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Children are most at risk when it comes to exposure to common household chemicals

We are exposed to chemicals virtually everywhere, and doctors urge authorities to provide better protection.

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for an overhaul of the 35-year-old federal law governing toxic chemicals in the environment, saying it fails to safeguard children and pregnant women.

“It is widely recognized to have been ineffective in protecting children, pregnant women and the general population from hazardous chemicals in the marketplace,” the academy said in a policy statement that will be published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics.

They are not the only ones sounding the alarm bells. The American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association have previously called for changes in the Toxic Substance Control Act.

Among the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations:

  • The consequences of chemical use on children and their families should be “a core component” of the new chemical policy.
  • Chemicals should meet standards similar to those required for new drugs or pesticides.
  • Decisions to ban chemicals should be based on reasonable levels of concern, rather than demonstrated harm.
  • The health effects of chemicals should be monitored after they are on the market, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to remove a chemical from the market if it’s deemed dangerous.

Since the Toxic Substances Control Act took effect in 1976, the EPA has tested only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals in commerce and regulated just five.

“Right now, a company manufactures a chemical and puts it out on the market and reaps the economic reward,” said Dr. Jerome Paulson, lead author of the policy statement. “And then the public is responsible for trying to figure out if there is any harm associated with the use of that chemical. And then it’s almost a criminal procedure, requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey this month introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. The law would require chemical manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals used in everyday household products.

Experts agree that swift action is required to protect the most vulnerable members of our society – our children.

Children face special risks because they eat, drink and breathe more pound for pound than adults, and they spend more time on the floor or the ground than adults, a possible source of exposure, the American Academy of Pediatrics pointed out in its policy statement.

As part of its policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended its 60,000 member pediatricians familiarize themselves with the potential adverse health effects of chemicals in the environment.

AllerAir and Electrocorp can provide an air purifier for a room of any size.

The American chemical industry is a $674 billion enterprise, employing 800,000 people, according to the industry group. Chemical manufacturers reported annual production volume of 27 trillion pounds, according to the most recent EPA data available.

Source: CNN

If you are worried about airborne chemicals, gases, odors and particles in your home or office, consider using an air purifier from AllerAir Industries.

Electrocorp is the industrial division of AllerAir.

For industrial-strength air filtration systems for the healthcare industry, schools, daycares and universities and many other applications, contact one of our air quality expertstoday.

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Inspect air vents regularly to prevent mold growth.

Molds are fungi that exist everywhere. In fact, mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust.  Some people are sensitive to molds and can experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and skin irritation.  Some people can even develop mold infections in their lungs.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following steps to prevent the growth of mold in commercial buildings:

  • Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
  • Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
  • Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.

Other helpful tools to combat mold in commercial buildings

Besides airing out the building, ensuring that there is adequate ventilation and using a dehumidifier, a serious air purification system can help extract irritants and chemical mycotoxins out of the air and improve indoor air quality.

An ideal filtration system for the battle against mold combines the strength of three powerful air purification methods: a HEPA filter for particle and dust mite control, a UV lamp to neutralize live bacteria, mold spores and viruses and a deep bed of activated carbon to adsorb as many odorous gases and chemical vapors as possible.

Electrocorp manufactures industrial-strength air cleaning systems for all types of commercial and industrial applications, including facility management and large offices (did you know that office printers emit dangerous VOCs?). Talk to one of our Air Quality Experts today.

Hotels can offer much more than just a nice clean room: Better air quality.

Indoor air quality is important – and hotel chains are catching on.

At a time when hotels promise everything from custom ice-cream room service to complete wedding proposal preparations, it’s no surprise that they’re also offering hypoallergenic rooms.

According to an article in the Tribune Newspapers, the Hyatt, Wyndham, Intercontinental, Fairmont and Mandarin hotel chains — among others — are experimenting with everything from small tweaks in bedding and air-purification systems to complete room remodels to help allergy sufferers have a symptom-free stay.

In hypoallergenic rooms in the Hyatt, the air is circulated up to five times an hour in these rooms, the mattresses and pillows are encased in a protective hypoallergenic covering, and the carpet and upholstery are cleaned and protected with Pure Clean and Pure Shield anti-allergen products, said Lori Alexander, spokeswoman for Hyatt.

Guests who want to stay in Hyatt’s hypoallergenic rooms are charged $20 to $30 extra per night, depending on the hotel’s location.

Hotel rooms considered problematic places

For those with allergies, a hotel room can trigger a swarm of reactions, said Philip Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University.

The hotel’s mattress, pillow, rug, drapery and upholstered furniture can all easily collect dust, mites and bodily secretions — all of which are the bane of allergy sufferers, Tierno said.

“Unless a hotel has impervious covers on their mattresses and pillows, they’re contributing to allergies and exacerbating them,” Tierno said. “Even if you don’t have allergies now, you can develop them over time. You don’t need to be breathing in this garbage from mattresses and pillows.”

But before someone with allergies pays extra for a hypoallergenic room, they should see exactly what the hotels are offering, said Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and allergist with the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic.

Filtering the air and circulating it frequently is helpful, as is covering the mattresses with mite-proof allergenic casing.

“I have patients who complain about the reactions they get from sleeping in some hotel rooms, so for some people with allergies, it may be worth it to pay the premium to sleep in a room that’s prepared that way,” Fineman said. “This might be a benefit for certain patients.”

Source: Danielle Braff, Special to Tribune Newspapers

Editor’s note: The original article has been edited for length.

Remove airborne pollutants in hotels

Electrocorp has designed portable, cost-effective and low-maintenance air filtration systems for the hospitality industry. The systems remove the widest range of airborne toxins with a deep bed of activated carbon and HEPA filters.

Talk to one of our air quality experts today to learn more.

SSU Series: Large-volume industrial air cleaning

In spacious areas where conventional air purifiers hardly make a difference, Electrocorp’s SSU (Square Scrubbing Unit) Series has emerged as an industry-leading system to remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors and particles quickly and effectively.

The custom-built, modular air filtration system can be constructed with up to three tiers. It is uniquely suited to remove pollutants from spacious, high-ceilinged indoor environments such as processing plants and warehouses since it can hang from the ceiling or stand on the ground.

Versatile air cleaner

Its versatility extends to the filtration media, as the SSU can be configured to draw the air through HEPA only, activated carbon only or a combination of the two.

With eight refillable cartridges, the SSU accommodates up to 576 lbs. of activated carbon, the safest and most effective filter media to adsorb chemicals, gases and odors. It moves a lot of air, with up to 5000 delivered CFM.

The SSU can be configured for three distinct functions:

  1. Scrub and circulate the entire air volume in a large space. The SSU draws contaminated air in through the sides of the unit and ejects clean air towards the ceiling.
  2. Scrub contaminated air via ducting. In this setup, the SSU draws in the contaminated air through ducts directly from the source pushes it through the filters and releases clean air through the sides of the unit.
  3. Scrub contaminated air and direct the clean air into another room via ducting. In this configuration, the SSU draws in air through the sides of the unit and releases purified air into another room through ducts.

The SSU is ideally suited for the food processing or chemical processing industry, printing and graphics, pharmaceuticals and any other applications where large rooms with high ceilings need to be cleaned of dust particles, chemicals and strong odors.

Contact Electrocorp to find out more and get a customized solution to help solve your specific IAQ problem.

Worker health and safety: Gender differences in exposure patterns

Occupational health research should take the behavioral differences between men and women in the same field into account, a survey conducted by the Centre for Public Health Research of Massey University in New Zealand suggests.

A paper authored by Amanda Engl and several co-authors outlines the gender differences in occupational exposure patterns. The researchers surveyed men and women aged 20 to 64 years that were randomly selected from the electoral roll.

The participants revealed self-reported occupational exposure to specific dusts and chemicals, physical exposures and organizational factors.

The survey showed that overall, male workers were two to four times more likely to report exposure to dust and chemical substances, loud noise, irregular hours, night shifts and vibrating tools.

Women were 30 percent more likely to report repetitive tasks and working at high speed, and they were more likely to report exposure to disinfectants, hair dyes and textile dust.

Within the same occupation, gender differences were less apparent, but male workers were still more likely to report exposure to welding fumes, herbicides, wood dust, solvents, tools that vibrate, irregular hours and night-shift work.

Women remained more likely to report repetitive tasks and working at high speed, and in addition were more likely to report awkward or tiring positions compared with men with the same occupation.

This population-based study showed substantial differences in occupational exposure patterns between men and women, even within the same occupation. Thus, the influence of gender should not be overlooked in occupational health research, the authors concluded.

Protect workers from exposure to harmful toxins

Electrocorp has been designing and manufacturing commercial and industrial air filtration systems since 1985 for a wide range of industries, including welding and soldering, hospitals and healthcare, laboratories, art conservation and restoration, woodshops and environmental consulting.

Contact one of our air quality experts to find the right indoor air solution for your needs.

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