Safe? Striking out dust on the ball field

We’re in the thick of baseball season. Parents are spending all their “free” weekend time at the ballfield, or carting their kids and their friends off to the next ballfield. It’s one of the traditions Americans have come to love as spring turns to summer and the sun shines down upon the diamond in all its glory.

While you’re sitting there in the stands cheering your excitable player on, have you ever wondered why they’re outfitted for a facemask to protect them from the ball but not a facemask (respirator) that protects them dust that gets kicked up with every fleeting step?

That may seem like a joke, but be assured, we’re not joking at all…

Fact is, the soil on the ballfield and the dust it emits can be likened to the dust that floats around on a construction site. Guess what they’re wearing? Yep. Masks.

“What?!”

It’s true.

That dust little Bobby is breathing into his lungs after sliding into second base is full of crystalline silica. And while Bobby stole the base safely, that kicked up dust is unsafe and sneakily stealing Bobby’s health one microbe at a time.

What is Crystalline silica?

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.

Further: Pm2.5 and pm10 sized crystalline silica particles lodge deep into lung tissue and stay embedded in your lungs for your entire life… Those numbers may not mean anything to you. In short, they’re quite smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Basically microscopic. When kicked up on the field, these particles can remain airborne for a solid 24-hours.

 

Don’t just take our word for it.

This is a studied matter. In fact, major organizations that have confirmed the warning of hazardous crystalline silica dangers include:

 

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • American Lung Association (ALA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

 

So, if it’s known, why isn’t being addressed?

In short. Change is hard. It takes an investment – of money, and time. That said, isn’t your child’s health reason enough to ask the organization your affiliated with some questions? It’s not an easy subject. By-and-large, dust is ignored and “just there.” That said, remember in the 60s and 70s when you could smoke on a plane? Or up until even more recently, in a restaurant? Remember when asbestos and lead paint were used in ALL the houses constructed across the country at that time?

 

Here’s the skinny:

The dust and health deterring particles your young player inhales can be easily prevented. In fact, it’s 100% preventable.

A common way some groundcrews keep dust at bay is by watering the soil of the diamond (STRIKE one). The problem is, watering only lasts so long before the sun dries it out – oftentimes before a game culminates, thus knocking us right back to square one (STRIKE two). The flipside of that coin is that, if you use too much water, you’re bound to start creating mud, which will inevitably lead to tracking, clumping, caking, and other issues that can spread throughout the ballpark (STRIKE three).

Enter Global Environmental Solutions. We’ve spent a great deal of time creating better, smarter, and safer ballfields for our kids, friends, and families across the nation. How do we do it? That would come in the form of our Dustless® product, which we rolled out back in 2002. Dustless® is a long lasting non-toxic, non-hazardous liquid that absorbs into particles and prevents them from becoming airborne. Sun does not dry it out and rain cannot wash it from the dirt. The only reason Dustless® needs to be re­applied is if it is covered over with new material or buried deep by due to the tilling of the terrain. The lifespan of Dustless® can last as long as several seasons with a single application depending on environmental variables (of which, we be quite happy to discuss).

 

What have we learned?

Dust is not just dust. As it applies to the baseball diamond, dust is a real health hazard that is preventable if we choose to recognize it for what it really is. It’s not up to the players to control it, it’s up to the towns, leagues, parents, coaches and umpires to protect the players and ensure the fields are free from hazards before, during, and after play. It’s not hard to get control, and it’s even easier to keep control once you’ve established it. Baseball and all it represents is supposed to be fun. It’s “America’s favorite pastime.” Let’s keep on enjoying its rich tradition, and expand upon the safety of our baseball facilities. Together we can create lasting memories while bringing safer facilities to fruition. We can achieve this. All it takes is a single swing and we can knock it out of the park. Give GES a shout today, and take us out to the ballgame. We’ll root for the home team and quickly get to the root of dusty field conditions…

Dealing with Construction Caused Dust Properly

As we enter the warmer months the sight (and sound!) of construction vehicles will reach its annual peak. Construction projects are in abundance – around the house, around the office, around town, and on roads and pathways connecting all of the above…

So what does this have to do with Global Environmental Solutions?

Everything really.

With construction – regardless of what type – comes disturbance of the soil and the environmental issues that this creates. With that disturbance comes the inevitability of dust. This dust creates major issues because it not only affects the ecosystem, but is a major health hazard to those working the construction site and to those people residing in the surrounding area as well. The workers are, for all intents and purposes, at “ground zero” when it comes to dust and the risks that airborne particulate matter poses.

For environmentalists and health agencies this dust is measured as PM10 and PM2.5 which means particulate matter 10 microns and 2.5 microns respectively.   To provide ideas as to the danger PM10 is small enough that when it enters the lungs it does not leave (it can’t be exhaled or coughed up so it is accumulative). PM2.5 is so small that it can pass through cell walls wreaking havoc throughout the body of all airbreathing creatures including humans!

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.

PM10 & PM2.5 compared to a human hair and a particle of beach sand:

GES Products protect your site’s soil from dust, sediment, erosion, etc

There’s no shortage of studies that outline the dangers of dust pertaining to construction sites. Uncontrolled airborne particles can cause:

  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Silicosis
  • Non-asbestos related cancers
  • Death

That last one is extreme (obviously,) but, that said (and sad to say), it’s true.

The very nature of construction activity is the impetus behind the production of potentially harmful dust. Processes such as sanding, sweeping, hammering, mining, blasting, traffic, transport, and actions of the like are cause for putting many a particle into the air.

How do we combat construction site dust emissions?

Many construction companies combat dust in the air by bringing in a water truck to keep the soil and mineral aggregate “at bay” during the times of laborious activity. The thinking here is to water down the soil which in turn will work to reduce the amount of dust entering the atmosphere. This isn’t untrue, but it’s not a particularly sound practice. Water dries out. In the warmer months, this happens quickly. Thus, water needs to be continuously reapplied which can be costly from myriad vantage points.

The better solution is contracting unique construction site needs to Global Environmental Solutions and our DirtGlue® line of soil treatment products.

DirtGlue® polymer emulsion is a powerful, high-tech soil stabilization bonding agent specifically engineered to bond soil particles together. A non-hazardous product, DirtGlue® polymer contains no harmful chemicals, will not adversely affect people, animals or aquatic life.

DirtGlue® polymer penetrates the surface binding with the soil to form a tough, durable, three-dimensional matrix layer of protection and soil stabilization.

As we’re sure you know if you’re looking into dust suppression solutions for the jobsite, there are a number of moving pieces and parts when it comes to construction projects. From the environmental terrain a foundation is built on, to the access point of a driveway, to the challenges associated with mining and hauling in and around the jobsite – it can seem endless. Global Environmental has many different solutions that can easily help with many facets of construction projects.

Full list of products for consideration:

And, as always, we’re here if you have any questions at all as is it pertains to your needs. We rest at nothing to make worksite environments more manageable and a safer place to be spending most of your waking hours.

The DirtGlue® suite of products work hard to hold the earth in place. Keeping you, your employees, and your customers safer and healthier across the board.

Our Most Valuable Resource is the SOIL

How are you protecting your property’s soil? Or rather, what’s the value in thinking about how to protect your property’s soil?

Let’s start with a quote:

“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil… There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.” – Dr. Charles Kellogg, Soil Scientist & Chief of Bureau for Chemistry & Soils at USDA

What is the importance of healthy soil? Let us count the ways:

1. Soil is the base of healthful plant growth. Keeping the soil in place around the property is imperative due – at the root level – to the maintenance of both the natural and planted landscape and how it serves the function of healthy terrain. Healthy soil literally supports the forests, wetlands, jungles, prairies and grasslands that aide in your land, and the planet’s amazing vegetative biodiversity. It may seem elementary, but we’ll point it out anyway… Plants provide food, fuel, animal feed, medicine, and raw materials for clothing, household goods and other life essentials.

2. Plants in turn help prevent soil erosion. This feeds into the sentiment included in the last entry. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants, and healthy plants lead to a healthy, strong landscape. You want to keep your soil in place because it is the base of literally everything on your property. It’s not just a matter of keeping your garden from washing out. It’s a matter of keeping the integrity of any buildings on the property in optimal operative capacity as well. If the soil moves, your foundation can move. If your foundation moves, look out!

3. Erosion is the loss of soil from wind or water. So that erosion often stems from a large influx of water. Soil is imperative in working as a conduit of providing available water in appropriate quantities to sustain life. Soil and the vegetation it supports, as we’ve outlined above, catch and distribute rainwater and play an important role in the water cycle and supply. Soil distribution at the core can impact rivers, lakes, and streams; changing their shape, size, capacity and direction – which ultimately effects the properties that they run through or abut.

4. Controlling pollution is necessary. Quality soil can help. Generally speaking water absorption and filtration properties of soil play are imperative in reducing pollution from chemicals in pesticides and other compounds that jeopardize surrounding ecological environments.

5. Soil provides both the foundation and base materials for buildings, roads and other built infrastructure. Please, read on…

This is where Global Environmental Solutions comes into play. We literally started the business based on our desire to spend our days playing with soil and figuring out ways to best manage it with quality and the utmost care.

When it comes to soil – your most valuable asset – and taking care of it so that it can best serve your property, the biggest challenge of protecting your site’s soil is physically keeping it onsite.

GES provides solutions against soil loss.

The tagline of our key product DirtGlue is, “holding the earth together.” This is quite literally what we do. Keeping your soil in place can be accomplished by using an assortment of GES products (such as DirtGlue® polymer and DustLess®) to prevent wind and water erosion [sediment, and dust]. We’re not your typical suppressant solution (hello water) that you continuously need to reapply to keep your environment strong and healthy – we’ve worked up solutions that are tried and true and derived from environmentally benign compounds that best serve the environment while keeping your valuable soil in place. The applications we provide are solutions that target the issues that pertain to your own unique project/environment.

In short, GES Products protect your site’s soil from:

• Dust (your soil is too dry/arid and is getting swept away by wind and/or traffic, etc.)
• Sediment (your soil is victim to outside sources in the surrounding environment infiltrating your soil’s integrity)
• Erosion (your soil is too wet, subject to rain events and runoff, the environmental stimuli which are washing it away)
• And more

How do each of these things impact the surrounding environment?

Dust can be hazardous to the health of vegetation, human life, and ecosystems at large. It can cut down on the integrity of “sound” structure and landscaping and also cause visibility issues depending on what the site’s application is. Dust is more than just a nuisance, dust is a known killer. It’s best to keep it in place, or stop it from being a thing at all.

Sediment can clog drainage structures which leads to erosion, corrosion, mold, rot, etc. You don’t want any of this. It can also effect surrounding vegetation and the proper development of plants, as well as causing detriment to surrounding waterways and aquatic life. It’s not always easy to pinpoint, but it’s easier to control when managed.

Erosion literally washes the soil away and can damage property values and the integrity of the surrounding environment. Erosion can lead to dust, and sediment as addressed above. Once it starts, it’s hard to combat, so it’s important to consider it from the design phase of a project and utilizing remedial effort ideas as a means of addressing the “what ifs” of mother nature, surrounding environmental stimulus/factors, etc.

Let’s get back to Dr. Kellogg’s quote for a moment. Let’s look at the opening: “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil…” We take it to heart. And you should too. Life depends on the soil. Think about it. Think about where you are right now. Think about the structure you’re residing in at this very moment. Think about the path you took to get there. Think about the earth and the role we all play in helping it work best for us – and itself.

Global Environmental Solutions: For the earth, with the earth in mind.

Pathway Construction Pt. 2

Antiquated HVAC

Alright, welcome to Part Two of our Creating Pathways That Last series. In our last installment (click here to read), we gave a general overview of pathway construction and posed a number of questions to get you thinking about best practices, general material makeup, challenges to consider, and potential goals (pre and post production) for your unique install.

Today we’ll run through some thoughts and questions that we’ve been presented over our decades of experience in constructing sound pathways with our own Polymer Pavement System product/solution. We hope, in outlining these questions and considerations, that you’ll be better prepared to make a more educated decision on what direction you’d like to take with your project. That said, we’re always available to answer any further questions you may have!

Let’s get started.

Pathway Construction

Performance testing and soil particle engineering:

Our experience and understanding of soil structure helps us evaluate aggregates for long term pathway traffic. Each sample submitted to our lab goes through a rigorous testing protocol.  Proprietary test methods help determine the longevity of an aggregate.  In some areas, we can even use this science to engineer aggregates to have the right composition of soil particles.

Are there color options for pathway aggregate?

In some cases aggregate can be chosen for color. Stabilized crushed stone and decomposed granite come naturally in varied colors.  Colorations of aggregates are derived from the natural weathering from soil and rock particles in various regions. DirtGlue polymer (binder/stabilizer) does not change the color.   This allows the aesthetics of the natural material with the stabilized properties that provide lifespan, low/no maintenance and functionality similar to asphalt or concrete.  The natural colors rather than the black of asphalt help minimize the heat island effect.

Will freeze/thaw cycles ruin my stabilized pathway?

In colder climates, when water is present in the soil/aggregate freeze/thaw cycles are a definitely a concern. On properly constructed Polymer Pavement stabilized pathways the effects of freeze/thaw can be eliminated or minimized through proper surface geometry and proper drainage applications.   It is common to see cracking with concrete or other rigid pavements because they resist the movement of the cycle unless well drained and properly shaped.  Polymer Payment has a very slight amount of flex which eliminates expansion joints.

Will Polymer Pavement damage my plants and trees?

The Polymer Pavement System poses no threat to plants and trees.   This technology is non-toxic and can be used right up to the edge of planting areas.

Sustainability/LEED® potential:

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) by The US Green Building Council is a third party verification of green building practices.  Pathways of natural aggregates such as decomposed granite, gravel(s), and crushed stone stabilized with the Polymer Pavement System may potentially help earn LEED points towards certification.

Reduced heat island effect/Solar reflectance:

When asphalt surfaces retain heat in an urban environment it is called the Heat Island Effect.  Lighter colored aggregates can reflect solar rays reducing the heat retained in the pathway surface. This is measured by the Solar Reflectance Index. Reference – LEED Code- SS 7.1 Heat Island Non-Roof.

Non-hazardous materials:

The Polymer Pavement System puts no VOCs into the air so no air quality issues and no respiratory issues will be experienced.  The products used in this technology are non-toxic, and non-hazardous according to US EPA test methods.  These products contain no chlorides and no acids (thus, they’re non-corrosive).

Use of local/regional materials:

Aggregates obtained locally for the construction project are considered local/regional materials and can earn points for a reduced carbon footprint. Reference – LEED Code- MR 5 Regional Materials.

Recycled content:

The Polymer Pavement System can be used to stabilize recycled materials such as asphalt or concrete grindings, glass, and even metal scoria. Reference – LEED Code- MR 4 Recycled Content.

Recyclable pathways:

While not a LEED category, aggregate stabilized using the Polymer Pavement System is non-toxic and can be reused in many other areas when its service as a pathway has run its course.

Natural aggregates vs. concrete and asphalt:

Natural pathway materials may not be suitable for every scenario, but neither are concrete and asphalt. Polymer Pavement can meet performance standards required of concrete and asphalt.

Accessibility:

To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pathways must meet standards for firm, non-slip surfaces. While The National Center on Accessibility (NCA) does not officially approve any product, the Polymer Pavement System can be a recommended natural surface when used in proper design. The Polymer Pavement System can be applied/installed to meet testing requirements for slip friction.

Longevity/Lifespan:

Most natural aggregates vary in durability, but tend to be composed of harder rock particles that can make pathways last for decades with proper design.

Trail potential:

Wilderness trails pose unique requirements on designers and trail builders. Site conditions, including water flow and limited access to water for installation, along with heavy traffic, make these paths a challenge. Polymer Pavement can provide an application that is considered permanent in the same vain that asphalt is considered permanent.

Driveways and parking:

With proper design, the Polymer Pavement System can meet most municipal requirements for driveway and parking surfaces.

Fire lane Support:

With proper design, Polymer Pavement will meet or exceed load bearing requirements needed to support firetrucks and other rescue vehicles.

These are all but a handful of things to consider when you’re plotting your impending pathway project. Give us a shout if you’d like a helping hand or have any further questions that we can answer for you!

GES: For the earth, with the earth in mind.

Soil Erosion

GES Graphic

Soil erosion caused by construction activities is becoming an increasingly critical issue affecting the health of our environment. According to a scholarly article published by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the potential for significant erosion on heavily disturbed construction sites is up to 100 times greater than on agricultural land. The impacts on the environment from this level of soil erosion are profound. As the research article states, “Unless adequate measures are taken to prevent this abnormal, highly accelerated soil removal, it becomes the most visible and damaging factor in the deterioration of soil quality and the environmental quality of urban areas.”

A reading of this article yields the following synopsis:

When large tracts of land are eroded, massive amounts of sediment wreak havoc on the surrounding environment. This sediment builds up in crucial drainage areas. When this occurs, the flow capacity of the drainage system is reduced and flooding results. In urban areas, the loss of proper drainage means that excess water enters sewer systems, putting huge strain on the infrastructure of these systems. As water builds up in places that it was not designed to be, damage occurs to buildings and structures. Roads become swamped and traffic issues are exacerbated.

These sediment flows have an equally (if not worse) impact on the surrounding natural environment. Excess sediment causes natural waterways to become turbid. Turbidity blocks necessary sunlight from penetrating through the water to provide the energy needed for underwater vegetation to engage in photosynthesis. As plants get choked out, many marine species lose precious habitat. Oxygen levels are also reduced, making life more difficult for fish and marine life. Excess nutrients from top soil being washed into these areas results in eutrophication, a condition in which excess phosphorus and nitrogen create harmful blooms of unwanted biological growth.

At a financial level, excess soil erosion costs taxpayers millions, as costs of removing soil from roads, drainage systems, and culverts mound up. There are also large costs involved with damage from flooding.

The paper concludes with the following statement:

“The effects of erosion on construction sites continue to menace society both from on-site and off-site damages. Preventing soil-related problems before they occur is easier and more cost effective than correcting them later. Communities need to work with developers, contractors, and local governments to limit compaction and soil loss during construction operations.”

This article really hit home with us here at Global Environmental Solutions. We are deeply committed to help these environmental catastrophes through our work developing ground-breaking solutions to the issue of soil erosion. If you want to learn more about how our specifically engineered DirtGlue® polymer works to bond soil particles together to prevent soil erosion, please take a look at this article for more helpful information.

If we are to prevent more significant damage to our urban environments, our natural environments, and our municipal and federal budgets, we need to do more to control soil erosion. We are proud to say that we are working hard here at Global Environmental Solutions to inform and advocate on this important issue.

If you have questions on how our environmentally-sustaining products can work to help you protect the areas in which you live and/or work, feel free to reach out today.