Indoor Air Quality

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer in the forms of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue. The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increase with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from...

by Ivan Mose A couple of weeks after last Christmas I received a phone call from a young man who told me he had a terrible smell in his apartment and could I come over as soon as possible and take a look. I am a building inspector so smells usually mean drains, mouldy basements and the odd rat or two. A little questioning and I started to build a case. Last summer Dany, his wife Lauren and baby moved into...

Each year, more than 3,000 Canadians die from lung cancer caused by radon—the second most dangerous cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon comes from uranium, a natural element found in the ground. When uranium breaks down, a radioactive gas is released, called radon. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but it’s there and it has always been there. If radon is under your house, the gas might be seeping through to your home and harming your family. Over...

Smell something mouldy, mildew-y or sour coming from your basement or crawl space? Make no mistake: you've likely sprung a leak in the basement. Spring is a likely time of year for moisture problems to arise, and a good time to pay attention to how your basement is weathering the thaw. As snow melts, air temperatures change, ground and surface water collection increases, and so does the likelihood that moisture could be gathering, causing a leak in the basement. This can lead...

Maintaining good indoor air quality for your employees is important not only to their health, but also affects productivity and even sick days. According to Environment Canada, Environment and Workplace Health Indoor Air Quality, Canadians spend close to 90% of their time inside; at home, at work and in recreational environments. Most people, however, are unaware of the effects that poor indoor air quality can have on their health; often more toxic than outdoor air pollution. These are some of the top indoor air...

Every house has a signature smell, a certain “Eau de Family Home”. Some are stronger than others; is a strong smell an indication of poor indoor air quality? There’s the smelly socks in the living room, the hair spray and aftershave in the bathroom, cooking smells from the kitchen, the moth balls in the closet, the wet dog in the hallway and that musky smell of sheets and clothes waiting to be laundered in the bedroom. These are the (usually) harmless...

A CBS 60 Minutes report last month found that laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators, manufactured in China, is assembled using glue containing high levels of formaldehyde. The company sold over $1 billion of merchandise in 2014. Signs of formaldehyde Wheezing, running eyes, coughing, breathing problems are all symptoms of high levels of formaldehyde. Families with small children that spend a lot of time close to the floor, especially in winter, could be most susceptible. Agencies such as the EPA and the National...

In the end, mould will consume everything - even you and I Moulds are living organisms, and part of the natural environment. In the outdoors, moulds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. Indoors, however, mould growth should be avoided. Moulds emit tiny spores to reproduce. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mould spores land on a damp spot...

Basements are for Potatoes; no, not couch potatoes. If that's what you were thinking, then you're not alone. Millions of Canadians use their basements as living space, thinking it's the ideal space to set up a family room, games room, or even kids' bedrooms. But in truth, it takes a great deal of careful design and maintenance to avoid water and moisture infiltration in even the best cases. And oftentimes, moisture accumulation results in a nasty - and costly - surprise to the...