Monday, August 29, 2011

The Essence of Stone for World Peace!

Saturday Dallas and I were out on a job and I got to pondering. When we try to improve the essence of our surfaces- bad things can start to happen. Slate floors come to mind. Slate is a beautiful stone. We have 16 inch tiles throughout our home. There is no coating or finish, just beautiful stone. Each piece is a work of art. There is texture, color and personality. It moves with the light of the day. I never get tired of this natural art.

If you were to cover your stone-art up with a coating or finish, the essence of the stone would be hidden under a plastic cover. The color spectrum would be diminished, the textures would be hidden, its essence would be lost.
This plastic cover/coating will actually attract more dust than its natural counterpart.
This plastic cover/coating will get scratched, scuffed and may be damaged by a drip here or spill. This plastic cover/coating will at some point need to be removed.
While removing this plastic cover/coating strippers will need to be brought into your home. These strippers could also damage other parts of your home as they will also remove paint and varnishes.
These strippers may also be toxic.
The process to remove this plastic cover will also be pretty expense.

In covering up the essence of a beautiful stone, you gave yourself a headache and an extra expense. Stay with the essence of the stone. Before installation of your new surface, do your research. What are the characteristics and sensitivities of your surface choice? What are your most likely soils and what could be damaging in that location. (think moisture, tracked in sand, hard water deposits) What look do you want? Will the surface you picked need to be altered, changed or professionally maintained?

Practice an ounce of prevention and keep with the essence of your surface and home. You will be happier with your choice, your home will be healthier, your budget fuller. World peace will follow. OK, maybe that was pushing it but still it couldn't hurt!

As always, wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Denise Frakes Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services
Certified Healthy Home Specialist and Residue free Consultant

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sending out Labels and Thank you's

After 20 years of sending out newsletters, the time has come to print out labels. It is not that I'm against technology, I just think a hand addressed letter is more personal. Yes, I know I could hire someone to print my letters, I could also have my letters printed in a hand written style but the point is it isn't me saying thank you. It might be old fashioned but I personally don't like getting mass printed mail and I figure I'm not alone. Sadly, my right shoulder will no longer let me print so many address and for the first time I'm sending out a newsletter with a label.

As a compromise to myself and you, I am still hand writing the thank you on the back envelope. It might seem like a detail not worth mentioning but over these past 20 years I have learned the value in gratitude. Saying thank you is not just lip service, it is deeply rooting in both our success and happiness in business.

After, my first letters went out this week, I realized spending time on the "thank you" was extremely enjoyable. My hand didn't cramp and my shoulder doesn't ache but I got my thank you in anyway. Not in a hand written label but in a heart felt thank you.

And yes, I do realize this blog post was mushy and corny but if you know me, you probably aren't too surprised. I'm also seriously wanting to start a future e-newsletter. How I'm going to attach a personal thank you is still a question.

As always wishing you all a happy and healthy home!!
Thank you!
Denise Frakes
Co-Owner of Blue Sky Services and Healthy home Specialist

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No healthy level of lead in our blood

Last week, I attended an all day seminar for Children's Environmental Health Training. Lead was once again a huge topic. Last night, I got to thinking it was time I posted about lead exposure and your kids. Please read on for sources of lead exposure, the effects lead has on our families health and finally tips for an Ounce of Prevention.

When a child or anyone tests high for lead exposure, finding the source of the lead is critical.
Toxic levels can be created by volume x frequency. Sometimes the exposure can be small amounts of lead from multiple sources or one source with consistent exposure. You can also have a one time high level exposure.

Common Sources of lead:

Houses built before 1978 (paint, varnishes, window and door sills)
Soil (smelt plants and leaded gas residues)
Shooting ranges (shot-bullets)
Weights (golf, curtain, lifting, fishing sinkers)
Garden hoses (the insides switch to white drinking hoses or run water through before use)
Imported foods and spices (sometimes even US products)
Mini Blinds
Antique -painted furniture
Beverage containers

If you have a small child it is a good idea to get a blood lead level test. The ideal blood level would be zero ug/dl. There are no safe levels. The average level is 2ug/dl. A child's body is developing, this developmental time is a critical time to protect your child. Keeping a look out for exposure to lead is one of the best gifts you can give your child. "One out of every 40 American Children has too much lead in his or her body. The rate of lead poisoning is even higher in cities"

Blood lead levels of less than 10ug/dl can cause these health problems:

In children:
Decreased IQ
Increased Behavioral problems
Decreased learning ability
Decreased attention span
Decreased test scores
Decreased motor skills
"Damage can be irreversible, affecting children throughout their lives"

In adults:
High blood pressure
Physical fatigue
Hazardous to pregnant women - damages the baby

I hover between not wanting to instill fear and wanting to educate for a healthy family. In the case of lead, finding high lead blood levels and removing the sources is the side I landed on. An ounce of prevention is the best medicine.

An Ounce of Prevention Tips:

Wash hands after playing in the soil and before eating
Know when your home was built. Either have a certified renovator test or use the lead check kit from (follow instructions very carefully)
1978 or older: test for lead before doing any remodeling, changing windows or painting.
1978 or older: damp dust, vacuum with HEPA filtered vacuum
1978 or older: clean up any paint chips around windows and doors. Lead is sweet children may eat the sweet paint chips or suck on window sills
Install effective and large entry mats to every entrance to home and take off shoes
Install water filters
Test children for blood lead levels, Especially, when kids are crawling and on the ground a lot.

As always, wishing you a healthy home and family,
Denise Frakes
Certified Healthy Home Specialist and Renovator

Sources: Healthy home Essentials course, Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair and Painting and Children's Environmental Health Training