Friday, August 30, 2013

Environment Canada to assess risk of new chemicals

Agency will publish summaries of risk assessments for new chemical substances

New chemicals may pose health and safety risks to consumers.
Environment Canada this fall will begin publishing summaries of risk assessments it conducts on certain chemical substances when they are first proposed for domestic use.

The initiative by the department's New Substances Program has the support of industry and nongovernmental organizations, but industry remains concerned about the potential release of confidential business information while NGOs have ongoing concerns about whether enough information will be released.

The publication of risk assessment summaries is part of an effort to improve the transparency of the department's review process for new chemicals.

It was supposed to start in late 2012 but was delayed to take into account issues raised in a 2012 pilot project, the department told BNA in an emailed statement. The summaries are to be published every six months.

The government has previously not made public any details of its risk assessments of new substances. It has issued notices requiring notification of significant new activity or imposing conditions on the use of new substances, but without identifying them as new substances or indicating on what basis the requirements were being applied.

Government to provide details

The 2012 pilot project conducted by Environment Canada and Health Canada under the New Substances Program published summaries of risk assessments of three new chemicals: carbopolycyclic diol polymer with carbonic dichloride and substituted phenol ester; alkoxy-alkylamine blocked aromatic isocyanate polymer; and poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), alpha-monoalkyl ethers- omega-mono-(hydrogen maleate).

The substances had risk assessments completed, final notification of results provided to industry, and requirements for notification to the government of significant new activities published in the Canada Gazette between August and December 2010, Environment Canada said in a background document.

The summaries provide an overview of each substance, its use, hazards, potential exposure, environmental fate, assessment of ecological risk and human health risk, and proposed regulatory decisions, the department said. The evaluations do not address potential exposure and health risks specifically associated with occupational exposure, nor any assessment of uses of the substance already addressed under the Food and Drugs Act or other federal legislation, the department said.

The Canadian government has been assessing new chemicals since 1994, requiring industry to provide the information needed to determine the risk the substances pose to the environment and human health.

The Environment Canada background document, including links to the three sample risk assessment summaries published in 2012, is available at

This article has been edited. Source: Bloomberg BNA

Concerned about airborne chemicals and fumes? Electrocorp offers industrial air cleaners for businesses and offices. Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to school with clean air? Schools plagued by poor IAQ

Air quality issues at two Darlington County, SC, schools

School-aged children may be affected by
poor indoor air quality in the classroom.
Over the summer, Darlington High School has experienced mold issues in a handful of classrooms, according to a press release made public by the school.

The classrooms were cleaned and treated per regular corrective maintenance procedures.

However, the high level of rainfall this summer aggravated the existing situation, causing the old problems to reoccur and additional classrooms to be impacted. In all, seven classrooms at Darlington High are affected, the press release says.

A firm specializing in environmental testing and treatment was scheduled to conduct air quality and other tests in the identified classrooms, as well as throughout the school.

Meanwhile, the school district, in consultation with the industrial hygiene experts, has begun cleaning the classrooms with specially recommended products, removing the carpet, and installing and running industrial dehumidifiers.

As a precaution, the teachers and classes that meet in the seven classrooms will be moved to other locations on the school's campus. The classrooms will not be accessible to students or teachers until the rooms have been appropriately cleared and further testing indicates the problem is resolved.

An unusual odor in a classroom at the Darlington Adult Education Building in the B.A. Gary Complex has prompted district officials, in an abundance of caution, to conduct indoor air quality tests on that classroom and inspect the rest of the building as well. The room has been closed off to staff and students.

Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold, according to Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, on Asthma attacks may be caused by mold or mold spores in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in nonallergic individuals, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, and airways.

Parents with concerns are encouraged to call the school's principal or the district office at 843-398-5100.

Source: WBTWNews13

Provide cleaner air in schools 

Electrocorp's RAP series features the carbon
wall, HEPA, pre-filters and UV for mold.
Electrocorp offers high-quality air purifiers for schools and learning institutions that feature the right air filter combination to combat mold, dust, particles, chemicals and odors.

The air cleaners can be easily moved from one room to the next, or they can be installed on the wall or behind the ceiling, as part of the duct system.

Electrocorp has helped schools across North America provide cleaner and healthier air in schools.

Contact an Electrocorp IAQ expert for more information.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dye fumes affects worker in silk company

Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company fined over safety breaches

Dying silk comes with the risks of inhaling fumes
and contracting respiratory illness, officials say.
A textile company has been fined £20,000 for "serious safety failings" after a chemical exposure left a worker in Suffolk with breathing problems, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said in a BBC article.

The 57-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was employed as a dye house manager from 1993 to 2012 at the Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company Ltd in Sudbury.

The HSE found the company had failed to assess the risks from "hazardous" dyes and said that workers had "a significant risk of contracting respiratory illnesses."

Gainsborough admitted five breaches of health and safety regulations. It was also ordered to pay £10,000 towards costs over three years.

The man had been suffering from chronic breathing difficulties since 2008 and had been hospitalized a few times as a result.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the man's symptoms had "improved markedly" after he left the company and stopped working with chemicals.

Dangers well known in industry

The HSE told the court the company had failed to assess the health risks arising from working with hazardous reactive dyes, despite the dangers of respiratory damage being well known in the industry.

The court also heard the firm "had failed to provide their staff with adequate training or equipment to safeguard their health when working with the substances".

A health surveillance program for the firm's workforce was stopped in 2004. The program could have helped to prevent the worker's long period of ill health, according to the HSE.

HSE inspector Martin Kneebone said the textile company "should have installed suitable ventilation equipment for weighing and mixing the dyes. They should also have provided proper information, instruction, training and health surveillance for their employees.

"The lack of these left workers at a significant risk of contracting respiratory illnesses by their exposure to these chemicals."

This article has been edited. Source: BBC News

Electrocorp offers air purification equipment for companies and businesses dealing with chemicals, vapors, fumes and odors. The air purifiers feature carbon walls and HEPA filters to provide cleaner and healthier air. Options include direct intake hoods, refillable carbon filters, specialized carbon blends and more. Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Study: Smoke-free laws do not hurt business

Anti-smoking laws protect workers and customers alike without adverse economic impact

Smoking bans may even have a positive
impact on businesses, data shows.
A large study on the economic impact of smoke-free laws, published in the scientific journal Preventing Chronic Disease, provides new evidence that such laws do not harm the restaurant and bar industry, even in regions with high smoking rates.

These findings came to light just weeks after the Township Liquor Industry Association (TOLIA) denounced new regulations that is expected to come into effect later this year that will ban smoking even in outside smoking areas, claiming that it will be detrimental to their businesses.

However, anti-tobacco groups claim that the tobacco and hospitality industries have used the same excuse when other smoking regulations were introduced, but it has never realized.

“The evidence is clear that smoke-free laws protect workers and customers alike from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke without harming business,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The new study analysed economic data from 216 smoke-free cities and counties across nine US states.

The study found that smoke-free laws did not have an adverse economic impact on restaurants or bars in any of the states studied. In one state, West Virginia, the local smoke-free laws were actually associated with a small increase in restaurant employment.

The new study’s findings are consistent with those of other studies, all of which show that smoke-free laws at worst have a neutral impact on the restaurant and bar business and may even have a positive impact.

“These findings highlight why the public, policy makers and media need to be leery of adverse economic claims made by opponents of smoke-free laws. These claims are discredited time and again by impartial economic data,” said Myers.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults and respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks in infants and children.

The study was conducted by RTI International and supported by the CDC Foundation.

Source: The South African Health News Service

Invite cleaner air to no-smoking establishments

Activated carbon and HEPA filters will remove
chemicals, odors and particles left behind by smoke.
Businesses that previously allowed smoking on their premises will have to make some changes once smoking bans come into effect.

Lingering tobacco odors may be noticeable, as the carcinogenic chemicals and smoke particles are known to stay behind for a long time.

Electrocorp offers business owners proficient air purifiers for large and small spaces, which feature the most comprehensive air filter systems available.

In order to deal with the effects of tobacco smoke, an air purifier needs a medical-grade HEPA filter and a deep-bed activated carbon filter to remove both particles and chemicals.

Please see Electrocorp's air purifiers for the hospitality industry, and contact Electrocorp for more information.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Building news: Gypsum walls lets in carbon monoxide

Puts multifamily dwellings at risk for CO poisoning

Symptoms of mild acute CO poisoning
include lightheadedness, confusion,
headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects;
larger exposures can lead to death.
"Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a significant U.S. health problem, responsible for approximately 500 accidental deaths annually, and a risk of 18 percent to 35 percent for cognitive brain injury 1 year after poisoning. Most morbidity and mortality from CO poisoning is believed to be preventable through public education and CO alarm use. States have been enacting legislation mandating residential CO alarm installation.

"However, as of December 2012, 10 of the 25 states with statutes mandating CO alarms exempted homes without fuel-burning appliances or attached garages, believing that without an internal CO source, risk is eliminated. This may not be true if CO diffuses directly through wall-board material," write Neil B. Hampson, M.D., of Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, and colleagues.

As reported in a Research Letter, a Plexiglas chamber divided by various configurations of gypsum wallboard was used to determine whether CO diffuses across drywall. Wallboard of various thickness levels were tested.

Carbon monoxide test gas was infused into the chamber and then CO concentrations were measured once per minute in each chamber for 24 hours.

The authors sought to determine how rapidly a concentration of CO toxic to humans would be reached in the non-infused chamber and whether diffusion would then continue.

The researchers found that carbon monoxide diffused across single-layer gypsum wallboard of 2 thicknesses, double-layer wallboard, and painted double-layer wallboard.

"Gypsum's permeability to CO is due to its porosity. … The ability of CO to diffuse across gypsum wallboard may explain at least some instances of CO poisoning in contiguous residences. Exempting residences without internal CO sources from the legislation mandating CO alarms may put people in multifamily dwellings at risk for unintentional CO poisoning."

Source: The JAMA Network Journals (EurekAlert!)

Carbon Monoxide is only one of many air pollutants that can affect builders and occupants. Adequate ventilation, healthy building materials and the right air purification system can help alleviate the risks. For more information, contact Electrocorp.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fragrance company claims to be committed to health and safety measures

The fragrance manufacturing company
promised to have odor controls in place.
A Japanese fragrance manufacturer plans to relocate operations from New Jersey to Harriman, officials say.

The international fragrance manufacturing company will spend $10 million dollars to renovate the 130,000-square-foot former Manhattan Beer site, which will employ 80 workers.

The company plans to open in stages and to be fully operational by the end of this year.

Concerns over possible odor problems in Harriman, which used to have some problems with chemical companies and the sewer district plant, have been met with assurances that odor controls will be in place.

Takasago International Corporation was founded in in Japan in 1920, and has developed flavors and fragrances for some of the world’s most successful food, beverage, fine fragrance, household and personal care products, according to the company’s Web site. It operates in 24 countries and has more than 3,000 employees worldwide.

Source: The Photo News

Control odors with activated carbon air cleaners

Air purification systems with granular activated carbon can help remove irritating odors, chemicals and fumes from the air.

Electrocorp's line of air purification systems for industrial applications is equipped to handle different kinds of air contaminants and provide cleaner air.

Beside activated carbon, the air cleaning units feature HEPA particle filters and other technologies such as UV germicidal filtration.

For more information about air cleaners for chemical processing plants or a consultation with an IAQ expert, contact Electrocorp.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Traffic pollution increases asthma in adults

Living or working
near heavy traffic
affects well-being,
researchers found.
Asthma sufferers frequently exposed to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fire heaters, experienced a significant worsening of symptoms, a new University of Melbourne led study has found.

The study is the first of its kind to assess the impact of traffic pollution and wood smoke from heaters on middle-aged adults with asthma.

The results revealed adults who suffer asthma and were exposed to heavy traffic pollution experienced an 80 per cent increase in symptoms and those exposed to wood smoke from wood fire heaters experienced an 11 per cent increase in symptoms.

Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is one of the most chronic health conditions.

Dr John Burgess of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne and a co-author on the study said "it is now recommended that adults who suffer asthma should not live on busy roads and that the use of old wood heaters should be upgraded to newer heaters, to ensure their health does not worsen."

In the study, a cohort of 1383 44-year old adults in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study were surveyed for their exposure to smoke from wood fires and traffic pollution. Participants were asked to rate their exposure.

The survey asked for exposure to the frequency of heavy traffic vehicles near homes and the levels of ambient wood smoke in winter.

Results were based on the self-reporting of symptoms and the number of flare-ups or exacerbations in a 12-month period. Participants reported from between two to three flare-ups (called intermittent asthma) to more than one flare-up per week (severe persistent asthma) over the same time.

Heavy vehicle exhaust linked to health effects

Traffic exhaust is thought to exacerbate asthma through airway inflammation. Particles from heavy vehicles exhaust have been shown to enhance allergic inflammatory responses in sensitized people who suffer asthma.

"Our study also revealed a connection between the inhalation of wood smoke exposure and asthma severity and that the use of wood for heating is detrimental to health in communities such as Tasmania where use of wood burning is common," Dr Burgess said.

"Clean burning practices and the replacement of old polluting wood stoves by new ones are likely to minimize both indoor and outdoor wood smoke pollution and improve people's health," he said.

"These findings may have particular importance in developing countries where wood smoke exposure is likely to be high in rural communities due to the use of wood for heating and cooking, and the intensity of air pollution from vehicular traffic in larger cities is significant."

The study revealed no association between traffic pollution and wood smoke and the onset of asthma.

It was published in the journal Respirology.

Source: University of Melbourne; EurekAlert!

Keep traffic fumes out at work

Portable air purifiers provide cleaner
air at work and at home.
Many workplaces are situated close to major traffic areas, highways and industrial parks, where the outdoor air may be polluted and seep into the work space.

Electrocorp's air purifiers for the office and other air purification systems for a wide range of industrial uses feature the most efficient and long-lasting air filters to remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust and biological contaminants.

Cleaner air has been linked to fewer employee absences, fewer health and safety claims and increased morale.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and materials.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Police constable sues force after inhaling cannabis fumes

Fumes from drying marijuana plants made her ill, a woman
police constable claimed.
A woman police constable cleaning up a cannabis factory claimed the fumes made her ill and caused her to injure herself on the job.

The policewoman sued the Hampshire Police Force and won nearly £5,000 after cutting her thumb when she tried to open a window.

She said the force breached its duty as an employer by exposing her to cannabis fumes and failing to provide protective equipment, especially thick gloves.

The police constable was cleaning out a property used to grow marijuana plants, and the policewoman's lawyer argued that the flat was dangerous and featured foreseeable risk of injury.

The constables were only given thin latex gloves and the property suffered from limited ventilation, he said.

The police force contested the ruling, saying that the police constable's job was pulling out cannabis plants. Thick gloves did not seem necessary, as there were no sharp edges involved.

Source: Daily Mail UK

Protect police force from dangerous fumes

Working as a police officer comes with many risks, but the police force can take measures to reduce these risks, especially when it comes to the inhalation of risky fumes and odors on the job.

Electrocorp has provided police stations across North America with high-quality air purifiers to provide cleaner, more breathable air when needed.

The air cleaners feature a thick carbon wall to remove airborne chemicals, gases and fumes as well as odors, a medical-grade HEPA filter for the abatement of particles and biological contaminants and optional UV light to neutralize bacteria, viruses and mold (including aspergillus mold).

Electrocorp offers a variety of units for spaces of all sizes. The portable air purifiers can also easily accompany police officers on the road to provide cleaner air in spaces that are under investigation or need clearing out.

For more information, contact Electrocorp and speak to an IAQ expert.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mold health effects spur complaints by ex-sheriff's worker

Regular exposure to mold and mold spores has been linked to
adverse health effects such as respiratory disease and headaches.
Working in a sheriff's office should be safe, but one former worker has filed a complaint, saying she was unjustly fired after experiencing health effects from mold poisoning.

The former clerk in the Lee County Sheriff's Office was fired for using more sick days than she had accrued.

The former clerk, who had worked in the office for seven years, said she suffered from COPD, (a chronic lung disease), anxiety, panic attacks, headaches and back pain after being exposed to mold. She filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accusing the sheriff’s office of disability discrimination and retaliation, saying they fired her instead of dealing with the problem.

She plans to sue the sheriff's office over her medical problems.

The office has since been closed for mold remediation, after the air was tested by trained staff, and renovations are supposed to begin.

Mold - a serious exposure risk

Regular exposure to mold spores has been linked to respiratory disorders such as asthma and COPD as well as neurological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, aggression, short-term memory issues and blurred vision.

Those affected have reported headaches, rapid heart beat, chronic fatigue, pain and other health effects.

Seek medial treatment if you experience any of these symptoms. Mold health effects are often misdiagnosed.

Source: The News-Press

Keep the air clean in law enforcement offices

RAP air cleaners
Electrocorp is a leading distributor of indoor air quality solutions for law enforcement, providing air cleaners with activated carbon, HEPA and UV to remove airborne chemicals, particles, mold, bacteria, viruses, odors, fumes, dust and other contaminants.

Air cleaners such as the RAP Series, I-6500 Series and the AirMedic Series have been used in law enforcement offices and storage areas.

For more information, contact Electrocorp today.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cleaner air a must to stop China tourism losses

Hotels and other providers of room and board accommodations need to take measures for cleaner indoor air

Activated carbon in air purifiers
can help remove fumes, gases,
chemicals, odors and more.
China has always been a major draw for tourists, but an ever growing problem of smog and poor air quality has caused a huge drop of visitors this year.

In January, China experienced extreme levels of smog, which were reported worldwide. Since then, the numbers of overseas visitors have declined and many long-term foreign residents have decided to leave the country.

China is the world's third most popular destination for international travel after France and the United States.

The decline could be long-term if Beijing fails to make visible progress in dealing with pollution, experts say.

An analysis of U.S. Embassy readings of smaller, more harmful airborne particles, show this year's pollution is significantly worse than in the past three years.

The Chinese government has announced ambitious anti-pollution measures but people whose jobs depend on foreign tourists aren't hopeful.

Source: The Telegraph

Cleaner air in hotels and other accommodations 

Visiting a country that suffers from high levels of air pollution is hard enough, but the thought of sleeping in a room with the same levels of poor indoor air quality might turn potential visitors away.

The tourism industry can respond by cutting prices - or by offering cleaner and healthier air inside their buildings.

In order to tackle the fumes, chemicals and particles inherent in city smog, an air purifier for smog not only needs a HEPA filter for particles and dust, but also a comprehensive activated carbon filter to remove chemicals, gases and fumes.

Electrocorp has worked with environmental consultants, the hospitality industry and many other professionals to provide cleaner indoor air. For hotel rooms and the hospitality industry, Electrocorp recommends air purification systems such as
Electrocorp's 9000 Series air purifier
is a versatile unit with carbon and HEPA. 

9000 Series - This air purifier offers a 15-60 pound activated carbon filter and medical grade HEPA filter and a pre-filter to prolong the main filters' life. The air purifiers can be mounted to the wall, attached to the ducts or used on the ground.

I-6500 Series for bigger spaces - The reception halls, lobbies, hallways, dining rooms and other larger spaces in hotels and vacation accommodations will benefit from clean air that has been filtered by activated carbon and HEPA.

RAP Series - Electrocorp's Radial Air Purifiers provide around the clock operation and a multi-stage filtration system to remove airborne chemicals, odors, particles and biological contaminants.

For more information and a consultation with an IAQ expert, contact Electrocorp by calling 1-866-667-0297 or by writing to

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fungal-infected prisons suffer from poor IAQ

Inmates and employees at prisons may develop health problems from poor indoor air quality

Prisoners and jail employees can be
affected by poor indoor air quality.
A deadly fungal infection known as valley fever is a concern in California, where the disease goes airborne in the rainy fall season.

Those susceptible to the disease will be affected by the spores that root in the soft tissue of the lungs.

In some California prisons, valley fever has prompted a judge to order many prisoners to be moved. The prisons are often located close to highways and other sources of poor indoor air quality.

But as California's prisons are overcrowded, there is no way to ensure all the susceptible prisoners be moved in time to avoid the deadly disease.

Source: East Bay Express

Improve indoor air quality with air purifiers

In prisons and holding cells, a portable air purification system can help remove airborne particles, chemicals, spores and other contaminants that may affect health and well-being.

Electrocorp's range of IAQ solutions include different air filters - HEPA and UV for biological contaminants, particles and dust, activated carbon for chemicals, odors and fumes - and can be modified according to need.

Contact an Electrocorp IAQ expert to find out more about industrial air cleaners for the police force and law enforcement.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Construction dust a big health and safety risk

Inhaling dust and particles at construction sites is a
major health and safety issue, officials say.
Construction workers that don't protect themselves from inhaling even small amounts of dust on the job could put their health at risk, health and safety officials say.

In Britain, about 500 workers die each year from conditions related to the inhalation of dusts from concrete, wood, sandstone, mortar and gypsum.

In order to reduce these numbers and improve the health and safety for construction workers, Britain's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers a free seminar on Sept. 20 on the dangers of construction dust and measures of protection.

The seminar is organized by the Working Well Together group and will take place in Coalville, Leicestershire, to increase awareness among managers and supervisors about health effects associated with dusts.

Dust inhalation linked to ill health

One major health effect is the possible development of silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by breathing in silica dust.

Silica is a common, naturally-occurring crystal and it is present in many construction materials.

Intense exposure can lead to health problems right away, but typically, health effects only emerge after 10 to 15 years of regular exposure.

"Construction dust is not just a nuisance, it is a serious risk to workers' health," said Chris Lucas of HSE’s Health Risk Management Unit in a news article about the seminar. He'll be speaking during the seminar. 

"Regularly breathing in even small amounts of dust over a long time can cause life-changing and life-threatening lung diseases, including cancer," he added. "Common jobs like cutting or grinding concrete, chasing out mortar, drilling in enclosed spaces or sanding wood can be high risk if not properly controlled." 

For a free information sheet, visit

Source: Occupational Health and Safety Online

Air purification systems for construction and renovation projects 

Apart from personal protective systems, a portable yet highly efficient air cleaner helps provide cleaner air at construction and renovation work sites.

Electrocorp's IAQ solutions for construction and renovation include:

Air Marshal Series 
Equipped with powerful activated carbon and HEPA filters, these portable air purifiers help control airborne dust, particles, chemicals and fumes. Variable speed controls, pressure light indicator, negative air ready and various options available for different construction sites or projects.
The AirRhino is a highly efficient and portable air
cleaner for construction and renovation projects
as well as other industrial applications.

AirRhino Series 
Job site employees and building occupants alike will breathe cleaner and healthier air with an AirRhino air purification unit on site. The AirRhino can easily go from a dust and particle filtration system to a chemical, gas and odor abatement unit or a combination of both. Various filter options available.

5000 Series 
For smaller areas and renovation jobs, Electrocorp offers the 5000 Series air purifiers with HEPA and activated carbon filters for the abatement of dusts, particles, odors, chemicals and fumes.

For more information or a consultation with an IAQ expert, contact Electrocorp at 1-866-667-0297 or write to

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Health club fumes an occupational hazard

A recent chemical fumes leak in a health club in South Wales serves as a reminder about how important clean air is in a work environment.

In the incident last Sunday, more than 25 fire and rescue service officers were dispatched to the men-only Greenhouse Health Club in Newport just after 9 pm, when a chemical leak was reported in.

An explosion in the club's pump room is being blamed. The chemicals stored in the room include hazardous substances used for sauna and pool maintenance.
Indoor swimming pool and hot tub maintenance
often involves the use of harsh chemicals.

Due to the explosion, a small amount of bromine was released, a chemical that is used to sterilize hot tubs, for example.

One person was treated and taken to the hospital after inhaling the chemical fumes.

There were eight clients in the club at the time.

The fire and rescue service officers secured the site and evacuated all guests, wearing chemical suits and breathing apparatus. The incident took almost five hours to resolve.

Source: BBC News

Air purification systems for health clubs and spas

RAP series air purifiers feature
activated carbon and HEPA filters.
Health club and spa employees who regularly handle or use chemicals and hazardous substances may be inhaling fumes that can affect their health.

Proper handling techniques and personal protective equipment are a must, but a portable and efficient air purification system can easily provide healthier air for employees and guests.

The air handler should feature activated carbon and HEPA filters as well as a UV filter to remove odors, fumes, gases, chemicals, dust, particles, viruses, bacteria and mold.

Electrocorp offers a wide range of air purifiers for health clubs, spas and beauty establishments. Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Monday, August 12, 2013

JFK Airport facility evacuated after nail polish remover mistaken for nerve gas

The postal facility at John F. Kennedy airport in New York was sealed off and evacuated yesterday after a chemical sickened two workers who were inspecting packages.

Authorities were on high alert after initial tests indicated the presence of the nerve agent VX which kills through inhalation or skin contact and is used as a chemical weapon. However further tests showed the substance was actually nail police remover.

“The package in question was determined to be beauty supplies and nothing further,” spokesman J. Peter Donald said. “The scene has been cleared by FBI personnel.”

The chemical makeup of the nail-polish remover is apparently close enough to the compounds in VX to trigger the false positive results.

Remove airborne chemicals with an affordable industrial air cleaner from Electrocorp. We carry exclusive units for nail salons and spas featuring special blends of activated carbon to remove caustic chemicals and fumes. Contact an Electrocorp Air Quality Expert to learn more at 1-866-667-0297. Leasing options available.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Toyota, China University jointly studying air pollutants

Source: The Japan Times

The Toyota Motor Corp. and China’s Tsinghua University are conducting joint research on fine particle pollution. The research is focusing dangerous particulates with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns that are causing serious air pollution and health problems in China.

Toyota and Beijing-based Tsinghua, one of the most renowned Chinese universities in engineering and technology education, intend to complete the research by March 2015, the officials said, adding that some interim results may be released earlier.

Under the project, Toyota, known for its hybrid vehicle technology, is providing data related to exhaust emissions and other information on automotive technology to Tsinghua. Based on the automaker’s data, Tsinghua is trying to discover the generating mechanism of PM2.5 particulates, the main cause of air pollution in China, according to the officials.

In 2009, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest auto market. As demand for cars and trucks is expected to expand for some time in China, particularly in inland areas, reducing exhaust emissions has become increasingly urgent.

Cleaner indoor air is associated with an increase in productivity and job satisfaction. Contact an Electrocorp Air Quality Expert to learn more about our industrial air cleaners for fine particulate and industrial chemicals and odors.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Study: How online ratings affect consumer judgment

Photo: admire/
A new study co-authored by an MIT professor suggests that many people are heavily influenced by the positive opinions other people express online — but are much less swayed by negative opinions posted in the same venues. Certain topics, including politics, see much more of this "herding" effect than others.

The results, published in the journal Science, detail a five-month experiment conducted on a major news-aggregation web site. The research group systematically altered the favorability ratings given to certain comments on the site, to see how perceptions of favorability affected people's judgment about those comments. They found that comments whose ratings were manipulated in a favorable direction saw their popularity snowball, receiving a 25 percent higher average rating from other site users.

"This herding behavior happens systematically on positive signals of quality and ratings," says Sinan Aral, an associate professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and one of three authors of the study. At the same time, Aral notes, the results "were asymmetric between positive and negative herding." Comments given negative ratings attracted more negative judgments, but that increase was drowned out by what the researchers call a "correction effect" of additional positive responses.

"People are more skeptical of negative social influence," Aral says. "They're more likely to 'correct' a negative vote and give it a positive vote."

While this phenomenon of social positivity sounds pleasant enough on the surface, Aral warns that there are pitfalls to it, such as the manipulation of online ratings by some political operatives, marketers or anyone who stands to profit by creating an exaggerated appearance of popularity.

"These positive ratings also represent bias and inflation," Aral says. "The housing bubble was a spread of positivity, but when it burst, some people lost their savings and their houses went underwater. Stock bubbles represent a positive herding, and they can be dramatically bad in the wrong context."

Still, the experiment also revealed topical limitations in herding: Stories under the rubrics of "politics," "culture and society" and "business" generated positive herding, but stories posted under the topics of "economics," "IT," "fun" and "general news" did not.

Looking for more positive ratings from your employees? Cleaner indoor air is associated with an increase in productivity and job satisfaction. Contact an Electrocorp Air Quality Expert to learn more about our industrial air cleaners.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hidden office dangers: Poor IAQ

Office buildings can suffer from
poor indoor air quality.
Most people tend to feel safe in a full-time office job, since working at a computer or a phone doesn't exactly meet the requirements of a dangerous occupation. But studies show that working at an office can be more hazardous to health than previously known.

Not only can sitting for long hours affect workers’ health, the air they breathe is also a cause for concern. According to the EPA, “poor indoor air is estimated to cost the nation (USA) tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and countless hours of illness and discomfort.”

The air in offices can suffer from increased levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bacteria, particles, mold, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, radon and formaldehyde, among others.

All of these contaminants have been linked to temporary as well as possible long-term health problems among office workers. Discomfort and illnesses contribute to productivity issues and absences.

Possible causes of poor indoor air at the office

Poor indoor air quality can have many reasons, and many cases may require a specialist assessment. High levels of chemicals, particles and odor-causing contaminants in the office can be caused by insufficient air circulation, printer fumes, cleaning and cosmetic products, new building and construction materials, and more.

In case of water damage, office workers may be exposed to mold and mold spores. Long-term exposure has been linked to respiratory diseases and other concerns. Some workers may be more sensitive to poor indoor air quality than others, but office management can help boost productivity and morale by taking a proactive approach to indoor air quality at the office.

Prevention is the best solution for IAQ

In offices, an assessment of IAQ problems and possible solutions can go a long way. Identifying and minimizing pollution sources and using reliable air filtration systems can help provide cleaner air instantly.

For the best overall protection, an air purification unit for the office should feature a multi-filtration system that includes activated carbon and HEPA to remove chemicals and odors, VOCs, fumes, particles and biological contaminants such as mold and bacteria.

Contact an Electrocorp Air Quality Expert to learn more about industrial air cleaners and specialized IAQ solutions for the office.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OSHA fines Spectrum Machine $188,300 for exposing workers to lead hazards

RAVENNA, Ohio – Spectrum Machine Inc. has been cited with 13 health violations, carrying proposed penalties of $188,300, after a January inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found workers were exposed to lead and copper fumes above the permissible limits. Three willful violations involve the company's failure to monitor and train workers on lead hazards and develop a hazard communication program.

"Failing to monitor worker exposure to airborne metal particles can result in severe illness," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "By failing to develop a lead protection and hazard communication program, Spectrum Machine has demonstrated a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

Spectrum Machine was cited for three willful safety violations for failing to conduct initial monitoring of workers exposed to lead and failing to provide training regarding the potential health hazards and necessary precautions to prevent lead exposure. The company was also cited for failing to develop a hazard communication program. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

A total of 10 serious safety violations cited include failing to develop a noise monitoring and lockout/tagout program to prevent the unintentional operation of machinery, provide fire extinguisher training and prevent worker exposure to airborne concentrations of both copper fumes and lead in excess of permissible exposure limits.

The other five serious violations involve OSHA's respiratory protection standards. These include failing to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program, train workers on the program, prevent the use of respirators with an inadequate protection factor and ensure the proper wear of respirators. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA has placed Spectrum Machine in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

The current citations may be viewed at*

Spectrum Machine manufactures industrial bearing parts and operates two facilities in Ohio. It employs about 50 workers. The company was previously cited in 2006 at its Streetboro facility for 13 violations, including allowing worker exposure to lead in excess of the permissible exposure limit.
Reduce liability and improve job satisfaction by improving workplace air quality. Contact an industrial air quality expert at 1-866-667-0297 for a free quote.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chemical Exposure: Workers engaged in degreasing, adhesive spray applications, dry cleaning at risk

OSHA, NIOSH issue hazard alert for 1-bromopropane

Workers engaged in degreasing operations, adhesive spray applications, dry cleaning, and other activities are at risk of exposure to 1-bromopropane (1-BP), a chemical with a wide range of adverse health effects. That’s the gist of a recent hazard alert issued by OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which urges employers to take steps to protect workers from the hazards of this dangerous chemical.
OSHA does not currently have a standard for 1-BP, and the chemical is not included in its list of substances with permissible exposure limits (PELs). However, Cal/OSHA has recognized the hazards associated with 1-BP, and, as a result, California has adopted a time-weighted-average PEL of 5 parts per million. NIOSH is currently developing a recommended exposure level (REL).

Exposure to 1-BP, also known as n-propyl bromide (nPB), can cause a range of symptoms, including irritation of the eyes, mucous membranes, upper airways, and skin, and neurological damage, which can include dizziness, headaches, confusion, loss of consciousness, difficulty walking, loss of feeling in arms and/or legs, and slurred speech. In addition, research suggests that 1-BP may be a human carcinogen. Workers can be exposed by inhaling the chemical in airborne form or through skin contact, and symptoms can persist even after exposure has ended.

OSHA and NIOSH recommend replacing 1-BP used in the workplace with a less toxic chemical, such as an acetone- or water-based adhesive. The hazard alert cautions, however, that replacement chemicals may also have associated hazards that should be assessed and controlled.

If discontinuing the use of 1-BP is not feasible, the following controls should be used to reduce the hazard level:
  • Isolating processes or machinery that use 1-BP;
  • Ensuring that proper ventilation is in place and in good working condition;
  • Reducing the amount of time that workers are exposed to 1-BP;
  • Keeping containers of 1-BP closed between uses;
  • Purchasing, using, and storing the smallest amount of 1-BP possible;
  • Providing air-purifying or supplied-air respirators with the appropriate assigned protection factor; and
  • Providing chemical-protective gloves, arm sleeves, aprons, and other clothing, as necessary
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Long term night shifts linked to doubling of breast cancer risk

Working night shifts for 30 or more years doubles the risk of developing breast cancer, and is not confined to nurses as previous research has indicated, finds a study published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Shift work has been suggested as a risk factor for breast cancer, but there has been some doubt about the strength of the findings, largely because of issues around the assessment of exposure and the failure to capture the diversity of shift work patterns. Several previous studies have also been confined to nurses rather than the general population.

In this study, the researchers assessed whether night shifts were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer among 1134 women with breast cancer and 1179 women without the disease, but of the same age, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Kingston, Ontario.

The women, who had done various different jobs, were asked about their shift work patterns over their entire work history; hospital records were used to determine tumour type.

This may be important, say the authors, because risk factors vary according to hormone sensitivity, and the sleep hormone melatonin, disruption to which has been implicated in higher breast cancer risk among night shift workers, may boost oestrogen production.

Around one in three women in both groups had worked night shifts. There was no evidence that those who had worked nights for up to 14 years or between 15 and 29 years had any increased risk of developing breast cancer.

But those who had worked nights for 30 or more years were twice as likely to have developed the disease, after taking account of potentially influential factors, although the numbers in this group were comparatively small.

The associations were similar among those who worked in healthcare and those who did not. Risk was also higher among those whose tumours were sensitive to oestrogen and progesterone.

The suggested link between breast cancer and shift work has been put down to melatonin, but sleep disturbances, upset body rhythms, vitamin D or lifestyle differences may also play their part, say the authors.

“As shift work is necessary for many occupations, understanding which specific shift patterns increase breast cancer risk, and how night shift work influences the pathway to breast cancer, is needed for the development of healthy workplace policy,” conclude the authors.

Cleaner indoor air is associated with an increase in productivity and a reduction in absenteeism. Contact an Electrocorp Air Quality Expert to learn more about our industrial air cleaners 1-866-667-0297.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Respirators Are Not Enough: Worker Exposure to Silica in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Some workers are exposed to 10 times the recommended exposure limit for crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing operations.

( A new study, “Occupational Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing,” found respirable crystalline silica, a human lung carcinogen, to be an occupational exposure hazard for workers at hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. Researchers also found that the most commonly used type of respirator – the half-mask air-purifying respirator – might not provide enough protection for workers.

The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) August issue, is the first systematic investigation of worker exposure to crystalline silica during directional drilling and fracking operations, a process used to stimulate well production in the oil and gas industry.

Field researchers from the NIOSH Western States Office (WSO) and the Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART) collected 111 personal breathing zone samples at 11 sites in five states over a 15-month period to evaluate exposures to respirable crystalline silica during fracking operations.

“Certain work in this industry requires employees to be in areas where respirable silica levels may exceed defined occupational exposure limits like the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit or the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits [RELs],” said researcher Michael Breitenstein, who is with the NIOSH DART in Cincinnati. “However, our study found that in some cases, full shift personal breathing zone exposures exceeded 10 times the REL.”

Respirable silica is the portion of crystalline silica that is small enough to enter the gas-exchange regions of the lungs if inhaled and includes particles with aerodynamic diameters less than approximately 10 micrometers (μm). Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica are associated with the development of silicosis, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. These exposures also may be related to the development of autoimmune disorders, chronic renal disease and other adverse health effects.

“Although half-mask, air-purifying respirators are most commonly used at hydraulic fracturing sites, due to the magnitude of the silica concentrations measured, half-masks might not be sufficiently protective,” said researcher Eric J. Esswein, of the NIOSH WSO in Denver. “In some cases, silica concentrations exceeded the maximum use concentration for that type of respirator.”

According to NIOSH, the risks of silica exposures for workers exposed at or above the REL (0.05 mg/m3) may be minimized by substituting less hazardous materials and using engineering controls to limit exposures. In cases when engineering controls are not sufficient to keep exposures below the REL, NIOSH recommends using appropriate respiratory protection, and making medical examinations available to exposed workers.

For more information on managing workplace air quality and removing hazardous airborne particles and  chemicals contact and Electrocorp air quality expert at 1-866-667-0297.