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Health

Refer RTK to a Friend or Colleague, Get a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

We get a lot of referrals from past clients, and we are truly grateful for your continued support. To show our appreciation for spreading the word about RTK and our services, we would like to thank you with a $25 Amazon gift card for each referral you give that books and completes a job with us. All they have to do is mention your name, and we’ll send you a gift card.

The best part? There’s no limit! So help your friends, family, and co-workers make sure their home and work environments are safe and healthy, and enjoy a shopping spree on us. Live well!

Thank you giftAmazon $25 Referral Gift Card Rules:

  • Offer valid for each referral you give that completes an environmental testing service with RTK.
  • Referral must mention referrers name when booking the job.
  • Offer ends December 31, 2017.
  • RTK reserves the right to disqualify anyone who does not comply with the rules of this promotion.
  • Gift card may not be redeemed or exchanged for cash.
  • Terms and conditions apply to use of gift cards. See card for details.
  • Amazon.com is not affiliated with or a sponsor of this promotion.
Categories
Health Healthy Home Lead

The Scary Statistic Every Connecticut Parent Should Know

A recent article in The Connecticut Post should serve as a wake-up call for Connecticut residents. Although the federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in residential properties in 1978, nearly three-quarters of Connecticut’s housing stock was built before 1980 according to the article, “Lead-based paint common in state’s older housing stock.” In other words, about 3 out of 4 residences in the state could contain dangerous lead paint.

Lead-based paint was used on many Connecticut homes because it was prized for its glossy color and durability,” Mark Pruner of Douglas Elliman’s Greenwich office told the newspaper. “A lot of our older, nicer homes have it ‑- it’s not uncommon to find homes here with it,” he said.

lead dust“The reality is that we live in an area that has a lot of older homes, and many contain lead paint,” says Robert Weitz, a principal with the environmental testing firm RTK Environment Group in Stamford, Connecticut. The dust generated by lead paint can cause lead poisoning, which can affect the central nervous system and lead to physical and mental impairment. It is particularly harmful to children, women who are pregnant, the elderly, and pets, Weitz notes.

Homeowners who sell a home will have to attest whether or not they know there is lead paint in the home, or if they have no knowledge of it. “You can’t sell a home without that disclosure if the home was built before 1978,” Cynthia Hughes of Coldwell Banker in Danbury explained in the article.

But the disclosure means only that the seller does not know if there is lead paint in the house; it does not offer assurance that no lead paint is present, according to Weitz. “The only way a home buyer can really know if lead paint exists or not is to test for it,” he says.

environmental home inspectionWeitz advises home buyers to hire an independent environmental inspector to test the home for the presence of lead paint as well as other environmental hazards such as mold and radon. “An engineering inspector generally has neither the equipment or expertise to detect these toxic substances,” Weitz explains.

Homeowners who want to do work on their homes should know that repairs, renovations, and painting can release lead dust from paint buried underneath layers of newer paint, Weitz says. For that reason, the Environmental Protection Agency launched its RRP Program (Renovation, Repair and Painting) in 2011 to train contractors to work safely around lead paint. RTK Environmental Group was one of the first firms certified to train contractors in lead-safe work practices.

Many Connecticut municipalities requires contractors to be RRP-certified prior to permitting renovations, Weitz notes. He advises homeowners to hire an environmental testing firm independent of the contractor to test for lead in the home to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

“It can be in a contractor’s interest to ‘overlook’ the presence of lead paint because it would make renovation easier,” Weitz says. “There’s no way a homeowner can know without hiring an independent testing firm.”

Connecticut’s old homes give the state much of its charm. Rely on independent testing firms such as RTK to give you their assurance that these homes are safe to live in.

Categories
Health Healthy Home Indoor Air Quality & Radon Video

(Video) Is Your Indoor Air Polluted? Probably.

With a new baby on the way, a homeowner contacted ABC’s Good Morning America to test the indoor air in the baby’s nursery. The homeowner and reporter were both shocked when they learned the results of the indoor air quality test. Take a look:

Many common household items contain harmful volatile organic compounds–more commonly referred to as “VOCs”–that are harmful to your health.

We’ve shared a list of common household items that can produce VOCs, causing unhealthy indoor air pollution. Find it here.

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, so it’s a good idea to learn how and when to test your home. Read about specific kinds of products responsible for omitting VOCs here.

Resources:

How Safe is the Air Inside Your Home?

VOC Resource Guide

When to Test Your Home for VOCs?

VOC Testing for Commercial and Office Buildings

Categories
Health Indoor Air Quality & Radon Mold

Still sneezing from allergies during the winter? This could be why…

Still sneezing from allergies during the winter? This could be why…

It’s almost December, and many of us are still suffering from winter allergies, even though we may thing it’s a cold of the flu. From mold to dust to indoor air quality, we are living in a new era of allergens. Interestingly, millenials and younger individuals suffer even more with allergy issues.

A recent article, “Why your allergies aren’t going away in the winter,” written by David Matthau, New Jersey 101.5’s lead investigative reporter, sheds some light on why this is, and what we can do about it.

If you think your home or office may be the cause of your symptoms, have it tested for mold and indoor air quality by an independent testing company to get to the bottom of your issue – before you get to the bottom of your tissue box!

Categories
Health Healthy Home

6 Healthy Home Improvement Tips That Can Save You Money

 

Winter is gone, and we are ready to get our yards and homes back into springtime shape. But before you begin, find out about these 6 things that are often overlooked, and can lead to major damage to your home, costly repairs, and serious health issues. From DIY crafts to gardening to home repairs, following these tips can help to ensure your home or business is a safe and healthy environment. Be sure to add these important items to your to-do list!

1. MAKE SURE YOUR WATER IS SAFE.

Every day, we use our tap water to brush our teeth, bathe, wash clothes and dishes, water our vegetable gardens, and more. If your water contains lead, bacteria, pesticides, or other toxins, your health is at risk. A comprehensive water test will make sure that your water is not harming your family.

lead in waterWell Water

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends that you check your well every spring to make sure there are no mechanical problems, and have it tested once each year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. Every few years you should test for additional contaminants.

Municipal Water

If you get your water from a municipality, take the time to read the quality report on water, which must be published annually. Unfortunately, even if the report is excellent, that does not mean your pipes or fixtures are free from harmful lead or bacteria. The only way to know for sure is to have a licensed professional test water from each faucet in your home. There may be a problem in one faucet, and not the rest. Read more.

2. HAD A PIPE BREAK? TEST FOR MOLD.

pipe break moldIt seems like everyone had a frozen pipe this winter, and unfortunately, many burst. Plumbers and contractors were so busy that many people had to wait for days before the problem was addressed. If you were not able to dry out the area within 24-48 hours, you may have a mold problem that may have gone unnoticed. But as the temperature rises, the wet drywall and insulation behind your walls and ceilings could start growing mold. If you had a pipe break this winter, now is the time to test for mold to avoid a full-blown mold infestation and ensuing costly remediation. Find out more.

3. PLANTING A GARDEN? START WITH SAFE SOIL.

Test Your Soil for ToxinsNow that the weather is warmer, the garden beckons. Thoughts of luscious vegetables and gorgeous flowers make us eager to plant. But before you start turning over the garden, get your soil tested. The soil around your house may contain a variety of contaminants, including lead, pesticides, and heavy metals, which can grow into your vegetables and give you a toxic crop. Don’t waste money by planting in poisons. If your soil is contaminated or not ideal, there are simple ways to improve the quality, like planting a raised bed garden, planting in pots filled with organic soil, or replacing the topsoil. The most important thing is the health and safety of your family and pets. Click here for more information.

4. SPRING ALLERGIES OR MOLD?

Causes of allergiesWhen the flowers bloom and we start sneezing, we assume pollen is to blame. But if you are having problems with allergies or asthma, and medication doesn’t seem to clear it up, have your home tested by an independent professional to see if mold may be the culprit. Another sign that it may be mold: You notice that your allergies are more severe in your home or work environment than anywhere else. If that’s the case, there may be mold in that location. Mold can also grow in air conditioners, washing machines, HVAC units, and humidifiers, so keep your eye out for dark spots and musty odors, and make sure to regularly clean and maintain your appliances. Learn to tell the difference.

 5. STARTING A RENOVATION? KNOW WHAT MATERIALS YOU ARE DISTURBING.

renovation asbestos leadBefore you start swinging the hammer or sanding the paint off the deck, find out what materials you will disturb. If you live in a home built before 1978, you may be releasing toxic lead paint dust or asbestos fibers, which can cause brain damage, cancer, and other serious illnesses. RTK can help you assess potential risks before you renovate, so you don’t contaminate your entire home, property, and even neighborhood, which could lead to a costly cleanup. If a problem exists, we will devise a plan so that you can renovate safely and avoid serious health hazards for you and your family. Learn more.

 6. BREATHE IN CLEAN & HEALTHY AIR.

Toxins in adhesivesHeadaches? Nauseous? Tired for no reason? You are not alone. If you’ve been feeling sick without explanation or without a known cause, you may have an indoor air quality issue caused by everyday items that release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the environment. VOCs are toxic vapors that are off-gassed from everyday items in your home or workplace, including carpeting, candles, DIY craft supplies, bedding and pillows, photocopiers and printers, and more. If you think your air may be causing your symptoms, have an indoor air quality test to determine if you have high levels of VOCs, and pinpoint where they are coming from. Find out what common items in your home may be polluting your air.

If you have question or would like to schedule a test, please call us at (800) 392-6468. We’re happy to help!

Categories
Health Mold

When Mold Allergies Attack

Did you know that mold allergies peak in July and August? If you are still suffering from allergy symptoms, it may not be pollen – it could be mold. To find out if your suffering is caused by indoor mold, start with an indoor air quality test. This can determine if there are elevated mold spores in your home or business, and if further testing for mold needs to be done to pinpoint its whereabouts. For more information, check out this info-graphic and read about Mold Allergy Symptoms.

Allergic to mold

Categories
Gardening Health Mold

5 Most Overlooked Home Improvement Tips to Save Money

5 Most Overlooked Home Improvement Tips to Save Money

Spring has finally arrived, and we are eager to get our homes and yards back in shape. But these 5 things are often overlooked, and can lead to major damage to your home, costly repairs, and serious health issues. From renovations to organic gardening, following these tips can help to ensure your home or business is a safe and healthy environment. Be sure to add these important items to your to-do list!

1. HAD AN ICE DAM LEAK? TEST FOR MOLD. 

IMG_0598It seems like everyone had a drip, leak, or flooding this winter from ice and snow on the roof. Towels and buckets were a fine temporary fix, but as the temperature rises, the wet drywall and insulation behind your walls and ceilings could start growing mold. If you had a water intrusion this winter, now is the time to test for mold to avoid a full-blown mold infestation. Check out this video to see how much damage a tiny water leak can do.

 

 

2. DON’T GET HOSED! WATCH FOR BURST OUTDOOR PIPES.

water leak garageWhen turning on your outdoor faucets, be sure to watch carefully for water leakage along the wall and floor. Pipes may have frozen and burst over the winter, and you may not know until you turn the water back on. So stay alert, and be prepared to shut off your main water supply quickly!

 

 

3. PLANTING A GARDEN? TEST YOUR SOIL.

Organic GardenNow that the weather is warmer, the garden beckons. Thoughts of luscious vegetables and gorgeous flowers make us eager to plant. But before you start turning over the garden, get your soil tested. The soil around your house may be hosting a variety of contaminants, including lead, pesticides, and heavy metals. And the impact on your family’s health from these unseen dangers may be great. Toxins and tomatoes don’t mix.

 

4. SPRING ALLERGIES OR MOLD PROBLEM?

mold inspection dcWhen the flowers bloom and we start sneezing, we assume pollen is to blame. But if you are having problems with allergies, and medication doesn’t seem to clear it up, have your home tested by an independent professional to see if mold may be the culprit. Another sign that it may be mold: You notice that your allergies are more severe in your home or work environment than anywhere else. If that’s the case, there may be mold in that location.

 

5. STARTING A RENOVATION? KNOW WHAT MATERIALS YOU ARE DISTURBING.

renovation asbestos leadBefore you start swinging the hammer or sanding the paint off the deck, find out what materials you will disturb. If you live in a home built before 1978, you may be releasing toxic lead paint dust or asbestos fibers, which can cause brain damage, cancer, and other serious illnesses. RTK can help you assess potential risks before you renovate, so you don’t contaminate your entire home, property, and even neighborhood. If a problem exists, we will devise a plan so that you can renovate safely and avoid serious health hazards for you and your family.

Categories
Health Mold

The truth about allergies – it may not be pollen, but mold!

You are sneezing, your eyes are watering, your nose is running, and your throat tickles. It must be pollen, right? Not necessarily. It does get a lot of the blame, but mold may be your problem. Seen and unseen, mold may be playing a bigger role in your allergy suffering than you realize. Here’s some expert “Weitz Advice” on mold allergies.

Robert Weitz, CMI and founder of RTK Environmental Group, offered these tips to Expert Beacon on reducing and treating mold allergies.

seasonal allergiesDO:

  • know the different between mold allergies and season allergies
  • know that there is a direct connection between mold and asthma
  • take the following steps to reduce household mold
  • realize that mold in schools and work environments could also be affecting your allergies
  • learn how to manage mold allergy symptoms

DON’T:

  • allergy sufferingassume your allergies are from pollen
  • forget that outdoor allergies shouldn’t bother you indoors
  • rule out black mold or toxic mold exposure
  • forget to check your air conditioning units and HVAC systems for mold
  • expect that medication alone will help your allergies

 

Categories
Health Indoor Air Quality & Radon Mold

Ah-choo! Is It the Cherry Blossoms or Hidden Mold?

mold testing washingtonAh-choo! Is It the Cherry Blossoms or Hidden Mold?

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC has ended, but our allergies are just beginning. What’s making you sneeze and your eyes water, nose run, throat tickle? Pollen is the usual culprit, and gets much of the blame. But mold, seen and unseen, may be playing a bigger role in your springtime suffering than you realize.

Most people assume that their symptoms are caused by pollen and ragweed, so they diligently close windows and turn up the air conditioning. You may be so focused on the allergens outdoors, however, that you could be missing equally troublesome irritants, like mold and mildew, inside.

mold testing marylandStudies by the Environmental Protection Agency, among others, indicate that indoor air pollution is at least twice as high as outdoor air pollution. As indoor ventilation tends to be limited, allergens like mold can wreak havoc. If you are taking allergy medication and keeping your windows closed, yet are still suffering from symptoms generally caused by allergens, you should consider having your home tested for mold and indoor air quality. You also should take the following steps to reduce household mold:

  • Remove organic debris from your gutters and yard – especially if it is spring clean allergydecomposing. Dead branches and leaves are prime growth spots for mold.
  • Clean bathrooms, and especially bathtub and shower areas, windowsills and shower curtains with a bleach or disinfectant mixture at least once a month to prevent mold growth.
  • Use an exhaust fan in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to vent excess moisture. Also, make sure the exhaust fan is cleaned every 3 months.
  • Use a dehumidifier – especially in damp areas of your home. Keep the mold testing virginiadehumidifier set at 50% humidity. Any more than that will encourage mold growth.
  • Try to keep your home dry and ventilated.
  • Keep your basement carpet-free to avoid moisture build up and mold growth.
  • Regularly check under sinks for leaks. Mold can grow quickly where there’s moisture.
  • Don’t put wet shoes or damp clothing in your closets. Let them dry fully first to avoid mold growth.

mold or pollenIf you are having problems with allergies and medication doesn’t seem to be clearing it up, have your home tested by an independent professional, like RTK, to see if mold may be the culprit. Once the source of mold is pinpointed, the professional can help you devise a remediation plan. It is important that the testing company does not also do remediation because of the inherent conflict of interest. In such a case, you may be setting yourself up for inflated bills and unnecessary repairs. For more about hidden allergy triggers, read this article from WebMD.

Categories
Health Healthy Home Soil and Water Video

News 12 CT Report on Widespread Well Water Contamination

 

News 12 Connecticut says Stamford health officials are urging homeowners to test their well water for uranium, and speaks with RTK Environmental Group about testing, health affects, and solutions. Uranium was recently discovered in 70% of water wells tested in Stamford, CT. Contaminated well water is a growing problem all over Connecticut: approximately 20% of private wells are contaminated with toxins including uranium, arsenic, radon, carcinogenic pesticides, and heavy metals like lead. To be safe, you should test for all of these things. A basic well-water test does not usually include uranium.

Stamford health officials say it is dangerous to consume high levels of uranium long term because it is radioactive and can cause kidney damage and cancer.

They say since they issued the uranium warning, more homeowners are calling them or hiring private companies to test their water. To have your well tested by an independent testing company, call RTK at (800) 392-6468 or click here.