Monthly Archives: September 2013

Better Air Quality Can Reduce Negative Health Outcomes

Keep Calm and BREATHE AIR Poster

Every morning I really enjoy reading the latest news on the industry or on air quality. Today one of the topics that really intrigued me was from abcnews.com. We all want to breathe clean air to reduce any negative health outcomes. Recently, New York City has had the cleanest air in decades.The Community Air service was able to measure the air quality in New York and was able to find great results. Some of those findings were a lower percent in sulfur dioxide has increased in the air. In addition, soot pollution has also gone done. Other factors that have contributed to a cleaner NYC air, is banning smoking areas, switching over to cleaner burning natural gas, and also switching to lower pollution heating oils. According to raconline.org, the purpose of “The Community Air Service” is designed to provide financial assistance to small communities to help them enhance their air service. Projects should focus on enhancements that will be responsive to a community’s air transportation needs and whose benefits can be expected to continue after the initial expenditures.

Any decrease in pollution helps not only the entire city but the members of the communities. Seeing the positive outcomes of having a cleaner and breathable environment, make others aware of the importance of air quality. We can help decrease pollution by education ourselves on what causes pollution in the air we breathe. Knowing those factors can help heavily populated cities like Los Angeles, reach lower levels of pollution. Knowing the importance of air quality outside help us establish a better way of improving the indoor air quality in our homes and in the buildings we work in. Learning the health implications and health effects of air quality can help us reduce the air quality indoors and in the end increase the overall quality of life we want to live in.Maintaining the air quality indoors by maintaining the HVAC system in our homes and in any commercial building can improve ventilation, hence a less polluted inside environment. At AirTek, we focus on achieving a cleaner, healthier, and more energy efficient environment. Visit our main website to learn more of the services we can provide for you and your company. Like our Facebook Community Page and be part of the conversation via our Twitter page.

Indoor Air Quality in “Green” Buildings

greenbuilding

Many consumers are going “green.” There are several benefits on building green buildings because it can maximize economic and environmental performance. The stages of construction, renovation, and design of a building can help implement a better environment for today’s consumer.

However, energy efficient buildings necessarily do not mean they are healthier. Indoor air quality should be as important as focusing on building an energy efficient home or office buildings. When building a consumer’s preference of energy efficient homes and commercial buildings keep in mind of installing an HVAC system that will increase ventilation to make sure the indoor air quality is healthy.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created, “Indoor airPlus” to help builders follow the EPA’s Energy Star requirements. One of those specifications is how to choose a selection of moisture control systems that may include the HVAC system. We know that scheduling a maintenance or an inspection plan for an HVAC system can benefit your environment. Since we spend most of our times indoors it is important to keep in mind on the air quality in “Green” Buildings. Having a guide like airPlus can significantly help builders build an choose the proper HVAC system that not only will be energy efficient but help ventilate a green building. Keep in ming that many HVAC systems can have problems like mold growing inside the ducts. Debris may build up inside the ducts as well. Whether you have a green building or not inspecting the HVAC system is important for your health and well being on your indoor environment. If you are concerned about the HVAC system in your home or commercial building visit our website and we may be able to assist you.

Below is a video provided by “Indoor Air Quality Association” on Green Buildings.

 

Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2013

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day and a great opportunity to learn more about this deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and other asbestos-related minerals.

Mesothelioma is a “relatively rare cancer of the mesothilium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body.” Wikipedia It is caused by exposure to asbestos and can take years or even decades to become symptomatic.

Most people who contract Mesothelioma have worked with asbestos, most often before precautions were being taken against inhalation of the tiny fibers which compose this mineral. There is some evidence that family members of these workers can become sick because of asbestos on the workers’ clothes or hair as well, but this evidence is disputed by some courts. Many jobs run a high risk of being exposed to asbestos, including:

 

Although Mesothelioma is different from the lung cancer caused by tobacco use, smoking vastly increases the incidence of Mesothelioma in people exposed to asbestos.

What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Early symptoms include:

Fatigue

Coughing

Shortness of breath

Reduced respiratory function

Asbestos.com

Since these symptoms can also occur with less serious diseases–and come so many years after exposure–often people have delayed diagnoses which severely limit their treatment options.

I’ve never worked with Asbestos. How could I be exposed?

Asbestos has been used in many common building materials including pipe insulation, flooring and roofing, as well as automobile brake pads. It is very important to inform yourself about these materials before you tackle that DIY renovation project.  Read more here.

I was exposed to asbestos, but only once in my life. Am I at risk of developing Mesothelioma?

Unfortunately, yes. Read this article about a British man who died of Mesothelioma from one day of exposure during a home renovation project.

Is Mesothelioma curable?

The short answer is no. The only cure for Mesothelioma is prevention.

Where can I find out more about Mesothelioma?

Here are some fantastic resources about Mesothelioma:

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Mesothelioma Resource Online

The Mesothelioma Center

MesotheliomaHelp.net

Although the US imported more asbestos last year than in any previous year, we hope that the use of this mineral will decrease with the heightened awareness of what havoc it can wreak in the health of people around the world.

Protect Yourself from Fire Smoke

la-me-ln-3-homes-evacuated-azusa-brush-fire-20-001

 

(Photo Source:latimes.com)

Do you know how to protect yourself from fire smoke? These past few days, a brush fire burnt almost 40 acres in the city of Azusa. Any brush fire is going to affect the air quality. Several residents were ordered to voluntarily evacuate their home. One resident who lives in Azusa, took three hours to arrive at her home and was concerned with the air quality around her because her child has asthma. Smoke from fire can affect your health and the health of your family. According to AIRNow, there are several steps and tips that you may take to limit yourself from the affects of smoke:

1.Pay attention to local air reports-Apps like the weather channel and the Air Quality Index gives you a guide to understand how the air quality is in your area. The Weather Channel App gives you alerts if pollen levels are high and also give you visibility guides.

2. Listen to the advise given to you– If you are told to evacuate from the fire department, seek alternative shelter. Keeping your windows closed can be dangerous when the weather gets hot.

3.Don’t pollute your home even more-Whether you are in a safer area or far away from the fire, smoke can still travel inside your home. When smoke levels are high, do not use gas stoves, candles or vacuum because fine particles can build up in your home

4. Become aware of respiratory symptoms-Whether you or one of your family have asthma or other lung disease follow the instructions provided by your doctor and follow any asthma management plans as well.

Above are several steps to keep you aware of what you can do when there is a brush fire around your area and limit yourself from being affected by the smoke. At AirTek, we understand the importance of air quality but as well as the indoor air quality in your home or commercial building. You may contact us to gain more information on the indoor air solutions we can provide for you.

Air Quality in Our National Parks

national park haze

In an article on today’s Salon, we read about the air quality in our National Parks and it was not a happy read.

There are 35 National Parks in California and you would think that the air quality at America’s natural wonders would be pristine, but according to the National Parks Conservation Association, it could take as long as 10 generations to “eliminate human-caused haze” in our National Parks.

Air pollution isn’t only a problem in urban areas. Pollution travels and can get trapped in valleys, gorges, basins and canyons.

How can we help?

Do what you can. Don’t idle your car. Walk and bike more. Invest in solar panels for your home. Adjust your thermostat so you’re not running the heat or airconditioning when it’s not necessary. Turn off and unplug devices when they are not in use. And support efforts to clean the air in our communities and our beautiful National Parks. Let’s make sure our kids and grandkids can get great pictures in Yellowstone, too.

At AirTek, we are always concerned about air pollution, whether outdoors or in. If you need help improving your indoor air quality, give us a call!

Fire Wall Penetration Repairs and Fire Safety

Fire Safety is important but fire risk in the workplace is important all year round. In any healthcare facility it is important to take precaution of any fire risks since in any healthcare facility you may have patients who are completely un able to move. Many of the fires reported in the United States cause 11.7 billion dollars in property damage. The important part of fire safety in a building are the walls. Fire walls can help stop or slow down from fires and smoke spreading through a building. Investing in maintaining fire walls can help the protection of the individuals who are in the building and the building itself. For instance, any of the stairwell and evacuation areas have fire resistant walls so that they protect any individual exiting the building. If there are pipes and holes by the walls any debris can get trap in the holes. Those open areas need to be filled with fire resistant material to prevent any flames or smoke to travel through other walls.

According to The National Fire Protection Association,(NFPA) requires that penetrations for cables, cable trays, conduits, pipes, tubes, combustion vents and exhaust vents, wires, and similar items to accommodate electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and communications systems that pass through a wall, floor, or floor/ceiling assembly constructed as a fire barrier be protected by a fire-stop system or device. (NFPA 101 Section 8.3.5.1) At AirTek, we provide Fire Life Safety services and one of them is fire wall penetration repairs. In order for Healthcare facilities to pass inspections, fire wall penetration repairs need to be done and not only for inspections but for the safety of those inside the building. If you like to keep your building safe from any fire, visit our website and contact AirTek for more information on the Fire Life Safety Services provided by AirTek.

To learn more about fire safety below is a detailed infographic by Graphic Products.

fire-safety-infographic-large

 

How the Air Quality Index can help you

Tools to analyze the air quality like AIRNow are great to use because they give you daily updates on the air quality in your city. Today, we wanted to go more into detail on understanding what the color range means. Today, I checked the air quality in Los Angeles, and the city fell under the color yellow.The air is moderate but for a small group of individuals they may experience respiratory symptoms.The Air Quality Index is also measured through a numerical value. It is measured from 0-500. The greater the value the greater the health concern is for the population.Below is an example of the graph that shows what the colors means,the levels of health concern, and the numerical value provided by AIRNow.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 12.01.36 PM

 

When the air quality reaches the color orange or the unhealthy range, the individuals who are sensitive to pollutants should reduce the exposure of outdoor activities. When days reach to the unhealthy range then there are days called, “Action Days.” Action Days help us gain valuable information on how to improve the air quality. AIRNOW gives you some tips on how to help keep the air cleaner by clicking here.. This is the time to learn not only more about the outdoor air quality but to gain more knowledge of improving the air inside our environments whether it is at home or where we work. At AirTek, we provide indoor solutions to a variety of industries. Learn more of how AirTek can be of assistance to your indoor air quality concerns by contacting the company. In addition, learn more about more topics on air quality via our Facebook Community Page and our Twitter Page.

 

 

VIDEO: Common Asthma Triggers

Watch this video for a quick–and comprehensive–list of the kinds of things that can trigger an asthma attack.

If anyone in your family has asthma, it is important to minimize the substances that can trigger a potentially dangerous health crisis. And to do that, you need clean, unpolluted indoor air as well as good circulation and ventilation. Today’s homes are very well sealed and it is difficult for contaminants, pollutants and particles to get out once they get in.

With most of us spending as much as 80 of our time indoors, especially in climates with cold winters or hot summers, indoor air quality is a big concern and a challenge.  The more information we have, the more likely we will be able to avoid the health problems that come with biological, chemical and particle contaminants at home and at work.

AirTek is a leading provider of commercial-industrial HVAC system decontamination and cleaning services.  We have helped thousands of residential and commercial customers achieve a cleaner, safer and healthier indoor environment. Our experienced and qualified personnel work in accordance with standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) and CAL/OSHA. Contact us if you need to improve your indoor air quality!

Analyze the Air Quality Using AirNow

Yesterday at our sister company Alliance Environmental Group,Inc Blog we talked about how mold can be an asthma trigger. Indoor air pollution is the number one threat to allergy and asthma sufferers in the U.S. As we know 90% of us spend time indoors and we are prone to dust and other indoor air pollutants. We also know that Southern California has improved but it is not enough. To learn more about that topic read yesterday’s blog by clicking here.One of the best ways to be aware of bad air quality is by checking the air quality index like “AIRNow”.

AIRNow” is a website that helps you understand how the air quality is around the area you live in. Another great feature about this website is that it has a section with announcements, wild fire smoke advisories and forecasts. To see your local air quality conditions you type your zip code and state and the website will give you a summary of how the air is in your area. For instance I typed a general zip code to see the Los Angeles area and these were the results:

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 11.10.02 AM

 

The air quality in the Los Angeles region is moderate for today. It’s a neat tool to use and keep handy.Being aware of the air quality outdoors can help you also be aware of indoor air quality. The pollutants that can be found outdoors can also be found indoors. Although it might be harder to improve the air quality outside there are different ways to improve the indoor air quality in your home or business. Maintaining the air ducts clean can help the indoor air significantly. It can improve the interior air quality and health. The benefits is improving the well being of your indoor environment. Keeping moisture away, mold from building up and maintaining a breatheable environment. The HVAC system are the lungs for your building. Keep them maintained well. Learn more about this service visiting our Website and learn more about indoor air quality topics by following our Facebook Community Page and joining the conversation via Twitter

 

 

 

 

SoCal Air Quality: Improved But Not Enough

LA smog 1970

Los Angeles in 1970

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the stereotype of the environment in southern California was great weather, but lots of smog, and that was right. There were days back then when Californians’ eyes would burn and breathing itself could be painful. Even on our worst days, it never looks like the photo above any more, thank goodness!

Air pollution regulations and better exhaust systems on our millions of vehicles have improved the situation dramatically, but according to the Press-Enterprise, there are still 100 days every year when the air quality “is failing to meet today’s clean air standards.” Press-Enterprise

How does air pollution affect your health?

With more research since those smoggy decades, more health effects from air pollution have been discovered. Air pollution contributes to:

Heart disease

Lung cancer

Burst appendix

Allergies

Asthma

Immune system issues

and, of course, the costs of healthcare to treat sufferers from all of those conditions.

What can you do about your exposure to air pollution?

There are a lot of things you can do. They may seem small, but they add up:

Don’t let your car idle. Not only are you wasting expensive fuel, you are adding to your emissions. This is especially important outside school, where there are so many cars waiting for the bell to ring. Children suffer more from the effects of air pollution than adults.

Buy local. In Southern California, we are very lucky to have locally grown produce all year long. Take advantage of it–go to your nearest farmer’s market for groceries and reduce truck exhaust.

Check the Air Quality Index before outdoor activities. You can find out if today is a particularly bad air quality day by going to Airnow.gov and plug in your zip code to see the air quality in your area in real time. Especially if you have asthma, it could help you make good decisions about your exposure to air pollution.

Minimize your indoor air pollution. By keeping your ventilation system clean and well-maintained, changing your air filters, running kitchen exhaust fans whenever you cook and using back burners, and changing your cleaning products to low or no-VOC options, you can dramatically reduce your exposure to indoor air pollution, which can be worse than that you find outdoors.

At AirTek, we are always concerned with the indoor and outdoor air quality in California and around the globe. Call us if you need help improving the indoor air quality in your home or other building.

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