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Health and safety precautions are paramount in any business.

Whether you work with metals, wood or plastics, you have a right to breathe healthy air and employers have a responsibility to protect workers from dangerous exposures.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Northern Steel Castings Inc. for two safety and four health violations at its Wisconsin Rapids carbon steel foundry, including for overexposing workers to crystalline silica, a known respiratory hazard. Proposed fines total $95,480.

Crystalline silica is found in soil, sand, granite and other minerals. Workers can be exposed to it when they chip, cute, drill or grind objects that contain silica.


Health effects:
Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, an incurable condition that reduces the ability of lungs to take in oxygen.

The company was cited for a willful safety violation as well as other health violations.

Read the entire press release.

Industrial air cleaners to help keep workers safe

Electrocorp offers specialized air cleaners with many pounds of activated carbon for odor and chemical control and/or HEPA and bag filters for superior particle and dust control.

Contact Electrocorp to find out which air cleaner is most recommended for your industry and IAQ concern.

Straight hair may come at a price: Most straighteners contain more formaldehyde than advertised, a new study claims.

A new study that tested the formaldehyde content in four keratin hair straighteners found that three out of the four products contained more formaldehyde than what was claimed.

The research was done by the San Francisco-based scientific consulting firm, ChemRisk, and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

The four products reviewed were:

  1. Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution
  2. Global Keratin Juvexin Optimized Functional Keratin
  3. Coppola Keratin Complex Blonde Formula
  4. La-Brasiliana Escluso Keratin Treatment

Out of these four, only La-Brasiliana Escluso Keratin Treatment tested formaldehyde-free as claimed on the product.

Brazilian Blowout was labeled as formaldehyde-free, but contained 11.5% formaldehyde and Coppola contained 3% formaldehyde, the study found. Global Keratin correctly identified its product to contain formaldehyde, but it was more than twice as much as it claimed: 8.3%.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical that is used in many industries, including the beauty industry and the funeral business (body preserving fluid).

Formaldehyde helps bind keratin to hair and helps straightening it. It is released when hair treated with keratin products is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron, as the labeling recommends.

Salon workers using a formaldehyde-releasing hair straightening product have complained about the following health effects:

  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Burning sensations
  • Breathing problems
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Rashes

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel said that formaldehyde is safe in cosmetic products when formulated with minimal effective concentrations. The panel said those concentrations should not exceed 0.2%.

Formaldehyde exposure an occupational hazard

The study examined the occupational health and safety risks for beauty salon stylists and workers by measuring the formaldehyde content over the duration of the treatment and in different parts of the salon.

For the three products that contained formaldehyde, “the highest exposures were measured for the salon worker and client receiving the treatment,” said the study’s lead author, Jennifer Pierce.

Brazilian Blowout ranked highest in terms of exposure, followed by Global Keratin and Coppola.

The air was tested in a salon with an effective ventilation rate of two to three air replacements per hour.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Air cleaners for hair salons and spas

CleanBreeze 3: Filters out chemicals, gases and fumes

Salon hair products like hair straighteners, hair dyes and hair sprays can release harmful pollutants into the ambient air.

Electrocorp has designed air cleaners for hair salons and spas that feature a large activated carbon filter to adsorb chemicals and odors as well as a HEPA filter and pre-filters for the removal of particles and dust.

The stand-alone air cleaners with source capture attachment provide a cost-effective and powerful air cleaning solution to salons and spas where floor space is limited, and Electrocorp also offers source capture solutions that can be incorporated into the design of the salon.

Contact us today for more information and recommendations: 1-866-667-0297.

Asbestos tarnishing Canada’s international reputation

The medical community agrees that asbestos can scar the lungs and cause illness.

It seems to be a question of profits vs. conscience.

At this point, everyone has to admit that asbestos is a dangerous product.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), more than 100,000 people die every year from lung cancer and other respiratory diseases due to asbestos exposure.

The numbers will continue to grow because 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces today and every day.

As Canada has banned asbestos from being used, it still happily exports it to other countries where the health standards still have to catch up.

Canada’s province of Quebec was operating two asbestos mines, but a recent CBC article says both have halted production for the first time in the industry’s history (see link below).

The industry has changed a lot over the years. Once touted as a miraculous substance that could not be burned or damaged by fire, asbestos soon appeared everywhere – in homes, at workplaces, in cars, in industrial and household products. It seemed to be the perfect material – until the first lung complications were linked to it.

It takes up to 40 years after exposure to asbestos fibers to affect people’s health, but the tiny fibers can scar people’s lungs and lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma and other cancers.

For an in-depth look at the history and current state of the asbestos industry in Canada, read the Globe and Mail article.

Asbestos and indoor air quality

The AirRhino can go from particle-only to odor and chemical air scrubber on site.

Asbestos becomes an exposure hazard when asbestos fibers become airborne during demolition, renovation and construction processes.

Electrocorp has designed powerful air cleaners for asbestos and mold remediation sites that can easily be moved around and feature multistage air filtration systems with HEPA, dust filters, activated carbon and more.

Contact us for more information.

Related articles

Women may be exposed to carcinogens at the workplace, group says.

There are many factors that can increase the risk of a woman developing breast cancer, including being over 50 years old, having a family history, being childless, etc – but experts are warning about the role of environmental factors as well.

The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. (OHCOW) , an organization dedicated to prevent occupational illnesses and injury and to promote the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of all workers, is pointing to carcinogens at the workplace as a possible reason for concern.

Some occupational factors  are related to higher rates of breast cancer, they say, and some exposures, especially at a younger age can be a factor.

They warn against exposure of

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), potent atmospheric pollutants that occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Electromagnetic fields (EMF)
  • Pesticides – all workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling hazardous materials

The best chance against breast cancer is early detection through regular examinations, they say.

Source: Cottage Country Now

When masks are not enough

It’s a sad fact that many masks keep out only dust and particles and let chemicals and gases through.

Employers need to be vigilant about the health and safety of their workers and ensure the workplace has adequate ventilation and safety measures in place. An industrial strength air cleaner can help keep remove dangerous contaminants and circulate cleaner air.

Electrocorp’s versatile and powerful air cleaners are equipped with deep-bed activated carbon filter and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration to remove many chemicals, gases, odors, fumes, particles, dust, viruses, bacteria and molds.

Electrocorp’s comprehensive product line includes air cleaners for the office and for a wide range of other workplaces.

Contact us for more information.

Art restoration and conservation can be impacted by indoor and outdoor air pollutants.

Some artists’ masterpieces have survived long decades or centuries and wars, but they are now facing a much graver threat: Damage from air pollution.

One such example is Da Vinci’s Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church in Milan, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

In order to conserve the painting and keep pollution to a minimum, officials installed a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

University of Southern California researchers were called to monitor the air quality at the site because their air samplers are quite and compact and don’t disturb visitors.

The monitoring showed that air pollution inside the church has been dramatically reduced, especially with respect to fine and coarse particulate matter. These were reduced by 88 and 94 percent respectively, from corresponding outdoor levels.

The next challenge will be indoor sources of pollution, the researchers warn, which often comes from the visitors themselves.

Even though the number of visitors and the length of visits is strictly regulated, the airborne lipids coming from visitors skin still appeared in significant quantities around the painting. They can mix with dust and soil the masterpiece, the authors warn.

The painting itself may also emit tiny particles of wax that was used in previous repair efforts.

 Source: University of Southern California

Stand-alone air cleaners for art conservation and restoration

For paintings and collection pieces at risk of soiling or damage from indoor air pollutants, Electrocorp has designed highly efficient portable air cleaners for art conservation and restoration, with a flexible arm and source capture attachment to keep the air as clean as possible.

Electrocorp's CleanBreeze 2

The air cleaners remove a wide range of indoor air pollutants, including chemicals, VOCs, gases, fumes, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and molds with an activated carbon + HEPA filter combination.

Exclusive carbon blends are available to target specific contaminants and the units feature many other customizable options that can help conserve the artifacts.

Contact Electrocorp for more information: 1-866-667-0297.

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