Newsletter – August 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories
August 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
Are Contractors Taking Mold Seriously Enough?
State official fired after improper asbestos cleanup
Lead poisoning in cattle continues to be toxic problem
Asbestos Pushed in Asia as Product for the Poor
Fungicides linked to resistance in life-threatening fungus
QuanTEM Employment Opportunities 

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Asbestos Spotlight
Karstolite Attic Insulation
Karstolite
A brand name for the asbestos insulation originating from the Karst Mine near Big Sky, Montana.
The type of asbestos mined at the Karst Mine is called Anthophyllite, one of a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals considered to be asbestos.
Anthophyllite asbestos was milled for use as wall and ceiling insulation at several locations in the Bozeman, Montana area between 1925 and the late 1950s. Processing at these mills was inconsistent and distribution is not thought to be widespread. However, homes and commercial buildings constructed prior to 1960 in the Bozeman, Livingston and Helena areas may contain anthophyllite insulation.
Raw asbestos ore from the Karst and other Montana asbestos mines was historically stockpiled at locations in Gallatin County and can be found in soils where it was disposed of or used as fill material.

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that can be expanded into accordion shaped pieces when heated. The insulation material is pebble-like, pour-in product, usually light-brown or gold in color. Not all vermiculite insulation is contaminated with asbestos fibers. Read more

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Georgia Peanut Plant Manager Cites Mold, Mildew During Salmonella Trial

A Georgia food processor linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak shipped thousands of pounds of peanut products after learning its products were contaminated and cheated on testing, a former plant manager testified this week.

 

Samuel Lightsey is a key government witness against his former boss, Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell, and two others.

 

He described documents to jurors that show Peanut Corporation shipped peanuts to companies in Missouri, Illinois and other points after receiving laboratory warnings that product samples had tested positive for salmonella. In other instances, the company cheated on safety testing by switching samples, Lightsey said.

 

In one instance, company records from September 2007 show the firm requested testing on a sample of peanut paste made for Kellogg’s before plant workers actually made the paste. Lightsey said company workers had pulled a sample from an earlier batch. Prosecutor Patrick Hearn asked whether the company could have known whether those products were safe.

 

“They would have not known unless they had additional samples pulled,” Lightsey said.

 

The 2008-09 salmonella outbreak caused one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history. Food safety investigators found more than 700 people across the country were infected and nine people died – three in Minnesota, two in Ohio, two in Virginia, one in Idaho and one in North Carolina.Read more

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John’s View

John Barnett, President

August is almost over and that means it’s time to start planning for next year.

 

Probably the hardest part of preparing for a new year is determining what growth the company can expect and how to make it happen. Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the people you have on your staff that make your company successful and if they fail it’s the fault of management.

 

One of a manager’s biggest responsibilities is to make sure the right people are in the right positions.  Using the round peg in the round hold scenario, you can’t interchange a round peg with a square one.  It just doesn’t work and the longer you try the harder it is on the person and on the company.  Too many times we keep people on our staff when it’s not the right fit for them. When this happens we hold them back from finding the right position where they can grow and be successful. At the same time we limit the growth of the company by having a less than optimal person in the position.  No one likes to terminate an employee, but sometimes that’s the best thing you can do for them.  Some decisions are hard to make, but the other employees depend on you to do your job.

 

The goal here is for the staff to be successful, because if the staff is successful then the company will be successful. If the staff isn’t successful then lookout, trouble is on the horizon.

Fast, Accurate, and Professional

Mold Investigator Training
Course
October 22nd – 24th, 2014
Metro Tech Conference Center
1900 Springlake Drive
OKC, OK 73111
To Register:
Call: 1-800-822-1650

Are Contractors Taking Mold Seriously Enough?
By Matt Bishop, http://www.achrnews.com/

Mold is a serious threat, especially in areas such as the Deep South, where moisture and humidity pose a constant problem for HVAC contractors.

Even though mold remediation could potentially open a new revenue stream for HVAC contractors, some believe their peers don’t take mold nearly seriously enough.

 

“The majority of air conditioning contractors, at least the ones we see here, don’t have the necessary state mold remediation license; they don’t want it,” said Mike White, ASCS, CEO, Clean Air Systems of Louisiana, Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

“They’re interested in selling boxes to people, and that’s it. I’ve gone in behind some of these guys who’ve installed a brand new air conditioning system, and we’ve found mold growing on the ceiling and blowing out of the duct work. [The customer] wants to know why they weren’t made aware of the mold.” Read more

State official fired after improper asbestos cleanup
By Jordan Schrader, http://www.thenewstribune.com

The state has fired the supervisor of an inmate work crew that used shoddy and potentially dangerous work practices in cleaning up asbestos, records show.

The Department of Corrections earlier paid a more than $70,000 fine and closed down its asbestos abatement program.

 

In charge was Gary L. Baldwin, the head of the asbestos program. Baldwin is a 19-year veteran of the agency with 15 years as a certified asbestos supervisor and a clean record of performance evaluations.

 

At times, the inmates didn’t wear proper protective equipment or soak the dry material in water to keep dust out of the air. The crew continued working even after realizing the air-circulation system couldn’t be turned off, and it missed a spot while putting up a barrier around the dining area.

 

“Your actions potentially placed offenders, employees, and yourself at risk of life threatening diseases and death, as well as placed the agency at an enormous risk of future liability,” Danielle Armbruster, assistant director of DOC’s Correctional Industries, wrote in a letter dismissing Baldwin. Read more

Lead poisoning in cattle continues to be toxic problem
By Dvm,Roy Lewis, http://www.manitobacooperator.ca/

Even with ever-increasing education, lead poisoning is still the No. 1 toxic cause of death we see as veterinarians in cattle-producing areas, especially on calves.
Acute lead poisoning is almost always the result of the accidental consumption of high concentrations of lead. The No. 1 source is consumption of the lead plates in broken-down vehicle batteries.

Finding the source of lead and removing it so more cattle are not affected may mean walking and scouring pastures for discarded batteries or other sources of lead. For live animals veterinarians may use such things as sedatives for hyper animals and giving calcium EDTA to tie up the lead. In my experience, some do make it, but often you are left with a blind animal.

 

Then the issue of slaughter withdrawal comes into question. Because of some recent heavy losses from lead poisoning in Alberta feedlots, this was studied extensively by government toxicologists. There are known acceptable levels in meat and the half-life of lead has been calculated to be right around two months.

Read more

Asbestos Pushed in Asia as Product for the Poor
By Katy Daigle, AP Environment Writer

They said their industry saves lives and brings roofs, walls and pipes to some of the world’s poorest people.

 

The industry’s wonder product, though, is one whose very name evokes the opposite: asbestos. A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year.

 

“We’re here not only to run our businesses, but to also serve the nation,” said Abhaya Shankar, a director of India’s Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association.

 

In India, the world’s biggest asbestos importer, it’s a $2 billion industry with double-digit annual growth, at least 100 manufacturing plants and some 300,000 jobs.

 

The International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, the wider medical community and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The ILO estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure outside the workplace.

 

The asbestos executives who gathered in the ballroom of a luxury New Delhi hotel wanted to knock down those concerns. The risks are overblown, many said, and scientists and officials from rich Western nations who cite copious research showing it causes cancer are distorting the facts. Read more

Fungicides linked to resistance in life-threatening fungus
BY Margaret Munro, POSTMEDIA NEWS

Amid growing concern that fungicides are fuelling the rise of resistant and life-threatening fungus in Europe, China and India, a microbial sleuth says it is time to start filling in the gaps in Canada.

 

As a first step, biologist Jianping Xu says his group at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., hopes to start testing fungi circulating in southern Ontario’s farm belt this fall.

 

“We plan to take samples in the environment and compare them with what we see in patients in the hospital,” says Xu, who has collaborated on several international studies that point to resistant fungi as a growing and serious health threat.

 

He and his colleagues say agricultural fungicides known as triazoles, which are sprayed on everything from corn to canola in Canada, appear to be driving emergence of fungi that are resistant to not only agricultural fungicides but closely related medicines. Triazole-based drugs are the first-line defence against Aspergillus fumigatus, which can cause a range of conditions from wheezing in asthmatics to deadly lung infections in individuals with weakened immune systems.

 

Aspergillus is a ubiquitous fungus that feeds on dead animal or plant matter and spreads by producing spores that float through the air. The fungus, common in soil and compost heaps, causes serious infections in more than three million people a 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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