed at Respondents will be asked for an organization key which is: HCWS. Individual responses will be kept confidential, and no personal identifiers will be recorded. The survey will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Survey to help agency determine health risks for workers

Results of the survey will help NIOSH better understand the extent to which health-care workers may be exposed to chemical agents such as antineoplastic agents, anesthetic gases, surgical smoke, high level disinfectants, chemical sterilants, and aerosolized medications, and the circumstances of potential exposures.

Results will also help NIOSH to better learn and understand current practices for reducing potential exposures, to identify gaps in current knowledge about those practices, and to design further research in collaboration with our partners for addressing those gaps.

"Safeguarding health-care workers from potential occupational hazards is an essential part of providing good jobs for these dedicated men and women, and of furthering high-quality patient care," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.

"We look forward to a robust voluntary response to this survey. The results will help NIOSH and its partners design next steps in the research essential for addressing the workplace health and safety needs of this important and growing U.S. workforce."

Information to help access the voluntary survey, if needed, is available from a toll-free Help Desk, 1-888-219-5667. For further information about the survey, contact the NIOSH Project Staff: Jim Boiano at, tel. (513) 841-4246, or Andrea Steege,, tel. (513) 841-4538.

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and death. NIOSH has a strategic program of research to better identify, understand, and address potential safety and health hazards in the healthcare industry. NIOSH also works with diverse partners to stimulate, design, and carry out research for the healthcare and social assistance sector under the National Occupational Research Agenda, NORA.

Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scientists work to develop safer hair dye products

Beautiful hair may come with a price --
most hair products contain dangerous chemicals
The industry of hair coloring and hair dyes has not changed much in the past 150 years. The basic technology for permanent hair color has stayed the same, even though the industry itself has grown tremendously.

With an ageing population wanting to keep a young appearance and cover grey hair, the hair coloring industry is poised to expand further and make some leaps in terms of technologies and safety.

Hair color chemicals a threat to human health

Most permanent hair colors use p-phenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical that produces darker and browner shades when exposed to air. It can also be found in many semi-permanent hair colors.

However, hair stylists and salon patrons have long been concerned over the safety of PPD and other hair dye chemicals in beauty salons and spas, including formaldehyde and ammonia or other alkalizing agents and hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching chemicals.

Researchers aim to develop new hair dyes and alternative hair coloring technologies that will include nano-sized colorants, for example, which can lead to longer lasting hair color. Other substances may stimulate the genes to produce the melanin pigment that gives the hair its color, which promises more natural-looking hair dyes and less toxicity.

Scientists are also exploring technologies in gene therapy that may stop the graying of hair or prevent it completely.

Other hair treatments raise safety concerns

Recent reports about hair products such as hair relaxers showed that the chemicals affected the health and well-being of hair stylists. Reported health effects linked to the use of keratin-based smoothers used by curly-haired women included nosebleeds, breathing problems and eye irritation.

Electrocorp Air Filtration System carries a range of air cleaners designed specifically for beauty salons and spas.
Call today for a free consultation or visit our air purification website to start a live chat with an air quality expert. 1-866-667-0297


Friday, March 11, 2011

Old energy-saving light bulbs a hazard for garbage collectors (and users)

Compact fluorescent light bulbs
contain mercury.
It’s something not many people think about: When their low-energy light bulbs burn out, they simply throw them into the garbage disposal.
 We have done it with the traditional light bulbs, and old habits are hard to break, right?

But compact fluorescent and fluorescent bulbs sold at major retailers have been classified as hazardous household waste because most of them contain mercury, a chemical element that is extremely toxic and needs to be handled with care.
 Consequently, garbage collectors across the UK are now refusing to pick up the light bulbs.

Workers concerned with toxic vapors

According to the article in the Daily Mail, a study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found that when one of the light bulbs breaks, it emits levels of toxic vapor up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.

In most residential areas, including the US and Canada, fluorescent light bulbs should be disposed of in a special hazardous waste collection or recycling dump in the area.

Fluorescent lights now common in homes and offices

The compact fluorescent light bulbs have been gaining popularity because they provide a greener option to traditional light bulbs. Compared to incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use less power and have a longer rated life.

In the United States, a CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over US$40 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime.

What to do in case of a mercury spill
Mercury is a metal that is liquid at room temperature. Mercury and most of its compounds are extremely toxic and are generally handled with care. It is used in lighting: electricity passed through mercury vapor in a phosphor tube produces short-wave ultraviolet light which then causes the phosphor to fluoresce, making visible light.

Mercury can cause both chronic and acute poisoning. If a bulb is smashed, the UK’s Health Protection Agency advice is for householders to evacuate the room and leave it to ventilate for 15 minutes.

People should wear protective gloves while wiping the area of the break with a damp cloth and picking up fragments of glass, which should be placed in a plastic bag and sealed. Vacuum cleaners and brooms should not be used because they cause greater dispersal of the mercury.

You can sprinkle sulfur powder or zinc powder over the area and subsequently collect and properly dispose of the substance. Cleaning porous surfaces and clothing is not effective at removing all traces of mercury and it’s best to discard these kinds of items should they be exposed to a mercury spill.



In any situation where exposure to toxic chemicals is a concern, an industrial-strength air purifier with a deep bed of activated carbon effectively removes chemicals, odors and gases from the air. For more information, contact  Electrocorp today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Robot system to test chemicals for toxicity

High-speed robot system to screen 10,000 chemicals.
Courtesy of National Human Genome Research Institute
Four federal American agencies have joined forces to use a new robot system to improve the way chemicals are tested in the country.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program, the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have presented a new high-speed robot screening system that will test 10,000 chemicals for toxicity.

The collaboration, known under the name Tox21, merges the agencies’ resources, including research, funding and testing tools, to find better methods of testing the thousands of chemicals that people are exposed to every day.

System will help assess effects of chemicals on humans

“Understanding the molecular basis of hazard is fundamental to the protection of people’s health and the environment,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, in the EPA press release. “Tox21 allows us to obtain deeper understanding and more powerful insights, faster than ever before.”
Too many chemicals have not yet been tested
for their effects on human health.

The robot system will test chemicals that are being used in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs. The results will help scientists in the evaluation of these chemicals to determine if they can lead to adverse health effects.

Proven screening system

According to the press release, Tox21 has already screened more than 2,500 chemicals for potential toxicity using robots and other innovative chemical screening technologies. The Tox21 chemical screening technologies were used to screen the different types of oil spill dispersants for potential endocrine activity during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

A video of the Tox21 robot is available.

Concerned about chemicals in your environment?

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

If you need to focus on heavy odor control or improving air quality in your business or neighborhood, contact one of our air quality experts today.

Schools plagued by air problems and carbon dioxide

Indoor air pollution affects the
learning ability of students.
When dozens of students sit in a closed-off classroom, breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide (CO2), then the air ventilation system better be good, or the CO2 levels will quickly rise.

In many schools, unfortunately, ventilation systems are in dire need of an upgrade or repairs, making elevated CO2 levels one of the most common problems in the school environment.

"Higher levels of carbon dioxide make a person sleepy and it also decreases their learning ability," said David Gettinger, a facilities manager, who was interviewed for An Eyewitness News Investigation about air quality in Indiana schools. "More carbon dioxide means there's not enough oxygen in the classroom and you don't think as straight."

Apart from CO2 levels, poor ventilation also means that other indoor pollutants such as mold spores, chemicals from art supplies, particles and odors are more concentrated and may affect the students.

Bad indoor air quality linked to poor academic performance

A study by chemical engineers at the University of Tulsa suggests that increasing classroom ventilation rates toward recommended guidelines translates into improved academic achievement.

Conversely, bad indoor air quality can lead to poor academic performance, more sick days and absenteeism and less productivity. Poor IAQ has also been linked with increased diagnoses of asthma and allergies.

Inferior indoor air quality naturally affects teachers and other personnel in schools as well.
Often, it’s up to parents, children and teachers to complain about the air quality before any kind of test or inspection is carried out.

Guidelines help facility managers control pollution levels

In the U.S., the guideline for CO2 levels in schools is based upon a recommendation from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

It sets the maximum CO2 limit for classrooms at no more than 700 ppm above the current carbon dioxide level of outside air. Because outdoor CO2 levels are usually in the 300-400 range, CO2 levels inside a school are considered elevated if they exceed 1100 ppm.

While fixing problems with the ventilation system often alleviates the problem, older ventilation systems may not be enough to supply students with an adequate amount of fresh air. 

Our air quality experts recommend using powerful air purifiers as well, either attached to the HVAC system or portable, free-standing units that can be plugged in and moved around according to need.

Suggested units for schools and universities include the RAP and RSU series and the 6000 Series for classrooms. Contact us today for more information.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Poor IAQ linked to half of illnesses worldwide

Common indoor air contaminants have been
linked to a wide range of medical conditions.
There is yet another reason to make sure that the indoor air at home and at the workplace is the cleanest possible.

At a recent seminar in Ghana, a senior program officer of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ebenezer Fiahagbe, talked about the risks of indoor air pollutants to human health – they contribute to an annual 8.5 million deaths worldwide.

The contaminants released into the air by common culprits such as carpets, asbestos, lead paints, cleaning products and dust mites have been linked to a range of lung-related illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis, coughing, respiratory infections and cancer.

Many people regularly exposed to poor indoor air quality

Commonly used building materials, furniture, household products, office devices, cleaning agents and more all contribute to a less-than-healthy indoor air environment. Combustion appliances and wood stoves are also adding to the load of contaminants. Many buildings also have high concentrations of naturally occurring gases such as radon, which can enter houses through cracks in the foundations - a growing problem called soil vapor intrusion.

According to Fiahagbe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in a recent report that over 300,000 lung related deaths are recorded annually. Indoor pollution is cited as one of the major causes, including tobacco or environmental smoke, pesticides, mold, mildew and dust mites.

WHO says that indoor air pollution from biological agents in indoor air related to dampness and mold increases the risk of respiratory disease in children and adults by 50%.

Methods to reduce indoor air pollution

  • Use VOC-free (volatile organic compounds) building materials, paints, and cleaning products to reduce the amount of chemicals released into the indoor air
  • Keep the building ventilated and make sure there is not an excess of humidity or water leaks that create ideal habitats for mold growth
  • Run an air purifier to remove particles and chemicals from the air. Many models nowadays are cost- and energy-efficient. Be sure not to purchase an air purifier that emits ozone which can harm the lungs and is itself a pollutant. HEPA filtration for particles and carbon filtration for odors and VOCs are inert, non-ozone producing purification technologies available commercially
Source: GNA; Article printed from Ghana Business News:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Don’t ignore indoor air concerns at ice rinks

It’s the last thing owners, facility managers and users of ice rinks want to think about – poor IAQ at indoor ice skating rinks, perpetuated by the emissions from Zambonis and other machines as well as inadequate ventilation or safeguards.

But when you hear stories of entire hockey teams falling ill at a Rhode Island arena or more than 130 people suffering some form of carbon monoxide poisoning at an ice rink in Colorado, it soon becomes obvious that this is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

Watch out for the air quality in ice arenas.
Photo by Sandtrooper (own work)
Lack of regulations in arenas

Most North American states and provinces do not regulate indoor air quality at ice rinks and sports centers.
Most air quality issues are caused by ice-resurfacing machines, or Zambonis, and ice edgers running on gasoline, natural gas or propane. Electric machines do not contribute to IAQ problems.

The machines can cause high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are life-threatening gases in high concentrations. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas and can cause mild to severe symptoms, depending on the concentration level.

Poisonous gases a threat to rink users

There may be an indoor air concern in the arena near you if you notice the following symptoms after spending time in one:
  • Headaches
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea, fatigue, vertigo, disorientation
  • Increased heart beat
  • Vision loss
  • Stomach pains
Exposure to NO2, a highly reactive oxidant and corrosive gas, causes a slight irritation to the lungs and throat, but the effects worsen after 48 hours and can include fluid and bleeding in the lungs. Weaker lungs increase the chances of getting pneumonia and developing long-term breathing problems.

The pollutant level is highest just after the resurfacing machine has gone through. Athletes are at a greater risk because their activity level makes them breathe in large amounts of harmful gases.

People should be extra careful at tournaments or competitions when the ice is resurfaced more often than usual.

Facility managers need to control IAQ at ice rinks

There are many ways ice skating facilities can ensure safe levels of indoor air pollutants.

  1. Be knowledgeable about potential safety hazards and IAQ problems
  2. Educate workers on their role in protecting users (espec. Children) and IAQ; let occupants know that they should pay attention to warning signs, inform arena management and consult a medical professional
  3. Set up carbon monoxide detectors throughout the facility
  4. Schedule regular tune-ups and emission-checks for the ice-resurfacing machines 
  5. Install a state-of-the-art exhaust system that pumps fresh air into the arena and locker rooms
  6. Use an industrial-strength air purifier in spaces where IAQ is of particular importance, e.g. in public areas and locker rooms
  7. Check the ventilation systems regularly. Problems are often easily fixed, but they have to be detected first
  8. Establish procedures and guidelines on what to do with complaints and how to handle emergency situations
  9. The International Ice Hockey Federation recommends two ventilation units in arenas, one over the skating rink and one in public areas
Questions or concerns? Talk to one of our air quality experts toll free at 1-866-667-0297.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Market analysts predict growth for air scrubbers and adsorbers

Market research company McIlvaine says the scrubber and adsorber market is poised to rise from $6 billion USD this year to $7 billion in 2015.

Incineration and waste-to-energy applications make up a large segment of growth, while wastewater treatment is also on the rise because of associated air quality problems. The company reports that some wastewater plants invest more than US$1 million in air pollution control equipment.

Recent changes to the air toxic standards in the U.S. will also require almost 100 scrubbers in cement plants and industrial boilers, especially those burning coal and biomass.

Apart from the US, the market analysts pointed to a growing market in East Asia. China, for example, aims to clean up emissions from steel and mining operations and is in the process of building many wastewater treatment plants.
The I-6500 Series controls odors,
chemicals and particles in commercial
and industrial applications.

Adsorbers can remove a wide range of chemicals from the air. Electrocorp offers a wide variety of industrial-strength air purifying solutions.

Air purifiers for waste water treatment plants

Waste water treatment facilities are at risk for spreading volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and so should be concerned with air purification and filtration at the source. By implementing Electrocorp’s Air Rhino system in open areas in the treatment plants, airborne toxins can be kept to a minimum and sewage odor can be reduced where filtration occurs. Another option is the I-6500 Series, a powerful air scrubber with a deep bed of activated carbon and particle filters.

For a more localized filtration, (i.e., on the barrels containing contaminated or pre-filtered water and sewage) Electrocorp’s EZ Flow barrel attachment can be used to reduce odors and possible VOCs escaping into the air. The EZ Flow attachment contains 4 lb. of carbon with inlet and outlet particle filtration to 10 microns.

Electrocorp Air Filtration Systems is an experienced vendor and service provider for many federal, state, and local government agencies. We are pleased to provide government buyers with a dedicated government solutions team for fast and efficient service.

Please e-mail for more information on our government programs and pricing or contact us today for more information.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Less air pollution would prolong lives, save healthcare costs and increase productivity: EU study

Curbing pollution could save lives
 and cut health-care costs.
A study funded by the European Union has found that 19,000 lives could be saved each year if rampant air pollution could be controlled.

Apart from saving lives, the study results also indicates that residents could add two years to their life expectancy and be more productive at work because they would not have to be absent as often.
 In addition, healthcare costs could go down by as much as $43.4 billion.

Cars blamed for high pollution rates

The study, titled Aphekom, looked at 25 cities in 12 EU countries over a period of three years and encompassed nearly 39 million people.

Most of the pollution came from vehicle exhausts on busy streets.

Stockholm fared best when it came to fine particle pollution, while Bucharest, Budapest and Barcelona were bogged down with high pollution rates.

The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) set the acceptable standards for fine particulate pollution at 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Rome was at 21.4 micrograms per cubic meter, London was at 13.1.

Health concerns associated with air pollution

In North America, pollution has been an ongoing issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to particulate matter can have effects on breathing and respiratory systems, damage to lung tissue, cancer, and premature death.

The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma, tend to be especially sensitive to the effects of particulate matter. Acidic particulate matter can also damage manmade materials and is a major cause of reduced visibility in many parts of the U.S.

Fine particles can remain suspended in the air and travel long distances. For example, a puff of exhaust from a diesel truck in Los Angeles can end up over the Grand Canyon, where one-third of the haze comes from Southern California.

Emissions from a Los Angeles oil refinery can form particles that in a few days will affect visibility in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Twenty percent of the problem on dirtiest days in that Park is attributed to Los Angeles-generated smog.

Reduce air pollution – outdoors and indoors

If outdoor air pollution sounds dangerous, imagine what kind of an effect poor indoor air quality can have on human health -- especially since we spend most of our time inside. The silver lining: We have more control over our indoor environments.
Compact air purifiers help remove
airborne contaminants at home and at the office.

For cleaner air at home and industrial odor and chemical control solutions at the workplace, choose an air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA to provide maximum chemical, odor and particle control. Carbon adsorbs many of the prevalent airborne gases and chemicals that pollute indoor air. Find out more on the Electrocorp website or contact us today for a customized recommendation.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jersey’s dry cleaning industry gets health boost

Dry cleaning. Photo by Simon Law
A grant program set up by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in New Jersey helps small business owners replace old dry cleaning machines that use toxic chemicals.

The program aims to reduce the amount of chemicals released by dry cleaning machines, especially older models that use the harmful chemical perchlolroethylene (PCE).

Since the beginning of the program about seven months ago, 285 dry cleaners have applied for the grant and 86 have been approved so far.

Of approximately 1,600 dry cleaning facilities in New Jersey, 1,100 use PCE as a dry cleaning solvent.

For the allocation of the grant money, priority is given to dry cleaning businesses located in residential settings, such as apartment buildings, mixed commercial and residential strip malls and those located within 50 feet of day care centers.

The dangers of PCE

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

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

Vapors that escape from poorly maintained or faulty dry cleaning machines can seep through walls and into adjacent apartments or businesses. According to the article, PCE is also one of the more difficult contaminants to deal with if it gets into water through spills or leaks because it sinks to the bottom of water supplies.

Industrial-strength air cleaners a boon for small businesses
The RSU Series can help small and
medium business owners improve
their indoor air quality.

Until PCE-using dry cleaning machines can be phased out, small and medium businesses can help protect themselves and their surroundings by installing powerful air purification systems.

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

If you are concerned about the air quality in your business or neighborhood, contact us today.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chinese drywall still a health hazard

Chinese drywall emits sulfur gases.
Harmful Chinese-made drywall that was widely used in homes and office buildings in North America between 2001 and 2007 could have serious side effects.

Most of the drywall was used in the southern US after damaging hurricanes, when US-made drywall was hard to come by.

Tests have shown that the Chinese-made building material emits sulfur gases, which cause a rotten egg smell and have a corrosive effect on electrical and plumbing components in the buildings.

Sulfur gas emissions linked to health problems

Health concerns include upper respiratory issues, such as coughing, sneezing, bloody noses, sleep apnea and sore throats.

According to the article, it is not known which materials in the Chinese drywall are triggering the release of sulfur gases. Some experts also question whether the Chinese drywall is, in fact, a health hazard.

However, highly toxic compounds have been found in Chinese drywall and prolonged exposure affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver, and skin. Infants, children and the elderly may be especially vulnerable to the gases and the particles that are released from the drywall.

What to do if you suspect Chinese drywall in your building

  1. Remove an outlet cover from the wall (make sure you turn off the power at the breaker panel) and check the bare, neutral ground wire for signs of corrosion. If it is black there could be a problem.
  2. Inspect the mirrors in the building. Chinese drywall often causes darkened spots in the corners or the middle of the mirror.
  3. Inspect the copper or the air conditioning system’s air handler. If the coil is copper-colored, green, dark red, or rusty, it is OK. If the copper coil is black, this could indicate a problem.
  4. Inspect other metals in the home for blackening.
  5. Check the back of drywall. Affected drywall may read “Made in China” on the back. The coloring when crumbled may be gray, rather than bright white.

If you are concerned about the air quality in your home or business, an air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA filters is the most effective air cleaning solution on the market. Contact an Air Quality Expert at Electrocorp today by calling 1-866-667-0297 or by e-mailing


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Merck and California residents embattled over toxic chemicals

Residents are concerned about exposure
to toxic chemicals in water and air.
A trial pitting residents of Merced’s Beachwood subdivision against a company formerly owned by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. is underway.

More than 2,000 residents claim that they have been exposed to cancer-causing chemicals like hexavalent chromium by the now-closed Merced plant.

Plant site was contaminated: Merck

A lawyer representing Merck acknowledged that the site had been contaminated by arsenic and hexavalent chromium, industrial chemicals that were used for more than 20 years to pressure-treat wood for cooling tower frames, but he denied that these toxins entered the groundwater or escaped through the air.

"No one has been exposed to contamination from this wood-treating site," lawyer John Barg said in his opening statement.

According to the news article, the contamination was discovered in 1984, and the plant continued to pressure-treat wood until 1991. It was shut down in 1993.

The first phase of the trial will determine if the residents were contaminated. If the federal jury agrees, a second jury will examine if the residents were harmed by exposure to the chemicals.

More information on hexavalent chromium

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that chromium hexavalent (CrVI) compounds, which are often called hexavalent chromium, exist in several forms.

Industrial uses of hexavalent chromium compounds include chromate pigments in dyes, paints, inks, and plastics; chromates added as anticorrosive agents to paints, primers, and other surface coatings; and chromic acid electroplated onto metal parts to provide a decorative or protective coating.

Do you live or work close to an industrial complex? If you are concerned about your indoor air quality, you can contact one of our Air Quality Experts today or find out more on our website.