January has been designated National Radon Action Month by the Environmental Protection Agency to raise awareness and protect families against the dangers of radon. With more deaths from this colorless, odorless gas than from drunk driving, it’s wise to take some time to learn more about it and take action to lower your family’s exposure in the home.
Following the April 20th BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been growing concern over the health risks posed to cleanup workers, as well as the potential long-term effects to Gulf Coast residents and marine life. As of June 24th, 425 oil exposure calls have been placed to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. These calls are characterized by someone being exposed to oil, dispersant, food contamination, or any other associated toxins. A Fox News report states that of the 100+ oil-spill illnesses reported in Louisiana, 74 of them concerned clean-up workers hired by BP.
To support relief efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is collecting samples and monitoring air, water, and beach conditions to determine potential health risks to the public and the environment. Currently, air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal for the summer months in the Gulf. However, the EPA has observed some odor-causing pollutants associated with oil at low levels in the Gulf Coast region. These toxins can cause short-term effects such as headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, or even nausea. As oil and toxic fumes from burning oil make their way toward the shore, experts are unsure of the potential damage that may ensue for residents and cleanup workers.
Effective April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must now be certified and adhere to specific work guidelines to prevent lead contamination, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program. In addition to lead-safe work practices, certified contractors must also follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area
- Minimize dust
- Clean up thoroughly
A commercial vacuum cleaner featuring true HEPA filtration can help you remain RRP-compliant and avoid the health risks associated with exposure to lead dust and chips that often result during renovation and repair activities.
Finding ways to protect and preserve our environment seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. So, if you’re searching for new ideas to add to your green routine or just feel like you aren’t doing enough, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pick 5 for the Environment program.
Pick 5 encourages people to commit to five actions that promote conservation of the environment. The EPA provides a list of ten actions to help you choose your five. These actions range from using less water to eCycling. If after scanning the list, you’re still feeling stumped, Sylvane can help. Here are a few suggestions that help conserve the outdoor environment by treating problems in your indoor environment.