Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

 What Is a Healthy Home?

Most of us spend at least half of our lives inside our homes without realizing there is a connection between our housing and our health. This slide show will explore that connection, along with ways to make your house a healthy home


Hidden Dangers

Our homes can make us feel safe, but they can also make us sick. Some homes may have health hazards including lead-based paint, mold, rodents and insects hiding in clutter, secondhand smoke, and pesticides. Other health hazards are invisible and can be deadly such as carbon monoxide and radon.

Many Homes Have Unhealthy Conditions

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports many homes have unhealthy conditions, including:

  • One in 16 have high radon levels
  • One in 10 have water leaks
  • One in six have structural problems
  • One in four have lead-based paint
  • One in four do not have a working smoke alarm

For Bedrooms, Living Rooms, and Family Rooms

Here are some ways you can make your bedrooms, living room, and family room more healthy:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and near all bedrooms, test these smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries every year.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms near bedrooms.
  • Do not smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in the home.
  • Clean up clutter so insects and rodents don't have a place to burrow
  • Keep your floor clear of electrical cords and other clutter such as shoes, toys, and clothing

If your home was built before 1978:

  • Have your home tested for lead paint.
  • Fix peeling or chipping paint using lead-safe work practices.
  • Use safe work practices when painting, remodeling, and renovating to prevent spreading lead dust.

For Kitchen Pests

If you find pests such as cockroaches, ants, or rodents in your kitchen, there are safe and healthy ways to stop them:

  • Seal openings to the outside and between rooms to keep pests out.
  • Put away food, clean up, and cover the trash and garbage to starve pests.
  • Fix leaks and wipe up spilled water so pests have nothing to drink.
  • Use closed baits, traps, and gels only if necessary.
  • Never use bug bombs or foggers.

For Bathrooms

To keep your bathrooms safe:

  • Keep all medications away from children by locking them in a medicine cabinet and using childproof caps.
  • Clean up moisture and mold safely.
  • Open windows and doors to get fresh air.
  • Use a bathroom exhaust fan that is vented outside; a fan that is not vented outside keeps moisture in the house.
  • Install grab bars on the wall of the bathtub and shower and next to the toilet if anyone in the house has mobility challenges.

For Attics

Steps you can take to keep your attic safe and healthy include:

  • Check for water leaks from the roof.
  • Make sure your attic is properly ventilated to prevent moisture that promotes mold growth.
  • Seal gaps around roofing and attic openings to keep rodents and insects out of the house.
  • Clean up clutter to deny rodents and insects any places to nest.
  • Older insulation may contain asbestos. Hire an expert if insulation must be removed or disturbed.

For Basement, Crawl Space, Utility, and Laundry Areas

Remember to safety-proof your basement, utility, and laundry room as well. Steps you can take to keep these areas safe include:

  • Set the water heater at 120 F to prevent burns.
  • Change the furnace/AC filter regularly.
  • Have gas appliances and furnaces checked yearly by a pro¬fessional to make sure they do not release carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Test for radon (if a high level is detected, hire a specialist to eliminate the hazard).
  • Lock up products used for cleaning, car maintenance, gardening, and pest control

For Stairways and Halls

Stairways and hallways should be free of clutter and safe:

  • Use stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs if children live in or visit the home.
  • Keep a working light bulb in overhead lights in the hall and above the stairs.
  • Fix loose or uneven steps and rails on stairs.
  • Attach stairway carpet firmly to every step or remove carpet and attach nonslip rubber stair treads.
  • Keep stairs free of clutter.
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs

For Outer Parts of House and Yard

To have a safe and healthy home, also consider your yard and outside areas as well:

  • To keep pests away, fix exterior holes, cracks, and leaks, eliminate standing water and food sources, and keep trash covered with a lid.
  • Maintain gutters, downspouts, and roof to prevent moisture from entering the home.
  • Use safe work practices when painting, remodeling, or renovating a home built before 1978.
  • If you have a septic tank or private well, properly maintain it to prevent illness.
  • If you have a swimming pool, use self-closing and self-latching gates and four-sided fencing to prevent small children from unintended access.
  • Complete a playground safety checklist if you have playground equipment in your yard.

Cleaning Tips for a Healthier Home

A clean home is one way to have a healthier home. Following are some suggestions to keep your home clean.

Dust Your Home

Dust thoroughly, and clean or replace air conditioning and heating filters regularly, clean ducts and vents to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens.

Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

Keep your medicine cabinet organized and free of older medications. If a medication is expired, discard it safely.

Check the Garage, Basement, and Under the Sink

Get rid of any old and no longer used items that could be "toxic" including cleaning products, pain cans, thinners, oils, solvents, and stains. Do not throw these items into the regular trash. These should be disposed of properly so contact your local sanitation department to find out where the hazardous waster drop-off center is located.

Chimney Sweep

If you have a fireplace with a chimney, have it professionally cleaned to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide exposure.

Mold and Mildew

Mold can be dangerous and can make people in the household ill and trigger allergic reactions. Clean mold and mildew in bathrooms and other damp areas with a nontoxic cleaning product.

Check Your Rugs

Make sure all rugs are secure. Rugs on bare floors should have on-skid mats underneath them, and old mats should be washed or replaced to ensure they do not slide. All bathrooms should have non-skid mats as well.

Playground Equipment

Keep the kids safe by ensuring outdoor playground equipment such as swing sets and slides are in good shape, and sturdy. Make repairs if needed. Pay attention to guardrails, protruding bolts, swing rope/chain attachments and other things that could injure children.

Change Batteries

Make sure batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are changed regularly and working. Do not throw batteries in the trash - dispose of old batteries by recycling or taking them to a hazardous waste center.

Your Healthy Home

A healthy home can help you have a healthy body! Use these tips and make your home a healthy one!



Posted in:Healthy and safety and tagged: Unhealthy Home
Posted by Dan Howard on December 16th, 2017 8:19 PM

Winter is Here With its Sick Building Wheezy Winter Blues

Imagine that winter’s approach is just another country music song. The song goes like this: “The temperature drops, the windows close, doors slam shut and all I got were those yucky, wheezy winter blues”.

Winter and Sick Buildings
Winter and Sick Buildings

There’s a very good reason that this happens. Closing up the house really is a big part of it all. The winter induced end of fresh air coming into your home is what concentrates the contaminants that can make you ill.

The old time environmental experts explained that “the solution to pollution is dilution”. Sounds hokey, but it is a simple principal. That process of dilution in summer is that if there is a contaminant or odor in the home, the fresh air will disperse and dilute it.

Another factor that effects indoor air quality in winter is that the operation of heating systems elevates and spreads airborne contaminants. Most people think of heating systems as spreading heat through the home. Today, we need to think about heating systems as distributing mold, allergens, formaldehyde, sewer gas and whatever else is in the building. Even hot water heat systems create convection to distribute the contaminants.

If you are wondering whether we are talking about your home, you will have hints that there is something wrong when you have environmental problems. Our bodies try to protect us by issuing those warnings. If something does not taste good, smell good or feel good, it is usually not good for us. Many times, our pets react to toxins before we do and give us the “heads up” that there is a problem. We should pay attention to the warnings.

Signs of an environmental problem in your home, school or workplace can include:

  • Odor
  • Not feeling well
  • Burning eyes, nose throat
  • Sneezing, coughing, hacking
  • Skin irritation
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory issues
  • Mood changes
  • Asthma attacks

By the way, not everyone in a home may notice the symptoms. That does not mean that there is not a problem. What it means is we are each different in our genetic makeup, current health and health history and the sum of all the exposures you receive in each of the places you spend time. As an example, some children can have severe reactions to peanuts. Most kids could live on PB&J. That is just “how it is.” We are each different in how we react to exposures.

Posted by Dan Howard on December 11th, 2017 10:27 PM

Merry Christmas and please pass the antihistamine or inhaler---‘tis the season for asthma and allergies. Like Aunt Helen’s twice re-gifted fruit cake, sneezing and congestion are simply not welcome guests at the family holiday celebration.

Smack in the middle of Christmas debate is often the choice of a real or artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorations. Which is better “real” or “artificial” is one of those questions that the answer is a resounding: “that depends, but let me explain.” The bottom line is that you want the “beauty of Christmas” and not the allergens to take your breath away.

If you want a quick clue as to how complicated the issue is, you need to know more about the first artificial tree. In the 1930’s, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush trees using the same machinery as they used to make toilet brushes. The Addis 'Silver Pine' tree was actually patented in 1950. Now, does a toilet brush go into the healthy or unhealthy category?  

Why Allergies and Asthma Spike During Holidays

Stored holiday items can be a source of mold growth. Fiberglass and other insulation particles, dust and mold from storage areas and other allergens can get into improperly stored holiday heirlooms. Even tightly sealed boxes can attract mice and insects, each contributing to the allergen and germ categories. Yuck !    

There has been an increase in the number of people affected with asthma and allergies spiking during the holidays. Obviously, Christmas comes at a time of year when homes are most likely to be closed up to protect from winter weather. Many homes are built with wet crawl spaces and improper venting systems. With tighter construction, attic and basement storage areas are often full of mold.

Fortunately, the suffering from Christmas allergies can be avoided with a few tips on proper selection, storage and care of holiday trees and decorations whether they are artificial or real.

Storage and Allergen Prevention Tips

  • Start by selecting moisture and dirt free areas for holiday decoration storage.

     

  • Clean stored items with a damp cloth before storage. Dirt supports the growth of mold.

     

  • Store trees, decorations and other materials in plastic bins, or wrap in plastic bags, not cardboard. Cardboard holds moisture and is a food source for mold.

     

  • Control humidity in storage areas. Dehumidify basement storage areas and install fans controlled with humidistat in attics.

     

  • If the stored items from last year are already covered with mold and dust, place them in plastic bags or bins before carrying them through the house. Dragging mold and other allergens through the house can spread mold and allergens.

     

  • Once out of storage, take the contaminated items outside of the home or into a garage to unpack them.

     

  • Fresh cut trees or stored items can have dust blown off them using a leaf blower or they be can be hosed down with a garden hose. If you use a leaf blower, wear a mask. Both methods remove mold, dust, and some of the lead dust usually found on artificial trees and decorations.

     

  • Discard contaminated packing and bring the cleaned items into the home.

     

  • If your holiday items were covered with mold and dust, change the conditions in the storage area. Mold growing in the storage areas will affect the air quality in the main home all year around.

     

  • Do not spray materials with pesticide no matter how grossed out you are by the bugs. The poisons designed to kill bugs will damage people’s health. Plain soap and water will safely and effectively remove insect and rodent contamination.

The Live Versus Artificial Christmas Tree Debate

In this corner, we have live Christmas trees and decorations. Live Christmas trees are a crop. The National Christmas Tree Association states that the average Christmas tree is 7 years old when harvested. That would mean that the tree was producing oxygen to improve the environment for 7 years. Those trees require care, thereby creating American jobs.

One disadvantage of live Christmas trees is that they require replacement every year. That cost may be greater than the cost of an artificial tree across its lifetime. There is also the issue that Christmas trees need properly disposed of each year. The good news is that they can be turned into mulch.  

In the other corner are artificial Christmas trees and decorations  

Artificial trees are light to carry and easy to assemble.  It is the only option for people who can’t handle the work of a live tree.

According to the US Commerce Department, 80% of artificial trees are manufactured and shipped from China. That would be Chinese jobs created.  

Artificial Christmas trees, tree lights and plastic decorations have been subject to warnings about lead. Lead is added to PVC during manufacture to make the plastic more pliable when hanging strings of light or adjusting tree limbs. That lead is a soft material will easily fall from the products containing it when they are handled Lead is a serious health hazard, particularly to children.

The process of manufacturing the PVC creates the toxic chemical dioxin, which is also released if the plastic is burned during disposal.

“Christmas Bonus” Healthy Indoor Air Tips

  • Given a choice, it is better to place trees and decorations in areas of hard surface floors such as wood as opposed to carpet. These floors are easier to clean and hold fewer allergens.
  • The use of a quality air cleaner such as a HEPA filter can provide immediate indoor air improvement by removing the circulating allergens.

     

  • We want our homes to smell like Christmas. Many of those “plug in” scents contain synthetic esters and formaldehyde. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that “we know that asthmatics are clearly sensitive to odors and fumes; therefore, it would not be unexpected that air fresheners could trigger asthmatic episodes.” Bake a pie or use potpourri as an alternative to the artificial scents.

If you are curious as which side of the tree discussion the Howard household falls, we have a 10’ artificial tree and a 12’ real Christmas tree. No matter which type of tree and decorations you select, have a happy, allergy and asthma free holiday.

For links to additional information about Christmas healthy tips, go to: www.envirospect.info/ChristmasDecorationAllergies


 

Posted by Dan Howard on December 10th, 2017 9:36 PM

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 200 home fires each year start with a Christmas tree. In these videos, NIST fire researchers demonstrate what could happen if a fire starts in a watered Christmas tree vs. a dry Christmas tree. For Christmas tree safety tips, visit the NFPA website (link is external).

For information about fire research at NIST, please visit the Fire Research Division website and the National Fire Research Laboratory homepage


Posted in:Christmas safety and tagged: FireChristmasTree
Posted by Dan Howard on December 2nd, 2017 10:11 PM

Merry Christmas and please pass the antihistamine or inhaler---‘tis the season for asthma and allergies. Like Aunt Helen’s twice re-gifted fruit cake, sneezing and congestion are simply not welcome guests at the family holiday celebration.

Smack in the middle of Christmas debate is often the choice of a real or artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorations. Which is better “real” or “artificial” is one of those questions that the answer is a resounding: “that depends, but let me explain.” The bottom line is that you want the “beauty of Christmas” and not the allergens to take your breath away.
 


If you want a quick clue as to how complicated the issue is, you need to know more about the first artificial tree. In the 1930’s, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush trees using the same machinery as they used to make toilet brushes. The Addis 'Silver Pine' tree was actually patented in 1950. Now, does a toilet brush go into the healthy or unhealthy category?  


Why Allergies and Asthma Spike During Holidays

Stored holiday items can be a source of mold growth. Fiberglass and other insulation particles, dust and mold from storage areas and other allergens can get into improperly stored holiday heirlooms. Even tightly sealed boxes can attract mice and insects, each contributing to the allergen and germ categories. Yuck !    

 

There has been an increase in the number of people affected with asthma and allergies spiking during the holidays. Obviously, Christmas comes at a time of year when homes are most likely to be closed up to protect from winter weather. Many homes are built with wet crawl spaces and improper venting systems. With tighter construction, attic and basement storage areas are often full of mold.

 
Fortunately, the suffering from Christmas allergies can be avoided with a few tips on proper selection, storage and care of holiday trees and decorations whether they are artificial or real.

Storage and Allergen Prevention Tips

  • Start by selecting moisture and dirt free areas for holiday decoration storage.
  • Clean stored items with a damp cloth before storage. Dirt supports the growth of mold.
  • Store trees, decorations and other materials in plastic bins, or wrap in plastic bags, not cardboard. Cardboard holds moisture and is a food source for mold.
  • Control humidity in storage areas. Dehumidify basement storage areas and install fans controlled with humidistat in attics.
  • If the stored items from last year are already covered with mold and dust, place them in plastic bags or bins before carrying them through the house. Dragging mold and other allergens through the house can spread mold and allergens.
  • Once out of storage, take the contaminated items outside of the home or into a garage to unpack them.
  • Fresh cut trees or stored items can have dust blown off them using a leaf blower or they be can be hosed down with a garden hose. If you use a leaf blower, wear a mask. Both methods remove mold, dust, and some of the lead dust usually found on artificial trees and decorations.
  • Discard contaminated packing and bring the cleaned items into the home.
  • If your holiday items were covered with mold and dust, change the conditions in the storage area. Mold growing in the storage areas will affect the air quality in the main home all year around.
  • Do not spray materials with pesticide no matter how grossed out you are by the bugs. The poisons designed to kill bugs will damage people’s health. Plain soap and water will safely and effectively remove insect and rodent contamination.
 

The Live Versus Artificial Christmas Tree Debate    

In this corner, we have live Christmas trees and decorations. Live Christmas trees are a crop. The National Christmas Tree Association states that the average Christmas tree is 7 years old when harvested. That would mean that the tree was producing oxygen to improve the environment for 7 years. Those trees require care, thereby creating American jobs.

One disadvantage of live Christmas trees is that they require replacement every year. That cost may be greater than the cost of an artificial tree across its lifetime. There is also the issue that Christmas trees need properly disposed of each year. The good news is that they can be turned into mulch.  

 
In the other corner are artificial Christmas trees and decorations  

Artificial trees are light to carry and easy to assemble.  It is the only option for people who can’t handle the work of a live tree. 

According to the US Commerce Department, 80% of artificial trees are manufactured and shipped from China. That would be Chinese jobs created. 

Artificial Christmas trees, tree lights and plastic decorations have been subject to warnings about lead. Lead is added to PVC during manufacture to make the plastic more pliable when hanging strings of light or adjusting tree limbs. That lead is a soft material will easily fall from the products containing it when they are handled Lead is a serious health hazard, particularly to children. 


The process of manufacturing the PVC creates the toxic chemical dioxin, which is also released if the plastic is burned during disposal.

“Christmas Bonus” Healthy Indoor Air Tips

  • Given a choice, it is better to place trees and decorations in areas of hard surface floors such as wood as opposed to carpet. These floors are easier to clean and hold fewer allergens.
  • The use of a quality air cleaner such as a HEPA filter can provide immediate indoor air improvement by removing the circulating allergens.
  • We want our homes to smell like Christmas. Many of those “plug in” scents contain synthetic esters and formaldehyde. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that “we know that asthmatics are clearly sensitive to odors and fumes; therefore, it would not be unexpected that air fresheners could trigger asthmatic episodes.” Bake a pie or use potpourri as an alternative to the artificial scents.

If you are curious as which side of the tree discussion the Howard household falls, we have a 10’ artificial tree and a 12’ real Christmas tree. No matter which type of tree and decorations you select, have a happy, allergy and asthma free holiday.

Posted by Dan Howard on November 28th, 2017 8:37 AM

             

             The place to start on the path to a healthy home is looking at changes you may have recently made. How moisture and air move through your home can be affected by changes in furnace systems, windows, doors or insulation. Building additions and interior french drains can also change the nature of the indoor environment. If you had any of those changes to your home, you need to have a second look at the indoor environment.


Furnaces need checked by a qualified, expert furnace service professional or home inspector each heating season.

            There is a reason for all the descriptive qualifiers in front of the word “service professional”. Many service companies will only check if the furnace turns on. They often do not check each of the critical issues relating particularly fossil fueled furnaces
Heat exchangers will eventually fail, gas leaks occur as the pipe sealant dries, condensate lines can leak and damage a furnace. Many times, the vent system has deteriorated or more amazingly, never been installed properly in the first place. Over the years, I have found countless furnaces that have had undiagnosed defective heat exchangers. I have walked into a furnace room and without even pulling out a single tool, observed gas leaks, sewer odor from defective condensate lines, and blocked or damaged vent systems. None of these are healthy conditions for residents 

                 When a mid-range efficiency furnace is installed that uses interior air as combustion air, gas hot water tank and gas dryer vent gases can be pulled back into the home from those venting appliances.

        Gas hot water tanks are another common source of indoor environmental issues.

            This is particularly true in cold weather. Oversized chimneys will not properly vent when cold. When a high efficiency furnace is installed, the hot water tank usually needs to be connected to a flue liner, which is a smaller vent. In as many as 20% of the new furnace installations that I have inspected, that change was not made. The reason is that the liner needs installed from the roof and costs time and money. Not installing that system makes it possible to give a lower bid on a furnace installation job. The true cost of that omission of the liner is flue gases staying in the home and presenting a health risk to the occupants of the building.

Stored materials are often a hazard.

            We often bring stored toxins into the home. The can of gasoline, the pesticide for your yard, the damp and moldy furniture cushions and the super-duper cleaners all make their way into the building envelope for storage in winter.

            The simple recommendation is to not store any chemicals in the home, particularly when someone sensitive to these products lives there. An outside storage shed is one solution. Properly disposing of the products is another solution.

When cold weather comes, pests and other animals think of your home as a safe and warm place to live.

            Mice, rats, birds, bats and squirrels are some of the animals found in homes. I have also found ground hogs and shrews in homes. When animals pick your home as there winter retreat, your home becomes their bathroom. If they pass away, it can also become their mausoleum. The result is odor and contaminants that can make a home smell bad and unhealthy.

            The bottom line is that we are going to close our homes, schools and workplaces tight as a drum to save energy and stay warm. If you have the symptoms of sick building syndrome or notice an odor, look around for a problem. If you can’t find the cause, call a professional to help you. Good health is a precious gift that we do not want to squander.

            Contact Envirospect.com to find a qualified home inspector near you. 

Posted by Dan Howard on November 22nd, 2017 9:44 PM
Both high and low levels of humidity can cause problems with health and your home.
Ideally, the humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent to avoid problems.

Here are just a few of the issues associated with high humidity in the home:
  • Stuffy and uncomfortable air.
  • Clammy skin.
  • Unpleasant musty odors.
  • Problem with mildew in your bathroom and on windows.
  • Mold growing  in  damp areas, like basements, crawl spaces bathrooms.
  • health problems, particularly respiratory and infection problems.
  • Discoloration, damage or fuzzy growth on carpet, furnishings, cardboard,clothing.

And here are just a few of the issues associated with low humidity in the home:

  • Dry or cracking skin, especially on areas like your hands and feet.
  • Chapped lips, itchy eyes
  • Wooden furniture, doors and items like musical instruments crack, separate
A Hygrometer is the tool to test your humidity in your home.

 A hygrometer is simply a device that measures the relative humidity in the air. A portable hygrometer can be used in any room in your home. Some have multiple sensors so you can monitor the humidity in several areas of your home with only one hygrometer.

Many of the better temperature/weather stations are inexpensive ways to track and monitor humidity in order to know when to add or remove moisture. These usually cost about $50.00 and are available on line and in most retail stores

There are many very good quality hygrometers available in the price range between $100.00 and $600.  For a good selection of professional grade instruments to monitor humidity:    http://inspectorshop.net/product-category/moisture-meters


From Wikipedia  

hygrometer /ha?'gr?m?t?r/ is an instrument used for measuring the water vapor in the atmosphere. Humidity measurement instruments usually rely on measurements of some other quantity such as temperature, pressure, mass or a mechanical or electrical change in a substance as moisture is absorbed. By calibration and calculation, these measured quantities can lead to a measurement of humidity. Modern electronic devices use temperature of condensation (the dew point), or changes in electrical capacitance or resistance to measure humidity differences. The first crude hygrometer was invented by the Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci in 1480 and a more modern version was created by Swiss polymath Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1755.

The maximum amount of water vapor that can be held in a given volume of air (saturation) varies greatly by temperature; cold air can hold less mass of water per unit volume than hot air. Most instruments respond to (or are calibrated to read) relative humidity (RH), which is the amount of water relative to the maximum at a particular temperature expressed as per cent

.








Posted in:Healthy Home and tagged: HumidityHygrometer
Posted by Dan Howard on November 18th, 2017 8:04 PM

 Our church honored veterans last Sunday (our oldest son Bobby among them). They did a very touching program. It included 3 great videos. I can't pick one to share with you, so all three will be here one at a time over the next couple of days...in time for you to share for Veterans Day if you are moved by them.

Thank you to those who have bought our freedom for us.

Posted in:Vetrans Day and tagged: Veterans Day
Posted by Dan Howard on November 6th, 2017 10:00 PM
 

Imagine that winter’s approach is just another country music song. The song goes like this: “The temperature drops, the windows close, doors slam shut and all I got were those yucky, wheezy winter blues”.  The indoor environment can become a problem in winter.

There’s a very good reason that this happens. Closing up the house really is a big part of it all. The winter induced end of fresh air coming into your home is what concentrates the contaminants that can make you ill.

The old time environmental experts explained that “the solution to pollution is dilution”. Sounds hokey, but it is a simple principal. That process of dilution in summer is that if there is a contaminant or odor in the home, the fresh air will disperse and dilute it.     

Another factor that effects indoor air quality in winter is that the operation of heating systems elevates and spreads airborne contaminants. Most people think of heating systems as spreading heat through the home. Today, we need to think about heating systems as distributing mold, allergens, formaldehyde, sewer gas and whatever else is in the building. Even hot water heat systems create convection to distribute the contaminants.

If you are wondering whether we are talking about your home, you will have hints that there is something wrong when you have environmental problems. Our bodies try to protect us by issuing those warnings. If something does not taste good, smell good or feel good, it is usually not good for us. Many times, our pets react to toxins before we do and give us the “heads up” that there is a problem. We should pay attention to the warnings.     

Signs of an environmental problem in your home, school or workplace can include:

  • Odor
  • Not feeling well
  • Burning eyes, nose throat
  • Sneezing, coughing, hacking
  • Skin irritation
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory issues
  • Mood changes
  • Asthma attacks

By the way, not everyone in a home may notice the symptoms. That does not mean that there is not a problem. What it means is we are each different in our genetic makeup, current health and health history and the sum of all the exposures you receive in each of the places you spend time. As an example, some children can have severe reactions to peanuts. Most kids could live on PB&J. That is just “how it is.” We are each different in how we react to exposures.

With a little knowledge and preparation, you can have a healthier and safer household this winter. 

Give us a call to perform and environmental assessment and testing as needed. 724 443 6653    www.envirospect.com

Posted by Dan Howard on November 4th, 2017 7:29 PM

Daylight Saving Time change smoke and CO alarm batteries

by CPSC Blogge

 

Are your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms working?

We at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urge you to check your alarms this weekend when you set your clocks one hour ahead for Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday at 2 a.m.

This is a great time to put fresh batteries in your alarms. Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms do an important job of giving you and your family time to escape a fire or CO poisoning incident, but only if they have batteries that are working.  CPSC recommends replacing batteries in alarms once every year.

Why is this so important?  Because about 2,200 people die in home fires on average and there are about 400 CO poisoning deaths each year.

Many of those who died did not have working smoke or CO alarms in their homes. Don’t let this happen to you

Here is what CPSC recommends:

  • Change smoke and CO alarm batteries at least once each year.
  • Test the alarms every month to make sure they are working.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and inside each bedroom.
  • CO alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.

There is nothing we can do about losing an hour of sleep this weekend as clocks spring forward, but there is something we can do about keeping our families safe.  Make your home safer by making sure you have working alarms.

Daylight Saving Time change smoke and CO alarm batteries

by CPSC Blogge

 

Are your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms working?

We at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urge you to check your alarms this weekend when you set your clocks one hour ahead for Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday at 2 a.m.

This is a great time to put fresh batteries in your alarms. Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms do an important job of giving you and your family time to escape a fire or CO poisoning incident, but only if they have batteries that are working.  CPSC recommends replacing batteries in alarms once every year.

Why is this so important?  Because about 2,200 people die in home fires on average and there are about 400 CO poisoning deaths each year.

Many of those who died did not have working smoke or CO alarms in their homes. Don’t let this happen to you

Here is what CPSC recommends:

  • Change smoke and CO alarm batteries at least once each year.
  • Test the alarms every month to make sure they are working.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and inside each bedroom.
  • CO alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.

There is nothing we can do about losing an hour of sleep this weekend as clocks spring forward, but there is something we can do about keeping our families safe.  Make your home safer by making sure you have working alarms.

Posted by Dan Howard on November 4th, 2017 6:52 PM

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