Monthly Archives: July 2013

EPA cleans up lead contaminated lot in Pilsen

Environmental Protection Agency Seal

Environmental Protection Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)


By Shannon Heffernan,


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun cleanup of brain-damaging lead contamination on the former site of Loewenthal Metals in Pilsen.


Jerry Mead-Lucero is an organizer with Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). He says lead contamination of over over 400 parts per million (ppm) is a concern. On the Lowenthal site, they discovered  lead levels levels as high as 23,000 ppm.


“Really we were quite shocked because that was off the charts from what we’ve seen before.  And it’s very close to a school and very close to a community garden,” said Mead-Lucero.


Lead exposure is especially damaging to pregnant women and young children. PERRO says the EPA knew about the contamination of the soil as early as 2006, but they only responded after PERRO began to pressure them. Read More



Oregon and Idaho property managers failed to disclose lead paint hazards to renters

By Suzanne Skadowski,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered three property management companies in Oregon and Idaho to pay more than $15,000 in federal penalties for failing to disclose lead-based paint hazards to renters. Elite Property Management, Inc. of Corvallis, Oregon, and Advanced Management, Inc. of Keizer, Oregon, and Hill Rental Properties, LLC of Moscow, Idaho, were each fined for violating the federal Lead-Based Paint Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule. Read More

Childhood exposure to lead costing developing nations $992 billion a year

Childhood lead exposure is costing developing countries $992 billion annually due to reductions in IQs and earning potential, according to a new study published June 25.
The report by New York University researchers is the first to calculate the economic cost of children exposed to lead in Africa, Asia, Latin America and other developing regions. The researchers found that, despite major declines in exposure in the United States and Europe, lead is still harming brains and bottom lines in poorer regions around the world.
The toxic metal is annually taking a 1.2 percent chunk out of the entire world’s gross domestic product, according to the new report.
“Childhood lead exposure represents a major opportunity lost,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor at New York University School of Medicine and senior author of the study published online in Environmental Health Perspectives. “Prevention may actually accelerate economic development, which is critically needed in these countries.”
Low levels of lead affect children’s IQs, their ability to pay attention and how well they do in school. It also has been linked to violent and antisocial behavior. Read More


Juniper mold threatens world supplies of gin

By Francie Diep,

A fungus-like pathogen, first discovered just five years ago, now is wreaking havoc on juniper trees in the U.K.

This is the first time that this mold, called Phytophthora austrocedrae, has ever been seen in Europe. It threatens a tree that’s native to the U.K. and important to ecosystems there. Junipers are known for the berries, which give gin that piney flavor. Most gin companies don’t get their juniper berries from the U.K. nowadays, ABC News reports, but the infection may cross onto mainland Europe. Read More

Mold Found At Niles’ Culver School

Niles Elementary Dist. 71 school board members this week expected to approve spending up to $118,000 to deal with recently discovered mold at Culver Elementary School.

“In the morning (of Thursday, June 6), while cleaning the art room, a patch of mold was found behind a stack of storage boxes,” Dist. 71 Supt. Amy Kruppe said in a letter to parents dated Friday, June 7. “We immediately brought on site our Architect and JMS Environmental Associates to guide us through assessment of this discovery and assessment of the entire Culver School,” the letter continued. “Our concern, as always, is for the safety of your students and our staff.”

The letter concluded: “We want to assure you that once we have more information we will share this with you.”

“We discovered it on Thursday, June 6 at 11:30 a.m., by 12:30 p.m. we had our architect and environmental specialists in,” Kruppe said.

One teacher that worked near where mold was found is being treated for respiratory symptoms, Kruppe said. No students have complained of any respiratory ailments. Read More


Illegal asbestos removal – Birmingham builders fined

R B Asbestos Consultants

Two self-employed builders from Birmingham have been sentenced for exposing householders, as well as themselves, to asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have prosecuted Harnek Ram of Handsworth and Gulzar Singh of Smethwick, trading as G Builders, after they illegally removed and broke up asbestos panels from a home in Handsworth between 19 and 25 May 2012. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the householder, who does not wish to be named, received a grant from Birmingham City Council to convert his garage into a bedroom and bathroom for his disabled father.

As part of the grant process, samples were taken on behalf of the City Council to test for asbestos and the results revealed asbestos was present. However, HSE’s investigation concluded that by the time the test results were known, Mr Ram and Mr Singh had already broken up the asbestos insulating boards (AIBs) with a hammer and removed them.

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Asbestos found at site of June 5 collapse

By Bob Warner,

Contractors have found remnants of asbestos in the debris of the fatal building collapse at 22d and Market Streets, raising questions about paperwork filed earlier by the building owners to get demolition permits.

The owner of the four-story building that collapsed during demolition June 5, STB Investment Corp., submitted inspection reports to the city in January – before work began – saying there was “no asbestos found” in two adjacent buildings to be torn down.

The asbestos inspections were performed by Kenneth Hudson, whose credentials had been certified by the city. His reports were submitted by Plato Marinakos, a licensed architect functioning as an “expediter” to obtain the necessary permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

City Councilman James F. Kenney has expressed concern about asbestos since the building went down, killing six people in an adjacent Salvation Army thrift shop. Read More


Myrtle Beach condo tower renovation leads to criminal charges over asbestos pollution

By David Wren,

Renovation of the oceanfront Regency Towers condominium building here has led to criminal charges against a Little River man accused of knowingly creating a health risk for workers and residents and letting friable asbestos blow onto the beach, the building’s landscaped areas and its parking lot, according to an indictment in federal court.

David Braswell and his company, Cool Cote LLC, face seven violations of the federal Clean Air Act related to work they did at Regency Towers in March 2009. Braswell also faces two felony charges of making false statements to federal agents investigating the matter. The charges carry a combined maximum of 45 years in prison. Read More