Indoor Air Quality – Hiring An Indoor Air Quality Consultant

What to look for when Hiring an IAQ Consultant or Contractor

Moisture MeterStudies have shown that most people spend 90% of their time in indoor environments. Indoor air quality (IAQ) issues impact the lives of people across the globe. Problems with poor air quality in buildings and homes can result in health concerns, liability issue, lost productivity, and decreased property values.

IAQ problems in non-industrial buildings, such as homes,  schools and offices are often caused by complex, inter-related issues. Diagnosing and fixing the sources of poor IAQ may require the professional expertise of one or more consultants or contractors. It is important that individuals be highly qualified to fully investigate, identify and/or mitigate the total problem according to recognized industry standards and guidelines. Verification of contracting or remediation work,  if requested, should be conducted by an equally qualified third-party consultant.

Many firms are available today to help find solutions to IAQ problems. However, in most parts of the country the IAQ industry is not regulated. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you utilize a qualified professional.

The good news is there is an easy way to make sure that only qualified individuals and firms deal with these complex problems. The largest organization of trades and professionals dealing with IAQ issues is the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA).  Since 1995, IAQA has delivered the industry’s most prestigious and respected IAQ and mold training programs. Many IAQA course alumni with sufficient experience and knowledge have also become certified by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC), a prestigious, independent certification body for the industry. These trained and certified professionals are available to resolve your IAQ issues.

Source: IAQA.org

Indoor Air Quality

Recycling | The Best Ways To Recycle

Easy Ways To Recycle

RecycleRecycling: When you think of recycling do you sigh and think that you just don’t have the time or energy to do it?  Do you see visions of hundreds of thousands of empty plastic bottles in some far-away factory getting ready to be melted down?  Do you think that recycling is something that has to be hard; otherwise if it’s not hard, then it doesn’t count?  I’m embarrassed to say that at one time, these were the thoughts that ran through my head and they justified my reasons for not recycling.  I’m here to tell you that I was mistaken; recycling isn’t something difficult, or something you have to go out of your way to participate in and when it’s easy, well, it’s just easy; and it still counts toward recycling.

Here are some of the easy ways I have found to recycle:

I have a terrible habit of leaving lights on when I leave a room.  I seem to be someone who, when doing any kind of work, whether it’s writing or stripping wallpaper, I need a lot of light around to do it.  The first two ways I found to conserve energy and count myself in as a “recycler” was to turn off lights as I left a room.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, that’s because it is easy.  The only thing I had to do was remind myself that I was no longer going to waste energy by leaving lights on in a room that no one was occupying.

Mind you, I’ve had 43 years of doing things the way I’d been doing them and the change didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.  There hasn’t been a doorway I’ve walked through in the past 6 months or so that I haven’t given a quick inventory before passing through the threshold and thinking, “Did I leave any lights on?”  The great thing is, the times that I have left a light on, I’m given the final opportunity to stop and turn around and turn off the lights before leaving the room for good.  Is this a difficult change?  Like I said, it didn’t happen as soon as I thought about my part in the effort to recycle, but it is something I have allowed myself to consider on a daily basis.

The other way I have found to easily adhere to this recycling thing is that I changed my lightbulbs.  Yup, that simple act of replacing a burned-out bulb with one of the new, energy saving kind has really been a big help.  The newer bulbs use up to 75% less energy when lighting a room and they will last up to ten times longer, too.  How can you beat that?  And there wasn’t any effort on my part; all I did was replace the bulb with the new and improved bulb and have made quite the impact on my electric bill.

The good news is this; there are easy ways to stay on track with recycling, and you don’t have to look very far to find them.

Recycle News

EPA to Remove and Replace Lead-Contaminated Soils at 11 Schools, 16 Child Care Facilities in St. Francois County, Mo. (MO)

Green Recycling

Green Recycling

Environmental News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Kansas City, Kan., November 19, 2010) – EPA Region 7 today announced plans to
remove and replace soils at 11 schools and 16 child care centers and Head Start
facilities in St. Francois County, Mo., because recent testing has confirmed
elevated …

Source:EPA to Remove and Replace Lead-Contaminated Soils at 11 Schools, 16 Child Care Facilities in St. Francois County, Mo. (MO)

EPA Releases Reports on Dioxin Emitted During Deepwater Horizon BP Spill/Reports find levels of dioxins created during controlled burns were below levels of concern (HQ)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released two
peer reviewed reports concerning dioxins emitted during the controlled burns of
oil during the Deepwater Horizon BP spill. Dioxins are a category that
describes a group of hundreds of potentially cancer-causing chem…

Source:EPA Releases Reports on Dioxin Emitted During Deepwater Horizon BP Spill/Reports find levels of dioxins created during controlled burns were below levels of concern (HQ)

EPA Urges Citizens to Clear out Medicine Cabinets for Drug Take-Back Events (HQ)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is lending its
support and expertise for drug take-back events sponsored by the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency (DEA). The events will take place at 1,700 sites around the
country on Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Citizens…

Source:EPA Urges Citizens to Clear out Medicine Cabinets for Drug Take-Back Events (HQ)

Relieving Child Allergies Without Medications

Allergy medicines can and do play an important role in managing and relieving child allergies; sometimes, however, it is prudent to limit the use of medicines in children. Other times, parents and caregivers of children with allergies need additional tools for the relief of allergy symptoms, and so complementary methods of relieving child allergies without medications can prove very beneficial.

Depending on the type and cause of allergies, and the allergy symptoms which are causing discomfort for the child, there are a number of natural and alternative methods for relieving child allergies.

Alternatives For Relieving Child Allergies—Seasonal Allergies

With seasonal allergies, the most troubling symptoms are related to the sinuses and the lungs. Mucus build-up and congestion cause secondary sinus and ear infections and are the major source of discomfort from seasonal allergies, causing sinus pain, runny and/or stuffy nose, itchiness in the eyes and nose, headache, and difficulty breathing. Often, if the congestion can be broken up, symptoms will be alleviated to a more tolerable level and reliance on medications can be reduced or eliminated.

The following are some useful alternative methods for breaking up sinus and chest congestion and easing the discomfort of seasonal child allergies.

• Humidification—adding humidity to household air eases breathing and moisturizes mucus and nasal passages, helping the child breathe easier and clear out congestion naturally. Humidification is most beneficial during dry seasons and placing a humidifier in a child’s bedroom can make a very big difference. However, excess household moisture creates a breeding ground for molds, which are also common allergens; household humidity should not exceed 40%.
• Warm bath—a soothing warm bath can ease both discomfort and achy muscles (sometimes caused by excessive coughing and sneezing) and also provides humidity to clear congestion and mucus.
• Hydration—keeping the child well-hydrated ensures the body has enough water stores to thin and clear mucus. Water also helps to flush allergens from the child’s system.
• Nasal irrigation—there are a few ways to perform nasal irrigation on children. Nasal irrigation consists of using a saline (salt water) solution to thin and clear mucus and congestion in the nose; saline rinses also help to reduce nasal inflammation, which opens blockages caused by swelling. Since it is difficult to perform a true nasal irrigation on a young child without them inhaling the water, nasal saline sprays, saline drops, or droppering the solution with a bulb-syringe is usually best.
• Warm and cold compresses—compresses (as simple as a moist, warm or cold facecloth over the affected area) are useful for relieving child allergies and sinus symptoms. Warm compresses can help break-down congestion and ease pain and pressure, and cold compresses can reduce inflammation.
• Mints and inhalants—mints and lozenges and inhalants like steeping eucalyptus can clear sinuses and relieve congestion from child allergies. Of course, it is imperative that care be taken any time a child is near hot water; boiling the eucalyptus and letting the scent fill the room is effective enough and much safer.
• Raising head of bed—raising the head of the child when sleeping (by propping up the mattress or using several pillows) helps prevent post-nasal drip, promotes drainage and makes resting easier.

Alternatives For Relieving Child Allergies—Skin Allergies

Skin allergy relief is generally a matter of easing skin damage, pain, and discomfort.

• Washing—as soon as a child comes into contact with a known skin allergen, the area should be thoroughly washed to minimize the reaction.
• Compresses—again, warm or cold compresses applied to the affected area can relieve pain and reduce inflammation (warm for pain, cold for swelling)
• Warm baths—a warm bath also reduces skin discomfort, but care must be taken that the water is not too hot and does not cause further drying and skin damage. A bath with oatmeal in it is very effective at repairing the skin and relieving itching associated with skin allergies.
• Lotions and creams to moisturize—skin allergies that result in excessive dryness (such as eczema) benefit from the application of moisturizing creams and lotions which help repair the skin. Lotions should not contain high levels of water which have the effect of drying the skin.
• Lotions and creams to dry—relieving child allergies with skin rashes sometimes requires drying of allergic blisters (such as from poison ivy); lotions such as calamine are effective at drying blistering allergic skin rashes.
• Hydration—again, hydration helps to flush the system of allergens and also helps to moisturize and repair the skin.

Alternatives For Relieving Child Allergies—Food Allergies

Unfortunately, there is not much to be done naturally when it comes to relieving child allergies to food except for avoidance of the trigger; avoiding allergenic foods is the most effective way to manage food allergies in children safely. However, if child food allergies cause skin rashes or congestion, the above steps can be helpful at relieving those symptoms associated with the food allergy. As always, hydration is an important factor in flushing offensive food allergens from the body.

In addition to those methods mentioned here, there are a number of herbal and homeopathic remedies that are showing promise in the relief of allergies, but many are not well-studied for safety. Such methods and products may prove helpful in relieving child allergies, but they should be discussed with the child’s doctor prior to use.

President Signs America Recycles Day Proclamation/Proclamation, new task force focus on electronic waste (HQ)

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, on America Recycles Day, President Obama signed a proclamation celebrating the strides the country has made in recycling generally, while also highlighting the need for greater attention to addressing electronic waste (e-waste). Last week, the Council on Environmental Qualit…

Source:President Signs America Recycles Day Proclamation/Proclamation, new task force focus on electronic waste (HQ)

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