Friday, October 31, 2014

Three schools closed due to asbestos scare

Airborne asbestos fibers are carcinogenic.
A beleaguered Huntington Beach school district has now closed three of its campuses because of an asbestos scare, leaving 1,300 students without a school to attend.

The three grade schools were closed when parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos while the Ocean View School District worked to modernize school sites.

Since then, hundreds of parents have been uncertain when and where their children would return to the classroom.

The school district is losing about $63,000 a day in state funds because students cannot attend class.

About 100 families have requested that their children be transferred to schools in other districts.

"There's no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore," said parent Lily Coffin, who said she hoped to move her son to the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

District trustees voted during a special meeting to close Lake View, Hope View and Oak View elementary schools, while classrooms were cleaned and tested to make sure they were free of potentially carcinogenic asbestos dust. Lake View was later closed indefinitely, and now the district has decided to keep the other two schools closed indefinitely as well.

"Recently, we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information," said Gustavo Balderas, Ocean View's superintendent.

While the district has determined it can move students from Lake View to other campuses in the district, it’s unclear what will happen with the 1,300 students from the other campuses.

Ocean View officials have said they were aware that asbestos has been in their schools for decades. However, parents became upset when they learned the district may have been removing the material as part of a large-scale modernization project while students were present.

Ongoing testing revealed there was asbestos in two classrooms at Lake View, while a single asbestos fiber was found in a classroom at Hope View. Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools in the district. The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer and the district.

Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not yet provide an estimate of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

The loss of state funds and the cost of asbestos removal could leave the district in financial trouble. Officials said they may end up asking the state to help with costs.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. The fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though coming into contact with asbestos that hasn't been disturbed isn't harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn't detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren't notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.

Source: LA Times

Concerned about asbestos and other IAQ hazards at your school? Electrocorp offers air cleaners for schools and universities as well as air cleaners for asbestos and mold remediation, which provide cleaner and more breathable air with a complete activated carbon and HEPA air filter system. Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Study to assess breast cancer risk for female firefighters

Firefighters are exposed to flame retardants,
diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals,
which may affect their health.
When firefighters rush out the firehouse doors, sirens screeching on the way to fight fires, they put their lives on the line in more ways than one.

In responding to roughly 28,000 fire calls a year, members of the San Francisco Fire Department are routinely exposed to flame retardants, diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals that seep out of raging infernos and work their way into the air.

A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that exposure increases firefighters’ risk of developing cancer. But until now, studies have focused on men.

That’s about to change. Members of the San Francisco Fire Department are working with researchers at UC Berkeley, UCSF and the Silent Spring Institute to find out whether exposure to toxic chemicals increases the risks of breast cancer in female firefighters.

The project, known as the Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative Study, has been under way for about a year.

“Since breast cancer is a cancer that more commonly affects women, and because of anecdotal evidence that the firefighters have been experiencing (many cases of breast cancer), we wanted to see if there was a link,” said Jessica Trowbridge, a UC Berkeley researcher who is coordinating the study.

Trowbridge and her colleagues are gathering blood and urine samples from about 160 women — 80 San Francisco firefighters and 80 city office workers who will serve as the control group — to use in measuring chemical, hormone and melatonin levels.

They will also measure the lengths of the women’s telomeres, caps on the ends of chromosomes that are associated with aging and cancer, also thought to be related to chemical exposure and working demanding night shifts.

Firefighters in general have higher rates of cancer, especially respiratory, digestive and urinary system varieties, a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study found.

That study included women, but there weren't enough of them to draw robust conclusions about their cancer risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With about 225 female firefighters, San Francisco is better equipped than most cities for a study like this: Women make up about 13 percent of its firefighting population, said Heather Buren, a lieutenant and paramedic with the fire department who is working on the study.

In 2011, less than 5 percent of firefighters nationwide were women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Researchers will also test for other chemicals that could contribute to higher rates of cancer in both groups of women, who are probably exposed to personal care and household products as well.

There has been a cultural shift with respect to chemical exposure. For one, firefighters now have better breathing masks, which they’re encouraged to wear for longer periods of time in toxic environments.

There are also rules prohibiting members of the department from storing their turnouts — the suits they wear to fight fires — in firehouse rooms where they eat and sleep.

The San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, which organizes screenings and promotes cancer prevention in the department, is partially responsible for those changes. It was formed in 2006 by Tony Stefani, a retired firefighter who himself fought cancer.

Researchers have nearly finished enrolling participants for the breast cancer study. They hope to have results published in two years. The women who participate in the study will be able to see their individual results when they are complete.

Source: San Francisco Gate. This article has been edited for length.

Are you regularly exposed to chemicals or other indoor air contaminants at your workplace? Longtime exposure may affect your health, well-being and productivity. Electrocorp's air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters help provide cleaner and more breathable air. Browse Electrocorp's industrial and commercial air cleaners or contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

List of cancer-causing chemicals grows

Many chemicals have been linked to
cancer, researchers say.
Four new substances have been added to a list of chemicals that may cause cancer compiled by the U.S. Department of Healthand Human Services (HHS).

The list of known carcinogens now includes a chemical called ortho-toluidine, which is used to make rubber chemicals, pesticides and dyes.

Recent research has linked the substance to bladder cancer in people.

Three other substances were added to a list of agents that are "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens."

These include a cleaning solvent called 1-bromopropane, a wood preservative mixture known as pentachlorophenol and cumene, which can be found in fuel products and even tobacco smoke.

"Identifying substances in our environment that can make people vulnerable to cancer will help in prevention efforts," Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement.

"This report provides a valuable resource for health regulatory and research agencies, and it empowers the public with information people can use to reduce exposure to cancer-causing substances."

Ortho-toluidine was originally classed as "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen in 1983. But HHS scientists re-evaluated the substance, looking at three studies of dye workers and two studies of rubber-chemical workers who were regularly exposed to ortho-toluidine.

They found enough evidence of a link between ortho-toluidine exposure and an increased risk of bladder cancer to call the chemical a known carcinogen, according to HHS. Rats also developed bladder tumors after they ingested ortho-toluidine.

Ortho-toluidine is no longer produced in the United States, but at least 1 million lbs. (450,000 kilograms) of the substance is imported into the country each year, according to HHS.

The people who have the greatest risk of exposure are employees who work in chemical plants where ortho-toluidine is used to make rubber chemicals, dyes and pesticides.

HHS officials said they didn't have enough evidence to definitively prove that exposure to the other three chemicals can cause human cancers. But these substances do cause rats and mice to develop tumors, according to the agency.

In experiments, rodents that inhaled fumes of 1-bromopropane — a colorless to light yellow liquid solvent — developed tumors in several organs, including their skin, lungs and large intestine.

The substance is used as a cleaner for optics, electronics and metals. It has also become popular in dry cleaning as a replacement for perchloroethylene, another chemical considered a health and environmental hazard.

Mice that inhaled cumene fumes developed lung tumors and liver tumors, according to HHS's review. The flammable liquid with a gasoline-like odor is found in coal tar and petroleum, as well as tobacco smoke. It is used primarily to make acetone and phenol.

Pentachlorophenol — a substance used to treat utility poles, wood pilings and fence posts — caused tumors in the liver and other organs of mice.

In small studies of humans, exposure to this compound was associated with an increased risk of the blood cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but the HHS said it considered the evidence too limited to call pentachlorophenol a known carcinogen.

The HHS's 13th Report on Carcinogens, which now includes 243 listings total, is available online:

Source: LiveScience

Are you working with or handling chemicals on a regular basis? Longterm exposure may be associated with a wide range of health problems. Electrocorp's commercial and industrial air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters can help remove dangerous chemicals, gases, fumes and particles. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EPA guide aims to improve indoor air quality in schools

Most schools suffer from indoor air quality problems, which can
affect student and staff health, well-being and productivity.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new guidance to help school districts protect indoor air quality while increasing energy efficiency during school renovations.

“This guidance provides common-sense solutions for improving energy efficiency and indoor air quality in schools across the country,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“By using these guidelines, school districts can cut their energy bills and help ensure that students have a healthy and safe learning environment.”

Both energy management and protection of indoor air quality (IAQ) are important considerations for school facility management during energy upgrades and retrofits, and schools can protect occupant health by addressing both goals holistically.

These renovation and construction activities can create dust, introduce new contaminants and contaminant pathways, create or aggravate moisture problems, and result in inadequate ventilation in occupied spaces.

EPA’s Energy Savings Plus Health: Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for School Building Upgrades offers opportunities to prevent and control potentially harmful conditions during school renovations.

The practices outlined in the new guidance support schools as healthy, energy-efficient buildings that play a significant role in local communities.

Nearly 55 million elementary and secondary students occupy our schools, as well as 7 million teachers, faculty and staff.

 In addition, many communities use school buildings after regular school hours as after-care facilities, recreation centers, meeting places and emergency shelters during natural disasters.

For more than a decade, EPA has made significant strides in protecting children’s health in schools by equipping personnel at the state, district and school level with the necessary knowledge and tools to create healthy indoor environments.

The new guidance builds on EPA’s existing programs, such as ENERGY STAR for schools and Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools, which helps schools identify, resolve and prevent air quality problems, often with low- and no-cost measures.  

Today, half of the schools in the United States have adopted indoor air quality (IAQ) management plans, the majority of which are based on EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools.

However, there are still about 25 million children in nearly 60,000 schools who are not yet protected by IAQ management programs.

Download the new guidance and check here for other valuable school environmental health resources.

Source: EPA press release

Concerned about the indoor air quality at school? Electrocorp air cleaners offer a quick and affordable way to provide cleaner and more breathable air in school and university classrooms, locker rooms, lecture halls, libraries, administration offices, labs and other spaces. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nursing home infection rates climbing: Study

Nursing home infections can be reduced,
researchers say.
Nursing home infection rates are on the rise, a study from Columbia University School of Nursing found, suggesting that more must be done to protect residents of these facilities from preventable complications.

The study, which examined infections in U.S. nursing homes over a five-year period, found increased infection rates for pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), viral hepatitis, septicemia, wound infections, and multiple drug-resistant organisms (MDROs).

"Infections are a leading cause of deaths and complications for nursing home residents, and with the exception of tuberculosis we found a significant increase in infection rates across the board," said lead study author Carolyn Herzig, MS, project director of the Prevention of Nosocomial Infections & Cost Effectiveness in Nursing Homes (PNICE-NH) study at Columbia Nursing.

"Unless we can improve infection prevention and control in nursing homes, this problem is only going to get worse as the baby boomers age and people are able to live longer with increasingly complex, chronic diseases."

Herzig and a team of researchers from Columbia Nursing and RAND Corporation analyzed infection prevalence from 2006 to 2010, using data that nursing homes submitted to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While UTIs and pneumonia were the most common, infection prevalence increased the most – 48 percent – for viral hepatitis. Herzig presented findings from the study at IDWeek 2014 in Philadelphia.

More research is needed to determine the exact causes behind the increases in infection prevalence, Herzig said.

But there are several relatively simple interventions that have been proven to help reduce the risk of infection – and that families should look for when selecting a nursing home for a loved one.

UTIs, far and away the most common infection in nursing homes, increased in prevalence by 1 percent, the study found. UTIs can be prevented by reducing the use of urinary catheters and increasing the frequency of assisted trips to the toilet or diaper changes for residents who are unable to use the bathroom.

Families evaluating which nursing home to choose for a loved one should ask what protocols are in place to decrease catheter use, and they should also ask how the staff cares for residents with diapers, Herzig said.

"Nobody wants to think about diapers, but even if your loved one enters the nursing home able to use the bathroom independently, they may need assistance down the line. Seeing how well toileting needs are met is one way to assess infection risk."

Pneumonia climbed in prevalence by 11 percent, the study found. For pneumonia, and other infections that can spread through the air or contact with contaminated surfaces, proper hand hygiene is essential for prevention.

Residents, visitors, and staff should all have easy access to sanitizer or soap and water to clean their hands and be encouraged to do this frequently.

"When you walk into a nursing home for the first time, you should easily spot hand sanitizer dispensers or hand-washing stations," Herzig said. "If you don't see this, it's an indication that infection control and prevention may be lacking at the facility."

MDRO infection prevalence increased 18 percent, the study found. Screening for MDROs is an important tool for reducing the risk of MDROs, Herzig said. Families should ask whether residents are routinely screened for bacteria like C. difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

While some nursing homes may only screen residents who are symptomatic or at high risk for infection, routine screening of all residents upon admission is likely to be more effective, Herzig said.

In addition, it's worth asking whether a nursing home has private rooms to allow for isolation if necessary and whether families are consulted when their loved one shares a room with a resident who has an infection.

"Isolation is a common way to contain MRSA and other infections in hospitals, but in nursing homes this isn't as common because these facilities are tailored to residential needs. If the nursing home does have rooms for isolation, it suggests a more robust approach to infection prevention and control."

Source: Columbia University

Nursing homes can suffer from polluted indoor air that may affect people's health and well-being. Electrocorp has designed activated carbon and HEPA air cleaners for hospitals and health care settings that can help reduce the prevalence of odors, airborne chemicals, gases, particles, mold, viruses and bacteria. Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Friday, October 17, 2014

OSHA seeks input on chemical exposures at work

National dialogue on chemical exposures and permissible exposure limits in the workplace launched

Only a fraction of thousands of chemicals
used today has been tested - and that
info is often outdated, experts say.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work-related illness caused by exposure to hazardous substances.

The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits.

OSHA's PELs, which are regulatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air, are intended to protect workers against the adverse health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

Ninety-five percent of OSHA's current PELs, which cover fewer than 500 chemicals, have not been updated since their adoption in 1971.

The agency's current PELs cover only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of chemicals used in commerce, many of which are suspected of being harmful.

Substantial resources are required to issue new exposure limits or update existing workplace exposure limits, as courts have required complex analyses for each proposed PEL.

"Many of our chemical exposure standards are dangerously out of date and do not adequately protect workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

"While we will continue to work on updating our workplace exposure limits, we are asking public health experts, chemical manufacturers, employers, unions and others committed to preventing workplace illnesses to help us identify new approaches to address chemical hazards."

OSHA is seeking public comment regarding current practices and future methods for updating PELs, as well as new strategies for better protecting workers from hazardous chemical exposures. Specifically, the agency requests suggestions on:
  • Possible streamlined approaches for risk assessment and feasibility analyses and
  • Alternative approaches for managing chemical exposures, including control banding, task-based approaches and informed substitution.
The goal of this public dialogue is to give stakeholders a forum to develop innovative, effective approaches to improve the health of workers in the United States.

In the coming months, OSHA will announce additional ways for members of the public to participate in the conversation.

The comment period for the RFI lasts for 180 days. Instructions for submitting comments are available in the Federal Register, Docket No. OSHA-2012-0023.

Source: OSHA

Concerned about chemical exposure at your workplace? Electrocorp has designed a wide range of indoor air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA that help remove dangerous pollutants quickly and efficiently. Custom solutions are available. For more information and a free consultation, contact Electrocorp today: 1-866-667-0297.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Companies start disclosing fracking chemicals

As hydraulic fracturing operations spread,
so have fears of potential chemical hazards.
SAN ANTONIO — Baker Hughes Inc. this month will start disclosing all the chemicals it uses in hydraulic fracturing — the first of the major oil field service companies to adopt a policy of transparency.

The Houston-based company said it will not make any trade secret claims in the information it posts on the industry website, starting with wells fractured on or after Oct. 1.

The process pumps water and chemicals at high pressure to break shale. Then sand is added to the mixture to prop open the fissures and let oil and gas flow up the well.

Along with horizontal drilling, the use of hydraulic fracturing, known more commonly as fracking, has opened up new shale fields across the United States.

Among the many chemicals used for fracking are hydrochloric acid, petroleum distillates and ethanol, according to FracFocus.

“The policy we are implementing today is consistent with our belief that we are partners in solving industry challenges, and that we have a responsibility to provide the public with the information they want and deserve,” Derek Mathieson, Baker Hughes chief strategy officer, said in a news release.

Baker Hughes will not detail specific product formulations but will disclose a single list of all the chemical constituents and their maximum concentrations.

As shale drilling boomed across the country — and in response to grass-roots concerns about potential environmental or health effects — the oil and gas industry launched in spring 2011 as a national registry for companies to voluntarily report the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids.

The Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission maintain the FracFocus website, which has information on more than 77,000 wells.

Texas has required operators to disclose the composition of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing on FracFocus since Feb. 1, 2012, but the law allows them to withhold the identity and amount of the chemicals as a trade secret.

The use of the trade secret exemption is widespread.

Of 12,410 instances of hydraulic fracturing in Texas between April 2011 and early December 2012, companies used terms such as “proprietary,” “secret” or “confidential” 10,120 times while reporting data on the website, according to data collected by Pivot Upstream Group and analyzed by the San Antonio Express-News.

In the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, the trade secret exemption was used 2,297 times in 3,100 fracturing events.

In Texas, the only people who can challenge a trade secret claim are the landowner and someone who lives adjacent to him or her. State regulators also can challenge the use of the exemption.

In 2013, the Harvard Environmental Law Program's Policy Initiative criticized FracFocus, citing a lack of transparency.

This year, an Energy Department advisory board said companies were shielding too much information from public view in the FracFocus registry.

Source: MySA

When the outdoor air is polluted, indoor air can become dangerous as well - since contaminants can build up over time. Electrocorp offers a wide range of indoor air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can help remove those contaminants, including airborne chemicals, fumes, gases, odors, particles, dust, mold, bacteria and viruses. Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Exposure to BPA while pregnant linked to children's lung problems

Pregnant women are urged to minimize BPA exposure.
Children of women exposed to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy may be at an increased risk of lung problems, according to a new study.

In the study of 398 mother-infant pairs, researchers looked at the mothers' exposure to BPA during pregnancy by examining the concentration of the chemical in their urine.

They also assessed how healthy the children's lungs were and whether they developed wheezing by age 5. To measure their lung health, the investigators measured the amount of air they exhaled during the first second of an exhalation.

The researchers found that every tenfold increase in the average BPA concentration in a mother's urine corresponded to a 14.2 percent decrease in the child's lung functionat age 4, but not at age 5.

In other words, BPA may affect lung function during a child's early years, but the effect may disappear over time, the researchers said.

They also found that a tenfold increase in the average concentration of BPA in maternal urine was related to a fourfold-plus increase in a child's odds of experiencing persistent wheezing during the first five years of life, according to the study, published today in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"Our results support the conclusion that BPA exposure during pregnancy is associated with persistent wheezing in children and may have a negative health [effect] on lung function," said study author Dr. Adam J. Spanier, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

"I would recommend that women of childbearing age and pregnant women try to minimize their exposure to BPA," Spanier said.

BPA is a chemical used to make polycarbonate — a hard, clear plastic that is used in many consumer products, including the lining of metal food containers.

To measure the mothers' BPA levels during pregnancy, the researchers collected urine samples twice, once when the women were 16 weeks pregnant and again at 26 weeks.

The investigators also examined the children's exposure to BPA after birth, by taking their urine samples annually during their first five years, but they did not find a relationship between their exposure during early childhood and their lung health or wheezing risk.

The study did not look at what mechanism might link the prenatal exposure to BPA and children's lung health, Spanier said. However, "[at] least one animal study suggests that BPA might affect the development of the cells in the lung responsible for airway secretions," he said.

Still, it is not clear what the exact mechanism is, he said.

"BPA is also known for its potential estrogen-disrupting effects," Spanier said. "There are many other human health studies which demonstrate associations with other health outcomes,” such as neurodevelopmental and endocrine effects, he said.

"While I think it is important to avoid BPA during pregnancy, it is a difficult task for a consumer," because it is in so many products, he said. Consumers would benefit from a safer chemical management system at the national level, he added.

"But more specifically, given the mounting evidence, I do not see a reason for BPA to be in any consumer products," he told Live Science.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on its website that the current presence of BPA in consumer products poses no risk to the public's health.

"FDA's current perspective is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods," the website reads. "Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging."

Source:  Live Science

Concerned about chemical exposure at work or at home? Electrocorp has designed a wide range of industrial and commercial air purifiers that remove airborne chemicals, particles, odors, fumes, gases and more. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chemical companies back new laws but less regulation

Chemical giants want stronger federal law

Chemicals used in products need to
be regulated more, experts say.
The powerful chemical industry is putting its lobbying muscle behind legislation that would establish standards for chemicals used in products from household goods to cellphones and plastic water bottles – but also make it tougher for states to enact their own regulations.

Many states already have acted on their own.

“Rather than be picked apart on a state-by-state basis, with different regulations, we needed to have a coherent and cohesive federal system,” said Anne Kolton, spokeswoman for the American Chemistry Council.

The group, which represents Dow, DuPont, BASF Corp. and 3M, spent nearly $6 million on lobbying in the first half of the year, the most recent reporting period.

There’s widespread agreement that the current law needs an overhaul.

Chemical manufacturers aren’t required to develop new data on toxicity and exposure, which has led to products containing chemicals that haven’t been screened for safety.

The President’s Cancer Panel said in 2010 that act “may be the most egregious example of ineffective regulation of environmental contaminants.”

But a big sticking point is the role of the states in regulating chemicals.

Regulation of chemicals took on new urgency after a crippling spill in West Virginia last January contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents. The chemical in the January spill, crude MCHM, is one of thousands not regulated under current law.

West Virginia, which has not aggressively regulated chemicals, supports the Senate bill. It would require safety evaluations for all chemicals and give the Environmental Protection Agency authority to take action against chemicals deemed unsafe – ranging from labeling requirements to a ban. It would also overtake some state regulations – primarily when EPA takes action to regulate a chemical.

California, by comparison, has some of the toughest chemical regulations in the country.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is fighting to preserve state regulations. She said under the bill, states “face sweeping pre-emption even when there is no meaningful action by the federal government.”

In a letter to Congress last year, California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez said dozens of California laws and regulations would be at risk if the bill passes, including those regulating greenhouse gases and safe drinking water.

New York’s attorney general has raised similar concerns. Regulation by states such as California and New York can have a national impact because of their large markets.

Several of ACC’s larger members, including Bayer Corp., DuPont and Dow Chemical, lobbied on the Senate bill in the first half of the year. Connie Deford, Dow’s director of product sustainability and compliance, said the company supports the framework of the Senate bill.

“We believe it’s critical for our industry that we have a stronger federal chemical management system than where we sit today,” Deford said.

Outgunned financially, environmentalists have sometimes used star power to help illuminate their cause, but that hasn’t been enough to overcome industry opposition. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition had teamed up with actress Jessica Alba to promote different legislation. The bill never got a vote in Congress.

In an interview, Alba said she can’t compete with lobbyists.

“You can have certain public figures go in and advocate and raise a red flag and put a spotlight on an issue, but at the end of the day, it’s people that are there day in and day out, that are pounding the pavement,” Alba said.

Source: The Journal Gazette

Concerned about chemical contaminants in your environment? A complete air purification system with activated carbon and HEPA help remove the widest range of airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust, mold, bacteria, viruses, VOCs and more. Browse Electrocorp's air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications and contact Electrocorp to ask about home and office units as well.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dangerous chemical in Southern California air

Polluted outdoor air can become a problem indoors.
Regional air-quality officials are trying to find the source of a cancer-causing chemical discovered recently in Jurupa Valley at levels about four times higher than the average for urban Southern California.

“There is no cause for alarm, but we are looking into it because it is a bit unusual,” said Philip Fine, an assistant deputy executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The chemical is methylene chloride, a common industrial solvent used as a degreaser and paint stripper. It is very volatile, so it’s also used as an aerosol spray propellant and as a blowing agent for polyurethane foams.

Jean Ospital, the air district’s heath-effects officer, said the levels found in Jurupa Valley are too low to have short-term health effects.

But the long-term effect is a concern, Ospital said. The cancer risk is estimated at 7 cases per 1 million people over a 70-year lifetime, and the air district wants to eliminate that risk, he said.

“This risk is high for just one chemical, and it’s higher than the other communities in the air basin,” Ospital said.

In Jurupa Valley, the total cancer risk for all other sources of air pollution, including diesel soot, is 385 cases per 1 million people.

Fine said the air district first noted methylene chloride spikes in outdoor air samples taken at the district’s air monitoring station in the Rubidoux area of Jurupa Valley in late 2012 when collecting data for an air toxics study.

He said the district also found elevated levels in recent samples, as well as in samples collected separately by the state Air Resources Board, which monitors air quality for California’s Environmental Protection Agency.

The source, however, remains a mystery.

What: A volatile industrial chemical with a chloroform-like odor.
Uses: Paint stripping, paint remover, metal cleaning, degreasing, resin production, solvent distribution.
Industries: Pharmaceutical, adhesive and film base manufacturing.
Health effects: Cancer potential with long-term exposure. Short-term exposure to high concentrations may cause mental confusion, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and headaches.
Air district officials have examined wind directions and other meteorological data, but they have been unable to trace the pollution to a residence or business, Fine said.

In 2004 and 2005, air quality officials found similar spikes in methylene chloride in Long Beach, and never were able to find the source.

Fine said the chemical is found in paint-stripping products readily available at retail stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. The air district, he said, may re-evaluate how it regulates such products, he said. It already has rules limiting the volatility of paints and varnishes because fumes contribute to the formation of smog.

While regional air quality is improving, Jurupa Valley has pockets of people living near freeways, railroads and warehouses who are exposed to higher levels of pollution.

Penny Newman, executive director of Jurupa Valley-based Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, said several industries in the area may be using industrial solvents.

“It is disturbing that they don’t know where it is coming from,” Newman said.

Methylene chloride isn’t the first unusual type of pollution in Jurupa Valley.

In 2008, the air district disclosed that it had found elevated levels of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium in the Rubidoux area.

District officials later traced the pollution to the TXI Riverside Cement plant, which was found to be releasing chromium-tainted cement dust into the community.

TXI was cited for dust violations and agreed to pay $1 million in penalties and to make changes to its operations in ways that greatly reduced dust emissions.

Source: The Press Enterprise

Concerned about chemical exposure at your workplace or in your neighborhood? Electrocorp has designed customizable carbon + HEPA air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can help remove dangerous airborne chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust and more. Contact Electrocorp for more information. Follow us on Twitter!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lead paint suit results in $2.1 million award

Jury awards millions to youth, who was poisoned by
lead paint as a toddler.
A Baltimore jury has awarded nearly $2.1 million to a 17-year-old city youth who was allegedly poisoned by lead paint in the 1990s when he was a toddler in an East Baltimore rental home.

The judgment against Elliot Dackman and the estates of Sandra and Bernard Dackman came recently in Baltimore Circuit Court, at the end of the weeklong trial of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Daquantay Robinson by his mother, Tiesha Robinson.

The jury verdict shows the long-running tide of litigation over the widespread use of lead-based paint in Baltimore's older rental housing has yet to ebb, according to Bruce Powell, the Robinsons' lawyer.

Though Maryland lawmakers enacted a law in 1994 meant to protect young tenants from lead-paint risks, Powell said, "Here we are; there are still a lot of cases."

Dozens of cases remain outstanding naming Elliott Dackman as a defendant, for example.

Daquantay Robinson had enough lead in his blood to be considered poisoned for more than 18 months while his family lived in a Darley Park home owned by the Dackman Co., Powell said.

According to documents submitted at trial, blood samples taken every six months and analyzed by Johns Hopkins medical laboratories repeatedly revealed what were then considered to be elevated levels of the toxic metal in the toddler.

Sandra Moses, the youth's grandmother, who testified at the trial, said she noticed flaking and chipping paint in the home when the family moved in just before Daquantay was born. She said she called the landlord to complain about it some time later.

"They didn't send anybody out to do any repairs, and I called several times" Moses, 50, recalled.

Subsequent testing after the lawsuit was filed found that while the home has since been substantially renovated, there are still surfaces there with lead paint on them, the family's lawyer said.

Frank F. Daily, who represented the defendants, declined to comment. Circuit Judge Alfred Nance presided over the trial.

Expert witnesses called for the family testified that the youth suffered permanent brain damage as a result of his exposure to lead, leading to learning and behavior problems.
Exposure to lead paint has
resulted in brain damage,
expert witnesses say.

Moses said he "has a hard time keeping up with the other students" in high school.

"Studies have consistently shown that exposure to lead paint, especially in children under the age of 6, can result in a lifetime of medical expenses and financial instability," Powell said in a statement announcing the verdict. "Although no monetary settlement can replace what has been taken from this child, we do feel vindicated when the responsible landlords are brought to justice in court."

It's unclear how much money will actually go to the plaintiff. The jury awarded $1.27 million in economic damages for lost earnings and $818,000 for pain and suffering, the family's lawyer said, but noneconomic damages are capped under state law at $545,000.

The landlord's insurance company also contends it's only liable for a fraction of the damages because it didn't cover the property the entire time he lived there, Powell said.

"There's going to have to be further litigation to get the victim paid," the Robinsons' lawyer predicted.

The award, coming 15 years or more after the youth's alleged exposure to toxic lead paint, highlights the price people continue to pay for Maryland's gradual, at times halting approach to dealing with the health hazards posed by the paint's widespread use in housing decades ago, said Ruth Ann Norton, president and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. The group, formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, has advocated for stronger lead-paint laws and regulations for decades.

The Darley Park home had been registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment before the Robinsons moved in, as the law required then for all rental units built before 1950. (That was the year lead-based paint was banned in Baltimore city out of concern for its health effects.) Jay Apperson, a state spokesman, said department records contain certification of "full risk reduction" at the property in 1996 before the Robinsons moved in, also as required.

Apperson could not say how the risk reduction was verified. But Norton said that for many years, the state allowed landlords to get by with a visual inspection to certify that lead-paint hazards had been properly dealt with. The only reliable way to check was to swipe window sills and other surfaces for lead-paint dust so fine it couldn't be seen, she said. Lawmakers began requiring lead dust tests in 2012.

Also, in the late 1990s, health standards had yet to require action in cases like Daquantay's. Since 1991, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said anyone with blood-lead levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter or higher was considered poisoned. But Maryland health authorities were not expected to contact a poisoned child's family or inspect the home unless the level reached 15 micrograms per deciliter, noted MDE's Apperson. Daquantay's highest blood level was a notch below that threshold.

Since then, the CDC has declared that no amount of lead in blood is safe and lowered its "reference" level to 5 micrograms per deciliter.

"The rates this kid had are no longer considered to be a low-level poisoning," Norton said. "These are high."

With increasingly tighter regulations and stricter enforcement, the number of lead poisoned children in Maryland has declined dramatically since the late 1990s. The state is moving now to regulate lead paint in rental homes built between 1950 and 1978, when the federal government banned its sale for interior use. The state also is looking to enforce federal regulations requiring house painters and home improvement contractors take precautions when working even in owner-occupied homes.

"Over the past decade, there has been an increase in enforcement" of lead-paint laws and regulations, Norton said. "It's just regrettable it took so long to get those things in place for this particular family. One hopes we see less of this as we move forward with stronger enforcement and stronger laws."

Source: Baltimore Sun

Concerned about the indoor air quality where you work or live? Electrocorp offers industrial-strength air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters to remove airborne particles, chemicals, odors, mold spores, bacteria and viruses. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mechanics exposed to chemical hazards

OSHA cites Illinois garage for 5 repeat safety violations

Auto body shop workers may be exposed to dangerous
chemicals and other hazards, experts say.
A complaint investigation found that Transport Tech LLC failed to provide employees with an effective training program, including information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals at its Hillside repair facility.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the company for five repeat safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $66,400.

"Workers have the right to know what chemicals they are exposed to and how to protect themselves against exposure, which can have severe health effects," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at the Chicago North office in Des Plaines.

"Employers have a responsibility to provide accurate information about the hazards their workers face each day, and Transport Tech failed to do that."

OSHA initiated an inspection on March 28, 2014, after it received a complaint alleging hazards at the shop, which provides repair services for trucks operated by the national carrier Central Transport LLC.

Transport Tech failed to put identification and warning labels on containers filled with hazardous chemicals.

The company also failed to have an eyewash station readily accessible and provide portable fire extinguisher training, as required.

In addition, floors at the facility were not kept clean and dry to prevent slips and falls. The company was cited for similar violations in 2011 at the same facility.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Transport Tech, based in Warren, Michigan, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Source: OSHA

Concerned about chemical exposure at the workplace? Longtime exposure to odors, gases, fumes and chemicals may affect employee well-being and productivity, resulting in poor health. 

Electrocorp offers industrial and commercial air cleaners that can remove these and other air pollutants, providing cleaner and more breathable air. 

Find out more about Electrocorp's air cleaners for auto body shops and garages, or contact Electrocorp directly to find the right air cleaner for your workplace.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Warehouse workers tested for PCB exposure

The warehouse has been closed and
workers sent home until further notice.
A Walmart returns processing center in Indianapolis is contaminated with a toxic substance, and hundreds of workers at the evacuated facility are now undergoing medical testing to see if they were exposed.

The contamination involves a massive warehouse, where logistics company Exel processes merchandise returned from Walmart retail stores.

The warehouse now sits empty after Exel ordered nearly 600 full-time and contract workers to evacuate the processing center on August 20.

On that day, supervisors met with employees at 3:45pm to announce the facility was shutting down immediately.

During the meeting, employees were not told the reason for the shut-down, only that they would continue to receive their normal pay and benefits and would not return to work until further notice, according to a longtime worker who asked not to be identified.

Five days later, Exel managers again met with employees at a nearby hotel to explain Walmart discovered the presence of a strange substance within the facility.

Testing showed the substance to be PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyl, a synthetic organic chemical compound that is highly toxic and classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as "probable human carcinogens." The EPA says studies in animals provide conclusive evidence that PCBs cause cancer.

Over the past two weeks, Exel employees have been reporting to an east-side medical laboratory for blood tests, which Exel hopes will shed light on which employees were exposed to the PCBs and what impact - if any - the exposure might have on their health.

"It's a situation that continues to evolve, and we're working diligently with Walmart to understand it more," said Exel Vice President of Communications Lynn Anderson.

"We took an overly cautious role and decided we wanted to get out of the building right away. We are really trying to understand the extent of the contamination and the exposure and what it means for the future and the facility."

A Walmart company spokesperson says that Walmart made a joint decision with Exel to close operations "out of an abundance of caution."

"Walmart immediately hired an environmental consulting firm after a contractor servicing a return center we lease discovered the presence of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. Additional testing confirmed PCBs were present in the building, which is operated by a contractor, Exel Inc. We made a joint decision with Exel to close the facility out of an abundance of caution.

"Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) have been informed and are investigating this matter. We are cooperating with the investigation, and early indications suggest that the contaminant is in the building materials.

"We have made arrangements for returned products from our stores to be sent to other return centers."

Unusual particles discovered

Anderson says the contamination was discovered by accident, while equipment was being moved inside the plant. That's when workers found an unusual residue and "particles that didn't look right."

Walmart hired a third-party company to test the residue, and according to Exel, the testing revealed the presence of PCBs.

How much PCBs and where did they come from? Exel and its employees are still looking for answers.

Exel plans to begin its own independent testing at the abandoned warehouse this week. In the meantime, it is actively looking for another facility to resume its operations. Exel has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the contaminated facility, but says that is unlikely - at least in the short-term.

Since the evacuation, Exel has hosted two face-to-face meetings with affected employees to provide them with information, and another meeting is scheduled for early October.

At the last meeting, workers were encouraged to take advantage of free blood tests.

PCBs are considered very dangerous to human health, and they are very hard to destroy. Banned in the United States for decades, they were commonly used as coolants and stabilizers in products such as fluorescent light ballasts, transformers, paints, cements, electrical components, pesticides, lubricating oils and sealants.

A known carcinogen, PCBs are linked to other serious health concerns including negative impacts on the immune, reproductive and neurological systems.

Source: 1340 AM WBIW

Concerned about chemical exposure at work? Long-term exposures may affect employee health, well-being and productivity. Electrocorp offers easy-to-use and effective carbon + HEPA air filtration units for a wide range of applications. The air purifiers can remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, particles, dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses. Customized options available. Contact an Electrocorp IAQ specialist for more information.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Restoration workers exposed to asbestos

Exposure occurred during restoration of Chicago fire station

Restoration and construction workers
have a higher risk of asbestos exposure,
which is linked to lung disease and cancer.
Workers renovating a historical 1887 firehouse in Chicago were exposed to asbestos and electrical hazards, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The inspection found Structure Development Midwest LLC failed to collect and dispose of asbestos-containing material in sealed, labeled and waterproof bags.

The Chicago real estate and management company was issued one willful and seven serious citations carrying proposed penalties of $46,000 for the violations.

"Exposure to asbestos can cause loss of lung function and cancer, among other serious health effects, and workers must be trained in procedures that minimize exposure. Workers should never be put at risk because a company failed to protect them from a known, dangerous substance," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City.

The March 25, 2014, inspection found that the company failed to act and comply with existing regulations when employees were exposed to asbestos; did not ascertain whether asbestos work conducted was in compliance with standards; and failed to visibly identify and limit access to areas containing asbestos material.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious electrical safety violations found at the site included lack of ground fault circuit interrupters, open electrical panels and failure to protect temporary wiring. These violations resulted in the issuance of seven serious citations.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Structure Development Midwest has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit OSHA's website.

Source: OSHA

Do you think you might be exposed to hazardous substances on the job? Long-term exposure to airborne chemicals, particles and fumes may affect your health, well-being and productivity. Electrocorp has designed a wide range of plug-and-play air purifiers that can handle these contaminants and more. Browse Electrocorp's air cleaners for asbestos and mold mitigation, or contact Electrocorp for more information today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Researchers focus on asthma's mystery triggers

Environmental factors may affect non-allergic asthma.
Researchers are making interesting new discoveries about a particularly confusing type of asthma.

Doctors increasingly are recognizing that as many as half of asthma sufferers have a form of the lung disease known as nonallergic asthma.

Some medications that help control symptoms of the more familiar allergic asthma aren't as effective in nonallergic patients.

There is still much that isn't understood about allergic asthma, which is brought on by an overactive response of the body's immune system to food, pollen and other allergens.

Even more mysterious is the cause of nonallergic asthma, which doesn't involve an immune-system response. Symptoms for both forms of the disease typically include constricted airways, wheezing and coughing.

Researchers also continue to discover substances in the environment that appear to increase the risk for developing asthma.

One of the latest studies, from New York's Columbia University Medical Center, found an association between asthma rates and phthalates, chemicals used in many plastic products that have raised health concerns.

The scientific hunt for the causes of asthma reflects concern about the puzzling rise in rates of the disease.

In the U.S., the percentage of the population diagnosed increased in 2010 to 8.4%—or more than 25 million adults and children—from 5.5% in 1996, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 1.8 million people visited a hospital emergency department in 2010 for asthma-related treatment.

Scientists studying nonallergic asthma say greater understanding of the molecular pathways in this form of the disease could lead to new targets for drug development.

Stefan Worgall, chief of the pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology division at Weill Cornell Medical College, and his colleagues recently discovered that when a normally occurring type of fat, known as sphingolipids, isn't embedded properly in the cell walls in the lungs of mice, the airways constrict.

Dr. Worgall says the finding could help explain why obesity is a risk factor for asthma. Obese people tend to exhibit abnormalities in sphingolipids, he says.

Currently, Dr. Worgall and his team are measuring sphingolipid levels in the blood and breath of asthmatic children. Early findings suggest the levels appear abnormal, he says.

Jeroen Douwes, director of the Centre for Public Health Research, at Massey University in New Zealand, believes nonallergic-asthma patients might have particularly sensitive nerves in the lungs that tell the brain at a lower-than-normal threshold that a noxious substance is in the air and airways need to be constricted.


Asthma rates have been rising for years, for reasons that aren't understood.

  • About 8.4% of people in the U.S. had asthma in 2010, up from 5.5% in 1996.
  • Boys are more prone to asthma than girls. But as adults, more women have asthma than men.
  • Black children are twice as likely as white children to have asthma.
  • Symptoms of asthma can include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • Dust, mold, pets, exercise and strong emotions are some common triggers of asthma attacks.
—Source: CDC

Some previous studies suggest some asthmatics have an inappropriate neural response, which might translate into greater sensitivity, says Dr. Douwes. He is currently reanalyzing samples from previous studies of children followed since birth for asthma and allergy symptoms to look for evidence of neural activation.

An oversensitive neural pathway would help explain such mysteries as why dust or pollen can trigger an asthma attack without causing an allergic reaction and why stress has been found to bring on attacks in some people, Dr. Douwes says.

Not all asthmatics respond to traditional asthma medications. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, for instance, are usually administered with an inhaler and in other forms to prevent asthma attacks.

The drug is generally effective in people with allergic asthma because it dampens the body's immune response to an allergen. People with nonallergic asthma often get less relief from corticosteroids.

Instead, these patients might be given another type of drug called a beta-agonist, such as albuterol and levalbuterol, which works by relaxing lung muscles.

Environmental factors are among the most studied causes for both types of asthma.

In a recent study of phthalates, researchers studied 300 women and their children living in New York's inner city, where asthma rates are relatively high.

The study measured phthalate levels in the women's urine during pregnancy and in the children at ages 3, 5 and 7 years old.

After taking into account other risk factors, such as maternal smoking, the researchers found significantly higher rates of asthma among the children whose mothers had the greatest levels of phthalates during pregnancy, says Rachel Miller, a co-author of the study and an allergist, pulmonologist and environmental health sciences professor at Columbia University Medical Center.

But there wasn't a correlation between asthma and the children's own exposure to phthalates in the early years after birth, according to the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in September.

"It's assumed that the prenatal period is going to be your most susceptible period [for disease], including lung development," says Robin Whyatt, a study co-author and a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

The researchers cautioned that while the study found an association between phthalates and asthma, it didn't prove causation.

The finding is "potentially very important because exposure to phthalates is widespread," says Neil Pearce, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who studies asthma but wasn't involved in the phthalate study.

The CDC says people are widely exposed to phthalates but the chemical's impact on human health isn't known and needs more research. Phthalates have been found to affect the reproductive systems of lab animals, according to the CDC.

Phthalates, which make plastics flexible, among other functions, are found in many household products from vinyl flooring to certain types of plastic food containers and scented candles, but aren't listed on labels.

Dr. Whyatt says that to minimize phthalate exposure, people shouldn't microwave in plastic containers and should store food in glass instead.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Concerned about chemical exposure or occupational risk factors for asthma? Electrocorp has designed a wide range of industrial and commercial air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters to rtemove the widest range of airborne contaminants, including chemicals, gases, odors and fine particles.Residential units are also available. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a free consultation.