Newsletter April 2015

April 2015 
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
Turnaround Tracker
Monthly Musing
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”
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Is toxic mold the real hidden culprit in haunted houses?
By David Sommerstein,

A team of researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., are the North Country’s answer to the “Ghost Hunters.”

They have a hunch that the reason some people see ghosts is not necessarily because a place is haunted. It may be because a haunted house has a lot of mold, and breathing it alters people’s states of mind.

Shane Rogers, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Clarkson, is also into paranormal activity and ghosts in general. As a scientist, he studies some icky things, like manure and mold. He put his interest together and developed a hypothesis. Maybe people who see ghosts are actually just breathing in toxic mold?

“There are reports of people who have been exposed to mold who have reported things like anxiety and depression.

Rogers also knows many alleged haunted houses are old and dilapidated and more likely to be infested with mold. He said, “If you’re in a place where you’re exposed to mold, and you’re feeling a little anxious, and you see something strange or you feel something strange, if you’re in an old house that’s a little scarier, you might be more likely to ascribe it to a haunting, whereas in a newer house, perhaps not.”

 Read more

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John’s View

Hello friends,

John Barnett, President

John Barnett, President

Ethics:  Webster says Ethics is the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation; a set of moral principles or values.  (I realize some of you younger folks may not know who or what Webster is, but you’ll have to figure that out on your own).

In the laboratory business, as in any business, ethics plays a huge role in determining how we deal with the hurdles life throws up in front of us.  None of us are immune to the urge to take the easy way out on occasion, but how we handle these problems is the fabric of the reputation we build for our companies.

As a lab it’s our job to provide our customers with the most accurate results possible and our clients should be able to feel confident that we are living up to these standards.  It’s sad, but since time began some businesses look for ways to shave costs at the expense of quality and the laboratory industry isn’t any different.

It’s disappointing when we hear about this happening; it certainly hurts the reputation of our entire industry.  These types of situations only serve to reinforce the importance of quality control and an established system of checks and balances in the laboratory.

Trust is all we have to sell.

Thanks for your continuing support and loyalty,

John Barnett


QuanTEM Laboratories

QuanTEM takes best costume award at EIA Conference
By Joanna Mueller, QuanTEM

The 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. Read more

Indirect Exposure to Asbestos Is Still Risky for Sheet Metal Workers
By Tim Povtak,

Sheet metal workers rarely handle asbestos directly, but they remain seven times more likely to die from mesothelioma – the rare cancer caused by it – than the general population, a recent study shows.

The findings published earlier this year in theAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine reiterated the long-held but increasingly-debated belief that even indirect exposure to toxic asbestos remains a serious threat, long after its use as a building material was reduced dramatically in the U.S.

“The most important thing to take from this study is that you didn’t have to work with asbestos directly to be in danger,” Dr. Laura Welch, medical director at the Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Springs, Maryland, told “All you had to do is be around it.” Read more

Teachers, Students Say Jordan Elementary Mold Made Them Ill
By Liz Collin,

Hospitalized children, and their parents, say it’s because of what they’re breathing at school.

Halle Wassenberg, 7, spent months seeing different doctors.

She’s one of three students in the same classroom to leave Jordan Elementary School this year. Two teachers have also left. They all blame mold for making them sick. The school maintains the building is safe.

But a WCCO Investigation found mold concerns months ago were kept from parents.

Jordan Elementary pushed the start of school back a week in 2011 from a mold mess. A cooling unit wasn’t working, and the fungus had sprouted on carpets and in air ducts. The school district spent at least $200,000 cleaning it up.

WCCO found new concerns over air quality were raised in November by staff. It lead the district to start testing. Read more

Source of lead in San Marcos water still unknown
By Eleanor Beck,

After spending more than $113,000 in taxpayer money to investigate the source of lead contamination in portions of San Marcos and Hays County water, neither government has found the origin of the problem.

Water to the Hays County Government Center was shut off to the public after tests revealed lead. The discovery prompted city-wide testing, which showed unacceptably high levels of lead at several other sites.

“We’ve tried everything,” said Clint Garza, county development services director. “Since last summer, we’ve tested every piece of pipe that we can pull from the building.”

That includes samples from all four manufacturers the county purchased pipe from to build the government center, which was completed in 2011. Garza said the samples were subjected to rigorous tests in highly corrosive environments, designed to break them down and make them release any lead contained in the pipe lining. The tests were repeatedly unsuccessful.

San Marcos officials said in a statement sent Thursday two of their mid-December tests did detect lead. Since then, a city spokesperson said, several new rounds of tests have come back clean. The federal government recommends flushing water if lead is a concern, and that’s what San Marcos will continue to do, in addition to testing. Read More

 *Offer begins May 1, 2015
New York’s Asbestos Court Mulls Changes After Sheldon Silver Scandal
By Daniel Fisher,

New York’s special court system for hearing asbestos cases will be on trial Thursday as defense lawyers make their case for reforms in the wake of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment on allegations he accepted millions of dollars in kickbacks from one of the most prominent asbestos plaintiff firms in the state.

Judge Peter Moulton, incoming administrative judge in charge of the New York Consolidated Asbestos Litigation docket, or NYCAL, will hold a “town hall meeting” tomorrow morning to discuss the rules governing how thousands of asbestos cases are handled in New York City courts. Moulton replaces longtime Administrative Judge Sherry Klein Heitler, who oversaw changes that defense lawyers say made it easier for plaintiffs to win cases in NYCAL courts and specifically benefitted Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm that allegedly paid Silver, a part-time employee, more than $5 million for client referrals from a cancer physician who secretly received money from a state fund Silver controlled.

Weitz & Luxenberg and Silver have both denied wrongdoing. Defense lawyers have long complained that Weitz & Luxenberg had special privileges at NYCAL under Heitler, however. As the firm with the largest number of asbestos cases on the docket, defense lawyers say, Weitz & Luxenberg was able to cherry-pick which cases went to trial and got first shot at juries in a court system overloaded with more than 10,000 asbestos lawsuits. Read more

A Slippery, Asbestos Slope
By Ginger Christ,

The EPA is requiring an Idaho ski and snowboard park owner to clean up debris contaminated with asbestos after the company improperly demolished buildings on its property.

Gateway Parks LLC in January 2014 purchased property next to its existing park near Eagle, Idaho, to expand operations.

The company in May 2014 had an asbestos inspection completed on eight buildings on the new site in preparation of demolition of said buildings. Asbestos was found and the consultant submitted a bid for abatement, which Gateway Parks rejected.

Gateway Parks instead in mid-2014 demolished some of the buildings without safely removing the asbestos or notifying the EPA. Read more

Brooklyn tot has high levels of toxic lead while NYCHA denies paint is a problem
By Greg B. Smith,

When tests showed Helen Jackson’s 2-year-old daughter had dangerous levels of toxic lead in her blood, the worried mom instantly suspected her public housing apartment.

Tests by city health officials say she might be right – though New York City Housing Authority officials insist she’s not. An attorney assisting the Jackson family knows which agency she believes.

“It’s clear that NYCHA is trying not to be blamed because they’re at fault, and the proof of that is the lead in that child’s body,” said lawyer Bonita Zelman. “Since she was born, she has only lived in that apartment.”

While NYCHA claimed paint in Jackson’s Brooklyn home tested negative for lead, a March 25 visit by city health inspectors found different.

The words “LEAD PAINT,” stamped in red, appeared in 19 spots where inspectors found the home’s pale yellow paint tested positive.

Read more

QuanTEM Chronicle Newsletter
Produced & Edited by

Joanna Mueller, Social Media Director

Did you find this newsletter helpful? Have any suggestions or comments?
Email me here.

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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