lead poisoning

Lead Poisoning Still A Concern for California Workers

Thousands of workers who work in different industries are exposed to lead. Many workers who get tested for lead in their blood have high levels.

Lead has become a concern for California workers because lead is a common pollutant.

Those who work in different industries that require workers to be expose to lead not only exposed themselves but can expose their families. Toxic lead levels especially in children can produce learning disabilities as well as hearing loss.

Lead poisoning is preventable.There are several ways you can help prevent work- related lead poisoning.

How to Prevent Lead Poisoning in the work area:

  • Assist employers in lead safety practices
  • Identify lead poisoned workers
  • Get proper medical attention and medical care for workers
  • Track adult blood levels
  • If possible remove work clothes and put it in a plastic bag
  • Wear proper safety equipment and after work wash face and hands

These are simple tasks that one can do if you work in an area where lead may be present. If you have any further questions speak with your manager so that he/she can better assist you.

At AirTek we are strong advocates of caring for the environment and caring about the air quality in different environments. We focus on achieving a cleaner, healthier, and more energy efficient indoor environment.

Contact your local AirTek office to set up an appointment with us.

To follow other indoor and outdoor air news, be part of our Facebook Community Page and join the conversation via Twitter

 

SLIDESHOW: We Care East LA Community Holiday 2014

For our 500th post (hard to believe!), we would like to share a slideshow of this year’s We Care East LA Community Holiday party that took place on Saturday, December 13th.

600 families attended and all went home with both food and toys–1500 toys all together!

Great thanks to everyone who donated, especially Carstar LaHabra Collision for being our Secret Santa and donating $500 worth of toys to the Toy Drive!

Enjoy!

kitchen exhaust system

Ensure Your Kitchen Exhaust System is Regularly Serviced

Fire in restaurants usually begin in the kitchen and can cause severe problems to employees and to the property. These fire hazards can be managed with regular and professional maintenance and cleaning of the exhaust system.

When these fires originate in the cooking area, the fire can spread to the exhaust system. A build up of grease can ignite a fire and threaten the business and safety of the public.

Benefits of a Clean Kitchen Exhaust System:

  • Will ensure a secure cooking and serving environment.
  • The system can work at it’s best performance
  • Create a safe and clean environment for employees and staff.
  • Business does not run the risk of having insurance claims rejected.
  • Better ventilation for smoke and odor removal.
  • Compliance with local and national fire and health codes.

Consistent maintenance of the kitchen exhaust system in your commercial restaurant of facility can ensure the safety and primarily defend your business from a fire hazard.

Visit the International Kitchen Cleaning Association website to view an exhaust system inspection schedule.

AirTek understands the importance of properly maintaining the kitchen exhaust system of your business. if your company needs kitchen hood exhaust cleaning and any other hospitality services contact us to set up an appointment.

To follow other indoor and outdoor air news, be part of our Facebook Community Page and join the conversation via Twitter

Trees and Indoor Air

Holiday Trees and Indoor Air

Are you going out for your holiday tree this weekend? You may be putting it off a little while longer, but photos are starting to pop up everywhere. Do you always get a real tree? Or do you have an artificial tree in the garage that you bring out every December? Trees and Indoor air quality are connected:

Pros for real trees:

  • That lovely pine smell in the house
  • Recyclable
  • Can support a local grower or charity
  • A live tree can be planted after the holidays and actually improves the air in your home.

Cons for real trees:

  • Messy
  • Cut trees can’t be replanted
  • Can bring mold, other contaminants or insect pests into your home
  • Fire hazard

Pros for artificial trees:

  • Buy it once, use for many years
  • No need for disposal after the holidays
  • Don’t bring in outside contaminants
  • More design choices

Cons for artificial trees:

  • Manufacturing and shipping have a large carbon footprint
  • Storage space
  • Less traditional
  • May be made from allergenic materials

Did you know that you can rent a live tree which can be used again and again?

If you choose a real tree, make sure to keep it well watered. Many house fires over the holidays involve dry Christmas trees that are placed too close to heaters, candles or power outlets. LED lights are bright and much cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs. 

We also recommend that you hose off the tree outside before bringing it in to remove any mold

So which is better, real or artificial? The answer is it depends!

Happy tree shopping!

energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency Vs Indoor Air Quality

Energy efficiency has been a strong demand in the residential and commercial industry. As the industry made a shift to being more “green,” manufacturers have made products that are more energy efficiency.

On the other hand, indoor air quality has also been a very important to thousands of home owners and commercial property owners. Do people care more about saving more energy or creating a healthier indoor environment, or both?

Indoor Air Quality more Important than Energy Efficiency?

According to greenbuilding.com, “The second most important driver for homeowners to buy green homes was improved indoor air quality, especially when children are in the house.” We all like to save money on our energy bill. However, if your HVAC system is not working well your system will work harder, creating your energy bill to rise.

Not having a functional system, can also affect the indoor air quality because your system may distribute un-healthy air.

Poor indoor air quality can begin to affect your health and later on become a issue. I think they both can play an important role in a home. If you are saving money and creating a healthier indoor environment you will have a comfortable indoor environment.

AirTek has helped many homes and businesses create healthier, cleaner and more energy efficient environments for 25 years. Contact your local AirTek office to set up an appointment with us.

To follow other indoor and outdoor air news, be part of our Facebook Community Page and join the conversation via Twitter

 

No-Burn Days in SoCal

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire–but not on No-Burn Days!

In Northern California, the Winter Spare-the-Air season is well under way. And in Southern California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is keeping a close eye on the air quality outdoors. Do you know how to check your outdoor air quality and what to do when it is less than ideal?

No-Burn Days in Northern California

Before you light the fireplace or backyard firepit, always check the air quality in your area. It’s that simple. If you are in Northern California, go to Spare the Air. This helpful non-profit website not only tells you the air quality in real time, it provides a 2-day air quality forecast so you can plan ahead.

“When a Winter Spare the Air Alert is in effect, it is illegal to burn wood, manufactured fire logs, pellets, or any other solid fuels in your fireplace, woodstove or outdoor fire pit.”

If you get all of your heat from wood stoves, you are exempt from the no-burn rule, but otherwise, you should not bun on No-Burn Days.

No-Burn Days in Southern California

In SoCal, we rely on the South Coast Air Quality Management District to keep us informed about our local outdoor air quality. This government agency “is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, among the smoggiest regions of the U.S.”

The SCAQMD provides an air quality check tool where you can enter your zip code and find out the air quality in real time in your area. You can see in the photo above that as of 1:30pm, we had some moderate particle pollution in some areas, but most of the district was green today. We hope it stays that way! Yesterday we were fine in the morning, but a no-burn alert was issued at midday.

Of course, we know that the indoor air can be even more polluted than the outdoor air, and so we should think about improving that as well by:

Choosing green cleaning products

Running fan the fan over the stove when cooking

Purchasing low or no-VOC paints and varnishes for home decorating projects

Bringing plants indoors to absorb indoor pollutants like formaldehyde

Letting dry cleaning air out outside, not leaving it in plastic bags in the closet

Not using air fresheners that add scents to the indoor air

Washing hands with soap and water instead of hand sanitizer

Going unscented

With air pollution thought to influence health problems from allergies and asthma to heart disease and ADHD, it is never a bad time to check your outdoor air for particulate pollution and be thoughtful about the air you breathe indoors. Breathing is basic. The air deserves our attention.

duct system

A Bad Duct System Can Lead to Poor Indoor Air Quality

Broken, dirty, and bad duct systems can lead to poor indoor air quality which is a problem for many homeowners and property owners.  Indoor air quality (IAQ) should be one of the highest priorities for anyone charged with maintaining a home and for those who own or manage commercial properties.

Poor air quality can lead to poor health. Many problems sometimes begin with the HVAC system. A duct system that is not working properly can lead to poor indoor air quality.

We will discuss why it is important to monitor and seek a professional technician to service your system, so that your system won’t fail and cause poor indoor air quality.

Inspect Your Duct System:

1. Leaky Ducts

A bad duct system can cause many problems and it can start with leaky ducts. Leaky ducts will pull in bad stuff and distribute it throughout the home. A disconnected duct that is connected in a crawlspace or basement can be very bad. Worst case scenario, a dead animal can be in the crawlspace and even the best filtration system can delay the system to purify the air.

2. Unbalanced Ducts

Unbalanced ducts can also result in causing the air quality to be poor in a home. An unbalanced duct system will make the system work harder because of missing units of supply air that infiltrates from outside the house. The system can supply air from other places like the crawlspace or basement and it is air that you do not want to breathe.

3. Poor Humidity Control

A poor duct system can reduce moisture control. Leading mold to grow by the air vents and even throughout a system. When mold and mildew is present, it can cause multiple health issues.Poor humidity can create an uncomfortable indoor environment in your home or business.

The duct system in your home is a critical component in your indoor air quality. AirTek has helped many homes and businesses create healthier, cleaner and more energy efficient environments for 25 years. Contact your local AirTek office to set up an appointment with us.

To follow other indoor and outdoor air news, be part of our Facebook Community Page and join the conversation via Twitter

Poinsettias

Tips for Improving Holiday Air Quality

The air is brisk and smells of pine and cinnamon. Cider is on the stove, cookies in the oven and guests are on their way.

Or, even better, you are making your plans to visit family and friends!

How can you improve the indoor air in your home for your guests and avoid allergic reactions and asthma attacks that could ruin your holiday fun? Here are some tips to help make sure everyone’s holiday is merry and bright!

Improving Holiday Air Quality

A live Christmas tree will remove carbon dioxide from the air in your home–it has been doing so all its life!

Houseplants improve indoor air quality: English Ivy, Gerbera Daisies, Chrysanthemums and others. Add to your seasonal decorations with some live greenery. Give poinsettias a chance!

Dust your guest room thoroughly and wash linens in hot water to kill dust mites.

Offer to keep pets isolated while allergic guests are present so they don’t have to ask. Reactions to pet dander can ruin an otherwise happy occasion.

If you’re lighting that Yule log, make sure there is fresh air coming into your home—the fireplace can take a lot of oxygen out of the air in a well-sealed residence and manufactured fire logs can pollute your air more than firewood. And don’t forget to check the outdoor air quality in your area to make sure it’s not a No-Burn Day!

Avoiding Allergic Reactions While Traveling

Sometimes you are not staying in your own home, but you can minimize asthma and allergy triggers when you are away from home, too:

If you are allergic to fancy, scented soaps, bring your own soap when you travel.

Go ahead and ask if your hosts can keep their pets in an isolated area if they don’t offer. It might be awkward, but it could also save your holiday.

Bring your own pillow or allergen-proof pillow cover if you’re sleeping over.

If you have serious food allergies, offer to bring a dessert or side dish that you can eat to add to the feast.

The holidays are the perfect time to get together with friends and family we don’t usually get to see. Make a resolution before the New Year to improve the air in your home and everyone will have a wonderful time—including you!

For more information about indoor air quality, air duct cleaning, kitchen vent cleaning, dryer vent cleaning and other commercial and residential indoor air challenges, please contact AirTek!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on Asbestos, Bed Bugs, Mold, Lead and other environmental issues, Like us at Alliance Environmental Group on Facebook!

wood burning

Indoor Air Study: Residential Wood Burning

 

Wood burning can become a health risk for communities and for those who are more sensitive than others. A new research paper published by Open Journal of Air Pollution, discussed and explains the impact that woodsmoke can be to a population.We would like to bring public awareness about how infiltration of black carbon particles from residential woodsmoke is spread into nearby homes because of wood burning. Most people spend their time indoors when woodsmoke is at its peak in the evenings and at night. Woodsmoke can affect someone who may be exercising outdoors and can also affect those who are indoors. Fine particles can be measured and found in the air and scientists in this new study found several variations of large and small size range particles. Different factors influence the indoor and outdoor concentration ratio that can be found.

Does sheltering indoors effectively reduce a person’s exposure to woodsmoke particles and from wood burning?

Researchers took 12 hours of integrated filter samples from indoors and outdoors. For each home that participated in the study, a filter sampler was placed indoors and a second filter was placed near the exterior of the home. According to the study, two homes reported burning wood during the sampling period and the indoor concentrations were over two times higher than the outside concentration. Based on the study that was done it states, ” Residential environments provide inhabitants with relatively little protection from generated wood smoke particles.” If an individual is sensitive than others and lives near by a home that is burning  wood their indoor environment can be affected by the wood smoke.

According to Spare the Air, “Wood burning produces one-third of the particle pollution on a given winter night.”  The particulates that are emitted in the air when wood is burned, can travel inside the lungs and make it difficult for individuals who have respiratory issues to breathe easily.  If you are in need of indoor air solutions for your home or for your company, AirTek offers several indoor air solutions for several industries.To follow other indoor and outdoor air news, be part of our Facebook Community Page and join the conversation via Twitter. Download the entire research paper here and let us know what your thoughts are on this topic.

Toy Drive

9 Days Left in our Toy Drive!

There are only nine days left now to donate to our Toy Drive in support of We Care East LA–did you do some shopping over the long Thanksgiving weekend?

We are accepting donations at our corporate offices, 990 West Tenth Street in Azusa, but we can also arrange for your donations to be picked up! Just call us at 877-858-6213!

We Care East L.A. provides toys for children who might not otherwise receive any holiday gifts, as well as boxes of food to help families prepare nourishing meals during the holiday season.

Since we started participating in the We Care East L.A. Toy Drive in 2010, the need has only grown. The economy has improved, but times are still hard for many families.

The We Care East L.A. holiday community event for 2014 will be held on Saturday, December 13th. There will be free food, free toys for children and free groceries for families in need, but they can only serve everyone if we work together.

Won’t you help? Only 9 days remain!!

Thank you!

 

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