Monthly Archives: April 2012

VIDEO: Some People Are More Sensitive to Airborne Contaminants

Sorry for the late post! My computer is acting up and I’m going to do this quick before the hamster inside packs it in for the day!

Here is a very informative video from the Indoor Air Quality Association (of which we are a member) about the fact that, even if there is only one person in a building who has health problems due to airborne contaminants, they might just be the only one who is highly sensitive. It doesn’t mean there is nothing there!

Hope to have an easier day tomorrow! But bye for now!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Happy Healthy Schools Day!

Rebecca Mieliwocki

In a lovely example of synchronicity–for my life anyway–it’s Healthy Schools Day AND my daughter’s English teacher was announced as National Teacher of the Year by President Obama this morning!

As important as creative and talented teachers certainly are, it is also important to provide a healthy environment for learning to all children and their teachers and administrators.

A typical child spends about 1300 hours in school buildings each year and staff spends even longer. Schools are, on average, about 42 years old, which means they were probably built before the materials we know to be toxic today were still being commonly used.

Children have a higher respiratory rate than adults and so are in more danger from contaminants like:

  • VOC’s from building materials and cleaning products
  • Mold
  • Particles and allergens
  • Bacteria and other biological contaminants
  • Asbestos dust
  • Lead dust
  • Outdoor air pollutants which cannot escape once they get inside

What can we do to improve the indoor air in our school buildings?

  • Open the windows!
  • Use unscented or low VOC cleaning products–or better yet soap and water!
  • Paint with no or low-VOC paint
  • Provide water-based, unscented markers
  • Ban air fresheners
  • Don’t use scented personal care products (being the mother of a 5th grader, however, encouraging the use of unscented deodorant is understandable!)
  • Repairing any dampness or leaks immediately to inhibit the growth of mold

I read a story this morning about a school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (where I used to live) where the parents are protesting an asbestos abatement project because they are performing the abatement in the evenings, but during the school year. The parents want them to wait until summer. They have very real concerns about asbestos fibers being released into the school and inhaled by students during the day, even thought the work is being done at night.

I’m glad to hear that people are more aware of asbestos and other contaminants in the air that their children breathe and encourage the New York City school system to 1) be transparent about what they are doing and how they are keeping the children safe; and 2) to make sure that they are indeed safe before doing anything that might make the indoor environment for these children worse than it already is.

Remember, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

Happy Healthy Schools Day and if you would like more information about 7th Grade English Teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki from Luther Burbank Middle School, click HERE!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Retrofitting HVAC Systems Saves Money and Improves Air Quality

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A research study performed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has determined that retrofitting large HVAC systems on the roof of a large commercial building could reduce the cost of heating and cooling from 25-25%. In these days of high energy prices, that is a huge amount of money!

Computer models were used to figure out the difference in cost based on use of capacity controls, demand-controlled ventilation, supply fan speeds and air-side economizers on four types of structures: supermarkets, strip malls, standalone retail stores and small office buildings.

The biggest difference in cost was found in small office buildings, which were projected to attain an energy cost savings of a whopping 46%. And one small office building in San Francisco could reduce its cost by 67%! The milder the climate where the building was located, the higher the level of savings. California, anyone?

There has never been a better time to think about saving money on energy costs for your commercial building. Having a clean ventilation system is an important—and easy—way to reduce the workload and energy use of your HVAC system as well as increase the lifespan of your equipment.

In California, AirTek offers Commercial Duct Cleaning services that can reduce your energy costs as well as improve the indoor air quality in your commercial building. We can send a highly-trained, professional team to your location quickly and efficiently and help you set up a maintenance schedule which will ensure your indoor environment is always clean and healthy and your energy bills are as low as possible!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Albert Rolon Gets a New Certification!

NADCA logo

We are incredibly proud of our own Albert Rolon on being awarded Certification Credentials from The HVAC Inspection, Restoration & Maintenance Association!

Albert was among a select group of professionals who passed the examination and is awarded the title of “Certified Ventilation System Inspector” or CVI. This distinction recognizes Albert’s knowledge of HVAC components and systems and the proper methods for inspection that meets the NADCA’s standards.

With indoor air quality in the news and more public awareness of the importance of having a clean HVAC system, the demand for certified inspectors and assessments has increased dramatically. This certification ensures that Albert, and AirTek, can offer exceptional inspection and assessment services in California.

Albert is an Indoor Air Quality Operations Manager at AirTek. He brings more than 20 years of experience in air quality control and environmental safety and has managed projects in duct cleaning, lead remediation, kitchen exhaust cleaning maintenance, fire damper inspections, mold remediation with infection control barriers and HVAC air handler replacements. He has also assisted with several firewall penetration installations and inspections of fire stopping in compliance with current fire codes.

Albert also co-created the ECU cube that is widely used in healthcare facilities.

Albert has also led Dust Buster training classes for contractors and vendors to be able to work in healthcare environments, as well as emergency response decontamination training and respirator fit instruction/fitting.

In addition to his latest certification, Albert is certified as an Air System Cleaning Specialist as well as in rescue and assist, respirator fit tested, and dust buster. Albert is also trained in OSHA Construction Safety & Health, American Red Cross CPR and First Aid, California Department of Public Health Lead-Related Construction and as an Asbestos Contractor Supervisor.

AirTek is very proud of Albert’s accomplishments and we are happy to have him as part of our team!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Preparing a Sleeping Area for a Child with Asthma

Guest post from Jim Gates, CAFS:

 

When you are dealing with a child with asthma, it is very important to ensure that you do everything that you can to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring. An asthma attack can be devastating to a young body and severe attacks can result in hospitalization and a significant recovery time.

According to the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma-in-children/AS00034, because asthma can’t be cured, it’s important for parents to have formal a plan to minimize symptoms. One important part of this type of plan lies with making sure that children with asthma have a sleeping area designed to minimize exposure to symptom triggers.

Three Steps to Preparing a Sleeping Area to Minimize Symptoms

In order to prepare a sleeping area for a child with asthma, attention to detail and a high level of cleanliness is necessary for creating an area that will be comfortable for the child to sleep in.

1. Dust Furniture With Dust Capturing Product

The first thing that you should do to prepare a sleeping area for a child with asthma is dust the furniture in the room with a product that captures dust instead of just brushing it off of surfaces. The frame, headboard, and footboard of the bed should be dusted thoroughly to limit the amount of dust that is around the child while he or she is sleeping. If you notice that there seems to be a lot of dust in the sleeping area, you may want to consider installing a high quality air filter into the home’s HVAC system to remove more of the dust from the air inside the home.

2. Cover Mattress And Box Spring With Protective Cover

Dust mites and their offspring live and breed deep within the mattresses and box springs used in sleeping areas across the nation. To protect people with allergies and asthma, some manufacturers have begun making protective coverings for all sizes of mattresses and box springs that prevent allergens from coming through the covering including baby beds and toddler beds. These coverings are used to cover the mattress before the sheets and blankets are put on to provide an additional layer of protection from anything that may be in the mattress.

3. Wash Bedding And Pillows

Before placing a child with asthma in a sleeping area, all of the bedding and pillows should be washed thoroughly using the washing directions the manufacturer has placed on the tags of the items. Washing these items before allowing the child to sleep on them will remove any contaminants or pollutants that may be present on the items that you may not know about. This is especially important for bedding that has been recently purchased as many companies spray their products with chemicals before shipping to protect them from pests, bacteria, and mold. If the child likes to have stuffed toys in their sleeping area, these should be washed thoroughly as well.

About the Author

Jim Gates, CAFS, is the brand manager for Quality Filters, Inc. (http://qualityfilters.com), a leading manufacturer and distributor of high quality home and commercial air filters. The company’s products are available online at BuyFilters.com (http://buyfilters.com).

Great thanks to Jim for his informative post! I will be back on Tuesday with tips on how to Green Your Clean!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Happy National Networking Week!

 

We would love to connect with you on social media and here on the blog–here’s what you get and how to get it wherever you are!

Since you’re here already, I suspect you know about the AirTek Blog, but did you know that we publish every Tuesday and Thursday before 10am? Our topics range from government regulations about airborne contaminants to helpful tips for improving your indoor environment.  We also feature guest posts by Jim Gates from the Breathe blog once a month.  If you have a topic to suggest, we would be happy to write about that, too!

What you may not know is that our environmental services division, Alliance Environmental Group, also has a blog which publishes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before 10am.  The Alliance Blog talks about everything from bed bugs and other pests to crime and trauma scenes and lots more! We report on the news about asbestos, toxic mold, lead paint, government regulations and standards and how to solve your environmental challenges.

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If you don’t have a lot of time to surf, you can subscribe to our blogs in your RSS reader:

AirTek Indoor Air Solutions Blog RSS Feed

Alliance Environmental Group Blog RSS Feed

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Facebook

Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek both have active Facebook pages. “Like” us on Facebook for pictures and updates on events and ways you can help us give back to our communities! We post photos and links to news stories that you might be interested in as well. We would also love to chat with you! We are posting and monitoring every business day!

AirTek on Facebook

Alliance on Facebook

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Twitter

Our time on Twitter is well spent establishing and building relationships with other users talking about the issues that are important to us–and you! For example, the movement to ban asbestos and promote asbestos awareness is very important to us, as well as the issues surrounding lead poisoning and new research on the dangers of toxic mold. We are actively promoting and retweeting important news stories about these and other health issues and helpful hints for improving your environment. Follow us and we will follow you back!

@AirTekCA

@AllianceEnviro

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LinkedIn

If you’re really into networking, you might be on LinkedIn more than other platforms and we are there, too! You can follow our Company for updates and discussions and even connect with us!

AirTek on LInkedIn

Alliance Environmental Group on LinkedIn

CEO Joe McLean’s Profile

Director of Client Relations, Bill Wood on LinkedIn

Jackie Mezeul, Marketing in the Bay Area

Roxana Zenkel, Marketing in the Los Angeles area

And feel free to connect with me: Wendy Stackhouse on LinkedIn

Hope you had a lovely weekend and that we see you soon on social media!

Fusobacterium: Commonly Found and Dangerous

The Indoor Air Quality Association uploaded a new video this week and, as usual, it is very informative and interesting. I always learn something from them!

This time they are teaching us about the Fusobacterium, a rod shaped pathogen that can cause gum disease, skin ulcers and Lemierre’s Syndrome.

Lemierre’s Syndrome can develop when a young healthy person contracts Strep Throat. The Fusobacteria enters the bloodstream via the lesions in the throat and creates an infected blood clot. This blood clot then can travel through the body to the heart or lungs and is potentially fatal. Another good reason to treat possible Strep Throat promptly!

Gum disease is linked with heart attacks and skin ulcers are nothing to be neglectful of, either.

The Fusobacterium is found pretty much everywhere, but is especially dangerous in hospitals where it can enter the body via surgery or other procedures.

Keeping the ventilation systems in hospitals and other healthcare facilities clean and sanitized is an essential part of providing high quality care and treatment to patients. All such facilities should be following a regular schedule of duct cleaning and maintenance to ensure that there are no bacterial contaminants threatening the wellbeing of the people who are there for care.

AirTek offers duct cleaning and sanitizing for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, medical offices and anywhere that dangerous bacteria can be a threat. Contact us if you need to clean or maintain your healthcare facility’s ventilation systems anywhere in California.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome 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 environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!