Blog Archives

What You Should Know About Mold

Posted by Titan on October 23, 2013

Hairy, black mold isn’t just unattractive–it’s unsafe. Whether in your home or place of business, mold could be an issue and your health at stake.

Sure, the idea of throwing a dinner party at your moldy home isn’t an option–who wants to show off their hairy, black regions? But, the risk of grossing out your friends is just superficial. The real concern is the underlying risks you’re taking by living in moldy conditions.

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ARE YOU MOLDY?

A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled–but not always. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow–or it could be dangerously hidden out of site. Often times they produce a musty odor, which may be the first indication of a problem–or when hidden, the first sign is your failing health.

The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth, water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. If you can see or smell mold, you can assume you have a mold problem. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to keep them under control.

The EPA’s: Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

(Sourced from epa.gov)

GOT MOLD? Call Titan Environmental at 816-561-0959 today for a free consultation.

Environmental Asthma Triggers

Posted by Titan on August 6, 2013

Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. When American’s spend up to 90% of their time indoors, it’s no wonder asthma is on the rise.

If you have asthma, you may react to just one trigger or you may find that several things act as triggers.

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Common Asthma Triggers:

Secondhand Smoke– This asthma trigger contains more than 4,000 substances, including several compounds that cause cancer. Children’s developing bodies make them more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke and, due to their small size, they breathe more rapidly than adults, thereby taking in more secondhand smoke.
Dust Mites– Found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and fabric and fabric-covered items. Body parts and droppings from these tiny bugs can trigger asthma. Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.
Molds– For people sensitive to molds, inhaling mold spores can trigger an asthma attack. Found almost anywhere when moisture is present, these tiny spores reproduce quickly and can live on plant and animal matter as well.
Cockroaches and Pests– Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins found in cockroach feces and saliva can also trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.
Pets– Proteins in your pet’s skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair can trigger asthma. A safe measure is to keep pets out of the sleeping areas, off of upholstered furniture, carpets and away from stuffed toys; as well as keeping the pets outdoors as much as possible and isolating sensitive individuals from the pet as much as possible.
Nitrogen Dioxide– This odorless gas can come from anything that burns fuel such as gas, kerosene and wood. Smoke from your stove or fireplace can trigger asthma. Exposure to low levels of NO2 may cause increased bronchial reactivity and make young children more susceptible to respiratory infections as well.
Chemical Irritants– Cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners may trigger asthma. Green cleaning is a safe alternative!
Outdoor Air Pollution– Small particles and ground level ozone from car exhaust, smoke, road dust and factory emissions; as well as pollen can trigger asthma.
Wood Smoke– Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles that can trigger asthma. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.

Be sure to work with a doctor to identify triggers and develop a treatment plan that includes ways to reduce exposures to your asthma triggers. But, as a precautionary step, always maintain a clean indoor environment and do your best to avoid common asthma triggers.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Posted by Titan on July 24, 2013

The most effective way to avoid VOCs and toxic chemicals is to make your own cleaning products.

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Most are easy and just as effective:

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. 
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

Most cleaning products have VOCs. But, the main ingredients to avoid include:

* Benzene
* Methylene
* Chloride
* Perchloroethylene
* Tetrachloroethylene
* Ammonia
* Chlorine
* Pertroleum-based chemicals

REMEMBER: Even the all-natural products need to be kept in a safe place, away from children and animals.

Indoor Plants to Purify Air

Posted by Titan on July 17, 2013

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Indoor plants clean air naturally and return oxygen to the air. They regulate air humidity, eliminate toxins, and filter chemicals.

These ten plants are the most effective, all around, in counter-acting off-gassed chemicals and contributing to balanced internal humidity:

* Areca Palm * Reed Palm
* Dwarf Date Palm * Boston Fern
* Janet Craig Dracaena
* English Ivy  * Peace Lily
* Rubber Plant * Weeping Fig
* Australian Sword Fern

Planning a Home Renovation?

Posted by Titan on July 10, 2013

Protect Yourself from Indoor Contaminants

If you’re not “in the industry”, not a lead-safe worker, and not properly trained, you are risking your health and the health of those within arms reach of your home renovation. Sure, you could throw on a respirator and zip-up in a protective suit, in an attempt to decontaminate your home, but do you really know what you’re doing?

It may seem easier than it actually is and many home and business owners do attempt to do the work themselves. But, if it isn’t done safely and correctly, you’re not only putting your health at risk, but your children’s, your pet’s, and the health of anyone else who might be close by.
If you are dealing with a pre-1978 home or building, you will most likely encounter lead paint. Lead dust is the leading cause of lead poisoning in children-leading to hyperactivity, lower IQ, Attention Deficit Disorder, other adverse health issues, coma and even death.Most children come into contact with lead dust because of a dusty, dirty home or daycare, renovation work at their home, or because a parent brings it home on their clothes from work. This is an enormous concern because it only takes a very small amount of lead dust to poison a child and forever change their life. Know the facts before you take the risk.
Change Your Way of Living & Better Your Environment

1. Understand airborne pollutants and where they come from.

Airborne Pollutants could include: dust, mold spores, pollen, dust Mites * pet dander, bacteria & viruses, carbon monoxide, odors, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, pesticides, household cleaners, exhaust fumes, smoke, lead, asbestos and more.

2. Eliminate and/or neutralize the pollution source.

What you can do to eliminate most of these toxins:
– Use non-toxic cleaning products-free of VOCs.
– Incorporate many indoor plants to filter the air.
– Regularly air out your home.
– Minimize pollution-no lawn chemicals, pesticides, etc.
– Stay away from major contaminants.
– Install an air purification system.

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Environmental Awareness-101

Posted by Titan on June 27, 2013

DID YOU KNOW?
* The average person spends 90% of their time indoors.
* The air indoors is 2-to-5x more polluted than the air outdoors.
* Children breathe in 50% more air than adults.
* According to the CDC, at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to lead.
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Factors that compromise an indoor environment include:
* Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) * Carbon Monoxide
* Lead Paint and Lead Dust * Asbestos * Mold * Dust Mites
* And scores of other common indoor pollutants.
Common signs of indoor toxicity:

* Allergies, asthma, headaches or fatigue worsen when
you are in your house or another building.
* You generally feel sick or tired indoors.
* Unsuccessful attempts to feel better.

Spreading knowledge is key to these very serious problems.

CARE FOR YOUR AIR!

Toxins in Your Toolbox

Posted by Titan on June 22, 2013

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According to the CDC, children of lead-exposed workers were 6 times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels (BLL). The study concluded that 1 in 4 children of lead-exposed workers had elevated BLL.Ways to reduce your family’s exposure to lead, asbestos and other harmful toxins from your workplace:

* When possible, wear protective suits and footwear.
* Wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, smoking or applying cosmetics.
* Vacuum your clothes with a HEPA vacuum before eating and before driving in your family vehicle.
* Don’t wear your work shoes in your family vehicle and never at home. Changing clothes before driving your family vehicle is a good idea too.* Always have a change of clothes and never wash your work clothes with your family’s clothes. Change in a clean area. Bag your clothes.* Shower before returning home if possible. Or as soon as you get home … but before hugging your family.