Friday, June 29, 2012

Businesses and air pollution controls

The process of making bread can add
volatile organic compounds into the air.
No matter how big or small an operation is – a failure to manage pollutants can be costly.

The United States EPA recently issued a $1.3 million fine for a California bakery that did not get the necessary air pollution permits and controls to operate the facility’s three bread ovens.

During the leavening stage and baking of the breads, volatile organic compounds like ethanol can be generated and released.

The EPA considers volatile organic compounds to be a precursor to ozone pollution.

The company agreed to install and run machinery that can reduce VOCs by 95 percent.

Every business that releases VOCs or other pollutants into the air can have a major impact on the overall air quality, an EPA spokesperson said in a Lodi News-Sentinel article. Raising awareness and making small changes can make a difference for everyone.

Indoor air quality concerns for workers and residents

People living above small businesses or in the neighborhood can be affected by pollutants and should take steps to reduce exposure in their own homes. See AllerAir’s air purifiers for the home and office.

Air cleaners with cyclone collectors can
manage fine particles at the workplace.
Electrocorp specializes in air cleaning equipment for industrial and commercial applications that can provide cleaner and healthier air for workers and management.

The air cleaners feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for the removal of volatile organic compounds, chemicals, odors and gases, a HEPA filter for fine particles and dust and optional UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of biological contaminants such as mold, viruses and bacteria.

In bakeries and other workplaces where a lot of fine particles may be the main concern, Electrocorp has developed industrial-strength air cleaners with cyclone collectors for maximum protection.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chemical makers oppose new green building standards

Green building standards worry chemical manufacturers.
The proposed standards by the U.S. Green Building Council have many chemical manufacturers up in arms, saying that the new rules would unfairly target their products.

Business groups are lobbying lawmakers to reconsider the proposed standards to avoid job losses in the industry.

The proposed changes, known as LEED 2012 or LEED v4, encourage builders to avoid certain materials that go into roofing, piping and vinyl siding to earn a green building certification.

The chemical makers say that a fragile building construction sector will suffer from even more uncertainty if those materials are being avoided.

The Green Building Council, however, has rejected the notion that the building economy would be affected by the proposed changes.

The standards do not ban any products and instead rewards companies that produce more transparent and well-documented building materials, they say.

The final vote of the standards has been delayed until June 2013, and the standards may be changed until then.

Source: The Hill

Better indoor air quality in green construction and older buildings

Poor indoor air quality has been linked with a wide range of health symptoms and lower productivity, among other effects.

Electrocorp has teamed up with engineers, environmental consultants, government buyers and construction professionals to help provide cleaner and healthier air during and after building projects.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications feature deep-bed activated carbon (or charcoal) filters for chemicals and odors, a HEPA filter for particles and optional UV germicidal filtration for biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Public health building in Iqaluit contaminated with mold, asbestos

Some molds can affect
human health and well-being.
No matter how far north you are, mold and asbestos concerns can become a health issue.

The Iqaluit Public Health and the Family Practice clinic building has to undergo extensive renovations to fix mold and asbestos concerns, the Nunavut government announced.

An environmental assessment by Ottawa clean air investigators found mold in the relatively old public health building as well as asbestos in floor tiles.

The renovations will take at least four months, during which time Health and Social services needs a temporary location.

The mold concerns need to be addressed, experts say, because some molds can cause asthma, respiratory infections and poisonous, toxic effects in some individuals.

If the asbestos in the floor tiles is disturbed in any way, people in the building may be exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, which have been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other lung diseases.

Source: Nunatsiaq Online

Air cleaners for mold and asbestos remediation and restoration projects

During and after mold and asbestos remediation efforts, the indoor air quality in the affected rooms or buildings may be very poor.

The work has to be done by licensed contractors to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

For better indoor air quality, Electrocorp has designed portable and powerful air cleaners for mold and asbestos work that can help provide cleaner, healthier air.

The air cleaners feature the best particle filters (including bag filters and HEPA filters) as well as activated carbon and optional UV germicidal filtration – which can all help in the battle against mold spores, asbestos fibers and odors (as well as countless other contaminants that may be floating around).

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

IAQ challenges in (portable) classrooms, schools

Children and teachers can be affected by poor
indoor air quality in schools.
When the California Air Resources Board tested the state’s K-12 classrooms, they found alarming rates of toxic dust, stale indoor air, mold and formaldehyde, a volatile organic compound that is a known carcinogenic.

While most schools and classrooms had poor indoor air quality, the problems were especially acute in portable classrooms, often used to accommodate a growing student body when there is no other space available.

Some local businesses started working on ways to make classrooms greener and healthier, including net-zero energy use (they produce as much energy as they use) and improved ventilation, lighting and materials.

Traditionally, portable classrooms provide little insulation and energy efficiency, especially when it comes to ventilation and air conditioning.

The new and improved version would use less toxic materials to avoid formaldehyde emissions, high quality air filters, pressurizing systems, efficient heating and cooling systems and more natural light.

Source: Monterey County Weekly

The importance of good indoor air quality in schools

Children are among the most vulnerable groups when it comes to indoor air pollution and environmental toxins, but teachers and administrative staff can also develop health problems due to mold, stale indoor air and volatile organic compounds.

Millions of children and adults spend a majority of their day in schools each week, but the average school building is about 42 years old and in poor condition.

Exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, aggravated medical conditions (like asthma), increased absenteeism, lower productivity and learning ability as well as many more health effects.

Air cleaners for schools and universities

When it’s not feasible to open the windows or improve the ventilation system, portable air cleaners for schools and universities can easily and effectively provide cleaner and healthier air in minutes.
Electrocorp's RAP Series

Electrocorp has a proven track record in schools and learning institutions, with air cleaners that remove the widest range of indoor air contaminants with a complete multistage filtration system:
  • A deep-bed activated carbon filter for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, airborne chemicals, odors and gases
  • A HEPA filter to trap fine particles, dust, allergens (pollen) and biological particles
  • Pre-filters to extend the other filters’ lifespan
  • Optional UV germicidal filtration to neutralize biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses
Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bacteria and other contaminants in hotel rooms

Hotel rooms can be full of
bacteria and other pollutants.
No matter how diligent hotels are with their cleaning regimen – the lack of cleaning standards and other factors allow many surfaces to be contaminated, researchers say.

Scientists from the University of Houston examined surfaces of hotel rooms and found television remotes to be the most contaminated with bacteria. Also, items on the housekeeping cart can potentially lead to cross-contamination between rooms, they say.

Most hotels and guests judge a room’s cleanliness by how clean it looks, but this is an ineffective method of measuring levels of sanitation.

Contaminated surfaces can spread infections during outbreaks in hotels, and immunocompromised individuals may be specifically at risk, the researchers warn.

As expected, other highly contaminated surfaces included the toilet and bathroom sink as well as the bedside lamp switch.

Source: The American Society for Microbiology

Other pollutants in hotel rooms

Mold - Typical causes for mold in hotels are deficient air conditioning systems and air and water leaks in the building walls. Most hotel rooms have little fresh air exchange and let mold and bacteria thrive in an environment of vinyl wall paper and shower steam.

Pesticides – It may be bed bugs or other insects or pests thathave invaded a hotel – but the use of pesticides can be quite dangerous to hotel guests as well, since they often contain toxic chemicals.

Chemicals – Building materials, furniture, textiles, carpets and other substances in hotel rooms may off-gas chemicals and volatile organic compounds that can be irritants and known health hazards. Other chemical pollutants come from cleaning products and personal care products as well as air fresheners.

Allergens - The hotel's mattress, pillow, rug, drapery and upholstered furniture can all easily collect dust, mites and bodily secretions — all of which can cause reactions in allergy sufferers.

Tobacco smoke – Smoking is banned in many hotels, but certain rooms may be designated as smoke rooms (and certain guests may light up, anyway). Stale tobacco smoke is difficult to eradicate and can leave behind harmful chemicals and toxins.

Air cleaners for hotels
Air cleaners for hypoallergenic
hotel rooms, odor control,
mold control and more.

Using non-toxic materials and products whenever possible, implementing a strict cleaning regimen and making sure there is adequate ventilation can all help to improve indoor air quality in hotels – but the right air cleaner will provide cleaner and healthier air around the clock.

The best air cleaners for hotels feature a combination of activated carbon, HEPA and a UV lamps to remove odors, chemicals, gases, particles, dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air. They should be easy to use, quiet and equipped with long-lasting filters.

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Company could face millions of dollars in damages for asbestos exposure at work

Health and safety legislation: Exposing workers
to hazards may be costly for companies.
An Australian court reiterated the importance of safety in a workplace when it comes to asbestos when it ruled that a company exposed workers to asbestos dust even though it knew of the potential health consequences.

The company now faces claims for millions of dollars of punitive damages.

An 86-year-old former shipyard worker sued the company under the state’s Dust Diseases Act, saying he developed asbestosis because of the exposure to asbestos dust.

The court ruled in his favor because he could prove that the company knew he was at risk of exposure when he worked at the shipyard in the 1970s and that the company was also aware that he could get sick from it.

Asbestosis is a lung disease that occurs from breathing in asbestos fibers, which causes scar tissue to form inside the lung. Symptoms include chest pain, cough, shortness of breath and more. There is no cure.

The worker and his council said the decision was important not only for the interpretation of the Dust Diseases Act but also for hundreds of other similar claims that were still before the courts.

Source: The Australian

Air cleaners for asbestos remediation and other workplace hazards

Even though asbestos has been heavily regulated in the past few decades, many buildings still feature asbestos-containing materials that may be a health hazard to the workers there.

Electrocorp has developed portable air cleaners for asbestos and mold remediation work that can help provide cleaner and healthier air, along with other health and safety measures.

As one of the leading providers of air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications, Electrocorp offers the most relevant filtration media, the most adsorbent surface areas and the most customizable options in units that work.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Workplace policies to accommodate chemical sensitivities

There are ways to protect chemically sensitive
workers from low level everyday exposures.
Chemical sensitivities are on the rise – experts estimate that up to 16 percent of the population may be affected by low levels of everyday chemicals at home and on the job.

While some people develop extreme chemical sensitivities that are chronic and disabling, others can be managed with the right types of precautionary measures and policies.

In a recent presentation with the title “Accommodating Consumers and Staff with Chemical Sensitivities” by the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc., Mary Lamielle listed workplace policies and measures that are recommended for people affected by CS.

The recommendations include
  • No smoking policy
  • Fragrance-free policy
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) to avoid pesticide exposure
  • Promotion of least toxic  or low impact cleaning and maintenance products, practices, materials and remodeling substances
  • Notification policy
  • Vehicle idling policy
  • Cell phone and EMF shielding policy
  • Private office with window that opens for person with chemical sensitivities
  • Increasing fresh air supply and ventilation
  • Swap carpeting with hard surface flooring and discuss suitability of all materials with affected person
  • Keep immediate work environment free of office equipment (i.e. large format printers)
  • Off-gas all new materials, furnishings, supplies before installation
  • Metal or glass desk and shelving (no veneered wood or particle board to avoid formaldehyde emissions)
  • Work schedule options and work-from-home options
  • Educate management and co-workers to avert stigma and harassment
Carbon or charcoal is the best
air filter media for chemicals,
gases and odors.

A worker with chemical sensitivities may also need to use a charcoal mask or other personal protection equipment, oxygen, a carbon + HEPA air filter, a reading box, low emission equipment and localized exhaust for office equipment, incandescent or natural lighting as opposed to fluorescent lighting, a speaker phone and intercom system to participate in meetings as well as an assistant or errand runner.

Source: National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc.

Carbon and HEPA air cleaners for the workplace

Good indoor air quality is a must for workers suffering from chemical sensitivities.

Unfortunately, most indoor environments – including offices, schools, restaurants, hospitals and other settings – can expose workers to indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Electrocorp has developed highly efficient and portable air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that feature the most relevant filtration media (deep-bed granular activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration), the largest adsorbent surface areas and the most customizable options and features.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hair salon hazards: Toxic chemicals and VOCs

Beautiful hair may come at a price: Many salon
workers and clients are exposed to chemicals.
What are hair salon hazards?

Chemicals used in the beauty industry are unregulated, and many release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogens. 

Studies show that hairdressers have triple the risk of developing breast cancer and are more likely to develop leukemia and multiple myeloma.

There is no limit to how far people will go for great looking hair.  The zeitgeist of the last decade is characterized by celebrity styles that go from dark to light, curly to straight and vice versa.

The problem with indoor air pollutants - and hair salon hazards - is that many of the effects are long term. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.6 million people will die every year as a result of indoor air pollution.  

Poor indoor air quality in salons

In salons, masks and general ventilation systems offer little or no protection against airborne chemicals that may cause damage to the immune, reproductive, neurological and respiratory systems.

On a daily basis, hairdressers are exposed to several chemicals including ammonia, phenylenediamine (PPD), sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. New trends like the Japanese and Brazilian straightening treatments add chemicals like formaldehyde to that roster. 

Aside from causing hair loss, bruising and eczema like reaction on the scalp, Brazilian straightening treatments can cause lung inflammation, asthma, severe allergic reactions and death.  

A list of toxic chemicals lurking in salons

  1. Ammonia
    Ammonia is used in hair dye to allow color molecules to penetrate.  Ammonia irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, and may cause asthma and other breathing problems.

  2. Phenylenediamine (PPD)
    When it comes to hair dyes, Phenylenediamine (PPD) is the most common cause of allergic reactions.  This chemical is very toxic and when inhaled, it may cause damage to the liver, kidneys, nervous system and respiratory tract.  The fumes emitted by PPD also cause inflammation of the airways, which make it difficult to breathe.  
  3. Sodium Hydroxide
    Sodium hydroxide is often used in hair relaxers and causes damage to the respiratory tract and severe pneumonitis.   
  4. Formaldehyde
    Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.  Aside from being linked to cancer, it may cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, coughing and wheezing, as well as skin irritation.  This chemical is also used to embalm the departed.

Gaseous pollutants like VOCs are the result of a variety of hair processes.  Combined with the regular air contaminating culprits - mold, dust mites, ozone and petrochemicals - poor indoor air quality is a real hair salon hazard.

Air cleaners for hair and hail salons need to be equipped with at least 27 pounds of activated carbon, and several inches of carbon filter depth. 

Additionally, an electrostatic pre-filter accompanied by a pleated HEPA filter will help trap particle contaminants. 

For more information, contact Electrocorp.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cabinet maker sues company for toxic chemical exposure

The plaintiff says the machinery
released toxic chemical fumes.
A man who worked for a cabinet company says he developed respiratory problems after being exposed to toxic chemicals in the machinery.

The man filed a lawsuit against the company and machine supplier.

He claims that the toxic chemicals came from a machine that glues veneer to cabinet surfaces called an edge bander, which required a special adhesive.

The glue was supplied in solid form and had to be heated inside the edge bander to attach the veneer.

The litigant claims that the adhesive was polyurethane that emitted diphenyl methane diisocyanate, a toxic chemical that caused damage to his lungs.

The former worker is asking for more than $150,000 in damages for medical bills, loss of income and court fees.

Source: Madison Record

Air cleaners for chemical and odor concerns at the workplace

When employees are working with glues, adhesives, solvents and other potentially hazardous materials, chances are the ambient air is filled with airborne pollutants that can affect their health and well-being.

An industrial-strength air cleaner with the right types of filters can help remove those airborne chemicals, odors and gases and provide cleaner and healthier air.

Electrocorp has developed portable and powerful air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications.

The air cleaners feature some of the most trusted and efficient filtration technologies, with a deep bed of granular activated carbon, HEPA and UV germicidal filtration.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations based on your specific concerns: 1-866-667-0297.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cleaning services: Is greener also healthier?

Cleaning products may contain irritating
chemicals and toxins.
When it comes to cleaning homes and buildings, those employed in cleaning services used to take the brunt of fumes and chemicals emitted by commercial cleaning products – and started feeling the health effects.

Caustics or solvents that are often found in common household cleaning products can cause health effects such as headaches, irritation to the eyes, nose or throat and more. 

Irritating chemicals are found in oven cleaners, drain cleaners, scouring powders and bleach, for example.

Long-term exposure to some solvents may cause liver and kidney problems, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and cancer. Solvents can be found in furniture polish, silver cleaner, paint remover and wood floor wax, among other products.

Fortunately, a growing industry trend towards greener, non-toxic products may help cleaning businesses protect not only their own workers, but also their clients’ family members, pets and homes or offices.

Cleaning services using organic products report that their workers’ symptoms have all but disappeared and that a growing number of clients are asking about the toxicity of products that are used.

Source: News-Press

Air cleaners for offices, homes and other buildings

The use of organic, non-toxic cleaning products will contribute to better indoor air quality, but pollutants also come from building products and finishing treatments, electronic devices, personal care products, air “freshening” products and many other sources.

Better ventilation may help, but existing HVAC systems often can’t provide the required fresh air exchanges.

This is why Electrocorp has designed portable and powerful air cleaners for offices, homes and other buildings and workplaces.

The air cleaners feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter, a HEPA filter, pre-filters and optional UV germicidal filtration to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hospital noises affect patient sleep and cardiovascular function: Study

Sleep is an important part of the healing process,
and hospital noises may be disturbing: Experts
Apart from direct patient care, researchers have become aware of the importance of the environment when it comes to patient recovery in hospitals.

One critical component is a peaceful space for a patient to get enough sleep.

Unfortunately, many hospital patients’ sleep may be interrupted by certain noises in a common hospital setting, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Massachusetts General Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance found in a study.

They warn that such sleep disruption can negatively affect brain activity and cardiovascular function.

Sleep is important for restoration and healing, they say, but many hospitals and urban sleep environments are increasingly noise-polluted.

Electronic noises most disturbing

The study took place in a sleep lab with 12 healthy volunteers who participated for three nights, sleeping one night without interruption and the other nights being presented with recorded sounds that are commonly heard in hospital settings.

The sounds included an intravenous alarm, telephone, ice machine, voices in the hall, outside traffic and a helicopter, which were presented at increasing decibel levels during specific sleep stages.

Not surprisingly, louder noises were more likely to disrupt sleep, but electronic noises were most disturbing, even at low volumes.

Cardiovascular function was affected because even subtle sleep disruptions temporarily elevated heart rates, which could be worrying for vulnerable populations when occurring repeatedly during hospital stays, they warn.

The study is published online in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Air cleaners for hospitals and healthcare settings

Electrocorp's RAP Series
and other room air cleaners
for hospitals and healthcare.
A cleaner and healthier hospital environment can not only help patients breathe easier, it can also help them sleep better.

Running a room air purifier continuously on the lowest setting provides soothing white noise that drowns out other, potentially sleep-disrupting noises, while it also removes airborne viruses, bacteria, mold, chemicals, odors, gases, particles and dust.

Electrocorp has developed a selection of air cleaners for hospitals and healthcare settings that can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants.

The air cleaners feature a multistage filtration system with a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases and odors, a HEPA filter for particles and dust and optional UV germicidal filtration for bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Emissions and fumes in auto repair shops and garages

Auto body shop workers may be exposed to toxic
fumes and chemicals, experts warn.
Working with cars can be quite dangerous – workers have to handle numerous hazardous materials, and the ambient air may be laden with volatile organic compounds and fumes.

Recently, three people died at a car wash station in China, when a worker tried to clean a chemical tanker and was overcome by noxious fumes.

Of course, the exhaust fumes and engine emissions have traditionally been the biggest source of pollution in auto repair shops and garages.

Engine emissions used to be untreated and unfiltered and spewed hydrocarbons into the air.

A hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons – along with NOx and sunlight – contribute to the formation of tropospheric ozone and greenhouse gases.

Diesel exhaust has only recently been added to the standards requiring complex catalytic systems using zeolite and ammonia to neutralize emissions. Incidentally, the World Health Organization's cancer agency just reclassified diesel fumes as carcinogenic.

Nowadays, cars and trucks have emissions cleanup systems that scrub engine exhaust of pollutants, but the search is still on for even cleaner systems to comply with ever-tightening engine emissions laws.

Source: Chemical and Engineering News

Air cleaners for auto repair shops and garages

Apart from basic protective equipment and proper handling, an industrial air cleaning system with activated carbon and HEPA can help remove harmful pollutants and chemicals in car handling environments.

Electrocorp has developed portable or mountable air cleaners for auto body shops and garages, which feature some of the largest adsorbent surface areas, the most relevant filtration media and most customizable options.

Air cleaners such as the Air Rhino, I-6500 Series and Dirty Dog can handle the volatile organic compounds, toxic fumes and emissions that commonly mar the indoor air quality in auto repair shops and garages.

For more information and details, contact an Electrocorp representative today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

IAQ technology: Easier way to detect mold in homes and other buildings

Some molds can affect
human health and well-being.
Mold contamination is one of the most common indoor air quality concerns in the United States – especially in millions of foreclosed homes that are abandoned without adequate ventilation.

Mold spores are a natural part of the environment, and mold contamination often occurs after some type of water infiltration in the building, which could be a flood, plumbing problem or leak.

But scientists have come up with a new, simple and fast method to detect and identify even low levels of airborne mold.

While most molds are harmless, some have been linked to health risks in humans. According to doctors, 20-30 percent of the population may be susceptible to mold.

Traditional methods of mold testing often tried to identify the spores that molds release into the air.

The scientists’ new method involves collecting air samples on a piece of commercially available aluminum foil and analyzing the spores with Raman microspectroscopy (RMS). The technique allowed the researchers to identify single spores of seven common types of mold.

The report describing the technique appears in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Source: American Chemical Society

Control mold in buildings with source control, ventilation and air cleaning

Mold problems can quickly get out of hand; that is why experts suggest fixing water infiltration problems quickly, making sure that there is adequate ventilation and clean air.

Electrocorp has designed industrial-strength air cleaning systems with activated carbon, HEPA and UV germicidal filtration that can provide cleaner air and control mold.

The HEPA filter can help trap mold spores, while a UV lamp can help neutralize them and an activated carbon filter can help remove odors and mycotoxins that are associated with some molds.

Whether it’s air cleaners for mold and asbestos restoration projects or other industrial or commercial applications, Electrocorp’s wide range of units and customizable options provide the largest adsorbent surface areas, the most relevant filter media and 24/7 air cleaning.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Monday, June 11, 2012

OSHA slow to regulate workplace toxins

Workplace exposure to chemicals and fine dust can
affect workers' health and well-being.
Workers in certain industries and factories can be exposed to a wide variety of toxins that may have detrimental effects on their health.

Federal standards that are supposed to protect workers are often outdated or insufficient. Take the standards regarding beryllium or silica, for example.

Despite both substances being classified as “known human carcinogens”, efforts to update the standards have been delayed for more than a decade for each.

In the meantime, more than 2 million workers are exposed to silica and beryllium at their workplace – and even commonly used protective equipment may not be enough to prevent serious chronic health conditions.

On average, it takes OSHA nearly eight years to issue a health or safety standard. Since 2000, the agency has produced only 11, and some of those were technical amendments to existing rules.

OSHA must prove a substance to be a significant risk before it can adopt costly rules. The rules need to be reviewed by other authorities such as the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Industries and businesses are afraid that new standards will cost too much for protective equipment, health screenings, exposure assessment and pollution-control equipment, but workplace illnesses and deaths carry a huge price tag as well.

According to experts, an estimated 50,000 people die from occupational diseases every year and more than 400,000 people get sick from toxic exposures at the workplace.

Source: The Center for Public Integrity

Air cleaners for toxic airborne chemicals and particles

Along with other health and safety measures, the right type of air filtration equipment at the workplace can help provide cleaner and healthier air for employees.

Electrocorp has developed some of the most efficient and reliable air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications.

With the largest adsorbent surface areas and deep-bed activated carbon filters, the air cleaners can remove a wide range of airborne chemicals, gases, odors and fumes.

HEPA filters take care of fine particulates, while additional UV lamps can help neutralize biological hazards.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Receipts as an occupational hazard

BPA or chemical alternatives can
leach from thermal sales receipts.
Workers handling a lot of paper receipts may be exposed to endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A (BPA) or its structurally related alternative BPS.

Recent research and growing awareness about the possible harmful effects of BPA exposure have pushed many manufacturers to produce BPA-free products.

But researchers caution that the typical replacement BPS may pose a similar exposure threat.

In a recent study, researchers found that paper products with a BPA alternative could expose workers to just as many chemical compounds as before and that toxicology research into the BPA alternative is urgently needed.

Sales receipts can be a big source of exposure to BPA because manufacturers use it to help develop ink. Workers and clients handling the receipts can readily absorb BPA through the skin, experts say.

However, studies (mostly on animals) have shown that BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can cause many health problems, including obesity and cancer.

The BPA alternative BPS has similar endocrine-disrupting functions, the researchers warn.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News

Air cleaners for airborne pollutants

Occupational health and safety hazards can lurk almost anywhere - not only on paper receipts, but also in the very air we breathe.

Indoor environments can be contaminated by airborne chemicals, gases, volatile organic compounds, fumes, odors, particles, dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses, mold and more.

A portable and powerful air cleaner with the right filters can address these indoor air quality issues and help provide cleaner and healthier air.

Electrocorp has developed a range of portable and versatile air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA as well as optional UV germicidal filtration, which clean the air around the clock.

Electrocorp's air cleaning solutions help protect workers in a variety of industrial and commercial applications.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Attention, building managers: Clean has no scent

Synthetic chemicals in cleaning products can affect
building occupants' health and well-being.
Many people and workers identify a clean room or building with a “fresh” scent, especially when it comes to washrooms, lobbies, cafeterias and general office and classroom areas.

But the fragrances used in many scented products contain a wide range of potentially harmful chemicals.

In addition, a growing number of people suffer from allergic-type reactions when exposed to these fragrances. Those with sensitivities have reported respiratory problems, nausea and other health effects.

A clean building is a must – but overpowering scents such as floral, lemon or pine are not, no matter what advertising spots and the media will have us believe.

Products that clean without leaving a fake scent are also often better for the environment and just as effective for cleaning purposes.

No scent cleaning products are now much more common, meaning they won’t be too costly to use (plus, buying in bulk helps to offset costs, too).

Facility management experts have compiled a list of steps to go from chemical hazards to a scent-free policy:

  1. Draft a No Scent Policy: The policy should involve a number of key managers, human resource staff and health and safety employees. For a sample policy, go to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
  2. Open communication channels with building occupants: Everyone should be aware of the policy and the reasons behind it. This can be done with brochures, flyers, newsletters, presentations or other processes.
  3. Set a realistic deadline: Building managers will need time to remove fragrance dispensers in rooms, research no scent cleaning products and train the cleaning staff in how to use the new products.
  4. Make a list of approved unscented cleaning products available. This will avoid confusion as to what is and isn’t allowed in the building.
  5. Put up signs that alert building occupants and visitors that the building is now scent-free.
  6. Anticipate complains and concerns. Make a plan on how to deal with non compliant building occupants.

Source: Wood Wyant Sanitation Solutions

Control odors and indoor air pollutants with portable air cleaners

Cleaning chemicals are a major culprit for indoor air pollution, so switching over to scent-free, greener alternatives will go a long way in reducing exposure for workers.

The air in office buildings and other workplaces often still contains airborne chemicals and contaminants from building materials, electronic equipment, printer ink, paint fumes, dust, mold, bacteria and viruses.

That is why Electrocorp has developed powerful portable air cleaners for facility management, office buildings, office printers and other industrial and commercial applications.

The air cleaners feature a highly effective activated carbon + HEPA filtration system that can remove irritating chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, bacteria, viruses, mold, particles, allergens and more.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and available options.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Men’s offices worse than women’s for workplace bacteria

Men's phones and chairs feature the
highest levels of bacteria: researchers.
All things are not equal when it comes to the bacteria in the office – men’s office spaces (especially their chair and phone) have a much higher bacteria count than women’s, a new study shows.

Researchers couldn’t find a significant difference in the office bacterial communities of New York and San Francisco, but in both cases, men’s offices had higher bacteria counts.

There are a lot of different bacteria present in our indoor environments, the researchers say. They identified more than 500 bacterial genera in offices in three cities.

They say most bacteria come from human skin or the nasal, oral or intestinal cavities.

Other bacteria may be brought in from soils and other sources.

While most workers may instinctively name their desktop, keyboard and mouse as bacteria-harboring devices, the researchers found the highest abundance of bacteria on chairs and phones.

The study appears in the open access journal PLoS ONE. It was funded by university grants as well as commercial sources (Clorox Corporation).

Source: Public Library of Science

Air cleaners for bacteria, viruses, mold and other pollutants

Workers are spending so much time indoors that poor indoor air quality has become a serious concern for companies and healthcare professionals.

The air in offices and other commercial and industrial workplaces can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, molds, particles, dust, chemicals, gases, odors and fumes.

Existing ventilation systems may not be enough to provide adequate fresh air exchanges.

Electrocorp has developed portable yet extremely powerful air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can tackle the indoor air concerns mentioned above.

The air cleaners feature an efficient activated carbon + HEPA filter combination as well as optional UV germicidal filtration, which helps neutralize biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

Browse Electrocorp’s air cleaners for offices, office printers, facility management and more, or contact an IAQ specialist from Electrocorp for more information and suggestions.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rare birth defect linked to mothers’ work exposure to PAHs

A mother's workplace exposure to certain chemicals
increases the risk for a rare birth defect, researchers say.
Exposure to certain chemicals at work in early pregnancy could lead to a higher risk of an umbilical cord defect called gastroschisis, a condition where the baby’s organs poke out of the gut.

Researchers have established a link between gastroschisis and exposure to PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), which mainly come from combustion and fossil fuels. They are also found in cigarette smoke.

Gastroschisis is a type of hernia. Babies born with this birth defect have their intestines (and sometimes other organs) protrude through a hole next to their belly button.

The birth defect can affect the babies’ ability to feed, digest food and absorb nutrients, and surgery is needed to place the organs back inside and repair the rupture.

Animal studies have already linked exposure to PAHs to multiple birth defects, including gastroschisis.

Pregnant women stay on the job

The study focused on workplace exposure to PAHs since more than 95 percent of employed women in the United States remain employed during pregnancy.

A growing number of women may be exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job that can harm the fetus.

Examples of workplaces where exposure is likely are oil and gas production facilities and coal-fired power plants as well as restaurants where meat is cooked at high temperatures.

The researchers asked study participants about the jobs they held during the critical window of development for this birth defect, which is the month before getting pregnant through the third month of pregnancy.

They found that mothers who were exposed to PAHs had 1.5 times the risk of having a baby with gastroschisis compared to women who were not exposed at work.

Babies of older women may have an elevated risk because their mothers have been exposed to PAHs for a longer time, they say.

Source: Environmental Health News

Air cleaners for a chemical-free environment

Many workplaces can expose workers to chemicals – even offices are known to suffer from bad air quality due to printer ink chemicals, building materials, electronic equipment and other sources of volatile organic compounds and toxins.

An industrial-strength air cleaner with activated carbon and HEPA provides the most complete filtration system to address the wide range of contaminants we breathe in everyday.

Electrocorp has developed air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can remove airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and odors as well as particles, dust and biological contaminants.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and suggestions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Manufacturers to pay out millions for trailer fumes

Class-action plaintiffs were exposed to high levels
of formaldehyde from pressed wood products.
It was supposed to be a relief effort – but the trailer homes made available to hurricane Katrina and Rita victims turned out to release harmful chemical fumes.

Government tests on hundreds of trailers found formaldehyde levels that were, on average, five times higher than what people are exposed to in most modern homes.

Formaldehyde, used to manufacture many building materials, can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. High exposure levels may also cause cancer.

A class-action settlement is asking about two dozen companies to pay a total of $37.5 million to resolve claims.

Four large manufacturers - Gulf Stream Coach Inc., Forest River Inc., Jayco Inc. and Monaco Coach Corp. – already agreed to pay about $22.7 million of the total amount.

The money will be distributed among 60,000 plaintiffs from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi, if they qualify.

The trailers were made with a lot of pressed wood products (particleboard and plywood), which were the main source of the indoor air pollution. The temporary homes also did not provide adequate ventilation, the lawsuit claimed.

A previous CDC study showed average formaldehyde levels in trailers and mobile homes was about 77 parts per billion -- high enough to raise the odds of cancer and respiratory diseases.

Source: Star-Telegram

Air cleaners to remove formaldehyde and other chemicals

Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can affect people’s health and well-being, but many workers and homeowners are still exposed to high levels of fumes.

A portable air cleaner with a deep-bed activated carbon (activated charcoal) filter can help remove those airborne chemicals and odors.

Electrocorp has designed a wide range of units and sizes provide the most fitting solution for virtually any indoor air quality concern.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Workplace exposure to solvents can affect thinking skills: Study

Less educated people may have cognitive problems later in life after working with solvents
More education may protect workers from the effects of
exposure to solvents and other chemicals over a lifetime.

Researchers found that people with less than a high school education may be affected by reduced thinking skills later in life if they have been exposed to solvents at work.

However, the same amount of exposure did not affect the thinking skills of people who have completed more education.

More education earlier in life may help build up a buffer for cognitive skills, the researchers theorize, building up a denser network of connections in the brain.

The study included more than 4,000 workers who were employed at the French national gas and electric company for most of their careers.

The researchers assessed their lifetime exposure to four types of solvents:
  1. Chlorinated solvents
  2. Petroleum solvents
  3. Benzene
  4. Non-benzene aromatic solvents

The participants’ thinking skills were tested when they were 59 years old. A total of 58 percent of the workers had less than a high school education, and 32 percent had cognitive impairment (problems with thinking skills), compared to 16 percent of workers with higher levels of education.

Non-benzene aromatic solvents showed the highest risk of cognitive problems, followed by benzene solvents and then chlorinated and petroleum solvents.

The study authors say that education earlier in life could serve as a protective shield against a variety of known and unknown exposures during a lifetime.

The study is published in the May 29, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Air cleaners for airborne chemicals and VOCs

Solvents are a major source of exposure to chemicals and VOCs for workers that inhale them on a regular basis.

Along with other health and safety measures, a portable air cleaner with many pounds of the right type of activated carbon can help remove those airborne gases and chemicals and provide cleaner and healthier air.

Electrocorp manufactures highly efficient air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that feature some of the largest adsorbent surface areas and longest lasting carbon filters.

Contact an Electrocorp air filtration expert for more information.