Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Is Air Pollution Getting Better in the U.S.?

If the air pollution you’re referring to is smog, then yes, air pollution in U.S. cities is getting better. Consider Los Angeles, which despite horrible air conditions between WWII and the 1970s continues to improve its air quality.

That’s a win, and shows a marked improvement from the middle part of the 20th century, when smog levels were an extreme risk to health.

Los Angeles Smog

Why did smog levels get better? 

Smog levels have improved because of stricter laws and regulatory powers that have forced businesses, regardless of the economic consequences, to reduce smog output to the environment.

What’s especially interesting about these laws is how long ago they were passed. Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970, and the law was last amended in 1990. If you’re old enough to remember, you might also remember that there have been no significant air-quality laws passed since that time.

The sheer amount of time since those laws have been put into force, combined with new environmental threats and data that have since come to light, have moved some to call for new regulations that target not only smog, but also the greenhouse gases that are currently a problem.

So we’re good, right?

No, we’re not. While smog levels have been steadily decreasing since the 1970s, greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere have been steadily increasing. The gases, which are believed by many to contribute to global warming, are not clearly regulated by the authority given EPA, as are smog levels.

What can I do to help?

It may seem that there is little that any one person can do; passing new regulations is a daunting process in the U.S., and of course, regulations require compliance before any good is achieved. But there are things that can be done by individuals, especially if you own, manage or maintain an industrial facility that produces any kind of harmful air emissions.

Simply put, the greatest good can come from reducing emissions of smog-forming particulates and greenhouse-gases into the atmosphere. To that end, make it your goal to know and comply with the air regulations that are appropriate to your industry. Installing and maintaining a proper dust and/or mist collection system that’s appropriately sized for your facility goes a long way toward making that happen.

In addition to the EPA, there are other regulating bodies that help to control dust in U.S. workplaces, including the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Following the regulations of OSHA and the EPA result in a double win, since air both inside and outside the facility will be clean, and your employees will be in a safer, healthier environment. Complying with dust, fume and mist collection regulations by means of a proper collection system improves your overall sustainability, and in some cases, your bottom line.

So do your research, stay compliant, and you’ll have a share in keeping the air clean, not only in the U.S., but throughout the world.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Eight Ways to be Healthy at Work

Now that the new year is among us, it's common for people to reflect on the past year and how they would like to improve the following year. Here are eight ways you can implement in your life to help start the new year healthy.

1. Incorporate more walking into your lifestyle
With all of the technological-advances in the world, a sedentary lifestyle is becoming the norm in society. Try to change by parking your car further than you normally would or consider taking a longer walking route in your everyday routine.

2. Drink more water
Sometimes easier said than done, at times it can be difficult to find enjoyment in such a plain and tasteless thing such as water. If you like flavors in your beverages, carry a lemon and knife with you and pop in a slice or two in your bottle of water to give it flavor. If you get annoyed at the need of having to fill your bottle up often, try to buy a bigger bottle that would hold around 32oz. That way you do not have to worry about getting up to refill it often.

3. Bring healthy snacks
Aside from lunch, the biggest struggle I believe regarding food at work is snacks. Whether it's a midday snack or a prelunch snack, you never know when cravings will creep up on you. In that case, try to bring an assortment of healthy sweet and salty snacks. For sweet, try to make energy date bars, flaxmeal muffins, or healthy apple pie filling. For salty, consider lunchmeat, cheese, or crispy roasted chickpeas.

4. Incorporate mini exercises in your day
It's hard to incorporate working out in your daily routine when you don't have much time to do it. One suggestion is it do mini workouts throughout your day. When you wait for something to be printed, try to balance on one foot to work your core or try a push-up on the counter when you wait for your food to be heated in the microwave.

5. Keep calm and carry on
Life is unpredictable and the same can go for your daily routine. If you find yourself stressed, listen to calming music or natural sounds such as thunderstorms or ocean waves. Schedule in a two-minute break every so often where you take deep breathes and strength your arms and legs.

6. Bring life into your office
Various studies show it's great to have house plants around. Plants bring numerous health benefits including purifying the air that you breathe. They also help improve the look and feel of your office. For plants that are known for purifying the air, consider buying a spider plant or bamboo palms.

7. Check the air your breathe
You may not know this, but the government help tracks the air quality that you breathe. Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to see the specific pollutant details for your location and try to schedule your routine so you would have less exposure to the predicted pollutants within the day.

8. Bring a calming environment to your office
Along with providing a calm and tranquil environment, salt lamps are said to help purify the air. There are a number of diy blogs on how to make your own salt lamp or you can buy one here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Five Tips for Selecting Cartridge Dust Collector Filters - #3

#3 Evaluate total cost of ownership.

When choosing between two cartridge filters with the same rated efficiency, some purchasers will regard these items as a commodity and simply choose the lowest-priced filter. But as with most purchasing decisions, initial cost is only one factor, and it requires a “Total Cost of Ownership” (TCO) evaluation to make the best filter selection.

TCO helps you determine what it really costs to own your dust collector filters by calculating all the components of true filter cost: energy, consumables, and maintenance and disposal. A reputable filter supplier should have software to help you perform the calculations. The TCO evaluation will ultimately save you money, time and energy by ensuring the most cost-effective filter choice.

For more information, visit our website.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

FAQ: What preventive maintenance steps can we follow to keep our dust collector operating efficiently?

Verify that dampers are in position, valves are working and pulse cleaning systems are functioning properly. Check pressure drop on filters to make sure it has not exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended limit.  Check compressed air pressure and purge the compressed air header, looking for signs of moisture. If you are located in a cold climate, make sure that your compressed air has a dew point that is below the lowest temperatures your equipment will be exposed to. An integrated control panel can monitor key functions and alert you when critical set points are reached, ensuring that preventive maintenance is performed when needed.

If you are conducting preventive inspections and basic maintenance but your system is still not performing efficiently, most likely the collector is undersized or inadequately designed for the dust challenge. Bring in an air pollution control supplier who has application expertise; who is knowledgeable about OSHA, NFPA and EPA requirements; and who has dust testing capability and other technical resources to develop an engineered solution to the problem.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Pollution and Health

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.  Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.

Immediate Effects

Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person's exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants, symptoms of some diseases such as asthma may show up, be aggrevated or worsened.

The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including age and preexisting medical conditions.  In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological or chemical pollutants after repeated or high level exposures.
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the area, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air coming indoors or from the heating, cooling or humidity conditions prevalent indoors.

Long-Term Effects

Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

While pollutants commonly found in indoor air can cause many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occurs from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.

Click here to learn more from the United States Environmental Protection Agency