Indoor Air Quality from Morgue to Funeral Home, the Danger of Formaldehyde Exposure

Formaldehyde Can Prove Deadly For Indoor Air Quality

Preserving the Dead

They are called funeral directors, morticians, undertakers, mortuary custodians, and funeral service professionals. Those soft-spoken individuals who counsel grieving family members and help plan the service after a loved one dies are likely also the ones who handle the technical aspects of preserving the deceased so that family and friends can say goodbye in a less clinical setting than a hospital or nursing home. Unfortunately, part of this job – the embalming part – can create toxic fumes that pose health hazards for the professional.

Preserving a body after death is a temporary measure used to slow decay for wakes and funerals that precede a burial. For optimal results, funeral professionals need to inject at least 3 gallons of embalming fluid into a cadaver’s arterial system and body cavity. Embalming fluids are made of strong chemicals, often containing a combination of formaldehyde (up to 50%), methanol or ethanol, and water. Among these chemical substances, it’s the formaldehyde that poses the greatest threat.

Formaldehyde is colorless, flammable, and pungent. In addition to its use as a preservative in labs and funeral homes, it is widely used as an industrial disinfectant and germicide. It is also a common element in construction materials such as insulation, plywood, and fiberboard. (1) You only need to pick up an item and read the ingredient list to realize that formaldehyde is commonly found in household products such as glues and adhesives, permanent-press fabrics, and paper product coatings.

Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. It is created in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes. (2) But it is not the moderate amounts found in everyday products, nor organically formed formaldehyde, that should give cause for concern. It is elevated levels of formaldehyde – even a little bit too much – that can be a dangerous thing.

Formaldehyde Can Prove Deadly for Indoor Air Quality

Unsafe formaldehyde exposure occurs most often in an occupational setting through inhalation. In liquid form, it can be absorbed through the skin. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde is typically present at low levels in both indoor and outdoor air (2) and the primary route of exposure for the average person is by breathing air containing off-gassed formaldehyde. (3)

Workers, however, may come in contact with formaldehyde at much higher levels than the average person. During the normal course of the workday, healthcare workers, lab techs, teachers who handle biological substances, or morticians who handle embalming fluids, can inhale elevated doses of formaldehyde gases or vapors. (4)

The negative health effects can include mild irritation such as itching or burning of the eyes, nose, and throat, or more concerning symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and nausea. (3) (4) Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no obvious reaction to the same level of exposure. (1) But at the highest levels, that of embalmers, for example, the hazard of most concern is the threat of cancer.

The following medical research groups – both government and independent – have deemed formaldehyde “a known carcinogen”:

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). IARC has concluded that formaldehyde is “carcinogenic to humans” based on higher risks of nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an electronic database that contains information on human health effects from exposure to various substances in the environment.

National Cancer Institute researchers have concluded that, based on data from studies in people and from lab research, exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans. (2)

Despite all the research indicating formaldehyde is a cancer-causing substance, it is still the chemical of choice for those in the business of preserving bodies. And those with the highest exposure to the substance, will, of course, have the highest risk for contracting the deadly disease. To this point, Science Daily published findings that indicate specificity as to the type of cancer that poses the greatest risk to embalmers:

The number of years of embalming practice and related formaldehyde exposures was associated with statistically significantly increased mortality from myeloid leukemia, with the greatest risk among those who practiced embalming for more than 20 years. (5)

Formaldehyde Risk Reduction

So long as funeral professionals continue to use formaldehyde as their main source of chemical preservation, risk reduction methods beyond personal protective gear seem advisable and the implementation of practical engineering and work practice controls will greatly reduce worker exposure. (4)

While most businesses that work with formaldehyde-based embalming fluids currently comply with OSHA’s recommendations on safe work measures in the form of protective clothing, not all go a step further and install source capture equipment and/or ambient air-cleaning systems. This additional precaution is one more way to prevent indoor air pollution and eliminate any health risks for workers.

At Air Systems Inc., we serve our customers in the funeral service profession by providing indoor air quality management solutions in addition to our stellar air-cleaning products. Contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced clean air specialists.

Control Laser Surgery Smoke and Gases with Fume Extractors

Control laser surgery smoke and gases with fume extractors 1

One of the latest medical breakthroughs to come out in recent years has been laser or electrosurgery, which allows doctors to cut into skin with unparalleled precision to separate unhealthy tissue from patients or stop blood vessels from bleeding. However, while performing potentially life-saving laser surgery, medical professionals may be exposed to smoke and inhale toxic gases and vapors. With the health of surgeons, nurses and other workers on the line, hospital and medical facility employers should ensure workers are safe in a contaminant-free work space using air filtration systems.

Health effects of laser surgery smoke and gases

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said nearly 500,000 workers are in contact with smoke plumes during laser or electrosurgical procedures annually. What is contained in these smoke plumes are gases including benzene and formaldehyde as well as biological and microbial material, such as viruses.

“As such, they can produce upper respiratory irritation, and have in-vitro mutagenic potential,” OSHA said.  “Although there has been no documented transmission of infectious disease through surgical smoke, the potential for generating infectious viral fragments, particularly following treatment of venereal warts, may exist.”

The smoke given off during laser surgery is associated with a number of health effects, such as upper respiratory tract irritation, especially if workers are exposed to high levels of these air impurities, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Controlling the risk of plume exposure during laser surgery

While OSHA does not have standards associated with controlling the risk of laser/electrosurgery plume exposure, NIOSH states that employers could use ventilation techniques to reduce the amount of laser smoke from surgical procedures. Workers can employ a combination of general room and local exhaust ventilation, but they will have to implement more controls to remove contaminants effectively. NIOSH suggests using air filters to extract smoke from the workplace.

“A high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or equivalent is recommended for trapping particulates,” NIOSH said. “Various filtering and cleaning processes also exist which remove or inactivate airborne gases and vapors.”

One air filtration solution that is regularly implemented to remove microbial material is the use of fume extractors. Placing extractor arms near laser surgery equipment will help ensure that these toxic gases and smoke do not enter the medical staff’s breathing space and affect their health.

Hospital and medical facility news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

Conserve Energy and Improve IAQ in Hospital Laboratories

Hospital laboratories can improve their energy efficiency by using fume hoods.

Hospital Laboratories can improve their energy efficiency by using fume hoods.

Hospital laboratories are a major factor in energy and water waste within hospitals. This is due to the fact they need a significant amount of environmental control measures in place, including sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. When implementing ways to improve their labs’ energy efficiency, there are a variety of ways hospitals can reduce energy costs. One of the most effective methods is installing fume hoods to enhance energy conservation, according to Healthcare Design.

In a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, approximately 3,040 of large hospital buildings total 1.96 billion square feet of floorspace​, with an average of 644,300 square feet per building in 2007. Considering this vast amount of floorspace is estimated to hold a total of 3.3 million employees, hospitals use a huge amount of energy to create a comfortable environment for staff and patients using HVAC systems.

“All buildings had air conditioning and nearly all, 92 percent, used electricity to power air conditioning equipment,” the EIA said in its report. “Water heating was also used in all buildings and had fuel use percentages similar to space heating: 74 percent used natural gas and 18 percent used district heat.”

How to use fume hoods correctly in hospital settings

When operating fume hoods to improve the effectiveness of HVAC systems, ensure they are being used correctly. Hospital workers can maintain air exchange needs by shutting the hood sash to improve fume hood functionality. In addition to enhancing energy conservation for hospital labs, fume hoods can also extract chemicals. Ductless fume hood and hoods equipped with an advanced molecular carbon filter can absorb chemicals. Through the proper use of fume hoods and ductless fume hoods, hospitals can lower their energy costs and improve their indoor air quality.

One hospital that makes sure to educate its users on fume hoods is Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y.

“Hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials must be controlled to protect the health and safety of the Hospital community,” Stony Brook said about its procedures for using chemical fume hoods. “In order to prevent inhalation of vapors, gases and aerosols, the contaminants must be captured, contained and removed by the use of hoods.”

Stony Brook recommends that users should ensure their work station is clean before using the fume hood to avoid blocking airflow to slots.

Hospital laboratories and medical facility news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

Indoor Air Quality and Camphor Production

The Camphor Producing Industry Is No Stranger To Indoor Air Quality Issues

What is Camphor

When the reds, greens, blues, and gold of an elaborate fireworks display lights up the sky, it is usually awe and gratitude that fill us. But for those on the ground, lighting those explosives, they are being filled with something not so inspiring: camphor fumes.

Native to Asian countries such as China and Japan, camphor is derived from the camphor laurel, an evergreen tree with many branches, white flowers, and red berries. At maturity, the camphor tree is enormous – between 80-120 feet tall, with a trunk that reaches 6 feet in diameter. To isolate the benefits, the substance is extracted from the tree, and then distilled. In it’s natural state, camphor is colorless or waxy white, with a strong characteristic odor. (1)

Camphor, a prized botanical, has been used in China and India for centuries as a medicinal curative. In the US, camphor is valued for its properties as a cough suppressant and decongestant, antimicrobial substance and a natural insect repellent. In addition, camphor is used as a topical liniment, medicinal and cosmetic preservative, plasticizer and embalming fluid. It is also an ingredient in explosives, including fireworks. (2)

Back in the late 1800s, as Western manufacturers produced more firepower and munitions, US military commanders looked for ways to reduce battlefield smoke that obscured the vision of their fighting troops. Camphor, that cloudy, stinky substance at the base of vapor rubs, saved the day – and countless lives — by contributing to the creation of a smokeless gunpowder.

With all these beneficial qualities, it might seem surprising that there are significant health risks for those who manufacture it.

The Camphor Producing Industry is No Stranger to Indoor Air Quality Issues

The CDC warns that camphor dust and fumes have multiple routes of exposure: inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and skin/eye contact. Various stages of production, such as the distilling process, can inadvertently expose workers to vapors or particulates. Even during manufacturing of the synthetic product, significant ill effects are still an occupational risk.

Short-term (acute) exposure will occur at the point of contact and should dissipate when exposure desists. On-site symptoms can begin with signs such as nausea and vomiting or eye and skin irritation. However, for heavy doses of toxic contamination, symptoms can quickly turn to severe, even dire. Convulsions, seizures, and respiratory failure can potentially result in death.

The signs of long-term (chronic) exposure, on the other hand, are often more difficult to recognize. Subtle allergic reactions and eye discomfort could be assumed to be from allergens because a person can exhibit ill health effects, even when they are no longer working. So, too, can other symptoms be overlooked. Nausea, anxiety, headache, and confusion may not be considered side effects of occupational exposure. If the victim is not at work at the time signs become obvious. (4)

Protecting Workers

Further troubling is the fact that camphor dust is combustible and contains explosive properties. (3) If not controlled properly, disaster can strike. Thankfully, probability of fire, explosion, and occupational exposure to toxic concentrations of camphor is low, if proper precautions are taken.

Most manufacturing plants, including those that generate camphor-related products, already employ safe work measures in the form of protective clothing and engineering controls. But it can prove prudent to employ an extra line of defense. The installation of source capture equipment and/or ambient air-cleaning systems is one more way to combat indoor air pollution.

At AIR Systems Inc., we serve our customers by providing indoor air quality management solutions in addition to our stellar air-cleaning products. Contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced clean air specialists.

Indoor Air Quality Challenges In Dental Offices

During a procedure, whether it is the doctor specifically or the technician assisting her, a dentist is doing more than just filling a cavity; she’s keeping her patient, her staff, and herself safe from toxic dust and fumes that could cause illness.

During any dental office procedure, there are numerous substances that are emitted into the air in the form of fumes and dust. Acrylates and methacrylates, in particular, can prove problematic. Roughly defined as the compound that results when water released after the root acid (acrylic or methacrylic acid) and alcohol mix, (meth)acrylates, also known as polymethyl methacrylate, or dental PMMA, have been synthetically reproduced to be used in paints, adhesives, printing inks, and other materials including dental bonding agents.

The Two Most Common Dental PMMAs & How They Occur

Two of the most common volatile (meth)acrylates found in dentistry are 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate.  Exposure to dental PMMA can occur with a procedure as simple as filling a cavity.

After a dentist prepares the instruments needed and readies his patient, he will administer an anesthetic to reduce or eliminate pain. Subsequently, he will remove the damaged tooth portion before replacing the missing part with a composite or amalgam filling. It is during the drilling and filling stages that potential exposure is most significant.

The result? Dental PMMAs can trigger health complications when ingested, inhaled, or if contact is made with eyes or skin. Short-term exposures can produce ear, nose, throat, and skin irritation. Long-term exposure can elicit skin rash. Furthermore, there are additional studies that support findings of resultant occupational asthma. In fact, Canada’s OSHA equivalent, CCOHS, went so far as to formally warn their nation’s workers of the risks involved with working with dental PMMAs – most significantly, developing asthma

Despite international findings linking dental PMMAss to occupational asthma, OSHA presently has no standards protecting those who work in the dental industry

Our U.S. dental community should be forewarned. Ill-effects from dental PMMAs are not just a North American problem; the World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged the issue and recommended air impurity containment and ventilation to control exposure.

The World Health Organization’s Perspective On Dental PMMAs 

Containment consists in placing a physical barrier between the substance and people… Local exhaust ventilation is the removal of airborne contaminants close to their source of generation or release before they can spread and reach the worker’s breathing zone. For this, it is necessary to ensure that the airflow is sufficient and its direction appropriate

At Air Systems Inc, we value our customers in the field of dentistry. Our Extract-All dental air purification products capture airborne particles and neutralize contaminants such as chemical fumes and dust, bacteria, and viruses. Our specialists are trained and experienced and are ready to offer you clean air solutions for your dental practice. For superior systems and products, please contact an Air Systems Inc specialist today for a free and thorough Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) analysis.

Transmission in CPET Testing Facilities

CPET Testing Facilities 3

Cardiopulmonary Illnesses and Assessments

CPETs (cardiopulmonary function tests) are performed for a variety of reasons, such as patient screening before surgery or as part of a routine physical exam. Just as often, these tests are used to diagnose illness or discover the source of health problems. For both patients and doctors, CPETs are a necessary tool for gaining information. But if a sterile indoor air quality (IAQ) is not maintained, these tests can also create a scenario in which germs can be spread.

Cardiopulmonary function is the working relationship between heart and lungs relating to the blood flow via the pulmonary artery. Cardiopulmonary function tests refer to a comprehensive range of assessments used to observe heart and lung function in a patient. These include both exercise and lung function tests, as well as other assessments as deemed necessary by a cardiopulmonary specialist.

Cardiopulmonary illnesses are a range of conditions that affect both the heart and the lungs. The cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are closely connected and complications with one system can affect the other. For example, if lung capacity is diminished, it can stress the heart as it works to get oxygen from the lungs into the blood. Similarly, if the heart is compromised and cannot efficiently pump blood to the lungs, shortness of breath can occur. (3)

Cardiopulmonary stress (or exercise) tests (CPETs) measure heart and lung fitness before, during, and after exercise based on the amount of oxygen is used during the evaluation. A patient’s cardiovascular and ventilatory systems are stressed, creating cardiac and respiratory output that can be analyzed in order to find potential abnormalities. (1) For this, a patient is most often on a stationary bike or treadmill.

But before the exercise portion of the test is administered, patients most often begin with a PFT, or pulmonary function test. This non-invasive assessment measures lung efficiency. PFTs gauge lung capacity, volume, rate of airflow, and gas exchange. The results of PFTs help healthcare providers diagnose lung disorders and devise appropriate treatment plans. (2)

Patients undergoing a PFT will be required to inhale, hold their breath, and inhale as instructed. There are different methods for testing pulmonary function, the two most common being spirometry and plethysmography. A spirometer is a device with a mouthpiece that is connected to an electronic machine that measures breath. During a plethysmography test, the person being tested sits or stands in a sealed box, where the pressure of their breathing is monitored and timed.

These PFTs may be done alone, together, or in conjunction with other procedures that test pulmonary health.

If a full CPET is being done, a patient will go on to the exercise portion after their PFT. EKG wires will be placed on their chest to monitor heartbeats and breaths. Then, a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter (to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood) will be added. The patient will wear a mouthpiece or mask and will be asked to breathe through the attached tube. The purpose of this part of the test is to see how a patient’s heart and lungs react to the stress of exercise.

How IAQ Affects Infection Transmission

Because of the nature of these tests and the fact that a fair percentage of patients taking them do so because of underlying illness – these patients are medically vulnerable to any germs or contaminants in the surrounding area. Therefore, the IAQ (indoor air quality) in a CPET testing facility should be pure and unspoiled. Indoor air that is free of pollutants is absolutely critical – not only for visiting patients, but for workers as well.

It is easy to understand how air quality in a CPET testing facility can become compromised. Some patients who are being tested are sick and may have an illness that is communicable. These same patients, as part of their CPET test, blow air – creating airborne droplets which create the potential for cross-infection within the surrounding area. (4)

Any biological contaminant presents a potential risk. But in a medical environment, viruses and bacteria are the most aggressive pollutants due to the speed of travel and ease of inhalation of microscopic particles. (5) The fine spray of salvia and bodily fluids is a common avenue of transmission in a CPET testing facility, perhaps more so than droplets left on equipment because adequate cleaning measures are generally instituted in these types of healthcare settings. But indoor air pollution is often overlooked.

Air Purification Is Crucial

Medical facilities are charged with protecting the wellbeing of both their patients and healthcare workers by providing a safe and healthy workplace. Part of this duty is instituting and carrying out an infection control policy that includes using personal protective devices such as gloves and masks, but also cleaning and sterilizing surfaces to remove germs. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers fail to include Indoor Air Quality control in their sterilization efforts.

To reduce the risk to patients and healthcare workers, experts recommend a multi-layered approach to achieving a safe and healthy IAQ. This includes indoor air filtration. Air purifying products such as our S-987 compact air cleaning model have proven effective in removing even the smallest particulates from the air, keeping both patients and workers safe from airborne contaminants.

At AIRS, Inc., we protect our healthcare customers by providing them with high quality products and IAQ expertise. Contact us today for a free estimate from one of our clean air specialists.

Implement Air Purification Solutions to Prevent Hazardous Drug Exposure

Implement air purification solutions to prevent hazardous drug exposure 1

While drugs can help patients recover from devastating ailments and diseases, the drugs administered to patients may harm healthcare workers. Long term exposure to these drugs, such as those used for chemotherapy, could result in workers themselves developing negative health effects. An estimated 8 million healthcare workers may be exposed to hazardous drugs that may be harmful to their health, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Workplace exposure may result in acute and chronic health conditions, including skin rashes, and staff may even develop cancers such as leukemia.

Healthcare staff who may work in a position that involves exposure to these types of drugs include: pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians and physician assistants as well as operating room personnel.

“Workers may be exposed to hazardous drugs when they create aerosols, generate dust, clean up spills, or touch contaminated surfaces when compounding, administering, or disposing of hazardous drugs or patient waste,” according to NIOSH.

NIOSH said the amount of exposure to hazardous drugs determines how toxic they may be to healthcare staff. In knowing these health risks, employers may want to encourage workers to protect themselves using engineering controls and by following administrative policies when handling these drugs.

Techniques and equipment to prevent exposure to hazardous drugs

​NIOSH recommends that employers perform a risk assessment of the workplace to identify the drugs that workers will be exposed to, such as the types of drugs that are administered and handled. The agency recommends that employers determine the working environment, including the physical layout of work areas. In this way, healthcare facilities can better improve the safety procedures and utilize the engineering controls they have for hazardous drugs. 

Workers could choose to implement closed system transfer devices (CSTDs), which are becoming increasingly used in hospitals, according to Pharmacy Practice News. A CSTD is a medical device to transfer drugs without hazardous drugs or fumes from escaping. While hospitals could purchase these devices, healthcare employers could also consider employing other engineering controls that focus on cleaning air to prevent exposure.

When drug preparation causes hazardous emissions, air purification is key. Removing toxic fumes before they enter a worker’s breathing space is crucial for ensuring employee wellness. Indoor air cleaning equipment such as our 989 model will help pharmacists and healthcare facilities maintain a healthy IAQ.

Hospital and medical facility news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

Poor Indoor Air Quality Negatively Affects Employee Health, Productivity

While employers may concentrate on employee management techniques that will help increase productivity, they may neglect to focus on a factor that will influence both worker output and health: indoor environmental quality. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines indoor environmental quality as the quality of a building’s environment when connected to worker health and well-being. NIOSH said this determinant of employee well-being is often influenced by air quality.

Numerous studies have connected the effects of air pollutants to worker productivity, showing impurities in the air may actually lower productivity and therefore economic growth.

Since worker productivity is often dependent on health, employees may feel less productive if air pollution is affecting their health, according to nonprofit Brookings Institution. Air impurities may have more severe effects as they could lead to more respiratory problems and a higher chance of infant mortality.

Removing Indoor Air Pollutants Increases Building Energy Efficiency

Another study published by the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, Technical University of Denmark suggested indoor air quality contributes to lower productivity because building occupants may feel uncomfortable.

The study authors found getting rid of sources of air pollution, such as floor-coverings, helped improve indoor air quality. Another method used to enhance the building’s environmental quality was to supply them with clean outdoor air.

Since ventilation is a key part of worker safety and productivity, employers should focus on providing their workers with adequate ventilation to increase air circulation and reduce the number of pollutants in an indoor space.

While authors said having higher amounts of outdoor air helped, the study found building energy use is significantly impacted by various efforts to reduce pollutant levels. 

“It is usually more energy-efficient to eliminate sources of pollution than to increase outdoor air supply rates,” the Denmark-based study concluded. “The experiments summarized in this article have documented and quantified relationships that can be used in making cost-benefit analyses of either solution for a given building.”

As an energy-efficient way to remove air impurities, companies should invest in air filtration systems to extract pollutants and replace them with clean air to enhance worker productivity and health. Since workers can greatly benefit from cleaner indoor air that could lead to higher output, companies may see higher revenue growth. 

By Chris Zehner

Indoor air pollution and air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

Clearing the Air About Workplace IAQ

A Basic Overview Of “Indoor Air Quality”

Clearing The Air About Workplace IAQ 1

The energy crisis during the 1970s created a need for environmental reform.  Among other topics, indoor air quality became a line item on the agenda for change.  Today, workplace IAQ broadly refers to the quality of air in any place of employment. Business owners, building administrators, company management and employees all hold a responsibility in seeing that the quality of air in the place in which they conduct business is clean and contaminant-free.  This is important not only for the welfare of the building occupants but for their guests and patrons, as well.

What is considered “good” IAQ?  According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, good IAQ has the following qualities: (1)

  1. Comfortable temperature and humidity
  2. Proper indoor ventilation
  3. Adequate supply of fresh outdoor air
  4. Pollutant control from both inside and out

Common Pollutants

Most industries are diligent about providing a clean and unpolluted environment for their workers.  But pollution has a way of existing without ever being seen.  Here are some common causes of unclean air in the workplace: (2)

  1. Improperly maintained HVAC systems
  2. Office/workspace overcrowding
  3. Gas fumes/toxins
  4. Moisture/dampness
  5. Presence of workplace created contaminants
  6. Presence of external pollutants

The types of pollutants are variable and depend on the workplace and the activities produced therein.  Common pollutants generally fall into one (or more) of three main categories: biological, chemical, and particulate.  (3) These pollutants are caused by a myriad of job-related activities that can produce the release of fumes and vapors, particle discharge, and humidity fluctuations.  In addition, faulty equipment, the growth of molds and bacteria, remodeling or restoration efforts, and all day-to-day actions of people at work further affect the environmental atmosphere.  (4)

Many jobs deal with and produce toxins and particulate matter as a matter of course.  Manufacturers create and come into contact with contaminants non-stop.  Some of the most dangerous IAQ offenders are – but are not limited to –

Asbestos – from insulation and ceiling and floor tiles

Carbon Dioxide & Carbon Monoxide – from improperly functioning utilities and piping

Formaldehyde – and other chemical fumes from items like carpeting, particleboard and furniture

VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) – such as gases from fragrances, solvents and paints 

Identifying Poor IAQ

Failure to identify potential IAQ offenders and clues of contaminated air will eventually result in health problems for the people who work inside the buildings.  Recognizing symptoms is the first step in combating the problem.

Signs of illness usually start gradually.  Some workers may complain about workday symptoms – like headaches or confusion – that clear up when they get home.  Other indicators like fever, respiratory discomfort, and chronic cough may linger and be indicative of a more serious problem.  But the symptoms related to dirty air are variable and depend on the health of the worker, the contaminant they are in contact with and the amount of time spent with said pollutant.

Knowledge is power for the American worker and having all the facts is required to maintain a clean indoor environment.  Federal organizations such as OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (a division of the CDC) exist for the sole purpose of educating the workforce about occupational hazards and for creating and implementing standards to keep workers safe while doing their jobs.  To that end, both organizations recommend a proactive approach to addressing indoor environmental concerns.  Failure to act quickly when IAQ problems present themselves, can lead to additional and potentially more serious problems.

At AIR Systems Inc, we serve our customers by providing indoor air quality management solutions in addition to our stellar air cleaning products.  Call us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced indoor environmental specialists.  (5)

Dental Extraoral Suction System [VIDEO]

Protect your staff and patients with an Extract-All® Dental Clean Air Purifier.

The new Extract-All® DCA Dental Clean Air Purifier is a commercial-grade, portable HEPA OR ULPA extraoral suction system designed to remove contamination created by dental aerosol EOS procedures. The Dental Clean Air Purifier features a 3 stage filtering system that scrubs the air of harmful bacteria and viruses.

The Dental Clean Air Purifier is portable and easy to use and it provides the protection and peace of mind your staff and patients need.

At Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc., we provide our dental industry customers with our 30 plus years of indoor environmental experience as well as our high-quality air cleaning products. Contact us today and ask about our Extract-All 987 Dental Clean Air systems.