Building Air Quality - May 2020

For Building Owners and Facility Managers BUILDING AIR QUALITY

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May 2020

Conferences, Cruises, and COVID-19 Talk About Timing

S ummer is almost here, and I know many people are planning their summer vacations. I’ve already taken my big vacation this year, and I must say, it was a pretty great trip. This past February, I went on my very first cruise. Talk about timing. To be clear, I booked this trip back in 2019, well before COVID-19 began popping up all over the world. This year, the Indoor Air Quality Association Annual Meeting & Expo was inWest Palm Beach, Florida. While making plans to attend the conference, I learned that there was also a cruise scheduled to leave fromMiami a few days after the conference was over. Ready for a vacation, I booked a trip for myself, my wife, and our friends Ginny and Chris. My wife and I had only been on one cruise before. But this one was at the start of a pandemic that is still affecting us. Fortunately, our trip was before the U.S. State Department warned Americans against going on cruise ships at all. However, COVID-19 was still enough of a problem that plenty of people were expressing concerns about our trip. I’ll admit, I was a little worried, too. Our cruise was aboard Oasis of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s largest vessels, designed to house 6,000 guests and 2,500 staff. It would have been pretty bad if there was an outbreak of COVID-19 on such a large ship. But even before we boarded, I could tell how serious the cruise line was taking the virus. We got email updates from them several times a week about the safety measures they were taking. These safety measures increased once we were aboard. Everywhere we turned there was hand sanitizer, and we were expected to use it before entering a public area. One evening, Kaye and I returned to our room at 1 a.m. and found the cleaners disinfecting the

floors, walls, and handrails of the entire hall using a fogging machine. This might have been done to prevent norovirus, but it gave us confidence in the cruise line’s commitment to the guests.

We kicked back for several days, just enjoying ourselves and taking advantage of the unlimited drink package.

In addition to the attention to hygiene, the ship was amazing. The attractions on Oasis of the Seas included two surfing wave pools, two rock walls, an enormous outdoor water theater, several indoor theaters, an ice skating rink, and dozens of excellent restaurants. We definitely chose the right ship for our first cruise. We kicked back for several days, just enjoying ourselves and taking advantage of the unlimited drink package. Our cruise also included three excursions off the ship: Labadee, a private beach resort in Haiti owned by Royal Caribbean; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. Every stop was great and offered something unique, from zip lines to tequila tastings, but my favorite part of the trip was our dune buggy adventure tour in Falmouth where we whizzed through the jungles and forests of Jamaica on dune buggies. During the tour, the water and mud was so deep in some places that we all had to stop, then, one by one, “give it the gas” as they said. Basically, we went through the mud as fast as we could.

Everyone got covered in this fine, red Jamaican mud as we kicked up a wall of mud about 10 feet high, and it got everywhere. There was mud in places we didn’t know it could reach. It was a mess! Back on the ship, I scrubbed and washed the clothes I’d been wearing and they were still filthy. And you know what? That was my favorite part of the whole cruise. The trails were rough and the mud was wild, but it was challenging, fun, and unique all at once. As with our first cruise (15 years ago) this one was worth it! It was fun, and I came back relaxed and didn’t get COVID-19. As far as vacations go, that’s really all you can ask for.

Protecting the Built Environment


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Mike McGuinness on the Charm of Building Science Mike McGuinness is the founder of R.K. Occupational and Environmental Analysis. He’s also a good dancer who’s fun at parties. This isn’t necessarily something you would expect from a man who started his career in industrial hygiene and occupational health with the New Jersey Department of Labor. His career began in 1973, shortly before indoor air quality became a new focus. After the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986, McGuinness began work removing asbestos from schools. These kinds of inspections brought him in contact with mold and microbial contaminants, and this sparked his interest in how buildings worked. “I was seduced by the dark side to building science,” McGuinness likes to say. Today he’s a building scientist, and he engages in various speaking and training events year- round, educating others in the field about industrial hygiene, occupational health, and indoor environmental quality. “A building is never sick, just misunderstood. When people in our industry better understand how buildings work, they can better address problems and help clients. For example, there’s no such thing as hidden mold if you know where to look.”

3 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets

Constant technology use can leave us feeling drained, so it’s good to do a digital detox by unplugging periodically. Digital detoxes have become very popular, but for most managers and business owners, cutting technology out of their lives isn’t just difficult — it can be irresponsible! You can’t throw your smartphone in the sea and expect to have a job next week. While completely quitting tech isn’t realistic, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a digital detox while sticking to your responsibilities. Here’s how a few successful entrepreneurs manage this balancing act. Arianna Huffington puts her phone ‘to bed.’ HuffPost founder and Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington says the first part of her nightly routine is “escorting my phone out of the bedroom.” Huffington doesn’t allow digital devices in her bedroom and relies on an analog alarm clock. “Charging your phone away from your bed makes you more likely to wake up as fully charged as your phone,” she says. Erich Joiner has a hobby separate from his work. Running a content creation company that caters to big brands means Erich Joiner, founder and director at Tool of North America, is plugged in most of the time. To get away from the demands, he races cars on the weekend. During that time, Joiner puts his phone away in order to focus on the race. “While it takes a lot of focus, which can be strenuous, it also mentally cleanses, or ‘digitally detoxes,’me during the weekend,” Joiner says. “By Monday, I can go into work with a clear mindset, ready to take on my week.” Celia Francis tracks her online activity. Sometimes technology can help you cut down on technology. Celia Francis, CEO of online marketplace Rated People, downloaded the app Moment to monitor how much time she spends on social media. This data helped her build healthier habits. “It helps you understand how you use your phone, establish usage goals, and disconnect at the right times,” Francis explains. “My phone is always off by 9 p.m. and isn’t switched back on until after the morning routine.” You don’t have to completely abandon technology to enjoy a successful digital detox. Instead, look for times when you can put your devices away and focus on something else. Even if it’s just for an hour before bed, you’ll reap the benefits.

In addition to educating others about the industry, McGuinness has continued his work in schools along the East Coast.

“Working in a school is very different than working in any other kind of building,” McGuinness says. “Schools are full of little kids, and there’s no safe level of chemical exposure for kids. The lab supplies in science class, the materials in the art room, and the equipment in shop class can all impact indoor air quality in a school setting. And teachers, administrators, and parents each have opinions when they think there’s a problem in a school building. “When I’m called to a school, people expect me to be there to fix their problems. That’s not what I do. At heart, I’m an educator and a building scientist. I’m there to identify the problem and educate them on how to solve the problem and keep it from happening again. Training is a big part of this. For example, when teachers are able to control the temperature of their classrooms, some will make it really warm and others will make it cooler. This can do a number on the humidity and mess with the whole system. The staff must be educated about why the thermostat needs to remain at a certain temperature.”

McGuinness’ line of work comes with no shortage of stress or demands, yet he’s still a fun guy to have at parties. How can that be?

“I love what I do,”McGuinness explains. “It’s nice to know the work I do has a positive impact on people’s lives and health. I’m blessed because my hobby, building science, is also what I do for a living. I don’t consider what I do work because it’s fun. Every day is something different, and I look forward to each new challenge.”

2 Protecting the Built Environment

MOLD, FIRE, AND LEAD The Risk of Lead Exposure in Remediation For most of human history, lead was a popular material in art and construction, thanks to its extreme malleability and corrosion resistance. Ancient Egyptians used lead for sculptures and pottery glazes. The Greeks lined the hulls of their ships with lead. And the Romans used lead to build their elaborate water systems. Found in everything from roofing to makeup, lead’s widespread use resulted in lead poisoning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists discovered the dangers of lead. As awareness of the negative health effects of lead increased, countries began banning lead-based products in the name of public health. Despite popular belief, these bans have not eliminated the presence of lead from homes and buildings entirely. A lack of understanding about the presence of lead poses a great danger to building occupants as well as to remediators who may come into a building to fix a problem that’s not related to lead. Here are two dangerous myths about lead we need to stop believing. Myth No. 1: Lead is only a problem in structures built before 1978. Lead isn’t just a hazard in the remediation of older buildings. Though the federal government banned consumer uses of paint that contained lead in 1978, buildings constructed after the ban can still contain dangerous levels of lead because other lead-based products are still being used to build homes and other structures today. These building products, usually imported from other countries, can include: • Ceramic tile glazing • Porcelain glazing on bathtubs and sinks • Stained glass windows • Lead water piping • Pipe solder • Roof flashings • Lead lag shields • PVC • Solar cells • Rubber and plastics (lead oxide and lead chromate) In addition to building materials, some household items also contain lead. Batteries, electronics, jewelry, antiques, ammunition, porcelain, and old children’s toys or books often contain lead. Myth No. 2: Lead has nothing to do with mold or fire damage. Remediators and other contractors need to be aware of the potential lead risk when they come in to address mold or fire damage. Fire Remediation Lead can vaporize at 752 degrees F. Structure fires easily exceed this temperature. When there is a fire in a building where lead is present in the building materials, these materials release lead vapor in the form of highly toxic lead oxide fumes. When the vapor condenses, fume particles are released into the atmosphere. These lead particles, when inhaled, can be absorbed directly into a person’s bloodstream. Even after the fumes disperse, lead-ladened smoke can permeate surfaces in the form of ultra-fine lead dust. If you handle something covered in lead dust and then touch your nose, eyes, or mouth, you risk lead exposure. Lead dust that gets into a remediator’s hair or clothing can move to other

locations. This so-called take-home lead can find its way into your home and put your family and children at risk.

Mold Remediation Strict federal and state regulations detail procedures for how remediators should conduct inspections or do work at sites where regulated hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead, may be present. As it is not uncommon for mold remediators to encounter materials containing asbestos or lead, it is important for those who answer mold complaints to be aware of these regulations. Remediators who fail to follow these regulations risk contaminating the entire structure and getting fined. Lead exposure remains a risk even for those working in modern buildings. In order to negate this risk, Restoration & Remediation Magazine suggests the following: 1. Treat every fire or mold remediation as if there is lead, until proven otherwise. 2. When entering a fire-damaged structure, all persons should wear proper personal protective equipment. 3. Have a certified environmental testing company examine samples of ash, soot, or dust for lead contamination. 4. Do not prioritize mold over other regulated hazardous materials. 5. When interior finishes are suspected to be contaminated with lead-based paint, addressing this hazard must take precedence. The dangers of lead are well known, but these dangers are not a thing of the past. Remediators and building occupants alike should educate themselves about potential lead hazards to reduce their risks during remediation work.


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Seduced by Building Science How Entrepreneurs Digitally Detox



Lead Exposure: Not a Thing of the Past


Should You Skip Your Workout if You’re Sick?

Should You Skip Your Workout if You Don’t Feel Well?


There’s actually evidence that exercise can help alleviate symptoms located above the neck when you’re sick. For instance, walking and jogging can help clear up congested nasal passages. Many runners will attest to the fact that their workout actually helps them feel better when they’re sick. There’s also evidence that yoga can boost your immune system and ease aches related to sinus issues. Saying “om”might even help too, as one study found humming could actually aid in opening clogged sinuses. If you have a fever or any type of stomach problem, however, you should skip your workout altogether. And if your workouts seem to exacerbate your sickness, take a break until the sickness subsides. That said, it’s nice to know that it takes more than a little case of the sniffles to throw off your workout routine!

If you’re sick and trying to decide if you should try to get a workout in, assess where you feel your symptoms. Are they only above the neck? Or are they above and below the neck? Symptoms of a head cold, such as a runny nose, a mildly sore throat, and some congestion, shouldn’t keep you from exercising. At the very worst, you might just have to cut back the intensity of your workout. If you usually go for a run, try decreasing the time of your run or going for a walk instead.

Getting sick is terrible, especially if you’re trying to stick to a consistent workout routine. You may think sickness means more rest days — but in fact, depending on your symptoms, continuing to exercise could be a good thing. While it may seem like common sense to avoid exerting yourself too much when you’re feeling under the weather, the effects of exercising while you’re sick are a bit more nuanced than you think.

4 Protecting the Built Environment

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