Rebranding The Art of Plumbing

Water as plumbing professionals’ life-giving art to give to the world

By Paul M. Onder

I started practicing the art of plumbing at the early age of 15 years old in 1978. In 2010, I quit my job as the district plumber for northern New Jersey Board of Education. The change came as a part of my new life as a Leukemia survivor.

That fall, my first article for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center “Bridges” edition had been published. I wrote about reinventing my life after my cancer experience. After the article became a reality for all to read, I had to put these words into action. I could no longer work in public bathrooms because of the need to protect my health.

When that career door closed, another opened. I had the opportunity to take a nine-month Business Operations Course, complete with a certificate. This course allowed me to study marketing. I gained passion to promote “life.” After taking the course, I began work as an instructor. In 2013, and I was offered a position to teach plumbing and heating for a New York City private school of trades.

I continued teaching at other schools, and now I am currently working for a public school in New Jersey. Because I need to achieve a CTE certification to teach, I must complete a two-year course at an approved college. I am enrolled in school with months to go.

I ponder my life today and my cancer story. I find a need to talk about the rebranding of plumbing as we move into the year of 2020. The questions of “What is plumbing?” and “How can we use this idea of reinvention to move our society forward?” were under consideration as I wrote this article.

To start, I want to revisit the past so to bring us to the present state of plumbing. I also want to bring up what needs to change as we move forward into our future of providing systems for proper human health and tools of cleanliness for all.

The 1926 poster included with this article illustrates, “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation.” This poster is still being used today. It was created by the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, which later became American Standard Company. There are a few messages in the poster I want to touch on.

The first message is clear, this trade of plumbing was designed to keep and maintain a higher standard of life for the protection of human health and safety.  The poster depicts a man standing on a pedestal with coveralls, a hat, and a pipe wrench in his hands. At his feet sits a lead pot, ladle, and a pig of lead. The eyes of the community point upward with faces of humility toward the plumber. The line of people to support the art of plumbing stretches as far as the eye can see.

Another message is that plumbing is global, which is portrayed with the image of the world that sits behind the plumber. Near the top of the poster its states, “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation.” The words bring the messages together with the fact that plumbing plays a leading role in our human existence.

This poster has been used to promote the art of plumbing for more than 93 Years. Do you think this poster correctly portrays plumbing today? Can you pick out what has changed in plumbing that has made this poster obsolete? Has plumbing become less of a human need? Or, has our society changed along with our American values and vision for a higher standard for life?

The plumber is no longer a man in overhauls handling a pipe wrench standing next to the lead pot and ladle. It can be seen as a positive change that plumbing has created a new environment that is more accepting of women in the workplace, which is a good start for the rebranding of the art of Plumbing.

However, the plumber also is no longer put on a pedestal to rise above all others. Technology in plumbing has developed and the artifacts of the lead pot with ladle have been assigned to plumbing museums. The standards and ethics of plumbing have been diminished to a point where society and even some plumbers now look down at this profession. As illustrated in cartoons, plumbers have the butt-crack of jokes. The importance of this trade and the life it brings is at an all-time low. The change of attitude from society gives rise for the need to reinvent and rebuild our profession.

This matter of urgency became apparent as we all watch as the state of Texas had talks of dismantling of the State Board of Plumbing Examiners, which is responsible for licensing plumbers and investigating claims of unlicensed work or violations of the plumbing licensing law.

How did we get to this position of degrading ethics and standards? The age of new technologies in the plumbing field have brought about many different changes for installing, maintaining, or replacing plumbing systems. The new materials and the tools have had a direct effect on the profession. This has also placed a change in the education for the trade. New technologies mean teaching new plumbing skills. We no longer value the skills of soldering, brazing, packing oakum, pouring hot lead into soil pipe connections, handling lead water piping, and the need to be able to lift heavy cast iron fixtures. While these changes have made our profession less labor intensive, they have also opened the door for more people to practice the art of plumbing without significant training or extensive knowledge.

There is a need for a new definition. I propose that plumbing is, “the art of supplying the tools, materials, and systems for a higher quality of life standard supported for proper human health.” We must build a new bridge between the past and right now! I am on a campaign to reeducate, invest, and develop tools along with systems that will aid in protecting human health and comfort. I am calling for unity. We must stand together for the rising of standards, ethics and values for human cleanliness. And, we must start with education.

In order to maintain a society of health, we need to attack the root causes for sickness. To support complete human health, I’m calling on plumbing professionals to address indoor air pollution, which can be 2 to 10 times more polluted than outside air pollution.

Our outside environment felt the direct effects of 9/11. After that event, we gained a better understanding and appreciation for air sickness, cancer, quality of life, and health issues. I believe we can use this experience to also understand and control our indoor living environment.

Plumbing professionals are already involved with indoor air quality. Plumbing Principal #12 of the National Standard Plumbing Code addresses exhausting foul air to the outside of the building. The two reasons we exhaust air out of a bathroom are foul odors and humidity.  Plumbers also use air when protecting water systems from cross contamination to the potable water supply, the air gap.

There is also a focus on addressing the lack of air quality in hospitals. Aerators are usually prohibited in hospitals because any airborne bacteria or disease in the air may enter into the potable water supply as it passes through the faucet spout opening. When talking about human health and providing an environment of healing, the proper amount of humidity inside of a hospital has certain health benefits. In the 2016 ASHRAE HVAC Systems and Equipment Handbook – Chapter 22, there is a chart that shows the OPTIMUM Zone for Relative Humidity. This zone supports improved healing process, reduced healthcare acquired infections, improved hydration, and decreased infections. By controlling the relative humidity, you also create an environment that cannot support static electricity.

ASHRAE Standard 170 section 6.6 deals with humidifiers in hospitals. Before the 2013 addendum to this standard, humidity was created by Isothermal Humidification (steam).  Added in the addendum M is Adiabatic humidification system, which is a system of high-pressure water spray. The cost benefit to this system is that it does not require any heating source.  Another fact for humidity is the use as a potable water source. Humidity is used for the technology of Atmospheric Water Generators. These water generators produce potable water from the inside or outside humidity.

Human health is supported and plays a great role for life in a clean environment of which we drink and breathe in clean, oxygenic, potable water! If we use the facts, plumbing professionals can move our society forward.  I call on the plumbing profession to take up this issues of indoor air quality and humidification. Together, we can tackle the inside environment to mitigate human health dangers of molds, mildews and stagnation of air and humidity.

The industry of plumbing has a history and a future of providing human health systems. Let us come together with a new, 2020 vision to return to the “Art of Protecting Health for All!”


About the Author

Mr. Paul M. Onder works as a public-school teacher working with high school level students, and is responsible for educating them on the trade of Plumbing. With over 40 years of trade experience, he is a former graduate from Passaic County Technical and Vocational High School, Wayne NJ. Afterwards he received his New Jersey Master Plumbing License at the age of 22. He received 4 months of Chemo therapy for a blood cancer while working as the district Plumber for a Public School system in northern New Jersey. After this experience, Paul was inspired to write about reinventing his Life after cancer treatment in the Fall of 2010. He quit his job so to go on so to become an educator. While teaching HVAC/r for a private trade school he became interested in the effects of Humidity, comfort and human health needs. Paul is inspired daily from his experience in cancer treatment and reflexes on rebranding and humidity while crafting the art of teaching. He seeks to become a leader for the industry of plumbing.

West Coast Wildfires and Pandemic Lead to an Increase in Demand for Air Purifiers

West Coast Wildfires and Pandemic Lead to an Increase in Demand for Air Purifiers


Indoor air quality has been one of the many concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the spotlight in 2020. Americans turned to portable air systems to increase airflow exchange and attempt to filter out airborne aerosolized contaminants, causing an uncommon scarcity in the portable air purification market. The massive wildfires ravaging the West Coast, only contribute to this already existing deficit, and residents find it hard to combat smoke-related health issues inside their own homes and businesses.

According to the American Lung Association, smoke and ash coming from wildfires can be extremely harmful to the lungs, especially for the elderly, children, and those with existing respiratory problems. The small size of particles, the amount of carbon monoxide (CO) and the amount of nitrogen oxide contained in smoke are all contributing factors to these ailments.

A common solution to protect the air in homes affected by wildfires is the addition of HEPA air purifiers that can filter these small particles, and eliminate gasses and odors associated with the smoke. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a depletion in air purifiers all over the country, as many states have imposed air quality regulations in businesses and schools. The CDC recommends the use of portable air cleaners running continuously in one or more rooms to protect yourself from wildfire smoke during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many residents and businesses are unable to acquire one due to the recent shortfall.

According to Google Trends, the search for air purifiers is at the highest it has been in the last five years. A recent report has shown that the industry will continue to rise until 2027 due to the increase in urban cities’ pollution and the prevalence of airborne diseases. EnviroKlenz®, a Florida-based company, has expanded its operations to support the demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With decades of experience in providing indoor air quality solutions, EnviroKlenz® is actively assisting customers and businesses affected by wildfires to provide them with advanced indoor environment results made readily available.


(The EnviroKlenz® Air System Plus)

The EnviroKlenz® Air System Plus is made in the USA and is composed of a 3-stage filtration system, including an air cartridge, a HEPA filter, and UV-C lights. The EnviroKlenz® air cartridge contains a patented earth mineral technology that captures and neutralizes odors and VOCs without releasing any byproducts back into the environment. Meanwhile, the medical-grade HEPA filter captures 99.99% of particles as small as 0.3-microns and the UV-C lights (outside of the ozone-producing range) shine directly onto its collection side, maximizing exposure time and germicidal destruction.

Testing shows that the EnviroKlenz® Air System Plus provided a 99.9% reduction of a virus, a 99.9% reduction of E.coli, and a 99.9% Reduction of Staphylococcus Epidermidis in an environmental test chamber. The virus tested, phi-X174, is ¼ of the size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – learn more here:

(EnviroKlenz® Air System neutralized hydrogen sulfide (a corrosive gas))





We’ve all heard of indoor air quality -the incidence of asthma, allergies, and other lung diseases has risen over time. How does cigarette/pipe/cannabis smoke penetrate the paint on the walls and the carpets? How does it affect those in homes or offices? How can it be removed, so good indoor air quality is restored?

The objective of the Ecobond® Indoor Air Quality study was to validate that Ecobond® Odor Defender effectively reduces hazards and odors from thirdhand smoke and ammonia (pet urine) significantly improves indoor air quality. The study proves that Ecobond® OdorDefender substantially reduced scientifically measured emissions originating from reemitted hazardous indoor air pollutants. Ecobond® OdorDefender provides a simple paint on solution to reducing common indoor air quality hazards, thus improving the indoor air quality.

  1. Introduction

Ecobond® OdorDefender® (EOD) is a specialty developed, professional grade, high quality paint infused with Eco-Friendly, highly effective odor blocking and odor absorbing minerals, and biopolymers. It is specifically designed for sealing and blocking dangerous fumes, and lingering odors resulting from the secondary effects of marijuana, cigarette, fire smoke, and pet urine. EOD will help seal and block odors and smoke residue to improve healthy indoor air quality standard.

  1. Hazards of Residual Smoke

New scientific studies show that smoke residue will re-emit hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) long after a smoker has vacated the premises1. It has been documented that both tobacco and marijuana share many VOCs2 so the results of this experiment are pertinent to both marijuana and tobacco smoke. For this experiment, marijuana was chosen as the primary pollutant because of its similarity to tobacco emissions and unique smell. Using the list of compounds identified in marijuana smoke by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), several of these can be detected using method TO-15: acetaldehyde, acetone, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK or 2-butanone), naphthalene, styrene, and toluene. A subset of these, (acetaldehyde, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and naphthalene) have been identified as being cancerous by OEHHA and the State of California. For this experiment, total VOCs were measured as well as specific compounds that were chosen to demonstrate the versatility of EOD’s capabilities; acetone, MEK, and naphthalene. Ammonia was measured as pet urine is a common indoor air quality contaminant as the urea in urine breaks down over time into ammonia3.

  1. National Expert Air Quality Testing Company

Air Sciences Inc. was chosen to perform the air quality study to identify and quantify compounds emitted from exposed material before and after the application of EOD. Air Sciences is a nationally recognized, industry leading expert that specializes in air pollution and air quality. They have 30+ years of experience in service for both industry and government including mineral extraction and refining, power production, natural gas processing, chemical manufacturing, painting processes, and pesticide formulation. They have worked closely with both the EPA and federal land managers.

  1. Experimental Program

The 30-day study took place from February 26, 2019 until March 28, 2019. High concentrations of marijuana were infused into drywall to simulate a house that had been smoked in for many years. Additionally, a high concentration of ammonia was used to simulate many years of pet urine contamination.

The application of EOD reduces the emissions from ammonia by 99% from a hazardous level (OSHA TWA for ammonia is 35 µg/L) to a level undetectable by the human nose (3 µg/L). The ammonia (NH3) concentration on Day 0 was 36.15 µg/L air. The concentration of ammonia measured in the chamber sharply decreased on Day +1 (4.97 µg/L air) and continued to decrease through Day +28 (0.372 µg/L air).

  1. Conclusion

Indoor air quality was vastly improved by the application of Ecobond® OdorDefender.

  • Ammonia concentration was reduced by 99%
  • Total VOC was reduced by 92.3%
  • MEK was reduced by 90%
  • Complete arrest of naphthalene
  • Acetone was reduced by 75%

Based on the results from the total VOC analysis and the individual compound analysis, this study provides scientific proof that when applied to a surface that has been exposed to the hazards of thirdhand smoke or ammonia caused from pet urine, Ecobond® OdorDefender® paint reduces the emissions of toxic VOC’s associated with third hand smoke and ammonia, thus providing substantially improved indoor air quality.





About ECOBOND® Paint LLC:

ECOBOND® Paint, LLC is the Premier Provider of Environmental Products Focused on Protecting Human Health from the Dangers of Lead, Smoke & Odor.

With over 15 years in patented and proven success, the ECOBOND® Paint, family of products is the premier provider of environmental products focused on protecting human health and the environment from the dangers of lead, smoke & odor and other pollutants.

Our innovative products have been sold online at major retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon and others for the past 10 years and we are proud to have served over 100,000 customers in all 50 US states, Canada, and Internationally including homeowners, landlords, contractors, Housing Departments, US Departments of Transportation (DOT), Defense (DOD), EPA and many more.


Why just paint when you can paint with a purpose?

How To Keep Dust Out Of Your Home

Are you having guests coming over and now your indoors smell dusty? Or are you the kind of person who constantly has dust on the furnishings no matter what you do? Does it seem like there is no way to get rid of the dust in your home?

Well you’re in luck, cause we’re about to reveal…

Dust is one of the most irritating annoyances that anyone living in a building can bare. There is nothing quite as gross as hopping onto your favourite couch to relax in front of the telly or catch up on the latest post only to feel that waft of dust float up your nostrils and into your air ways, tickle your throat and make you sneeze and cough.

Keeping dust out of your home can be a challenging task, but with a little bit of work you can find where it’s coming from, minimize it and sometimes totally get rid of it from inside your living spaces.

Generally, dust comes from three sources. It’s either:

  • walked in or carried inside:on your shoes, on your clothes, even on your pets, and on the things they and you carry inside, fabric in the mattress, pillows, bedding, curtains, blinds, upholstery and carpeting fibres, dryer lint, building insulation, they all bring dust particles inside.
  • blown inside:through open windows and doors, through building gaps and cracks. Organic dust particles are naturally derived from soil erosion, decomposing leaves, pollen and other plant matter, bacteria, viruses, mould, fragmented cockroach and insect parts, bush fires and household fireplaces.

Or it’s likely to have been caused by inorganic sources from mining, smelting, industrial processes, emissions from fuel, coal, gas and oil combustion.

  • attracted and trapped: in electronics, on the carpet, on top of your fridge, even in air conditioning and heating ducts, vents, roof cavities and sub floor basements, on wall paper and in the dryer, simply stuck on stuff!

As new homes become air tighter, and more heavily electronic, the dust problem is an increasing one as it becomes trapped, makes the building more dirty and attracts more dust.

I know what you’re thinking. Why can’t I get rid of dust completely?

Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to dust infestations, but by simply taking a few precautions, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home and sometimes stop it from ever entering your indoors again.

Dust Is Good to Go!

Sure, it is a little gross to look at, but dust does serve a very important purpose. If you like your soft furnishings and clothing, you definitely see it around, even more so with pets.

Materials naturally break down to finer particles, float in the air adding to a multitude of other materials and organisms and bacteria and skin and pet hair. If you get rid of the pets and the soft materials in your room, then you will find that you have a lot less work ahead of you with your dusting, I promise you that.

When Is Dust a Problem?

Most of the time you will have to worry about dust bunnies taking up residency indoors, as they settle in quiet undisturbed areas in the building.

We’ve all seen dust swirling around in corners,  the nor easterly winds here in Sydney Australia whip up a speed that drives particles from pollens, dust, smoke, agriculture and construction dust to the entry points in your home and if you happen to have doors and windows open, it will blow right in!

Once in, the strong breeze doesn’t seem to have the momentum inside, and dust can often simply float in the air and land on any surface, dust is trapped and can’t get moving again.

Keep That Dust Away

(Dust! ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

No matter how unsightly it may be for your furnishings, it is a nuisance if you have to try to wipe it off your hard furnishings or vacuum or wash them out of your bedding, lounges and carpets. So what can you do about it?

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all fix that will take care of dust, and you may never be able to totally eliminate the problem. Still, you aren’t left without options. Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use to reduce or eliminate your dust problem once and for all.

  1. Remove Your Shoes

Outdoor dust is best addressed by wiping your feet at the front door, then mopping hard surface floors with a microfibre or vacuuming carpeted floors with a power head and HEPA filter. Helps the carpets last longer.

First, remove all shoes before entering, that is everyone who occupies this building including guests, to ensure nothing enters the building. Besides, if you leave a pair of slippers for occupants and guests to slip into, just inside the doorway, they’ll get the hang of it. Great reminder.

  1. Invest in good quality doormats

Choosing the right door mat for inside and outside the entry ways can stop a lot of the dust from ever entering your home. You can use an entry door mat, which collects dirt from your shoes and feet. Or you can use an indoor mat which prevents dust from entering your space.

  1. After a Storm Check the Outside of the House

I know this isn’t always possible, after all we are all busy. However, if you can, after the storm has passed go ahead and give your pathways, porch and balcony areas a quick check and a clean if need be.

You can buy a broom to sweep outdoor surfaces, which usually comes with a dust pan if you live in a unit.

If you can get to it soon enough after the heavy rains, you may be able to capture that debris and dirt before it has had a chance to reach your front and back doors and maybe before being dried by the sun and becoming dust. Pick up and move debris to garden beds or compost so it can, well, decompose.

(Broom and dustpan quickly remove unwelcome dust ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

  1. Landscape Your Landscaping

Who doesn’t love great looking gardens, clean paths, manicured lawns around their property. In many ways it really makes your home natural, brings nature in touch with buildings.

You may try to reconfigure your landscaping away from your building entrances and pathways. This will increase the distance any pollen and dust that drifts, will make it before its dried by the sun and decomposes outside.

Plant plenty of trees with lots of foliage, captures dust particles, and washes off with the rain, and drops right into the ground below, nowhere near your indoors.

Some dust will inevitably manage to make it, despite the odds, so don’t expect this solution to put a stop to it. But it will reduce the quantity of dust that reaches your home meaning you will have less to clean out.

(Garden screening and foliage captures dust particles ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

  1. Hard Surfaced Pathways

Try adding hard surfaced pathways, not so much the concrete or tar type, which can lead to water runoff issues, more like unique stepping stones or pavers around the building perimeter.

You can even add them just on top of the soil where the concrete meets the ground. This hard surface will reduce decomposition of the soil around your home, something that can be swept away really easily.

(Garden path pavers provide soil cover ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

  1. Screen to Block!

If dust and debris are a problem, or you’d love less dust indoors, and just need more help, you could always try screening.

By screening the landscaping and grassy areas around your home will deflect any dust present in that area and capture dust from going into the home.

You can also screen doors and windows with fly screen materials, this will capture larger dust particles at the entry as well stop flies and mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies visiting when you least expect it. I feel you should consider this option carefully where air flow may be compromised, as fly screens will also reduce the ventilation that is very beneficial to your indoors and air flow.

Pay attention to what’s going on outside when you open windows to avoid letting extra dust and pollution in. Dust or vacuum screens with the brush attachment before wiping with a dampened microfibre cloth to help cut down on what blows in when you’re simply trying to get a little fresh air.

(Dust on fly screen to bedroom window ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

  1. Seal up Your Home

Check doors and windows to make sure seals are working well and have not deteriorated.

Check for holes and splits in the exterior surfaces, sub floor and roof cavities, to ensure that dust blown into these areas doesn’t pull into living spaces.

When wind hits these exterior surfaces, the materials will take the big hit. That means, your indoors will be protected over time and might see a more drastic change in dust levels, which is a good thing — thank you, maintenance.

(Leaf poking through gap between ceiling cornice and wall ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

  1. Dusty Handling Systems

No matter how much you tidy, dust, or vacuum, if your HVAC system or air purifier filter or dehumidifier is dusty, your air is dusty.

The method you use to clean your air purifier filter will depend on whether it’s a HEPA filter or an Activated Carbon filter, Mechanical or electrostatic filter. Regardless of the type, clean or replace your filter on a regular basis, and keep an eye out for dust build up between cleanings.

(Air purifier provide fresh air when you need it most ~ by Mitey Fresh Australia)

You’re Ready To Be Your Own Dust Pro!

Dust in your home won’t really hurt your home, it’s just kind of dusty. There is no set cure for dust in your home, however there are many options for you to try to reduce or eliminate your dust problem once and for all.

Experiment with the different solutions and maybe even use a combination of more than one for the best results.

Now that you know what you need to keep your indoors and outdoors clean, you can make sure you have the right tools and methods on hand so your home is always clean, ready, and waiting for you.

Towards healthier living,

Carol Parr

About the Author

Carol Parr is a consultant, healthy home wizard, and building biologist. Through mentoring, she teaches families the pure necessity to live natural, healthy lives, create truly healthy homes, and contribute to human well being. Drawing on her experience of more than two decades, she consults in the home, integrates health, natural living and available, sustainable and effective practices that are pleasing to the senses. Her collection of modern day living resources is freely available on blog, video, and Mitey Fresh Australia. Carol seeks to contribute to human well being and preservation that determines the future health of our children and their environment tomorrow.