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Indoor Environmental Quality

WHERE ARE THE GERMS HIDING?

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Bacteria, biologicals, and germs are everywhere. With over 60,000 different types of germs and each occupant having their own personal susceptibility to different germs, it’s important to know where these germs hide so that we can eliminate or reduce exposure to them.

Prevention is the best practice. Limiting contact with germs, cleaning regularly, and the practice of washing our hands prevents much of the potential for exposure. But, knowing where these germs hide help us determine our cleaning practices.

LAUNDRY MACHINES are a great collector of an immense amount of germs. Think of the germs we collect on our clothes every day, from dust and dirt on our outer clothing to E.coli on our undergarments. It’s important to wash clothing in hot water and to dry clothing for a minimum of 45 minutes.

KITCHEN FAUCETS, the handles and the aeration screen, should be disinfected regularly. Germs from our hands and contaminated food can reside on both. The moisture around the faucet and sink allow for the collection of biologicals and bacteria as well as providing both with the nutrients they need to grow.

CAR DASHBOARDS have numerous touch points, including the steering wheel, audio and thermostat controllers, and vents. Germs from our hands are passed to these touch points. The air coming from the outdoors through the windows and vents carry with them biologicals and bacteria that stick to the dashboard. Wiping down the dashboard regularly will reduce the number of contaminants we are exposed to.

CELL PHONES are constantly being set down in places where we would never think to put our mouth. Yet, we move the phone from those surfaces to our mouth without a thought. Both the surfaces of the phone and the crevices of the phone are perfect hiding places for germs. Cell phones should be disinfected daily.

VACUUM CLEANERS should always be emptied outdoors. We’ve worked on getting them air-tight or made sure that they were equipped with HEPA filters to remove particulates as small as 2 microns. The last thing we want to do is open the vacuum and release their contents into our indoor environment.

GYM EQUIPMENT, workout gloves, and their polyester fabric gather germs from all who touch them. Wiping down the equipment before and after use can reduce potential exposures. Using hand sanitizers is a wise move as well.

MONEY is the root of all evil. Not sure about that … but it is a strong hoarder of germs.  Coins, dollars, and plastic money pass through hundreds of dirty hands daily.

Regular cleaning and disinfecting protect us from these hidden sources of germs. Identifying hidden sources of germ retainers allows us to know where we need to focus our cleaning energy. Good and regular cleaning routines will limit exposure to germs and will keep our indoor environment healthy.

For a copy of Baxter Group, Inc.’s e-book BREATHE HEALTHY, our HEALTHY BUILDINGS CHECK UP or more information on Baxter Group, Inc.’s Breathe Healthy Initiative visit baxtergroupinc.com.

COVERING UP THOSE NASTY ODORS?

By | Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments

Growing up, that was the solution.  Something smelt bad, we were taught to spray it with a fragrance.  Then the fragrance market got smart and added disinfectants.  So, we bought fragrant disinfectants and sprayed the nasty smell till it went away.  And, when it returned, we knew it was time to spray it again.

Indoor Environmental Professionals are spreading the word:  Don’t ignore that odor or cover it up.  Odors are our best indicator of a real problem.  Mold, bacteria, the wrong mix of products or chemicals, smoke, gas leaks, sewer leaks, rodent infestations, improper air circulation . . . are just a few of the culprits behind odors.  The odors indicate a deeper issue.  Rather than covering up the odor, eliminate the source.  Ultimately, eliminating the source yields a healthier environment.

A simple example:  Mrs. K complained of an intermittent foul odor that gave her headaches while she worked in her shop.  Upon investigation, we removed all the chemicals from under her utility sink and placed them on the back porch.  She stopped having headaches.  She was unaware that the product containers release vapors.  The use of equipment in her shop circulated the air releasing the vapors into her work area, causing the odor and the headaches.

BEST RESOLUTION TO ODORS:  Eliminate the source!

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

HIDDEN SOURCES OF HOUSEHOLD ALLERGENS

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  • Mattresses and bed pillows that are not washed regularly.
  • Carpeting that contains an accumulation of particulate.
  • Damp basements.
  • Dog beds.
  • Fish tank covers.
  • Bird feathers that escape the cage.
  • Jar candles that produce soot particles.
  • Laundry areas.
  • Front-loading washing machines.
  • Refrigerator drip pans.
  • Kitchen cabinet kick spaces.
  • Damp bathrooms.
  • Sink cabinets.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

Nine Tips for Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

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  1. Install energy efficient windows and doors.
  2. Establish air purifiers/sanitizers in heavily used rooms.
  3. Change the filters in the HVAC unit as soon as they appear dirty.
  4. Vacuum regularly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum.
  5. Confirm all exhaust fans are exhausting the air to the outdoors.
  6. Use the kitchen exhaust fan while cooking.
  7. Use the bathroom exhaust fan while showering, and then for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Do not smoke indoors.
  9. When using chemicals, ventilate till vapors and gases have been diluted or exhausted.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

EIGHT TIPS TO PREVENT “SICK BUILDING SYNDROME”

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Sick Building Syndrome is a situation in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.

1. Check out the EPA’s AirCompare tool. Learn about the outdoor air quality in your area and the times of the year that may be unhealthy to leave doors and windows open.
2. Make your building as air tight as possible and follow-up by taking control of your indoor air and environment.
3. Establish your ventilation system to ensure that fresh air gets brought in and properly filtered. By doing so, any allergens, VOCs, or indoor air pollution is now being filtered and diluted.
4. When possible, use chemical-free, toxin-free products indoors. When chemicals have to be used indoors, properly exhaust and ventilate during and immediately after use.
5. Clean with damp clothes and a HEPA-filtered vacuum. Avoid dry-sweeping and dry dusting since this practice stirs dust and pollutants that can linger in the air for hours.
6. Test for radon. Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless natural-occurring radioactive gas that seeps into our buildings from the uranium in the soil. The only way to know if it is infiltrating your building is to test.
7. Install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, fatal gas that is produced any time fuel is burned.
8. Connect with Nature! Studies show that the more time we spend outdoors and with nature, the better our wellbeing is. Consider ways to bring nature into your living space.

All I Want for Christmas is to be Healthy!

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All I Want for Christmas is to be Healthy!

Having battled Lyme Disease since 2011, I can relate to those who suffer with chronic diseases and ongoing health issues.  This is why we created our BREATHE HEALTHY INITIATIVE!  So, as we enter into our Christmas Week . . . I want to send a message:

  • To Veronica, who suffers with fatigue every afternoon and evening after a long-term exposure to mold in her crawlspace. I wish for you that all the toxins be removed from your blood and lungs, and your body begins to heal and rejoice.
  • To Susan, who suffers from multiple health issues including respiratory and heart problems due to exposure to indoor environmental contaminants. I wish for you that all the toxins be removed from your body, and your body begins to heal and rejoice.
  • To Fred, who suffers from lung cancer related to an asbestos exposure. I wish for you that all the scarring be removed from your lungs, and that your body begins to heal and rejoice.
  • To 8-year old Samantha, who suffers from nervous system issues after a contamination of lead in her blood. I wish for you that your blood be purified, and your body begins to heal and rejoice.
  • To Tim, who just found a lake of water in his crawlspace and who is in the midst of addressing it. I wish for you the joy of seeing your household staying healthy because you acted immediately.
  • To all Facilities Managers, Property Managers, Real Estate Agents, and Homeowners that take seriously the health of OUR INDOOR GENERATION . . . thank you. I wish for you the recognition that you MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING INDOOR AIR POLLUTION OVER THE HOLIDAYS

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December’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Our Indoor Generation

REDUCING INDOOR AIR POLLUTION THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

It’s a wonderful time of the year for OUR INDOOR GENERATION.  With it comes risks to our indoor environmental health and its impact on the health of OUR INDOOR GENERATION!

Some tips for preventing indoor air pollution over the Holidays:

  • Avoid scented candles and air fresheners. Many scented candles contain paraffin, which releases carcinogens when burned.  Air fresheners tend to contain phthalates and other VOCs.  Instead, consider simmering herbs or fruit in a pot or diffusing essential oils.
  • Ventilate when cooking. Stove-top cooking can release particulates into the air and produce humidity.  Using the exhaust fan can reduce the exposure to contaminants and reduce the humidity that it creates.
  • Remove shoes when entering a home. This prevents dirt and dust particulates from entering the shared indoor space.
  • Provide an exterior and an interior mat at the entrance. This reduces the volume of pollutants entering your home or building.
  • Ventilate when using household cleaners.
  • When weather permits, open a window to dilute any buildup of toxins in the air.
  • And, HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY!

 To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com.

December’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Our Indoor Generation

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IS IT TIME FOR A HEALTHY BUILDINGS CHECKUP?

A Healthy Building Checkup is one of the greatest measures to protect our indoor generation.  Here are a few suggestions to make it efficient and comprehensive:

  • Schedule a walk-through with relevant and knowledgeable parties.
  • Make notes of problems, issues, or ideas for enhancements.
  • Compile the notes and create a plan.
  • Establish time-frames or goals to complete relevant repairs.
  • Hire experts to inspect building systems wherein your knowledge base is limited, i.e., electrical, plumbing, HVAC.

Our facilities and homes are a significant financial investment.  As a member of Our Indoor Generation, we know our buildings can also impact our health.  With buildings being constructed to conserve energy, the air-tight envelope can trap contaminants.  Issues, such as moisture and humidity, if not addressed, can cause structural damage and can impact our health and the health of Our Indoor Generation.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com.

 

December’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Our Indoor Generation

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The Nine Foundations of a Healthy Building recently published by Harvard’s School of Public Health confirms the fundamentals that all of us responsible for OUR INDOOR GENERATION should embrace.  Take care of these and our environment will take care of us!

  • Ventilation
  • Air quality
  • Thermal health
  • Moisture
  • Dust & pests
  • Safety & security
  • Water quality
  • Noise
  • Lighting & views.

For the detailed report, download the document at https://forhealth.org/9_Foundations_of_a_Healthy_Building.February_2017.pdf.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com.

December’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Our Indoor Generation

By | Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments

One of the best practices to protect Our INDOOR GENERATION is to implement a PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE system.

Most of us have an annual checkup with our doctor.  Our environments need a checkup for the same reason we need annual physicals.  Whether a homeowner or a facilities manager, implementing a preventative maintenance program that takes indoor environmental issues into consideration can save money, time, and the health of occupants.

A preventative maintenance program should include scheduled assessments of one’s property, buildings, and building systems for the purpose of extending longevity, increasing efficiency, and keeping our indoor environment healthy.

A condensed and a full “Healthy Buildings Checklist” can be requested at  https://baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

There is a direct tie between the health of indoor environments and human health.  To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com.