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The Terrible 12: Indoor Air Neurotoxins All Parents Need to Guard Against

number twelve


 Whether you are expecting, have welcomed a new baby to the house or are caring for growing kids, science has some bad news for parents.

Twelve airborne neurotoxins that can impair development, lower IQ and inhibit brain function have been identified, and apparently they are everywhere.

In one Harvard Medical School research paper, researchers estimated that exposure to just three of these neurotoxins is collectively responsible for a cumulative drop of 41 million IQ points in North American alone!

The 12 neurotoxins you are about to meet are now thought to be at least partially responsible for the exponential increase in developmental disorders ranging from ADHD to autism spectrum disorder.

In this post, we will tell you exactly what these 12 neurotoxins are, where they are most frequently encountered and how to take action to limit your children’s exposure – and your own.

Meet “The 12”: Potent Brain-Damaging Neurotoxins

These 12 neurotoxins are now also thought to be responsible for a number of brain-damaging health impacts in unborn infants, children and adults of all ages.

1. Manganese

Manganese is a trace mineral that is most frequently used to make soda cans and stainless steel. In an industrial setting, it reduces corrosion. In our bodies, it harms our brain.

2. Fluoride

Fluoride is a neurotoxin found in our water, toothpaste and many dental care products.

3. Chlorpyrifos

This potent insecticide is so toxic, its manufacturer was fined more than $700,000 by the EPA for causing 200+ poisoning incidents. Yet it is still being used all over the world today in ways that expose us through the foods we eat, the plants we grow, even the golf courses we visit.


DDT/DDE was once one of the most effective pesticides on the planet. Now it is banned but has become one of the most persistent neurotoxins polluting our planet.

5. Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) 

Perhaps the number one way you are exposed to PERC is through dry cleaning. Fabric finishers and many office supplies also contain this known neurotoxin.

6. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) 

Just some of the places you will find large concentrations of PBDEs include smart devices, television remotes, foam, fabrics and textiles, paints and adhesives.

7. Arsenic

Is there anyone today who doesn’t know arsenic is poison? Yet this naturally occurring element from the periodic chart is present in our drinking water (particularly well water), some foods (including rice), treated wood, pesticides, laser technology and metal alloys.

8. Lead

Lead may no longer be an ingredient in paint, children’s toys or gasoline (remember “leaded” versus “unleaded?”) but it is still very much present in our environment. All that lead leached into our soils and our water and is also a part of many older homes and commercial structures.

9. Mercury

The most common cause of mercury toxicity is twofold: dental amalgam fillings and eating mercury-poisoned seafood.

10. Toluene

Toluene is a common additive in vehicle fuels and is used for making plastic bottles – including the water bottles we drink from. Paints and adhesives often contain it as well.

11. Ethanol

From alcoholic beverages to ethanol-laced motor fuels, we can’t seem to get away from exposure to this neurotoxin.

12. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 

PCBs are fire-retardants that are often added to home insulation products and engine coolant.

How to Protect Your Family from “The Terrible 12”

Scientists and health experts offer tips to protect yourself and your family from further exposure to the neurotoxins you just learned about.

Taking active steps to protect yourself is especially vital if you are currently pregnant, are lactating or are trying to conceive.

Eat organic produce

Experts say that simply switching your diet to all organic produce can potentially reduce your exposure to some neurotoxins (especially present or past pesticides) by up to 90 percent.

Don’t use pesticides or insecticides

Even though many of the pesticide-related neurotoxins on this list are not in use at all or as much today, it is still vital to find alternatives for your lawn and garden, your home and garage and your workplace.

Choose your home furnishings with care

Many home furnishings, including treated wood, carpet, upholstery, window treatments, mattresses and also DIY craft and home repair paints, glues and adhesives contain these and other toxic ingredients.

Have your indoor air quality tested

In just 72 hours, our silent, simple indoor air quality test will deliver the information you need to know about exactly what is polluting your indoor air and what to do about it.

Invest in indoor air duct cleaning

Air duct cleaning uses negative pressure with a vacuum seal to pull every bit of toxic matter out of your indoor air ducts, whether it be liquid, gaseous or solid.

At the end of the service, your newly sanitized air ducts will be ready to deliver your newly purified indoor air.

Install a heat recovery ventilator

Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) is so important for indoor air quality today that Ontario recently mandated HRVs be included in all new Toronto-area construction.

An HRV will ensure that the stale, toxic, humid air inside your space is consistently pushed outdoors, to be replaced with fresh, pure, oxygenated air.

Add an ultraviolet air purifier and a HEPA filter

Together, there is little in the way of air quality goals that a UV air purifier and a HEPA air filtration system cannot accomplish.

UV air purifiers work on liquid and gaseous matter while HEPA systems work on particulates as small as 1/100th of a single human hair.

Portable and whole-home units are available.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned about neurotoxins in your home or workplace? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.

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The Awesome Anti-Aging Impact of Improved Indoor Air Quality

aged skin

No one wants to get old. Or, at least, no one wants to look old, which is now much more likely to happen as we live longer. Anti-aging happens to be a big industry. 

Yet far too many of us invite (or at least tolerate) exactly the kinds of environmental toxins that are known to age us prematurely.

Is there a remedy? Is there really any hope of looking younger (and staying that way) without having to go under the knife or slather on creams or drink potions that promise youthfulness?

The new science of indoor air quality says YES, there is an alternative. And it is an alternative that will not only slow down the clock on the aging process but will also help you and every member of your family feel better, too!

In this post, learn about the proven, research-supported anti-aging impact of improving your indoor air quality.

First, Eliminate the Airborne Killers

First things first: there are some airborne toxins, whether liquid, gaseous or particulate (solid), that are so toxic they can kill you.

While this neatly eradicates concerns about anti-aging, it is also deeply undesirable for reasons too obvious to mention.

Such silent killers include carbon monoxide, radon, byproducts from burning fossil fuels, agricultural pesticides and ammonia off-gassing and many more.

Airborne Toxins Settle On Your Skin

It can feel easy enough to trust that when you go to wash your face in the morning and at night, any toxins that were on your skin just get washed away.

Unfortunately, medical science shows that these toxins re-accumulate readily because they are circulating in our air both indoors and outdoors.

Airborne particulate matter – small solid airborne particles – are some of the worst offenders for early skin aging.

With ongoing unchecked exposure, researchers have verified that today's adults are likely to endure a 20 percent increase in age spots, premature wrinkling and skin sagging on areas of the skin that are chronically exposed to outdoor air and ultraviolet light.

Other pollution-related skin damage comes in the form of chronic redness and inflammation, rosacea, uneven skin tone, acne-like breakouts even late in life, loose skin, hives and skin cancer.

But Don’t These Toxins Just Stay Outside?

We sure wish they did! But the days when you can just go inside and shut the door and feel safe from airborne toxins have long since disappeared.

In one recent research study, scientists discovered potent concentrations of toxic particulate matter and gaseous toxins like nitrogen dioxide inside the homes of study participants.

One surprising source of such indoor air toxins is cooking! In the study, researchers discovered that cooking with fossil fuels is directly correlated with increased signs of skin aging.

Another not-so-surprising source of airborne skin-aging toxins is tobacco use. Smoking and vaping are two of the most common causes of chronic, long-term exposure to polluted indoor air. Here, the impact to skin is equally severe for both tobacco users and non-users who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Where Do You Spend Most of Your Daily Time?

In the days before most homes had air conditioning and the internet was still just a gleam in the technology industry’s eye, people used to spend a lot more time outdoors.

But today, the average Canadian reports spending 90 percent of their time inside (which for some means as little as five minutes a day outdoors).

It stands to reason, then, that if outdoor air pollution were the major cause of premature skin aging, we wouldn’t really need all the skin creams and lotions and potions that promise to turn back the clock.

But from burning candles to chemical-laden cleaning sprays and perfumes, formaldehyde-laced fabrics and manufactured woods, pesticides and home renovation adhesives, we can’t seem to go anywhere or do anything inside anymore without exposure to airborne toxins.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find a list of ingredients for your favorite perfumes? The label is mysteriously silent on the topic of just how the manufacturer managed to replicate natural fragrances such as gardenia or rose - without using any elements of either.

Some fragrances and scents may contain 100 to 300 or more ingredients – most of them unpronounceable chemicals. Many we spritz or roll directly onto our skin daily in the form of deodorants, body lotions, cologne, lipstick or hairspray, not giving any of it a second thought.

Long story short, every spritz, every roll, every squeeze sends more chemicals out into our indoor air and also onto our rapidly aging skin.

Look Younger, Feel Better, Stay Safer By Cleaning Up Your Indoor Air

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, business was more than a little slow when we first opened our doors a few decades ago.

Today, we stay very busy! From parents concerned about the children’s chronic bronchitis to employers eager to lower health insurance payouts, our phone rings daily with inquiries about the best and most effective ways to purify indoor air.

These are the steps we recommend:

  1. Start by scheduling a professional indoor air duct cleaning. Get all those toxins out and hit the reset button on your entire indoor air quality situation.

  2. Conduct a simple indoor air quality. In a single 72-hour period, get a full-color, multi-page printout of every toxin in your space.

  3. Install a heat recovery ventilator. Ensure fresh, clean, oxygenated air is always flowing in and humid, stale, stinky, toxic air is being pushed out.

  4. Purify with an ultraviolet air purifier. Whole-home and portable units exist to neutralize gaseous and liquid toxins so they can do no harm.

  5. Filter with a HEPA-grade filtration system. Whole-home and portable units exist to filter out toxins as small as 1/100th of a single human hair.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.  

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Does Your Dryer Vent Really Need to Be Cleaned? Find Out Why the Answer Is Yes

dryer vent

How long have you had your clothes dryer? Has the interior ever been cleaned?

If you are like most homeowners today, your answer is likely either "no" or "I don't know."

This is totally normal – after all, it’s not as if we’ve had a massive public education campaign on the dangers of a neglected dryer.

Yet there are risks, and not insignificant ones. The most significant risk is the danger of a home fire, a tragic event that happens every year to homeowners who either did not know their dryer needed cleaning or simply left that chore until far too late.

In this post, learn why your dryer vent really does need to be professionally cleaned.

Also learn how often this cleaning should take place, what happens during a dryer vent cleaning, how to tell when your dryer needs to be cleaned and more.

Why Schedule a Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Dryer vent cleaning definitely isn’t one of our most popular service offerings, and yet it should be, because the clothes dryer is one of those appliances that works far harder for you than its maintenance record typically indicates.

A professional dryer vent cleaning is serious business because there can be some very serious dangers hiding in your dryer’s innermost workings.

After more than a few decades visiting dryers in Ontario, we can state with confidence that we find some pretty strange things inside the vents – everything from that missing sock to bird nests to insects to mounds of built-up dust and debris.

It is this dust and debris that is most concerning from the vantage point of a home fire risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), just over 15,000 home fires occur in North American annually.

A full one-third of these, 5,000 home fires, can be directly linked to clogged dryer vents.

Of these, there are nine fatalities, 420 injuries and a whopping $222 million in home damage claims that can be directly linked to home fires arising from clogged dryer vents. These are serious statistics indeed – no one should have to lose their life because of lint trapped in a dryer vent!

But My Clothes Dryer Has a Blocked Vent Detector!

If you have one of the newer generation of clothes dryers, your dryer probably has some kind of sensor system designed to detect when the lint trap gets full enough to be blocked.

Unfortunately, according to Consumer Reports, most of these sensors simply are not sensitive enough to alert you before you are seriously at risk of all that trapped lint igniting.

In other words, by the time your sensor alert goes off, your dryer is completely clogged up with lint and could ignite at any moment if temperatures get hot enough.

What Is a Dryer Vent Cleaning?

If you have ever had your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned, you are already familiar with the equipment used to clean a clothes dryer.

The professional-grade vacuum equipment uses negative pressure to safely remove all trapped lint, dust, debris and toxic material so it does not escape into your indoor air.

Then the rotating brush literally scrubs the inside of your dryer ventilation system so you essentially have a brand-new dryer at the end of the service.

How Long Does a Dryer Vent Cleaning Take?

On average, it takes about a half-hour to professionally clean and sanitize a clothes dryer ventilation system.

However, for larger commercial or industrial systems or for clothes dryers with extra-long ventilation pipes, it may take up to two hours.

How Often Should You Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned?

Your usage patterns will in part dictate how frequently you should have your dryer ventilation system cleaned.

At a minimum for the purposes of home fire safety, Consumer Reports recommends scheduling a professional dryer vent cleaning at least once annually.

How Can You Tell When Your Dryer Vent Needs to be Cleaned?

There are some warning signs to look for that indicate it is time to schedule your next dryer vent cleaning service.

  • Your dryer is taking longer to dry the same amount of laundry.

  • Your clothes and/or the exterior of the clothes dryer feels very hot to the touch after a cycle.

  • The temperature in the laundry room gets noticeably warmer after a dry cycle.

  • When you walk around the back to check the exhaust vent, you can’t feel any air coming out or it only comes out in fits and spurts.

  • You collect mountains of lint from the lint trap even after drying a smallish load of clothes.

  • Your clothes are still damp or smell musty after a dry cycle.

  • You smell burning while your clothes dryer is in operation.

  • You have trouble opening the dryer vent hood flap (the vent flap to the exterior of your home).

  • Lint begins to collect around your clothes dryer, its hoses and connection points.

If any or all of these warning signs are present, you are overdue for a professional dryer vent cleaning service!

How to Choose a Dryer Vent Cleaning Service

One of the most important things to look for in any professional dryer vent cleaning service is certification through NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association). This non-profit organization governs standards and best practices for the industry as a whole and provides voluntary certification programs to its members.

We are proud to say that Clean Air Solutions Hamilton is a NADCA-certified provider of professional dryer vent cleaning and professional indoor air duct cleaning services.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned your clothes dryer may be a home safety risk? Schedule a free no-obligation quote to put your mind at ease!

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.

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