DOES INDOOR AIR QUALITY MATTER TO YOUR HEALTH?

Four Person's High-fiving Each Others

Most of us believe that a good diet and exercise is enough to lead a healthy life to enhance longevity. Have you ever thought that the quality of the air you breathe can make a difference in your lifespan? If you haven’t, then start considering some facts that emphasize the importance of indoor air quality on health. In recent years, poor air quality has been linked to various health conditions. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to, respiratory infections, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, strokes and even lung cancer. Research has suggested a link between heart disease and red meat consumption, but a link has also been suggested to poor air quality. Considering Americans spend an average of almost 90% of their time indoors as shown in one survey, the consequences of indoor air quality on health can be especially significant.

Many of the above listed substances originate from a-biogenic or biogenic sources. Dispersal of these materials takes place due to air pollution. Manmade activities or natural disasters such as forest fires, volcanic eruptions, flooding, etc. are identified as the main causes of air pollution. Some common obnoxious chemicals that are reported from air tests include: asbestos, formaldehyde, gases, heavy metals, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), pesticides, microbial/volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as, endotoxin, mycotoxin, etc, plus several other inorganic and organic materials. Besides these, some frequently reported biologically active constituents from air have been microbes, pollen grains, insect/insect bio-detritus, plant and animal-borne particulates, and protozoan cysts among others. Many of them are allergenic, infectious and pathogenic in nature. Some studies suggest that you can find higher concentrations of hazardous substances in the indoor air rather than in the outdoor air.

Having clean air in your environment will not just provide potential improvement for allergies and asthma, but can also benefit health in the long term. It has been shown that a reduction of just 10µg of particles per cubic meter of air can add on at least another half year to your lifespan. A reduction of almost 15µg of particles per cubic meter of air can add nearly another year to your lifespan. A few basic steps such as Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tests can provide information on air contaminants responsible for polluting the air quality in your home and environments. It will also help in understanding the indoor air quality and its proper management. Enhanced indoor air quality can improve quality of life as well as the longevity of your life span.

For more information or questions about IAQ baseline testing please contact Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory at 1-800-422-7873 ext. 304 or by the contact form on this website.

Article Source: http://www.edlab.org/blog/indoor-air-quality-health/

Christmas Shopping On A Budget – 9 Easy Tips

According to ABC News consumer counseling agencies see a 25 percent increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February, and most of that traffic is propelled to their doors by holiday bills that haunt consumers like the ghost of Christmas past. Christmas shopping on a budget can help.

For many of us, while we have the lights up and the tree decorated, there isn’t anything under the Christmas tree yet. You may not have bought a single present or even budgeted for presents. Here are nine easy, last-minute Christmas shopping tips for busy people trying to do their shopping on a budget.

1. Make a shopping list

Write down the list of people you plan on buying gifts for. Critically consider who should be on your gift list and don’t be afraid to trim it. Start with your immediate family and close friends, and selectively add to your list from there.

2. Set a spending limit

Many people overspend on Christmas gifts by letting their emotions get the best of them. It’s easy to feel guilty when it comes to holiday spending. Do you need to spend $50 on every one of your nieces and nephews? Definitely not.

Figure out the total amount of money you want to spend on presents, and divide it up among each person on your list.

For example, if you decide to spend $400 on presents, that might be $150 for your spouse, $50 for your parents, and so on. And if this is the season to pop the big question, there are ways you can save money on an engagement ring.

It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.

3. Pay in cash

The easiest way to not go into debt is to use cash instead of credit to buy gifts. You’ll be forced to stick to your b

udget. When you use a credit card, it’s way too easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent and on who. Plus, an extra $10-$15 here and there go unnoticed but add up quickly.

Use the cash budget – you’ll thank yourself in January when you don’t have any Christmas debts to pay.

4. Shop by yourself

If you shop alone, you’ll likely spend less money, especially if you have friends with poor money habits. A shopping partner in crime can distract you from your plan by convincing you to buy something unplanned and unnecessary.

It’s very easy for someone else to spend your money.

This would look great on you!

You know what you should buy is…

Haven’t you been looking to get one of these?

5. Tis the season to give, not buy

Guilty! I love buying myself things I want, when I want them. And my wife Katie hates it because it’s one more thing she can’t get me for Christmas for the man who’s impossible to shop for.

In December we institute the ‘no shopping on Amazon for yourself rule.‘ If I want something, I can add it to my wishlist or ask for it for Christmas. Our rule also helps avoid splurging and spending less.

This is the season for giving, not receiving. If you find something you can’t live without, add it to your wishlist. If nobody buys it for you, pick it up on sale after Christmas for yourself.

6. Shop for sales at discount stores

To get the most out of your holiday budget check out the discount stores where you can find discounted items and great deals. To save even more look to buy discounted gift cards to pay for your purchases.

  • Kohls
  • TJ Max
  • Marshalls
  • Dollar Stores
  • Costco / Sams Club
  • Big Lots

If you shop exclusively online, remember Amazon may not always have the best price. Be sure to check out eBay, Walmart, and specialty stores.

7. Don’t go crazy on the kids

How many toys can a child play with at once?

You got that right – one

Try this gift-giving idea where each kid gets four presents:

  • a want
  • a need
  • a wear
  • a read

There are a lot of ways to save money on babies and toddlers too.

8. Wrap a lot

My wife Katie loves having many presents to open. And she loves socks. Instead of wrapping six pairs of socks in one box, I’ll divide them into a couple of boxes. Or if I buy her only three pairs of socks, I might wrap each pair individually.

If you are giving a Christmas gift that has several parts to it – tools, an outfit, kitchen utensils, – wrap up each item individually. Your recipient will have more to unwrap and a fun time doing it. If you care about doing an awesome wrapping job, learn how to wrap a present.

9. Buy a combined gift

You can save money while still giving great gifts by giving a slightly more expensive gift to two or more people instead of buying individual gifts for every person.

For example, if we purchase a Barbie Dream House for my three nieces they can all enjoy it, instead of buying a Barbie Corvette for each of them.

  • For kids – video games, board games, play sets
  • For couples – an experience, weekend getaway, new T.V.
  • For parents – framed family photo, tickets to a show

Christmas Shopping On A Budget Reduces Stress

It’s a stressful time of year for many people with money being tight or having a lot of people to buy presents for. To avoid the big credit card bill that will be due in January and to keep from paying for gifts from now until next Christmas, have a shopping plan and a spending budget. Know how much you’ll spend on each person, what you’re going to buy them, and pay in cash.

Give yourself the gift of starting the new year with less debt and more money in your pocket!

Artivle Source:scottalanturner.com/christmas-shopping-on-a-budget/

Colder weather highlights importance of indoor air quality

When most people think of “air quality,” they think of the outdoors; the smog, haze, even pollen.

But what many people don’t realize is that factors inside the home can also lead to poor air quality, causing potentially serious health risks.

10TV found out why indoor air quality tends to become more of an issue when the temperature drops.

What it really comes down to, according to Alisha Hopkins, a certified nurse practitioner with the Breathing Association, is the simple fact that when it gets colder outside, people tend to stay in their homes for longer periods at a time.

That means more exposure to all the particles, molds and bacteria inside the home.

“Your home is your safe harbor and then all of a sudden, now, it’s this area of just triggers everywhere,” Hopkins said. “So no matter where you go there’s a trigger. …We always think of the outside but we forget that our home is one of the places that we literally lay our heads down, we relax in, and if you’re relaxing in a bunch of dirt, relaxing in pet dander, the fur, that too will make our breathing that much worse.

One woman told 10TV she notices a difference in her breathing as soon as the holiday decorations come out.

“I just start to get the stuffy nose, the watery eyes and then my asthma really kicks up,” said Cindy Groeniger, vice chair for the American Lung Association local leadership board.

Groeniger has suffered from asthma since she was just 10 months old, she said.

“Every fall season it’s bad because I decorate and then you have, you know, mold or dust maybe on your decorations so I have to watch that,” Groeniger said. “Sometimes I have to increase my medicine for the holidays.”

Tips for improving indoor air quality can be simple, Hopkins said.

  • Vacuum your mattresses, carpet, couches and chairs inside to get ride of dirt, particles and pet dander that could build up over the year.
  • Groom pets heading into the colder months. Many pets tend to shed more in the fall but grooming them can decrease the amount of pet dander in the air.
  • Use air filters and humidifiers, making sure to clean them out regularly to avoid mildew and mold buildup.
  • Wipe down handles, door knobs and surfaces, keeping them free of germs. Because people tend to stay inside more through the winter, illnesses can spread easier from person to person.
  • Replace furnace filters before cranking up the heat.

Fall is also a good time to make sure that furnaces are carbon monoxide-free, Hopkins said that. Double check carbon monoxide detectors in the home to make sure they are working properly.

For more information on indoor air quality, click here.

Article Source:www.10tv.com/article/colder-weather-highlights-importance-indoor-air-quality

Previous photo credit: https://precondo.ca/

University Focuses On Cleaning After Student Death Linked To Mold

Dorms are being deep cleaned at the University of Maryland, as students are growing increasingly concerned that mold problems may be linked to the death of a freshman. According to Fox News reporting, Olivia Paregol, 18, died from the same rare virus that killed 11 children in a New Jersey healthcare facility.

Paregol developed a cough, which later worsened to pneumonia. She died from adenovirus on Nov. 18 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. This is less than three weeks after the school learned she had the illness. The university has since said five more students have illnesses tied to the same rare virus.

Some students said they found mold on their shoes and clothes in their dorm back in August — and believes the fungus caused them to fall ill. After they repeatedly alerted university officials, about 500 students were moved to temporary housing while the school worked to clean the dorms.

Paregol – who suffered from Crohn’s disease and a weakened immune system – lived in Elkton Hall, one of the dorms evacuated for cleaning.

Dr. David McBride, head of the university’s campus health center, said the university has stepped up the cleaning efforts and is on high alert.

Earlier this year these same dorms were involved in a study that looked at how influenza spread in close quarters.

Article Source:https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/University-Focuses-On-Cleaning-After-Student-Death-Linked-To-Mold–23275

Repairs to Pensacola’s moldy federal courthouse to take longer than originally expected

Recent rainy and stormy weather has delayed the massive mold-removal project taking place at downtown Pensacola’s federal courthouse, according to the agency in charge of the building.

The $30.8 million project, which had been scheduled for completion in the fall of next year, will instead be finished late next year, said Adam Rondeau, spokesman for the General Services Administration.

“The project’s schedule has shifted due in part to the weather that’s impacted the Florida Panhandle over the last few months,” Rondeau said in response to emailed questions.

Rondeau said the project remains within its estimated budget. He said the bulk of the work to date has focused on interior and exterior demotion, waterproofing and electrical and HVAC upgrades.

The next step, scheduled for later this month, will be installing precast concrete panels on the exterior of the building, he said. The concrete panels will cover the black damp-proofing and waterproofing materials that have surrounded the building since summer.

The $10 million courthouse was built in 1997 under a contract that made the GSA, not the developer, responsible for maintenance and repairs of the building.

U.S. Chief District Judge Casey Rodgers sent a letter to the GSA in March of 2015 saying the courthouse had been infested with mold for 20 years without any permanent remediation.

Rodgers said more than half of the building’s employees had reported health problems consistent with mold exposure. Employees complained of a variety of sinus and respiratory issues.

Stable Foundations workers remove the brick facade on the Federal Courthouse in downtown Pensacola on Thursday, March 22, 2018. The currently vacant building is undergoing repairs to remedy water intrusion and mold. (Photo: Gregg Pachkowski/gregg@pnj.com)

The construction work began in 2017 after the developer of the building at Garden and Palafox streets agreed to an early lease termination and transferred the problem-plagued courthouse and surrounding property to the city. The city then transferred the title to the GSA.

In the meantime, U.S. District Court operations have moved to the nearby Winston E. Arnow Federal Building.

Jay Stake, president of the national Indoor Air Quality Association and an expert in mold assessment and removal, said it is crucial the entire courthouse structure be sealed to eliminate water intrusion before mold-contaminated materials are removed.

“If they have a leaky roof and it is continuously raining, everything they are doing is just wasted time,” he said. “You have to take care of the building envelope first.”

Mold is dangerous but its impacts are difficult to gauge because they differ from person to person, he said.

“Lead or asbestos will affect everybody. With mold, 10 of you could walk into a room with mold and each one of you will react different. There is really no set level for mold exposure,” he said.

According to the GSA website, work to be done at the Pensacola site includes modernizing and repairing the courthouse, replacing the facade and seam metal roof system to prevent water intrusion and conducting mold abatement. The site says work will also include repairing structural damage, upgrading fire safety systems and installing new heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

Article Source: https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2018/11/21/pensacolas-moldy-u-s-courthouse-repairs-take-longer-than-expected/2060153002/

7 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Offices

Group of People Inside Building
We’re all aware of the potential risks associated with air pollution like factory fumes and car exhausts, but don’t always give the same attention to the pollution that can affect our air indoors.

In fact, research found that the quality of indoor air can be up to 5 times worse for you compared with that outside, and can cause a number of health hazards – headaches, sinus problems and sore throats being just a few.

It’s probably unsurprising that office air quality can be quite poor, what with multiple people sharing an enclosed space. Dust and dirt can build up, and outdoor air pollution can even become trapped and concentrated inside.

When many of us spend such a large portion of our lives working in an office environment, it’s important to take steps to ensure the air quality is as clean as it can be. Here, Envirovent share their top tips on how to improve the air quality in your office.

Keep the office clean

A clean, clear workspace is integral to good quality air. Dusting, de-cluttering and general good housekeeping can help to prevent pollutants and allergens. Regular hoovering helps too – try to do it at least 2 times a week, and clean out the filter of the vacuum often.

Introduce office plants

Plants are thought to be really effective in absorbing toxins and chemicals from the air, including the likes of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Plus, they’re a nice way to brighten up the office! Ferns, lilies and palms are all great choices for additional air purification, according to NASA’s famous study.

Clean up spillages

Moisture and dampness creates the perfect home for fungi or mould to grow. Not just unsightly, mould can also exacerbate conditions such as asthma and eczema, so it’s important it’s not given an environment in which it can thrive. Make sure spillages are mopped up promptly, and be sure to report any water leaks as soon as they occur.

Healthy humidity

Warm, humid air also encourages mould, as well as dust mites and other allergens. To prevent this, the humidity should ideally sit at around 30-50%. Using dehumidifiers and air conditioning, especially during spring and summer, can help keep it at an optimum level, while simultaneously working to filter out pollutants.

Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is a key part to ensuring good air quality in any office environment. Regulations, such as approved document F provide guidance on the requirements for ventilation to provide a good healthy environment.

Don’t block air vents

Furniture, boxes or other items that have been placed in front of air vents can block the airflow, negatively affecting the circulation of fresh air. Bear this in mind when designing the office layout, or when it comes to storage.

Share the responsibility

Ultimately, it’s everyone’s responsibility to contribute towards cleaner indoor air; after all, it affects everyone’s health and happiness. Common sense and vigilance go a long way, so encourage everyone in the office to be aware of policies and best practices. Whether it’s storing food correctly, disposing of rubbish, or simply not smoking in certain areas, small steps can have a great influence.

Article Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/7-ways-to-improve-indoor-air-quality-in-offices/

What’s in your building’s air?

Human beings are creatures of habit. We all have certain likes and dislikes. One thing most folks can agree on is the preference to be comfortable while at work or leisure when indoors. Temperature and ventilation certainly play big roles in making the indoor environment comfortable. It’s common to notice changes in temperature and adjust the thermostat to maintain comfort. But detecting humidity, oxygen levels, and indoor air quality issues isn’t always as easy. Headaches, stuffy sinuses and feeling tired might very well be related to the air you breathe. What’s in your building’s air?

Studies conducted by the EPA and Harvard among others have found that humans spend 90% of their time indoors within shared spaces. Some studies have even shown that indoor environments can have higher levels of pollutants than what can be found outside. Many of the indoor pollutants either originate in or can be picked up and redistributed by the building HVAC system.

Under normal operating and maintenance conditions the HVAC system can monitor and correct for a multitude of IAQ conditions in your building’s air. But as maintenance is deferred, the air handing unit can become fouled, foster microbial growth, and begin to under perform, eventually breaking down. It is estimated that a little as 3/16 of an inch of dirt lodged in between the fins across an evaporator coil can decrease the efficiency of the unit by 21%!

Other factors, besides the HVAC system, like new office equipment, furniture, renovations and even additional employees can have a negative impact on IAQ as well.

Luckily, the EPA provides a guide to better understand indoor air quality and what can be done to maintain and improve it. “An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality can be viewed here.

A closer look at indoor pollutants.

When examining the pollutants that can affect indoor air quality there are three main categories to consider: biological contaminants, chemicals/gases and particles.

Biological Contaminants
Biological contaminants such as bacteria, fungi (including molds), dust mites, animal dander and pollen can all affect building health. A properly maintained and cleaned HVAC is key to minimizing the growth and distribution of biological contaminants throughout the building. Bacteria and mold can flourish inside of a cool and damp air handling unit. Typically, a musty odor is associated with microbial growth. If excessive concentrations are left unchecked an entire host of health related issues including asthma and allergies can occur.

Chemicals and Gases
Emissions from products used in the building can also contribute to indoor air quality issues. Everything from cleaning products to office equipment like copy machines can put harmful compounds into air, this includes gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Monitoring ventilation rates and controls is important. It is crucial to have a healthy mix of fresh outdoor air exchanged with the indoor air to maintain optimal quality.

Particles
Particulates like dust, dirt, paper fibers or other substances can be brought into a building from outside or produced by activities, like printing, that happen inside of the facility. Good housekeeping and proper filtration can alleviate most particulate issues. Remember, filtration should be designed to fit the specific environment and building use.

OSHA goes into detail about these categories and IAQ management in their guide located here.

Be Proactive and Vigilant

Always stay on top of HVAC maintenance and cleaning. Regular hygienic cleaning, like Pure Air Control Service’s PURE-Steam, can prevent IAQ issues emanating from the HVAC system. PURE-Steam is a high temperature, low pressure, cleaning service that kills microbial growth and flushes dirt from deep within the evaporator coils. It can improve overall system performance and cleanliness. Beyond the HVAC system, Pure Air Control Services also provides PURE-Decon room disinfection, that utilizes a hydrogen peroxide and silver mist to get rid of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

If you have never cleaned your HVAC system then IAQ testing would be a good first step to determining any potential issues. Even a simple HVAC Hygienic Assessment can be helpful in looking at the cleanliness and performance of the system regarding building health and energy efficiency.

Finally, be in-tune with your building’s occupants. Pay attention to common health complaints and where they are concentrated. These complaints are often the frontline in the IAQ battle, and provide early detection to get out in front of any issues before they get worse.

Understanding how IAQ is connected to your HVAC system is a critical step in developing a maintenance plan for the optimal health, comfort and energy efficiency of your building.

Article Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/whats-in-your-buildings-air/

HOW TO PROTECT INDOOR AIR QUALITY DURING WILDFIRES

Forest on Fire

Each year forest fires and wildfires in the United States, especially in the western regions, have become an increasingly serious issue. Outdoor air quality becomes severely poor from the massive amount of smoke and debris produced by the fires. But did you know it can negatively impact indoor air quality as well? Wildfire smoke can produce a variety of chemicals that are hazardous for health and hygiene. The chemicals released during forest fires and wildfires includes but are not limited to carbon monoxide, acrolein, and formaldehyde which can be toxic depending on the exposure dosage and susceptibility of the individual. In general, it has been observed that most deaths attributed to wildfires are from smoke inhalation. There are steps that can be taken to keep building occupants healthy and safe during wildfires and associated activities. The most important step is to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms that might be related to smoke inhalation. Individuals with a history of lung and heart problems must be extra careful and avoid exposure to the poor air quality.

Protection of closed environments from the infiltration of smoke and contaminated air is one of the first, most crucial, precautions to undertake. This can be initiated by inspecting the building filtration system and the “tightness” of the building envelope, paying close attention to any openings or leakage. Environmental inspection, diagnosis and proper management of Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is essential in order to restrict the circulation of bad air within a closed structure.

Testing various indoor contaminants either using simple Do-it-yourself (DIY) test kits or with the help of an indoor air quality professionals are highly encouraged to determine the quality of air within an occupied space. Use of professional grade air purifiers can also be helpful in such events. It might be necessary to evacuate the premises should the indoor quality degrade to poor conditions during the fire event. Upon your return to the building if lingering indoor air quality conditions persist then a remedial plan to minimize the smoke damage will need to be pursued to ensure the building can be safely occupied again.

ENVIRONMENTAL DIAGNOSTICS LABORATORY (EDLAB):

 

 

The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services, Inc. (PACS) is an environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses.

Pure Air Control Services, Inc. is a nationally recognized indoor air quality (IAQ) firm headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. Since 1984, PACS has provided IAQ services to governmental agencies, educational institutions, commercial properties, energy engineering firms and other mechanical contractors. PACS is a privately-owned company with established credentials and experience in all areas of IAQ and indoor environmental problem solving.

Article Source: http://www.edlab.org/blog/protect-air-quality-during-wildfires/

An invisible danger in some homes could increase your risk of lung cancer

Jay Sandos lives in Johnson City with his wife and three children, all under 6 years old. It was in their basement playroom that he found dangerous levels of radon, a cancer-causing gas that experts say all homeowners should test for but many aren’t aware that they should.

“Everybody is concerned about their children,” Sandos said. “We all have all these things in our house to protect our family and I was a naysayer too until I got the test kit.”

“You will not know unless you test. There’s nothing you’re going to smell, there’s nothing you’re going to notice, there’s nothing you’re going to feel different,” said David Coffey, President of RADON1, a testing, and mitigation company based in East Tennessee.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can be deadly when it concentrates indoors.

The American Lung Association calls it the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause overall, killing about 21 thousand annually. “It’s kind of like breathing second-hand smoke in many ways,” said Janice Nolen, the organization’s national assistant vice president for policy.

A new “State of Lung Cancer” report from the American Lung Association shows that Tennessee has the fourth highest rate of lung cancer in the country.

There’s evidence that radon plays a big role in these rates.

An informational map from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that some of the highest estimated radon levels in the country are right here in Northeast Tennessee.

“It’s important not to get too caught up in the maps. The maps can give people a false sense of security. We’ve had high radon levels, elevated radon levels, in every county in Tennessee,” said Jan Compton, radon program manager for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

“Any level over 2pCi/L needs attention and anything over 4 pCi/L definitely needs to be cleaned up,” Nolen said. “We’ve seen places that have a lot higher levels.”

The Sandos’s playroom, for example, tested at nearly 10 pCi/L.

Coffey said he’s found over 40 homes in Northeast Tennessee that have tested at 100 pCi/L.

There is good news.

“You can fix it, solve it and be done with it for about the price in your home or buying a new television set,” said Nolen.

President of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors Aaron Taylor estimates that radon mitigation costs between $1,200 to $1,500.

Just testing your home is free, according to Compton. TDEC distributes free test kits to homeowners upon request.

Test kits are also available in most home improvement stores for under 20 dollars, according to Nolen.

The EPA recommends homeowners test every individual room in their basement and ground floor.

Compton said homeowners should test during colder months–when radon levels are highest–generally between November and January.

The agency also suggests retesting every two years.

Radon and real estate

Sandos said that he was not aware of the radon levels in his children’s playroom until 6 to 8 months after he moved into his Johnson City home. “Them being in that room, again underdeveloped lungs and everything, getting more than double the radon limit…without us knowing it, we just felt like that was a huge issue,” Sandos said.

Coffey believes that radon testing, by a certified professional, should be required as part of a real estate transaction.

Some states have already adopted strict laws surrounding radon and real estate. By September of 2015, 29 states required disclosure of radon hazards upon the sale of a house and 25 required licensing of radon inspectors and/or mitigators, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Lawmakers in Tennessee have yet to impose these regulations.

“You can’t sell me your house without a certified person telling me whether that house has termites or not but you can sell me that house if it has the second leading cause of lung cancer and there’s no regulation on that. That needs to change,” Coffey said.

Experts agree licensing is critical because if mitigation is done wrong, it can actually make radon levels worse. “Because it’s not regulated, two guys with a hammer and truck can go out and call themselves radon contractors,” Coffey said.

Taylor agrees the Tennessee legislature has lagged behind other states when it comes to these changes. “We do trail when we institute state laws but I can see it heading that way as we progress,” he said, adding these are changes NETAR may advocate for in Nashville this March.

Article Source: https://www.wjhl.com/local/an-invisible-danger-in-some-homes-could-increase-your-risk-of-lung-cancer/1591763412

Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Knowledge about the potential benefits and possible problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial.

If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published the following publications for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should occasionally be cleaned. While the debate about the value of periodic duct cleaning continues, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental, provided that it is done properly.

On the other hand, if a service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

checklist

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
checkmark

Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)

checkmark

Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Original Article Source:https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/should-you-have-air-ducts-your-home-cleaned