Friday, March 30, 2012

Going green helps companies earn more ‘green’: Study

Greener buildings can make workers more productive
and help a company's bottom line.
A University of Notre Dame study shows that bank branches using LEED-certified buildings increases their revenues even if they offer the same products and services than other branches.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is awarded to certain buildings that have been built or renovated with energy efficiency and good indoor air quality in mind.

The five main categories are Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

In their study, the researchers looked at 562 PNC branches (93 LEED, 469 non-LEED) and found that employees working in LEED-certified branches were more productive and engaged in their work.

This translated into big bucks for the branches: The study authors determined that sustainability equaled about $461,300 more per employee after controlling for other variables that influence performance.

This mirrors what many companies have been experiencing in the recent past: A high environmental and social impact can be maintained while achieving revenue and job growth.

In terms of the bank in the study, going green seems to work, whether it’s because the buildings look better or the people working there are more fulfilled and thus providing better services.

Source: University of Notre Dame

Good indoor air quality can improve productivity

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of good indoor air quality on a company’s bottom line. While LEED-certification may not be possible to attain right away, companies can do other things to improve their indoor air quality and worker satisfaction.
  1. Source control: Companies can opt for products, furnishings and other materials that are more natural and environmentally friendly and won’t add any pollutants to the ambient air. For example, glass desks or untreated office furniture won't emit VOCs and other toxins.
  2. Ventilation: Companies can make sure that existing ventilation systems are well maintained and that the filters are replaced regularly.
  3. Air cleaning: Using portable air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA can help keep the air clean and much healthier. These air cleaners work around the clock to remove airborne chemicals, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold. 
Electrocorp offers high-quality air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, including

Contact Electrocorp for more information and more options.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Students and staff exposed to radon in schools

Radon can enter thousands of classrooms in the U.S.
United States classrooms may be contaminated with radon, experts say.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that enters buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation and exterior.

It is a known carcinogenic and the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoke.

Once it seeps into buildings, radon can build up to dangerously high levels.

Since radon can enter any home or building, schools are no exception, but many schools could do more to protect students and staff by testing for radon and making sure that exposure is minimal, they say.

If a student is exposed at 4 picocuries per liter (the EPA’s action level), it is about the same as smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day, experts say.

There is no federal law mandating radon testing, so it is up to individual schools and districts to make the call.
Many school districts don’t test for radon because they say they don’t have the funds.

The EPA estimates that more than 70,000 classrooms across the country are at risk.

Source: UPI

Provide a healthy environment in schools

Radon is not the only polluting factor in the school environment.

Students and staff are often exposed to chemicals and gases, stuffy air, particles and dust, allergens like pollen, mold and other indoor air contaminants.

In many schools, the ventilation system is unable to provide the amount of fresh air that is needed to keep students and staff healthy and productive.

Electrocorp offers high quality air cleaners for schools and universities that can help remove those contaminants from the ambient air.

The air cleaners are equipped with an effective and reliable filtration system with deep-bed activated carbon filters for the removal of chemicals, VOCs, odors and gases, a HEPA filter for particles, dust and allergens and optional UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of bacteria, viruses and mold.

For more information and options, contact Electrocorp today.

Related posts:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hazardous chemicals at work: Will new labeling rules protect workers?

New labels on hazardous chemicals can help
protect workers, OSHA says.
The United States government aims to make improve labels on hazardous chemicals and make them conform to international guidelines developed by the United Nations, a recent AP report says.

According to OSHA, these new labels could help prevent 40 deaths and about 500 workplace injuries and illnesses related to exposure to harmful chemicals each year.

Hazardous materials are a common sight for US workers: About 43 million people come in contact with hazardous substances on the job.

The new labels will be less confusing and generally easier to understand.

Some companies might also benefit by saving on training costs and paperwork, OSHA says, since chemical manufacturers currently have to produce two sets of labels, one for U.S. standards and one for U.N. standards.

The new rules will be phased in over a period of time and will come into full effect in the year 2016.

The rules aim to improve protection for workers, employers and chemicals users and they also require companies to include hazard information about combustible dust.

Combustible dust can become an occupational hazard when tiny particles catch fire as a result of producing chemicals, plastics, metals and foods. In the future, there may be a separate rule specifically geared to combustible dust hazards.

Source: Washington Post

Cleaner indoor air at work with carbon air cleaners

Many companies have to deal with chemicals, gases and fumes from hazardous materials.

To increase workers’ protection and provide a cleaner and healthier environment, Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners with large activated carbon filters and HEPA filtration to remove a wide range of pollutants.

Electrocorp air cleaners can be used in a wide range of industries and applications; customized products are available as well as a variety of carbon blends to target specific pollutants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welding hazards: The effects of manganese on the brain

Welders can be exposed to toxic fumes -
but manganese can affect the public as well.
In a new study, Penn State College of Medicine researchers try to understand the effects of metal manganese on brain functions.

They aim to expand on the insights of a previous, smaller scale study, which looked at welders specifically, since they are often exposed to manganese in the welding fumes.

But the general population should also be aware of manganese and its effects, the researchers say, since we may all be exposed to the toxin through gasoline additives and the burning of fossil fuels.

According to research, very low concentrations of manganese are essential for life, but high levels of exposure quickly become toxic for humans.

In the previous study on welders, the researchers found a link between exposures to manganese-containing welding fumes and decreased motor performance.

Technical advances make it easier for the researchers to study the effects of manganese exposure in the brain, so they are hoping to see how manganese affects the general population.

The study has received funding from the National Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Source: Gettysburg Times

Reduce exposure to welding fumes and other occupational hazards
Electrocorp fume extractor
(other models available)

Welders have to make sure they don’t breathe in too many welding fumes, which have been shown to be toxic.

Along with the usual precautionary measures (including good ventilation and personal protective equipment), Electrocorp’s industrial-strength welding fume extractors can help reduce exposures.

The welding fume extractors feature the most effective activated carbon blends for the removal of toxic chemicals, gases and fumes, the deepest carbon beds for more efficient adsorption and easy-to-use source capture attachments for more accurate toxin removal.

Electrocorp also features other air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, which contain activated carbon and HEPA air filters.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.
Related posts:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Building materials for better indoor air

The wrong building materials can lead to poor
indoor air quality and respiratory disease.
Indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 risks to public health, and one of the main sources of exposure is the building materials.

The volatile organic compounds and other chemicals that can be emitted by common building materials can contribute to the onset or aggravation of respiratory diseases.

When building or renovating a home, people and contractors need to take building materials and indoor air quality into account.

Here is a selection of “healthy” building materials that won’t off-gas too many toxins and won’t affect the indoor air quality in a negative way.

  • Concrete, ceramic tile and stone
  • Paperless drywall
  • Low-VOC paint
  • Solid wood cabinets and doors (Products that contain plywood emit high levels of formaldehyde)
  • Butcher block for countertops (better for IAQ than plastics laminates with adhesives)
  • Factory finished flooring like bamboo and cork
  • Fiberglass insulation (that is formaldehyde-free)
  • Stainless steel

Look for eco-products that are certified and won’t pollute your indoor environment. A healthy home will require healthy air, and it all starts with the building materials.

Of course, keep ventilation systems and other air-quality friendly measures in mind when building or renovating a home.

Source: Business2Community

Use carbon + HEPA air cleaners when building or renovating homes

Along with proper planning, the right materials and good ventilation, a serious air cleaner with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA air filters can help keep the air in the home clean and healthy.

Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners that can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including VOCs, chemicals, gases, odors, dust, particles, fibers, mold, bacteria and viruses.

They can also keep the air clean after the work is done.

For more information, contact Electrocorp today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Study links air pollution from fracking with health risks

Chemical intruders? Living close to a fracking site
can be harmful to human health, researchers say.
Hydraulic fracturing, a booming oil and gas drilling method, may cause air pollution that may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for people living near natural gas drilling sites, a new study from Colorado School of Public Health shows.

Researchers monitored Colorado fracking sites for three years and found that the air near the wells was polluted with potentially harmful chemicals, including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.

Benzene is a known carcinogen and the other toxins have been linked to a wide range of symptoms.

Living within a half mile of a natural gas drilling site increased the health risks substantially. In Colorado, companies are allowed to drill for natural gas within 150 feet of homes.

Since hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water and sand laced with chemicals into shale formations in the ground, opponents have been focusing on the effect the process has on the underground and surface water.

However, the focus may now shift to the air pollution that comes with fracking sites and the potential health effects that those living close by may experience, including eye irritation, headaches, asthma symptoms and cancer.

The EPA is looking at new rules to curb air pollution at oil and gas drilling sites.

The study report will be published in Science of the Total Environment.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Filter out harmful chemicals with carbon air cleaners

Potentially harmful chemicals like benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene can be removed from the ambient air with the right granular activated carbon air filters.

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants and other professionals to help residents and companies close to fracking sites breathe cleaner and healthier air indoors.

Electrocorp’s air quality specialist will help determine the right carbon blend or impregnation to be the most effective for these chemicals.

For more information and recommendations, please contact Electrocorp today.
See also:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

EPA proposes rules to curb uses of toxic chemicals

Additional testing on health and environmental impacts of PBDEs requested by agency
The EPA wants to control the use of certain
chemicals that could be harmful to human health.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants companies to report all new uses of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals.

This would apply to new uses in domestic or imported products, including paints, inks, pigments and dyes in textiles, flame retardants in flexible foams and plasticizers.

The five chemicals targeted by EPA are

  1. polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)
  2. benzidine dyes
  3. a short chain chlorinated paraffin
  4. hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
  5. phthalate di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP)

Even though many of these chemicals are no longer used in the United States, people could be exposed to them in imported products, according to the EPA.

The proposed regulatory actions are known as significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

If the rules are passed, it would mean that any company that intends to manufacture, import or process any of the above chemicals will have to notify the EPA at least 90 days before, so that the EPA can respond and limit the use if necessary.

Source: EPA

Curb toxic chemicals at work

Many companies and employers do work with potentially harmful chemicals that may affect their workers’ health and well-being.

Electrocorp offers powerful air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that can help remove dangerous chemicals, odors and fumes as well as particles and other pollutants from the ambient air.

The air cleaners feature a multistage filtration system with activated carbon, HEPA, optional UV and other filters.

Industry-specific solutions are also available.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Healthcare workers can help reduce impacts of environmental pollution: Experts

New analysis calls for more proactive role of reproductive health specialists
Doctors can help produce healthier future generations.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) say that Ob-gyns could play a major role in reducing the effects of toxic chemicals on women and babies.

They could do this with a multifaceted approach:

  • Evaluating patients’ environmental exposures to chemicals
    This includes occupational exposures to chemicals and solvents
  • Providing education
    How to reduce exposure to chemicals at home, in the community and at work
    This information could be incorporated into childbirth classes, distributed through brochures and fliers and personal consultations
  • Help in implementing broader strategies to influence government policy
    Work with professional organizations to bring about policy change and within their institutions for better food models, for example
    Air pollution is a big risk that cannot be controlled on the individual level

Every individual is exposed to a wide range of natural and synthetic chemicals, and the number has risen dramatically over the past 70 years, the researchers say.

Environmental pollution a widespread problem

Virtually all pregnant women in the US carry multiple chemicals, including some that had been banned since the 1970s and others that can be found in common household products like non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products.

The problem is that more and more studies show that even low exposures to environmental chemicals can affect reproductive and developmental health.

The chemicals are a particular concern before and during pregnancy, when exposures have been linked to a number of health problems, the researchers say.

Just by making patients aware and talking about certain risk factors and ways to reduce exposure could help produce healthier future generations.

The researchers warned that the majority of chemicals used for commercial purposes enter the marketplace without being tested or standardized, and they could be very harmful for fetuses and infants in the developing stages.

Source: UCSF

Control the indoor air quality with air cleaners

Whether it’s in health-care settings, at home or at work, indoor air quality is something that can be controlled or improved.

Electrocorp offers portable and powerful air cleaners with a multistage filtration system that can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including harmful chemicals or volatile organic compounds, gases, bacteria, viruses, molds, particles, dust and allergens.

The air cleaners' filtration system contains deep-bed activated carbon filters, HEPA filters, pre-filters and optional UV germicidal filtration.

Electrocorp has developed high-quality air cleaners for healthcare settings, for a variety of workplaces (including offices, chemical processing plants, dental labs, bars and restaurants and beauty salons and spas) and also offers air purifiers for the home.

For more information, please contact Electrocorp today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How senior residences can embrace clean air and green living

Seniors can be affected by
polluted indoor air.
Poor indoor air quality can have an effect on anyone – but seniors count among especially vulnerable groups.

Polluted indoor air has been linked to sneezing, coughing, eye, nose and throat irritation, allergic reactions, aggravated asthma, even cancer.

Assisted living facilities and retirement homes can improve their indoor air quality in many ways and also adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

Here are some tips:

  • Open windows regularly and turn off the A/C when possible. Opening windows is a cost-effective way to increase ventilation in the residences and provide fresh air. Make sure the outdoor conditions are agreeable in terms of temperature, air pollution and noise.
  • Opt for individual HVAC systems for each unit in the residence. This makes it easier for seniors to control their living environment and can reduce costs and complaints.
  • Install programmable thermostats. The thermostats can make sure the temperature drops overnight, for example, to save on heating costs.
  • Use low-flow toilets. These can save a lot of water and are much better for the environment.
  • Clean with environmentally friendly and non-toxic cleaning agents. Common cleaning products can add to poor indoor air quality because they may contain harsh chemicals and volatile organic compounds.
  • Vacuum cleaning the right way: A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is more effective and won’t release as many particles into the air.
  • Use low-VOC paints when renovating: Normal paints can off-gas volatile organic compounds for a long time, so low-VOC or even zero-VOC paints are a much better alternative.
Source: The Commercial Appeal

Improve the IAQ in senior residence and facilities

Cleaner indoor air can help improve the health and well-being of residents, who may be affected by a wide range of pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, bacteria, viruses, mold, particles and dust.

Electrocorp offers portable air cleaners with a multi-stage filtration system that can effectively remove these pollutants from the ambient air.

The air cleaners are equipped with deep-bed activated carbon filters, HEPA filters and optional UV lamps to provide the most enhanced filtration power.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and more options.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Allergies at work – how to control symptoms

Allergies can lead to poor productivity
and missed work days, experts say.
Allergies are on the rise, and economists are warning about the impact they have on a company’s bottom line.

A study published in Current Research and Opinion reported that about 55 percent of employees experienced hay fever symptoms for an average of 52.5 days and they missed an average of 3.6 days per year because of their allergies.

During the allergy seasons, they could be unproductive for about 2.3 hours per workday because of their symptoms.

A different study, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, estimated that allergies cost companies more than $601 million in total lost productivity each year.

Lost productivity and missed work days were common when it came to allergies because the symptoms could be pretty rough on workers.

Beside sniffling and sneezing (which workers might have been able to ignore), many employees suffer from sore throats, headaches, sinus infections, itchy eyes, fatigue and general malaise.

According to allergists, many workers could treat their allergies more aggressively to prevent these symptoms from interfering with their work.

Treatment possibilities include

  • Begin taking medications earlier: Instead of waiting for allergy symptoms to become almost unbearable, taking allergy medications earlier can help prevent complications. Earlier means a few weeks before allergy season starts.
  • Stick with your meds: Some medications (like nasal sprays) take up to five days to be effective, so stopping after a few days won’t do. Ask your health care provider if nothing seems to be working.
  • Don’t forget nights: A good night’s sleep is important for productivity and well-being. Experts suggest taking an antihistamine at night. Opt for one that can make you drowsy.
  • Keep eye drops handy: Prescription antihistamine eye drops can help control symptoms when you first feel an itch coming on.
  • Use an air purifier to control airborne allergens and pollen: Keeping an air purifier with a HEPA filter in the bedroom and at work can help control exposure to allergens and other pollutants.

Source: Fox News

Air cleaners for the office and home

Electrocorp offers highly efficient and portable air purifiers for those suffering from allergies and asthma.

They can be used in the office or at home and they provide maximum particle and allergen control with the best HEPA filters as well as deep-bed activated carbon filters and other filters to remove pollutants that might cause or aggravate allergic symptoms.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Parents’ work exposure could lead to children’s autism: Study

Study shows prenatal exposure to solvents at work as a risk factor
Furniture restorers often work with varnishes and solvents,
which could affect their health and well-being.

A pilot study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has linked parental exposure to solvents at work to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children.

The results were published in Springer’s Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The researchers found that parents of children with ASD had higher exposures to lacquer, varnish and xylene than parents whose were unaffected.

They also reported more exposures to asphalt and solvents.

Xylene is often used in the paint and painting industry, biomedical laboratories, automobile garages, the metal industry and by furniture restorers, for example, but many other industries also rely on solvents.

Autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental conditions that includes full syndrome autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and pervasive development disorder. The causes of the disease are still unknown.

The researchers warned that the results of the study were preliminary and not conclusive, but that they added more evidence that individual exposures may be linked to the development of ASD.

Source: Springer

Air cleaners for solvents, xylene and other chemicals

When it comes to work exposures, less is more – and an industrial-strength air cleaner with the right air filters can help reduce exposures to airborne chemicals, fumes and toxins.

Electrocorp offers industrial strength air cleaner for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, including

The air cleaners can remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants with a deep-bed activated carbon filter (different carbon blends and types of carbons are available for specific chemical concerns), a HEPA filter for particles and dust and optional UV germicidal filtration for pathogens.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and personalized recommendations.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Toxic benzene leaking from gas fields

Leaks include benzene,
scientists say.
Air pollution from drilling operations much worse than thought, scientists say

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning about high methane and benzene gas levels escaping from oil and gas drilling operations in Colorado.

The scientists stumbled onto their discovery after setting up a routine tower-based monitoring system a few years ago.

When one tower recorded high levels of methane and benzene, they tried to find the source and traced it back to oil and gas production in northeastern Colorado’s Weld Country.

The gas operations were leaking double the amount of methane than previously thought and they also leaked other pollutants, including benzene, which is regulated by the EPA because of its toxicity.

The researchers were also concerned about other volatile organic compounds leaking out.

NOAA published its results in the Journal of Geophysical Research in late February.

Source: Summit Voice

Protect workers and residents from toxins near gas fields

The problem with high levels of gases and VOCs outdoors is that they may enter homes and buildings and affect workers and residents.

The best way to handle toxic compounds such as benzene is with activated carbon air filters, which can quickly and efficiently adsorb these gaseous pollutants.

Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners with the largest activated carbon filters and the most effective airflow and designs to help keep indoor air clean.

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants, government buyers and those looking to improve the indoor air quality in work spaces or buildings.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Air on planes could be toxic

Jet engine fuel pollutants can bleed into the cabin
during taxiing, a new study says.
Working above the clouds doesn’t mean you can leave air pollution worries and toxic chemicals behind.

In fact, fumes from plane engines could be drawn right into the plane cabin during taxiing, experts say.

A new study into the air quality on airplanes says that the air conditioning may have to be shut off during taxiing to prevent pollutants from entering.

The four-year study, which began in 2007, could not rule out that toxicity could occur on flights. This news will come as no surprise to some crews that have claimed to have gotten sick from cabin air.

However, hot temperatures in the cabin and cockpit may make it difficult or extremely uncomfortable for passengers to shut of the air conditioning during those times.

Crew members have complained of symptoms they say were stemming from low-level chronic exposure to contaminants from jet engines. The symptoms included dizziness, hallucinations, memory loss, fatigue, seizures and paralysis.

Jet engine oil contains many chemicals, among them tricresyl phosphate (or TCP), which is a neurotoxin.

The researchers found it was difficult to determine the extent of the contamination, as commercial aircraft do not have on-board air quality monitoring systems.

The study is called “Contamination of Aircraft Cabin Air by Bleed Air” and it was conducted by a panel of experts set up by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The lack of conclusive findings means that there won’t be any regulation changes or recommendations.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Better indoor air quality in planes

The air in plane cabins often becomes stuffy and uncomfortable, especially during long flights.

It’s too bad airlines haven’t found a way to use air cleaners with activated carbon on board. Air cleaners with carbon, HEPA and optional UV lamps would be able to remove a wide range of contaminants from the cabin air, including airborne chemicals and gases, odors, particles, viruses and bacteria.

Electrocorp offers a variety of air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications. For more information and recommendations, contact Electrocorp.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Diesel emissions increase cancer risk: Study

Diesel exhaust could
affect your health.
Exposure to diesel fumes could be causing cancer at a greater rate than previously known, researchers say.

A new long-term study by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that miners exposed to diesel engine exhaust are three times more likely to contract fatal lung cancer, and that commuters on busy highways in smoggy, urban areas might face a similar risk.

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

While diesel exhaust is currently classified as a “probable carcinogen”, health authorities will review this classification in the months to come.

A change in classifications could mean tighter regulations as well.

The study looked at 20 years of data on miners exposed to diesel exhaust and showed significant increases in the risk of lung cancer deaths with higher level of exposures, especially in miners working more than 5 years.

The study authors warn of the risks to Americans living in urban areas as well, although the risk is lower for lower doses of diesel exhaust.

Drivers getting stuck on long highway commutes may be exposed more than people standing on the sidewalk because of wind tunnel effect, experts say.

Commuters can help protect themselves by
  • Leaving windows closed on busy highways and streets
  • Setting the air on “recirculate” to keep pollutants out
  • Having a HEPA filter installed in the car

Newer diesel cars are much cleaner than older models, experts say, but many older models are still being used on the streets.

Source: The Sun

Reduce indoor air pollution with air cleaners

When the air outside is polluted, pollutants make their way indoors – where they can build up to unsafe levels if not handled properly.

That is why the air in many workplaces could expose workers to higher levels of pollutants that can affect their health and well-being.

Electrocorp offers portable and powerful air cleaners with activated carbon, HEPA and other filters to remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants.

The air cleaners work 24/7 to provide cleaner, healthier air and they can handle airborne chemicals, gases, odors, VOCs, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and more options.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How sick building syndrome can affect workers (Video)

Sick building syndrome is a contemporary ailment related to the demand of energy-efficient buildings and unregulated ventilation standards.

Many office buildings, hospitals, schools, and other buildings can suffer from sick building syndrome - meaning the air inside is a toxic soup of chemicals, particles and possibly other contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Want to know more about indoor air quality issues at the workplace and cost-effective solutions? Electrocorp offers complete air purification solutions with activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV germicidal air filters.  
Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sick school building affecting staff and students

Water infiltration in buildings can lead to
mold and indoor air quality issues.
Poor air quality at the Middle School of the Kennebunks is getting too much for some teachers there, who spoke out at a recent meeting to demand changes.

About 16 teachers said they were experiencing symptoms like runny noses, cardiac problems, breathing issues, fatigue, recurring sinus infections, itching and burning eyes, headaches and rashes.

They (and many of their doctors) are blaming the health effects on the school facility’s poor indoor air quality due to mold.

Students, too, have complained of nose bleeds, headaches and nausea, they say.

The school only opened in the year 2002, but problems started soon after.

Poor construction techniques may be to blame for regular water infiltration. The school district has already invested more than $2 million in the building.

The work included a new roof, new external insulation, a rebuilt corridor, new carpet, reset windows and regular air testing.

Recent probes into the walls have uncovered no hidden mold.

However, staff said water can be seen running down the walls of the guidance office when it rains.

The teachers were hoping to feel better after the renovations at the school, but it comes as no surprise to us that this has not been the case.

If there is a mold problem in the building, then the water infiltration problems need to be fixed and the mold itself needs to be found and removed first.

Source: Seacoast Online

Air cleaners for mold and other indoor pollutants

Electrocorp makes industrial-strength air cleaners for schools and universities that can address a wide range of indoor air quality concerns, including mold, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust and allergens.

The air cleaners are equipped with powerful activated carbon filters, HEPA filters and optional UV germicidal filtration.

For specific mold and asbestos remediation concerns, Electrocorp also offers special air cleaners that help remove harmful mold spores, mold mycotoxins, odors, fibers and other contaminants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Offices can be healthy and provide great indoor air quality

Natural light and good indoor air quality help
make a workplace healthier and more productive.
We often write blog posts to warn readers about the dangers of poor indoor air quality, which can be a problem in many office buildings.

But there are also a number of exemplary offices with outstanding indoor air quality, so we decided to focus on the things many companies and organizations do right when it comes to their offices.

One such example is the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology, which houses a non-profit group that helps children become environmental stewards.

The building received a LEED Gold certification and was recently featured in a Globe and Mail article.

Here are some of the features that make this building a healthy and safe place to work:
  • Open-concept workspace: It helps work flow and collaboration and also helps with the heating and cooling from the exposed concrete ceilings.
  • Natural light and green views: Most of the workers don’t need to use electrical lamps, since there is a lot of natural light flooding into the building. About 90 percent of the floor space offers a view of the conservation area surrounding the building.
  • Low-VOC products: The interior walls were painted with low-VOC or no-VOC paints, so they won’t off-gas harmful volatile organic compounds.
  • Healthy furniture: The office furniture has been certified by Greenguard to contain no toxic materials that emit harmful gases.
  • Ventilation: The building gets a constant supply of fresh outdoor air, which is either warmed or cooled in underground earth tubes.
  • Filtration: The air also passes through UV filtration to neutralize airborne pathogens (bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms).
  • Building automation: The centre is working on another innovation that keeps track of how many employees are inside the building to adjust the air-handling unit and lights in certain areas.

These types of systems and innovations help keep energy bills low and turn the office space into a much healthier environment, which can help with absenteeism figures and productivity, experts say.

It’s good to know that office planners, employers, workers and others are getting savvier and more interested in advanced workplace technologies and design.

Source: Globe and Mail

Not working in a LEED certified building yet? Most office buildings have a long way to go to provide the best possible working environment when it comes to indoor air quality and other factors. Electrocorp’s air cleaners for offices and for office printers provide the right air filters and technologies to indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and other chemicals, particles, dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses and mold. Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brazilian Blowout maker settles class-action lawsuit

Brazilian Blowout agrees to pay consumers and
stylists who claim they were harmed by the treatment.
The hair-straightening product Brazilian Blowout has been under siege for a while after numerous complaints from users, government inquiries and filed claims.

The reason for all the excitement is the formaldehyde-content in the products, which the company allegedly failed to label correctly.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and a toxic volatile organic compound that is emitted during the hair straightening process when heat is applied to the product in the hair to straighten it.

The company was also the subject of a class-action lawsuit, which it agreed to settle on Monday for about $4.5 million.

The agreement stipulates that consumers that say they were harmed by the product get $35 for each treatment (with a maximum of three per person), while stylists would receive $75 for each bottle of the product they purchased.

The company also has to change its marketing and take off the “formaldehyde-free “claims on the products, while also providing more detailed instructions on safe use.

The company settled another lawsuit earlier this year when it agreed to the California attorney general’s office to pay $600,000 in fees and penalties and to warn consumers about the release of formaldehyde from the product.

The company is still allowed to sell the popular hair straightening product and people are free to use it – but the goal was to make sure they use it in a safe way, litigators said.

Source: New York Times

Chemical concerns in salons and spas

CleanBreeze 3
for salons and spas
Formaldehyde is not the only chemical threat in hair salons and spas. Most hair products, including hairsprays, mousses, shampoos and other fragrance-filled treatments emit chemicals, volatile organic compounds and other toxins.

While good ventilation and proper use of the products are essential, many ventilation systems are unable to provide enough fresh air to reduce the chemical concentration in the ambient air.

An industrial-strength air cleaner from Electrocorp can help. Electrocorp has designed air cleaners specifically for the hair salon and spa environment, including nail salons.

The air cleaners are equipped with many pounds of activated carbon, HEPA and other filters to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants from the ambient air.

Other air cleaners also feature a special source capture attachment to remove toxins right at the source and prevent them from spreading into the space.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and suggestions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Perc vapor intrusion fears in Orange County

The air in buildings can suffer if the
soil underneath it is contaminated.
Working in the city of Orange just got more dangerous.

Soil testing shows  that the ground underneath one building is contaminated with a toxic chemical – now the OC Employees Association is asking for the evacuation of the building and an adjacent building for fear of toxic air at the workplace.

The tests revealed the presence of the industrial chemical and solvent perchloroethylene (also known as perc) in the soil five and 10 feet below ground. Additional tests are planned.

The levels met EPA guidelines, but the level at 10 feet exceeded the California Human Health Screening Levels.

What is perchloroethylene?

According to the EPA, perc is a colorless, nonflammable liquid.  It does not occur naturally but is produced in large amounts (310 million pounds in 1991) by three companies in the United States.

The largest US user of perc is the dry cleaning industry.

Textile mills, chlorofluorocarbon producers, vapor degreasing and metal cleaning operations, and makers of rubber coatings also use perc. 

It can be added to aerosol formulations, solvent soaps, printing inks, adhesives, sealants, polishes, lubricants, and silicones.  Typewriter correction fluid and shoe polish are among the consumer products that can contain perc.

People are exposed to perc when they breathe in the gases. Once in the body perc can remain, stored in fat tissue.

Health effects of perc

While human health effects depend on the individual, the amount of perc and the time frame of exposure, the chemical has been linked to health problems such as
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Exposure to perc can cause
    cancer, experts say.
  • Cancer

Employees in the affected building are worried about their health and safety and have been calling and e-mailing to voice their concerns, the union says.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Keep indoor air safe inside buildings

Airborne chemicals and gases like perchloroethylene, formaldehyde and other substances are not only harmful to human health, they can also become a liability issue for the employer.

Along with sensible health and safety precautions, source control and ventilation, an industrial-strength air cleaner can help keep the indoor air pollution to a minimum.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners feature a large activated carbon filter, HEPA and optional UV filtration to remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and suggestions.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Schools can benefit from green cleaning practices

Advantages include reduced costs, improved indoor air quality and various health benefits
Harsh chemicals should not be
used in schools, experts say.

With many schools buying into the non-toxic approach when it comes to cleaning, the pungent smells of chlorine and ammonia may soon be a thing of the past.

Green cleaning practices are in vogue, advocating the use of less toxic chemicals and fragrances, using smaller amounts of basic cleaners (such as hydrogen peroxide) and maximizing the cleaning power of plain old water and microfiber cloth.

These new cleaning methods will not only bring better indoor air quality but also turn out to be less costly, administrators say.

Fewer chemicals to purchase means costs are lower and the reduced chemical exposures also have been linked to health benefits for students and staff, including reduced asthma symptoms.

Custodial workers sometimes need some additional training in green cleaning methods because they are relying less on harsh chemicals and heavy scents.

When new schools are built or old ones renovated, administrators can further help with improved indoor air quality by choosing the right building materials and furniture that won’t off-gas as many volatile organic compounds.

Carpet is not a great idea in schools because it is difficult to keep clean and can trap dust and chemicals. Newer models may be better, but other flowing choices may be preferable.

Other than associating the smell of harsh cleaning chemicals with cleanliness, custodians are now aiming to make sure the air inside smells as fresh as the air outside (if the school is not located in a very polluted or traffic-jammed area…)

Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Better air a must in schools

Green cleaning practices and other source control methods are great starting points for better indoor air quality in schools, which has been linked to improved student performance, less absenteeism and other health benefits.

Better ventilation and air cleaning provide other ways to improve the air quality. Ventilation can be improved by opening windows regularly and maintaining the ventilation system properly.

When it is not possible to open windows or if there is an issue with certain VOCs or chemicals, portable filtration systems in classrooms can help provide cleaner air and keep pollutants to a minimum.

Find out more about Electrocorp’s air cleaners for schools and universities or contact us today.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New report on chemicals law gives pointers to U.S.

This is a guest post from AllerAir Industries.

New chemicals come onto the market every day.
The United States Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is almost 40 years old and most people agree that it needs to be updated.

However, industry officials, lawmakers and environmental groups have different opinions as to what the new legislation should look like.

A new report from Indiana University examines the European Union’s new law on chemicals, which went into effect in 2006.

Their new chemicals law is called REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), and the Indiana researchers say the United States can learn a lot from the European experience with REACH.

The EU law makes the industry responsible for proving the safety of the chemical, not government.

The key principle in the registration process is “no data, no market”, meaning manufacturers, producers and importers need to provide a minimum safety-related data set for many existing chemicals.

A clear definition of safety is important in any chemicals law reform, the researchers say.

The US should focus on reducing risks to human health and the environment and make it easier for industry to comply by allowing cross-Atlantic recognition of registration dossiers.

Source: Indiana University

Chemicals remain a concern until the reform

With the burden of proof of safety (or danger) resting on government, most US residents continue to be exposed to a wide variety of chemicals that may or may not be harmful to human health.

In some cases, for example bisphenol A, phthalates, formaldehyde, tetrachloroethylene and more, the danger has been identified, yet the chemicals continue to be around.

A powerful and portable air purifier with the right air filters can remove a wide range of airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and odors while also trapping particles, dust, bacteria, viruses, mold and pollen.

Many pounds of granular activated carbon are the best defense against potentially harmful chemicals, along with source control and ventilation.

For more information and air purifier options, contact Electrocorp.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Natural gas wells may leak twice as much gas as previously thought

Gas wells leak up to
4% of methane gas.
A new study is raising concerns about the air quality near natural gas wells and their impact on the climate.

The study shows that wells in Colorado have leaked about twice as much gas into the atmosphere as previously thought.

Natural gas is mostly made of methane and while it gives off less carbon dioxide than coal when burned, methane in the atmosphere is a strong contributor to global warming and can have a big impact on the climate.

The study appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The researchers measured the air quality near Denver using a 300-meter tower, in an area where more than 20,000 gas wells are being used.

While some of the methane detected by the sensors can come from landfills, cattle feedlots and waste-water treatment sites, the researchers could identify methane from gas wells by other components that accompanied the readings.

The study finds that about 4 percent of the methane in gas wells was leaking.

The researchers previously found that higher-than-expected levels of methane were being released from wells used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

Middle class schools closest to gas wells: Study

In a separate study in Texas, researchers found that socially vulnerable areas tend to have more gas wells near schools, meaning some communities could be burdened more with health or social costs.

In fact, the study shows that middle class neighborhoods (not rich or poor ones) had most gas wells near elementary schools.

The researchers looked at proximity because there is a lack of other studies on health effects or pollution when it comes to the effect of shale gas production on communities, they said.

They focused on children because they are such a vulnerable group, they added.

Sources: Science News, Denton Record-Chronicle

Provide cleaner indoor air in schools and other buildings

The boom of natural gas production is ongoing, and gas wells have become a familiar sight in many neighborhoods.

But for those who are concerned about indoor air quality because of leaking gas wells or other concerns, Electrocorp offers extremely powerful air cleaners with a combination of air filters.

The air cleaners feature many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA as well as optional UV to help clear the air of airborne chemicals, gases, volatile organic compounds, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and molds.

Electrocorp specifically offers air cleaners for schools and universities, environmental consulting and for home and office use (AllerAir).

For more information, speak to an IAQ specialist at Electrocorp.