Just a few weeks ago, a breaking news report shocked many Ontarians by announcing the risk of a certain type of leukemia is skyrocketing in certain cities throughout Ontario.
Hamilton, St. Catharine’s and the surrounding areas have been identified as cities affected by increased risk.
The risk is linked to Ontario’s industrial sector, including petrochemical plants, oil refineries and similar manufacturing and distribution operations.
While efforts are underway to try to control for the risk, many individuals and regulatory agencies believe that what is being done is not nearly enough to safeguard the health of local individuals and families.
In this post, discover what you can do to reduce the threat to your family.
Benzene Linked to Increased Incidence of Leukemia
Benzene is a known carcinogen that can cause cancer in people and animals. In particular, benzene is increasingly linked to the outbreak of acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, which is a form of cancer that is on the rise in certain areas of Ontario.
The current risk in these areas stands at three times the nationwide average for AML.
But cancer isn’t the only serious health condition that is now linked to benzene exposure.
Ongoing toxic chemical spills and leaks, many of which are well documented by local news media, have caused other equally serious forms of cancer such as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), some with fatal outcomes.
What Is Benzene?
Benzene is one of many chemicals classified as a VOC, or volatile organic compound, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Benzene is also one of the chemicals produced most frequently throughout North America because it arises from the burning of fossil fuels. The CDC cites industrial operations as the primary source of benzene emissions. Other common sources include vehicle emissions, smoking and fires.
Benzene has a distinctive odour that some people say smells like sweetened gasoline. Most people are exposed through inhaling airborne benzene.
Health Impact of Benzene Exposure
As investigation into chronic benzene emissions continues, we now know that it’s linked not just to cancers like AML and MDS, but also to lower-level health issues that include the following:
- Bone marrow degeneration
- Anemia and low platelet counts
- Impaired immune function
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye and skin irritation
- Dizziness and tremors
- Confusion and drowsiness
- Fainting and coma
The longer the period of benzene exposure, the worse the health impact becomes.
Steps to Protect Your Family from Benzene Inhalation
Even just a decade or two ago, concerns about indoor air quality maintained a low profile in the mainstream news media. Individuals and families who instituted indoor air quality controls didn’t talk much about these efforts in social or networking circles.
But today, indoor air quality has become a timely hot topic. As toxic chemical leaks and spills perpetually capture international news headlines, people are becoming increasingly aware that our governments often don’t do enough to protect citizens from exposure.
We have to step up and protect ourselves and our families using the tools we have.
Luckily, we have some pretty great options today to filter and purify our indoor air at home and at work. These are the systems we recommend to reliably keep benzene and other chemicals from polluting your indoor air.
Indoor air quality testing
Indoor air quality testing is an affordable solution to identify the concerning toxins present in your indoor air. This silent test runs for 72 hours, taking air samples every 60 seconds and analyzing each one.
At the end of the testing period, your full-color printout identifies toxins of greatest concern and recommendations for treatment.
Professional air duct cleaning and sanitizing
Trapped toxins, whether liquid, gaseous or particulate, have no way out of your indoor air duct system on their own unless they are blown out as air passes through the ducts.
A professional air duct cleaning service pulls 100 percent of trapped toxins out of your ducts using a secure negative pressure system and then sanitizes the interior against residual matter.
Heat recovery ventilation
Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) lowers energy bills, balances indoor air humidity levels, helps filter toxins from the air and, most importantly, ensures stale, toxic air is transported securely out of your home, never to return.
HEPA air filtration system
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. This system was first developed during World War II to protect scientists working on the atomic bomb against the health impact of airborne radioactive particulates.
There is still no better or more comprehensive air filtration system today than the HEPA air filtration system, which is used in laboratories, hospitals and clinics all over the world.
HEPA filters work best when added onto an existing ducted HVAC system. For non-ducted systems, portable models can do the same job.
Ultraviolet air purification system
For gaseous airborne particulates such as benzene, ultraviolet light is still the most potent neutralizing force we have available.
An indoor air purification system uses ultraviolet band C, the most powerful band of UV light, to change the molecular composition of airborne toxins like benzene, rendering them harmless.
Central air purification can work seamlessly with any ducted HVAC system. For non-ducted spaces, portable models are available.
Schedule Your FREE, No-Obligation Indoor Air Quality Quote
We know news like this can feel overwhelming, and it is important to know you don’t have to do everything we have outlined in this blog post all at once.
We are happy to consult with you to determine which system(s) will deliver maximum results for your budget and health concerns.
You can simply complete this easy online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly trained, prompt and polite air quality technicians.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.