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Indoor Air Quality

As the cold weather arrives, we who live in a northern climate, spend more time indoors. In winter months, there is less or no fresh air from the outside flowing into our homes, which means that VOCs (volatile organic Compounds) and allergens become trapped inside. The result is that indoor air can be as polluted, if not more polluted, than outdoor air. Luckily, there are some simple actions that can be taken to improve the indoor air quality in everyone’s...

Once autumn rolls around, our windows are not open very often. The fresh but cold air is kept out and the quality of our indoor air becomes more important. Air pollution is often thought of as an outdoor threat but air pollution can be an indoor problem as well. What products you have in your home, and the kind of ventilation you may have, will impact the air quality of your home. Infants, children and the elderly can be more susceptible to certain products in the...

Many people don’t realize that we spend about 90% of our time indoors. While we spend a lot of our time in our homes but we also spend a large part of our time in offices, commercial buildings and public buildings. The air quality in these locations can be compromised by furnishings that let off gas, combustion processes, and a number of biological and chemical contaminants. Here are six common, yet surprising culprits. HVAC systems HVAC systems include the equipment used...

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...