Let’s Ban Everything.

Submitted by:

Jill Heidorf   RCI, CSI, WWYW

Sales Manager TERM Barrier Systems Division

 

Did it start with Starbucks banning plastic straws? I doubt it; it just seems that way. After all, that poor sea turtle was all over national news needing to clear its own nose of a plastic straw that had found it’s way stuck inside.   You must start thinking back to the smaller things or less significant changes, like banning cigarettes on certain beaches and restaurants, or larger things like Southwest Airlines serving their last bag of peanuts, and only offering pretzels. There are a lot of cultural changes that make us think that everything is being banned.

We, as Americans, don’t seem to mind being told that we can or should not use certain products. Aerosols are bad for the ozone layer, lead-based paints are harmful if ingested, dumping chemicals into the rivers and lakes is damaging to all wildlife, eating unpasteurized milk or cheese products can make us sick. We need to be rescued from ourselves, how do we know what is best for us unless someone is there to regulate and ban products?

In the Pest Industry, there have been many changes over the years. DDT was effective during WWII to keep our troops free from malaria. DDT is no longer allowed to be used on crops in the US due to effects it can have on the human nervous system and possible carcinogen.  Chlordane is the man-made answer to DDT, but it has also been banned due to human health concerns. Chlordane was the answer before the 1980’s for termite control on wood houses. What we need to know is that certain pesticides used for specific controls is NOT a bad thing. Pesticides are very helpful for controlling termites in our homes. Fipronil is a broad-based insecticide for fleas on our pets, termites, roaches, ants, and ticks. When the label is followed properly on insecticides, they can be very effective and safe for that particular job.  Do not use a specific insecticide as a general use control, that is when pesticides get a bad reputation. Pesticides serve a very important purpose in our overall well-being and lifestyle.

Alternatively using products with no pesticides, often referred to as Physical Barriers, is a great way to serve the environment and your healthy lifestyle around your home. While most of these Physical Barriers are meant for new construction (think of building your home from the ground up with the correct sheets, stones, and sealants that will allow your home to block bad air and water from the outside, breathe when it needs to, and drain water where it needs to. Now imagine doing all that and keeping insects from entering the home). A home is a living breathing shell that protects you and your family.  When you understand how a home needs to do all three of these processes, it allows the bigger picture of long-term sustainability for the occupants.

So instead of banning everything, let’s understand the importance of when to allow certain products, and why and where they should be used. Canada tells us if the inert ingredients in products are now allergenic to people and we see daily the calorie content of foods on restaurant menus. We are providing a lot of information, and it may seem overload at times. I like to think it is not a ban, but a pathway to a better world for all of us to reside in.

Air & Vapor Barrier Membranes that are 3-in-1

Submitted by Jill Heidorf   RCI, CSI, WWYW

We live in a world of “More is Better.”

When did simple products like paint, toothpaste, detergent, or deodorant, start to have multi uses? Think about it, practically everything on the shelf now has a dual, triple or even higher purpose for our convenience.  But you have to admit, you feel better when you buy a gallon of paint for the living room, and you don’t need to prime the walls first to cover the old color. And what about a detergent that fights stains, odors and safely whitens clothing, all in a squishy little pod. Wow, we have it good.

This innovation trend hasn’t escaped the Building Materials Industry. I’ve been in the business all my life, and I have marveled at how it has evolved. I remember when fluid-applied air barriers first hit the market. Before you knew it, the market became saturated with fluid membranes that were thin or thick mil, breathable or non-breathable, commercial or residential. It was confusing and a red-ocean market for anyone trying to sell an air barrier.

Well, my friend, Air Barriers are here to stay. They are the answer to the age-old problem of “How do I keep the outside air out and the inside air in?” Most products on the market are tested to ASTM standards for air and water leakage and puncture resistance. That makes sense, after all, they need to stay adhered and provide the function they are labeled for, “Air & Vapor Barrier.” But Mr. Air Barrier Maker what have you done for me lately? I mean, it is a great product, offering protection from outside air and vapor, but can’t it evolve into something greater? Where is my “multi-use” air barrier? Something that can keep all of it out; air, moisture, pests, nasty things that crawl and chew. If we can keep out all these things out, that would be a product that could revolutionize the industry.

Customers don’t just want waterproofing protection anymore; they want a product that can provide the added benefits of pest exclusion. Why should they accept that spiders, cockroaches, ants, mice, termites, (shall I continue?) be able to find ways into their structure if they have a decent Air & Vapor Barrier installed?

Air Barriers providing 3-in-1 benefits are going to be the next product innovation, and guess what? That product is already here. Customers are pretty educated; they are going to start asking if the Air & Vapor Barrier that their contractor specified has been tested to keep out pesky critters that can chew, bite or simply crawl their way inside.

More is better. It’s time to evolve my friend.

New Employee-Owner Announcement

Polyguard would like to welcome Craig Bo Young, TERM Commercial Development Manager, Atlanta, GA. Bo was hired into the TERM Division as their Commercial Development Manager on August 27, 2018. His recent experience of more than 30 years with Modernfold, Pergo and Armstrong make him an excellent candidate for this position. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife. His plans for Polyguard’s future are to “grow sales volume”. Welcome Bo.

Particle Barriers for Blocking Subterranean Termites

Let’s face it, no one wants to hear the word ‘termite’.  It will make us want to either not listen to what the person is saying, or tense up with our eyes widened and want to hear more. Termites are the most invasive of all pests, causing more property damage than most other pests combined. If you have ever been a victim of termite damage or have known someone that has been a victim, typically you know the only way to control these wood-eaters is by calling a Pest Control Professional (PCP).

Once the PCP is at your home, they can offer you a few choices: Termiticides sprayed around your foundation and mixed in with your soil, or Bait Stations that have some termiticide in them and once the soldier termites find the bait stations, carry the termiticide back to the queen to hopefully end the colony.

These choices had really been your only two best answers. Termiticides work, and there are some very good ones on the market, but they are pesticides. I know you are asking me, well, what are my other choices, if any?

Glad you asked.  If there was a product without any pesticides and was proven by years of University research, a product that was a physical barrier, and was safe around kids, dogs, and chemically sensitive adults, would you be interested in knowing more about it? Would you say, “That would be a product that I could use at my home or commercial property?”

Particle Barrier maybe your answer.  What is that, you ask? Particle Barriers are a physical barrier that have had many years of solid research and gratifying proven results to stopping subterranean termites of gaining access into homes.  Particle Barriers of similar types have been used in Hawaii and Australia for over 40 years. They have been proven to work. But shipping basaltic ash from Hawaii just isn’t worth the cost for anyone to want to pay, and don’t even think about shipping costs from Australia! Crikey!

Particle Barrier can be found for sale here on the good ole mainland. It is a precisely sized, weighted, and crushed stone particle, exclusively for the barrier of below-grade termites. Particle Barrier can be used on existing structures or new ones.  The only requirement? Yes, there had to be a requirement! To be effective, Particle Barrier needs to be placed around vertical concrete.  So, let’s break that down:

Vertical Concrete:       slab-on-grade foundation, concrete piers, concrete grade beams

                                                (cannot be used for wood piers)

The Particle Barrier Wedge or Trench

The Particle Barrier Wedge or Trench

The Particle Barrier is typically installed (poured) into a 4” x 4” trench that is dug around all vertical concrete.  You want to protect your structure! Concrete Slab homes have a vulnerable area at every weep hole at the bases of brick homes, and any wood siding homes. You can also choose to install in a “wedge” shaped trench, 6” down on the concrete, 4” out and 5” diagonally.  This will provide the same protection.

How do these particles work with no pesticide? This is the cool part. (Cool because it has a terrific track record!) The Particles are too heavy for the termite to move, too hard to chew or bite, and they compact so tightly they cannot crawl between.  This provides a physical barrier to your property that does not degrade, allows the passage of water, and looks nice against the structure.

Particle Barrier is precisely sized stone particles

Particle Barrier is precisely sized stone particles

So, what is the downside? Or are you asking the negatives? I want to provide you with all the information that you may be thinking, so let’s add some maintenance items:

Particle Barrier should be installed by a licensed PCP. This allows protection for you and a warranty to be provided.

Annual inspection is necessary by the PCP.  Each PCP varies with their warranties and may require additional inspections.

Particle Barrier should not be covered, and needs to remain visible.

Particle Barrier may need additional “topping off” if any is disturbed by animals, landscapers, heavy rains.

If you decide that Particles are the way to go for your structure, or you would like to use them, say just in your backyard, due to pets and/or children, then we have pesticide-free solutions.  Particles can always be used in conjunction with Pesticides when needed (think crawl spaces, patios, driveways). And this is considered a limited impact treatment.  The less pesticides you use in your structure, the better off you will be breathing in the future. That brings us all some comfort.

Here’s hoping you have a termite-free home and never need us, but for most folks living in the Midwest, South and near the coastline, the chances are pretty high that these buggers are waiting for a new structure to feast upon.

Jill Heidorf RCI, CSI, WWYW
Sales Manager TERM Barrier Systems Division
jheidorf@polyguard.com
Phone: 469-500-8402
www.PolyguardBarriers.com

Controlling Cockroaches

Controlling Cockroaches

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph. D.

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

When you ask someone which insect they are most afraid of, I would guess most people will say, “cockroaches”. Spiders may be a close second, but then again, spiders are not insects.

Did you know that the fear of insects is referred to as entomophobia?

I seem to have digressed….

Get On With It!

You may be wondering I am talking about cockroaches. Doesn’t the TERM Barrier Division deal with termites? Why, yes! But cockroaches are one of those insect invaders that disrupt the comfort of a structure’s inhabitants. As manufacturers of building envelope materials, Polyguard’s TERM Barrier System not only protects the structure from moisture and energy loss, but insects as well! Talk about double duty!

TERM™ Barrier Excludes Pests from structures

Not only do these materials block entry of insect pests into the structure as physical barriers, but the waterproofing qualities eliminate a requisite for life from the structure: moisture. Without easy access to it, most insects will find the home uncomfortable.

dead cockroach

Here’s another fun fact for the dinner table: termites and cockroaches are actually in the same order of insects (Blattodea). Though they are not very similar anatomically, they were recently found to be close ancestors through genetic studies.

So, what is our primary concern with cockroaches, besides the fact that most people just find the sight of them uncomfortable?

Cockroaches are mechanical vectors of pathogens that cause diseases in humans. This means that the cockroaches will pick up pathogens from the environment on their feet, bodies, or mouthparts, and transmit the pathogen to your food, or food prep surface. This can all happen without anyone ever seeing a roach!

controlling cockroaches

Possible diseases that can result from these pathogens are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Plague

cockroaches

There are many species of cockroaches in the United States that inhibit our homes and structures, but the two most common are the German Cockroach and the American Cockroach.

German cockroach

  • Found mostly indoors
  • Enjoy wet, damp, and humid conditions
  • Typically found in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Identified by two dark longitudinal stripes on their back
  • Adults are approximately 0.5″ in length

German Cockroach

American Cockroach

  • Large species (1.5” long)
  • Found indoors and outdoors
  • Enjoy dark humid areas of the structure, such as kitchens, bath traps, and basements

American Cockroach

Cockroach Control

Integrated pest management is the key to controlling cockroaches. While pesticides are a great tool for immediate relief, there are things that you can do around the home or structure to prevent them from ever coming inside, or eliminate their presence. Remember, IPM is an ecological approach to the control of target pests in which all available necessary control techniques are systematically consolidated into a unified program. The goal of an IPM program is to manage pest populations while avoiding economic damage and minimizing adverse side effects.

  • Eliminate sources of food. Store dry goods in sealed containers and get rid of any standing water indoors. This includes pet food!
  • Clean floors. Even the smallest amount of food debris left behind can be a holiday meal for a cockroach.
  • Clear clutter. Paper goods such as newspaper and cardboard boxes provide excellent harborage for cockroaches.
  • Install barriers. The goal is to prevent cockroaches from moving about the home or structure. Sealing up gaps around pipes, drains, or wall voids can prevent roaches from invading.

TERM Sealant Barrier and TERM Bath Trap Barriers are excellent tools to use when installing barriers, either pre- or post-construction.

TERM Sealant Barrier is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep insects out of your home or structure is to protect the plumbing penetrations above the slab. Plumbing and pipe penetrations can provide access to the home or structure through the miniscule openings that occur between the pipe and concrete. I like to refer to this area as a “super highway” for pest intrusion because there is little to stand in the way of a determined pest.

TERM Sealant Barrier

The TERM All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier uses a combination of TERM Barrier System materials to block pests in the slab leave-out. TERM membrane, micromesh, sealant, and particle barrier are installed to block pests that may be seeking entrance into the structure through a vulnerable, yet hard-to-treat, area.

TERM Integrated Pest Management

TERM Integrated Pest Management

When evaluating a cockroach infestation and your options for control, don’t forget to include barriers in your IPM plan. Barriers like those of the TERM Barrier System are the safest and least expensive form of control.

For additional information on the TERM® Barrier System products, please feel free to email me at ckrejci@polyguard.com.

Integrated Pest Management and Schools

Integrated Pest Management and Schools by Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

As we find ourselves in March already, it’s hard not to notice the students getting restless for Spring Break and eventual summer vacation. One thing we don’t want to see students get restless about is the presence of bugs in their classrooms. Schools across the United States utilize school integrated pest management (IPM) programs to combat insects with a balanced approach.

School Bus

I have written about IPM in the past, in which we outlined the very general concepts of IPM. Integrated pest management is an ecological approach to the control of target pests in which all available necessary control techniques are systematically consolidated into a unified program. The goal of an IPM program is to manage pest populations while avoiding economic damage and minimizing adverse side effects.

IPM Pyramid

Steps to an IPM program include:

  1. Monitoring pest populations
  2. Developing a management plan
  3. Implementing the plan
  4. Evaluating & Re-implementing the plan

While these steps are short and simple, they are integral in maintaining control over a pest population.

Integrated Pest Management

The National Pesticide Information Center highlights school IPM well:

  • IPM can be more effective than routine pesticide treatments,
  • IPM can cost less over the long term, and
  • IPM can reduce children’s exposure to pesticides. That’s important because children may be more sensitive to their toxic effects.

Additionally, they list many resources on their school IPM website.

Playground

School IPM is a topic covered mostly by agriculture extension services in each state and focuses on pest management after the school is built. However, due to the use of cardboard carton forms during school construction, especially in the south and southeastern United States, problems with insects in schools can be there from the beginning. Cardboard carton forms, or void boxes, are commonly used to form a void space between the slabs and grade beams built on expansive soils. While these are an economic solution, they can initiate issues with insects in the structure from the beginning.

Termites

Termites feed on cellulose – not concrete, not paint – just cellulose. Cellulose makes up wood and plant-based products, such as cardboard. When cardboard carton forms are used below the slab it is important to include a barrier that can block termite and other pest intrusion.

Termites

TERM Underslab Barrier is the only research – developed and proven barrier on the market for this application.

TERM Underslab Barrier

TERM Underslab Barrier is a strong sheet barrier with n 8.5 mils high strength cross-laminated polyethylene backing topped with a 69 mil thick layer of TERM Sealant Barrier integrated into a high strength non-woven geotextile fabric. Total membrane thickness is factory controlled at 95 mils.

Integrated Pest Management

TERM Underslab Barrier functions as the full underslab waterproofing barrier that also blocks termites from coming through the slab.

When building a structure, whether it be a school where children spend their days, or an office where one will spend 40 hours a week, it’s important to think about overall comfort and wellbeing of the occupants from the beginning. A structure built on cardboard carton forms is predisposed to having issues with termite and pest intrusion, unless proper steps are taken in the beginning to disrupt termite foraging. TERM Underslab Barrier complements the building envelope by functioning not only as the required waterproofing barrier, but also as a termite barrier.

For additional information on the TERM® Barrier System products, please feel free to email me at ckrejci@polyguard.com.

Bridging Industries: Why are we concerned with termites? by Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph. D.

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

TERM® Barrier for Isolation Joints

I have written extensively in past TERM blogs about termites and the damage they can do to structures. But why? Besides the fact that I am an entomologist, and bugs are just plain cool, I am part of a team at Polyguard that has worked for many years to bridge the building industry and the pest management industry.

 

Architects and Entomologists

Current building standards require the use of materials that keep air and moisture out of structures. Recent improvements on these building materials and their installation have made it possible to add termite and pest exclusion to the building envelope as well.

TERM® Membrane Barrier protects against termites

Subterranean termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage to structures in the United States each year (source). Since termiticide pretreatments are not required in all states, that cost has the potential to increase.

Termite Tubes Termite Damage

Polyguard has manufactured building envelope materials for sealing out water, and for sealing in energy, since 1970. In the TERM Barrier System Division, we have upgraded these same building envelope materials to exclude pests, as well.

By not including pesticides in our products, but instead strengthening them and installing them in the structure, we have created a physical barrier. Physical barriers do not kill pests, like a pesticide or a trap would, but instead physically block pests from movement into a structure. Physical barriers are not a new concept, but recent advances in the use of building materials to effectively exclude pests have made it possible to add new dimensions to integrated pest management strategies.

Non-Pesticide Termite Barrier

Implementation of non-pesticide termite and pest barriers into the building envelope can put long-term pest control options into the hands of the architect, builder, and subsequent owner.

Apply TERM® Sealant Barrier

Think of Polyguard as an innovator and manufacturer of barriers – not just barriers against moisture and corrosion, but against contaminants like radioactive radon gas, methane, and insect pests. The solution to all of these building envelope offenders lies in the TERM Barrier System.

For additional information on the TERM® Barrier System products, please feel free to email me at ckrejci@polyguard.com.

Polyguard Records 25th Consecutive Year of Sales Growth

ENNIS, TX – Polyguard Products Inc. announced this week that 2017 marked its 25th consecutive year of top line sales growth for the company.

“This streak rivals any that I know in the business world,” President Shawn Eastham said. “This is a credit to our diversity, the quality of our manufacturing practices and, most importantly, the employee owners who take so much pride in the work they do every day.”

Polyguard’s streak began in 1992 and has withstood the financial ups and downs of the various markets Polyguard serves, including several nationwide recessions. The leadership in place at Polyguard credits this to several factors that make Polyguard a unique company, highlighted in the company tagline: Employee Owned. Innovation Based. Expect More.

“Employee owners, historically, take a greater sense of pride in what they do, more responsibility for the overall health of the company, and there’s a system of checks and balances that keeps everyone working for the good of the entire company,” CEO John Muncaster, who has been the head of the company since the mid-1980s.

As a result of these increased sales, Polyguard more than doubled its manufacturing capabilities by moving the majority of its manufacturing facility to Corsicana, Texas to keep up with demand.

Founded in 1953, Polyguard Products specializes in products which protect surfaces and structures from moisture, water, or other undesired substances. Polyguard is an industry leader in the production of self-adhesive protective coatings for engineering and construction.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tre Bischof at 214-515-5000 or email at Tbischof@polyguardproducts.com.

[read more…]

Polyguard Termite Barrier Receives International Building Code Evaluation

Polyguard Products, Inc. has announced that its TERM® Barrier System has received an evaluation report as a Termite Physical Barrier from the International Code Council.

Polyguard’s TERM Barrier System joins Termimesh®* as the second Termite Physical Barrier evaluated by the ICC. TERM is a termite exclusion system built into the “building envelope”, and is the first building-wide, nonchemical pest exclusion system available to designers and builders for sustainable construction.

The TERM Barrier concept started at a November 1999 meeting with Texas A&M Urban Entomology scientists. The meeting discussed whether Polyguard building envelope materials, which have been used since 1970 to seal moisture and energy leaks, could be refined to also seal out termites, as well.

The 1999 meeting started an 18-year program of lab and field testing with Texas A&M and four other major southeastern U.S. entomology labs. The resulting TERM Barrier System, built in at the time of construction, uses upgraded sealants plus several new design details to add pest exclusion capability. TERM Barriers seal off entry points for subterranean termites, as well as entry points of most other pests around the structure.

There are several TERM components where installation by a Pest Management Professional is required or preferred. These are sealant barriers for plumbing or electrical penetration, combination barriers for bath traps and blockouts, sill barriers, and particle barriers at exposed building perimeters.

TERM Barriers enable the expansion of IPM within new construction. Sustainable construction standards now call for IPM. IPM, in turn calls for “Nonchemical pest preventive measures……designed into the structure…….”.

To meet requirements for the ICC’s AC-380 Termite Physical Barrier standard, TERM Barriers were field tested at four termite-infested sites against both Coptotermes formosanus and Reticulitermes flavipes, which are the most economically destructive termites in the United States. In these 5-year field trials, wood protected by TERM Barriers suffered no damage, while all exposed wood control samples were destroyed.

Polyguard Products is a 100 percent employee owned manufacturer of protective materials based in Ennis, Texas. Polyguard employee-owners have generated a constant stream of innovative products, resulting in 25 consecutive years of growth in sales revenue.

The International Code Council (ICC), based in Brea, California, is dedicated to developing model building codes which “Protect the health, safety, and welfare of people by creating safe buildings and communities”. ICC Codes have been adopted as the building code standard by most U.S. governmental jurisdictions, as well as by many countries worldwide.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Cassie Krejci, 940-577-1830, or ckrejci@polyguard.com.

Reference Links:
http://www.icc-es.org/Reports/pdf_files/load_file.cfm?file_type=pdf&file_name=ESR-3632.pdf
http://www.polyguardproducts.com/term/leed/
www.PolyguardBarriers.com

* Termimesh is a trademark of TERMI-MESA Australia PTY LTD.

Polyguard Receives ICC Evaluation Report for a Physical Termite Barrier

Polyguard Products, of Ennis, TX, has announced the issuance of ICC ES-3632, an International Code Council evaluation report titled TERM® Barrier System [link to ICC report]. The report evaluates the TERM System against ICC’s AC380 standard for Termite Physical Barrier Systems. [Link to ICC]

TERM Barriers create a fine-tuned building envelope system, incorporating non-chemical physical barriers which exclude termites, insects, and other pests. Since insects and pests almost all enter structures by penetrating the building envelope, TERM excludes them at entry points around the structure. TERM is an upgrade of existing envelope materials, so the cost of this sustainability improvement will generally be moderate.

TERM Barriers are based on 18 years of research and university testing. Polyguard has worked with Texas A&M University entomology scientists since 1999. In 2014, the University of Florida, Louisiana State University and the University of Georgia began working with Polyguard.

The ICC’s AC 380 acceptance criteria for Termite Physical Barrier Systems closely parallel the stringent requirements which state pest control regulators have for chemical termiticides. Successful field testing for five years at multiple sites, using unprotected controls, is required.

As a sustainability innovation, the TERM Barrier System relates to LEED in two ways:

1. LEED V4 standards call out the implementation of IPM (Integrated Pest Management). LEED credits are using wording such as:

“Nonchemical pest preventive measures, either designed into the structure or implemented as part of pest management activities.” (underlining by Polyguard)

http://www.usgbc.org/credits/existing-buildings-schools-existing-buildings-retail-existing-buildings-hospitality-exist-26

Until now, the only physical pest barrier elements available for designing into the structure have treated specific spots around the building envelope. TERM Barriers give a new alternative – materials to exclude pests all around the envelope. Close to 100 percent exclusion can be attained with proper construction.

2. TERM Barrier Systems add a new dimension to the WELL Certification. A search of the WELL Building Standard v1 for “pest” shows 66 occurrences of “pest” or “pesticide”. This frequency speaks to the potential improvement in interior wellness which built-in pest exclusion will bring. With reduced pest entry, buildings with TERM Barriers will experience long-term minimization of the need for chemical treatments.

Other sustainability upgrades within the WELL goals include a reduction in pest related health problems and increased peace of mind (comfort) for occupants.

Polyguard Products is 100 percent owned by its employees. On Dec. 31, 2017, the company will celebrate 25 consecutive years of sales growth. In 2017, Polyguard expanded manufacturing capability to over 500,000 square feet at its Ennis, Texas and Corsicana, Texas facilities.

Polyguard has manufactured protective coatings for structures and infrastructure since 1952. The company’s first building envelope product, 650 Waterproofing Membrane, was introduced in 1970.

Polyguard Barrier Systems Division will be at Greenbuild booth #1061 Nov. 8–11 in Boston.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jill Heidorf, 469-500-9402, or jheidorf@polyguard.com. Please visit www.polyguardbarriers.com for more information.