Newsletter – April 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories
April 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
EPA begins effort to reduce children’s exposure to lead paint
Secret asbestos lurking beneath monks’ byzantine wall paintings
Three dead in Los Angeles meningitis outbreak
Renters demand answers to asbestos contamination
Slime mold can design transportation networks, transform computing
Blood lead screenings offered near Exide plant
Barbara’s Corner

As we move into the busiest time of the year, I want to remind you of QuanTEM’s Customer Rewards Program. Depending on the reward level reached, you will receive 3.0%- 12.5%  back as a credit on your account. To qualify your account must be current.Last year our customers earned a total of $31,813 back!!I know everyone is looking for a good deal and this one is great. Call or email me if you have any questions about how you can take advantage of this program.

Call Me: 1-800-822-1650
Asbestos Spotlight
Tremolite
In its fibrous form tremolite is one of the six recognised types of asbestos. Fibrous tremolite is sometimes found as a contaminant in vermiculite, chrysotile (itself a type of asbestos) and talc.

Tremolite is an indicator of metamorphic grade since at high temperatures it converts to diopside.

Tremolite occurs as a result of contact metamorphism of calcium and magnesium rich siliceous sedimentary rocks and in greenschist facies metamorphic rocks derived from ultramafic or magnesium carbonate bearing rocks.

Nephrite, one of the two minerals of the gemstone jade, is a green variety of tremolite. Read more

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John’s View

John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

We just completed two weeks of environmental conferences and trade shows. These can be tiring, but I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends and made a few new friends.

The IAQA conference was held in Nashville, TN then the following week the EIA conference was held in San Antonio, TX. While both conferences are concerned with environmental and indoor air quality issues they approach the subject from completely different angles. I’m not going to discuss the differences or which one I prefer, what I want to talk about is what you can get from these conferences and why you should attend.

Each year there are several conferences like these where professionals meet and information is exchanged freely amongst all who will listen. All industries require the continuing education as none of us know it all and most of us have already forgotten half of what we did know. These conferences provide us an opportunity to stay up to speed, learn about new ideas, and keep abreast of changes in the laws. Likewise in the exhibit hall there sits a mountain of knowledge that the vendors will happily share at no charge. We just have to spend a few minutes and ask some questions.

Since a majority of the environmental consultants either work as sole practitioners (or within a company, but still pretty much on their own), these conferences are vital to keeping up with the industry trends. This is the place to meet your peers, pick up ideas, increase your overall proficiency, and make some new friends. Think about it and I hope to see you there.

John Barnett

QuanTEM Laboratories, LLC

EPA Begins Effort to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Paint in New Haven 

By David Deegan, http://www.epa.gov

In an effort to improve compliance with laws that protect children from lead paint poisoning, EPA is sending letters to approximately 200 home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies and landlords in and around New Haven, Conn. announcing a compliance assistance and enforcement initiative. The EPA letter outlines steps EPA is taking to increase compliance on the part of these entities with the federal lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

EPA’s RRP Rule, which became effective in April 2010, is designed to prevent children’s exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and repainting projects in residences, schools and other buildings where children are likely to be.

This Rule requires individual renovators and firms performing renovations to be trained and certified so that they follow lead safe work practices during renovations of pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities in order to protect children from lead poisoning.

Read more

Secret asbestos lurking beneath monks’ byzantine wall paintings
By Joseph Castro, http://www.livescience.com

Hundreds of years before asbestos became ubiquitous in the construction industry, Byzantine monks used the fibrous material in plaster coatings underlying their wall paintings during the late 1100s, new research shows.

Asbestos is a type of natural, rock-forming mineral known for its ability to separate into long, flexible fibers. It has long been thought that asbestos fibers, which are corrosion- and combustion-resistant, were first integrated into such things as plaster, finish coatings and floors after the Industrial Revolution.

But while investigating the 12th-century paintings in the Byzantine monastery Enkleistra of St. Neophytos in Cyprus, UCLA researchers discovered the magnesium silicate mineral, chrysotile (white asbestos), in the finish coating of the plaster underneath a portion of a wall painting. The chrysotile provided a smooth layer with a mirrorlike surface for the painting. Read more

Three dead in Los Angeles meningitis outbreak
By JC Sevcik, http://www.upi.comThree people have died due to meningitis in Los Angeles, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said Thursday.

The department announced there have been eight cases of invasive meningococcal disease in the county so far this year.

Invasive meningococcal disease causes meningitis, an inflammation of the the meninges, the protective membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The county will provide free vaccinations for patients without health insurance. Read more

Renters demand answers to asbestos contamination at their buildings
By Patricia Sullivan, http://www.washingtonpost.comResidents of one of Alexandria’s largest affordable apartment complexes grilled federal regulators, local authorities and their landlord Saturday over the discovery of asbestos during renovations of their homes, angrily asking why it took three months for officials to halt the work.

Owners of the 530-unit Hunting Point on the Potomac, formerly Hunting Towers, received a rare stop-work order from the Environmental Protection Agency last week after inspectors discovered asbestos in the floors, doors and windows. The agency also found that workers were not taking legally required precautions.

During four visits to the 63-year-old complex since the beginning of the year, EPA officials found crumbling asbestos in apartments, halls and trash areas where windows and floor tiles are being replaced. No notice of the danger was posted, the EPA said, and workers did not seal the area to protect residents. No certified supervisor was on the job, nor were workers certified in the task of removing hazardous materials. The EPA has ordered testing for airborne asbestos fibers.

The stop-work order is an unusual action by the EPA; only five a year are typically issued, and they rarely involve occupied apartment buildings, an EPA spokeswoman said. Read more

Slime mold can design transportation networks, transform computing
By Biz Carson, http://gigaom.com

The yellow blobs of slime mold normally grow in dark forests, not on computer chips or on gelatinous squares shaped like the United States. But through his research, University of the West of England professor Andrew Adamatzky has shown that the mold can, and should, be grown elsewhere because of its potential in computing.

Physarum polycephalum is a brainless mold that’s sole purpose is to build transportation networks for the nutrients that sustain it. As it expands in search of food, it sends out slimy tubes that continue to branch out until it finds a food source, at which point it forms a blob around the nutrients. Its slime tubes then continue to grow and split until the mold forms a network of tubes to transport the food throughout itself.

The key to Physarum polycephalum’s computing power, however, is its ability to form the most efficient and optimal network.

The network, like the transportation model one, isn’t limited only to nutrients. Adamtzky and fellow researcher Theresa Schubert have shown that the slime mold tubes can carry dyes and even conduct electricity. The mold acts like self-mapping circuits, complete with logic gates where the slime mold is forced to make a decision to get one result. It’s the same way a computer does logic, by taking an input and creating an output. In the case of slime mold, the logic gates can even be used to separate two colors of dye within the system before combining the two as a single output. Read more

Blood lead screenings offered near Exide plant
Posted by KABC-TV/DT, http://abclocal.go.comFree blood lead screenings are available for people who live, work or attend school near theExide Technologies plant in Vernon.

Los Angeles County health officials made the screenings available Monday after excessive levels of lead were detected in recent emissions from the battery recycling plant. Elevated levels of lead were found in the yards of 39 homes around the plant.

“There are many sources of lead in our daily environment,” Director of Public Health Jonathan Fielding said. “However, it is clear that Exide Technologies has emitted unacceptably high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals into the surrounding communities for years.”

Exide recycles batteries and has been under close scrutiny by state and local regulators over the past year. Read more

QuanTEM Chronicle Newsletter
Produced & Edited by
Joanna Mueller, Social Media Director

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Disclaimer:

These excerpts were taken from various sources. Any publication included in this Newsletter and/or opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of QuanTEM Laboratories, LLC but remain solely those of the author(s). QuanTEM Laboratories is not responsible for the content or use of the information contained in this education/information service.

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