Since 2004, National Preparedness Month (NPM) has been observed each September in the United States. It is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which teams up with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Ready Campaign and other partners.
Western Red Cedar is an evergreen coniferous tree that is commonly found across the Pacific Northwest. Due to its high natural resistance to decay and attractive appearance with few knots, Western Red Cedar lumber is commonly used for outdoor construction.
In 2018, Safe + Sound Week takes place in the United States from August 13th through the 19th with its tagline of Show Your Commitment to Safety.
Millions of people enjoy spending time at the beach each year. For many, it means engaging in water–related activities, such as swimming. In most circumstances, these beach-goers leave with nothing more than great memories.
Ototoxicity, or ear poisoning, can result from exposure to various chemicals or drugs that cause damage to the ear. To help prevent this from occurring in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published an advisory bulletin in early 2018 entitled, Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Ototoxicity) and Noise Exposure.
In 2012, the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)) was revised to require that chemical manufacturers, distributors or importers provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products.
Today, there are a number of rules and regulations (RRP Rule & OSHA Regulations for Industry & Construction) in place that are meant to protect workers from exposure to lead hazards.
In June of 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) inaugurated the first National Healthy Homes Month (NHHM). The theme that year was “Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home.”
May is recognized as Lyme Disease Awareness Month and is also the beginning of tick season in many parts of Northern Hemisphere. It is a time when government agencies, healthcare advocates and those dedicated to educating the public about the condition and ways to avoid infection join together to increase awareness of this important topic.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects over 24 million people living in the United States, including more than 6 million children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Workers’ Memorial Day is observed each year on the 28th of April. This important day of recognition began in Canada, was later adopted in the United States, and today is observed in countries across the globe.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas that naturally occurs in the atmosphere as a trace gas. In its frozen form it is known as dry ice, but in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide is part of the global carbon cycle between the atmosphere, oceans, land, marine life and mineral reservoirs.
Each year, March 24th is recognized as World TB Day. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the type of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that has been found in schools, buildings and homes across the globe. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium and thorium in soil, rock and water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 12 children had asthma in 2015. The agency also reports that in 2013, 13.8 million school days were missed due to the disease making it a leading cause of school absenteeism.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that approximately three-quarters of the nation's housing stock built before 1978 contains some lead-based paint.
In June of 2018, enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the maritime and general industry's new respirable crystalline silica standard will begin.
Cold temperatures impact millions of workers each year. For some, this is the case only during the cold winter months, but for others, exposure to chilly temperatures could be a yearlong fact of life.
While many men and women enjoy the scent of perfumes and fragrances that are found in personal care products, air fresheners and even cleaning products, these same scents can act as a respiratory irritant for others. Even worse, the smell of a strong perfume or fragrance could possibly trigger an asthma attack for some people with the condition.
You've worked hard all year and saved to take the family to a tropical destination for a much needed vacation. The week ahead promises to be filled with exciting new experiences and unfortunately, maybe even contact with microbes that are infrequently, or perhaps never, encountered at home that could make the trip take a turn for the worse.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) describes work-related asthma (occupational asthma) as a lung disease caused or made worse by exposures to substances in the workplace. Common exposures include chemicals, dust, mold, animals and plants.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that well over 4,000 workers are killed on the job each year in the United States and millions more are injured. To protect workers, OSHA regulations cover a wide range of potential hazards.
Campylobacter organisms are spiral-shaped bacteria that can cause disease in humans and animals. The infectious disease is known as campylobacteriosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most human illness is caused by one species, called Campylobacter jejuni, but human illness can also be caused by other species.
The following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website about mold after a disaster. After natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, excess moisture and standing water can contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 1.5 million different species of fungi on Earth, but only about 300 of those are known to make people sick. Fungi live in the outdoor environment as well as on many indoor surfaces.
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published information about Legionnaires' disease and health care facilities in their Vitalsigns™ publication. This short video shares some of the agency's knowledge and guidance from that document.
Three-dimensional or 3D printers as they are commonly referred to, are becoming increasingly popular as the technology advances and costs decrease. Today, 3D printers can be found everywhere, from research laboratories in schools, universities and businesses to factory floors and even in some people's homes.
In September of 2017, enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the construction industry's new respirable crystalline silica standard is scheduled to begin. According to the agency, this final rule was issued to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
Compulsive hoarding is estimated to affect between 2 and 5% of the population according to some estimates. It is a pattern of behavior where the excessive acquisition of items and the inability to discard items can result in a person's home being overrun with stuff.
As more states legalize the use of medical and recreational marijuana, also known as cannabis, commercial grow operations and extraction facilities have become a rapidly growing business in many parts of the country.
People walking into a newly constructed or recently renovated home or building will often comment about the "new" home or office smell. While this "new" smell is pleasant to some, and may invoke feelings of a clean and fresh indoor environment, usually it actually means the person is being exposed to high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Asbestos is the name for a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be found in some rocks and soil. Because of the fiber strength and heat resistance of asbestos, it was used extensively for over 100 years in a variety of building construction materials and a wide range of manufactured goods.
In 2016, The Travelers Companies, Inc. released information about the most common and expensive homeowners insurance claims in the United States, based on their claims from 2009 through 2015. Weather-related incidents were associated with over half of all claims. Wind, freezing and bursting pipes, roof and flashing leaks, and ice dams were all specifically listed by the insurance provider.
Vinyl chloride is an important industrial chemical that is produced in large quantities as a chemical intermediate for use in manufacturing other products, such as polyvinyl chloride or PVC as it is commonly known. PVC is used to make a variety of plastic products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials. Vinyl chloride is also produced as a combustion product in tobacco smoke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no safe blood lead level in children has been identified and at least 4 million households in the United States have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 24 million people have asthma. The agency also reports that tragically, about 9 people die from asthma each day.
For many people with healthy lungs they may never, or at least only rarely, think about what is in the air they breathe. When asked, people inevitably say oxygen makes up air, but this is only one component of what is in the air we all breathe.
Construction activities in an occupied home or building can lead to a wide range of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concerns and even potential health issues. This is due in part to the fact that construction and renovation projects can adversely affect building occupants.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job each year in the United States. Another 3 million or so are injured. OSHA regulations area meant to protect workers and cover a wide range of hazards. These hazards can imperil worker health and safety and by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one third of the world's population is infected by the bacteria, but only a small percentage of infected people become sick.
For mold to grow indoors, it needs moisture and a source of food. Unfortunately, many building materials, furnishings and personal belongings make for an excellent food source. If moisture is allowed to enter the indoor environment it can become an ideal breeding ground for mold in as little as 48 hours or so.
Disease-causing microbes are known as pathogens; although sometimes they are simply referred to as "germs" or "bugs." Since the 1940s, antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have greatly reduced the number of illnesses and deaths from diseases caused by microorganisms.
According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, 7.7% of people in the United States had asthma. That equates to over 24 million people with the chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to prevent chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and lung cancer in American workers by limiting their exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. The new standards contained in the final rule took effect in March of 2017.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) describes solvents as substances that are capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more other substances. Most solvents are liquids, but they can also be a solid or a gas.
From each barrel of crude oil, refineries in the United States produce approximately 19 gallons of automotive gasoline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that in 2015, over 140 billion gallons of gasoline were consumed in the United States alone.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed an Air Quality Index, also known as the AQI, which is used to report daily air quality conditions. It is a tool used by various agencies to provide the public with timely and easy-to-understand information on local air quality and whether air pollution levels pose a health concern.
Manganese is an element with the symbol Mn and atomic number 25. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that as a trace element, consuming a small amount from food or water is needed to stay healthy.
Air ducts in a home or building allow for ventilation and a path for warm or cool air to provide a comfortable indoor environment for families or building occupants. However, if the ducts become dirty and contaminated they may not operate efficiently and could create indoor air quality concerns.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) states that welding, cutting and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries. The risk from fatal injuries alone is more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.
Antimony is a silvery-white metal that is found in the earth's crust. Antimony ores are mined and then mixed with other metals to form antimony alloys or combined with oxygen to form antimony oxide.
According to some reports, there are over 3,200 indoor ice arenas in Canada and approximately 1,800 in the United States. These indoor facilities provide a year round place for people to enjoy ice skating and compete in sports. As with all buildings, the air quality of an indoor ice arena is important for the health and safety of guests and employees.
Insurance companies and government agencies can reduce risk and protect the public interest by ensuring that workers are knowledgeable and competent to perform environmental work. To reach this goal, they often require that workers obtain a certificate of training.
During the winter months, when people spend more time inside, and doors and windows of homes and offices are kept tightly shut, indoor air quality (IAQ) issues and complaints often come to light. This may be due to a lack of fresh air, a dry indoor environment or because of an increased concentration of allergens and indoor pollutants.
Chlorine is an element that is widely used in industry and can be found in some household products. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States.
Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year. The list is compiled from thousands of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA staff.
Many people burn wood in their homes for heat and ambience during the cold months. The smell of burning wood is pleasant to some people, but even though wood is a natural substance, exposure to wood smoke can be hazardous to one's health.
In 2016, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the 14th Report on Carcinogens. It contained newly reviewed substances that are known or reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans. Included in this list was the metallic element cobalt and cobalt compounds that release cobalt ions in vivo.
Water makes up approximately 60% of a typical adult male's body. The percentage is slightly lower in adult females, but is even higher in babies and young children. Water serves a number of essential functions and is a vital component of every cell in the human body.
Several years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and several State OSHA programs began investigating questions and complaints from hair salon owners and workers about possible formaldehyde exposure from hair smoothing products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that aspergillosis is a disease caused by a common type of fungus, known as Aspergillus, which lives indoors and outdoors. While the CDC states that most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick, people with a weakened immune system or lung disease are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to exposure.
An increasing number of people are choosing to raise live poultry in their backyards in both rural and urban communities as more towns and cities change ordinances to allow the practice. Having poultry in the backyard can be an enjoyable experience for many while also producing food for families.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes particulate matter, also referred to as PM, as a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.
1-Bromopropane (1-BP), also known as n-propyl bromide, is a colorless liquid solvent with a sweet odor. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that the use of 1-BP has increased in workplaces over the past 20 years.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year in the United States. The agency also reports that U.S. businesses paid more than $1.5 million in penalties last year for not protecting workers from noise and an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) describes methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, as a volatile, colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor. The agency reports that the chemical compound is used in various industrial processes, in many different industries including paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, and metal cleaning and degreasing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance as the ability of microbes to resist the effects of drugs - that is, the germs are not killed, and their growth is not stopped.
Hydrogen peroxide is a manufactured chemical compound (with the formula H2O2) although small amounts of gaseous hydrogen peroxide occur naturally in the air. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), hydrogen peroxide is found in many households at low concentrations (3-9%) for medicinal applications and as a clothes and hair bleach.
Ethylene oxide is an organic compound (with the formula C2H4O). According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), ethylene oxide (EtO) is produced in large volumes and is primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. It is also used as a fumigant in certain agricultural products and as a sterilant for medical equipment and supplies.
Exposure to elevated levels of formaldehyde is an important public health issue. Following Hurricane Katrina, when displaced people were temporarily housed in new trailers and mobile homes supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), concerns over exposure to formaldehyde off-gassing from building materials, furnishings and fabrics in these temporary homes gained national attention.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has made international headlines in recent years as it spreads to countries where it had previously not been found. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) even declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to the Zika virus.
Copper is an element and metal that occurs naturally in the environment. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and today, copper, along copper alloys and compounds, can be found in everything from jewelry, instruments (brass instruments) and coins to building materials (roofs, pipes, plumbing fixtures), electronics, wiring and motors to name just a few applications.
In recent times, people have become much more aware of exposure risks to elevated levels of mold in their homes, schools and work environments. High levels of mold indoors can lead to air quality issues and health concerns. Its presence indoors can also result in property damage and expensive repairs.
Asphalt as it is referred to in the United States or bitumen, as it is called in many other parts of the world, is found in natural deposits or can be obtained by refining crude oil. The primary use of asphalt is for road construction where it is mixed with aggregate particles. It is also commonly used to seal flat roofs and in waterproofing products such as roof felt and shingles.
For many people, having a full time or vacation home on the coast is a dream come true. Having an oceanfront or nearby home can also provide lucrative rental income for property owners. However, these properties come with unique exposure risks and typically require additional preventive maintenance to protect the owner's investment and even the indoor environmental quality of the home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
The U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division warns boaters that exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) can harm or cause death to people both inside and outside of a boat.
During any second, there may be anywhere from 50 to 100 lightning strikes that occur somewhere on the Earth. As lightning passes through the air it can heat the air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun according to the National Weather Service.
Asbestos is the name given to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. Due to the unique properties found in these minerals, they were used for decades in thousands of commercial products and building materials.
For many people, having a laundry area in their home to wash and dry their clothes is high on their "must have" list. Having a washing machine and clothes dryer in a home provides convenience and increased property values, but they also can increase property damage risks if they are not installed and maintained properly.
Methane (CH4) is a colorless, odorless and extremely flammable gas that can be explosive when mixed with air. It is a primary component of natural gas and is a major greenhouse gas. It is used to make ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen and methanol.
If water damage occurs in home or building, its presence can not only ruin and destroy building materials and personal belongings, it could also result in mold contamination and a termite infestation.
When hot outdoor temperatures arrive, a properly functioning central home air conditioner provides a comfortable indoor environment for building occupants. Depending on where people live, air conditioning could be a luxury or an absolute necessity.
In urban locations across the globe, individuals and community organizations have been converting abandoned lots into urban gardens. These urban gardens provide fresh fruits and vegetables while removing urban blight, but in some instances these gardens could contain high levels of lead and other hazardous materials.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries and these injuries cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation.
Almost everywhere across the globe where people have settled, rats and mice can also be found. These rodents often try to live in and around people�s homes, schools and businesses as they seek shelter and food.
In early 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published the science blog, Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung Disease. It discusses diacetyl and a diacetyl substitute (2,3-pentanedione) which are both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are produced naturally and commercially.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), perchlorate is a chemical used in items such as rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares and explosives. It also forms naturally in the environment in small amounts.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hail causes approximately $1 billion dollars in damage to properties and crops each year in the United States.
Seasonal allergies impact millions of people each year with symptoms ranging from a runny or stuffy nose to itchy eyes. Commonly referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies begin for many people during the spring months when trees and plants begin to bloom and outdoor pollen and mold counts begin to climb. However, the condition can also occur during other parts of the year.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, sewer gas is a complex mixture of toxic and nontoxic gases that can be present at varying levels depending upon the source. It is formed during the decay of household and industrial waste.
Spring ushers in longer days of sunlight and warmer weather and it's also good time to check the condition of a home or commercial property. Performing some preventive maintenance tasks now can help to ensure a property is in good condition to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable place for the months ahead.
Building fires destroy or damage many homes and businesses each year. These fires may burn a structure down to the ground, but many others are saved with varying degrees of damage.
According to many estimates, there are over 80 million cats in the United States and approximately one third of U.S. households have a pet cat. While more households are believed to have a dog, the total number of actual cats is thought to be greater than the dog population.
Sewage contamination, two words no property owner ever wants to hear. It can cause devastating damage to a property and create serious exposure concerns for anyone who lives or works in the building.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that while many people worry about lead in their homes or in the environment, for some the workplace may offer the greatest potential for exposure.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel which contains methane, a hydrocarbon that is a highly flammable chemical compound. Natural gas is colorless and odorless in its pure form, but gas companies add a warning smell (mercaptans) to it to make it more easily detected if there is a leak.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it is the leading cause of death in children younger than 5 years of age worldwide.
Whether building a new home or commercial building, remodeling, or repairing a property due to water damage or another event, choosing the type of flooring to be installed is an important decision.
A home's furnace provides a warm and comfortable indoor environment during cold weather. Like all systems in a home, a furnace requires preventive maintenance to ensure that it is working properly, efficiently and is providing good indoor air quality (IAQ).
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials and devices.
As defined by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.
One of the modern conveniences many people take for granted is hot water in their home or business. A simple turn of the tap provides for a warm bath, shower or hot water for washing dishes and clothes.
It has been estimated that there are over 70 million dogs in the United States alone and that perhaps as many as 40% of U.S. households have a pet dog. Their popularity is due to their unique ability to enrich pet owners' lives and provide companionship.
The holiday season is a time for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other's company with the ambience of the holidays. Festive meals, decorations, candles and the warmth of a fireplace are all common during this time of year. However, the holiday season is also a time when indoor air quality (IAQ) issues may occur and the number of residential fires peak.
A family's home should be their sanctuary where people can relax and enjoy their lives. However, for the millions of people with respiratory allergies, asthma or COPD, their home can sometimes be the source of allergens that can trigger or aggravate their condition.
Chromated copper arsenate, also referred to as CCA, is a pesticide containing chromium, copper, and arsenic that protects wood against termites, fungi and other pests. This inorganic pesticide has been widely used as a wood preservative pesticide since the 1940s.
Acetone is a manufactured chemical that can also be found naturally in the environment. It is a colorless liquid that evaporates easily, dissolves in water and is flammable.
Approximately every two to seven years, an unusually warm area of water develops in the central and east-central equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean. The condition is known as El Nino and it not only impacts the ocean, but can also change weather patterns on land across the globe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. The CDC also reports that there are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the reference level at which the CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
For many people, having an attached garage is a major convenience that allows them to keep their vehicles out of the rain, snow and hot summer temperatures. Garages also act as a storage and work area for many people. Some properties even house components of the home's mechanical system in the garage.
In the United States alone, there are hundreds of thousands of dental workers employed at dental offices and laboratories that provide essential services for the rest of the population. These same professionals may face potential occupational hazards due to exposure risks inherent in the profession.
Thunderstorms, microbursts, tornadoes and hurricanes are all associated with high velocity winds that cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. While certain regions of the world may experience strong winds more frequently than others, they can and do occur virtually everywhere.
Styrene is a colorless to yellow liquid that is highly flammable and evaporates easily. It is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is widely used to make plastics, fiberglass, rubber and latex. It is also used to make polystyrene plastics and resins that can be made into foam and rigid plastic products.
Fall brings shorter days, cooler weather and even snow and ice to some areas. It is a good time to check the condition of a home or commercial property and perform some preventive maintenance tasks to help ensure it is in good condition to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable place for building occupants.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. In the United States, outbreaks of the infection have been linked to imported produce.
Prolonged exposure to respirable coal mine dust can cause lung diseases, such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, emphysema and progressive massive fibrosis. These diseases, collectively referred to as black lung, can lead to permanent disability and even death.
Propane (C3H8) is a colorless and odorless gas or liquid that is highly flammable. It is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining and is the principal component of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Pool operators and those lucky enough to have their own pool may hear complaints about stinging eyes, nasal irritation or difficulty breathing from people after being in the water or breathing the air near a swimming pool. This can be especially true at indoor pools.
Could you be allergic to work? The question may sound odd and like an excuse to stay home, but for countless employees in a wide range of professions, it just might be the case.
There are millions of vacation homes located all across North America. They include everything from million dollar beach homes and condos to homes in the mountains and fishing cabins.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, EPA estimates that 20 percent or more of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water."
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, including some that can be life-threatening. Fortunately, there are pneumococcal vaccines available.
Water damage in a commercial or residential property is one of the most common causes for an insurance claim. It can be caused by everything from a natural flooding event or indoor plumbing leak to a sewer backup.
Though some people may not be aware of it, radiation is, and always has been, all around us. In fact, this natural "background" radiation has been around since the birth of the universe.
For most people who only occasionally visit a nail salon, exposure to chemicals used at these establishments is likely brief. However, nail salon workers may be exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals all day long.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gasses known as oxides of sulfur. It is a colorless gas with a pungent and suffocating odor. It is a common air pollutant found in many parts of the world.
Many people associate allergies with spring, but allergies can be a problem for people any month of the year and the summer season is no exception. Summer allergies can be caused by seasonal outdoor culprits or due to the presence of indoor allergens.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are too small to be seen by the naked eye. They do not dissolve in water or evaporate. They are resistant to heat, fire, and chemical or biological degradation. Prolonged inhalation exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Purchasing a home is major decision for anyone, but this can be an especially nerve-racking time for first-time homebuyers. First-time homebuyers may be overwhelmed with the process of looking for a home, negotiating a sales price, getting a mortgage and the home inspection process.
Workers in a number of industries can be exposed to a family of chemicals known as isocyanates. Isocyanates are the raw materials that make up polyurethane products and exposure can lead to potential health concerns.
Homeowners insurance is important to protect what is for many people one of their biggest assets, their home. It is also required by most mortgage lenders. A standard homeowners insurance policy typically covers the home and personal property, but most have important exclusions. These may include damage due to natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.
Nursing homes are entrusted with the health and well-being of countless residents who depend on their services. Most nursing home residents are elderly and many have existing medical conditions that make the indoor environmental quality of their nursing home a critical component of their health.
Toluene (C7H8) is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is widely used in industry. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong, sweet and pungent odor that occurs naturally in crude oil. It is also produced in the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil and making coke from coal. Toluene is used in making numerous products, such as paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, spot removers, lacquers, adhesives, rubber, antifreeze, and in some printing and leather tanning processes.
Today, virtually everyone recognizes that smoking tobacco is bad for people�s health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that tobacco smoke harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.
Nobody wants to have cockroaches in their home or place of business. Their presence can not only make some people squirm, but can also lead to health concerns for building occupants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year Salmonella is estimated to cause one million illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths. While many people associate Salmonella exposure risks with eating or drinking contaminated foods and beverages, people can also be exposed to it from pet reptiles and amphibians.
Almost everyone has been told to put a coaster under a cold beverage during a hot summer day by a parent or grandparent to prevent creating a water stain on a wood table. Unless the cup has a leak, these water stains are caused by a process known as condensation.
A person's home is their sanctuary and regardless of whether it's mansion or an average-sized single family home, condo, duplex or apartment, it should provide a healthy indoor environment for everyone who lives there. Unfortunately, many homes have indoor pollutants that could cause health concerns or aggravate medical conditions that people already have.
People spend a considerable part of their lives sleeping and as anyone who suffers from allergies knows all too well, it can be a real challenge getting a good night's rest when symptoms flare up. Lack of sleep can impact a person's immune system, cause fatigue, poor performance in school or at work, increase absenteeism and even cause depression in some people.
As society has become more aware of potential harm from exposure to various chemical compounds, one group of chemicals has received increasing attention from many scientists and public health advocates.
When a home or building has outgrown its useful life, has been destroyed in a natural disaster or needs to make way for new construction, it is often slated for demolition. Each year, countless buildings are torn down resulting in millions of tons of demolition waste.
Tetrachloroethylene, also commonly referred to as PERC, is a manufactured colorless liquid chemical that has been used widely for dry cleaning, as a chemical intermediate, metal degreaser and as a component of some consumer products (shoe polish, typewriter correction fluid).
Spray polyurethane foam, also known as SPF, has become a popular alternative to other forms of insulation in homes and buildings due to its excellent insulating properties. In many applications, SPF also has an ability to protect against moisture, fill cracks and crevices, and works well to reduce airborne sounds coming through walls, floors and roofs.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in some cases asthma.
For many expectant parents, one of the primary tasks they need to accomplish before the birth of their child is getting the nursery ready for the new edition to the family. This can be an especially exciting time for first-time parents as they get ready to begin a new chapter in their lives.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year in the United States fire departments respond to over 1 million fires of all types. In addition to the tragic deaths and injuries caused by some fires, they also annually result billions of dollars in property damage.
According to some estimates, there are over 20 million pet birds residing in almost 7 million households in the United States. These pets bring joy and happiness to their owners, but they can also impact the indoor air quality of a home and on rare occasions may cause human illnesses.
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor. It is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC) that is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts and is also used in some adhesives, paint removers and spot removers.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for all of their employees. One area of concern for those who work in a building that has high humidity levels or has suffered water damage is the potential presence of mold.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are an estimated 9,000 non-military outdoor firing ranges and approximately 16,000 to 18,000 indoor ranges operating in the United States.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), antimicrobial pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms on inanimate objects and surfaces. Antimicrobial products contain about 275 different active ingredients and are marketed in several formulations: sprays, liquids, concentrated powders and gases.
During the winter season in areas that experience freezing temperatures, a ridge of ice may form on the edge of a roof. This is known as an ice dam and it can allow water to back up behind it and leak into a home or building resulting in property damage and potential mold growth.
Impetigo is a common and highly contagious type of skin infection. It is mainly a concern for young children, but can also impact others. Both Staphylococcus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep) bacteria can cause the condition.
During the holiday season, people from across the globe gather in homes to celebrate with friends and family. For many, decorating their home with a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations is a celebrated annual event.
Each year, water damage in homes and buildings results in billions of dollars in property damage. Many of these water damaging events occur during the winter when pipes can freeze and burst.
Lead poisoning is entirely preventable and children should be kept away from any sources of the toxic heavy metal. Children under the age of 6 years old are considered to be at high risk for lead poisoning because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.
There are over a thousand species of bats worldwide and many can be found living near people. Two basic requirements for the presence of bats are a place to forage and a place to roost.
While it may be tempting to use a do it yourself (DIY) mold test kit that utilizes settling plates to diagnose mold in a home or other type of building, this over-the-counter method often has many shortcomings.
Strong winds, rain, snow, and ice can all takes its toll on a home and winter temperatures can also freeze and burst pipes. During the winter season, damage from any one of these may allow moisture to enter a property and cause damage and mold growth.
Depending on where you live, your home is likely either built on a slab, above a crawl space or over a basement. The type of foundation used to build a home can create various situations that could impact the indoor air quality of the overlying property.
Indoor pollutants can sometimes accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort issues when too little outdoor air enters a home. These may include mold, bacteria, tobacco smoke, chemicals such as VOCs, radon, various allergens, elevated levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and other pollutants.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that that was used in many building materials in the past. Today, many people think its use is banned, but that is not exactly the case.
In 2014, the largest Ebola epidemic in history occurred in multiple countries in West Africa. In September of that year, a person who traveled from Africa to the United States was diagnosed with the condition in Texas. It then spread to healthcare workers who provided the patient with medical care.
While some home buyers and investors may look for a property that is in need of major repairs, most people do not want to deal with anything more than minor cosmetic fixes when purchasing a home. Few things can cause a bigger headache or drain on the wallet for a new homeowner than discovering water damage and mold growth in their home after the sale is complete.
That runny nose, sneezing and congestion could be due to allergies or a common cold, sometimes it can be difficult to tell the two apart. Both colds and allergies can share many of the same symptoms, but they have different causes and are treated differently.
Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as staph, is a type of bacteria that has long been recognized as a cause of disease in humans. It is commonly found on the skin and hair as well as in the nose and throat of people and animals.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, commonly referred to as PAHs, are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat.
For many people, fall means an end of hot summer days as temperatures begin to cool and trees begin to lose their leaves. During this time of year, the cooler temperatures have many people spending time outdoors enjoying the weather or playing sports.
Mycobacterium avium complex, also referred to as MAC, consists of two species of bacteria. They include Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are a large group of bacteria found in the environment and the intestines of people and animals. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless and some are an important part of a healthy intestinal tract, others can cause severe illnesses.
A tropical storm, also known as a tropical cyclone, usually forms over large bodies of warm water and are characterized by a low pressure center with strong winds, storm surges and thunderstorms that can produce large amounts of rain. If these storms strengthen in the Atlantic they can turn into a hurricane and in the Pacific they are known as a typhoon.
Occupational asthma, also referred to as work-related asthma, is the most common occupational lung disease in the United States. According to OSHA, �An estimated 11 million workers in a wide range of industries and occupations are exposed to at least one of the numerous agents known to be associated with occupational asthma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States.
According to the EPA, "Poor indoor air quality can impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which, in turn, can affect concentration, attendance, and student performance."
Flames from wildfires destroy many homes and businesses each year. These structures are often burnt to the ground leaving little more than a foundation in their wake.
Diesel engines provide power for a wide variety of vehicles, heavy equipment and other machinery used in a number of industries including mining, transportation, construction, agriculture, maritime and many types of manufacturing operations.
Indoor painting projects in a home, multi-tenant complex, school or business can create health concerns for anyone exposed to paint odors and fumes.
By some estimates, there are approximately 30 million apartment units in the United States. These units are managed by landlords and professional management companies and range from low income apartments to luxury living accommodations.
Whether on a family vacation or a business trip, everyone needs a place to rest their head when traveling. In the United States, people spend over $150 billion each year at over 50,000 properties that provide lodging with close to 5 million guest rooms.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, also referred to as MCS, is a controversial issue with many in the medical community. Some do not recognize the condition as a true disease or illness, while others support its existence.
Dioxins refer to a group of toxic chemical compounds that share certain chemical structures and biological characteristics. Dioxins can be released into the environment through forest fires, backyard burning of trash, certain industrial activities, and residue from past commercial burning of waste.
Drywall from China was imported into the U.S. from 2006 to 2008 to address the shortage of construction materials created by the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and the national demand for new home construction.
For many people who suffer from allergies, a visit to their doctor's office for a consultation and treatment options is a common occurrence.
Particulate matter, also referred to as PM, is the name for a wide range of particles that are small enough to be carried by the air and be inhaled by people.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, also known as HP, is a kind of lung inflammation that occurs in people who develop immune system sensitization (similar to an allergy) to inhaled organic dust.
Ozone is found in two regions of the Earth's atmosphere, at ground level and in the upper regions of the atmosphere. Both types of ozone have the same chemical composition (O3) and while upper atmospheric ozone protects the earth from the sun's harmful rays, ground level ozone is the main component of smog and can cause health concerns.
Since 1970, every year on April 22nd Earth Day is celebrated. The event is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is recognized around the world. Earth Day is considered by many as the beginning of the modern environmental movement.
During flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in a home, office or other type of building may appear to be the least of one's problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks.
Spring time means an end to the long winter season with warming temperatures and outdoor activities for many people. During this time of year, trees, plants and weeds also recognize the changing weather and begin to bloom.
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, and potentially extremely hazardous gas that has a "rotten egg" smell. It occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas and hot springs.
Exserohilum is a common mold found in soil and on plants, especially grasses. It thrives in warm and humid climates and can cause root rot in some plants.
Exserohilum is a common mold found in soil and on plants, especially grasses. It thrives in warm and humid climates and can cause root rot in some plants.
It is pretty obvious that a home or building has a mold problem when it is visibly growing on walls, ceilings or the floor. Other times, a structure may have a mold problem that could be causing concerns for building occupants that is taking place completely out of sight.
Over the past several decades, Americans have witnessed a significant shift in healthcare delivery from the acute, inpatient hospital setting to a variety of ambulatory and community-based settings.
Determined property owners take on thousands of home renovation and remodeling projects every year. While these do it yourself (DIY) projects can bring new life to homes, they can also expose building occupants to potential hazards that many people may not be aware of.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are at least 4 million households that have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead.
According to the CDC, more than 9,000 healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are caused by CRE each year.
Beryllium is a chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is extremely lightweight and hard, is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and is nonmagnetic. These properties make beryllium suitable for many industrial uses.
In many areas, people who suffer from allergies due to pollen get a break during the winter season. Unfortunately, the cold weather's impact on pollen in the air doesn't mean other people still aren't suffering from exposure to other allergens.
In some parts of the country, many homes and buildings are built with basements. These areas are sometimes used for living space or as an unfinished area that provides convenient storage and a place for a building's utilities to be housed.
Humidifiers are often used in homes to relieve the physical discomforts brought on by dry air. The moisture they add indoors can also help to alleviate common nuisances brought on by winter heating, such as static electricity, peeling wallpaper and cracks in paint and furniture.
During cold weather, few things can be as cozy and attractive as lighting a wood fire in your home. Others rely on wood stoves and fireplaces as their primary heating method to deliver warmth throughout a house or room.
In recent years, there has been growing concern over human exposure to a group of widely used chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
High levels of indoor mold are known to cause a variety health issues. When people have a home tested for mold, there are a number of different types of tests and sampling methods that can be employed.
In today's world, most people spend the majority of their time indoors. Whether at home, school or at the office, some experts estimate many of us are indoors up to 90% of the time.
Today, there are many places across the country have been identified as Superfund sites. Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
Cronobacter, formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii, is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria that exists in the environment and can survive in very dry conditions.
Carpeting provides for an affordable and attractive flooring solution in countless homes and buildings. In fact, billions of square feet of carpeting are installed in just the United States each year.
Vermiculite is a type of mineral that has been a commercial commodity throughout the world for well over 50 years. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size.
Homes and many other types of buildings have long been constructed of materials made from wood. When properly maintained and protected, buildings made from wood can last for centuries.
For people who suffer from asthma, an attack can occur when they are exposed to environmental triggers.
For most people, going to the gym and getting in a workout is a way to improve their athletic skills, personal appearance and overall health. Unfortunately, although many gyms and athletic training centers provide an excellent opportunity to achieve these goals, they are also often a breeding ground for all types of bacteria and fungi.
Mold and mold spores occur naturally in the environment. They can enter a home or other building from the outside through open doorways and windows as well as through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system's outdoor air intakes.
Child care facilities can easily develop problems with indoor air quality because there are a many people in a relatively small space, there may not be the funds to properly maintain the building and quite often people may not understand its importance.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The condition can be caused by a viral, fungal or bacterial infection.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the health effects of living, attending school, or working in damp buildings.
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and orderless gas that can provide risks to many individuals.
Pets are an important component of millions of people's lives and most of these feathered and furry family members are kept in people's homes.
Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates into the air very quickly and dissolves slightly in water. It is highly flammable and is formed from both natural processes and human activities.
People may suspect there is hidden mold in a structure if a building smells moldy, but they cannot see the source, or if they know there has been water damage and people are reporting health problems.
Water can enter a building in many ways. Local flooding, leaking roofs and broken plumbing are all potential water sources that can cause damage to belongings and possible structural damage as well as create potential indoor environmental and indoor air quality concerns.
One of the most common causes of allergies to house dust is due to the presence of dust mites. Dust mites are tiny eight-legged creatures that are typically too small to see with the naked eye.
Most people have heard of arsenic due to its potential use as a poison and some have even suggested exposure to arsenic was the cause of Napoleon Bonaparte's death.
More than 50 million Americans reportedly suffer from allergies with approximately 80% of those affected by indoor or outdoor allergens. Some sufferers experience short-term seasonal allergies, while a growing number experience chronic, year-round allergic reactions.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines hazardous locations as those areas "where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers or flyings."
When high levels of mold are found indoors they can cause allergies, trigger asthma attacks in sensitive individuals and even lead to infections in some people. In order to grow indoors, mold needs moisture and food.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) can cause infections due to a type of bacteria that are often found in people's throat and on their skin.
People who believe they have mold growing in their home may not know why it's there, but they do typically understand that exposure to elevated levels of mold indoors is not healthy.
Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria known as Shigella. Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they have been exposed.
Chlorinated Tris (TDCPP) is a chemical that has been produced in large quantitites over the years primarily as an additive flame retardant for use in polyurethane foams.
Diphtheria spreads by person to person transmission through contact with respiratory secretions when an infected person coughs or sneezes and by direct contact with cutaneous lesions.
Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease. Legionella is naturally found in water, especially warm water.
Indoor air quality is typically a major concern for homeowners when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning.
In recent years, there have been numerous media reports about possible health concerns regarding granite countertops emitting radiation and radon gas into people's homes.
Landfill gases are formed when buried wastes decompose due to microorganisms or volatizes as the waste changes from a liquid or solid to a vapor.
Virtually everyone has experienced sneezing, a running nose or itchy eyes after cleaning their home. The condition is often caused by exposure to household dusts that have become airborne.
Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins in latex rubber. The amount of latex exposure needed to produce sensitization or an allergic reaction is unclear, but it appears that increasing the exposure to latex proteins increases the risk of developing allergic symptoms.
During home renovation and remodeling activities in older homes, potential exposure to lead should be considered.
During the winter or in places with cold weather climates much of the year, there are indoor environmental issues that can cause health and safety concerns for building occupants.
Molds are commonly found in buildings and homes and will grow almost anywhere indoors where there is moisture.
A flood or water incursion can create an indoor environment that could be hazardous to building occupants and restoration workers.
Cladosporium is a common mold found both indoors and outdoors. There are numerous species of Cladosporium and many produce fungal colonies that appear as olive, brown or black in color.
There are serious infections that people can acquire by breathing certain airborne fungal spores. People can come into contact with many of these spores in contaminated indoor environments or from the outdoor air.
If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic. Check suspect materials regularly if you think they may contain asbestos.
The bacteria that cause plague, Yersinia pestis, maintain their existence in a cycle involving rodents and their fleas.
Hexavalent chromium (chromium VI) is a toxic form of the element chromium. Hexavalent chromium compounds are man-made and widely used in many different industries.
Each year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die from the flu.
Silica exposure remains a serious threat to close to several million U.S. workers, including more than 100,000 workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work, and tunneling. Exposure also occurs during many different construction activities and some manufacturing processes.