Tropical Vacations & Lurking Microbes
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.
Work-Related Asthma: Exposure to Cleaning Products and Disinfectants
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.
OSHA Citations - Top 10 for 2017
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 & Campylobacteriosis
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.
Mold After a Disaster
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.
Fungal Infections - 10 Questions to Protect Your Health
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.
Legionella & Health Care Facilities
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.
3D Printers & Potential Airborne Exposure Concerns
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.
Crystalline Silica & Respirable Exposures in Construction
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 & Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
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.
Marijuana Grow Operations & Potential Occupational Exposure Risks
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.
VOCs & New Construction
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).
Chrysotile -The Most Common Form of Asbestos Used in the United States
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.
Most Common & Expensive Homeowners Insurance Claims
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 & Exposure Concerns
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.
Lead - Could It Be In Your Home?
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.
Asthma - What Happens During an Asthma Attack?
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.
Interesting Facts About the Air We Breathe
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.
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) - Occupied Buildings & Construction Activities
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.
OSHA's Top 10 Citations for 2016
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.
Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, TB and How It Spreads
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.
Indoor Mold - Allergen, Irritant, Asthma Trigger and Potential Fungal Pathogen
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.
Antimicrobial Resistance & Environmental Pathogens
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.
Asthma - What is in the Air You Breathe?
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.
Beryllium - New Rule to Protect Workers from Occupational Exposures
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.
Solvents & Exposure Concerns
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.
Gasoline - Occupational & Environmental Exposures
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.
Air Quality Index (AQI) - What It Means For You
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 - Occupational & Environmental Exposures
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 - Tips to Prevent Contamination
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.
Welding Fumes & Exposure 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 - Occupational & Environmental Exposures
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.
Ice Arenas & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Environmental Industry Certificates of Training vs. Accredited Third Party Certifications
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.
Winter Indoor Air Quality Tips
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 & Exposure Concerns
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.
Respiratory Protection for Workers
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.
Wood Smoke Exposure & Your Health
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.
Cobalt & Cobalt Compound Exposure Concerns
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.
Drinking Water Contaminant Categories
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.
Hair Salons & Formaldehyde Exposure Concerns
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.
Aspergillosis & Moldy Indoor Environments
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.
Backyard Poultry & Salmonella Exposure Risks
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.
Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution & Your Health
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) & Occupational Exposure Concerns
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.
Noise & Occupational Exposure Risks
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.
Methylene Chloride & Occupational Exposure Concerns
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.
Superbugs: CDC's 2013 List of the Biggest Drug-Resistant Threats
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 & Exposure Concerns
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 & Occupational Exposure Concerns
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.
Formaldehyde Exposure in RVs, Mobile Homes & Travel Trailers
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 Virus & Occupational Exposure Risks
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 - Occupational & Environmental Exposure Concerns
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.
Mold - EPA's 10 Things You Should Know about Mold
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 Fumes & Occupational Exposure Concerns
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.
Beach Home Maintenance & Indoor Environmental Quality
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.
Ticks & Lyme Disease
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.
Carbon Monoxide Hazards & Boats
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.
Lightning Strikes, Property Damage & Indoor Environmental Quality
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 & Secondhand Exposure
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.
Laundry Room - Fire, Water & Mold Prevention
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 & Exposure Concerns
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.
Water Leaks, Termites & Mold
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.
Air Conditioner Preventive Maintenance & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Urban Gardening & Lead Exposure Concerns
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.
Eyewash Stations & Potential Microbial Contamination Risks from Improper Maintenance
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.
Rodent Infestations, Property Damage & Indoor Environmental Concerns
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.
Diacetyl Workplace Exposure Concerns
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.
Perchlorate & Potential Exposure Concerns
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.
Hailstorms, Property Damage & Potential Indoor Environmental Concerns
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 & Things to Avoid Indoors
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.
Sewer Gas and Exposure Concerns
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 Maintenance Tips for a Healthy Home
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.
Smoke Damage - After the Fire
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.
Cat Allergens and Your Indoor Environment
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, Property Damage & Exposure Concerns
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.
Lead Exposure Risks in the Work Environment
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 & Exposure Concerns
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 - Things You Should Know
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.
Pros and Cons of Carpeting Your Indoor Environment
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.
Furnace Maintenance and Indoor Air Quality
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).
Nanomaterials and Occupational Exposure Concerns
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.
Flood Risks & Property Damage
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.
Water Heaters, Water Damage & Mold
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.
Are You Allergic to Your Dog? Tips to Minimize Allergy Symptoms
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.
Fire Safety & Indoor Air Quality Holiday Season Tips
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.
Allergies & Simple Steps for a Healthier Home
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 (CCA) Treated Wood in Homes & Playgrounds
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 & Exposure Concerns
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.
El Nino - Preventing Water Damage & Mold
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.
Lead Poisoning - Possible Signs & Symptoms in Children
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.
Attached Garages & Indoor Air Quality Concerns
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.
Dental Offices & Laboratories - Occupational and Environmental Exposure Concerns
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.
Wind Damage, Moisture and Mold
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 and Exposure Concerns
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 Maintenance Tips for a Healthy Home
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 & Infection Risks
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.
Coal Dust Exposure & Black Lung Disease
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 & Exposure Concerns
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).
Indoor Pools, Chloramines & Air Quality
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.
Vacation Homes - Things to Consider Before Leaving
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.
Lead in Drinking Water
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 & Streptococcus pneumoniae
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 - Common Interior Sources
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.
Natural Sources of Radiation Exposure
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.
Nail Salons & Chemical Exposure Concerns
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 & Exposure Concerns
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.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos & Exposure Risks
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.
Indoor Air Quality Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
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.
Isocyanates: Exposure Risks & Occupational Asthma
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.
Property Damage Claims & Indoor Environmental 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, Assisted Living Centers & Indoor Environmental Quality
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 - Exposure Risks & Concerns
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.
Electronic Cigarettes & Indoor Environmental Concerns
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.
Cockroaches: A Common Allergen & Asthma Trigger
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.
Salmonella Exposure Risks from Pet Reptiles & Amphibians
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.
Condensation, Humidity, Dust Mites & Mold
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.
Your Home's Air Quality & Family's Health
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.
Sleep Tips for Allergy Sufferers
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.
Endocrine Disruptors & Exposure Concerns
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.
Demolition Projects & Air Quality Concerns
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 (PERC) & Exposure Concerns
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 (SPF) & Chemical Exposure Concerns
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.
COPD - Indoor Allergens & Pollutants
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.
Baby Rooms, Nurseries & Indoor Environmental Quality
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.
Fire, Smoke & Water Damage in Your Property
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.
Pet Birds, IAQ & Your Health
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.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)
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) & Exposure Risks
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.
Mold & Moisture in the Work Environment - Tips for Managing Complaints
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.
Lead Exposure Risks & Shooting Ranges
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.
Antimicrobial Pesticides - What Are They?
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.
Ice Dams, Water Damage & Mold
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.
Holiday Season & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Frozen & Burst Pipes = Water Damage & Mold
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.
Potential Lead Hazards in Children's Toys
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.
Bats in the Attic: Histoplasmosis & Other Health Concerns
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.
DIY Mold Test Kits - Limitations of Settling Plates
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.
Winterize Your Home to Prevent Water Damage and Mold
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.
Basements, Crawl Spaces & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Home Ventilation & Indoor Air Quality
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 - Things to Consider Before Hiring an Asbestos Inspector for Your Home
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.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF)
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.
Home Buying & What You Should Know About Mold
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.
Is it a Common Cold or Allergies?
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 & Exposure Risks
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 (PAHs) & Exposure Risks
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.
Fall Allergies: Indoor & Outdoor Culprits
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 (MAC)
Mycobacterium avium complex, also referred to as MAC, consists of two species of bacteria. They include Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare.
E. coli - In Your Home or on Your Food?
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.
Tropical Storms, Property Damage & Indoor Air Quality Concerns
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.
Lung Cancer & Airborne Contaminants
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.
Back to School IAQ Checklist
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."
Wildfire Smoke Damage to Homes & Buildings
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 Exhaust, Particulate Matter & Air Quality Concerns
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.
Painting Project Tips: Minimizing Exposure to VOCs & Paint Fumes
Indoor painting projects in a home, multi-tenant complex, school or business can create health concerns for anyone exposed to paint odors and fumes.
Apartments, Mold & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Hotels, Motels & Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
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 (MCS)
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 & Exposure Risks
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.
Chinese Drywall & Indoor Environmental Quality
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.
Allergies - Your Home & Indoor Allergens
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 & Indoor Air Quality
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 & Mold Exposure
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.
Ground Level Ozone & Health Risks
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.
Earth Day & Air Quality
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.
Flood Cleanup & Indoor Air Quality
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 Allergies, Pollen & Mold
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 & Human Exposure Risks
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.
Malignant Mesothelioma & Asbestos
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 & Fungal Meningitis
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.
Crawl Spaces & Hidden Mold
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.
Outpatient Care Centers, Healthcare-Associated Infections
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.
Renovation & Remodeling Indoor Environmental Hazards
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.
Lead: Protecting Children from Lead Poisoning
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.
Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
According to the CDC, more than 9,000 healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are caused by CRE each year.
Beryllium & Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD)
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.
Winter Allergies & IAQ
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.
Basements: Could that Smell be Mold?
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 and Indoor Air Quality
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.
Fireplaces & Indoor Air Quality
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.
Phthalates in the Home: What You Should Know
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.
Indoor Mold & the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI)
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.
Common Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Pollutants
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.
Soil Contamination: Does it Exist Near You?
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 & Your Health
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 & Indoor Air Quality
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 Insulation & Asbestos Hazards
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.
Wood Decay, Rot & Surface Fungi
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.
Common Asthma Triggers
For people who suffer from asthma, an attack can occur when they are exposed to environmental triggers.
Could Your Gym Be Making You Sick?
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.
How Mold Gets Into Your Home
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.
Indoor Air Quality Issues in Child Care Facilities
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.
Dampness in Homes & Buildings: Preventing Respiratory Illnesses
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the health effects of living, attending school, or working in damp buildings.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure Risks
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and orderless gas that can provide risks to many individuals.
Pets & Indoor Air Quality: Allergies, Asthma & Odors
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 Exposure Risks at Home & Work
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.
Hidden Mold in Homes & Buildings
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.
Categories of Water in Water Damaged Buildings
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.
Dust Mites: Allergies & Asthma
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.
Arsenic Exposure Risks: At Home & Work
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.
Indoor & Outdoor Allergies
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.
Hazardous (Classified) Locations
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."
Mold: What it Needs to Grow Indoors
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)
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.
Mold in My Home: Now What?
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.
Shigella and Shigellosis: Risks from Contaminated Environments and Food Products
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): Flame Retardants and Baby Products
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.
Corynebacterium diphtheria and Diphtheria
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, Legionnaires' Disease & Hot Tubs
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.
Dirty Ducts & Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is typically a major concern for homeowners when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning.
Granite Countertops: Is Radon and Radiation a Real Concern?
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 Odors: Nuisance or Health Threat?
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.
House Dust Allergens & Indoor Air Quality
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 Allergies: What You Need to Know
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.
Leads Hazards During Home Renovations & Remodeling
During home renovation and remodeling activities in older homes, potential exposure to lead should be considered.
Cold Climates & Indoor Environmental Concerns
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.
Alternaria: An Indoor Air Quality Contaminant
Molds are commonly found in buildings and homes and will grow almost anywhere indoors where there is moisture.
Dry Out Hazards Following a Flood or Water Incursion
A flood or water incursion can create an indoor environment that could be hazardous to building occupants and restoration workers.
Cladosporium: An Indoor Air Quality Contaminant
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.
Airborne Fungal Pathogens
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.
Asbestos: What to Do if You Suspect it's in Your Home
If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic. Check suspect materials regularly if you think they may contain asbestos.
Plague: What You Need to Know
The bacteria that cause plague, Yersinia pestis, maintain their existence in a cycle involving rodents and their fleas.
Hexavalent Chromium & Your Health
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.
Seasonal Influenza (Flu): What You Need to Know
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.
Silicosis & Crystalline Silica
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.
Protecting Your Indoor Environment in the Event of a Dirty Bomb
Many experts believe that the radioactive materials used in a dirty bomb would probably not create enough radiation exposure to cause immediate serious illness, except to those people who are very close to the blast site.
Biological Contaminants in the Home
The typical home is full of biological contaminants. They include bacteria, mold and mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, house dust mites, cockroaches and pollen. If there are sensitized or susceptible individuals in the home, or when these contaminants are at elevated levels, people can become sick.
Avoiding IAQ Problems after a Flood
When cleaning up after a flood, the indoor air quality in a home or office may appear to be the least of the problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present...
Carbon Monoxide Dangers in the Home
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, it can kill you before you are aware it is in even in your home.
VOCs: Things Homeowners Should Know
Educational guide to volatile organic coumpounds (VOCs) found in the home.
Legionnaires' Disease: What You Need to Know
Legionnaires' disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Legionella. The bacteria got its name in 1976, when people at a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion suffered from an outbreak of the disease. Although this type of bacteria was around before 1976, more illness from Legionnaires' disease is being detected now.
IAQA LA Chapter Workshop Video
The Los Angeles Chapter of the Indoor Air Quality Association recently completed their final chapter workshop for 2010. The chapter asked Paul Cochrane, the founder of Cochrane & Associates and the IAQ Video Network...
Meth Lab Dangers - What Every Property Owner & Renter Should Know
Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic super-labs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment.