Vacaville company faces fine over lead paint in Bay Area homes

By Robert Digitale, The Press Democrat

leadpaintVacaville-based Blue Mountain Air is facing a $51,000 fine for failing to follow federal rules in the treatment and removal of lead-based paint during its renovation of four Bay Area homes, the U.S. Environmental Protection announced Wednesday.

The company, a subsidiary of Blue Mountain Inc., failed to obtain required EPA certification before the renovations, and also failed to keep required records and to ensure the project’s workers were certified to safely remove lead-based paint, the agency said.

The four homes, all foreclosures, were renovated in 2011 and 2012 in Santa Rosa, Napa and El Sobrante. Read more

DIY home renovations and asbestos – a dangerous mix

Posted by http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/

asbestos-exposureOn the eve of National Asbestos Awareness Day, the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia had warned of a “third wave” of exposure to asbestos, as DIY home renovations spike in popularity.

Friday, 28 November, marked National Asbestos Awareness Day, where groups came together to pay tribute to the thousands of Australians who have died from asbestos-related diseases. However, the day also exists to remind the community of the present threat asbestos poses.

Currently, 600 mesothelioma cases are reported a year, and this is expected to rise to more than 900 cases a year by 2020, with the National Health and Medical Research Council estimating that more than 25,000 Australians will die from mesothelioma over the next 40 years.

“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres,” Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said.

“In the past, the first wave of people affected by asbestos-related diseases were those exposed to fibres in the mining and manufacturing process and their families. Then came the second wave, which were people exposed to fibres from using products in the workplace.

The foundation is warning of a “third wave” of asbestos-related diseases that will include people renovating homes without the proper precautions. Read more

Asthmatics alerted over spores threat

By Sarah Cosgrove, http://www.hortweek.com/

aspergillus-flavus_tnA professional gardener whose lung filed with pus after inhaling a deadly fungus that lurks in bark and mulch has warned others that they should be careful.

People with asthma or a weak immune system are advised to wear masks when moving rotting leaf, plant and tree mulch because of the microscopic dust that this dislodges, which can contain Aspergillus fungal spores.

The National Aspergillosis Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester, sees about 350 new patients a year with conditions coming from inhaling the spores. Professor of infectious diseases in global health David Denning said numbers are growing, especially among people who take steroids – arthritis sufferers, for example – which suppress their immune systems.

“Most of us are either immune to the fungus or have a sufficiently healthy system to fight the infection,” he added. “But in asthma sufferers it can produce coughing and wheeziness, and in people with weak or damaged immune systems the fungus can cause pulmonary aspergillosis – a condition that can cause irreparable and sometime fatal damage to the lungs and sinuses.”

One previously “very fit” professional gardener who had asthma only as a child and went to the gym three times a week became very ill with pulmonary aspergillosis and said she was lucky to have survived. Read more

QuanTEM’s Christmas Fundraiser – Bringing joy to OKC Foster Families

AngelsFFN_OKC_Logo1.jpg1Each year around Christmas the staff at QuanTEM works to raise money for a local charitable organization. This year’s recipient is the Angels Foster Family Network of OKC. Angels is a private foster child placing agency in Oklahoma County, rescuing children who have often been traumatized while living in emergency shelters or in a series of short term foster homes after being abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents.

This year QuanTEM employees engaged in a multitude of activities, including; bake sales, card games, prize drawings and coin drops, in order to raise money. Some employees even went above and beyond by agreeing to dress-up in costume when benchmarks were reached. The money raised by employees will be matched by QuanTEM and donated to Angels as a Christmas gift.

Unicorn Morgan

Morgan Lane – Microbiologist

Thank you to everyone who participated, especially these brave souls.

Unicorn Gayle

Gayle Ooten – Asbestos Analyst

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We raised $1305 this year. QuanTEM will match that total so the Angels Foster Family Network will be receiving a $2610 donation. Way to go team!

Scott Tutu

Scott Keeling – Food Tech

Landlord accused of forging lead paint documents

By Anthony Fay, http://wwlp.com

fraud-photoSpringfield property manager Dwayne Johnson has been indicted for allegedly submitting false lead inspection reports so he could receive Section 8 housing payments.

Johnson, 46, was indicted Wednesday by a Hampden County Superior Court jury on two counts of uttering false or forged records. He is accused of submitting false reports in November of 2011 and October of 2013 to HAP Housing, which administers the Section 8 program in greater Springfield. According to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, HAP and the Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program reviewed the documents and determined them to be false, and the matter was referred to the AG’s office.

Prosecutors say that Johnson committed the alleged forgery by altering a legitimate lead inspection report, which was issued for a different property. They say that the two properties that Johnson was renting were not compliant with the state’s lead paint regulations, and that he rented one of the properties to a parent living with two young children. Read more

An Artist Who Paints Portraits With Mold

By Margaret Rhodes, http://www.wired.com

MoldphotoFilm is an exceedingly delicate material. It’s highly flammable, can’t always go through TSA checkpoints, and, as it turns out, can be easily destroyed by fungus.

A few years ago South Korean artist Seung-Hwan Oh read a BBC article about this fungus problem affecting film archives. He realized they were right: “I noticed that mold on badly stored film can eat away and destroy its contents,” he says. “And then I realized that I may deliver the idea of impermanence of matter applying this natural disaster into my work.”

It’s a heady notion, but when Oh talks about ‘impermanence’ he’s talking about the “idea that all the matter, including all the life forms, collapse in the spatial-temporal dimension we belong to.” It’s his inspiration in this series, and it’s based on the second law of thermodynamics, which states that as usable energy in the universe gets used—to power life, and grow organisms—unusable energy increases and creates a state of growing randomness and chaos.

Put differently, Oh started letting mold grow on his film. Rather than worrying about fungus, he embraced it.

To do that Oh had to set up a micro-fungus farm in his studio. Film gets stashed away in a warm, wet environment where fungus can grow. Oh will sometimes take mold that grows naturally on bread and rice and paste it into the prints, but that’s about as much control as he can exercise over the outcome. Read more

Baltimore boy, 17, awarded $2M in lead paint case

By Katie Lange, http://www.wbaltv.com/

A 17-year-old Baltimore boy who suffered permanent brain damage due to lead paint exposure where he lived when he was younger has been awarded $2 million in a civil case.

The victim, who wasn’t named because he’s a juvenile, was exposed to lead paint while living with his grandmother and mother at a home in the 1600 block of East 25th Street in northeast Baltimore from the time of his birth in 1997 until 2001, court testimony revealed.

The $2,088,550 verdict in the case against Elliott Dackman, of The Dackman Company, was rendered Friday, finding him negligent in failing to maintain the home in accordance with Maryland law. Officials said Dackman was the principal person behind the company that owned the building, as well as another company, Jacob Dackman & Sons LLC, which managed it.

“All the landlord had to do was paint the house, and they didn’t,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Bruce Powell, of the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl.

During the trial, experts testified that the boy suffered permanent brain damage that resulted in a loss of four to five IQ points, as well as several cognitive deficits, attention and focus problems, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

“He’s been struggling in school up to this point, serious problems. He’s in high school. Last year, his GPA was below 1.0. (He’s) taking bridge classes and doing Saturday mornings to try and stay on track to graduate. It looks very iffy at this point,” Powell said.

Officials said in December 1997, the boy was tested and found to have a lead level of 12 micrograms per deciliter. That rose one point higher five months later, and eventually rose to 14 mcg/dl — more than double the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reference level that’s used to identify kids with lead paint exposure. Read more

Suburban asbestos deaths blamed on ‘factory of death’

By Ruth Lamperd, Herald Sun

Wunderlich AsbestosMORE than a dozen deaths in a Melbourne suburb have been blamed on an asbestos factory where children once played in piles of the deadly dust.

But the catastrophic effects of the Wunderlich factory in Sunshine North have not been revealed to residents despite owner CSR paying compensation to victims.

A five-month Sunday Herald Sun investigation can today reveal the tragic toll of Melbourne’s “factory of death”, which shut in 1983.

INTERACTIVE SPECIAL REPORT: DEVIL IN THE DUST

At least 16 people who grew up within 1km of the plant — none of whom worked there — have died of asbestos-related diseases, the latest on Thursday. Another eight are known to be sick.

Residents said that on some days asbestos would swirl in clouds above the suburb and a white powder would cover windows and car dashboards in the factory’s peak years from the 1950s until the 1970s.

Allan Brander grew up in a street north of the Wunderlich factory and spent many weekends riding his bike over hectares of waste.

His son, Damian, said his father died a painful death last year, five months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Read more

Contact the journalist: ruth.lamperd@news.com.au

“The disease ate him alive. If I grew up there I’d be concerned about my health now,” Mr Brander said.

10 Reasons Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Mold Test Kits Are Not Accurate or Advised

moldkitPosted by Shane Hupp, http://tickerreport.com/

While it might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence—to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate. The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four different brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing the following: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post remediation use.”

All homes will contain when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals. The EPA agrees: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”

While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth. Read more

Asbestos removal starts at Clovis ‘haunted house;’ demolition to follow

BY Bonhia Lee, http://www.fresnobee.com/

hauntedasbestosMotorists driving by Wolfe Manor in Clovis will see some activity at the “haunted house” this week — not the paranormal kind, but enough to stir up some curious spirits.

Asbestos removal in the nearly century-old house, which was once used as a Halloween attraction and featured on a number of ghost investigation television shows, began Monday, paving the way for demolition of the building early next month.

The city of Clovis has forged ahead with plans to clean up the 1.25-acre property, southwest of Sierra Vista Mall on Clovis Avenue, after trying to work with owner Todd Wolfe on giving the house and the land a new life.

“We’ve been working with Mr. Wolfe for at least the last five years to do something with this site,” said John Holt, Clovis assistant city manager. “Ultimately, he was either unwilling or unable to either have investors put money in the project.”

Wolfe, however, is still trying to sell the house and even offers to donate it for free to the right buyer who is willing to move it. If all his efforts fail, he hopes to at least be given some time to salvage anything of historical value from the house so he can sell it later.

“We thought we had more time,” Wolfe said.

Clovis designated the house “unsafe to occupy” about two years ago. Then the city’s Board of Appeals declared the vacant house a nuisance last year and a danger after finding 22 building code violations.

The city described the structure as “unsightly and in a state of disrepair.” The roughly 5,000-square-foot house had excessive “cracking, peeling, chalking, dry rot and warping.” Read more

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