Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Alliance Family is Growing!

Seacliff logo

We are very proud to announce that earlier this month our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, acquired Seacliff Environmental Services, a local leader in mold abatement based in Aptos, California serving Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

Alliance’s acquisition of Seacliff expands our Northern and Central California service areas as well as expanding our highly trained and certified staff to include:

EPA-certified inspector
EPA-certified contractor
American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)
Council-certified Microbial Remediator (ACAC)
OSHA-certified S.S.T.
Water Restoration Technician (IICRC)
Certified Green Building professionals

Mike Fort, principal of Seacliff Environmental, told us, “We are excited to join the Alliance Environmental family. It provides us with the opportunity to offer a greater range of services to our existing and future customers.” AirTek agrees and we are glad to have you in our family, as well!

Stay up-to-date on news from Alliance Environmental Group as well as information about our services areas on the Alliance blog: lead paint, asbestos, mold, bed bugs, trauma cleanup, and other environmental challenges. And come back to the AirTek blog for information and tips on indoor air, pollution, and how to keep your environment clean and healthy.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Social Media Manager and Blogger for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek. She writes about environmental challenges on the Alliance blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and about air quality on the AirTek blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays! If you see a story we might be interested in, please let us know in the comments or on social media and we will follow any leads you give us! Like Alliance on Facebook and follow Alliance on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

Dust Mites, Allergies and Asthma

Paul Cochrane at the Indoor Air Quality Network recently posted this video about dust mites and their contributions to allergy and asthma attacks.

Did you know…there can be as many as 100 dust mites in 1 gram of household dust?

If you have a dust allergy, it’s probably the dust mites that are the culprits.

What can you do about dust mites?

The video had some great advice:

Launder your bedding once a week

Replace feather pillows with synthetic

Vacuum with a well-filtered machine

But if you need to kill all the dust mites, not just clean them up, heat treatment is an effective method of eliminating dust mites from your indoor environment. Check out the information at Alliance Environmental Group about heat and dust mites!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our sister company 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!

 

New EPA Rules about Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde molecule

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen which we are all exposed to every day. According to the California Department of Public Health, formaldehyde is used in making:

  • Chemical resins
  • Wrinkle-proof fabrics
  • Latex paints
  • Dyes
  • Plastics
  • Paper products
  • Cosmetics
It is found in:
  • Insulation materials
  • Plywood
  • Particle board
  • Adhesives
  • Glues
  • Paint primers
  • Fingernail products

Any of these materials can give off formaldehyde vapors that can make you sick.

But there is some good news! Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released new rules about how much formaldehyde can be “emitted from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States.” A second rule requires that manufacturers be certified to be meeting formaldehyde emission standards by an accredited third-party certifier.

At AirTek, we are glad to see formaldehyde vapors being taken seriously by government regulators. What can you do to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde right now?

Choose solid wood. More expensive, solid wood does not give off the gases of pressed wood products.

Unbox outside. When your beautiful new furniture is delivered, unwrap it outside and leave it out there for a week or so to let the gases dissipate before you bring it into the nursery.

Paint early and with the windows open. You want to let the volatile organic compounds in paint come out and proceed to the outdoors before bringing any furniture, carpets or other textiles in. Anything porous can absorb the chemicals and keep them in your environment.

Get some houseplants. Here is a link to a long list of plants which actually remove formaldehyde from the air.

Formaldehyde just got easier to avoid. It’s up to us to get rid of what we’ve already got!

Allergies: Inside and Out

Potted plants

Image by Greenbay via stock.xchng

You might feel like your allergies are going to be worse outside. If newly mowed grass or pollen are your main culprits, you might be right. But if you have allergies all the time, you might want to think about some places in your home that could be triggering your symptoms:

Plants–We’ve told you on the AirTek blog about plants that can help to remove harmful chemicals in your indoor air and we don’t want you to get rid of that spider plant just yet. But mold can grow on pots in saucers. Inspect your plants once a week for mold.

Pets–It’s probably not the fur, it’s more likely to be the dander–dead skin cells–from your pet that set you off. Wash your pet’s bedding often and consider not letting them sleep in your bed or on the couch if you have allergies. Man’s best friend may not be best friends with your nose.

Carpeting, Rugs and Upholstery–All of these textiles can be harboring dust mites, tiny bugs which feed on the dead skin cells from your body. If your allergies are severe, you might want to consider changing to hardwood floors, but a vacuum with a HEPA filter can help, too.

Books–Do you sneeze when you open an book you haven’t looked at for a while? Before switching to an e-reader (although they are great), consider vacuuming your bookshelves or storing your books in closed containers.

Air Conditioners–Ideally your air conditioner should help improve your indoor air. Change the filter often and make sure your air conditioner is not staying wet with condensation, anywhere there is water there can be mold and spores getting into your air.

In today’s well-sealed homes, when particles, pollution, chemicals and mold spores get in, they have trouble getting out. Be sure to keep your ventilation system clean and well-maintained so your indoor air isn’t worse than the air outside!

 

VIDEO: Indoor Air Quality Association Membership

Member of IAQA

We are proud to be members of the Indoor Air Quality Association, which “was established in 1995 to promote uniform standards, procedures and protocols in the Indoor Air Quality industry.”

IAQA Membership provides continuing education and certification in best practices as well as peace of mind for consumers when choosing Air Quality professionals like those on our team at AirTek.

They also provide informative videos like this one, about the importance of using home inspectors certified by the IAQA to make sure that your new home is healthy and properly maintained before closing:

At AirTek, we take professional development very seriously and our highly trained team is always ready to provide the services you need. Contact AirTek for commercial and residential duct cleaning, kitchen exhaust hood cleaning, dryer vent cleaning and power washing services anywhere in California. Use us when you need to clean, maintain or decontaminate your HVAC systems and ensure that your home or facility is healthy and safe.

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!

Electrosmog Part 1: What is Electrosmog?

Smartphone

I learned a new word this week. You might have heard about worries that cell phones cause brain cancer or magnetic fields being dangerous, but with the proliferation of electronic devices, maybe we are putting more in the air than just particles and volatile organic compounds.

I’m thinking about all the electronics in my house and how many of them are on right now. The phone, the TV, the videogame console, the laptop, my daughter’s laptop, my husbands laptop, the router that makes it all possible. It’s summer vacation and the middle of the telecommuting workday.

But is all that healthy for my family?

Electrosmog is electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless technology and electricity. The most common sources of wireless electrosmog are:

  • Cell phones
  • Baby monitors
  • Cell phone towers and transmitters
  • Cordless phones
  • Wireless networks

Exposure to Electrosmog can lead to health problems and electrosensitivity or electrohypersensitivity, which can cause symptoms such as:

  • Behavioral problems in kids
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Blood pressure fluctuations
  • Skin irritation

As with most pollutants, children, seniors and the immune-compromised are most at risk from developing these problems due to electrosmog. In Sweden, you can even claim disability due to electrohypersensitivity.

Although cleaning your ducts will not get rid of Electrosmog, if you have indoor air challenges in your home due to bacteria, contaminants, particles or are in need of maintenance to your ventilation system, we are here to help! Contact AirTek to improve your indoor air quality!

In Part 2, we will examine the evidence of the harms caused by Electrosmog and Part 3 will cover how to prevent it or minimize its dangers to you and your family. Now I’m going to go unplug something.