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Environmental Safety


The environment we live in plays a vital role in our well being at the physical, emotional and mental levels. So, it is vital for us to live in a safe environment which doesn't have toxic substances. Testing the living environment for toxic sustances and taking safety measures for the eradication of toxic substances can yield a healthy environment.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of air within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.

Which gases can affect Indoor Air Quality?

IAQ can be affected by gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria) or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions.

What are the health affects of Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor Air Quality has varying affects on the respiratory system of the people living in the environment. Polluted indoor air can lead to acute lower respiratory infections in children under five, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

How to improve Indoor Air Quality?

The primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings are:

* Source control

* Filtration

* Use of ventilation to dilute contaminants

How to improve Indoor Air Quality of Residential Units?

Residential units can further improve indoor air quality by routine cleaning of carpets and area rugs. The frequency of cleaning should be based on traffic, number of household members, pets, children and smokers. Carpets and rugs act like an air filter and must be cleaned. Usage of air purification system or air filteration system to remove the toxic substances can improve the quality of indoor air.

What is Indoor Environmental Quality?

IAQ is part of IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality), which includes IAQ as well as other physical and psychological aspects of life indoors (e.g., lighting, visual quality, acoustics, and thermal comfort).

How to determine Indoor Air Quality?

Determination of IAQ involves the collection of air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, collection of samples on building surfaces and computer modelling of air flow inside buildings.

How to test indoor air quality at home?

Indoor air can be tested for toxic substances through indoor air quality meters which can measure the parameters like carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, air temperature (degrees C or F), bacteria, mold, pollen and relative humidity, other toxic substances effectively.

    

What kind of dust gets into indoor environment?

The dust which floats in the room air space consists of particles of different sizes which settle more slowly the smaller they are.

Most of the solid particles in the air are invisible to the human eye but their effect on human health is most hazardous. The floating dust in room air has come from the room itself and from outside air.

Indoor dust is described as the dispersed distribution of solid material in indoor air.

Which chemicals present in dust spoil the indoor air?

Most of the solid particles in the air are invisible to the human eye but their effect on human health is most hazardous. The floating dust in room air has come from the room itself and from outside air. Indoor dust is described as the dispersed distribution of solid material in indoor air.

Indoor air may consist of both inorganic and organic particles as well as fibres of different sizes and can be very heterogeneous with regard to quantity and composition due to the presence of dust in indoor air.

The health hazard of dust depends on its physico-chemical properties: solubility, particle size, form, solidity, electric charge.

What does the dust present in indoor environment contain?

Dust in homes, offices, and other human environments contains human skin cells, small amounts of plant pollen, human and animal hair, textile fibres, paper fibres, minerals from outdoor soil, and many other materials which may be found in the local environment.

What are the health effects of indoor dust on human beings?

Dust particles may contain allergens and chemicals that can cause inflammation in respiratory tissues.

The toxic chemicals present in dust have the potential of causing other health effects such as inhibited immune system function or effects on the central nervous system.

Dust can trigger bronchila asthma by getting into the airways and triggering hypersensivity.

How to minimize dust level in indoor air through general measures?

To help minimize dust and dander at home, you should wash your sheets in hot water weekly.

This measure does not only minimize dust but can also kill the bacteria thriving on your sheets.

Dusting daily can minimize dust levels at home. Instead of using feather duster for dusting , usage of vacuum cleaner to remove dust in chairs and mattresses can help inhibit the inhalation of the dust.

Does presence of carpets accumulate dust in indoor environment?

Installing carpets indoors may not be healthy because they may harbor bacteria and dusts. If you have one installed it is best that you remove it, cover and store it properly.

Ensure adequate ventilation, as this prevents the accumulation of harmful gases inside the house and allows their escape into the external environment where they can be neutralized by other compounds.

What kind of cooking appliances should be used for reducing the production of harmful gases in indoor environment?

Improved cooking appliances such as stoves and ovens are equipped with efficient fuel combusting systems that decrease the rate of production of harmful gases.

Cooking time is also shortened with the use of these improved stoves and ovens, thus making improvements in the rates of electricity and fuel consumption.

What kind of logs should be used in chimneys for reducing indoor air pollution?

Open fires, especially those made with moist logs, have high emission rates of harmful gaes such as carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides and carbon dioxide, which are not eco-friendly.

Usage of dry logs can decrease smoke production and thereby air pollution.

Can we reduce the dust content present in indoor environment through aeration?

It does not always give positive results to aerate the room in order to avoid dust content in the air of the room. In some cases, dust can fly into the room from the window which is opened towards the street or highway; in addition, draught can stir up dust from the equipment of the room, causing dust concentration to increase almost by 50%.

How to reduce the dust content in indoor environment through heating systems?

Dust content measured in indoor conditions can be guaranteed to stay within standards by district heating, air source heat pump, and radiator heating of ground source heat pump.

Which equipment can decrease the dust content in indoor environment?

Place air purifiers in the most used rooms to help suck up dust before it settles down. Choose fan-powered cleaners instead of ionic air cleaners as they release ozone.

One solution could be the use of humidifiers, as increase in air humidity can decrease dust content in the air to some degree.

Air filters either added to a furnace or a room unit can reduce the levels of dust. Electrostatic and high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filters can effectively remove dust and allergens from the air.

Please browse here for a range of air ionisers

How to test indoor environment for lead?

Lead is very poisonous to human beings and even tiny amounts of it in our blood, measured in micrograms, can harm our health. Children absorb more lead than adults and are at a higher health risk. If you are concerned about the potential for lead containing surfaces or items in your home, you can test by using lead home testing kits.

    

What could be the possible sources of lead in home environment?

We can find lead in soil around home, household dust, drinking water, paint, old painted toys and furniture.

How can lead get into our bodies?

Lead can get into body by breathing or swallowing lead dust or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.

What are the health effects of lead exposure?

Lead exposure can harm children and babies even before they are born. Lead exposure can damage brain and nervous system of children. It can lead to behavior and learning problems in children. It can slow the growth of children and induce hearing problems and headaches as well.

Lead could be responsible for reproductive problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint problems in adults.

Can children who seem healthy have high levels of lead in their bodies?

It is possible for the children who look healthy have high levels of lead in their bodies.

How can Radon get into indoor air?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps out of rocks and soil. Radon comes from uranium that has been in the ground since the time the earth was formed, and the rate of radon seepage is very variable, partly because the amounts of uranium in the soil vary considerably. Radon flows from the soil into outdoor air and also into the air in homes from the movement of gases in the soil beneath homes.

Outside air typically contains very low levels of radon, but it builds up to higher concentrations indoors when it is unable to disperse. Some underground mines, especially uranium mines, contain much higher levels of radon.

What are the effects of Radon on health?

Radon is chemically inert and electrically uncharged, it is radioactive, which means that radon atoms in the air can spontaneously decay, or change to other atoms. When the resulting atoms, called radon progeny, are formed, they are electrically charged and can attach themselves to tiny dust particles in indoor air. These dust particles can easily be inhaled into the lung and can adhere to the lining of the lung. The deposited atoms decay, or change, by emitting a type of radiation called alpha radiation, which has the potential to damage cells in the lung.

Alpha radiations can disrupt DNA of these lung cells. This DNA damage has the potential to be one step in a chain of events that can lead to cancer. Alpha radiations travel only extremely short distances in the body. Thus, alpha radiations from decay of radon progeny in the lungs cannot reach cells in any other organs, so it is likely that lung cancer is the only potentially important cancer hazard posed by radon.

Can we eliminate Radon from indoor air?

Radon, being naturally occurring, cannot be entirely eliminated from our homes.

How to test indoor environment for Radon?

While radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, high concentrations of radon gas in the home can be hazardous to you and your family's health.

If you suspect Radon contamination in your home environment you can check the same through radon home testing kits.

    

How to reduce radon levels in indoor environment?

Reliable techniques exist for reducing radon levels in homes. Experience with radon mitigation systems has developed to the point that virtually any home can be fixed, either by a trained radon contractor, or in some cases, by homeowners who accomplish the repairs themselves. One out of 15 (6%) homes nationally may have elevated indoor radon levels that should be lower. The only way to know whether a house is elevated or not is to test for radon levels.

Can high efficiency air filters help in reducing the radon levels in indoor environment?

High efficiency air filters systems will not affect radon levels. As the decay products of radon present the risk from elevated radon levels. High efficiency air filters can only reduce the levels of radon decay products and other airborne particulates that can complicate allergies.

The below high efficiency air purification systems can reduce the levels of radon decay products in indoor environment.
    

What Causes Mold in indoor environment?

Mold needs the below conditions before it can begin to grow in indoor environment:

* Mold spores

* A food source (eg wood, drywall, cotton)

* Darkness (mold can't grow under ultraviolet light)

* Warmth (mold can't grow in freezing temperatures)

* Oxygen

* Moisture (eg water leaks, humidity)

* Enough time (most molds can begin to grow in 24-48 hours if the conditions are right)

Moisture is really the key cause of mold growth since the other conditions on the list are always going to be present in homes. So, essentially, the difference between whether mold grows in your home or not comes depends on the moisture problem at your home.

What are the health effect of mold presence in the indoor environment?

Presence of mold in the indoor environment can increase allergies or asthma, skin rash and itching, running nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. Also, if one has an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, they may be at increased risk for infections from molds.

More serious effects may include fever, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, respiratory dysfunction (including coughing-up blood), frequent and excessive nose bleeds, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver damage.

How to test the indoor environment for mold?

In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, testing is unnecessary. The color of mold can be black, white, yellow, green, pink, or it could be in any hues. The same mold can appear to have a different color depending on the situation. The best way to test for mold presence is through experienced mold Mold remediation professionals. But we can identify toxic mold spores that could be harmful to health and home through the belwo mold testing kits.

    

What is second hand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary or passive smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals.

What's in secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals, including:

* Ammonia, used in cleaning products

* Butane, used in lighter fluid

* Carbon monoxide, found in car exhaust

* Chromium, used to make steel

* Cyanide, used in chemical weapons

* Formaldehyde, an industrial chemical

* Lead, a toxic metal

* Polonium, a radioactive substance

How longer does the second hand smoke particles linger in the indoor environment after smoking?

The dangerous particles in secondhand smoke can linger in the air for four hours or even longer. Even with the lowest possible levels of detectable exposure to secondhand smoke, genetic damage occurs within the cells that line the respiratory system’s airways.

Damage to these cells leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchogenic cancer.

Why are the effects of second hand smoke more on children when compared to adults?

Children are vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments.

Children exposed to high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those whose mothers smoke, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.

What are the health effects of second hand smoke exposure?

Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in children, increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Infants and children younger than 6 who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lower respiratory track infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, Children who regularly breathe secondhand smoke are at increased risk for middle ear infections.

Secondhand smoke causes or contributes to various health problems, including heart disease, lung disease and various types of cancer.

What is third hand smoke?

Thirdhand smoke is the residual nicotine and other chemicals left on a variety of indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. This residue is thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mix.

This toxic mix of thirdhand smoke contains cancer-causing substances, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers who are exposed to it, especially children.

Thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped.

What are the effects of third hand smoke on health?

Infants, children and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke.

How can the residue of third hand smoke present in Car effect us?

Smoking in the car creates an intense environment for third hand smoke exposure. The nicotine can combine with nitrous acid from exhaust to create cancer-causing tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) that settle into the dust on the dashboard, seats, and carpets.

And these TSNA's can be absorbed through the skin when you open a glove compartment or dust off the dash with your hand.

What is the best way to save family members from thrid hand smoke?

The only way to protect nonsmoking family members completely from third hand smoke is to make all family smokers to quit smoking completely.

Create 100% smoke-free home and car rules. Help those who are not yet able to quit by support tools like smoking cessation programs, or using nicotine replacement therapy as a way to maintain a smoke free home and car.

What is the best way to eliminate second hand and third hand tobacco smoke from indoor environment?

Usage of air purification systems at home can help in reducing second hand and thrid hand tobacco smoke which contain harmful chemicals and gases.



Usage of smoke Buddy Personal Air Filter can keep second hand smoke away from friends, family and neighbors. It is convenient and compact for travel and magically removes smoke and odor.



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