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.
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 Pachkowskifirstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
It is wild to think that in 2004 I started this crusade with Samantha the founder of the Sparkle foundation. I was 26 years old and want to help make a difference. I helped her with 2 families by donating gifts and wrapping presents. Now, fast forward to 2018 here we are.
The Sparkle Foundation, located in the received 107 nominations this year for single mothers needing assistance over the holiday season. The Sparkle board worked tirelessly to narrow the list down to 50, 50 women we knew we could make a difference for. We’ve taken their stories and shared them with you this year. Some of the stories will hit home. Some of the stories will move you, and some of the stories will leave you in tears. We share these stories, for I firmly believe that it is important to know who you are assisting and why.
These 50 women have beat incredible odds illness, financial difficulties, all struggling to raise children on their own. If you’re looking for a way to give back to the community this holiday season I encourage you to check out the DreamLists. Hear the stories of women that are just like many of us, or someone you know.
I always say living a life of purpose is what it’s all about and being a part of something bigger than yourself is what drives a person. Be a part of changing someone’s life this holiday season, whether it be with a pair of socks, toys for their children, tires for a mother’s car or the gift of food to put a holiday meal on a table.
Sparkle is a recognize 501(c)(3) nonprofit by the IRS. The biggest thing that sets us aside from other charities is that 100% of every dollar, 100% of every gift, and 100% of every volunteer hour goes to the families that need it the most.
Be a part of the Sparkle, for it is a part of you.
Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday responsible for bringing family and friends to the table year after year. Young and old alike come together to share delicious, mouth watering food and express gratitude for everyday blessings and triumphs. A beautiful holiday, sure, but a beautiful holiday that will do some temporary damage to your pristine home kitchen. Eek!
Preparing a massive Thanksgiving feast for hoards of family members and friends alike is an overwhelming idea to many. Even if many of us are experienced Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses, the task of shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning an enormous meal in ones own house is an exhausting task for anyone to fathom. Although its never an easy feat to prepare an enormous meal by hand, there are a few organizational tips, tricks, and hacks that will make your holiday prep a little easier this year.
Want to simplify your mealtime preparation this holiday? These Thanksgiving tips & tricks will make difficult kitchen tasks a pinch. Bon appetit!
At the store:
1.) Split up your supermarket trips
An entire feast’s worth of grocery bags is a lot for anyone to carry, and if you try to buy all of your Thanksgiving supplies in one trip you’re bound to forget an ingredient, or come across supermarket shelves so bare you’d think the apocalypse was here. Plan your time and split your shopping trips up, which will save you the pressure of trying to cram everything in the trunk in one trip.
2.) Make a thorough list
Plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu in advance, then making a detailed list of what you’ll need to pick up. Divide your list into perishables (milk, produce, eggs) and nonperishables (spices, canned goods, flour). Buy your nonperishables first, then return for the turkey, dairy, and vegetables a few days before you start cooking your feast.
3.) Prioritize your refrigerator
Sure you can fit it all in the fridge, but can you successfully shut the door? Empty your refrigerator of everything that isn’t essential, like jars of jelly, salad dressings, or anything expired. Plan ahead that you’ll need the extra space, and try to use up as much leftover food as possible in both the freezer and refrigerator.
4.) Designate a place for dry/extra storage
Because refrigerator space is precious on Thanksgiving, anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated should be stored in a cool, dry place. Store hearty produce like potatoes, apples, and cranberries in the basement, garage, or trunk of the car. Any food that needs to stay chilled? Use a beach cooler filled with frozen ice packs to store the turkey, casseroles, or any other food that needs to stay cool. An iced cooler stored in a low temperature location should keep your food fresh for at least 24 hours.
5.) Create a prep list
A organized prep list lays out (in order) all of the tasks you need to accomplish two days prior to your Thanksgiving feast.
Identify what can be made a day ahead of time. Recipes like pies and gratins can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.
Identify which dishes will take the longest to make on Thanksgiving day, then prioritize your recipes and allow yourself with a little extra time with each one.
Look at cooking temperatures and see what dishes can go into the oven simultaneously. Use your smartphone or timers to set alarms to keep track of both the dishes in the oven and on the stovetop.
6.) Organize recipes
Nothing is worse than rifling through recipes when you’ve got hot food on the stove and six other things to do. If you make copies of your recipes in advance, you can then stick them on appliances with magnets, or tape them onto the cabinets at eye level. This will not only save precious counter space, but you can slip the recipes into plastic sleeves and file them away for next year.
7.) Designate your help
Although many of your Thanksgiving guests genuinely want to help you put together a beautiful meal, the old saying holds true that too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. To keep a busy kitchen from feeling too crowded, try to move as many activities out of the kitchen as possible. Set up a drink station in the living room, or a small prep table outside of the kitchen for extra work space.
8.) Time to Eat
Although you’ve planned your meal timing perfectly, there are a few helpful tricks to keep some tricky food items hot.
Keep your gravy piping hot? A thermos will do the trick just fine.
A cooler will retain heat, and can hold stacked foil dishes or covered pots.
A microwave oven is insulated, and can be used as a resting place to keep a hot dish warm for a half an hour.
A Crock-Pot will keep your mashed potatoes, rice, or stuffing warm (you can even set it to low for longer periods or time).
9.) Something sweet
Although you and your guests are ready for your famous pecan pie, it’s impossible to clear the dishes and serve dessert at the same time. Taking a coffee break between courses is the perfect way to give time to clear the table after dinner. Create a dessert station in the dining room with plates, forks, and coffee cups. Press the brew button when you (and your helpful guests) are clearing the table, and have the cream and sugar bowls ready in the refrigerator ahead of time. Your coffee will be ready and the table will be clear, making it the perfect time to present the dessert.
10.) The dreaded cleanup
Dinner is finished and your want nothing more than to put on your house slippers and spend quality time with your guests, but you dread the mountain of pots and pans waiting for you in the kitchen. After dinner, fill big pots with soapy water and use them for soaking utensils and plates. The cooler can also be used for soaking larger items, and as long as everything is immersed your cleanup can be put off until you’re up to it. Set up a lined garbage can ahead of time so food scraps can go directly into the trash, and voila! Your mountain of dishes is a problem for tomorrow.
National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month is observed annually in October. This month is dedicated to reminding Americans to take a look at their home and see how they can improve the quality of the air they breathe. While outside air pollution gets a lot of attention, it’s the air inside our homes that can be even more dangerous. Most people spend nearly 80% of their time indoors, so the quality of the air we breathe is very important.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor Air Quality refers to the air quality within buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the occupants in the building. Studies conducted by the EPA show that indoor air can be 3 – 5 times more contaminated than outdoor air. This spike in air pollution may be due to modern day building practices. In an effort to be more energy efficient, today’s homes are built airtight with more insulation.
On the flipside, these less drafty homes no longer have natural ventilation to bring in fresh air. Everyday living provides an ongoing source for airborne contaminants like dirt, dust, and dander. These pollutants become trapped in your home due to poor ventilation and get recirculated by your air ducts.
Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?
Breathing quality indoor air is critical for good health. Common complaints related to poor indoor air quality include headaches, fatigue, nausea or irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Some people, including children, seniors and those with asthma and allergies may be more sensitive to indoor air pollutants, and their symptoms tend to be more serious.
What Contributes to Indoor Air Quality?
Volatile organic compounds
Particulates (from dirt and dust tracked in from outdoors)
How Can Air Duct Cleaning Improve your Indoor Air?
Air duct cleaning is a great way to address the air quality inside your home. Professional air duct cleaning can provide an evaluation of your home’s ducts. Through everyday occupancy, your home’s ducts can become clogged with dirt, dust and pet hair. When air can’t circulate through a system or when filters are especially dirty, they can become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.
NADCA recommends having your air ducts inspected once a year and cleaned as needed. When it comes time to hire an air duct cleaning company, be sure to hire a NADCA-certified technician. This will ensure the job is done according to industry standards.