How might I be exposed to Lead?

  • Eating food or drinking water that contains lead.  Water pipes in some older homes may contain lead solder.  Lead can leach out into the water. 
  • Spending time in areas where lead-based paints have been used and are deteriorating.  Deteriorating lead paint can contribute to lead dust. 
  • Working in a job where lead is used or engaging in certain hobbies in which lead is used, such as making stained glass. 
  • Using health-care products or folk remedies that contain lead.


How likely is Lead to cause cancer?

We have no conclusive proof that lead causes cancer in humans.  Kidney tumors have developed in rats and mice that had been given large doses of some kind of lead compounds.  The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that lead and lead compounds are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens and the EPA has determined that lead is a probable human carcinogen.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic lead is probably carcinogenic to humans and that there is insufficient information to determine whether organic lead compounds will cause cancer in humans.

How does Mold affect Asthma?

Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma.  People with asthma should avoid contact with exposure to molds. Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant and animal matter.  Molds can be found almost anywhere, and grow best in damp places such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

How does Lead affect children?

Small children can be exposed by eating lead-based paint chips, chewing on objects painted with lead-based paint, or swallowing house dust or soil that contains lead.
Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults.  A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop blood anemia, severe stomachache, muscle weakness, and brain damage.  If a child swallows smaller amounts of lead, much less severe effects on blood and brain function may occur.  Even at much lower levels of exposure, lead can affect a child’s mental and physical growth.
Exposure to lead is more dangerous for young and unborn children.  Unborn children can be exposed to lead through their mothers. Harmful effects include premature births, smaller babies, decreased mental ability in the infant, learning difficulties and reduced growth in young children.  These effects are more common if the mother or baby was exposed to high levels of lead.  Some of these effects may persist beyond childhood.


How does Dry Ice Blasting work?

Dry ice pellets are accelerated in a jet of compressed air and strike the coating to be removed at velocities up to the speed of sound. Cleaning results from three effects: 

Kinetic Effect:
When dry ice pellets strike a surface at the speed of sound, any coating on the surface is cracked and loosened. 

Thermal Effect:
The low temperature of dry ice pellets makes the coating brittle, cracks it and loosens it as a result of reduced bonding between the coating and the underlying surface. This allows dry ice to permeate the coating. 

Explosive Effect – Sublimation:
Dry ice penetrates the coating and immediately sublimes (passes directly from solid to vapor state). This results in a 700-fold increase in volume, an explosive effect that lifts the coating off the surface.

How do I manage an Asbestos problem?

If the asbestos material is in good shape and will not be disturbed, do nothing!  If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal.  Repair usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material.   
Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely.  
Covering (enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket.
With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place.  Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but it may make later removal of asbestos, if necessary, more difficult and costly.  Repairs can either be major or minor.


How do I identify the Cause of a Mold and Mildew Problem?

Mold and mildew are commonly found on the exterior wall surfaces of corner rooms in heating climate locations.  An exposed corner room is likely to be significantly colder than adjoining rooms, so that it has a higher relative humidity (RH) than other rooms at the same water vapor pressure.  If mold and mildew growth are found in a corner room, then relative humidity next to the room surfaces is above 70%.  However, is the RH above 70% at the surfaces because the room is too cold or because there is too much moisture present (high water vapor pressure)?  The amount of moisture in the room can be estimated by measuring both temperature and RH at the same location and at the same time.  Suppose there are two cases.  In the first case, assume that the RH is 30% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room.  The low RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure (or absolute humidity) is low.  The high surface RH is probably due to room surfaces that are "too cold."  Temperature is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve increasing the temperature at cold room surfaces. In the second case, assume that the RH is 50% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room.  The higher RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure is high and there is a relatively large amount of moisture in the air.  The high surface RH is probably due to air that is "too moist".  Humidity is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve decreasing the moisture content of the indoor air.

How do I identify Materials that contain Asbestos?

You can't tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled.  If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional like Environmental Management Specialists, Inc.  A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released.  In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone.  Taking samples yourself is not recommended.  Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone.  Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be sampled.

How do I get rid of Mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

How can Lead affect my health?

The effects of lead are the same whether it enters the body through breathing or swallowing.  Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body.  The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children.  Long-term exposure of adults can result in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system.  It may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles.  Lead exposure also causes small increases in blood pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people and can cause anemia.  Exposure to high lead levels can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death.  In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage.  High level exposure in men can damage the organs responsible for sperm production.

How can families reduce the risk of exposure to Lead?

  • Avoid exposure to sources of lead. 
  • Do not allow children to chew or mouth surfaces that may have been painted with lead-based paint.
  • If you have a water lead problem, run or flush water that has been standing overnight before drinking or cooking with it.
  • Some types of paints and pigments that are used as make-up or hair coloring contain lead. Keep these kinds of products away from children. 
  • If your home contains lead-based paint or you live in an area contaminated with lead, wash children’s hands and faces often to remove lead dusts and soil, and regularly clean the house of dust and tracked in soil.


Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health in regards to Lead?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that states test children at ages 1 and 2 years. Children should be tested at ages 3–6 years if they have never been tested for lead, if they receive services from public assistance programs for the poor such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, if they live in a building or frequently visit a house built before 1950; if they visit a home (house or apartment) built before 1978 that has been recently remodeled; and/or if they have a brother, sister, or playmate who has had lead poisoning. CDC considers a blood lead level of 10 μg/dL to be a level of concern for children.

Does Dry Ice Blasting have economic benefits?

Machinery can often be cleaned with dry ice blasting while it is running, without the need for dismantling and subsequent re-assembly.  This is, of course, of great economic importance as costly downtime can be eliminated or drastically reduced.  Costs connected with the disposal of blasting material and solvents are eliminated.  Cleaning and maintenance payroll costs will often be reduced to a fraction of present levels by substituting dry ice blasting for traditional cleaning methods.  Dry ice blasting treats material surfaces very gently.

Does Dry Ice Blasting have any Environmental Consequences or Benefits?

Dry ice is completely non-toxic.  In contrast to cleaning methods that use water or high-pressure hosing, there is no emission of polluted water to the environment.  The dislodged coating can be swept or vacuumed up and disposed of as appropriate.  Dry ice blasting produces no toxic fumes from solvents and other chemicals during cleaning.

Does Dry Ice Blasting damage the underlying surface?

No.  Blasting pressure can be adjusted to suit the material to be treated so that coatings can be removed without damaging the underlying material itself.  This means that dry ice blasting can also be used on easily-damaged materials like nickel, chromium and soft aluminum.

Does Dry Ice Blasting cause condensation?

Condensation will normally not occur when cleaning warm surfaces, as the temperature of the surface will remain above the dew point.  To prevent condensation occurring in connection with intensive cleaning or when cleaning is performed in cold locations, the use of heat lamps, fan heaters or heated compressed air is recommended.

Does Air Duct cleaning prevent health problems?

The bottom line is: no one knows.  There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health.  The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense.  However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal.  Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment.  Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.

Do dry ice pellets rebound?

When they hit a surface, dry ice pellets change from solid to vapor form. Therefore, in general, they do not rebound. As a rule, removed material is carried away by the compressed-air jet. Safety goggles should however always be worn when dry ice blasting.

Can Mold cause Health Problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.  Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.  This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional.  You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.