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Healthier workplaces are better for worker comfort, well-being and productivity.

Watch out, Sick Building Syndrome – you may be on your way out if this trend of healthier offices continues.

The term Sick Building Syndrome was coined in the 1970s, when increasingly airtight construction and potentially harmful indoor air pollution caused many employees to experience fatigue, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, sensitivity to odors and more.

The indoor air pollution often came from contaminants emitted by carpeting, furniture, printers, building materials and other products, personal care products, cleaning agents, and outdoor sources such as allergens, vehicle or industrial exhaust, bacteria, viruses and molds.

The problems were made worse by a lack of ventilation or malfunctioning heating systems, over-staffing and little control over the physical environment (locked windows etc.).

Widespread air quality problems in buildings

At some point in the time World Health Organization reported that up to 30 percent of new or remodeled buildings around the world had sick-building complaints.

Now a growing public awareness, initiatives like the EPA’s “Healthy Buildings Healthy People” and the green movement including LEED buildings certification, buildings are finally becoming healthier again.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification incorporates standards for energy and water conservation, indoor environmental quality and more.

Building ventilation standards are being revised and facility managers and administrators are looking for ways to improve the indoor air quality – but of course, there is still a long way to go for many buildings.

Source: Mercury Daily News

Remove indoor air pollutants with air cleaners

Whether office buildings are healthy or not, indoor air quality can become a problem in any environment that accommodates a lot of people over an extended amount of time.

That’s why Electrocorp has designed portable air cleaners for offices that feature the most effective air filters and help provide cleaner and healthier air.

The air cleaners’ activated carbon filters remove irritating odors, chemicals, VOCs, gases and fumes, the HEPA filter takes care of particles and dust and the optional UV germicidal lamp neutralizes biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for office printers are made specifically for larger photocopy machines and printers that are common in offices.

They feature the same types of air filters and a custom intake hood, intercepting harmful chemicals and particles at the printer exhaust before they can spread and affect workers.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.


Sawmills have to do more to protect workers from sawdust, regulators say.

After two recent mill explosions in Canada’s British Columbia, sawmills must remove all accumulated sawdust from their premises

High levels of sawdust in sawmills have proven to be unpredictable occupational health risks.

This week, a devastating blast destroyed a sawmill in Prince George, killing two workers and wounding many others. In January, a sawmill exploded in Burns Lake, also claiming two victims.

The dust has been cited in reports before as a major concern, and now authorities are making it official that mills have to control the dust in their operations and clear it away on equipment and the ambient air.

The air in sawmills should be well ventilated and the sawdust removed from all species and types of wood, officials said.

Potentially dangerous conditions could put workers at other mills at risk.

Source: Globe and Mail

Sawdust also a respiratory risk

It’s not only explosions sawmill workers have to worry about – they could also risk their health by breathing in high levels of dust over a long time.

Extensive dust exposure can lead to cancer of the lungs, throat and nose as well as other lung conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) that involves chronic bronchitis and emphysema, studies have shown.

Doctors say that woodworkers face 70 to 80 times the risk of a particular for of nasal cancer, which may develop decades after exposure to wood dust. Many other woodworkers report developing asthma as a result of their exposure to wood dust.

Clean the air with high-efficiency air cleaners

The Dirty Dog air cleaner includes a cleanable bag filter.

In sawmills, woodshops and other high-dust environments, an industrial-strength air filtration systemdesigned to handle a lot of fine dust can help reduce risks and provide cleaner air.

With a special bag filter option designed for large particle filtration, Electrocorp products such as the Dirty Dog or the I-6500 with Cyclone attachment are well equipped to work in environments with heavy sawdust or drywall dust.

The bag filters are easy to clean and reusable. This is an excellent option for situations where a HEPA filter would become blocked too quickly to be effective.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

Certain chemicals have been linked to cancer.

While for many people there seems to be a clear connection between chemical exposure at work and the development of cancer, proving a link between a specific type of cancer and chemicals in court may be difficult, recent lawsuits show.

In the case of Joseph Snizavich,a long-time pipe-fitter who died of brain cancer, a judge wouldn’t allow a primary witness report to be part of the trial.

The witness was an expert in occupational medicine who could have given some credibility to the family’s claim that Snizavich’s chemical exposure at a research facility had something to do with the cancer.

It would have been the first trial in connection with an alleged cluster of brain cancer among employees at the site, a Philadelphia Inquirer news report said.

Expert opinions can only be part of a trial if they are delivered with a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, and the judge didn’t feel this was the case here.

Chemical exposure background

The research facility conducted two internal studies that established no cause for cancer, but some officials criticized them as flawed.

A University of Minnesota research team found in 2010 that up to 14 employees at the facility had died of brain cancer after working there.

The research facility was opened in 1963 and changed owners a few times.

However, the researchers could not pinpoint any specific chemicals as possible causes, since thousands of chemicals were used at the site.

Officials had concerns about the indoor air quality at the research facility for certain periods of time, since some chemical vapors expelled by air handling equipment were being sucked back in.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Protect workers from airborne chemicals and vapors

In any working environment where chemicals are involved, there is a chance of exposure for employees.

RAP Series: Portable, powerful air cleaners.

While the levels may not be of a concern initially, it’s the cumulative effects of chemical exposure that has many experts worried.

Electrocorp has designed powerful air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can remove airborne chemicals, gases and fumes as well as other pollutants such as particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

The air cleaners feature deep-bed granular activated carbon filters for gaseous pollutants as well as HEPA filters, optional UV germicidal filtration and various pre-filters to prolong the main filters’ lifespan.

The air cleaners can be portable, attached to the HVAC system or mounted to the ceilings or walls, depending on the facility and requirements.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options. See also Electrocorp’s air cleaners for chemical processing plants.


A medical school in Marietta, Georgia, had to be evacuated last week due to fumes, serving as a reminder that many products and devices in medical settings could potentially be harmful to human health.

More than a dozen people were overcome by fumes last Friday and had to be treated after they were exposed to a type of surgical super-glue during class.

The fumes became a problem after a vial was thrown in the trash and broke, authorities said.

See the video:


Typical hazards in medical schools and hospital settings

Indoor air quality in hospitals and medical schools can be polluted by bacteria and viruses as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and fungi, chemicals such as glutaraldehyde (used for equipment sterilization), diethyl ether (anesthetic gas) and formaldehyde (used to preserve tissue).

There could also be high levels of PCBs and other toxins.

Along with source control, proper handling and ventilation, powerful portable air cleaners for hospitals and medical settings will help keep the air clean and healthy.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners feature the most effective filter combination of activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration to remove the widest range of contaminants from the ambient air.

For more information and suggestions, contact Electrocorp.

Related posts:

Cleaner indoor air can help children and staff be more productive and successful.

Many schools in the United States celebrate Healthy Schools Day on April 24, an important reminder about what a difference a healthy environment can make in a child’s life.

Children are among the most vulnerable groups when it comes to indoor air pollution and environmental toxins, and with them spending so much time in school, administrators, parents and communities need to do their part to protect the young learners.

According to the EPA, more than 53 million children and about 6 million adults attend more than 120,000 public and private school buildings.

The average child spends about 1,300 hours in a school building each year; teachers and other employees spend even longer periods.

Today, the average school building is about 42 years old.

The problem is that many schools are also in poor condition, and children may be exposed in varying degrees to common indoor air pollutants such as

  • Mold
  • Chemicals (VOCs)
  • Particles and allergens
  • Biological contaminants
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Outdoor air pollutants from industrial emissions, vehicle emissions etc.

Exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, aggravated conditions, increased absenteeism, lower productivity and learning ability and more effects.

With their Healthy Schools program, the EPA is trying to help schools provide a healthier learning environment and reduce indoor air pollution as much as possible.

It starts with people getting on the same page and making a Healthy School a priority, getting informed, making a plan and implementing changes.

Some of the easy and effective changes could include:

  • Opening the windows regularly, or the transom over the door to encourage natural air flow
  • Keeping classrooms tidy and free of clutter
  • Banning pets and foods in class to avoid pests (and blocking pest entry points)
  • Using low-odor and non-toxic supplies such as water-based, unscented markers
  • Banning plug-in air fresheners and room deodorizers
  • Reducing the use of scented personal care products (perfume, cologne, scented hair sanitizers, etc.)
  • Minimizing the use of disinfectants and using certified green cleaning products – or simply hot water and soap
  • Reporting water leaks (however tiny) right away to avoid mold growth

Source: NHSD Classroom Tips

Worried about airborne chemicals, asthma and allergy triggers and more?

Air purifiers remove indoor air pollutants.

With the steps above, schools can significantly improve their indoor air quality, but the natural airflow is often compromised by unforgiving weather conditions, a lack of ventilation and a build-up of indoor air pollutants.

A simple air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including irritating chemicals and VOCs, odors, allergens, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

HEPA filters alone only take care of particles and dust, a complete air filtration system needs a deep-bed activated carbon filter to adsorb chemicals, odors and gases.

Electrocorp has developed highly effective and long-lasting air cleaners for schools and universities that can be used in classrooms and other areas of questionable air quality (labs, arts and crafts rooms, locker rooms etc), or they may also be attached to the existing ventilation system.

For more information and recommendations, contact Electrocorp.

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This Month In Clean Air

April 2012
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