Friday, September 30, 2011

Exhale – to check if you are exposed to toxins

A person's exhaled breath indicates
exposure to toxic substances.
Scientists have developed a technology that uses a person’s exhaled breath to measure exposure levels to potentially harmful substances at work, at home or elsewhere.

Exhaled breath contains traces of potentially toxic substances that people may have inhaled, and this test offers a non-invasive and quick indicator, the scientists say, since research has shown that those amounts are an accurate reflection of the levels that exist in a person's blood.

While previous equipment for analyzing substances in human breath had to be housed in laboratories, the devices have shrunk to hand-held size, they say, offering a possible solution for helping to limit human exposure and improve health.

Their report appears in Environmental Science & Technology by the American Chemical Society.

Health concerns linked to poor indoor air quality

Poor IAQ at work and at home has been linked to a wide range of health effects, including irritation of the eyes, nose and skin, nausea, dizziness, respiratory disease, and more serious health conditions.
The I-6500: A cabinet-style
versatile air cleaner

In many workplaces, the existing ventilation systems are unable to provide workers with enough air exchanges or good air quality.

Indoor air pollutants often come from building materials, furnishings, electronic equipment, large printers, personal care products, harsh cleaning products and industry-specific sources.

Industrial air cleaners made by Electrocorp can remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including VOCs, chemicals, gases, odors, allergens, mold spores and mold mycotoxins, bacteria, viruses and particles.

As the odor removal experts in the industry, Electrocorp offers air cleaners with the deepest beds of granular activated carbon and a complete filtration system that also includes HEPA, UV (optional) and other filters.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and personalized recommendations based on your industry and your IAQ needs and requirements.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Health and safety program to be shut down at WSU

Health and safety is an important workplace requirement.
A Wayne State University program training scientists to recognize and monitor health and safety risks in the workplace and in the environment is set to be terminated due to financial cutbacks.

The Board of Governors voted Sept. 21 to shut down Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences program at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, after the college was asked to cut 1.7 percent from its total budget.

The request came as part of university-wide budget restrictions, but the decision to shut down the program has divided staff members at the university.

Board members are hoping that parts of the program will be reinstated in another capacity, so that some occupational health programs would be a part of the public health department, for example.

Health and Safety at the workplace

Many occupations require stringent health and safety measures to protect workers, companies and clients – but even the “average office job” needs to provide a safe and healthy environment to increase productivity and minimize health risks.
Granular activated carbon removes odors
and adsorbs chemicals and VOCs.

Indoor air quality has become a main concern for workers.

That is why Electrocorp specializes in the development and manufacturing of air treatment systems for the workplace.

Whether it’s an air cleaner for the office and office printer fumes, an air scrubber for odor and chemical removal, a source capture unit for welding fumes or hair treatments, or an air cleaner for labs and healthcare settings, Electrocorp offers these and more as part of its diverse product lineup.

The industrial air cleaners remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants from the ambient air, including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, pathogens and other toxins, with a multistage filtration system featuring a deep bed of granular activated carbon, a HEPA, micro-HEPA or Super-HEPA, pre-filters, optional UV germicidal filtration and other specialized options to meet the needs and requirements of your specific industry. Ask about Electrocorp's custom carbon blends.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Police officer dies after breathing toxic cleaning chemicals

A Chicago policeman died after exposure to toxic
cleaning, chemicals, an autopsy report says.
The case of a Chicago police officer, who died after accidentally inhaling noxious fumes from a cleaning product sprayed at his workplace, serves as a stark reminder of how toxic certain chemicals can be.

The 42-year-old officer succumbed to a pneumonia-like illness a few weeks after the product was used on his desk.

In the weeks leading up to his death he was treated for breathing problems at the hospital and at home.

The chemical makeup of the cleaning product is not known, according to an article by the Associated Press, but an investigationhas been opened under the Illinois occupational safety and health plan for public employees, sources said.

Family members say he had never before suffered from breathing problems.

The officer’s death has been ruled an accident, but many people are demanding answers about the chemicals that could cause such dangerous breathing problems.

Clean the indoor air at the workplace

Employers everywhere are realizing the importance of healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) when it comes to workers’ health, well-being and productivity.

IAQ can be compromised by VOCs and harmful chemicals from cleaning products, building materials, electronic devices, inks and office printers, personal care products and scented products.
Electrocorp's RAP Series:
Portable, small-footprint air cleaners

Many buildings do not have a proper ventilation system for the number of people there and employees may react to mold, biological contaminants such as bacteria, and viruses as well as high dust levels and particulate matter.

Electrocorp offers a wide range of industrial air cleaners to treat these indoor air problems. With a powerful carbon + HEPA filter system, these air cleaners can remove chemicals, odors, particles and pathogens from the ambient air.

Electrocorp offers cleaners of all sizes and different designs – choose from portable, small-footprint units, HVAC-compatible air scrubbers and specialized air cleaners with features such as source capture attachments, negative air configuration, reverse flow and more.

Contact Electrocorp for more information, or visit our website:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

OSHA updates hair treatment hazard alert

Hair salon workers are routinely exposed to
hazardous chemicals and fumes.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised hazard alert about the formaldehyde fumes released by popular hair straightening treatments with keratin (like Brazilian Blowout, for example).

OSHA first issued a warning about these products in January.

Since then, formaldehyde has been added to the list of carcinogens rather than suspected carcinogens, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also sent a warning letter to the company in question about misbranding and false information.

OSHA conducted air tests in salons using Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and Brasil Cacau Cadiveu and found that workers were exposed to hazardous levels of formaldehyde.

To make matters worse, two manufacturers and two distributors of hair smoothing products were cited for violations that included failing to list formaldehyde on product labels as well as on accompanying hazard warning sheets (MSDS sheets) that are provided to the products' users.

"Misleading or inadequate information on hazardous product labels is unacceptable," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels in the press release.

"Salon owners and workers have the right to know the risks associated with the chemicals with which they work and how to protect themselves."

About formaldehyde: 
Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is a cancer hazard.

For salon owners, stylists and other staff members using these hair products, OSHA's formaldehyde standard at 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1048 has to be followed.

Air cleaners for beauty salons and spas

Electrocorp has developed a range of industrial-strength air cleaners with a multistage filtration system and source capture attachment for salons and spas.

They are equipped with many pounds of granular activated carbon to remove many chemicals, fumes and odors associated with salon products.

Air cleaner for hair salons and spas:
Electrocorp's CleanBreeze 3
The complete air treatment system also filters out particles, dust and other airborne pollutants such as bacteria, viruses and mold mycotoxins.

The Clean-Breeze 3 is Electrocorp’s first-rate air purifier for salons and spas. Its flexible arm and precision cap captures pollutants at the source to provide employees and clients with safer, more breathable air.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and other options.

Related posts:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prison sentence for law-breaking asbestos abatement contractor

Health and safety precautions are paramount
when it comes to asbestos removal.
A New York contractor was sentenced to six years in prison last week for knowingly violating the Clean Air Act and making false statements to a federal inspector.

The asbestos abatement contractor and his now defunct company were also ordered to pay fines of about $45,000 in total.

The allegations included letting untrained workers remove asbestos-containing materials and pipes without the necessary safeguards and there by threatening the health of those workers and the public.

No level of exposure to asbestos is safe, according to the EPA.

“Ensuring Clean Air Act work practice standards for asbestos are followed when renovating or razing a building is critical to protecting workers and the public,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in a press release.

“This sentence shows that when employers fail to adhere to the requirements of the law to make a profit, the consequences are serious.” 

The contractor hired a number of workers who had no training in asbestos removal and did not know they were being exposed to the asbestos while removing the copper pipes.

When questioned by the workers, he lied and told them the areas did not contain asbestos. 

He also lied to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector who came to the site in September and October 2007 to investigate allegations of illegal asbestos removal.

The project wasn’t done correctly. Asbestos was free to flow from upper floors through drains and holes in containment and large amounts of the carcinogenic material was left hidden in the building and had to be cleaned out later.

According to the Clean Air Act, all asbestos must be removed from any structure where it may be disturbed, and during abatement it must be wetted and kept adequately wet at all times and disposed of as soon as practical at an EPA-approved site.

Want to know more about asbestos abatement, indoor air quality and industrial air cleaners

Electrocorp manufactures high-quality portable air cleaners for mold and asbestos abatement sites. 

They are equipped with a multistage filtration system with activated carbon + HEPA to remove a wide range of harmful indoor air pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vapor intrusion in Ohio spurs health concerns

Soil vapor intrusion can affect a
home's indoor air quality.
People living in Moraine, Ohio, could be inhaling toxic vapors left over from a General Motors plant, EPA warned after testing 60 homes.

It may not be safe to keep living in homes where they found a high level of toxic vapors, experts said in a public meeting at the end of August.

Pamela Barnett, a Cleanup Manager with Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust (RACER), described the chemicals as, "It's solvents. Very similar to dry cleaning solvents".

RACER is a company working with the EPA to clean up the site.

The chemicals in question are Tetrachloroenthylene (TCE) and Trichloroethylene (PCE). Long-term exposure to TCE and PCE has been linked to liver and kidney tumors and increased chances of developing leukemia and lymphoma.

The cleaning chemicals enter the homes through cracks and fissure sin the foundation and may be inhaled by the residents.

EPA is installing vapor intrusion mitigation systems that are designed to vent the fumes outside.


Air cleaners for improved indoor air quality
Electrocorp's I-6500 Series
air cleaner

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants and government experts to help improve the indoor air quality in homes and buildings affected by vapor intrusion and other IAQ concerns.

We provide industrial-strength air filtration solutions with multistage filtration systems that safely remove chemicals, gases, vapors, fumes and odors in indoor environments.

Our units can be configured with negative and positive pressure and with custom carbon blends to target specific airborne chemicals and vapors.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Restaurants paid for being smoke free

Restaurants benefit from good indoor
air quality, experts say.
Oklahoma is instituting a new program designed to reduce the number of restaurants that allow smoking in their establishments.

The “Restaurant Smoking Room Rebate Program” has been introduced by the Oklahoma State Department of Health to reduce exposure of restaurant employees and customers to secondhand smoke.

The department is acting on studies that have shown that even brief exposures to secondhand smoke can have a negative health impact.

"We are pleased to offer this rebate program because we recognize many restaurant owners wanted to do the right thing to improve the health of their employees and customers, but needed assistance in making the conversion to be completely smoke free," State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline was quoted in an article by NewsOn6.

The program means that restaurant owners can receive a rebate of 50 percent of the capitalized expenditures for some smoking room construction costs, minus any depreciation taken from the expenditures.

For more information, contact the OSDH at 405-271-3619, or 1-800-522-0203.

Source: NewsOn6

Indoor air quality in restaurants and dining rooms

It’s often easy to tell if a restaurant or dining room had hosted smokers before – the persistent smells coming from tobacco smoke chemicals and particles seep into every nook and cranny and stubbornly cling to textiles, carpets and other surface areas.

Short of renovating the entire space, an easy and cost-effective IAQ solution is a portable industrial air cleaner with a large activated carbon filter and HEPA.

The multistage filtration systems from Electrocorp can remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, odors, gases, particles, bacteria, viruses and mold.

With a diverse product line and the ability to customize air cleaners to target specific pollutants (such as those stemming from tobacco smoke), Electrocorp is able to offer an indoor air cleaning system for virtually any IAQ concern.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and have a look at our air cleaners for

Phone: 1-866-667-0297

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tomato pesticides linked to major birth defects

Many commercially sold tomatoes
have been treated with pesticides.
Photo credit: The Ewan
They were pregnant and harvesting tomatoes that were treated with pesticides.

Then their babies were born with severe deformities.

The case in southwest Florida’s tomato-growing region has shocked the nation and added to the fears of chemical exposures and the effects on workers.

A sign by the large tomato field warned that the crop had been sprayed with 31 different chemicals, many of which were rated as “highly toxic”.

A recent article in the Ecologist taken from Barry Estabrook's new book "Tomatoland" pointed to a number of possible health and safety violations that caused the women to be exposed to developmental and reproductive toxins.

Without any protective gear, the women touched and inhaled the pesticides and reported suffering from dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and lightheadedness, burning eyes and nose, rashes and open sores.

Company facing litigation for health and safety violations

The families had no means to care for the babies and many feared deportation, but they got help from a high-profile lawyers specializing in catastrophic personal injury, product liability and medical malpractice litigation who has taken on their case.

It’s a difficult process. Because of all the nearly infinite variables — heredity, exposure to chemicals at other job sites, possible smoking or drug abuse, environmental factors — cases linking pesticide exposure to birth defects are notoriously hard to prove.

In North Carolina in 2010, the North Carolina Pesticide Board voted to settle a long-standing case involving a Florida tomato grower blamed for using pesticides that led to birth defects in several workers’ children.

Want to know more about indoor air quality and industrial air cleaners that can remove a wide range of chemicals, gases, odors, particles and other toxins? Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

London still behind in air pollution cleanup

Air pollution is a problem in
most metropolitan cities.
The city will be in the spotlight next year as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games, but right now, London is receiving negative press because of its mediocre efforts to improve their air quality.

In a recent report by green groups ranking 17 European cities for their efforts to improve air quality, London got a failing grade for a what some experts call an "embarrassing" performance.

European SootFreeCities Ranking was developed by the German BUND e.V. and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and measured the cities’ efforts in the following areas (among others):
  • Traffic management
  • Technical measures and efforts
  • Public information and awareness

London was ranked “below average” after Paris, Glasgow, Amsterdam and Zurich.

The best grades went to Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm and at the very bottom sat Dusseldorf, Milan and Rome.

The cities were judged on their actions since 2005, when EU limits on particulate matter (PM10) came into force.

While London has tightened its low-emission zone for heavy goods vehicles and promoted cycling and walking, the report pointed out many other areas where London’s efforts did not measure up when compared to other cities.

For example, plans for new hybrid buses have been scaled back and public transport has experienced sharp fare increases.

The authors of the report called air pollution in cities “the worst public health crisis since the Great Smog of 1952”.

Bad air quality is a major problem for many European cities, and it’s also an expensive one: The estimated cost was between €277bn and €790bn a year in 2000.

Source: Business Green

Interested in learning more about industrial air cleaners and indoor air pollution at the workplace?
Check out our website, follow us on twitter or send us your questions:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Canada plans more rules for fracking

Fracking sites could mar landscapes
and introduce harmful toxins.
The natural gas and hydraulic fracturing industry has been growing explosively in North America, but it has also given rise to a lot of environmental concerns and safety questions.

Now Canada and the oil industry are backing a move to make the industry more transparent, according to a recent article in the Globe and Mail.

The Canadian province British Columbia will be forcing oil companies to reveal the chemicals that are used in the hydraulic fracturing process (known as fracking), and there will be a public registry also detailing where the companies are operating, the premier announced.

The industry has been suffering from widespread public opposition after concerns about water contamination, airborne chemicals and illegal dumping of chemically-laced waste water spread.

Some states in the US have outright banned the drilling technique.

Fracking has been associated with airborne chemicals, VOCs and toxins such as benzene.

Air cleaners for homes and offices
For homeowners, business owners and employees concerned about natural gas, VOCs and indoor air quality, AllerAir and its industrial division Electrocorp offer heavy-duty chemical and odor control air cleaners for residential use and air scrubbers for commercial use.

AllerAir and Electrocorp air cleaners use deep-bed activated carbon air filters (the same material often used in gas masks) to remove airborne chemicals, gases and odors as well as HEPA filters to remove particles.

Contact one of our air quality experts for more information and to find the right air filtration system for your needs: 1-866-667-0297.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Health risks associated with dry cleaning

Wool garments retain dry cleaning chemicals.
Photo credit: madelinetosh
Rarely do people stop to think about what dry cleaning really means.

The term is used for any cleaning process for clothing and textiles that utilizes a chemical solvent rather than water.

What is the nature of these chemicals? And do they pose a risk to people wearing a lot of dry cleaned clothes?

Those were the questions a high school student set out to answer for a science fair project, and she found willing research partners at Georgetown University’s chemistry department.

An article in the Washington Post describes the chain of events that led to a published paper in a peer-reviewed environmental journal, giving detailed information about the amount of toxic chemicals that linger in wool, cotton and polyester clothing after the dry cleaning process.

The research team found that perchloroethylene, a dry-cleaning solvent that has been linked to cancer and neurological damage, stayed in the fabrics and that levels increased with repeat cleanings, particularly in wool.

Between 65 and 70 percent of the country's estimated 25,000 dry-cleaning facilities use the solvent, known as PCE or perc, industry representatives said.

The study was published online Tuesday in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The data opens up new questions about the risks of dry cleaned clothes in the home, and it may speed up efforts to phase out the toxic chemical in the dry cleaning business.

Source: Washington Post/Seattle Times

Clean air for dry cleaners and homeowners

Electrocorp is North America’s premier manufacturer of air cleaners for industries that need to remove gaseous pollutants and particles from the ambient air.

For best chemical filtration, an industrial air cleaner needs a large activated carbon air filter, which can adsorb chemicals, odors, gases, vapors, fumes and VOCs.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners feature the deepest activated carbon beds, the largest adsorbent surface areas and the most complete filtration systems with carbon + HEPA filters.

As part of AllerAir Industries, Electrocorp also markets the most efficient portable air purifiers for the home and office.

Contact us to find out more and get a product recommendation based on your needs and requirements.

Related Posts:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Woman sues Shell for benzene exposure

A benzene exposure lawsuit cites
grave health effects.
A woman filed a lawsuit August 31 in Madison County Circuit Court against Shell Oil Company and a number of its affiliated plants, alleging that she contracted a disease and possibly leukemia while growing up near a Shell Oil Plant.

At the Shell facilities close to the woman’s home and school, Shell and BP processed and stored benzene, a toxic chemical that has been classified as a human carcinogen, according to an article in The Record.

The complaint says that benzene entered the surrounding air and water and that the woman was exposed to the chemical.

The exposure allegedly caused the woman to develop myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease that sometimes develops into leukemia. She was diagnosed with the syndrome in November 2010, the suit states.

The lawsuit claims the toxic chemical exposure affected the woman substantially, citing

  • Medical costs
  • Mental anguish
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Work absences that damaged her career

The woman says the defendants were to blame for her situation because

  • They used benzene even though they knew it was linked to cancer
  • They failed to sufficiently test the effects of the chemical on people living close by
  • They failed to notify her and other residents of air and water contamination
  • They minimized and hid the dangers of benzene exposure
  • They knowingly committed environmental violations

In the two-count suit, the woman seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

The right air filter for airborne chemicals

RAP 204 air cleaner
Gaseous pollutants and chemicals need a deep-bed activated carbon filter that provides a large adsorbent surface area to trap gaseous contaminants by way of a chemical reaction.

Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners with the deepest beds of activated carbon in the industry as well as special carbon blends for targeted chemical adsorption.

Activated carbon has been proven effective in the adsorption of a wide range of chemicals and odors, including ozone, octane, formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, diesel fumes, toluene and smog.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners are among the most trusted and efficient air filtration systems on the market. As part of AllerAir Industries, Electrocorp also offers portable and powerful air purifiers for the home and office with an activated carbon + HEPA filter combination.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FDA cracks down on Brazilian Blowout hair treatment

Keratin hair treatments may release
formaldehyde fumes.
After health warnings and hazard alerts from organizations such as OSHA (the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration) about the potential dangers from chemicals released by popular hair smoothing and hair straightening products such as Brazilian Blowout, the US Food and Drug Administration is entering the ring.

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the makers of Brazilian Blowout, saying that the product contains the liquid form of formaldehyde, which has been classified as a carcinogen.

Most at risk are the stylists that are regularly applying the product on clients’ hair and inhaling the fumes that are released in the process.

FDA specifically warned the company that its product is misbranded when it says that there is “No Formaldehyde” or that it is “Formaldehyde Free.”

The manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout has until mid-September to address the violations cited by the FDA or risk having its product seized.

Salon workers using the hair straightening product have complained about the following possible health effects:

  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Burning sensations
  • Breathing problems
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting 
  • Rashes

The cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde is released when hair treated with Brazilian Blowout is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron, as the product's labeling recommends.

The formaldehyde helps bind keratin to hair and helps straightening it. FDA’s analysis found that the level of formaldehyde in the product was as high as the embalming fluid used in funeral homes – and way past the level that is considered safe.

0.2 % is considered "safe" -- Brazilian Blowout
contains as much as 10.4% formaldehyde

Brazilian Blowout has already been banned in Canada.

Source: Time Healthland

Air cleaners for hair salons and spas
The CleanBreeze 3 captures toxins
right at the source with a flexible arm.

It’s not only keratin-based hair products that release toxic chemicals when used – any hair products with fragrance, hair dyes and hair sprays can release harmful pollutants into the ambient air.

Electrocorp has designed a number of air cleaners for hair salons and spas that feature a large activated carbon filter to adsorb chemicals and odors as well as a HEPA filter and pre-filters for the removal of particles and dust.

The stand-alone air cleaners with source capture attachment provide a cost-effective and powerful air cleaning solution to salons and spas where floor space is limited, and Electrocorp also offers source capture solutions that can be incorporated into the design of the salon.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Asbestos concerns in Northampton County buildings

Poor indoor air quality in
buildings can be a problem.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an investigation to determine if complaints about asbestos in several Northampton County buildings are justified, according to a recent article in the Express-Times.

After receiving numerous tips and perceiving a growing concern about the indoor air quality in public buildings, EPA is preparing a report and may issue a number of fines.

Asbestos is a “public safety concern,” one of the agency’s experts says.

The buildings in question include a nursing home and the courthouse, among others.

Dangers of asbestos exposure

Asbestos fibers are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but they can be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they can damage lung tissue and cause scar tissue to form. The result is a disease called asbestosis.

People can be exposed to asbestos when they are n an area containing airborne asbestos fibers, after material containing the asbestos is drilled, cut, abraded, sanded, chipped, or sawed during a renovation, for example.

Indoor air pollutants and worker health and safety

"Sick" buildings with poor indoor air quality can expose workers and employees to airborne chemicals, VOCs, particles, dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, mold mycotoxins, fumes and vapors.

Ventilation systems are often unable to supply an adequate amount of fresh air to occupants.

Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners for facility management, offices, mold and asbestos abatement and many other industrial and commercial applications.

The air cleaners contain a complete, multistage filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA to remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and product recommendations.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Toxic dust particles a risk to workers, union leaders say

Dust exposure can lead to a wide range
of health effects, UK union leaders say.
Union leaders in the UK are calling for urgent action to reduce dangerous dust levels at the workplace, according to a recent report by UKPA.

The union TUC says that current standards for the assessment of dust exposure in factories and offices are inadequate and that exposure to inhalable dust in general and respirable dust in particular can lead to serious health effects.

Inhalable dust describes the larger particles that can be inhaled but are often filtered out by the nose and mouth, while respirable dust is made up of smaller particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.

In a new guidance document they published, the union warns that dust exposure can lead to cancer of the lungs, throat and nose as well as other lung conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) that involves chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

According to union leaders, official estimates of workplace diseases related to dust are too low.

The TUC said it had studied a range of dusts that are often found in the workplace, including silica, coal dust, talc and kaolin, adding that even at current legal levels, a significant number of workers could be developing reductions in their lung function, with profound results for future health.

Often, it is difficult to trace the origin of a disease, especially in industries with high turnover (like construction), they say.

The document stresses the importance of a good risk assessment at the workplace and outlines steps employers and health and safety representatives can take to protect workers from dangerous dust levels.

Source: UKPA; Download TUC's guidance document.  

Industrial air cleaners for dust and odor control

The Dirty Dog air cleaner includes
a cleanable bag filter and can be
mounted on the ceiling.
Electrocorp offers a wide range of industrial air cleaners designed to provide cleaner indoor air at the workplace.

The company’s extensive product line includes dust and particle filtration systems such as the Dirty Dog Series and the I-6500 with Cyclone collectors.

Since many workplaces are also contaminated with persistent odors and airborne chemicals, Electrocorp offers units with a powerful activated carbon and HEPA filtration system.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and personalized recommendations.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Health and Safety lawsuit: La Porte company sued for deadly chemical exposure

Company is sued for negligence after
worker allegedly died of chemical exposure.
In a short report published by Ultimate Pasadena, the family members of a man who allegedly died after being exposed to toxic chemicals has filed a claim against the company in La Porte.

The claim cites negligence in the event, when the man was asked to clean a tanker truck and moments later was found unconscious inside the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he died the next day.

While the company may have thought it was a benign chemical in the tanker truck, the lawsuit alleges that it actually contained the hazardous chemical Styrofoam RS 2030 Polyol, which causes anesthetic effects and reduces oxygen available for breathing.

The family members are asking for wrongful death damages and court costs.

For more details, read the report here.

Industrial air cleaners help remove chemicals, toxins and fumes

Sound health and safety measures include providing good indoor air quality to workers and employees.

Electrocorp specializes in the design, manufacturing and delivery of high-quality indoor air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, including chemical processing plants, facility management, environmental consulting, laboratories and odor control.

As the odor and chemical control experts in the industry, Electrocorp provides the most relevant filtration media, the largest adsorbent surface areas, exclusive carbon blends and the most customizable features and options on the market.

Find out more about Electrocorp’s powerful Carbon + HEPA multistage filtration system.

Contact us today for more information and recommendations.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Environmental exposures troubles schools

Old and new schools can have poor
indoor air quality.
While many (if not most) schools suffer from poor indoor air quality that can range from
  • Dust
  • Allergens
  • Chemicals (from cleaning products, arts products, labs)
  • Mold
  • Bacteria, viruses
  • And other toxins
There are some environmental exposures that parents likely wouldn’t even think about.

In a previous blog post we have written about schools suffering from vapor intrusion involving the toxic chemical TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) leaking from old light fixtures in classrooms.

A recent article by iWatch News detailed the environmental law violations that may affect the health and well-being of thousands of children in tribal schools.

The schools, run by the Interior Department, have been found to expose children to hazardous waste, asbestos in the heating systems and high levels of arsenic in the tap water. The Department of the Interior recently entered a settlement with EPA to take the necessary action for remediation.

The article also mentioned the poor indoor air quality affecting the children of the US military personnel.

Other IAQ concerns that may affect school-age children:

Pesticides – Are chemical pesticides being sprayed on or around the school’s property? Experts warn strongly against pesticide exposure for children, as it has been linked with numerous health symptoms.

Air pollution – is the school in an industrial area? The air pollution outside may have profound effects on the children’s ability to learn, to retain information and it can cause or aggravate respiratory disorders.

Toxic paint chips – Older schools can become an IAQ problem-zone, especially when old paint is peeling, as it may contain lead or in the case of a Boston-area school, traces of the toxic chemical PCB.

A portable, cost-effective air cleaning solution
RAP Series: Robust and highly
efficient air cleaners.

Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners for schools and universities that can remove airborne chemicals, particles and odors with its powerful activated carbon and HEPA filtration system.

The air cleaners are designed for around-the-clock operation, they require little maintenance and are easy to use and to move from room to room.

Contact one of Electrocorp’s air quality experts to find out more about our industrial air treatment solutions.

Related posts concerning IAQ in schools:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wildfires and air quality concerns

Wildfires can lead to poor air quality
and affect people in nearby regions.
Out-of-control wildfires driven by strong winds are destroying hundreds of homes in Central Texas.

Firefighters have been battling the blazes non-stop since the beginning of the week.

The scope of the damage may only become apparent over the next couple of days, but experts warn that there can be immediate and long-term health effects linked to wildfire smoke exposure.

Wildfire smoke poses a very serious health risk as 80 to 90% of wildfire smoke is within the fine particle range. These fine particles are generally less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can penetrate deep into the body. 

An increase in this type of airborne particulate matter has been linked to numerous health problems including headaches, nausea, dizziness, respiratory problems, strokes and heart attacks.

Homeowners and facility managers in nearby regions should also take precautions. Smoke can travel far beyond the main burn zone and studies show that even a small increase in airborne fine particulate matter can affect overall health.

In fact, wildfire smoke can stay suspended for a long time, they can travel far and wide and may easily enter buildings.

In an EPA-led study, ERs saw a 66 percent increase in people complaining about heart and lung conditions such as asthma, heart failure, heart attacks and others while the wildfires were burning and for several days afterwards.

Related posts:

Contact Electrocorp for more information and indoor air treatment solutions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Asbestos and chemicals – a toxic mix

Poor IAQ can lead to a variety
of health symptoms.
Many commercial and industrial buildings are made with asbestos-containing materials.

In most cases, this is not a big problem, unless the material is being disturbed – let’s say during a construction or renovation project – and inhaled in the process.

In a recent case of bad exposure, 20 postal workers in New Hampshire had to be rushed to the hospital after renovation workers used a solvent to remove asbestos tiles in the building.

They complained of nausea, dizziness and chest pain, a Union Leader article reported.

When fire crews went inside the building with gas meters, they discovered an “elevated volatile organic compound” which caused carbon monoxide levels to increase.

They determined that the chemical used to remove the asbestos tiles was absorbed into the plywood on the floor and released into the building’s indoor air.

The post office remains closed and will not be allowed to open until the plywood is removed, the article said.

Asbestos background

Asbestos is most harmful when the tiny fibers are inhaled. The fibers are too small to be seen with the naked eye and can be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they remain.

The fibers damage lung tissue, causing scar tissue to form; the result is a disease called asbestosis.

People can be exposed to asbestos when they are n an area containing airborne asbestos fibers.

Fibers can become airborne when the material containing the asbestos is drilled, cut, abraded, sanded, chipped, or sawed during a renovation.

The danger of indoor air pollutants

The AirMarshal is a powerful,
portable air cleaner
In many commercial and industrial buildings, the indoor air quality is not what it should be.

These "sick" buildings can expose workers and employees to airborne chemicals, VOCs, particles, dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, mold mycotoxins, fumes and vapors.

The ventilation systems are often not enough to supply an adequate amount of fresh air to the occupants,  and repeated low-level exposure can affect the health and well-being of workers, their productivity as well as morale.

Electrocorp has designed industrial air cleaners for facility management, offices, mold and asbestos abatement and many other industrial and commercial applications.

The air cleaners contain a complete, multistage filtration system with activated carbon and HEPA to remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and product recommendations.

Related posts:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lung problems most pronounced in India: Study

Many lung problems can be blamed on
air pollution, doctor says.
A worldwide study of lung functions in people from 17 different countries showed that India was the country with the unhealthiest lungs, according to an article in the Deccan Chronicle.

Dr Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at McMaster University, conducted the year-long ground-breaking study. His findings showed that the lungs of people in India are 30 percent less effective than those of Europeans, who had the healthiest lungs.

India’s growing problem of outdoor air pollution and deteriorating indoor air quality may be to blame, Yusuf explained.

The study’s results follows in the footsteps of other studies that have linked air pollution to respiratory disorders, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health conditions.

The study was presented at the American Thoracic Society meet 2011 held at Denver and though the abstract admits that genes and nutrition patterns vary in different ethnic groups, for the first time a direct co-relation has been drawn between poor environment and declining lung capacity.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Protect yourself from poor IAQ at work and at home

People nowadays spend most of their time indoors, either at home or at work, and indoor air quality has become a growing concern for workers, managers, business owners and health authorities alike.

Activated carbon is the most important
element in air purification (and makes a
great combo with HEPA filters!)
Many buildings are ill-equipped to provide enough fresh air to the people inside, and renovations can be costly and time-consuming. Learn more about facility management.

Electrocorp is an air treatment specialist that manufactures industrial air cleaners with a multistage filtration system containing activated carbon, HEPA and UV (option) to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including VOCs, chemicals, particles, allergens, asthmagens, bacteria, viruses, mold spores and mold mycotoxins.

Electrocorp, the industrial division of AllerAir, also offers air purifiers for homes and offices from AllerAir.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marsh fire brings dangerous pollutants to New Orleans

Wildfire smoke can cause health problems
in certain individuals.
Businesses, building managers and residents in the New Orleans area should be very concerned about the air they are breathing – not just outside, but indoors as well.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have issued Air Quality Alerts due to a stubborn marsh fire in eastern New Orleans that is causing smoke plumes to drift over the city and posing a health threat due to the high levels of particulate matter in the air.

The state environmental agency warned that smoke will continue to be a health issue for sensitive groups, including the elderly and people with asthma and other respiratory diseases. it urged people in those groups to avoid prolonged outdoor activities and exertion.

The threat of the smoke to people with pre-existing heart and lung disease is especially acute, said Dr. James Diaz, director of the environmental and occupational health sciences program at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, in an article published in the Times-Picayune.

"It's very irritating to the airways and mucous membranes of the eye and nose, and the upper respiratory tract," Diaz said. "It can cause bronchospasms and asthma attacks."

He said those exercising outdoors, particularly joggers and swimmers are more at risk because the intense activity increases the rate of breathing, and inhalation of the tiny particles.

"The best thing to do is shelter indoors in any sort of area with good air filters," he said.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Air cleaners with carbon + HEPA remove the widest range of pollutants

Electrocorp specializes in industrial air cleaners that can handle smoke particles and chemicals. With units of varying sizes and with different multistage filtration systems, Electrocorp’s air cleaners can handle virtually any IAQ concerns.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and browse the air cleaners recommended for different industries:

Air purifiers for homes and offices – smoke purifiers

Homeowners and residents that are concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes, should check their existing home air filters and consider buying a serious air purifier with activated carbon and special tar-trapping filters to help keep their air clean.

Find out more about air purifiers for wildfire smoke on the AllerAir blog or contact AllerAir directly.