Air Quality Visibly Bad From Brush Fires Burning In Ventura, Sylmar

VENTURA (CBSLA) — With two large brush fires burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, air quality was visibly bad Tuesday, even with strong winds blowing much of the smoke out onto the ocean.

Our radar picking up smoke from the – poor air quality… blaze has now burned 45,000 acres with zero containment

A large bank of smoke from the Thomas Fire was visible from SKY2 over Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai. The strong winds that are pushing flames west are similarly scattering plumes of gray smoke out over the region.

Further inland, the Creek Fire burning over Sylmar is giving an apocalyptic hue to the morning commute along the 5 Freeway.

 

Horrible air quality in the valley this morning due to the as viewed from Mulholland Drive. Most of the valley can’t be seen from up here.

Further inland, the Creek Fire burning over Sylmar is giving an apocalyptic hue to the morning commute along the 5 Freeway.

SMOKE ADVISORY: the near and is affecting our air quality:

A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District says that wind-blown smoke is making the air most hazardous in the San Fernando Valley and Malibu areas. The agency says everyone in these areas should avoid vigorous outdoor or indoor exercise, and people with respiratory or heart disease, pregnant women, seniors, and children were urged to remain indoors.

More than 50 miles away, officials from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District said that even though classes are in session, students are being kept indoors due to smoky conditions.

“School is in session; however, we will be running on an indoor schedule today, including for physical education, lunch and recess,” a statement from Superintendent Ben Drati posted on the district’s website said.

The Thomas Fire also forced the Getty Center to close to the public “to protect collections from smoke from fires in the region,” according to Getty officials. The Villa in Pacific Palisades is also closed, per its usual Tuesday schedule.

Southern California is enduring its second day of destructive Santa Ana winds that are being blamed for whipping up flames from both brush fires and sending embers beyond fire lines to start new fires.

Red Flag warnings, signifying the risk of wildfires, remain in effect across most of Los Angeles County and down south into Orange County. Tuesday’s warnings are scheduled to expire at 6 p.m., but forecasters say Santa Ana winds could persist into Friday or Saturday.

The gusty winds also have the potential to bring down trees and power lines, and already brought down several big rig trucks along the 210 Freeway in Fontana.

Article Source: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/12/05/air-quality-ventura-sylmar-brush-fires/

 

Air Tight Buildings May Not Provide Best Environment for Employees

Some modern workplaces have gotten so efficiently air-tight and crowded that they could be making us less productive.That’s partly our colleagues’ fault: Adults breathe out a continuous (yet tiny) stream of CO2, which adds up to around 2 pounds every day.

On the ground outside, carbon dioxide concentrations typically hover between 250 and 500 parts per million, depending on how much pollution is around. Indoors, CO2 concentrations can be a bit higher, though it varies from place to place.

But extra CO2 can have a measurable effect on how well people accomplish cognitively high-level tasks at work.

A recent study by researchers from Harvard, SUNY and Syracuse suggests that when people breathe in too much carbon dioxide at their desks, their performance suffers. That jives with what brain researchers know about carbon dioxide: more CO2 causes brain metabolism to plummet and neural activity to take a dive.

That study got the science team at Business Insider wondering how much CO2 is in the air we’re breathing at work. So we conducted a test in our office to determine whether we, too, are being impacted by elevated carbon dioxide levels.

Fortunately, those results also turned out to be out well below worrisome CO2 levels.

Fortunately, those results also turned out to be out well below worrisome CO2 levels.

There was a little more CO2 wafting around our desks — slightly less than 500 ppm — but that’s still an acceptable level for work.

Clearly, we can’t blame any lack of productivity on our office air.

But we weren’t satisfied with a single result. So we headed into the middle of the crowded newsroom for a second test.

But we weren't satisfied with a single result. So we headed into the middle of the crowded newsroom for a second test.

Roughly 100 BI employees were hard at work and breathing steadily.

Our test involved sucking air into a syringe and then pushing it out into a CO2-measuring vile built for greenhouses. As it turned out, our conference room air was performance-friendly.

Our test involved sucking air into a syringe and then pushing it out into a CO2-measuring vile built for greenhouses. As it turned out, our conference room air was performance-friendly.

CO2 concentrations hovered around 300 parts per million — about the same concentration of carbon dioxide found in the great outdoors. Very conducive to good work.

First we tested the CO2 concentrations in a conference room.

First we tested the CO2 concentrations in a conference room.

We expected that the CO2 level in an empty, confined space like this might differ from our open-office newsroom, where we work and breathe together all day. Because there aren’t as many people in conference rooms ‘outgassing’ into the air, we figured there might be less CO2.

Then again, a meeting room can hold lots of groups throughout a busy day, and all those people expel carbon dioxide along with their opinions and presentations. A poorly ventilated conference room might be a perfect spot for some higher-than-ideal CO2 concentrations to brew.

Ultimately, designers and architects adopted new building ventilation standards to make sure that there’s enough fresh air indoors.

Ultimately, designers and architects adopted new building ventilation standards to make sure that there's enough fresh air indoors.

We were desperate to know how our office fared.

Indoor carbon dioxide became a problem in the 1970s, when designers began making buildings more airtight. People started reporting feeling ill and less productive at work. The term ‘sick building syndrome’ was born.

Indoor carbon dioxide became a problem in the 1970s, when designers began making buildings more airtight. People started reporting feeling ill and less productive at work. The term 'sick building syndrome' was born.

Exposure to higher-than-average levels of carbon dioxide, concentrations upwards of 2%, can leave exposed individuals feeling faint, breathless, and dizzy.

In more serious cases, taking in too much carbon dioxide can put people in a coma or kill them.

In the study, 24 workers spent six days working at different CO2 concentrations. The participants were plucked from a range of professions, including engineers, marketers and programmers. The results from the small group suggested that even a slightly elevated CO2 level can have an impact on how well people work.

In the study, 24 workers spent six days working at different CO2 concentrations. The participants were plucked from a range of professions, including engineers, marketers and programmers. The results from the small group suggested that even a slightly elevated CO2 level can have an impact on how well people work.

The researchers tested the participants with a range of decision-making tests at the end of each day.

On some days, workers went about their business in rooms where CO2 was circulating at 550 parts per million. On others, the concentration hovered at 945 ppm, and on the rest, they subjected participants to a high-carbon dioxide condition, at 1400 ppm. (The Centers for Disease Control generally considers places with CO2 levels above 1200 ppm ‘inadequately ventilated.’)

Study participants working under the heaviest concentration of CO2 performed 50% worse on cognitive tasks than they did in the low 550 ppm scenario. And when the workers were working in rooms with the medium CO2 concentrations (945 ppm), their cognitive test scores were 15% lower.

In other words, the researchers found that a little extra CO2 can make you act a lot dumber.

Article Source:https://www.businessinsider.in/The-air-you-breathe-in-your-office-can-have-major-impacts-on-your-performance-so-we-tested-ours/In-the-study-24-workers-spent-six-days-working-at-different-CO2-concentrations-The-participants-were-plucked-from-a-range-of-professions-including-engineers-marketers-and-programmers-The-results-from-the-small-group-suggested-that-even-a-slightly-elevated-CO2-level-can-have-an-impact-on-how-well-people-work-/slideshow/61597495.cms

 

How to keep yourself safe from wildfire smoke

Even if you don’t live or work near a major fire, you can still be affected by smoke particles in the air. So, what’s in that smoke, and how much should you worry about it?

Depending on the fire, the smoke can be made up of various substances including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, particulate matter, organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides and more. Exposure to smoke can cause a range of health effects, from eye and lung irritation to asthma and premature death.

Particulate matter is the main public health threat during short-term exposure to wildfire smoke, so it’s crucial to protect yourself.

“Really it’s about common sense,” said Philip Fine of the South Coast Air Quality Management District on AirTalk Thursday. “If you can see the smoke, if you can smell the smoke, you can tell when the particulate matter levels are really high. If you can do that, you should exercise caution.”

Here are tips on how to stay safe if you’re in the patch of a wildfire from the AQMD and the Air Resources Board:

What should I do if I’m in an area affected by smoke?
Stay indoors; close all doors and windows. Everyone should avoid vigorous outdoor and indoor activity. Those with respiratory difficulties or heart problems, as well as the elderly and young children should all remain indoors. Keep windows closed and run your air conditioner if possible. Running an indoor air filter is effective in helping reduce the amount of polluted air inside the home. Do not use any indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances or fireplaces. When smoke subsides, you should air out your home to clear any polluted air that might be trapped inside.

What if I don’t have air conditioning, and it’s too hot to stay inside?
Heat can be dangerous to anyone, but especially the elderly and very young. If you rely on open windows and doors for cooling, AQMD recommends you stay with friends or family, or head to a clean air shelter.

What if I have to be outside?
The best thing to do is to seek shelter, but if you must be outside, being prepared is key. Wearing a special N95 or P100 respirator mask can help protect you against the fine particles in smoke. Paper or surgical masks are not effective in preventing inhalation of smoke.

Who is the most vulnerable to smoke exposure?
Most healthy people will recover quickly if exposed to smoke, but there’s a large number of people who should take extra precaution. People with asthma and those with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases can experience worsening of their conditions if they inhale smoke. The elderly, young children and pregnant women are all sensitive populations that should avoid exposure. In addition, smokers should beware, because they may not feel symptoms of exposure as acutely as non-smokers.

What if I’m driving through an area affected by smoke?
A car should only be used to leave an area, not as shelter. If you’re in a car, close windows and doors and run your car’s air conditioner, making sure you’re circulating the air already in the car and not pulling in fresh/smoky air. However, according to the AQMD, carbon dioxide levels can spike quickly in newer cars if vents and windows are closed and the circulation setting is on. It’s a good idea to crack the windows once you’re in there for a while to prevent grogginess.

How do I find out if I’m in an advisory zone?
The AQMD monitors the air 24/7 and offers a handy, interactive map of air quality in Southern California. You can check the air quality in your area at any time via their website. They will also post information there if there’s a special advisory because of a wildfire or other event. You can also sign up for advisory alerts here.

Article Source: https://www.scpr.org/news/2017/10/09/41635/air-quality-faq-how-to-keep-your-loved-ones-safe/

Asthma Triggers Cause 10 Million Missed School Days Each Year

Clearwater, FL Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases that afflicts children. Attacks can be debilitating enough to affect student performance and attendance. While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to medically treat the symptoms and there are recommendations to identify and reduce agents that act as asthma triggers.

A 2015 study on the association of cognitive function scores and the indoor environment published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that occupants exposed to less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) had increased cognitive function performance.

“We have been ignoring the 90%. We spend 90% of our time indoors and 90% of the cost of a building are the occupants, yet indoor environmental quality and its impact on health and productivity are often an afterthought,” said Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, and lead author of the study. “These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers.”

And the performance of students too!

According the Florida Department of Education student absenteeism costs the state $228,557,676 per year. Florida schools can lose at least $1020 per chronically absent student. Asthma related absence certainly contributes to these numbers.

Developing a strategic IAQ plan to identify and reduce asthma triggers

Both the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommend a having a plan for improves IAQ and asthma/allergen trigger reduction. The first step in developing an IAQ plan is to identify and quantify the asthma triggers that are present in a facility. Recognizing that people with asthma might react to just one asthma trigger or sometimes multiple triggers.

Common Asthma Triggers Found in Schools
• Mold
• Pollen
• Dust
• Dust Mites
• VOCs

Establish an Indoor Environmental Testing protocol to find and quantify the specific asthma triggers lurking in the facility. There are a variety of sample collection methods and tests that can be performed to establish a baseline and determine the condition of the indoor environment. Culture (Bioaerosol), Non-Culture (spore trap analysis), and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) are often used for enumerating the allergens/triggers found. Enzyme Immunoassay (ELISA) of air or dust samples can also be utilized thought it can be costly, time consuming and allergen specific.

While most of the common asthma triggers are well known, VOCs deserve a closer look for better understanding. VOCs are basically organic chemicals. They are numerous and varied. VOCs can be both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. These pollutants can include (but are not limited to) tobacco smoke, emissions from products used in the building such as: office equipment, furniture, wall coverings, floor coverings and cleaning products, as well as gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Once the building and HVAC system has been tested, the data can then be used to recommend various methods to strategically remove/reduce any asthma triggers that were found. These methods can include Hygienic HVAC System/Ducts Cleaning, Mold Remediation, and hard products like Professional Air Purifiers, to name a few solutions.

Finally, repetition of these two steps, testing and remediation, on a regular basis is what really creates a proactive Indoor Air Quality management plan. The result is healthier and higher performing students, staff and buildings.

Visit Pure Air Control Services at the upcoming FAPPO Conference in Orlando FL or BOMA Conference (click links for details) Nashville, TN

About Pure Air Control Services:

Pure Air Control Services, Inc. was established in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm. Today, the firm sets the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, laboratory and remediation.

Pure Air Control Services expanding roster of valued clients: Harvard University, Toyota, Northrop Grumman, University of South Florida – Student Housing, VA Medical Center – James  Haley, Polk County School District, Hillsborough County School District, Pasco County Government, General Services Administration (GSA) – Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse, Tampa Bay Trane, Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) , Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station – King’s Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services the reliable industry leader in IAQ

Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; a CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; HVAC New Life Restoration and PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning/Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services

For more information on Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Dr Rajiv Sahay or Alan Wozniak (800) 422-7873 ext 802 or 804 respectively, or visit www.pureaircontrols.com

Armed With NASA Data, South Korea Confronts Its Choking Smog

South Korea faces a chronic dirty air problem that makes it one of the most polluted countries in the world. It’s common to hear that neighboring China is to blame, but a joint study by NASA and the Korean government has found there’s a lot South Korea can do on its own to cut the smog.

On many days of the year, a thick industrial haze blankets the capital city of Seoul, where some 25 million people live in the metropolitan area. The health effects can be seen in hospitals, with patients complaining of wheezing and coughing that won’t go away.

Dr. Kim Sang-heon, who practices internal medicine at Hanyang University Medical Center, says since there’s a clear link between pollution and respiratory illnesses, he preaches smog avoidance to his patients.

“I usually say stay home if they hear it is high,” Kim says.

High concentrations in the air of PM 2.5 — fine particulate matter that can get deep in your lungs — are a relatively common occurrence in Seoul. A ranking released in February shows South Korea had the second worst air quality of all advanced nationsin the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with only Turkey faring worse. South Korea’s air is more than twice as polluted as the other nations’ average.

Seoul’s pollution levels on some days rival those of Shanghai and Beijing, major Chinese cities whose pollution problems are well-documented. In 2016, Seoul’s air quality index was considered unhealthy for sensitive populations (such as children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions) on 78 days.

By comparison, the Los Angeles metro area, which had some of the United States’ highest average PM 2.5 readings in 2016, experienced only two such days, according to an NPR analysis of data released by the Seoul city government and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Beijing, by contrast, experienced average air quality index levels that were unhealthy for sensitive populations, or even more hazardous, during 231 days last year.

Shanghai reached those levels 201 times, according to data collected by the State Department at its embassies and consulates in those cities.

Although China is an easy target for blame, as its industrial dust does drift across borders, South Korea wanted to know more about its own pollution causes.

So its government teamed up with NASA last year for the most ambitious sampling and study of Korean air quality to date.

Last year, NASA flew planes at various altitudes above the peninsula, chasing dust for a month.

This summer, NASA scientists returned to Seoul to begin sharing preliminary results.

“We can’t fly over China. So this is a way to sample China and sample Korea, and the Koreans are very interested in working with us,” said Barry Lefer, a NASA scientist and program manager who took part in the study. The U.S. and Chinese governments are rivals when it comes to many military and security issues, which inhibits flyovers.

The big question vexing South Korea is how much of its pollution is homegrown versus carried over from neighboring countries. The answer is complicated.

NASA sampled the air at a time when trans-boundary pollution was low. It cautions it can only model the Korean peninsula’s air based on the data gathered from its sampling. But its models did point to some interesting answers.

“Our conclusion was that the local emissions are a strong source of ozone and small particles,” Lefer said. “The model said that over half of the air pollution is coming from local sources and the rest is coming from other countries.”

Local sources include vehicle emissions, industrial sites and power plants. Lefer says news that a majority of the pollution here is homegrown is actually good in a key way.

“You can’t do anything about the trans-boundary pollution, whereas you can do something about your local sources,” Lefer says.

The government is taking some action now. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is overseeing a fine dust task force and is shuttering 10 of the country’s oldest and most polluting coal plants. The city of Seoul issues fine dust alerts over mobile phones to better inform residents of dangerous days.

Kim, the doctor, believes growing public awareness of pollution is effective in improving the air.

“I hope and I expect some new change will be given to us,” Kim says.

Armed with more data about South Korea’s pollutants, the battle to curb it can come from a place of knowledge.

Pure Air Control Services Will Demonstrate Connection Between IAQ, Occupant Health and Energy Savings at Florida Association School Business Officials (FASBO) Conference

Pure Air Control Services Will Demonstrate Connection Between IAQ, Occupant Health and Energy Savings at Florida Association School Business Officials (FASBO) Conference

St. Augustine, FL – Pure Air Control Services, Inc. is set to exhibit at this year’s Florida Association of School Business Officials (FASBO) Conference being held at the World of Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, October 10-13, 2017. Located at booth 23, Pure Air Control Services will showcase the latest in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing, analysis and remediation. This includes highlighting each of their divisions: Building Sciences, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory, and Building Remediation Sciences. Also on display will be Building Health Check, LLC and their Do-It-Yourself IAQ Screen Check Testing Kits.

Fasbo conference 2017In its 51st year, the FASBO Conference highlights many educational tracks for executive level school official. Topics include everything from Ethics and HR/Risk Management to Security and Energy Efficiency with many specialized breakout sessions as well. The entire event kicks off with a charity golf tournament, features select vendors, like Pure Air Controls, and ends with the introduction of new officers with the Board of Directors meeting.

For their part Pure Air Control Services Inc. will inform visitors to their booth on the important connection of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) to student performance and absenteeism. More detailed information on that topic can be found in this recent article. Also on display will be the interactive demonstration of the results of PURE-Steam HVAC Coil Cleaning and HVAC New Life Hygienic Restoration that illustrates improvements to air flow which, in turn, increases energy efficiency and can add years of operation life to old or aging HVAC Systems.

Pure Air Controls will also be available to talk about their new cooperative purchasing vehicles through the Panhandle Area Education Consortium (PAEC) and their Florida Buy Program contract no. 18076 as well as The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) contract no. 170602 and 170702. These co-op contracts are available for all Florida schools to use to procure Pure Air Control Services right away, without going to bid. These vehicles make it easier to get started with Pure Air’s specialized and proprietary services.

“Often schools know that they need to improve IAQ and perform preventative maintenance on their HVAC systems, but there are so many different service options available that offer different results” says Frank Santini, IAQ Solutions Consultant for Pure Air Control Services, “These procurement co-ops offer a consistent contract that is based on our thorough specifications so the schools know the exact service and performance to expect, every time”.

Check out Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in person at booth 65 at the 51st FASBO Conference, October 10-13, 2017 at the World of Golf Village, St. Augustine, FL.

Can’t make the conference? For more information on PURE-Steam, HVAC New Life or Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Alan Wozniak at 1-800-422-7873, extension 802 or email awozniak@pureaircontrols.com.

About Pure Air Control Services
Pure Air Control Services, Inc. was established in 1984 as a small, mechanical, contracting firm and has since set the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, environmental laboratory and remediation. Pure Air Control Services has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities. Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; a CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; HVAC New Life Restoration and PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning/Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.

About FASBO
Founded in 1965, FASBO Inc., is a professional association of school business management professionals. Our mission is to provide programs and services to promote the highest standards of school business management practices, professional growth, and the effective use of educational resources. FASBO is a network of professionals providing knowledge and solutions.

FASBO represents around 300 school business officials employed in public and private school entities, as well as community and junior colleges and state departments of education. Members include non-instructional employees at the local, state and national levels from specialized areas in school business management, as well as the generalized field of school business administration.

Article: http://pureaircontrols.com/fasbo-conference-2017/