Personal coffee makers potential mold hazards

By Whitney Gryna, http://www.purdueexponent.org/

noKeurig1Personal coffeemakers provide a convenient coffee brewing solution for students, but they have an issue everyone should be wary of.

Mold within personal coffee makers like Keurigs should not come as a surprise.

“Any time there is constant moisture, there is the potential for mold and mildew to generate,” said Terri Newcom, Purdue Extension director for Tipton County.

Keurigs are a simple brewing system, requiring little of the user. Users only add water to the water tank and place the blend cup of choice into the machine. Keurigs are a cost efficient and easy way to brew at home for many. What many Keurig users have not thought of are the possible drawbacks to this machine.

“Since mildew and mold can grow on hard plastic surfaces, Keurigs and other types of coffee makers are susceptible,” said Newcom. “Most likely, the first evidence of mold or mildew will be a bitter taste to the coffee.”

A bitter taste to the coffee is not the only side effect that comes with mold exposure. Because all molds, mildews and bacteria pose health hazards, allergies tend to be a negative result as well. Other health hazards can include coughing, congestion, and respiratory infections. Read more

Schools unaware of lead-poisoned kids

By Todd B. Bates, Asbury Park Press

Photo: Tom Spader/Asbury Park Press

Photo: Tom Spader/Asbury Park Press

New Jersey’s rules on lead poisoning have some large loopholes.

Health care providers are required to test children 2 and under twice for toxic lead, a potent poison that can cause a lifetime of learning problems. Nonetheless, about 50,000 children were not tested by age 3, according to the latest state annual report. A loophole: Parents can refuse the test for any reason.

Even if elevated lead is found in a child’s blood, the state doesn’t require that schools be notified. That can leave schools in the dark about which students have lead poisoning and may need special education or other services — findings confirmed by an Asbury Park Press survey of 27 school districts, including those with the highest percentages of lead-poisoned children in the state.

Lead poisoning — often arising from exposure to lead paint dust and chips in older homes in urban areas — can cause learning, behavioral and other problems, but is preventable. It can cost more than $12,000 a year for special education per child, according to one study.

“We have to do a better job” addressing lead poisoning, said Jay S. Schneider, a pathology professor and lead poisoning expert at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “We have to recognize that this is still a big problem. There are lots of kids who are being adversely affected by this, who are having their futures taken away from them. It’s just an awful thing and it’s unnecessary and people are suffering and they shouldn’t be.” Read more

Mold in vacant homes poses health threat

By  Kirsti Marohn, kmarohn@stcloudtimes.com

MoldceilingFrom the outside, it looks like a typical two-story split-entry on a corner lot, not much different than the other houses in this newer suburban development.

The first indication that something is amiss is the sign posted in the yard announcing that the house is in tax forfeiture. Step inside the front door, and the reason for the home’s emptiness becomes startlingly clear.

Black mold covers the walls in angry splotches from ceiling to floor. It coats woodwork, sinks, appliances and doors. In the basement, it has decimated the ceiling, leaving a gaping hole.

Chad Martini, land management director for Stearns County, says it’s the worst case of mold he’s ever seen.

The county had planned to demolish the house at 424-13th Ave. N in Wildwood Estates after it went into tax forfeiture last fall. But several contractors have called the county with interest in buying, rehabilitating and reselling it.

So the county will try to sell it at a public auction this spring for a minimum bid of $10,000, a fraction of its original value. In 2009, the county estimated the house’s market value at more than $235,000.

The county’s goal is to get the property back on the tax rolls, Martini said.

“I think what we’re hoping to see is a contractor that will come in, buy the house, rehab it and make it a good neighbor in the neighborhood,” he said.

Across the nation, mold has been a problem in houses left empty after the housing market crisis. In some states, it’s estimated that as many as half of all foreclosed homes have mold and mildew issues.

Some mold contains toxins, so if it’s not removed and remediated, mold can cause serious health issues. That’s especially true for people with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems. Read more

Purina Sued for Allegedly Killing Thousands of Dogs With ‘Toxic’ Food

By James Joiner, http://www.thedailybeast.com/

BenefuldogfoodA class action lawsuit alleges a mold byproduct used in kibble is leading pets to agonizing deaths.
Despite years of online allegations that one of the most popular dog food brandshas been poisoning pets, it wasn’t until just weeks ago that the cat was let out of the bag in a court filing. A class action lawsuit was filed that blames the deaths of thousands of dogs on one of Purina’s most popular brands of chow.

Googling Nestle Purina Petcare’s Beneful brand will get you the pet food manufacturer’s website, a Facebook page with over a million likes, and, in stark contrast, a Consumer Affairs page with 708 one-star ratings supported with page after grim page detailing dogs suffering slow, agonizing deaths from mysterious causes.

Internal bleeding. Diarrhea. Seizures. Liver malfunction. It reads like something from a horror movie or a plague documentary, but a suit brought in California federal court by plaintiff Frank Lucido alleges that this is all too real—and too frequent to be a coincidence. Read more

W.Va. Senate unanimously passes asbestos trust claims act

By Chris Dickerson, http://legalnewsline.com/

The West Virginia Senate on Friday unanimously passed Senate Bill 411, creating the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act.

The bill, which was sponsored by Kanawha County Republican Senator Tom Takubo, establishes legal standards and procedures for the handling of certain asbestos and silica claims. Additionally, the bill establishes medical criteria procedures, statute of limitations standards, and requires disclosure of existing and potential asbestos bankruptcy trust claims.Asbestos Tape

“As a pulmonary doctor, I’m pleased that the Senate voted today with full bipartisan support to protect funds for West Virginians who are affected by asbestos-related injuries,” Takubo said. “We must ensure funds are healthy five to 10 years from now to help pay for medical bills and family expenses, and this legislation will allow us to do that.”

Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson), Senator Ryan Ferns (R-Ohio), Senator Ed Gaunch (R-Kanawha) and Senator Jeff Mullins (R-Raleigh) also were sponsors of the bill.

“This bill would promote honesty in litigation and help juries reach fully informed decisions as to the cause of a person’s asbestos-related disease,” Carmichael said. “Other states have laws similar to this one, including our neighboring state, Ohio. Read more

Rat Study Links Lead to Schizophrenia

By Rick Nauert PHD, http://psychcentral.com/

Rat StudyA new study of the brains of rats exposed to lead suggests the metal may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health researchers found striking similarities in the rat brains to what is known about the brains of human schizophrenia patients.

A description of the study results appear in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

The researchers found that lead had a detrimental effect on cells in three brain areas implicated in schizophrenia: the medial prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the striatum of rats exposed to lead before birth and in the early part of their lives.

Moreover, the density of brain cells declined by approximately one-third — roughly the same percentage decline seen in schizophrenia patients.

Imaging technology also revealed higher levels of a dopamine receptor similar to what has been documented in human schizophrenia patients, and in a previous study of genetically engineered mice.

“The similarities in the brain structure and neuronal systems between what we see in lead-exposed rats and human schizophrenia patients are striking, and adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that early lead exposure primes the brain for schizophrenia later in life,” said senior author Tomás Guilarte, Ph.D. Read more

Moldy Homes May Mean More Asthma in Young Kids

By Tara Haelle, HealthDay Reporter

MoldceilingChildren appear more likely to develop asthma if their living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms have mold or moisture damage, according to a new study.

Children were most susceptible to developing asthma with mold exposure during their first two years of life, or if they already had allergies. However, mold did not increase children’s risk of developing allergies in the first place.

“The most significant finding was that moisture damage with or without mold in the rooms where children are expected to spend most of their time is associated with increased asthma risk, and it appears to be permanent,” said lead researcher Anne Karvonen, a senior researcher in Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare.

In other words, children’s asthma continued through age 6, and visible mold in children’s bedrooms or living rooms presented the highest risk, she said. Read more

QuanTEM takes best costume award at EIA Conference

EIA 2015The Environmental Information Association held its 2015 National Conference and Exhibition last month in Atlanta. The conference hosted it’s second annual SExy Awards to celebrate Superior Exhibitor Booths and Salespeople.

John Barnett and Cristal Veech were in attendance, looking quite dapper in their ‘Gone with the Wind’ inspired outfits which earned the Best Costume award for QuanTEM Labs.

The Environmental Information Association, with its beginnings as the National Asbestos Council, has spent over 30 years at the forefront in providing the environmental industry with the information needed to remain knowledgeable, responsible, and competitive in the environmental health and safety industry.

Next year’s conference will be held March 06, 2016 to March 09, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Window replacement project leads to asbestos contamination at Englewood apartment complex

By Lance Hernandez, http://www.thedenverchannel.com/

windowasbestosDozens of tenants have been forced from their apartments at a complex in Englewood, because of asbestos contamination.

Work crews unknowingly loosened the dangerous fibers when they began replacing windows at the Carmel Park Apartments several weeks ago.

State health officials say the asbestos was in a texture compound on existing drywall, and that some of the drywall had been cut away to remove the old windows and install the new.

They say just a small amount of material was loosened in the affected apartments.

The contamination wasn’t discovered until a repairman, who knew there was asbestos in the popcorn ceiling, told the window installers there “might” be asbestos in the drywall texture.

“They tested it and found asbestos,” said Christopher Dann of the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Apartment management then sent a note to affected tenants asking them to move out temporarily while licensed crews clean up the contamination. Read More

Home inspectors using drones

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