Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas with AirTek!

Placesetting

Child Guidance Center Holiday Tree Fantasy 2012

Out of the many holiday events we were happy to be involved with this year, one of our favorites was the Child Guidance Center’s Holiday Tree Fantasy!

We sponsored a beautiful tree and gifts in support of this amazing organization and thought you might enjoy some pictures from the event:

The Child Guidance Center was founded in 1967 by a group of concerned parents and mental health professionals. Their mission: to help children and parents achieve healthier, better balanced lives through innovative counseling and educational enrichment programs.

We hope you enjoy the pictures and the music from a performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria” on December 16th in which yours truly was the Soprano Soloist.

Merry Christmas!

Photo by joeymc86

From all of us to all of you!

Nevada Air Duct Cleaning Company Faces Charges for Fake Mold Killer

Las Vegas Boulevard

Photo by jparise via Flickr Creative Commons

The pesticide in question is called Sporicidin and it is used to disinfect air ducts, a business we have a lot of familiarity with. The manufacturers describe it as:

“used extensively for cleaning and restoration applications for mold remediation and sewage, biohazard, and flood clean up.” —Sporicidin website

The air duct cleaning company in Las Vegas has been charged with fraud. They diluted the mold killing solution 10 times, created fake (and misleading) labels and sold the solution under the brand name. The fake labels also made claims not asserted by the manufacturers, that the cleaning product also killed the bacteria and viruses which cause “HIV, Avian Flu, Salmonella, Staph, and MRSA.” (NADCA Press Release)

Even at full strength, Sporicidin is meant to kill mold in air ducts, not bacteria or viruses.

We are concerned with the false claims made by this company, since no one should think they are safe from viruses and bacteria without actually being safe. Not to mention the fact that the product would not even kill mold properly at a 10:1 dilution. We are also concerned with the reputation of air duct cleaning companies in general and hope that everyone looking for air duct disinfection makes absolutely sure to choose a reputable company to ensure that they are getting what they pay for, whether in products or services.

AirTek, is happy to provide these services everywhere in California. Contact us!

We will be taking a break from blogging on Tuesday. See you Thursday and Merry Christmas!

Green Your Clean!

We talk here on the blog about the gases and other contaminants that can pollute your indoor air: radon, VOC’s, formaldehyde and other chemicals really affect the health of your indoor environment. One category of indoor air pollution is easier than the others to eliminate: contaminants from cleaning products.

Everyone wants a cleaner house. Even me, and I don’t like housework! And the grocery store shelves are literally loaded with options like antibacterial cleaners, bleach sprays and no-scrub foams. These products were originally meant to save time for yesterday’s homemakers and we’re all pressed for time even more today, but considering the way homes are built nowadays, with little fresh air allowed in through those sealed walls and windows, a little time to mix up some homemade cleaners can make a big difference.

 

 

New Soot Standards Now in Place

Factory smokestack

We have written about the dangerous particles present in diesel exhaust on the blog earlier this year. Soot is one type of particle found in such exhaust and the US Environmental Protection Agency has just released new standards for soot that should have a positive affect on the quality of our air.

In 1997 soot standards were set at 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged annually. The new standard is set at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Oil industry leaders have expressed concern that this new rule is only the beginning of draconian regulations coming in the future and some politicians have expressed worry that the rule could place economic burdens on already fiscally strapped communities.

However, the EPA holds that an estimated 40,000 premature deaths would be prevented by this lowering of the soot standard and that health care costs could be cut by as much as $4-9 billion every year.

There are certainly costs associated with coming into compliance with the new soot standards–no one disagrees with that. But, as with the retrofitting of diesel trucks, are these costs worth the benefits to health for our population? Hopefully we can have a healthy economy and a healthy populace.

What do you think?

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!

We Care East LA Holiday Event is This Weekend!

Toy Drive 2011

The holidays are almost here and so is one of our very favorite events:

We Care East LA Community Holiday Event

AirTek and Alliance are once again sponsors of this amazing event, with leadership from Albert Rolon, which provides so much to so many, including:

  • Information about community programs for Boys and Girls
  • Information about health and nutrition
  • Free Food Boxes
  • Entertainment for children and families, including Live Music
  • Tamales, Hot Dogs, Coffee and Donuts and more
  • FREE TOYS!

We Care East LA‘s goal is to provide all of these wonderful things for every single family which attends the event and more people attend every year. So the need is greater this year than ever! You have only two more days to drop off a toy!

Won’t you help us make sure every single child goes home with a toy this year? Make that loot pile even taller?

We are collecting new, unwrapped toys in all of our offices from now until the day before the event, December 14th! And if you would like to volunteer at the event, let us know and we will make that happen!

AirTek and Alliance are committed to making a difference in our community. Please join us in that commitment and bring a toy to any of our offices by the end of the day on Friday!!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

Fiberglass and Air Quality

 

When we published yesterday’s blog at Alliance Environmental Group “Is Fiberglass the New Asbestos?” we had no idea we were also opening a discussion about air quality as well, but it turns out that fiberglass is not only an environmental challenge because it is used in so many products that formerly used asbestos, but also because of its increasing presence in our air itself.

From yesterday’s blog post:

According to Wikipedia:

“Fiberglass is a lightweight, extremely strong, and robust material. Although strength properties are somewhat lower than carbon fiber and it is less stiff, the material is typically far less brittle, and the raw materials are much less expensive. Its bulk strength and weight properties are also very favorable when compared to metals, and it can be easily formed using molding processes.”

Fiberglass has been in use since its discovery in 1932. It began to be used in aircraft manufacturing as early as World War II and started being used for car bodies and boats in the 1950’s. Although it is being taken over slowly by carbon fiber, many products make use of fiberglass today including:

Hot tubs
Piping for drinking water and sewers
Office plant display containers
Flat roof systems
In the telecommunications industry to make antennae fit into existing environments
Electrical insulators
Storage tanks
Door surrounds, window canopies and dormers, chimneys, coping systems and other residental construction items
Insulation
Surfboards
High end bicycles
Circuit boards
Wind Turbine Blades
Coils in MRI scanners
Re-enforcement of asphalt pavement, as a fabric or mesh interlayer

This is most definitely NOT a complete list of the uses of fiberglass.

Glass wool fibers are classified by the National Toxicology Program as “[r]easonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Workers in fiberglass factories suffer from more lung cancer than other workers. Fiberglass may even be more carcinogenic than asbestos and the danger is exacerbated by the fact that fiberglass is literally everywhere. There are measurable levels of fiberglass particles in the air we all breathe.

Today I came across an article by Daniel Friedman which discusses not only his findings of fiberglass particles in the indoor air of buildings with fiberglass duct material and fiberglass insulation and Mr. Friedman’s belief that these particles constitute a health risk. Our discussion on LinkedIn also generated a comment about odors in fiberglass insulation that has become wet, even after it has dried and mold growth in fiberglass insulation.

At AirTek we are concerned with everything that can contaminate indoor air, especially if it comes from duct and ventilation systems. We will be keeping an eye out for news about fiberglass products which may be contaminating our air, perhaps even from the ducts themselves.

Read our entire blog post: “Is Fiberglass the New Asbestos?”

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!

 

9 Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality at the Holidays

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!

Improve the Indoor Air in Your Home

• A live Christmas tree will takes carbon dioxide out of the air in your home and has been doing so all its life.

• Bring in some houseplants that improve the indoor air: English Ivy, Gerbera Daisies, Chrysanthemums and others. Add to your seasonal decorations with some live greenery!

• 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.

Avoid Allergic Reactions While Traveling

• 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!

American Cities Reduce Secondhand Smoke

Map of Major Cities in US

Have the smoking laws changed where you live in recent years? Your answer is most likely “Yes.”

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control released the results of a study on smoking in American cities which showed huge changes in our smoking regulations–and our habits–all over the country.

In 2000, only one city in the list of the 50 largest had smoking regulations prohibiting the use of tobacco in all indoor areas of private workplaces, restaurants, and bars. That city was San Jose, California. Today, 30 cities of the top 50 have either state or local laws regulating smoking.

What cities are they?

New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
Dallas, TX
San Jose, CA
Jacksonville, FL
Indianapolis, IN
San Francisco, CA
Austin, TX
Columbus, OH
Fort Worth, TX
Charlotte, NC
Detroit, MI
El Paso, TX
Memphis, TN
Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Seattle, WA
Washington, DC
Nashville-Davidson, TN
Denver, CO
Louisville-Jefferson, KY
Milwaukee, WI
Portland, OR
Las Vegas, NV
Oklahoma City, OK
Albuquerque, NM
Tucson, AZ
Fresno, CA
Sacramento, CA
Long Beach, CA
Kansas City, MO
Mesa, AZ
Virginia Beach, VA
Atlanta, GA
Colorado Springs, CO
Omaha, NE
Raleigh, NC
Miami, FL
Cleveland, OH
Tulsa, OK
Oakland, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Wichita, KS
Arlington, TX

Is your city on the list?

The Surgeon General says, “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children.” These American cities are safer for those who don’t smoke and encourage smokers to quit.

Sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to me!

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!