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Angie Cole

The risk of being exposed to asbestos isn’t just real for those whose jobs focus on asbestos abatement, it’s also real for a number of other professions. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has reported that over the past century, workers from more than 75 different trades have been actively exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos. Though the use of this dangerous substance has been considerably limited (even banned) since 1990, there are still those today whose symptoms from past exposures only recently came to light. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer - these are just some of the known diseases directly caused by asbestos exposure.

Today, these trades below tend to be presented with a higher than average risk for exposure to asbestos, more than other lines of work:

Construction workers

Asbestos training is especially necessary for those working in the construction industry, as the substance can be found in a huge number of products and materials, as well as locations, that these workers encounter on a daily basis. The problem lies in the fact that a majority of construction workers simply don’t have the advanced training and knowledge necessary in order to properly address asbestos exposure and related concerns.

Electricians

In the scope of their job, electricians often have to work through old asbestos-containing materials and parts just to ensure that their clients have safe electrical systems that are in compliance with safety regulations. This causes them to often (and mostly unknowingly) get severely exposed to and affected by asbestos fibers, though it may not show until a few years to a couple of decades later.

HVAC repair technicians

Modern heating and ventilation systems and components are already largely asbestos-free, however, HVAC repair personnel at times still have to work in old and tight spaces, which are most likely sources of asbestos. When disturbed, a highly toxic level of asbestos fibers could be released, putting the technician at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases that would only become apparent 20 to 50 years after.

Firefighters

There are often instances when asbestos-packed buildings literally fall down all around our fire-fighting heroes. Because of the heat from the fire, asbestos fibers may be rapidly released into the air, where they can be inhaled by the firefighters working in the area. While firefighters do wear the appropriate protective gear when working to put out fires, they don’t always wear respirators.

Teachers

This may come as a surprise, however, it makes perfect sense when you factor in the number of aging school buildings all across the United States. Many school buildings being utilized today were built around the time when the use of asbestos was prevalent, putting teachers at risk of exposure to asbestos fibers even in the simple act of using normal facilities within the school.

Aside from these trades, there are quite a number of others that puts its workers at a higher than normal risk for asbestos exposure. Often, this can be attributed to the lack of training regarding proper handling of these types of substances. Business owners are recommended to pair up with a reputable safety training organization that can provide necessary training on asbestos safety, as well as HAZWOPER training for those whose workers are involved in hazardous waste cleanup and containment.

Visit theasbestosinstitute.com for more details on safety training.

Angie Cole

Sometimes, the home environment can cause more harm than good. It may be hard to believe, but indoor air can possibly be several times more polluted than the air that we breathe outside. This can be because of the products that we use indoors, how often we DON’T clean, or the lack of ventilation in the home.

One way of ensuring that the home environment, particularly the air that we breathe in while indoors, is healthy is by installing air filters. They can be good for the indoor environment for the following reasons:

1. They clean the air by removing particles and odors.

Air filters work exactly by filtering the air that flows into your home. They remove particles and dirt that could be harmful when inhaled, and some can even remove foul odors. These particles may be allergens that could trigger asthma attacks, so getting them filtered out is essential if you have asthma, or any other type of respiratory disease.

2. They keep indoor air healthy.

The quality of the air inside your home can directly affect your family’s health. Suffice it to say that bad air can cause health problems, and good clean air can be all that’s needed to nurse a sick family member back to health. Air filters can keep the level of quality of indoor air healthy simply by doing its job of filtering the air that goes into your home, and keeping out harmful particulates from being inhaled by the family.

3. They keep bad air out and circulate purified air.

Outdoor air pollution can find its way indoors, simply by opening a window or door. Air filters can filter out the bad air, and only circulate clean and purified air. Breathe fresh and cleaner air while you’re at home by installing air filters. Just make sure to change or clean out your filters routinely in order to avoid running into problems which may cause your air filter to circulate “dirty” air instead of keeping them out.

A good home environment is not only achieved by cleaning and dusting regularly, but it also requires that the air be fresh and healthy. Keeping the home environment clean and fresh doesn’t have to be too tedious. Sometimes, all you need is the right air filter to do the job of cleaning your air for you. Be sure to check out all the various offerings of filter sizes by FilterBuy for your air filter needs.

Angie Cole

Mold is very helpful outdoors as it helps in breaking down fallen leaves and dead trees. However, you wouldn’t really want to have them inside your homes and office buildings, as they can be pretty harmful to human and animal health. And yes, mold can definitely grow indoors, provided the conditions are ideal. 

So where can you normally find mold indoors? Below are three of the most common locations where mold can usually be found.

1. Bathroom
The bathroom or shower obviously has plenty of water and moisture, and it may never really go back to normal humidity levels once you actually start using it. Most bathrooms also don’t have ample ventilation, which means that the humidity that increases when water from the shower floor and walls dries up tends to linger in the bathroom longer. All of these provide a perfect environment for mold to grow.

2. Kitchen
Molds in the kitchen can usually be found near the dishwasher, under the sink, or behind the refrigerator - spaces where small leaks often go unnoticed for a longer period of time. If you start to notice a musty odor in the kitchen, you’ll want to search for mold growth, especially in the areas aforementioned.

3. Basement 
Basements in older homes tend to have mold growth due to the moisture that develops in them. Basement molds can also be found in homes that are poorly sloped, have broken drain tiles and foundation cracks, or are missing waterproof membranes as these conditions add to the moisture in the home.

Preventing mold spores from getting indoors can be a pretty impossible task. The important thing is to control its growth inside the home, and this can be done by knowing where it can be found, and keeping the moisture down. Regularly cleaning and replacing of filters (you can find a wide range of filter sizes by FilterBuy) can help ensure cleaner indoor air all around.

Angie Cole

Asbestos is known now as a toxic substance, but up until a few decades back, it was widely used in a lot of products. This went on until the late 1980s, when countries started banning it from use. Products that contained asbestos were promptly discontinued. Yet, as years went by, the risks that exposure to this toxic substance brought about are still at large, even though it has been decades since its use was banned.

But just what is asbestos, and how does it concern us and the environment?

Asbestos Use

Asbestos has insulating and fire-resistent qualities, which made it a popular component in building materials and household products. Before being halted from use, asbestos-containing products were commonly used to build homes and buildings. In general, those built before 1990 would almost positively have asbestos in its walls, roofs, floors, or insulating system.

While asbestos by itself is not harmful, the fibers that it releases into the air when it is disturbed has caused a number of health problems.

Threat to Human Health

Asbestos fibers are so tiny that when they are released into the air, they can stay suspended for a while before eventually settling on top of soil or ground. This means that once asbestos is disturbed, the air around it would be considered contaminated. Asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled into the lungs, where they can lodge onto the walls and remain for decades. Continuous exposure to asbestos would increase the number of fibers inhaled or ingested. Over time, serious chronic and possibly terminal respiratory diseases may develop, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, or even lung cancer.

Threat to the Environment

Asbestos not only provides a threat to humans, it also affects the environment. Asbestos fibers are not soluble and do not easily pass into the soil, nor do they evaporate. They can remain on top of the ground or any outside surfaces for years before they are again disturbed and redistributed into the air where they can be easily inhaled by both people and animals. Animals actually can are also affected by asbestos when they are continuously exposed to asbestos fibers, which puts their health and population at risk as well.

Nowadays, asbestos is no longer widely used in common household products and materials, yet the risks that it poses to health and the environment is still present. If your job puts you in danger of being exposed to asbestos or other toxic materials and substances, protect yourself by being trained. The OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER training, for example, aids workers in knowing what to do in case the danger of exposure to hazardous waste arises in the workplace.

Angie Cole

Every home that has an HVAC system needs air filters, it’s practically a given. As their name suggests, air filters filter out the air that enters and circulates around your home, leaving you and your family with cleaner air to breathe. Just like car filters, these home air filters also need to be changed out every 3 months (or more frequently if you have pets or asthmatic family members). But what happens when you don’t change them out for months on end?

1. Frozen Coils
The lack of airflow to the cooling coils or the evaporator can be caused by the air filter being too congested, which can happen during the summer cooling season. This, in turn, causes condensation to freeze and your coils and fans to have frost buildup, which can make it a lot more difficult for your air cooling unit to work by removing heat from air and cooling your home. If unresolved and kept as is for a long time, your air conditioning unit may even break down.

2. Mildew, Mold, and Bacteria Growth
A clogged air filter could also cause the evaporator coil in air conditioning or heat pump systems to get covered in mold, bacteria, or dirt. When this happens, the critical heat exchange process is constrained, which gives your A/C or heat pump a hard time in effectively controlling indoor climate or removing ample amounts of humidity in the air. It also turns the evaporator coil into a sort of petri dish where microorganisms can multiply.

3. Poor Air Quality
As its name stipulates, air filters filter out unwanted particles and bacteria from the air that you breathe in. Hence, if your system’s air filters are dirty and unchanged for months, you can bet that the air that you’re breathing in is dirty, too. Worse, a blocked air filter continuously re-circulates the particles that it normally should keep out of the indoor air, causing you and your family members to experience any number of symptoms including fatigue, allergies, and headaches. 

4. Higher Energy Bills
Your entire home’s central air conditioning system depends on the continuous re-circulation of air, so when that circulation is disrupted by a clogged or dirty air filter, you can expect your system to struggle just to continue cooling your house as normal. The harder the system works, the more energy it requires – which ultimately means higher energy bills, as well. In other words, you’ll be getting less air for the value that you normally would pay for clean air in the home.

5. Furnace Failure
The worst scenario to your home’s HVAC system when you fail to change your dirty air filters would be to have it all stop working altogether. When you compare the price of having to repair or even replace your entire HVAC to the price of changing air filters every couple of months or so, the decision should be fairly obvious. FilterBuy's air filter sizes can even be ordered online and delivered to your home, which eliminates the need to head out to buy them.

Changing air filters in your home’s AC and ventilation system literally takes minutes. So the next time you feel the need to put off removing your dirty air filters, think of what it would do to both your HVAC system and your family’s health.
 

Angie Cole

Asbestos being very harmful to health and potentially causing fatal illnesses is already a well-established fact, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that its effects extend even to the environment. When asbestos fibers are released into the air, they can be inhaled into the lungs of both humans and animals. It’s why asbestos handling should only be done by trained professionals. 

Here are 3 reasons why we should not attempt to dispose of asbestos ourselves:

Personal Health and Safety
Unless you are an asbestos expert, or have received training on how to deal with this harmful substance, then you would most likely not have the proper resources or know-how to handle an asbestos risk situation correctly. While asbestos, in general, does not pose any immediate threat to one’s health when left alone, it can be easily breathed in once disturbed. Asbestos fibers are so tiny, they can only be viewed with a special microscope. Once these micro fibers find their way into your respiratory system, they could lodge into the tissues of your lungs, and cause you to develop mesothelioma or asbestosis, which can both be fatal. Protect your health and stay safe - leave the asbestos to the professionals.

Protection of Those Around You
Once asbestos fibers are released into the air, it puts not only yourself, but also those around you in danger. To avoid causing unnecessary problems to the people around you, avoid dealing with asbestos problems yourself. Instead, leave it to trained personnel to deal with. If the asbestos risk occurs at home, call in a professional. You wouldn’t want to place your family or neighbors in a compromising position, now, would you?

Environmental Protection
Asbestos fibers travel though air, and they are not absorbed into the soil when landing on soil surface. This means that they can just as easily be introduced back into the air, where they can be inhaled by humans and animals, putting populations at risk. When animal populations become threatened, it puts a burden on our ecological balance. By making sure that asbestos is handled properly and correctly disposed, it is not only human health that is being kept safe, but also the environment and the other flora and fauna that thrive in it.


Avoid putting yourself and the environment at risk by getting a professional to do the removal and disposal for you. Ensure that you get a professional who knows what he is doing and is legitimately trained to deal with asbestos. Having hazwoper certification by training centers like The Asbestos Institute may mean that your hired professional has had experience dealing with hazardous waste as well, which is a definite plus. 

Angie Cole

Hazardous waste can come in various forms, and it’s not always easy to manage them, much less regulate their disposal. However, the need for proper hazardous waste management has become more and more apparent over the past couple of years, as the imminent threat of global warming has made its presence felt more clearly. But what exactly are we dealing with when it comes to hazardous waste?

What is hazardous waste?
Waste that poses a threat to the environment and to human health is considered as hazardous, and they commonly exhibit either one or all of these traits: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, and reactivity. They can also be infectious, such as those coming from healthcare facilities, or radioactive. Hazardous waste can come in solid, liquid, sludge, and even gaseous states.

What should be done with them?
In an ideal world, all waste products could be recycled and utilized in some other industry. However, the reality is that the world is hardly an ideal setting, and recycling normally isn’t the end point of hazardous waste. Depending on how hazardous waste was created (either by physical, chemical, thermal, or even biological means), treatment and disposal may also vary. For example, certain organic wastes like those from the petroleum industry can be applied with biological treatment, such as landfarming, in which hazardous waste is mixed carefully with surface soil on a designated and suitable area of land. Microbes can be added to metabolize the waste, thus causing it to stabilize. On the other hand, physical treatment involves solidifying, concentrating, or reducing the volume of hazardous waste. 

Who is responsible for hazardous waste management?
Hazardous waste management should be the responsibility of everyone. A combined effort is needed from everyone involved in producing, handling, and disposing of the hazardous waste. Each institution that deals with such waste – like healthcare facilities and industrial companies – should follow the standard regulations on handling hazardous waste, and have a set protocol in place. Employees and workers who find themselves at risk for exposure to such waste, or handle them directly, should be trained on how to properly deal with them. The 40-hour HAZWOPER training should be required for such employees. 

Whether you work in a facility that creates these hazardous waste, or are part of the cleanup crew to ensure their containment, it is important to understand the impact that such waste has on our lives.  Hazardous waste is inevitable in today’s society, but with proper management, we can ensure that its impact on environmental and human health is contained.

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