If you think your workplaces is making you dumber, you may be onto something.In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researcher Joseph G. Allen et al assessed the effect of certain aspects of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) on higher order cognitive function. What they found may make you view your workplace environment in a new light. Read More
Cashins & Associates Blog
Topics: indoor air quality
Oftentimes when walking down the street, riding my bike, or simply taking out the trash, I find myself walking past the front of homes and being bombarded by strong, almost perfume-like odors. Depending on neighbor activity, temperature, and wind patterns, these odors may come right into my home, and linger for quite some time. Sometimes I will give one of my children's friends a ride home only to discover that the compounds in his clothing are releasing into my car's interior at an alarming rate - so much so that I have to roll down windows in order to breathe clearly. Can a dryer sheet cause an indoor air quality issue?
These odors, peddled with names like "springtime fresh" and "wild orchid", are given off by dryer sheets - that laundry additive found in so many American homes. These scented laundry products may contain up to several hundred chemicals just in the fragrance alone.1 And because of the fact that I seem to be exposed to these odors just about every day, I began wondering exactly what compounds I was inhaling into my body, and what some of the potential toxic effects could be for me and my family.
We are frequently asked questions such as "Is this mold toxic, or just common mold?"
Or, we get calls from worried building owners or occupants saying that they have discovered "toxic black mold."Read More
We hear the term "Relative Humidity" quite often. It is generally viewed as a simple concept - how much moisture is in the air. It turns out that it's a bit more complicated than this (but not by that much).
If you're researching or discussing indoor air quality, chances are you'll read and hear a lot about VOCs. What are they, exactly, and where do they come from? Do they affect indoor air quality? Are they harmful? This article will help answer some of those questions.
Topics: industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, occupational health, OSHA, air testing, indoor air quality Issues, IEQ, Indoor Environmental Quality, IAQ, Air Quality, Certified Industrial Hygienist, diesel emissions
The word "soot" sounds so simple and harmless. To some, it conjures up images of campfires and candles, and perhaps a charming dance number from Mary Poppins.
We at Cashins & Associates have provided consulting services to many contractors working on LEED-certified projects. Most of the time, we help in the area of "Indoor Environmental Quality," which deals with the status of the indoor environment before and after construction.
Whether or not an interior space has good indoor air quality usually hinges on one thing: how much fresh air is being delivered.
A recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that aflatoxins – poisonous compounds produced by some molds – may be worsening the AIDS epidemic in Ghana.
The researchers sampled blood from 314 Ghanians who had not received antiviral treatment. They found that the individuals that had higher concentrations of aflatoxins in their blood were more likely to have high HIV blood levels.
The research team theorizes that the aflatoxins either provide a protein that assists in the reproduction of the HIV virus, or reduces the number or effectiveness of white blood cells, thereby allowing the HIV to reside and propagate more freely.
Aflatoxins are a known danger. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration sets limits on the quantity of aflatoxins certain foods and animal feed may have. These concentrations range from 20 to 300 parts per billion (ppb). In developed countries, commercial crops are routinely screened for aflatoxin using detection techniques that are performed in a laboratory setting. Food supplies that test over the regulatory limit are considered unsafe for human consumption and destroyed.
In developing nations, many people are exposed to aflatoxin through food grown at home. Inadequate harvesting and storage techniques allow for the growth of aflatoxin-producing fungus. Homegrown crops are not routinely tested for the presence of aflatoxin.
It is estimated that approximately 4.5 billion people worldwide are overexposed to aflatoxins. Consistent exposure to the compounds leads to liver damage and certain cancers, as well as stunted growth and delayed development in children. In 2004, 125 people in Kenya died from aflatoxins exposure – analysis of moldy corn located in the region revealed that aflatoxins levels reached as high as 8,000 parts per billion in some samples.
Topics: indoor air quality