Thursday 31 July 2014

Can You Name This Window Cleaning Thief?

Can you name this window cleaner?
Can you name brazen Plymouth window cleaning thief? A brazen theft suspect casually walks into a Plymouth store - before making a run for it with £600 worth of window-cleaning equipment under his arm. The man in this video is wanted by police in connection with the theft, which happened on July 11.

He went unnoticed at the time but bosses at the Tip Top Cleaning Supplies store at Faraday Mill in Cattedown later discovered goods were missing - and this CCTV footage appears to show why. The window cleaning supplies shop only opened in August last year and staff said £600 would be a big hit on the business.

The incident has been reported to police, who are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Our Guys Like To Be Challenged

Highrise window washers with Picture Perfect Window Cleaning wash the glass on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Tuesday in preparation for the grand opening, which is less than two months away. Names from left - Kyle Dufort, John Burridge (centre) and Chris Tonn (right).
Hard windows of opportunity - Cleaning 2,000 museum panes: To an outsider, the iconic Canadian Museum for Human Rights building looks and sounds like it would be the window-cleaning industry's version of Mount Everest. Not only is it physically imposing - 100 metres in height and 24,154 square metres in size - it also boasts more than 2,000 panes of glass. The glass walls on "the cloud" portion of the 12-storey building are not only curved, they slope inwards. None of this straight-up-and-down stuff found in most glass-covered buildings.

The owners of the Winnipeg company that won the contract to clean all of those windows, Picture Perfect Window Cleaning, are quick to admit the CMHR building is the most challenging structure they've encountered in their 12 years in business. "The whole building, in general, is a challenge," Ken Geron said. "The size of it is a challenge, and the angles (of the glass walls) is absolutely a challenge. Every single angle you can think of, it's here."

But to say it's the window cleaning industry's equivalent of a Mount Everest, the world's highest and arguably most challenging mountain to scale, is probably overstating things just a bit, said Picture Perfect co-owner Dylan Dufort. "There is nothing else like it," Dufort admitted. "But once you get used to doing it, it will be just another job."

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights was the dream of Canwest founder Izzy Asper as a place where students from across Canada could come to learn about human rights. He also saw it as an opportunity to revitalize downtown Winnipeg and increase tourism to the city.
Geron said Picture Perfect beat out three other contenders for the CMHR window cleaning contract. But because of the commercially competitive nature of the bidding/quoting process, the CMHR is not disclosing the dollar value of the contract. Geron said until they landed this contract, Manitoba Hydro's downtown office tower was the most challenging building they had tackled because it's so tall and has so many windows. And the circular, revolving restaurant on top of the Fort Garry Place apartment/commercial tower was a close second. But the CMHR has them both beat, he and Dufort added.

Picture Perfect is tasked with cleaning the inside and the outside of the CHMR's windows, and Dufort said both jobs are equally challenging because of all the weird angles involved. He estimates, taking into account weather delays, it's probably going to take nearly five months to complete both jobs. The inside cleaning is already done, but they've only been working on the outside for less than two weeks. "We're supposed to have it all done by September," Dufort added.

Silas Chipelski (left) and Robyn Hendrickson.
Geron said it took them about two and a half years to come up with a plan for how they were going to tackle the two jobs. And they made sure the plan was approved by provincial workplace safety and health officials before implementing it. A lot of the outside window cleaning is done by workers who repel down the glass walls on bosun's or boatswain's chairs. Some of the techniques they use are similar to those used by mountain climbers, and they've all received special training by a company supervisor who is also a training instructor for the Winnipeg Fire Department.

High Rise window washers with Picture Perfect Window Cleaning wash the windows on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Tuesday afternoon all in preparation for the grand opening which is less than 2 months away. Pictured - John Burridge.
For those really hard-to-reach spots, Picture Perfect has rented a 41-metre-high boon truck, which is the tallest such vehicle in the city. Geron said the inside cleaning job was completed without any problems, and so far the outside cleaning has also gone without a hitch.

Maureen Fitzhenry, the CMHR's media relations manager, said museum officials expect to spend anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 a year on window cleaning, depending on how often they feel it needs to be done. "We're just going to have to see what the weather is like and how dirty they get," Fitzhenry added. Geron said he and Dufort are hoping the experience the company gains from the CMHR contract will help the company land other challenging window-cleaning jobs either here or elsewhere in Canada.

"Our guys... like to be challenged. They need to be challenged," he added. 

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Product Testing The Turbo Jet

The marketing claims the Turbo Jet turns any hose into a power washer.
Does It Really Do That? Turbo Jet (Pittsburgh) – Dave Lobaugh, of Lobaugh Maintenance, gets a lot of use out of his pressure washer by cleaning concrete, brick, siding, wooden decks, and more. “It’s about a $400 or $500 model, one guy can put it in the truck and take it out himself. It takes approximately five to ten minutes to get set up, and it does take gasoline,” Dave told KDKA-TV news anchor ”Does It Really Do That?” reporter Jennifer Antkowiak. Dave and his customers love the results he gets, but, the idea of being able to use something lighter, and less expensive sounded interesting to him.

The Turbo Jet is supposed to turn any garden hose into a power washer. The commercial shows it being used to clean all the kinds of things Dave works with. He took a look at the Turbo Jet and liked a lot of the features. Plus, he said it appeared to be well-made. “It’s lightweight and it has a handle that you don’t have to squeeze. It turns on and off real easy. It has an aluminum shaft with some brass handles and brass connections,” he said.

Dave and Jennifer were at a patio that needed some work. The Turbo Jet is supposed to be able to quickly and easily clean built up dirt, leaves, debris, and even algae. The directions and assembly were easy.  Dave simply screwed the Turbo Jet want on a garden hose.  There’s a lever that allows you to adjust the water flow too. He started with the fan spray nozzle, which is supposed to work like a water broom to easily clear debris. “There’s not a whole lot of pressure there,” Dave said. “I could get this with a hose.”

The Turbo Jet did move some leaves and twigs, but not as effectively as Dave had hoped.  Since the marketing claims the Turbo Jet turns any hose into a power washer, Dave wanted to see if it would clean dirt off concrete, which is something he knows his pressure washer can do. Dave and Jen did see a difference on the concrete, but Dave felt it was taking too long, and wasn’t happy with the quality.  Again, he said, “I think I could get the same results out of a hose nozzle.”

Next, Dave tried the Turbo Jet on the wooden deck. There again, it did some cleaning, but Dave just wasn’t impressed. “I don’t see any algae whatsoever being removed here, and I’m holding it within an inch,” he said. He didn’t feel much better about how it worked to clean dirt off sliding doors.  Dave changed out the attachment to try the Jet Spray nozzle. Again, he didn’t feel much of a difference in power as he went to work on some stones. “I’m [going to] be here a long time,” he said.

For the sake of comparison, Dave wanted to try cleaning some of the same things with the regular garden hose sprayer. “Jen, I think I’m getting more pressure out of this, I really do,” he said. Dave felt like the hose did the same, if not better moving debris and cleaning the window.

To show the kind of quality and speed he’s used to, Dave fired up his pressure washer. There was a big difference. His washer easily cleaned the concrete, the algae off the wood decking and brick, dirt off the sliding glass doors and stones, and he blasted algae off a chair in seconds.

“Bang!  Done!” he said. So, the Turbo Jet promises to turn any garden hose into a power washer and blast away dirt, debris and algae quickly and easily. Does it really do that? Dave gives it a thumbs down. “It doesn’t do a good job, and it’s just too time-consuming,” he told Jen.

Monday 28 July 2014

Just To See Them Smile

Matt "Spider-Man" McGehee visits with patient Isaiah Bush as he and his mother, Tamekia Bush, of Belleville, watch him work as a window washer at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "They look out and their eyes get big and their smiles get big," said McGehee of the patients. "It's worth the sweating."
Spider-Man window washers brighten kids' day at Children's Hospital: On the 13-story-high roof of St. Louis Children’s Hospital this week, the superheroes pulled on their hooded masks and disappeared over the ledge. On the floors below, kids with conditions like asthma, sickle cell anemia, epilepsy and cancer were just waking up.

Brooklyn Lintz, 17, is on the eighth floor. She was telling a nurse how badly her hip hurt when a figure caught her eye. “Is that Spider-Man?!” she sat up. “I have to take a picture!” Crippled by pain, Brooklyn asked the nurse if he could open the blinds all the way. “He didn’t already leave, did he?” Two Spider-Men returned to her window, waving and striking poses, as if webs were going to shoot from their wrists. One reached into a yellow bucket and pulled out a sponge and squeegee. He cleaned her window.

'Spider-Men' Andy Weeks (left) and Matt McGehee shoot their webs for Brooklyn Lintz, 17, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., as they work as window washers at St. Louis Children's Hospital."
Brooklyn had spent much of the previous four days in the hospital sleeping, exhausted from pain medications. She suffers from two forms of sickle cell disease, she explained, one that deteriorates her bones and another that can cause severe pain anywhere in the body. The pain put her in a wheelchair and caused her to miss her junior year of high school in Cape Girardeau. She had a hip replacement in January. She’s fought gallstones, dangerous blood clots and infections. “That’s so awesome,” she said softly as the Spider-Men disappeared. They are fighting villains far more real and worse than the Joker or Green Goblin.

Andy "Spider-Man" Weeks readies his ropes as he climbs over the roof of St. Louis Children's Hospital to wash patient windows." You go over the wall and everyone screams your name," said Weeks. "Then you come back and it's back to being you."

Outside, temperatures climbed into the upper 80s. Window washers Matt McGehee, 41, and Andy Weeks, 31, were soaked with sweat under their full-body superhero suits, filled with thick padding to look like bulging muscles. They think the tights are inappropriate even without the safety harness around their hips, so they have jeans on, too. They could barely breathe through the two holes cut out under the noses of their hoods, and they struggled to see through the mesh. But they didn’t dare pull it off. “You can’t reveal your secret identity,” Weeks said.

McGehee, 41, started ALLGLASS Window Cleaning about three years ago. For the past year and a half, he and his crew have been cleaning the windows of St. Louis Children’s Hospital dressed as superheroes. Around the same time, other companies across the country were starting to costume their window washers at children’s hospitals, including the likes of Captain America, Batman and Superman.

“It’s just for the kids,” McGehee said. “The kids look up, and their eyes get all big, and then this slow smile creeps across their face.” Weeks loves it so much, he didn’t want to take off his mask on his ride home after work. “Without the mask, without the kids, I’m just plain Andy,” he said. “So, I kept it on.”


Isaiah Bush, 6, saw ropes hanging in front of his window, then what looked like rain and bubbles. “What is it?” said the boy, who loves watching Thor and The Avengers and pretending to fight bad guys with his little sister. They have a life-size Incredible Hulk on their bedroom wall. Isaiah has sickle cell disease, and had awakened in the middle of the night with a stomach ache and swollen spleen. A trip to the emergency room from his home in Belleville landed him in the hospital room.

The boy crawled into the window seat with his mom, Tamekia Bush, 34, to get a better look. Spider-Man suddenly peeked around the side, and they were face-to-face. “I cannot believe it,” Isaiah said. Spider-Man took an extra long time cleaning the window, throwing suds and water at the glass. The superhero shouted through the pane, “Hey, you feel better, OK?” Isaiah shouted back, “OK!” The boy was left wondering how Spider-Man got up there, how he disappeared so quickly. Spiderwebs, Isaiah concluded. “I think he jumped off the building.”

Andy "Spider-Man" Weeks peers into the room of patient Jacob Rodriguez, 10, of Glendale, as Weeks washes windows at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "That's the first smile I've seen in three days," said Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez of her son Jacob, who came to the hospital Sunday with a burst appendix. A cousin gave Jacob a Superman pillow as a gift.

Spider-Man saves the day for the grownups too. Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, 48, said her son, Jacob Rodriguez, 10, was miserable and sore when the Marvel Comics hero waved through the window. “That’s exactly what Jacob needed at the time,” Damsgaard-Rodriguez said. “That was the first smile I saw in a couple days.” Two days before, the Glendale youth had an appendectomy after suffering from a painful burst appendix.

Being in the hospital is scary for Cody Mitchell, 17, of Quincy, Ill., said his mother. He has intractable epilepsy — medication can’t control his seizures. He’s had surgery to disconnect the two lobes of his brain, but the seizures won’t stop. Seeing Spider-Man made him happy. “He’s had a rough morning,” said his mother, Linda England, 37. “For him to be able to see that and smile, it made me feel so good.”

Brooklyn’s mother, Rachel Clifton, 40, can’t stand seeing her daughter in pain. Only tears come when she tries to talk about Brooklyn’s prognosis. Clifton can’t say the words. “It kills me to think about it,” she said. Clifton does what she can to make her happy. They get their nails done, drive around listening to Beyonce and spend Sundays watching Lifetime movies and eating Imo’s Pizza. When Clifton returned to her daughter’s hospital room after getting breakfast, she got to see her smile. Brooklyn beamed, “Spider-Man came to wash my windows!”

Window washers disguised as superheroes suprised children at a New York hospital Wednesday.
Superheroes on a special mission: lifting spirits of kids in the hospital (Washington Heights, N.Y.) - Window washers revealed superhero powers at a local children's hospital. They lifted spirits and thrilled sick kids watching from inside their hospital rooms. Superheroes really do exist in Gotham City. It was an all-star cast outside the windows of New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital Wednesday.

Batman, Spiderman and even a pair of Power Rangers, all there to bring smiles and hope to kids on the other side of the glass. "I have kids too, God bless me, and I can do this for the kids, I feel real good," said 'Batman'. It was the hospital's idea to ask some of its professional window washers to trade in their usual uniforms on this day, as the young patients perched themselves in windows, eager to greet these good guys.

Back on the ground, hospital staffers, including Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Captain America, also got in on the act. "What was it like to see all those superheroes out here?" we asked one youngster. "Great, the best part was taking a picture with them," she said.

Even the hospital's COO Kevin Hammeran, excuse me, 'Thor', paid a visit. "They're still kids, you can't ever forget that. And just because they happen to be in the hospital doesn't mean they shouldn't have a fun time and enjoy themselves and be distracted," said Hammeran.

Some of the kids in the hospital are literally fighting for their lives, and this day, just a random Wednesday, was a chance to bring them a little bit of happiness. "I love kids, it's amazing to see the smile on these kids," said Batman. Yes, superheroes do exist in Gotham City, and they showed off their most impressive strength: lifting spirits.

Friday 25 July 2014

New Micro Trolley For Window Cleaners From AquaTec

Photo courtesy of Paul Kelly (prototype tester) of Clean n Clear in Bathgate.
Free Of Charge
Introducing the new Micro Trolley, (makers of the Aquatap), the first ever trolley developed to replace the backpack. Features include pole carrier, DI carrier and Hose wrap. Now you can afford, for all your employees to have one.

Water Fed Pole equipment does not get any better than this, the Micro Trolley overcomes previous problems associated with trolley systems. All the parts you see on the trolley slide off in seconds. Even the handle is detachable. Now there really is no need to be lifting heavy weights around all day, as one 25L containers can be slotted in when needed. And refilled by your on board DI tank.

Other waterfed pole trolley systems have you lifting 60 litres of water at a time. Other trolleys have not been designed with lifting in mind or pulling with one hand like we regularly do. Large wheels for very easy manoeuvrability through loose chippings or up and down kerbs or stairs.

Detachable handle designed to pull or push the trolley with one hand to leave the other hand free for other use.

Centre of gravity very low, coupled with the large wheels means it is very easy to manoeuvre even in the tightest of places, and assures its very stable standing on its own while in use.

The Micro Trolley is not to be confused with an occasional use sack truck, this is made to last and Aquatec Systems are so confident of its strength they have put a lifetime guarantee on the trolley frame.

The water fed pole equipment you get;
  • Trolley
  • Pole carrier (optional extra)
  • DI carrier (optional extra)
  • Battery Charger
  • Water Container
  • AquaTap - Patent Applied For (saves water)
  • Pump Box with the below fitted
  • Pump (70psi)
  • Flow controller
  • Battery lasts all day and takes around 6 hours to charge.
DI carrier: Ideal to fill the container in a soft water area from the customers tap while you work. This carrier can be taken off in seconds if not needed. Most of the time you will just be replacing an empty container for a full one but in a soft water area consider this. You are working in a housing estate cleaning houses very close to each other. Now most people have garden taps. You have just cleaned a couple of houses and your container is nearly empty and as you go round the back of the house where there is a tap, you hook the DI up to the tap and carry on cleaning the back windows of the house. By the time you finish the back windows your container is full again and you are ready for another two or three houses. Sometimes it may not be worthwhile, but sometimes it will be very worthwhile. Technically speaking someone who cant manage to lift full containers easily will never have to lift one again.. Ideal for soft water areas. For a limited time only this carrier and the pole carrier will be supplied FOC with all trolley sales.

Pole carrier: Ideal for storing your pole while walking with the trolley. This carrier can be taken off in seconds if not needed. Also doubles as a handy place to wrap your hose round or hang your hose.
Sometimes it's handy to rest your pole on your shoulder while you walk from window to window or house to house, but sometimes it's really handy to just have your pole in a pole holder leaving one hand completely free while you pull or push your trolley around. Ideal for any size pole. For a limited time only this carrier and the DI carrier will be supplied Free Of Charge with all trolley sales.

The pole carrier can be taken off in seconds if not needed.
Securing Bracket: Ideal for securing your trolley or trolley's in the back of the van. Bolts to the van floor. Push the trolley over the receiving piece and insert the pin giving it a turn, and your trolley is secured. We worry about securing tanks and other items in the back of the van and forget about our trolley. A trolley hurtling forward in a collision can do quite a bit of damage. Ideal for Securing your trolley. For a limited time only this securing bracket, pole carrier and the DI carrier will be supplied Free Of Charge with all trolley sales.

Thursday 24 July 2014

A Squeaky Clean Business

Mark & Leonor put the right window cleaning tools in your hands. Local recognition in Canada.
A squeaky clean business: After a few years of living in a high-rise condo downtown you start to notice things about the building you may have never even realized. For example, cleaning the outside of a high-rise condo window. One day, I was driving into my parking lot and saw a man raised up high into the sky cleaning windows from what looked like a hanging balcony that was lifted a few storeys up into the air. I wondered how long it would take someone to clean an entire buildings set of windows and it dawned on me why my building only cleans theirs twice a year.

My excitement for this month’s feature is due to my curiosity about window cleaning. I am featuring Beautiful View: The Window Cleaning Store, and when I found out this store, which has only been open for a few months, was in the Emery Village BIA I was quite thrilled to be able to ask all my questions about window cleaning to the store owner, and professional window cleaner himself, Mark Strange. Strange was a window cleaner for over seven years before he realized that his passion for teaching and his ability to clean windows for the rest of his life was not going to be entirely possible. With the help of his wife who not only supported him opening a store but also designed the entire layout herself, Mark is in business and was happy to talk. Needless to say, the windows are streak free and clean as a whistle. His teaching skills are tested with every customer who walks into his store. Strange not only has used every product, he knows exactly what would suit the customer the best and wants the customer to be prepared.

He has a test window where he shows the customer the right way to use the product and the best way to get a streak free clean in the quickest amount of time. I think I was one of the worst students, as I did not realize how technical cleaning windows are.

The store is a speciality-cleaning store, but you don’t have to be a professional to use the equipment. Anyone who cleans their household windows or even their car, if you do a lot of do-it-yourself car washes, could use Mark’s products and expertise. With a wide range of window cleaning products and even some videos to show you how to use them the store is for everyone.

It is located right at 1805 Wilson Avenue, unit 107. If you are interested in getting the best value for your money and want to learn the right way to clean a window, check out Beautiful View: The Window Cleaning Store near you! 

Also see:

A nonchalant Mark, gets to the TV section.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Pressure Washer Shot, Stabbed & Killed In L.A.

The victim was helping to pressure wash the parking structure prior to the shooting, according to Lt. Jim Gavin of the LAPD. His coworkers were upstairs when they noticed the water pressure had dropped. When they returned to the truck, they found the victim with gunshot wounds and called police, Gavin said.
Attacker Shoots, Stabs Man Cleaning Target Parking Lot: A member of cleaning crew was shot and stabbed early Tuesday outside a Target store parking garage in Van Nuys. The victim, whose name was not immediately released, was found on the ground next to his Fleetwash pickup. He was hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting in the 5700 block of Sepulveda Boulevard. The man in his 40s, identified by police as a member of a private cleaning crew, later died at the hospital.

The worker was cleaning the lot with a high-pressure hose when the attacker approached from behind and opened fire, police said. His co-workers were inside the building at the time of the shooting and stabbing, police said. They likely did not hear gunfire because of the noise made by the high-pressure washer. "They noticed the pressure in the hose had been reduced," said Lt. Jim Gavin. "They went out to see if he was ok, and that's when they found him with several gunshot wounds."

One person was in custody after the 5 a.m. shooting, according to police. The individual, who was found in the pickup, might have been under the influence of bath salts (window cleaner), a synthetic drug, police told NBC4. There doesn't appear to be any connection between the suspect, who is a reputed gang member, and the victim, who was not connected to any gang, police said.
Man Fatally Shot, Stabbed Outside Van Nuys Target Store: When officers arrived on scene, they found the suspect on the passenger side of the vehicle. He tried to flee the scene, but officers tackled him and arrested him. The victim was transported to Holy Cross Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not been released. The unidentified suspect, who authorities believe was under the influence of narcotics, was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. Police do not believe the suspect and the victim knew each other. A gun and knife were recovered at the scene.
Target Gun Ban Continues to Backfire – First Murder in California: Well we knew it would just be a matter of time until waves of violent crime started at Target retail stores. Just like Jack in the Box, the so-called Target gun ban has brought forth a “wave” of armed robberies, and yesterday Target experienced their first murder in California.

Yesterday, a man in his early 40′s was shot just outside the Target store in Van Nuys. According to Lt. Jim Gavin of the LAPD, the victim was pressure washing the outside structure of the Target store. Gavin stated this appeared to be a random shooting, and there’s no indication that the victim and suspect knew each other.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

UV Rays & The Window Cleaner
Do UV Sun Rays Go Through Windows? The answer is yes, usually some important UV rays do come through window glass. UVB is considered the main sunburn ray. It causes skin cancer and sun damage.

UVA - Is the UV ray in tanning beds. It penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB playing a big role in sun damage including wrinkles. It can cause skin cancer. The SPF on sunscreens tells you nothing about whether the product protects you from UVA.  Look for sunscreens labeled ‘broad spectrum’, but even then full UVA protection is more complex. Recommended are mineral sunscreens for the best, most reliable UVA protection, Zinc Oxide (not titanium dioxide) is the best dermatologist recommended sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Some modern windows block most all of the UV rays including UVA. Finding out which windows were used in the construction of your building might help knowing the protection level. It’s possible to block up to 99.9% of UV waves with today’s modern technology. The Skin Cancer Foundation has information on window UV film, click here to see it. In general, you can add sheets of UV blocking film to windows, or purchase glass that includes technology to block UV rays.

The Skin Cancer Foundation also has a list of window films that they have investigated and whose reliability they approve of. They also have a a glass manufacture that’s passed their muster too, click here see it. Beyond that, the only way to accurately test how much UV passes through your windows would be to finding someone with a radiometer that measures the UV transmittance.

For people who work in direct sunlight coming in through window glass, wearing a mineral sunscreen and clothing that blocks UV rays (sun protective clothing). If their windows claim to block UV rays, it's worth pointing out that a very tiny amount of UV still gets through. It’s possible to block 99.9% of UV rays, but even if their windows are that good, the 0.1% can add up at 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer just ain’t worth it!

For exposure through windows that don’t claim to block UV rays, it's worth reapplying mineral sunscreen every 2 hours if they can’t get out of the direct sunlight.  It’s also time to get creative about trying to create shade too. That would be pretty tough in a ‘trendy’ office building with floor to ceiling windows, which is what makes this equation such a challenge.
Is Your Sunscreen Causing Cancer? The majority of sunscreens on the market today are more harmful than beneficial. Sunscreens are designed to decrease your risk of skin cancer and allow you to enjoy the sun without worry. Unfortunately, most modern day sunscreens may increase your risk of cancer and disrupt the functioning of your hormones.

What causes skin cancers? Ultraviolet radiation from UV-A and UV-B rays from sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer. Smoking, HPV (the virus that causes genital warts) and artificial light from tanning beds are also associated with an increased risk of skin cancer.

UV-A vs. UV-B: UV-B rays penetrate only the epidermis (the outer most layer of the skin) and increase your risk of cancer by direct photochemical damage to your DNA, resulting in mutations in your genes. These mutations contribute to wrinkling and aging of the skin by degrading elastin and collagen.

UV-A rays penetrate deeper into the dermis (the 2nd major layer of the skin) and can contribute to the development of cancer by increasing reactive oxygen species, which can, in turn, damage your DNA.Therefore, when choosing a sunscreen, you should opt for a sunscreen that blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Origin of sunscreen: Franz Greiter first invented sunscreen in the 1940s. The active component consisted of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide acts as a physical barrier that sits on the surface of your skin; it offers the same protection as wearing a long sleeve shirt. Zinc oxide has been approved by the FDA and has been shown to be photo-stable against both UV-A and UV-B sun-rays. Because it is not absorbed into the skin, it is nonirritating, non-allergenic, and non-comedogenic (does not cause acne).

If zinc oxide is so effective, why is it rarely used today? Aesthetically, zinc oxide is a disaster. Because it is not absorbed into your skin like most sunscreen products, you're left with a pasty white substance all over your skin with each application.

Your typical sunscreen product: Let's first examine how your typical sunscreen product works. First, unlike zinc oxide formulations, which sit on the surface of your skin, they are partially absorbed through the skin. This means that any harmful ingredients in your sunscreen will have a systemic effect. Your typical "banana boat" sunscreen is full of parabens. Parabens may increase the rate of breast cancer and interfere with the male reproductive system. Parabens can also antagonize androgens (testosterone) and wreaks havoc on your body's hormones. Oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate are two other harmful ingredients contained in many sunscreen products. Oxybenzone has been linked to contact uticaria (hives), contact dermatitis, and degradation of the epidermis. Retinyl palmitate has been shown to increase the rates of cancer in combination with UV-A rays.

Are typical sunscreen products protective against skin cancers? Studies are conflicting. The study by Westerdahl, Ingvar, Masback, and Olsson showed higher rates of melanoma in individuals who wore sunscreen compared to those who didn't. The authors concluded that those who wore sunscreen most likely spent more time in the sun which would be the reason for the results. A meta-analysis of 9067 patients from 11 case-control studies found no association between sunscreen use and the development of malignant melanoma (the most deadly skin cancer).

Are my only options a protective pasty white substance and a potentially harmful, but aesthetically appealing sunscreen? No! There are better ways to stay protected from the harmful effects of the sun. Enter micronized zinc oxide. Micronized zinc oxide has the safety profile of traditional zinc oxide sunscreen and is as aesthetically appealing as modern day sunscreens. When micronized zinc oxide is applied in the form of a lotion it is not absorbed into the body, does not enter the bloodstream and has no dangerous side effects unless it is inhaled. For this reason, I recommend avoiding any "spray" products containing micronized zinc oxide.

Why are micronized zinc products not as popular? It likely comes down to economics and a lack of education about skin cancers and sunscreens. Micronized zinc oxide sunscreens are more expensive and difficult to source than typical Banana boat sunscreen.

In closing, exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancers. Most modern day sunscreens have many potentially harmful ingredients that should be avoided. I recommend staying hydrated, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids and applying micronized zinc oxide based sunscreens to protect yourself and your family from premature aging and skin cancers.
Cold comfort for sunbathers as poll says we’re blind to burn risks: Nearly half of us don't realise that UV rays can cause damage to their skin through glass such as a window. New research has compared our sun safety behaviour to Australians who are known for being sun-savvy. It found that almost twice as many Australians wear sun cream with an SPF of 30 or higher.

In addition, more than three quarters of Australians are aware that UV can cause damage to their skin through glass such as a window, compared to just 56pc of Irish people. The research also revealed that two thirds of those living Down Under recognise that UV can damage skin while under water, compared with just over half of people living here.

Clare O'Connor, a Boots sun care expert which commissioned the research said that: "Though Ireland has far less sunshine than Australia, the sun's UV rays can still penetrate through cloud cover, and as most people in Ireland only think about UV protection when the sun is shining, they may be at higher risk of UV damage."

Meanwhile, Rosemary Scott, a health protection officer at the Irish Cancer Society said: "Skin cancer is not seem by many as an issue in this country, but this is far from the truth. It is our most common cancer." The recent SunSmart campaign run by the charity revealed that skin cancer reached over 10,000 cases annually, an increase of 81pc since 1994.

John Breen (38), a dad-of-two from Tramore in Co Waterford was diagnosed with melanoma in February 2009, and urges anyone with concerns about moles go get them checked. "I never liked the sun. I would have avoided it and used sun cream a lot," he said. In 2012, tests showed the melanoma had spread into his body so he began chemotherapy which he finished in December that year. His scans since then have showed the cancer is gone. "I feel very good," he said.

Also see: Working Through The Heat Wave
The idea that sunscreen prevents cancer is a myth. It's a myth promoted by a profit-seeking tag-team effort between the cancer industry and the sunscreen industry. The sunscreen industry makes money by selling lotion products that actually contain cancer-causing chemicals. It then donates a portion of that money to the cancer industry through non-profit groups like the American Cancer Society which, in turn, run heart-breaking public service ads urging people to use sunscreen to "prevent cancer." The scientific evidence, however, shows quite clearly that sunscreen actually promotes cancer by blocking the body's absorption of ultraviolet radiation, which produces vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D, as recent studies have shown, prevents up to 77 of ALL cancers in women. Learn more: 

Monday 21 July 2014

Melbourne's Eureka Tower Window Cleaner Luke Lamont

One of highrise window cleaner Luke Lamont's co-workers gives a thumbs-up while cleaning Melbourne's Eureka Tower.
Meet Eureka Tower window cleaner Luke Lamont: Luke Lamont hangs off skyscrapers for a living. He is part of a team who clean windows on Melbourne highrise buildings including the Eureka Tower, Melbourne's tallest building. Cleaning the windows on a building that size is a mammoth task. "Something like Eureka you can get done in a month, a month and a half," he told 774 ABC Melbourne's Rafael Epstein. However that kind of speed depends on good weather conditions. "If you've got shocking weather it can take up to two, two and a half months."

Luke Lamont cleaning windows on the south-western side of Melbourne's Eureka Tower.
Eureka's windows are cleaned four times a year, which means Mr Lamont could spend up to six months a year just on one building. Most of the cleaning is done while standing in a box known as a Building Maintenance Unit (BMU). The tallest windows, though, can only be reached by abseiling from the top of the 297 metre tall building.

The longest abseil requires working from the 92nd floor down as far as the 56th - a drop of more than 120 metres. The 21-year-old said when he started the job he was "terrified of heights" but now he's much more comfortable. "You forget you're hanging 92 floors up in the air."

Highrise window cleaner Luke Lamont took these photos of a sunrise from the top of Melbourne's Eureka Tower.
Mr Lamont and his co-workers like to share photos of their workplace on social media. "It's pretty amazing up there," he said. "It's a great environment to work in and you see a lot of interesting things from up that high." Sometimes what is happening on the other side of the window is just as fascinating as the city views. "I've seen a few strange things, some of which I probably can't repeat."

Residents are told by building management when the cleaning is happening. "Some people choose not to listen to that and still get a shock when they turn around and we're hanging on the outside."

The job is not without its pressures. Luke's employer Briteway faces plenty of competition in the window cleaning business. "We definitely need to perform," said Mr Lamont. "Everyone's always looking for a cheaper price." "We've got to make sure we're producing the best quality work that we can."

A highrise window cleaner begins his descent down the side of the Eureka Tower.

Friday 18 July 2014

Latest Window Cleaning Magazine Download
Window Cleaning Magazine July 2014 - Now Out!

Latest issue now available from website plus all back issues.
FREE to download. No log in required.

Content this issue
  • Glaswegian George - From the streets to window
  • The new Power Up - We speak to Jordan
  • Why most window cleaners die broke - Part three
  • Game changing solution? Jim Thomson's miracle potion
  • US van mounted systems - We have the specs on the latest
  • ISSA Interclean
  • WCM Stig reports
Plus much, much more....
* Can be viewed on portable devices that support .pdf format e.g.  ipad (with app) Kindle etc.

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