Newsletter – December 2014


December 2014

QuanTEM Chronicle

An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals

In This Issue
Tips to reduce a child’s exposure to lead
Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation
Toxic spores cause anxiety and memory problems in mice
Thailand fails to clean lead-poisoned creek despite court order
Asbestos revealed as Canada’s top cause of workplace death
Owner says horses sickened, killed by tainted hay


Turnaround Tracker

QuanTEM’s overallontime report percentage for November:


Click here for a breakdown by lab


Monthly Musing


“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”


QuanTEM’s Christmas Fundraiser – Bringing joy to OKC Foster Families



Each year around Christmas the staff at QuanTEM works to raise money for a local charitable organization. This year’s recipient is the Angels Foster Family Network of OKC. Angels is a private foster child placing agency in Oklahoma County, rescuing children who have often been traumatized while living in emergency shelters or in a series of short term foster homes after being abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents.


This year QuanTEM employees engaged in a multitude of activities, including; bake sales, card games, prize drawings and coin drops, in order to raise money. Some employees even went above and beyond by agreeing to dress-up in costume when benchmarks were reached. The money raised by employees will be matched by QuanTEM and donated to Angels as a Christmas gift.


Click here for more pictures.


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Visit Our Food Testing Lab


Have allergy-free holidays
christmas tree 

By Dr. Clifford Bassett,


It’s that special time of the year when we gather together to celebrate the holidays and good times with family and friends. As we strive to focus on a healthy lifestyle, especially as we approach the new year, it may pose difficulties for millions who suffer from allergies, as the holidays may carry a whole set of potential and often hidden risks.


Common allergic triggers that may set up a reaction or cause allergy misery can be minimized with my pro-active allergy action plan to allow for enjoyable- and safe- holidays for all. Read more


Fractal growth of B. subtilis, from Fujikawa and Matsushita, Journal of the Physical Society of Japan, 1989.

See more


Image credit: Giacomo Antonio Petrilli

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Photograph courtesy Stephanie Mounaud, J. Craig Venter Institute

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Niall Hamilton, photographer of microorganisms

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Reddit user: microbeman

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A copper sheet in a solution of silver nitrate

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John’s View

JohnI was reading the Steve Harvey book “Act Like a Success – Think Like a Success” and found a quote which I would like to share with you.Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Another year is almost over and it time to start anew.

“If you are still waking up every day, it’s because God has a greater plan for you and it’s not yet completed.  Every day is an opportunity to see your light as a gift.  We all have opportunities that are presented to us on a daily basis. These opportunities show up in the people we meet, the invitations we receive, or the information shared with us. Our response to these choices can determine the quality of our lives.”

You may or may not agree with what he says, but it is food for thought.  Have a great Holiday Season.

-John Barnett


Asbestos Surveys and Composite Analyses

JeffsHappyFacePlease be aware, when doing an asbestos survey, that NESHAP only allows compositing samples collected at the joints of gypsum wallboard systems. Compositing is NOT allowed if an asbestos containing surfacing material is present over the surface of the gypsum wallboard.Testing for and removing asbestos has been around for a long time but we find there is still much confusion on what is and isn’t allowable. We continue to get calls weekly asking us to composite samples that really shouldn’t be composited.

OSHA does not allow composite samples, period.

In general:

  • Samples of skim coat and plaster cannot be composited.
  • Floor tile and mastic cannot be composited.
  • Shingle and tar paper cannot be composited.
  • Fiberglass batt insulation and asbestos pipe wrap cannot be composited.

Attached are copies of Federal Register Clarifications regarding Multi-Layered Systems for your edification. Please read them and follow their guidance.


EPA Multi-Layered Systems Explanation
NESHAP Multi-Layer clarification


NESHAP additional layer clarification


If you would like to discuss specific details regarding QuanTEM’s processing of your samples, feel free to contact me at 1-800-822-1650.


Jeff Mlekush

Vice President


Tips to reduce a child’s exposure to lead
By Monroe Courier, to the Trumbull-Monroe Health District (TMHD), childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children today. Approximately half a million U.S. children have blood lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter, the reference level at which Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends public health actions be initiated.


Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Major sources of lead exposure among U.S. children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources including contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.


“TMHD is committed to eliminating this burden to public health,” said Patrice Sulik, TMHD director of health. “We can do our part by treating our family to a lead-safe environment.”


Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Read more


Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation
A UH Cancer Center news release, has been a long-held belief that tumors arising from exposure to asbestos are caused by mutations in one cell, which then produces multiple clones. This hypothesis is challenged by new research published in the open access Journal of Translational Medicine, which suggests it is caused by mutations in multiple cells.


Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium – the protective lining that covers the internal organs, such as the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity. It is estimated that malignant mesothelioma affects up to 3,200 people in the U.S. each year, most of whom die within a year of diagnosis. The primary cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos, which was previously used in building construction. The inhalation of asbestos fibers causes inflammation that can cause mutations in cells even after 30-50 years of dormancy.


Most cancers are thought to be monoclonal, where all the cells in a tumor can be traced back to a mutation in a single cell. Researchers from University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center set out to investigate whether this was the case with malignant mesothelioma, or if it was polyclonal in which the tumor is the result of the growth of two or more mutant distinct cells. Read more


Toxic spores cause anxiety and memory problems in mice
By Bethany Brookshire,
testmouseMoldy houses are hard on the lungs, and new results in mice suggest that they could also be bad for the brain. Inhaling mold spores made mice anxious and forgetful, researchers reported November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. 

Cheryl Harding, a psychologist at the City University of New York, and colleagues dripped low doses of spores from the toxic mold Stachybotrys into mouse noses three times per week. After three weeks, the mice didn’t look sick. But they had trouble remembering a fearful place. The mice were also more anxious than normal counterparts. The anxiety and memory deficits went along with decreases in new brain cells in the hippocampus – a part of the brain that plays a role in memory – compared with control mice. Read more


Thailand fails to clean lead-poisoned creek despite court order
By Thin Lei Win,
leadswimmingHundreds of families in western Thailand are suffering from lead poisoning near a polluted creek that the government has failed to clean up despite a court order two years ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report.In 1998, Lead Concentrates (Thailand) closed a mine in Klity Creek in Kanchanaburi province, but the 400 or so ethnic Karen subsistence farmers living in a nearby village struggle with health problems and continue to fight for a cleanup, the watchdog group said in a report.


In what activists hailed as a landmark ruling, the Supreme Administrative Court in January 2013 ordered the government to pay $125,000 in compensation and clean up the site.


“This is a test case for whether rule of law really means anything in Thailand when the poor and powerless take on a state agency that has been negligent,” Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy director for Asia, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.


“If the (Pollution Control Department) can defy an order from the Supreme Administrative Court without facing severe consequences, it spreads the word that government agencies can do what they want.”


Residents of Lower Klity Creek village suffer the symptoms of chronic lead poisoning, such as abdominal pain and headaches, and children born with severe developmental disabilities, the HRW report said. Read more


Asbestos revealed as Canada’s top cause of workplace death
By Tavia Grant,
canadaasbestosmineAsbestos exposure is the single largest on-the-job killer in Canada, accounting for more than a third of total workplace death claims approved last year and nearly a third since 1996, new national data obtained by The Globe and Mail show. The 368 death claims last year alone represent a higher number than fatalities from highway accidents, fires and chemical exposures combined. 

Since 1996, almost 5,000 approved death claims stem from asbestos exposure, making it by far the top source of workplace death in Canada.

The numbers come as the federal government – long a supporter of the asbestos industry – continues to allow the import of asbestos-containing products such as pipes and brake pads. A Globe and Mail investigation earlier this year detailed how Ottawa has failed to caution its citizens about the impact that even low levels of asbestos can have on human health. Canada’s government does not clearly state that all forms of asbestos are known human carcinogens. Dozens of other countries including Australia, Britain, Japan and Sweden have banned asbestos.

Canada was one of the world’s largest exporters of asbestos for decades, until 2011, when the last mine in Quebec closed. The mineral’s legacy remains, as it was widely used in everything from attic insulation to modelling clay in schools and car parts and in a variety of construction materials such as cement, tiles and shingles. Health experts warn long latency periods mean deaths from asbestos will climb further. Read more


Owner says horses sickened, killed by tainted hay
By Taylor Langston,
horsehayRacquel Davis says two of her horses have died and a third got very sick because of tainted hay she bought from Lubbock City Farms. 

She is suing the city for $100,000.


Davis claims the hay was tainted and her attorney, Travis Ware, says it cost her an award-winning horse.


Ware filed the lawsuit on Dec. 10.


The lawsuit states that the horses died just one day after eating the hay, claiming that it was contaminated with mold, which can be fatal if ingested by horses.


The lawsuit says Davis purchased ten bales of hay from the city farms on May 6.


The suit says the third horse is “unable to perform due to effects of illness caused by hay.” 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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