Protection Against Airborne Toxins

Protection Against
Airborne Toxins

Air quality plays a big part in our health. The city of Edmonton monitors the air and alerts the public when there is an immediate risk to health. One of the biggest sources of air pollution in North America is the Alberta oilsands. The type of pollutant they release is called secondary organic aerosols (SOA). It was reported that in 2016 there were 45-84 tonnes being released every day. These and 70-210 other toxins are typically referred to as Dioxins. In an introduction to Dioxins the EPA it says, “Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and can interfere with hormones.”

Mostly the air being monitored in Edmonton is categorized as low risk, but not always. In 2013 there were seven high-risk alerts issued in one winter. According to Alberta Environment, this is very dangerous to those living with heart conditions and could trigger Asthma attacks as well.

Dioxins affect more than humans and they bioaccumulate in the environment. According to an article by the Organic Consumers Association, it says:

“Dioxin and related compounds have been found in significant levels in the food chain and people in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. The main source of such dioxin is emissions from incinerators(43). Dioxin has been found to be one of the most toxic and carcinogenic chemicals ever tested and has been found to cause cancer, endocrine system and immune system damage, birth defects, learning disabilities, etc. Dioxin is being found at dangerous levels in cows milk, mother’s milk, sperm cells, etc.- especially near incinerators. No studies were found that attempted to quantify the total cost of health effects due to dioxin, but studies indicate that impacts appear to be large and in the billions of dollars.”

Watch this interview with Dr. Linda Birnbaum, (EPA Toxicology Division Director) 2004

In a paper published by the Environmental Protection Agency, it says there are some measures we can take to limit our exposure. Though speculative, trimming fat from meat, consuming low-fat dairy products, and simply cooking food may eventually decrease the body burden of dioxin compounds. Also, a balanced diet (including adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and cereals) will help to avoid excessive exposure from a single source. However, the ability of consumers to mitigate their own exposure is limited. It is the role of national governments to monitor the safety of the food supply and to take action to protect public health.

Purify Cleaning Service in Edmonton offers protection from airborne toxins with our hygienic cleaning practices which include HEPA vacuums. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air.  These type of vacuums retain all dust particles that are .3 microns in size, or larger, at an efficiency level of 99.97%. They literally clean the air as they are moved throughout the office. People with asthma and allergies in the office will notice an immediate improvement in the air quality. Commercial cleaning equipment isn’t suitable for residential use but there are different types you can buy for the home.

Even if you keep your doors and windows closed most of the time, there are toxins that escape from the fabric of your upholstery and carpets. Marilee Nelson writes:

“Particles in the air can not only be a vehicle for the spread of airborne disease but can also be the major cause of many allergic and respiratory reactions as they present exposure to toxic chemicals that ride on dust. These odorless semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), such as phthalates, flame retardants, pesticides, biocides, plasticizers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are silent contaminants that emit from materials and ride on the dust in the air you see and breathe. Unlike volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that reduce relatively quickly and warn of their presence with an odor, SVOCs are insidious because they have no odor and can persist for years indoors at increasing levels because of their continual, slow rate of release from sources.”

Her article covers what to look for in a HEPA vacuum for the home. It discusses different types and offers some other tips for avoiding chemicals in your home.