Indoor Air Quality

Legal Implications of a Sick Building

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Fines and Lawsuits.

In 1988, the Wall Street Journal reported that “sick buildings leave builders and others facing a wave of lawsuits. More office workers are filing lawsuits, claiming they were made ill by indoor air pollution from such things as insect sprays, cigarette smoke, industrial cleaners, and fumes from new carpeting, furniture, draperies and copiers.”

Litigation is a serious risk for building owners and managers. Some causes of action can be negligence, constructive eviction, workers’ compensation, and more.

The 1979 trial of Prudential Property Insurance Company vs William H. Cole determined that the building owner was responsible for and liable for negative health effects experienced by a tenant.

In 2003, Ed McMahon received over $7 million from a lawsuit alleging that toxic mold throughout his house killed his dog, and caused him and his wife to become ill.

Another case awarded a family $32 million against their insurance carrier for mold issues in their residence.

Attorneys urge professionals to reduce their indoor air quality (IAQ) liabilities by advising contractors to incorporate beneficial IAQ designs into new building construction so that IAQ isn’t an afterthought. Something as simple as proper placement of ventilation could ward off any IAQ problems.

For the building owners, a routine preventative maintenance plan can save money over time, keep building occupants healthy, and avoid issues with lawsuits and OSHA complaints.

For more information on preventative maintenance plans, please contact the Indoor Environmental Quality Division of Baxter Group, Inc.

Indoor Environmental Assessments

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Strange Odor? Building Occupants Fatigued in the Afternoon?

Proper building operations and routine maintenance are critical to ensuring healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). Building managers are often the first person building occupants turn to with a problem. The top three sources of IAQ problems are inadequate ventilation, contamination from inside the building, and contamination from outside the building.

Improve the balance between facility energy efficiency and occupant health, comfort and productivity. With an Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment, potential IAQ issues can be identified before they become problems.

An Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment includes comprehensive testing for elevated levels of mold spores, radon gas, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), as well as much more!

Our Assessment also includes readings of your facility’s relative humidity which is one of the largest contributing factors to poor health!

This testing is simultaneous measurement of IAQ indicators meaning it can be done in one day.

Sustaining Healthy Indoor Air Quality During Emergencies

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Summer has rolled in and for those of us in a region of hot and humid summers, thunder is rolling as well. While a big booming thunderstorm can be fun to watch, it’s not so fun when the power goes out. It goes dark, you can’t cook, the air conditioning is off and the food in the refrigerator might spoil. The EPA provides information about how to keep your indoor air quality healthy during an emergency.


Use flashlights or batter powered lanterns if possible.

If you do use candles, make sure the area is ventilated. Candles emit combustion products and can be a fire hazard.

Portable Generators that use fuels such as gasoline, natural gas or kerosene give off toxic fumes that are hazardous and could kill you in minutes if not used correctly.

Do Not:

  • Do not use portable generators inside your house, garage, on balconies, near doors, vents or windows. Do not use portable generators near where you or family are sleeping.


  • Use portable generators outside, and far away from your home or buildings.
  • Consider a rechargeable power source such as solar powered generators or batteries.



Do Not:

  • Do not use barbecues, hibachis, camp stoves, or any other non-vented combustion appliances to cook indoors. Combustion appliances produce toxic fumes, such as carbon monoxide.


  • Use a vented fireplace or a vented wood or other fuel burning stove, if it is set up for cooking.

Air Quality & the Most Polluted Cities

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The Air Quality Index (pictured above), or AQI, is the system used to warn the public when air pollution is dangerous. The AQI tracks ozone (smog) and particle pollution (particles from ash, vehicle exhaust, soil dust, pollen, other pollution), and more.

Ozone is a colorless gas that can be good or bad, depending on the quantity and where it is. For example, the Ozone layer in the stratosphere is good because it absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The depletion of this Ozone will allow more UV rays to reach the earth, thus causing more skin cancers, sunburns, and premature aging of the skin.

High concentrations of ozone at ground level is bad because it can harm human health as we breathe it in.

Franklin county, PA and Washington county, MD have a color code of orange. This means the air is unhealthy to sensitive groups of people such as older adults, children, teenagers, people who are active outdoors, and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Frederick county, MD has a color code of purple. This means the air is very unhealthy. Children, active adults, and people with respiratory diseases should avoid outdoor exertion. Others should limit their outdoor exertion.

If the quality of air affects you:

  • Reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, and take more breaks.
  • Watch for symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Schedule outdoor activities in the morning when ozone is lower.

How to Reduce the Harmful Ozone & Other Contaminants at Ground Level?

  • Turn off lights you are not using.
  • Drive less: carpool, use public transportation, bike or walk.
  • Keep your engine tuned, and don’t let your engine idle.
  • When refueling: stop when the pump shuts off, avoid spilling fuel, and tighten your gas cap.
  • Inflate tires to the recommended pressure.
  • Use low-VOC paints, cleaning products, and seal and store them so they can’t evaporate.

Air Quality & Your Air-Conditioning

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Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect an A/C System?

In the tristate area July is the hottest month of the year. Averaging at 85°F, air conditioning units are working their hardest.

Small particles like dirt, animal dander, tobacco smoke, dust, pollen, bacteria and more are constantly circulating throughout the A/C unit and hopefully getting caught in the filter. But the more particles captured, the more chances the filter has of getting clogged.

This creates an unhealthy indoor air quality by reducing the airflow throughout your building. The HVAC system is forced to work harder to maintain the same temperature throughout the building and that means something bad for the energy bill –

A/C units also have various cooling parts inside that can be affected by clogging particles.


How to keep A/C units running cool?

One crucial task is to frequently replace air filters. Don’t let make it work twice as hard because it’s going to call it quits.

For areas in which the filters get dirty quicker than normal, one may want to consider adding an air purification system to the problem areas, whether it’s a small portable air purifier like Airfree or a whole-house system like those from Aprilaire.

Baxter Group, Inc. Expansion

By | Baxter Group, Inc., Home Improvement, Indoor Air Quality, Radon | No Comments

Environmental company grows in response to the community’s needs

Baxter Group, Inc. is bursting at the seams after acquisition of the basement waterproofing company, Steven E. Jaymes Contracting, expanding the BGI Radon division, adding a new Indoor Environmentalist, and joining forces with a local HVAC company to improve the indoor air quality of their clients. When Jocelyne Melton, Owner and CEO of Baxter Group, Inc., heard that Steve Jaymes, a long-time friend and owner of Steven E. Jaymes Contracting, was going to retire, she immediately approached him to inquire about his plans for the business. Both parties agreed that the acquisition of Steven’s home improvement company by Baxter Group, Inc. couldn’t have been matched more perfectly. The addition of assets owned by Steven E. Jaymes Contracting to Baxter Group, Inc.’s existing resources allows the company to further accomplish their client’s needs by making more solutions available to the community. Some of the additional resources gained by Baxter Group, Inc. through the acquisition of Steven E. Jaymes Contracting include:

  • Waterproofing
  • Wall stabilization
  • Renovations
  • Home and building improvements

“We’ve been working together for a decade and have been friends for even longer. That made this venture even more exciting.” – Jocelyne Melton, Owner & CEO of Baxter Group, Inc.

Baxter Group, Inc. has also embarked on another new partnership and Building Performance Analyst, Patrick Aaron of Total Comfort, Inc., has agreed to join forces with the company to improve the indoor air quality throughout the community. After working on several projects together, Jocelyne and Patrick realized they share similar values and a strong passion for maintaining the cleanliness of the environment in which we live and breathe. Patrick Aaron stated, “Teaming with Baxter Group, Inc. provides us with the opportunity to better serve our customers. By taking a more holistic approach to a home’s indoor air quality and HVAC systems, we aim to create a much healthier and comfortable living space.” Clients are benefiting tremendously from the expanded knowledge base used in helping to identify problem areas, as well as create solutions for their indoor environmental needs.

Both residential and commercial Clients have the option of receiving a free consultation with Jocelyne Melton and Patrick Aaron to determine the best resolution for their issues.

These free consultations include:

  • In-Depth environmental investigations, testing, and remediation services
  • Recommended changes to existing HVAC systems
  • Products recommended for improving indoor air quality

Baxter Group, Inc. would like to welcome our new Indoor Environmentalist, Jason Young. His background and experience takes our indoor environmental division to a whole new level. Jason has almost 20 years of experience with indoor environmental quality and air filtration. He’s tested emission sources in oil refineries, trash to steam facilities, medical waste facilities, printing facilities etc.…

He’s tested and certified entire production facilities mostly in the Semi-conductor or pharmaceutical industries, has performed HEPA filter leak testing, Laboratory Fume hood testing, Laminar flow device and Biological Safety Cabinet testing and certification.

Jason is here to help with all your indoor environmental quality needs. He’ll work with you to identify the problem and provide the proper remediation resources.

Services offered:

  • Global Harmonization Establishment and Maintenance
  • Odor Investigations
  • Comprehensive Indoor Air Quality Assessments
  • Testing for TVOCs, PCBs, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, dichloroethene (ethylidene chloride), carbon tetrachloride, asphalt fumes, ammonia, ethanol, nicotine, new rug odor, total petroleum hydrocarbons, silica, endotoxins, mycotoxins, PCR – ERMI, bacteria, and so much more.
  • Dust Sampling
  • Drinking Water Analysis
  • Testing for Sick Building Syndrome
  • HVAC Cleanliness Inspections
  • Preventative Maintenance Programs

While the collaboration ventures were in the works, spring rolled in and the home-buying season took off. Baxter Group, Inc. has now begun working on new construction projects as an addition to the company’s existing radon measurement and mitigation services already being provided to both residential and commercial clients.

The rapid expansion of Baxter Group, Inc.’s radon division was proving to be quite overwhelming for the staff and the addition of personnel dedicated to the division was necessary for ensuring that the company was able to continue delivering quality customer service to their clients. Our client’s loyalty has allowed Baxter Group, Inc.’s radon division to double in size over the past three years.

Jarret Rine and Alex Cox have joined Baxter Group, Inc.’s radon division as part of the field crew, while new employee, Mark Delaney, manages the administration. This group of individuals work hard daily to extinguish all client concerns regarding the presence of radon within their homes and or businesses, while providing top-notch customer service that is nothing short of exceptional.

Baxter Group, Inc. sends a huge “thank you” to each one of its employees dedicated to ensuring the success of the company’s radon division for surviving an incredibly overwhelming transition period, and to each and every one of our clients. We appreciate the support we received from everyone during this painful, yet exciting growth period and we look forward to providing our clients with the highest quality service for many years to come.

Duct Sealing

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Does your home have hot or cold spots?

Excessive dust?

High utility bills?

Does your building fail specifications for duct tightness?

These are signs of an air leak in your HVAC duct work. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) says that 75% of all ducts in commercial buildings leak 10-25%. That’s 200-700% higher than ASHRAE’s recommended standard of 3%. Leaks in the return duct spread contaminants throughout the rest of your home or your facility. Leaks in a facility’s ventilation shaft reduces the efficiency of exhaust fans.

Duct Sealing improves indoor air quality from the inside out, repairing leaks with a non-toxic sealant.


  1. Saves energy.
  2. Improves comfort and ventilation.
  3. Helps businesses comply with building codes.

To learn more, visit Total Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning.

Marine Carbon Monoxide Detectors Slated for 2018

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Carbon Monoxide poisoning isn’t only a risk inside a house. It’s a risk in any enclosed space.

After 7-year-old Sophia Baechler died in 2015 from carbon monoxide poisoning while riding in a boat in 2015, a law was passed requiring carbon monoxide detectors on boats.

Minnesota is the first state to implement this requirement. Sophia’s Law was to take effect last month, but it has now been slated to effect May 1, 2018. The delay is due to availability issues of marine carbon monoxide detectors.

On boats, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen when the gas builds up from an idling motor, generator, or faulty motor exhaust system.

Similar sources found in a house are:

  • Furnaces or boilers
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning
  • Water heaters
  • Power generators
  • Motor vehicles

Baechler’s death was the result of carbon monoxide leaking from a hole into the boat’s exhaust pipe.

The law requires any motorboat with an “enclosed accommodation area” i.e. sleeping areas, galleys with sinks, toilet compartments etc.… to have a marine-certified carbon monoxide detector. Motorboats with “an enclosed occupancy space” aren’t required to have detectors but must have three warning stickers about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Safer Choice

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Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify products with safer chemical ingredients. Companies must adhere to a strict set of pass or fail criteria where multiple aspects of the product is reviewed.


What does the Safer Choice label mean?

Participation in the Safer Choice program is voluntary. Companies who make products carrying the Safer Choice label have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the Safer Choice Standard.

Products must pass strict criteria in order to spot the Safer Choice label. Once a product meets the criteria, EPA conducts annual audits to ensure the standards continue to be met.


What is Examined?


Every ingredient. The EPA reviews all chemical ingredients, regardless of their percentage in the product. Every ingredient must meet strict safety criteria for both human health and the environment. Some of the factors include carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. This ensures that any product spotting the Safer Choice-labeled products are safer for humans and the environment.


Product performance. Products that qualify to carry the Safer Choice label must pass category-specific performance standards.


Packaging. Partners are required to implement sustainable packaging measures and to improve the packaging profile.


pH. Products must meet the pH standards set that minimize skin and eye irritation or injury.


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Safer Choice restricts VOC content to minimize indoor air pollution and respiratory concerns.


A Few Helpful Links:


Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

Available Products:

Products for Your Home at Retail Stores

Products for Use in Facilities like Schools, Hotels, Offices, and Sports Venues