air pollution

Agency Cites Air Pollution as a Lung Cancer Risk

WHO Encourages a Global Effort to Instill Regulation and Clean the Air After Classifying Outdoor Air Pollution as Cancer Risk

WHO encourages a global effort to instill regulation and clean the air after classifying outdoor air pollution as cancer-causing.

Outdoor air pollution is officially classified as a carcinogen, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization. WHO came to the conclusion air pollution is cancer-causing after evaluating more than 1,000 scientific publications and reviewing significant evidence connecting particulate exposure and lung cancer. Approximately 223,000 of the global population died of lung cancer in 2010 and WHO expects this rate will increase with the rising amount of particulate matter in the air. Air pollution also increases the risk of developing heart and respiratory diseases as well as bladder cancer, according to ABC News.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of WHO responsible for cancer research, said air pollution is not only the most prevalent cause of cancer risk in the environment but also the worst.

Kurt Straif, head of the IARC department that analyzes carcinogens, said the air people breathe in becomes mixed with cancer-causing substances, which can include gases and particulate matter. One of the major risks of air pollution is having fine particles that can become embedded deep within the lungs.

“The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking,” the IARC stated in the report. “There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay.”

IARC encourages the international community to adopt stricter limits of pollution and for governments to enact public policy to reduce emissions of particulates and other potential harmful substances.

How the Manufacturing Sector Can Help Improve Air Quality

IARC suggests the main way to prevent this rising cancer rate is to clean the air, according to CNN. The manufacturing sector is reported to contribute to the widespread air pollution, which puts developing countries that are in the process of industrializing at the most risk. Manufacturers can help improve air quality through removing contaminants at the source with fume extractors, which will help maintain air quality of indoor facilities to make it safer for workers. Installing air purification systems will help extract pollutants that mix with outdoor air, including hazardous fumes, gases and particulates, before they make their way outside facilities. Portable air cleaners are also effective in removing airborne contaminants before they enter the lungs of employees, which could mean the difference between developing health problems later on.

The Tennis Ball, Indoor Air Quality, and Occupational Risk in the Rubber Industry

Compromised Indoor Air Quality Causes Occupational Risk in the Rubber Industry

The Tennis Ball, Indoor Air Quality, and Occupational Risk in the Rubber Industry

Whether you compete for a club championship trophy, spend afternoons on the clay with friends, or are simply a pet owner who passes time playing fetch with your dog at the park, you are no stranger to that universally recognized ball wrapped in bright yellow felt. The tennis ball.

Tennis as we know it was first played in the 1870s but before that, the balls used were considerably different than those of today. Fabricated from cloth or leather and filled with rags or horsehair, tennis balls during that time weren’t uniform in design. Modern tennis adopted improvements to the ball that including stitched flannel around the rubber surface and air pressurizing the balls for a reliable bounce. Then along came vulcanized rubber, which quickly became a manufacturing mainstay. Felting was the last major change. (1)

Today, over 300 million tennis balls are produced each year with more than 200 brands worldwide. It takes a lot of rubber to turn out that many balls. As a result, rubber workers are at risk for illness due to air pollution caused by the industrial methods employed during manufacturing. (2)

Harmful Byproducts of Rubber Production

According to the EPA, the occupational risks affecting the rubber industry are directly related to the rubber-making process. In addition, the EPA has identified rubber manufacturing facilities as a major source of HAP (hazardous air pollutant) emissions. (3)

While rubber goods are an important part of modern life, their production involves subjecting varied combinations of hundreds of chemicals to heat, pressure, and catalytic action during the various manufacturing processes. As a consequence, toxic substances and chemical byproducts abound.

The rubber manufacturing industry employs a considerable number of workers. Though the current US Department Of Labor statistics is not available at this time. The fact that in 1989 there were approximately 132,500 workers employed in non-tire rubber production is telling. There are many thousands of rubber workers potentially at risk, many of whom, make tennis balls.

How Does It Happen?

Beginning with a rubber-based core, there is a five-step process for making a tennis ball.

  1. Crushing – The rubber compound is repeatedly crushed in an open mill
  2. Compressing – The forms are cut from the rubber core and then compression molded into a thin shell
  3. Sheeting – The shell is made into a sheet and rolled up, then cooled and cut into semi-circles
  4. Buffing – Shell halves are combined then buffed and then placed into a cylinder to add grooves before felt is added
  5. Felting – A machine cuts the fabric so felting may be stuck to the rubber core to create the finished product

Steps 1-3 present the highest risk for unhealthy exposure, according to the National Institute Of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). Indoor air quality concerns such as contact with amine composites (which are organic derivatives of ammonia) (5) and exposure to hundreds of different chemical emissions in the form of vapors, dust, gases, and fumes (4) are at the top of the NIOSH caution list. Workers are exposed to these toxins – some of them carcinogenic compounds – by way of inhalation and dermal absorption. OSHA, too, has warned workers in the rubber industry about specific health problems affecting the kidneys, lungs, skin, and eyes. Headache, nausea, fever, and dizziness are only a few of the possible symptoms.

Protecting Rubber Industry Workers

Most rubber manufacturing plants (including those that produce tennis balls), comply with OSHA recommendations for minimizing worker risk by way of wearing protective clothing and using engineering controls. (5) But it proves prudent to make sure that source capture equipment is modern and up to date and all ambient air cleaning systems are sufficient to adequately purify the air so workers are not at occupational risk.

At Air Systems Inc., we serve our customers in the rubber manufacturing industry 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 indoor environmental specialists.

Saving Mona Lisa: Eliminate Indoor Air Pollution

Eradicate indoor air pollution in order to preserve precious works of art

Eradicate indoor air pollution in order to preserve precious works of art

In the art conservation industry, professional painting conservators will tell you that regardless of the monetary worth of your artifact, indoor air pollution will, at some point, negatively affect the intrinsic value of the piece. In fact, as soon as an artist finishes his or her creation, aging and deterioration begin. (1) Whether it’s fine art or a painting that is merely decorative, an object’s curator must be prepared to protect it.

Almost any surface – textile, fabric, wood or paper – can be used as a base for paint. Artists most often use paper or canvas and with both materials, there is a natural aging process. Even if meticulous care is given to a particular painting, deterioration will inevitably take place.

Degeneration of painted works of art occurs due to a number of factors, including moisture, heat, light, indoor air pollution and pests. Damage can be sudden or transpire over a long period of time. Some factors, like heat and light, can be addressed from the outset with specialized resources. And if pests are discovered, control efforts can be employed. But issues such as pollution and poor indoor air quality are more insidious due to the fact that fumes and gasses cannot be seen. Airborne pollutants can originate from sources in the atmosphere or from emissive products and objects. Many conventional paints, for example, emit gaseous VOCs (volatile organic compounds), such as formaldehyde. (2) And numerous products used to clean paintings, such as methyl ethyl ketone and acetone, are toxic.

Because of this ongoing threat, the work of painting conservators is hugely important. Art conservation includes the cleaning, preserving and repairing of works of art in addition to ethical mindfulness and scientific consideration. Within this specialized industry, those who work in preservation deal with controlling agents of deterioration such as humidity, temperature, pests, light, and dust and air pollution. Those who work on the restoration end care less about a painting’s history and more about aesthetics; about making a piece look new and polished while appearing to look original. For example, restoration can include repairing an item that has suffered paint loss, a weakened canvas, tears or other damage. Conserving preserves the structural stability and visual appearance, such as removing old varnish, repairing a torn canvas or securing flaking paint. (3)

Take the National Gallery’s collection, for example. There are upwards of 4,000 paintings, all created with varying types of enamels, oils, glues and wax. The art conservators on staff work around the clock to preserve and restore their paintings from the effects of pollutants and age. (4)

Broadly defined, a pollutant is a substance that has a detrimental effect on the environment and can cause harm to a person or object (including the health of a living thing). Impurities can be generated in or out but typically do the most damage when they are produced and located indoors. Airborne pollutants continue to challenge art conservators due to the fact that they are often invisible and signs of contamination do not appear until after damage has occurred. (5)

But art conservators have tools to combat poor indoor air quality in the form of pollution removal systems such as our bench-top and wall-mount source capture systems both of which provide the ultimate combination of consistent airflow along with superior filtration all in a compact design.

At Air Systems Inc., we serve our painting conservation customers by providing indoor air quality management solutions in addition to stellar IAQ products. Our air impurity removal systems create clean air to protect valuable works of art so that people can continue to enjoy them for many years to come.

Contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced indoor environmental specialists.

Air Pollution in School Buildings Can Cause Illness

Schools Are Vulnerable to Poor Air Quality, Which Can Affect Student Performance and Health

Schools and other educational facilities are vulnerable to poor air quality due to air pollution, which can affect student performance and health.

New research is highlighting poor air quality in schools and the effects of air pollution on students, USA Today reported.

Air quality is especially terrible when school buses are idling, according to Patrick Ryan, researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

“The concentration of air pollutants near schools often significantly exceeds background levels in the community, particularly when idling school buses are present,” Ryan said.

The study shows fine particles that measure 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller are concentrated in the air while buses and cars are loading and unloading passengers. Ryan is also author of a study that found a connection between outdoor pollutants and indoor air quality. He said air quality was generally good at the four schools he studied, but there was a difference in the quality of air inside if outdoor air pollution was reduced.

EPA Links Outdoor Pollutants With Indoor Air Quality

Ryan’s study is also supported by studies cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that list outdoor pollutants or vehicle exhaust as a cause of poor indoor air quality in schools. Other causes of indoor air quality problems include moisture and water damage, animal and other biological allergens, low ventilation rates and cleaning product chemicals. Air cleaners could lower the amount of pollutants causing indoor air quality problems and potential negative health effects.

The EPA cited scientific studies that state indoor air quality problems can lead to respiratory infections as well as adverse reactions to chemicals. The result of indoor air quality issues includes negative health effects in students as well as lowered ability to learn.

“Research links key environmental factors to health outcomes and students’ ability to perform,” according to the EPA on the effects of indoor air quality and student performance. “Improvements in school environmental quality can enhance academic performance, as well as teacher and staff productivity and retention.”

Despite schools and educational facilities having a variety of pollutant sources to control, there are different ways they can clean up indoor air quality. In order to help improve students’ ability to perform, schools could increase their outdoor air ventilation rates or eliminate the sources of pollutants, according to studies listed by the EPA. Studies also indicate reducing the amount of airborne particles, such as through air purification systems, could improve the health and comfort of building occupants.

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