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I’ve lived in California for over 30 years. For most of that time I never really thought about wildfires. Their destructive flames seemed only possible in the movies. That has changed, not just for me, but for most of California, who have become brutally aware of the very real threat wildfire poses. While the fire

Fire Proof Building

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 by
Protecting Home from Fire - Eaves Detail

Fire Proof Building For the past few summers I’ve been somewhat caught off guard by how vulnerable I have felt when dry winds are blowing and smoke fills the sky. I remember very clearly being on the roof, with a mask on, cleaning out the gutters and small piles of leaves. As an industrial hygienist

Lead Dust Testing Outside?

Monday, 08 April 2019 by
Lead Testing using XRF Gun

Dust Settling on Outside Patio or Furniture? I was sitting on my porch in San Francisco watching kids play on the wooden deck and started to wonder, “is the dust on my porch contaminated with lead dust? If so, how best to clean it up?” So I did a little experiment and tested for lead

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Clean Crawlspaces and Basements are Good for Health

Is Clean Crawlspace Really That Important? Crawlspaces are generally not what anyone would consider “clean.” When was the last time you went into a crawlspace? It’s typically a dark, dank environment where critters and odors run scare away even the most brave DIY building owners! Often old construction materials and cardboard boxes are crammed down

Air Quality Index (AQI) and You!

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 by

Air Quality Index (AQI) and You During the 2018 Paradise Fire smoke wave, many in the Bay Area obsessively checked online for air quality information and updates. Here is an overview of a handful of real-time air quality websites I found helpful and how they compare. Keep in mind that climate change plus newer and cheaper

Air flow of fan filter on intake side. Wildfire smoke and air quality

DIY Box Fan Filter & Air Quality Experiment Here in San Francisco and surrounding areas kids are stuck indoors during this smoke wave caused by our wild fires with little or no air filtration. In San Francisco the school buildings are older and are not setup to have building wide air filtration. Nor can cash-strapped

Wildfire Smoke

Bay Area Wildfire Smoke and Indoor Air Quality I am writing this on November 13, 2018.  For the past week the state of California has been cloaked in thick, noxious smoke from the wildfires burning out of control.  Northern California is mostly affected by the Camp Fire near Chico, CA and Southern California by the

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How to Clean Up a Weed Grow Operation

With the legalization of marijuana, some black-market growers are abandoning their illegal cannabis grow operations. Grow ops, often set up in rented properties, can leave a mess for landlords to clean up. Many of these properties are also put up for sale and then become the responsibility of the homebuyer. Identifying a grow-op is often

5 Interesting Things About EMF (Electromagnetic Fields): There are actually 5 different types of “EMF” that are commonly tested in buildings: low frequency magnetic fields low frequency electric fields “dirty electricity” or “high-voltage transients” or “electrical noise” radio frequency (RF) radiation alpha, beta and gamma ionizing radiation Each of the above types of radiation originates

6 Tips for Water Quality and Water Testing: Source matters! One of the most important variables in water quality is the source. Does the water come from an open water source like a lake or reservoir? Is it treated and delivered to a site via the municipal or county water service? Or is it a

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