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Category Archives: Uncategorized


How to Detect Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterial Contamination that is Putting Open-Heart Surgery Patients at Risk?

Posted by in Uncategorized | November 8, 2016
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It is the question many healthcare professionals are – or should – be concerned with in the light of recent events. To protect their cardiac patients, it is essential for healthcare practitioners to evaluate their heater / cooler units for NTM (non-tuberculosis mycobacterial) contamination.

heart health pictureThere is a growing number of reported cases concerning NTM infection in the operating rooms:

  • Health Canada identified NTM Bacterial infection concern in 12 models of heater/cooler units.
  • Quebec doctors have already reported at least two cases of NTM infection.
  • CDC estimates that in hospitals where at least one infection has been identified, the risk of a patient getting an infection from the bacteria was between about 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000.


The Key: Evaluate Water and Air in Contact with the Heater/Cooler Units

NTM is caused by Mycobacterium chimaera – a slow growing NTM that is a member of the Mycobacterium avium complex, which is widespread in nature and can be found in soil and water, including drinking water sources. The contamination can spread through water and air. Heater-cooler devices include water tanks that provide temperature-controlled water to external heat exchangers or warming/cooling blankets through closed circuits.

Harris Environmental Management can help you establish safe operating procedures.

Our team of professionals is experienced in evaluating water and air for NTM microbial contamination and has created the sampling protocol used in some Ontario Hospitals. Our senior staff are experts in the field of microbiology and have specialized in issues concerning NTM.

Contact us for a free consultation to get a custom solution!

About T. Harris Environmental Management Inc.

We are a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health and safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

 

Mould Assessment – when do you need one?

Posted by in Uncategorized | August 12, 2016
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You probably know or at least have an idea about what mould looks like. When you see it in your home or work environments, you should be considering a mould assessment. Here is why:

It is true that mould naturally occurs in outdoor environments – many of us encounter it every day with little to no adverse effects on our health. So why is it such a big deal in our homes and indoor work environments? When mould occurs indoors things can drastically change. In addition to the often unpleasant sight and odour, mould and its airborne spores can accumulate in high concentrations. Then, they can pose a health risk when inhaled.

Start your journey to a safer environment – request a free consultation!

 

So, when do you contact a mould professional?

Avoid mould-related health concerns:

Sometimes people think they see or smell mould, but they are not sure. To avoid adverse health issues, a mould assessment can be an effective tool to confirm whether mould is present, where it is located and at what concentrations.

tissue-box-1420439There is a health issue which seems to be related to mould. Do you or your tenants frequently and persistently have itchy eyes, cough, sneeze, or get headaches? Healthcare practitioners may tell you it is a reaction to fungi spores. A mould assessment is a good way to confirm or dismiss the presence and extent the issue in your environment. Young children and elderly people are most susceptible to mold-related illnesses, but even healthy young adults can be affected.

Are you buying or selling real estate? Don’t forget to test your home!

A mould assessment will help avoid complications no matter which side of the deal you are on. Property buyers will avoid from spending thousands on combatting water damage and mould. Sellers will dodge delays in closing the sale and even later court disputes.

pexels-photo-106399Avoid damage to your home. Mould consumes the building materials and can cause structural damage. Your home inspector may be able to spot warning signs of mould. Even so, it is advisable to get an independent assessment from a certified mould professional since they have a complete understanding of the possible issue. This will help mitigate your risks and potential for future major expenses. An added benefit of a mould assessment is that it can also help discover leaks or other sources of water infiltration.

Do you and your tenant constantly argue over a mouldy or musty odour? The only way to control it is to find and remove its source! Air fresheners and household cleaning products may temporarily mask the smell but they will not get rid of it forever. A mould assessment can help put an end to the disputes. It will determine for certain whether or not a mould problem exists and to what degree. Plus, the smell can be a sign of bigger problems – which, if left unaddressed, can have you looking at more expensive solutions later. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

After an EHS-related fix:

water-ideas-2-1542012Have you noticed water staining or water damage? Or maybe you discovered hidden but persistent leaks?  In any case, when there is a history of leaks or other water damage, it helps to test for mould. It may exist in the air and/or hide behind walls and may cause problems later on – even when the water damage has been repaired!

Clearance inspection and testing after a mould remediation  is a good idea. It will help ensure that mould counts have returned to normal levels and do not pose any further health risk, rendering the issue resolved. You will be able to keep track and have proof of the clearance via documentation from independent licensed professionals.

About T. Harris Environmental Management:

T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leader in the environmental consulting industry since 1979. We are committed to providing the highest quality of service and support to our clients. Our experienced and professional staff is comprehensively trained and certified by several institutions, including the IICRC. They hold designations as Professional Engineers (P.Eng.), Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), Registered Occupational Hygienists (ROH) and Registered Occupational Hygiene Technologist (ROHT).
Having been in business for over 35 years, we are experienced with various types of buildings and we share your urgency, while remaining individually and corporately accountable for the results and delivery of our services.

Contact us for a free consultation!

 

Dangers of Lead in Water

Posted by in Uncategorized | July 29, 2016
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Canadians are exposed to lead through many sources, while non‑food items containing lead (such as dust, lead-based paint, soil) and drinking water remain among the top sources of exposure. Lead is a toxin that can affect the neurological system, including the brain.  Children under 6 years old and pregnant women are the most susceptible to lead.  It is important to ensure the safety of drinking water and building materials to protect them.

Many buildings in can carry an elevated lead content in drinking water due to a network of old piping systems. Recent studies found that up to 15 per cent of Toronto water has dangerously high levels of lead, and 5.4 per cent have lead levels double what’s considered safe. The city of Montreal has sent notices and pamphlets to 128,000 residences that might have lead pipes connecting their homes to the city’s water supply. This could mean that there is lead in the drinking water of some residences. Cities across the country are in the midst of multi-year processes to remove those pipes. Meanwhile, it is advisable to test your water for lead to ensure safety.

See these sources for more details:

Health Canada on lead:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/contaminants/lead-plomb/index-eng.php

CTV News about lead in pipes:
http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/montreal-homeowners-warned-about-possible-lead-in-drinking-water-1.2998444

Healthline for symptoms of lead poisoning:
http://www.healthline.com/health/lead-poisoning#Overview1

We are here to help you with cost-effective testing and affordable lead management solutions.

Request a free consultation or call for 1888 ASK THEM

THEM Now Offers Radon Testing

Posted by in Uncategorized | July 20, 2016
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For the past several years, there has been an increased concern about radon gas within occupied environments. T. Harris Environmental Management (THEM) is proud to offer a solution to further peace of mind to those who are concerned with the risk that this toxic gas poses. With professional radon testing and management consulting services, THEM is able to assess your home or workplace for potential radon exposure. Our C-NRPP certified professionals are able to provide both short and long-term testing, as requested.  THEM also provides Lunch-and-Learn sessions to educate and raise awareness about the hazards of radon and offer management solutions.

Radon has been frequently detected in Ontario homes. While outdoors this gas is diluted to lower concentrations, in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces, it can accumulate to high levels and pose a health threat. According to Health Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, accounting for 16 per cent of lung cancer cases. Even though studies are still ongoing, the risks posed by radon are already regarded as high.

homeRadon is EVERYWHERE!  It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which is produced during the decay of uranium in soil, rock or water.  Uranium is naturally found in the composition of all parts of our planet in at least trace amounts. Radon is invisible, odourless and tasteless and emits ionizing radiation. This gas can seep into the building through cracks in foundation walls and floors, or gaps around pipes and cables. Radon levels are generally highest in basements and crawl spaces because these areas are nearest to the source.

It is important to be diligent and assess your environment.  Contact T. Harris Environmental Management for a free consultation at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at info@tharris.ca

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About T. Harris Environmental Management:

Since 1979, T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) has been a leader in the environmental consulting industry. We continue to maintain our leadership role by providing the highest quality service and support to our clients. Our compliment of professional and highly trained technical staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial, institutional, and residential.