Monthly Archives: January 2015

Heat vs. DIY: Bed Bug Remedies

No one wants bed bugs and once a infestation is discovered, it’s hard not to panic and do the first thing you think of. But you may be doing more harm than good. Let’s talk about the options.

DIY Bed Bug Remedies

  1. Sprays–Late-night infomercials advertise them all the time. Order this amazing spray and you will kill every bed bug and keep them away forever! The small print says they kill bed bugs “on contact” and they do, but what they don’t tell you is most of the bed bugs in your infestation won’t have direct contact with the spray because they are hiding in cracks and crevices, in upholstery, behind pictures and in seams of mattresses. And their eggs are hidden even better. If that spray doesn’t touch the bug, it won’t kill the bug.
  2. Bombs–A fog of killer chemicals while you go out sounds like it will reach everywhere. Unfortunately Ohio University researchers have found that the pesticides in foggers don’t even kill bed bugs out in the open, let alone the ones hiding in cracks or upholstery. They also leave nasty chemical residue all over the surfaces in your home. Bug bombs can also scatter insects rather than kill them. They cause bed bugs to find new locations, spreading an infestation. Frequent use can also lead to pesticide resistance. The bugs that survive a fogger will lay resistant eggs. 
  3. Essential Oils–We come across articles quite often about using essential oils to kill bed bugs. A recent study took a look at the efficacy of essential oils and found that few killed even 50% of bed bugs after direct exposure for days and none of them had any repellent effect.

Best Bed Bug Remedy

Heat is the best remedy for bed bugs, without question. Why?

  • Heat works in a few hours, not a few days.
  • Heat reaches everywhere bugs and their eggs can hide, even inside walls.
  • Heat leaves no chemical residue.
  • Heat does not require you to move out of your home while it dissipates.
  • Heat does not destroy food, textiles, or personal property.
  • Heat kills bugs at every stage of development, even eggs.

You cannot do an effective heat treatment for bed bugs yourself, but you can call Alliance for quick, professional bed bug eradication. Don’t panic and make the wrong choice. You’ll just end up with more bugs–and bites!–later.

crawlspace encapsulation

The Advantages of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space

The crawl space is an area in a home that is sometimes forgotten and if not maintained can cause many issues like development of moisture, mold growth and become very dirty. It can then become a very difficult task to control the moisture and monitor the humidity and temperature. A solution that many homeowners do is encapsulate their crawl space.

Crawl space encapsulation works as an envelope of protection between the crawl space and the outdoors. It is an extra barrier that can help you save on your heating bills and ensure your home is energy efficient.

The purpose of the encapsulated crawl space is to create an environment that can be controlled  by using a vapor barrier on the floor and walls.

Benefits Of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space

  • Crawl space Encapsulation prolongs the life your crawlspace
  • Reduces Temperatures to limit humidity levels
  • Reduce costly floor repairs in your home (moisture rots wood)
  • Increase the lifespan of your HVAC equipments and ducts (air handler and air ducts may be in crawlspace)
  • Lower energy bills
  • If planning on selling your home, encapsulated crawl space may be an attractive selling feature for buyers.

You may rarely visit your crawl space but it is important to maintain your crawl space clean to avoid problems that can be costly in the future. Encapsulating your crawl space can greatly improve the overall air quality in the crawlspace and inside the home. We see it as a one time fix for a long term solution.

If you have a crawl space you should think about having it cleaned, treated and encapsulated. If you have any more questions regarding the process of encapsulating your crawl space contact us and we can be of assistance.

Download a free copy of our Asbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

 

 

Mold and Health Problems

We are familiar with stories about mold and health issues like respiratory symptoms and headaches, but did you know that mold can also cause more serious health problems?

Allergy and Asthma Attacks

Meningitis

Sick Building Syndrome

And evidence has been found that mold can even cause cancer.

A theory propounded by Italian oncologist Dr. T Simoncini in his book “Cancer is a Fungus,” claims that it may indeed.

Dr. Simoncini’s hypothesis:

“A fungus infection always forms the basis of every abnormal growth of tissue, i.e. tumor, and this formation tries to spread within the whole organism, unimpeded. The growth of fungus colonies, together with the reaction of the tissue that tries to defend itself against the invasion, causes the tumor…Therefore, there must be only one cause of cancer: fungal infection…”

There is an established connection between the mycotoxins produced by aspergillus mold and the development of liver cancer. Aspergillus is found mostly on crops like grains, corn and peanuts but if we eat enough of it, it can contribute to not only cancer of the liver, but breast, testicular and lung cancers as well. A study in Sweden found that “toxic” or “black” mold, also known as stachybotrys, contributed to a 40% cancer incidence in the employees who had worked in a school there for 5 years or more. That is a high degree of correlation, if not definite causality.

We cannot get away from mold entirely–it is everywhere–but we can take mold and health more seriously when we encounter more than a little mildew in the shower. Be sure to:

  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Dry or replace any wet or damaged material as quickly as possible
  • Inspect your home twice yearly for mold outside and in
  • Have mold problems dealt with by professionals before you get sick

Everyone gets a little mold in the bathroom every once in a while, but any mold you see is accompanied by a lot more you can’t, under flooring, inside drywall, in eaves or gutters. After a leak or a flood, be sure to be vigilant about drying and replacing porous materials that got wet. All takes for mold to grow is a little damp. Don’t let that little damp cause big problems! Contact Seacliff Environmental for mold removal services before it can make you sick!

lead certified

Property Managers Get Lead Safe Certified

Disturbing six square feet of an area that may have lead can cost property managers a big fine. Property managers and all those who are hired need to be lead safe certified.

Making sure that your contractor is lead certified is important to avoid any problems.

Using lead safe work practices is as important as being certified. Disturbing an area can cause lead dust to distribute throughout the air.

Get Your Lead-Safe Certification

  • Federal Law requires that any firm working with lead must be lead certified.
  • Indivisuals must attend a Renovation, Repair and Painting course.
  • Contact an accredited trainer that can give you and your staff proper training.
  • Have your firm be certified by the EPA or who are trained by EPA providers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the most hazardous sources of lead. Identifying lead hazards can help prevent lead poisoning.

Property managers need to be aware that those exposed to lead can harm the health of your employees and those around the environment.

 

You can Request a Free Estimate, or download a free copy of ourAsbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

Autism and Air Quality: Is there a connection?

We first heard about a possible link between air pollution and autism in the first issue of JAMA Psychiatry in 2013 when they published a new study linking traffic-related air pollution with autism.

Since then, the evidence has been piling up.

For many years, both parents of children on the autism spectrum and parents of neurotypical children have been mystified by the prevalence of autism today and the lack of information about its cause. Is our air quality the culprit?

The JAMA study was done in California and involved both children with autism and a control group of neurotypical children. The mother’s address during gestation and the first year of life was used to determine exposure to traffic-related air pollution before birth and until age one. Their conclusion: “Exposure to traffic-related air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, [particles greater than 2.5microns] and [particles greater than 10 microns] during pregnancy and during the first year of life was associated with autism.”

Recently, the University of Rochester researchers showed that mice exposed to air pollution early in life showed “enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia.” University of Rochester

Researchers at Harvard University have found that pregnant women breathing pollution from car exhaust or smokestacks have twice the risk of giving birth to a child who falls on the autism spectrum. Exposure to particles during the third trimester seems to be the main culprit. ‘”We found an association that was specific to pregnancy and especially to the third trimester, identifying a window, which might shed a light on processes that are happening that can lead to autism,” said Marc Weisskopf, the report’s senior author and associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.’ NBC News

In our research, we often discover environmental factors which are important to the healthy development of children, whether exposure to volatile organic compounds, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, radon, bacteria, mold spores, or allergens, all of which affect our air quality. We join with scientists all over the country in hoping that further study clarifies the links between autism and air quality so that we can reduce exposure to dangerous substances and increase healthy outcomes for all of our children.

mold

Mold Concerns in Colleges

Mold can be a common problem in buildings but should viewed as an important concern especially when it is found in public places like in schools.

Mold infestations in colleges is a serious problem because hundreds of students can be sensitive and can pose a health risk to students who have asthma or respiratory conditions. Universities or colleges should have their areas where mold can be found inspected regularly.

Consequences of Not Handling Mold Correctly

Current news from a college in the east coast had a very serious mold problem. Work that was being done during an HVAC replacement caused a floor pipe to burst, causing tons of water to flow into the basement of a school’s dental clinic.

The problem was, a main contractor did not wait for the area to completely dry and ripped out material from the building that had already contained existing black mold. The main contractor did not warn the subcontractor to shut off their fans or their desiccant.

The result, mold being blown all around the building.

Handling mold correctly and using proper protocol is crucial to avoid exposure to toxic mold. Hire a professional company that will develop a remediation plan to avoid mold exposure.

Seacliff Environmental is a licensed mold removal and remediation contractor. In the case of an emergency, Seacliff Environmental will remove all wet materials from the site and provide the necessary air circulation to deter dampness before bacteria can multiply.

Download a free copy of our Asbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

 

Asbestos Basics

We hear about asbestos on TV all the time, but how much do you really know about asbestos?Here are some asbestos basics you may not have encountered:

The Ancient History of Asbestos

Asbestos is not one substance, but a set of six minerals which separate into thin fibers and have heat, fire and acid resistant properties.  The use of asbestos goes back at least 4500 years in Finland and was named by the Ancient Greeks.

In the 6th Century, wealthy Persians would astound dinner guests, cleaning their asbestos napkins by throwing them in the fire.  Charlemagne is believed to have owned a tablecloth made of asbestos.  Famous explorer Marco Polo was reported to have been offered fireproof garments made of “wool from the mountains,” but were in fact made from wool-like asbestos fibers.

Asbestos in the United States

Asbestos use in the US began in 1858 and became ubiquitous during the Industrial Revolution.  Asbestos has been used for such diverse products as: concrete and fireplace cement, pipe insulation, fireproof drywall, lawn furniture and heat and fire resistant gaskets.  It was once used in the braking systems of automobiles.  One brand of cigarettes even used asbestos in their filters in the 1950’s!

When did we know asbestos was dangerous?

The danger of exposure to asbestos was being observed as early as ancient Roman times.  Through the Twentieth Century, information and research have increased our knowledge of the dangers of asbestos exposure enormously, leading eventually to passage of the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule in the US in 1989, which was unfortunately overturned in 1991.  However, the EPA does have very strict rules about asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Asbestos in the 21st Century

The new millennium began with possibly the worst asbestos-related disaster in history, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.  It is believed that over 1000 tons of asbestos were released into the air on that tragic day and has probably been the cause of many of the respiratory diseases in first responders, construction workers and others exposed to the air in the aftermath of the attack.

Although employers are very careful today to follow EPA regulations regarding current exposure to asbestos, wrongful death lawsuits are many and growing from the years when asbestos was commonly encountered in the workplace.

What do we use today instead of asbestos?

Fiberglass is the most common substance used as a replacement for asbestos in current construction for insulation.  Other organic fibers and silica are also used for many of the products that used to contain asbestos.

What to Do If You Find Asbestos

Asbestos is often discovered during renovation and reconstruction projects, as well as exposed after natural disasters.  Homeowners are not required to remove asbestos, but since exposure on even one occasion can cause disease, it is a good idea to have it removed once it has been exposed.  If you are planning to sell your house, California law requires you to disclose the presence of asbestos to potential buyers.

Commercial property owners are required to remove asbestos if it has become exposed or dangerous.

If you need to remove asbestos safely, call a qualified, licensed asbestos abatement contractor like Seacliff Environmental.  We have the necessary knowledge, talent, experience and resources to solve your asbestos abatement challenges efficiently and safely. If you need asbestos abatement services for flooring, sheet goods, pipe insulation, siding, roofing, duct work, stucco, drywall, ceiling tile, popcorn ceiling, plaster, buttonboard, fireproofing and other products, we are here to help!