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Air Pollution

Air pollution is killing construction workers

The British Safety Council has launched a campaign for air pollution to be officially recognised as an occupational health hazard for construction workers and others who worked outdoors. Among the measures it is calling for is the adoption of a workplace exposure limit for diesel engine exhaust emissions. Air pollution

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Medics Link Deaths to Indoor Air Quality

The research from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is unusual in that it makes direct reference to the impact of indoor air quality (IAQ) on human health and premature death rates. The vast majority of air pollution studies only take outdoor

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Indoor Air Pollution Highlighted as a Growing Concern

In a recent report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, two prominent UK health organisations, it has been stated that indoor air pollution may indeed have played a contributing factor in the death of almost 100,000 individuals across Europe over the

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Latest Issue

BDC 319 : Aug 2024

Air Pollution

5 Ways to Ensure Sustainable Living Standards for Residents in a Building

When you think about sustainable living, you probably imagine the benefits of going green, like sticking to a zero-waste lifestyle or ditching the car for public transportation. However, did you know that your home plays an equally important role in preserving the environment? There are many ways to ensure that your building is environmentally safe and livable for years to come. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to maintain certain standards in every apartment, townhouse, or single-family home. So whether you are renting out one building or an entire complex, here are a few ways to keep your residents – and the planet – safe and green. #1 Reduce Indoor Air Pollution Indoor air pollution is a serious health problem. The EPA – Environmental Protection Agency – estimates that indoor air pollutants are at least one-fourth as prevalent as outdoor pollutants and are present in every home, school, and workplace. Indoor air pollution can come from many sources. These include radon gas seeping out of the foundation, mold and dust mites found in carpets and upholstered furniture, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by paints or cleaning products. Fortunately, as a building owner or manager, you can prevent indoor air pollution or at least reduce it to some extent.  Use non-toxic materials whenever possible when making repairs or redecorating areas of the building. This includes all the paints used for painting walls or ceilings, flooring materials, adhesives like contact cement, etc. Avoiding the use of toxic chemicals is a sure-to-succeed way to reducing indoor air pollution. #2 Ensure Proper Ventilation Proper ventilation is an integral part of the HVAC system. It helps clean the air in a building and avoid adverse health effects from exposure to contaminants such as mold, pollen, and dust mites. A properly designed ventilation system should provide enough outdoor air so that it can be delivered uniformly throughout all occupied spaces in your building.  In addition to reducing contaminants, adequate ventilation also lowers humidity levels in your building which reduces energy consumption by increasing the efficiency of cooling equipment. #3 Look for Pesticides and Toxins in Drinking Water Toxins can enter our drinking water, which comes from two sources – surface water and groundwater.  Surface water includes lakes, rivers, and streams. Groundwater, on the other hand, is found beneath the surface of soil or rock. Contamination can occur at any point along these routes. These include industrial runoff entering a river and pesticides seeping into the soil from farms miles away from your home. How do you know if there are contaminants in your home’s drinking water?  The easiest way to find out is by requesting an annual test kit from your municipality (or state). Otherwise, pay attention to any signs that suggest something is wrong with your tap. These signs include stains on fixtures, discoloration in faucets/taps, and foul odors coming out of taps when turned on. You can also take legal action if you feel a nearby industry or business is affecting a public water supply. The success of the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit shows how willing the US government is at the moment to ensure safe and sustainable living conditions for its citizens. Thus, wherever necessary, taking legal action is always an option. #4 Ensure Sufficient Natural Lighting Natural lighting is vital for both your health and the environment. Natural lighting has been proven to increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve mood. That is why it is crucial to make sure that your building has plenty of natural light.  You can achieve this by opening up windows or adding skylights to the ceiling. If you do not have enough natural light in your home, install solar panels on the roof that will generate enough electricity for most appliances (including lighting needs). Much of this planning should be done before the construction of your building. Otherwise, it becomes nearly impossible to incorporate all these changes down the line. #5 Be Careful with Lead paint Lead paint is a common health hazard, especially for children. It is a concern in older buildings and may be present in apartments, homes, schools, and workplaces. For people with young children or those who are pregnant, it is best to avoid living in an apartment that was built before 1978. That was when lead was banned from being used as an ingredient in paints. Make sure to test your home for lead before letting tenants in. You can also test the house yourself by taking samples of dust from floors with a vacuum cleaner bag. If there is lead on these surfaces, it will show up when you shake out the bag outside or on a newspaper inside the house. Sustainable living in an urban setting is difficult to ensure. However, keeping these points in mind will surely help you in this regard.

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Air pollution is killing construction workers

The British Safety Council has launched a campaign for air pollution to be officially recognised as an occupational health hazard for construction workers and others who worked outdoors. Among the measures it is calling for is the adoption of a workplace exposure limit for diesel engine exhaust emissions. Air pollution is linked with up to 36,000 early deaths a year in the UK. It is considered the biggest environmental risk to public health. Research from King’s College London suggests that more than 9,400 people die prematurely due to poor air quality in London alone. Ambient air pollution is linked to cancer, lung and heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infertility and early dementia. The British Safety Council has launched a report ‘Impact of air pollution on the health of outdoor workers’ which provides evidence to recognise ambient air pollution as an occupational health hazard in Britain. In the report, the charity presents the demands that spearhead its campaign to limit the dangers of air pollution to the health of outdoor workers. Several pilot schemes are beginning to monitor and measure the levels of air pollution experienced by people working and living in London. Their findings will be instrumental in developing recommendations for reducing people’s exposure to air pollution in the capital.  However, the government and regulatory bodies such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) continue to show a lack of interest in regulation and guidance on air pollution, the British Safety Council says.  In March 2019, the council launched its Time to Breathe campaign, which is focused on the protection of outdoor workers from air pollution. The cornerstone of the campaign is Canairy, a mobile app that gives outdoor workers and their employers insights into pollution and how to reduce staff exposure to it. It has been created in co-operation with King’s College London. Canairy draws on the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) pollution map at King’s and the user’s GPS to calculate an individual’s exposure to pollution on an hourly basis.  The new report ‘Impact of air pollution on the health of outdoor workers’ is the next step in the campaign. It gathers available evidence about the causes and consequences of air pollution in Britain. It also reviews international examples of initiatives set up to measure air pollution in different locations and their recommendations for risk reduction.

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Medics Link Deaths to Indoor Air Quality

The research from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is unusual in that it makes direct reference to the impact of indoor air quality (IAQ) on human health and premature death rates. The vast majority of air pollution studies only take outdoor contaminants into account. Both colleges called for more specific research to be carried out to deepen understanding of the key risk factors associated with poor IAQ and its causes, but pointed out that it was already apparent that increased levels of airtightness were adding to a growing problem. Indoor and outdoor air pollution causes at least 40,000 deaths a year in the UK and costs the economy £20bn, according to the new report, which also cites growing evidence of harm to children’s health and intelligence. It points to emissions from faulty boilers, gas cookers and heaters, as well as irritant chemicals from new furniture, air fresheners and household cleaning products as contributing to rising health problems inside well sealed buildings. House-dust mites, mould and dander from pets can also damage health, the report said. Harm The report found unborn and young children were particularly susceptible to air pollution. “The developing heart, lung, brain, hormone systems and immunity can all be harmed by pollution,” the report said. “Research is beginning to point towards effects on growth, intelligence, asthma, and development of the brain and coordination. Harm to babies and children will have an impact that lasts far into the future.” Dr Andrew Goddard, at the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Taking action to tackle air pollution in the UK will reduce the pain and suffering for many people with long term chronic health conditions, not to mention lessening the long term demands on our NHS.” The new report found that, although the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) set “acceptable” limits for air pollution, there is in fact no level of exposure that can be seen to be safe, with any exposure carrying a risk. Read more at http://specificationonline.co.uk/articles/2016-12-13/medics-link-deaths-to-indoor-air-quality  

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Indoor Air Pollution Highlighted as a Growing Concern

In a recent report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, two prominent UK health organisations, it has been stated that indoor air pollution may indeed have played a contributing factor in the death of almost 100,000 individuals across Europe over the course of 2012 – a concerning figure to say the very least. In the report, direct reference is, in fact made to the impact of indoor air quality on the health of everyday people and the way in which this can impact a person’s health, and subsequent premature death. This, in and of itself, is considered to be vastly disparate from the majority of reports already publicised in the media where only outdoor contaminants and air-pollution concerns are considered. Yet, with both of the organisations jointly calling out for a greater understanding, and look into the key risks of poor indoor air quality, combined with how increased level of air tightness are playing a factor in this arena. In fact, it has been reported that some 40,000 deaths each year can be attributed to air pollution, either indoor or outdoor, and is actually currently costing the economy around £20bn. Additionally, as well as increasing the risk of premature death rates, there is also evidence to the case that poor air quality can impact the health and intelligence of young children, thus impairing their future growth and development. Of the aspects which we can attribute the cause of some of these pollutants, the most prominent appear to be products such as faulty boilers, gas cookers, heaters and even chemicals present within new items of everyday household use, such as furniture, air fresheners and cleaning products. With dust mites, mould and dander from pets all also contributing to the mix, there are rising concerns around health problems inside buildings which may well perhaps be “too well” sealed.

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