Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Detectors For Your Home
There are so many different things that can cause sick building syndrome (SBS) which is why you should be careful and be knowledgeable about the various detectors that are on the market to keep your home and everyone in your home safe and healthy. If there is something picked up by the detectors then at least you can do something about it to stop it from becoming a really big problem
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
You certainly want to find out how to get rid of carbon monoxide from your home. It's now well-known that CO is the "silent killer" yet despite this fact so many people ignore the advice of having a carbon monoxide detector fitted. It's particularly frustrating that this advice is ignored because there are actually a lot of people submitted to hospital with CO poisoning and there are some that actually die. Why would you want to put you and your family at this sort of risk when all you need to do is install a relatively cheap detector in your home.
There are also many different sources of CO in our homes and basically any appliance that uses gas is at risk. You can also potentially have problems with furnaces that utilize coal, wood and charcoal as fuel. In addition to installing a detector you should also have any gas appliance in your home checked out about once a year to make sure they are working correctly.
This is a must for any home no matter where you live in the world. Unfortunately despite the fact that everyone knows the dangers of fire in a house, people still haven't had a smoke detector installed. Even if they have got one installed, frequently they have allowed the battery to go dead or have placed it in the wrong part of the house.
If you are at all unsure about where to place your detector you could try phoning up your local fire department to find out if they can send someone to your home. They will look at your property and advise you how many detectors you require and also where to locate them along with other advice.
Radon Gas Detectors
Most homes don't require a radon detector however if you live in an area where there is a high amount of radon then you should buy a detector. Radon is a naturally ocuring gas that can enter your home via the ground beneath your home. It can also enter via your drinking water but it's the radon gas from soil that is generally the biggest problem.
In addition to installing a detector you should look to prevent the gas from entering your home in the first place. Many people are installing a radon barrier along with having proper ventilation in their basement and crawl space.
Natural Gas Detectors
Natural gas is used in a lot of appliances in the home and when there is a leak you can usually smell it. However some people don't have such a good sense of smell and therefore the leak can go unnoticed. It is mainly made up of methane which is a very flammable substance. A natural gas leak is very rare but it does happen and can cause a fire or explosion.
If you are suspicious of any substance you think might be mold then you ought to get a professional out to test the mold so you know for sure that it really is mold in your home and not some other substance such as salt that occurs naturally in stone. Although you can buy testing kits yourself and have the sample sent off to a lab for testing, the EPA actually advise people to have a professional out to have the mold tested.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Asbestos and Sick Building Syndrome
There are all sorts of different things that can contribute to what is known as sick building syndrome (SBS) and one of them is asbestos. Basically asbestos is a natural occurring materials that has been used for many years for it's heat resistant qualities. As a result, asbestos can be found in all sorts of products such as flooring tiles, pipe insulation, ceiling tiles and cement pipes. If you inhale asbestos the fibers can embed in your lungs over time and has caused many different illness such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
The problem with asbestos is actually being able to tell whether you have it or not as there won't be and kind of identification label on it. However if you have an older house which was built somewhere between 1930 and 1970, there is an increased chance of having asbestos.
For those of you who are really concerned about asbestos then you need to get a specialist in who has a better understanding of these things. Contact the asbestos removal contractors association if you aren't sure where to find a company in your area.
Don't ever try to take samples of asbestos yourself as this should only ever been done by a professional. If you start messing about with the material in question, you might allow spores to be released and this isn't a good thing to happen at all. You should take note that although asbestos is dangerous, if it is allowed to sit there in good condition it shouldn't cause a problem. It's only when it becomes damaged that there are possible problems with it.
If you are planning on doing a major remodeling of your home then you will more than likely require a specialist to come in and remove the asbestos. Disposal of asbestos can end up being pretty expensive due to the specialist nature of the work. However knowing that it has been removed from your home can offer you a lot of peace of mind. Please don't get unduly worried about the thought of asbestos in your home. Just stay calm and allow the professionals to do their job.
Getting Rid of Mold in HVAC
If you have been doing any research on the subject of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) then you will probably have come across info about toxic mold. There are many people who say you need to have your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system cleaned out. However before you do so you should find out more at the EPA who offer a lot of advice on this subject.
If you do decide to have the HVAC system cleaned it needs to be carried out by professionals who are experienced in working with HVAC systems. There are different techniques and equipment that gets used by these professionals and it really comes down to the individual circumstances which ones get used. Someone who is experienced will be able to implement judgment and know how to clean mold in air ducts very well.
If the HVAC system has been found to have been contaminated with mold then the system needs to be shut off until the mold has been eradicated. You should never knowingly use an HVAC system that is contaminated with mold because it will only serve to distribute the mold spores further around the home. Ideally, the mold should be dealt with when there is no one else in the building.
All steps should be taken to prevent the spread of mold in the property by sealing the vents with tape and negative air pressure should be used in areas where the work is being carried out. If there are any porous materials in the HVAC then they need to be placed securely in a bag and then taken away. A HEPA vacuum cleaner can be used to clean up the area too. Alternatively a damp cloth with detergent can be used. Everything should then be dried off.
Toxic Mold and Sick Building Syndrome
If you are exposed to toxic mold in your home or in your place of work then there are all sorts of different health problems that might occur as a result. Some of the symptoms of toxic mold syndrome can include hair loss, skin rashes, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, rectal bleeding and a whole lot more. There is actually a huge list of health problems that can arise due to toxic mold so often people don't even realize they have a problem with mold and doctors often overlook it in patients. So if you think that you have a problem with mold in your home it's so important that you take correct steps in addressing it.
You will also hear people refer to toxic mold syndrome as sick building syndrome (SBS). This is simply because it's the mold that is in the building which is causing the health problems. It should be stated however that there are many other causes of SBS and that mold is simply one of them. If you've been suffering from health problems and you think that it might be mold to blame, your symptoms will only get worse unless the building is eradicated of the toxic mold.
When it comes to mold in office buildings, the thing that causes the mold to spread throughout the building is more than likely the fungal mold spores being spread via the heating ducts. The problem is that toxic mold often goes unnoticed because there isn't much of a smell from it.
The problems can be made worse if the ventilation system is of poor quality or the building is generally airtight. If there are ceiling tiles you might notice a staining on them. If they are stained then it could be mold. If the tiles have been allowed to get wet then this can provide the mold with perfect conditions to live on.
If you think that there is mold in your office building you should take photos of where you think the mold it and discuss with your manager. You really want to make sure that your employers take this seriously because it can affect the productivity of all the staff.
If you believe you have mold in your own home then you should have a local company to come in that deals with mold and have your home tested. If you do have mold then you can start the remediation process. Simple things that can be done include checking the humidity levels. If they are more than 55% you should find out what is causing the high humidity. Buying a dehumidifier might be the best option. However if the humidity is being caused because of leaking pipes or rising damp then you should have that fixed.
You should also clean the mold off anywhere you find it. A company can do this for you or you can use bleach to clean the mold off.
What Is Sick Building Syndrome
A lot of folks suffer from all sorts of health problems such as itchy eye, runny nose, soar throat, skin irritations and many other different difficulties. This might happen in a particular building or room at home or even at work. It might be that when you leave that particular area you start to feel better. If this is the case then you need to look more into what is known as "Sick Building Syndrome" (SBS).
It can happen that people within the same room can have a variety of different symptoms. On the face of it, it can appear that the symptoms are so different that it must be that they are unconnected. However if everyone is noticing their symptoms within a short period of time of each other (say a few weeks) then there's a chance that it's SBS and a doctor should be consulted.
Although symptoms might improve when leaving the room or building, there can also be different chemicals that can build up in your system. Therefore the longterm health effects shouldn't be underestimated, especially for those people who already had weakened immune systems.
There are all sorts of different things within a building that can bring about SBS and it could be anything from toxic mold, air quality, lack of natural daylight, poor ventilation, artificial fragrance, dust mites, chemical contamination and a whole load more.
If the SBS is happening at work it can greatly increase the number of people staying off work due to illness. It can therefore lead to low productivity and also a lot of people won't be happy in their job and will look for employment elsewhere. This is certainly not good news for any company.
This is why it's so important that SBS is treated seriously. It's not some crazy idea dreamt up by people who have too much time on their hands. It's something that should be looked at and remedied as quickly as possible.