Monthly Archives: August 2021

What are toxins?

We hear so much about toxins and about de-toxing!  But what are toxins?


What Exactly Are “Toxins,” Anyway?

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Updated February 28, 2020
By Sylvie Tremblay

“If we had to pick one health buzzword from the past decade, it’d be “toxins.” From celebs selling “detox tea” on Instagram to “clean” cosmetics that claim to be free of harmful compounds, the concept of “cleansing away toxins” is everywhere.

But what does “toxin” actually mean?

On its most basic level, a toxin is any compound that can have a harmful effect on your body. And when you think of toxins, you probably picture poisons – like cyanide – that are dangerous and deadly, even in small doses.

But the truth is, you’re exposed to toxic substances every day. That’s because any compound can become toxic. Even water, in high enough doses, can be toxic. Sounds crazy, right? It’s strange but true, as this woman unfortunately found out when she entered a water-drinking contest and died.

Exposure to toxic substances can pose a serious risk to your health. So that means detox teas and cleanses are great for you, right?

Unfortunately, no. While “detox” products might not hurt you, they aren’t going to rid your body of toxins, either. Here’s why.

Your Body Can Already Deal with Toxins
That’s because your body already has a built-in system for filtering toxins out of your body. Your liver can help detoxify your body from turning harmful compounds into less harmful (or virtually harmless) ones. And your kidneys help detox your body, too. They continually filter your blood, and allow some harmful substances to leave your body via your urine.

Your lungs get in on the action, too. While they aren’t major detox organs, your airways are lined with molecular “oars,” called cilia, which help move any particles or toxins up and out of your body.

What Happens if Your Natural Detox Systems Fail?
Of course, if your body could handle every toxin perfectly, nothing would truly be poisonous. Some toxins can overwhelm your body’s built-in detox systems – if, for instance, your liver can’t process a toxin quickly enough, it can build up in your body. Other toxins dissolve in fatty tissue, so they can stay in your body, dissolved in your fat cells, and cause ongoing problems.

With that said, detox teas and cleanses won’t do a thing to remove toxins from your body. They can’t make your liver or kidneys work any better. They might make you lose a few pounds, but that’s about it – and that’s the best-case scenario.

As Rush University Medical Center explains, some detox products might actually harm you. Some common detox procedures, like enemas, can damage your intestines – ironically, making it harder to remove toxins from your body via your poop. Other detox practices, like juice cleansing, can leave you temporary malnourished, which could mean you’re more likely to get sick.

What’s more, relying on detox products might keep you from seeking medical attention if you have been exposed to a toxin. And delaying medical attention gives a toxin more time to harm your body, potentially putting you in danger.

So Should You Worry About Toxins?
Kinda, but you need to keep your nerves in check. Environmental toxins do exist, which is why it’s important to fight pollution and demand safer ingredients in your food, cosmetics and household products.

But you should pass on products that claim to help flush toxins from your body. They’re a waste of money because they can’t truly detoxify you. And, as you just read, they can cause more problems than they solve.

If you’re worried about the toxins in your environment, talk to your doctor. They can put your nerves in check – and offer proven treatments if you truly are exposed to too many toxins.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

The new smoking?

Breathing chemicals into our lungs is never a good idea.  What potential harm can scented cleaning products do to us?

Scented Cleaning Products: The New Smoking?

Scented Cleaning Products: The New Smoking?

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Updated March 20, 2018
By Sylvie Tremblay

“It’s no secret that indoor air quality is a health concern; the Environmental Protection Agency notes that indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air, even if you live in a large and industrialized city. Continued exposure to pollution, dust and other allergens can aggravate your lungs and airways, worsening asthma and even increasing your risk for cancer.

Clearly, it’s important to keep your place clean to remove as much dust as you can. But there’s a double-edge sword: many cleaning products are loaded with chemicals that can also harm your health, and manufacturers are not required by the Food and Drug Administration to prove that the ingredients in their products are safe. So when you’re planning your spring cleaning, it’s crucial to choose safe cleaning products to help keep your air clean.

The Health Impacts of Cleaning Products
It’s easy to shrug off the effects of cleaning products; out of sight, out of mind, right? However, they can be significant. Research from the American Thoracic Society found that women who often clean in the home or the workplace face significant lung issues. The 20-year study, which was published in the “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine” in February 2018, found that frequent cleaners had a decrease in lung function that was comparable to the decline seen in smokers. Additional research has found that cleaning products can worsen asthma, providing further proof that these chemicals aren’t good for your airways.

Chemicals to Watch out For
While you may not know how every cleaning product ingredient affects your health, and many are likely completely harmless, there are a few big hitters to avoid. Steer clear of products containing parabens and phthalates, which are often added to scented products to help the scent linger, such as that laundry detergent that keeps your bedding smelling fresh for a week. These compounds may affect hormone levels and can trigger asthma. Look out for triclosan, often found in antimicrobial cleaners and soaps, because it might mimic the effects of estrogen, explains the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

How to Clean Safer
You’ll be able to avoid some harmful chemicals by opting for natural cleaners that are unscented, or scented with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance. Your best option, though, is to make your own cleaning supplies. Everyday substances like vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol and borax are all you need to make all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner, or even cleansing scrubs and drain cleaners. If your allergies are bad, consider investing in a HEPA air filter that will help remove dust, pollen and other allergens from the air 24/7.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Natural Renewable Resources

We hope you enjoy this article today!  Have a great day.


Natural Renewable Resources

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Updated May 28, 2019
By Steffani Cameron
Reviewed by: Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA

“Natural renewable resources are big business as the planet’s resources deplete. Earth’s ever-growing population will peak and begin declining later in the 21st century, but that does little good today as the need for resources escalates.

The last four decades have been the greatest period of change in human history, during which time the population almost doubled from 4 billion in 1973 to 7.7 billion today, and the digital revolution transformed how we live and the resources (and energy) we require. Industry can radically improve the world by using naturally renewable resources in a sustainable way, but what’s renewable, and what’s not?

What Are Natural Resources?
The Renewable Resources Coalition describes natural resources as “materials and substances that occur naturally and can be used for economic gain. They include minerals, forests, fertile land, and water. Some natural resources, such as soil and water, are essential for the existence of life.”

There are both renewable natural resources and nonrenewable natural resources. The difference between them is whether the resource can be naturally replaced during our lifetime or if it’s gone for good once consumed. The struggle with renewability comes from the realization that many of our resources are being depleted too fast to recur naturally, as with forests in some regions or with resources like oil and minerals that take hundreds if not thousands or even millions of years to replenish.

Western society did not take the long view on resources for most of the industrial era, and current ecological realities are making sustainability a hot topic – one for which consumers have overwhelmingly shown a willingness to pay a premium.

A Natural Resources Glossary
Renewable resource: A natural resource that can be replaced or replenished within a few decades, such as timber. Typically, these are things like plants and animal-derived products.

Nonrenewable resource: When resources are unable to renew in a matter of decades or those that may be gone forever once harvested or utilized. These come from fossils, minerals or soils.

Organic renewable resource: When renewable resources come from living things, they’re considered organic, such as manure.

Inorganic renewable resource: These are nonliving resources like solar power, wind energy and hydroelectric energy.

Most-Used Natural Resources
Here’s a nonrenewable and renewable resources list, in no particular order, containing some of the world’s most-used resources.


One of the few metallic elements that naturally occurs in its native forms, copper has been used for thousands of years. Today, it’s big industry in America, which is its second-largest producer. Copper suffers no reduction in quality during recycling, making it as valuable when used as it is when new. It’s not a renewable resource, but it never deteriorates in quality.


The solar system’s second-most abundant element is a critical gas used for far more than just inflating party balloons. Used as a gas to cool the Large Hadron Collider and for making superconductor magnets in things like MRI machines, helium is a finite resource that plays an important role in today’s technologies.


This fossil fuel was used in heating for centuries but is now used in electricity production thanks to its low cost and high-energy output. Unfortunately, coal is nonrenewable, and mining for coal is also a highly destructive activity that results in toxic groundwater and air pollution.


Known as sodium chloride, only 20 percent of the planet’s mined salt winds up on tables or in food production. The other 80 percent is evenly split between industrial uses and road deicing. Salt can be extracted from the sea but is also mined as a mineral. It is nonrenewable.


Arguably the most important fuel powering our world today, oil is used in production of jet fuel, propane, diesel, asphalt and gasoline. It also makes the petrochemicals for making synthetic rubber, chemicals and even plastic.

A nonrenewable resource, discoveries of oil reserves are slowing down, while the population boom and increasing wealth means more cars and other fuel-guzzling machines in use than ever before. Based on the world’s known oil reserves, British Petroleum estimates that the 1.6 trillion barrels they believe exists will be enough to power the world at today’s consumption rates for another 50 years or so. Hence, this is why the race is on for renewable energy sources and the electric car.


Wood builds our homes and our furniture, and it plays a part in so many other products too, like paper. Technically, wood is a renewable resource, but it’s among the most exploited resources because it takes decades for forests to re-establish. Sustainable forestry happens in many regions, but ecosystem-destroying practices are common too. With sustainable practices and quick-growing varieties, forestry can be a renewable resource.


A nonrenewable resource, soil is critical for food production. As the Renewable Resources Coalition writes, “Soil is essential for the function of ecosystems providing nutrients, oxygen, water, and heat. Soil resources are being degraded by poor agricultural practices and chemical contamination. One of the most significant challenges facing current and future generations is the preservation of this irreplaceable natural resource from pollution and physical destruction.”

Renewable Energy Resources
The age of oil may still be here, but with the pollution from combustible engines and dwindling reserves, the rush for renewable energy has gone full throttle. Luckily, advances come so fast and furious that it’s hard to keep up with the renewable energy news. Renewable energy sources include:


One of the biomasses in use is an incredible reinvention of garbage. “Municipal solid waste” is the product converted in the biomass sector, which is essentially household trash. In 2015, 262 million tons of trash were able to be converted into energy, compost and recyclables.

Food waste creates methane gas, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than C02, so composting is a huge part of reducing methane gases in the atmosphere, plus it enrichens soil, which is a threatened, nonrenewable natural resource.

Other biomasses include wood and wood waste, ethanol and other biofuels.


For a long time, harnessing the sun’s energy had limited appeal because it was unable to be stored. Some of today’s batteries allow for solar energy to be converted and stored, causing a boom in solar plants and use of solar panels on everything from street lamps to private homes. Solar has its drawbacks, as sunlight is not constant or predictable, but using other renewable energy sources in concert with solar has proven extremely successful in countries like Germany, where clean energy is booming.


Wind energy is harvested around the world now. Most people are surprised to learn that wind energy turbines need wind to blow only at an average of 9 miles per hour for energy to be harnessed. A single commercial wind turbine can power as many as 1,600 houses.


Geothermal energy uses the Earth’s internal heat to create energy and provide heat. This is especially useful in places with volcanic evidence, like Portugal’s Azores Islands, where they are 85 percent energy independent thanks to their geothermal stores.


Using energy from water’s flow has generated power on land for decades thanks to hydroelectric dams, which convert energy when river water drops from one level to another. At sea, scientists are capturing wave energy too. This technology hasn’t been realized to its full capacity, but the potential is phenomenal. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the wave potential for the offshore U.S. could power 66 percent of the nation’s homes one day.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Natural Renewable Resources

Nature’s most popular raw materials

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Ubiquitous Industrial Minerals: Nature’s Most Popular Raw Materials
By Ali Somarin

“Do you know what industrial minerals are? You may not know them, but they permeate nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Industrial minerals are used, either in processed or natural state, to make building materials, paint, ceramics, glass, plastics, paper, electronics, detergents, medications and medical devices, and many more industrial and domestic products.

According to the Industrial Minerals Association of North America, every American consumes about 24 tons of industrial minerals each year.

Industrial minerals are generally defined as minerals that are not sources of metals, fuel, or gemstones. So what are they? The most widely-used industrial minerals include limestone, clays, sand, gravel, diatomite, kaolin, bentonite, silica, barite, gypsum, potash, pumice, and talc. Some of the industrial minerals commonly used in construction, such as crushed stone, sand, gravel, and cement, are called aggregates.

Industrial minerals are extremely versatile; most have at least two, sometimes many more, applications and span multiple markets. Talc, for example, is used in cosmetics, paper, and plastics. Silica sand is used to make glass, ceramics, and abrasives. While industrial minerals are defined as non-metallic, there are a few that have metallurgical properties, such as bauxite, which is the primary source of aluminum ore and is also used to make cement and abrasives. Bentonite and barite are non-fuel industrial minerals that have an important application in oil and gas extraction as components in drilling fluids. Bauxite and kaolin are used in fracking operations.

Industrial minerals are valued for their physical and chemical properties that make them so useful for so many products, and their price is driven by market demand for these items rather than by commodities exchange markets. Manufacturing, agriculture, and in particular the recovering construction and housing markets, are contributing to market growth for these minerals. For an in-depth look at the role of industrial minerals in the U.S economy, read the 2013 U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries.

Market demand for industrial minerals also influences how they are mined. Industrial minerals are extracted primarily by surface mining, which is less expensive than underground mining. However, even when a location is determined to have a potentially economically viable mineral deposit, the costs of drilling, extraction, and transporting the raw materials still must be considered and weighed against the current market demand for that particular mineral. Industrial minerals are typically mined from existing sites or areas that are close to infrastructure as their price usually doesn’t justify the cost of building up the infrastructure needed to explore a new site.

Before a mining plan is developed, geologists need to map out the mineral distribution of the deposit by evaluating the geological processes, also called mineralizing events, which formed them. Once it’s been determined that a sufficient quantity of minerals exists and cost-effective mining can begin, geologists study the lithology and other geochemical data to direct and control the mining process. This is where X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis can assist. XRF is one of the most advanced tools for exploration and mining of industrial minerals. Portable XRF analyzers are an emerging instrument of choice for in-quarry exploration and evaluating the composition of raw materials such as phosphate, potash, gypsum, and limestone for industrial use. Other useful applications for portable XRF analysis in industrial minerals mining include:

Determining penalty elements in limestone, Fe ore, and bauxite
Blending and sorting of raw materials
Flagging grade, sub-grade, and waste, and prevent taking ore to the waste heap.
Lab-based XRF is a complimentary technique for evaluating prepared mineral samples for quality control and to determine their suitability for specific applications. Please share your experiences with either a portable or lab-based XRF analyzer for industrial minerals applications. As always, we welcome your comments.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Nature's most popular raw materials

World’s Third Largest Diamond Found in Botswana

What an amazing find in the Botswana diamond mines!

World's Third Largest Diamond Found in Botswana

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Botswana unearths world’s third largest diamond

16TH JUNE 2021


“GABORONE – A 1 098 ct diamond believed to be the third-largest gem-quality stone ever to be mined, has been discovered in Botswana, according to a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and the government.

The stone was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday by Debswana Diamond Company’s acting MD Lynette Armstrong. It is the third-largest in the world, behind the 3 106 ct Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905 and the 1 109 ct Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.

“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” Armstrong said.

“From our preliminary analysis it could be the world’s third largest gem quality stone. We are yet to make a decision on whether to sell it through the De Beers channel or through the State-owned Okavango Diamond Company,” Armstrong said.

Minerals Minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the yet-to-be named stone, which measures 73 mm long, 52 mm wide and 27 mm thick, could not have come at a better time after the Covid-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.

The government receives as much as 80% of the income from Debswana’s sales through dividends, royalties and taxes.

Production at Debswana fell 29% in 2020 to 16.6-million carats while sales fell 30% to $2.1-billion as the pandemic impacted both production and demand.

In 2021, Debswana plans to increase output by as much as 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23-million carats as the global diamond market recovers with the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellers.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.