Monthly Archives: November 2015

Dig carefully, Fairfax. Area of asbestos-containing rock is expanding

By Michael Neibauer, http://www.bizjournals.com

fairfaxcountyWhen most people hear asbestos, they probably think of the toxic, fibrous mineral once commonly found in construction, insulation and fireproofing materials.

When Fairfax County builders hear asbestos, they may think deeper — as in two to three feet beneath their feet.

Roughly 10.5 square miles of the county, 2.5 percent of its total size, contain “problem soils” that may include naturally occurring asbestos, specifically actinolite and tremolite minerals. It is found along the Piney Branch Complex, a vein of bedrock locally known as greenstone for its green or blue-green hue.

And the area of problem soils is getting larger.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has scheduled an Oct. 15 public hearing to consider an amendment to the 2011 county soils map that will increase the potential area of naturally occurring asbestos from 10.53 to 10.67 miles. It is a slight increase, based on field work by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, but it is one that all developers must be aware of, as it will affect how they proceed with construction projects. Read more

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Georgia peanut farmers having difficult year with white mold disease

By Tatyana Phelps, http://www.albanyherald.com/

 

peanutmoldWhite mold disease has always been a problem for Georgia peanut farmers, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Tim Brenneman. The disease has been even more of a nuisance due to the hot and humid weather conditions this growing season.

Brenneman insists that, through proper use of the correct fungicides, white mold can be contained.

“It’s probably our No. 1 cause of loss due to disease in the state, and this year appears to be one of the worst years we’ve had in a while,” Brenneman said. “The weather has been very favorable (for the disease) this year, and the variety we grow is Georgia 06G, developed by Dr. (Bill) Branch. It’s a very good variety. It’s extremely high yielding, which is one of the reasons our growers really like to grow it. (However), it is also really susceptible to this disease.”

Brenneman recommends farmers spray at night, when the plants’ leaves are folded, in order to prevent white mold damage. Read more

Grant aims to get rid of lead-hazards in Mid-South homes

By Eryn Taylor and Shay Arthur, http://wreg.com/

hudgrantThe federal government has awarded Memphis with a grant the city said not only helps make the city healthier, but provides jobs.

A $3.7 million grant will be implemented over three years to reduce lead-hazards in homes.

Homes built before 1978 were commonly painted with lead based paint.

Lead can cause permanent brain damage and damage to other organs, especially to children.

The city hopes to remove lead from 240 houses in 12 targeted zip codes.

“I’m very happy about it,” said Janice Taylor.

Taylor has been running Joshua’s Learning Tree, a daycare off Lamar in South Memphis for years.

Soon a sign in front of her building, warning of possible lead will be removed after she coordinated with the city to help rid the building of lead.

“It made us be more involved with the community, with our parents,” explained Taylor. Read more

Asbestos Discovered Post-Demolition In An Ohio Elementary School

By Jillian Duff, http://www.mesothelioma.com/

AmboyschoolA Conneaut, Ohio elementary school was demolished in August and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found evidence of asbestos in the debris. Inspectors arrived at the site a few days after work began to conduct samples, which tested positive.

This demolition at Amboy School occurred without contacting the EPA. Requirements to alert the EPA before construction begins are in place to make sure any possible asbestos is found and removed according to safety regulations.

“Demolition prevented the agency from determining how much material the building might have contained,” said an Ohio EPA spokeswoman Linda Oros. “Trace amounts were found at the Amboy School demolition site.” Read more

Pittsburgh hospital suspends organ transplants after mold infections, deaths

By Holly Yan and Ben Brumfield, CN

UPMCHospitalA Pittsburgh hospital has temporarily stopped organ transplants after three transplant patients contracted a fungal infection and died.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center voluntarily suspended transplants at UMC Presbyterian “until we have completed our investigation and are satisfied that we’ve done all we can do to address the situation,” UPMC Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Dr. Steven D. Shapiro said.

Shapiro said Monday that the suspension could last two or three days. He said the medical center is reaching out to all its patients with scheduled organ transplants and “will do everything we can to make sure patients receive life-saving transplants if they are critically ill.”

Officials have struggled to find the source of the mold that infected patients at UPMC.

The fungus isn’t some kind of killer mold. It’s a household kind — ordinary indoor mold.

It doesn’t threaten the general population, or patients and staff with normal immune systems at the hospital. But UPMC said it believes the mold may have contributed to the deaths of organ transplant patients.

One transplant patient died Thursday at UPMC Montefiore, the medical center said.

Two other patients died in October and in June at UPMC Presbyterian, CNN affiliate WTAE-TV reported.

And UPMC said another patient became deathly ill with the same kind of mold infection. Read more

Springfield property manager gets probation for forging lead paint compliance letters

By Buffy Spencer, http://www.masslive.com/

Judges_GavelDespite the state asking for a six month jail sentence, a judge sentenced a property manager to five years probation after he admitted falsifying two lead inspection reports.

Dwayne Johnson, 47, was sentenced Wednesday by Hampden Superior CourtJudge C. Jeffrey Kinder.

David M. Hodge, Johnson’s lawyer, had asked for a sentence of three years probation saying Johnson is a hard worker who should be allowed to continue with his life.

Kinder said if Johnson goes three years without any probation violations the probation can end then.

The case was prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s office.

Assistant Attorney General Tasnin R. Chowdhury told Kinder that in November 2011 Johnson was managing a property at 119 Wilbraham Road. He admitted Wednesday to falsifying a letter of lead paint compliance.

Chowdhury said in 2013 Johnson falsified a letter of lead paint compliance for a property he was managing at 23 Rochelle St. The letters were submitted to HAPHousing so tenants could move in with government funded assistance payments.

The attorney general’s office began an investigation on December 2013 after it was referred by the state Department of Public Health’s Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Read more

Researcher finds more asbestos-like fibers in Penokee Hills

By Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio

Penokeeoutcrop1More asbestos-like fibers have been discovered in rock samples from the Penokee Hills of Northwestern Wisconsin, where a company had proposed to build an open-pit iron mine.

According to a northern Wisconsin geoscientist, the greatest amounts of hazardous minerals are in the western part of the range, including the area that mining outfit Gogebic Taconite planned to develop before pulling out of the project earlier this year.

Northland College associate professor of geoscience Tom Fitz said there’s an approximately nine-mile stretch of the range with rock containing the long, slender “asbestiform” crystals. The crystals are a form of mineral known to be linked to mesothelioma, a rare type of lung cancer.

“In the stretch that’s in Wisconsin between the western part of the Penokee Range over to Ironwood, the area near Mellen, is the area that has the greatest potential to have the asbestiform variety,” Fitz said.

He said the asbestiform minerals show up in the Tyler Forks River and become abundant in some areas between there and southwest of Mellen.

Differences in geologic heat when the minerals were formed account for the variation in some parts of the range, Fitz explained. Not all so-called amphibole minerals are known to be hazardous, he said — just those that got hot enough to form into the long, slender asbestiform crystals.

“I don’t know exactly where the amphibole disappears in there, but it certainly decreases between Upson and Ironwood,” he said, cautioning that it could still be found in smaller veins across the entire range.

Fitz said more research is needed to determine what affect mining in the Penokee Hills could have on public health.

Read more

HUD gives $101M to communities for lead paint, home hazard removal

By Trey Garrison, http://www.housingwire.com/

paintbrushesThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded over $101 million to 32 city, county and state governments.

The grant funding announced will reduce the number of lead-poisoned children and protect families by targeting health hazards in over 6,000 low-income homes with significant lead and/or other home health and safety hazards.

Earlier this week in Baltimore, Maryland, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced the funding during a news conference with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as part of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Back to School event, promoting healthier housing to improve school outcomes.

The City of Baltimore is one of the grantees.

HUD’s Lead Hazard Control grant programs has a demonstrated history of success, filling critical needs in urban communities where no other resources exist to address substandard housing that threatens the health of the most vulnerable residents.

“Every family deserves to live in a safe and healthy home where they can see their children thrive and excel,” said Castro. “Communities will use these grants to help eliminate home-related hazards in neighborhoods across the country. A healthy home is vital to the American Dream.” Read more

VA Employee sickened by mold says Federal Workers’ Comp Insurance won’t cover her medical needs

By Adam Walser, http://www.abcactionnews.com/

vaempEarlier this month, we told you about mold inside the St. Petersburg VA Regional Benefits Office, which employees claim is making them sick.

Now we’re hearing from a woman who says she has suffered chronic problems as a result of her exposure there, and claims she can’t get the medical care she needs.

“My first symptom was just absolute bone-numbing fatigue, then lungs, sinuses, terrible infections,” said Aileen Mullin.

She was granted workers’ comp in 2012 after doctors determined that mold inside the St. Petersburg benefits office where she works made her sick. 

As the I-Team first reported, multiple reports show mold has been detected in the building for several years.

Constant leaks from a skylight and the roof have been blamed for the problem. 

“January 2012 was when I was taken out in an ambulance,” said Mullin.

Since suffering her first life-threatening asthma attack, Mullin has depended on nebulizers, inhalers and prescription drugs to breathe.

Qualifying for workers’  comp has created additional issues, since her regular employee health insurance coverage no longer applies to any respiratory-related claims.

“They reversed the charges from my doctors and the doctors in turn have billed me, creating an enormous financial debt,” she said. Read more