Newsletter February 2015

February 2015
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
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John’s View

John Barnett, President

 

 The QuanTEM family continues to grow.  Many of you have met, or at least talked with Ingrid, head of marketing at QuanTEM Foods. She also works to support QuanTEM Laboratories’ marketing and sales efforts.The reason I mention Ingrid is because she and her family just welcomed in their new son, Emil Andres, last Saturday. Mother and baby are both doing fine although it’s already bothering Ingrid that she isn’t on the phone talking with clients. She’ll also have to miss the first couple of trade conferences. Knowing Ingrid as well as I do I’m sure she will be back at it in short order, although mostly working from home for a while.

Speaking of trade conferences, if you have plans to attend the upcoming IAQA or EIA conferences we’d love to have you stop by and say hello. We’ll be at IAQA Booth #1109 and EIA Booth #203. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet with you.

Congratulations Ingrid and hurry back,

John Barnett,

President, QuanTEM Laboratories

QuanTEM Food Safety Laboratories

Heavy Metal Valentine: Is There Lead in Your Chocolate?By Elizabeth Grossman, http://civileats.com/

By Lukas Gojda for Shutterstock

Photo by Lukas Gojda / Shutterstock.

 We’ve begun to expect unusual flavors likechili, salt, and lavender in chocolate. But there might be another surprising addition to your Valentine’s Daysweets: heavy metals.

According to the consumer health watchdog As You Sow, there’s a good chance that chocolate you buy may contain lead or cadmium. Lab test results obtained by the group examined 42 products, 26 of which contained lead and/or cadmium at levels above what the state of California considers safe. The brands that tested positive for heavy metals included Hershey’s, Mars, Ghiradhelli, Godiva, See’s, Lindt, Whole Foods, and Green and Black’s.

Some of the chocolate tested contained lead at levels up to 5.9 times California’s “safe harbor” level-or the maximum allowable daily limit-for reproductive harm, and found cadmium at levels up to 8.2 times the limit. Read more

Porches an Overlooked Lead Hazard

By Mark Michaud, mark_michaud@urmc.rochester.edu

A new study in the journal Environmental Health indicates that porches in older homescan be a significant source of lead dust and that housing regulations – which have been instrumental in lower rates of lead poisoning in recent years – needto be adapted to meet this threat to children’s health.

  “This study shows that porches are an important potential source of lead exposure for children,” said Katrina Korfmacher, Ph.D. director of theCommunity Outreach and Engagement Coreof the University of Rochester Medical Center Environmental Health Sciences Center and a co-author of the study. “It is becoming clear that porch dust lead can be effectively reduced through repairs, cleaning, and maintenance.” Read more

In Nevada, a Controversy in the Wind

By Deborah Blum, www.nytimes.com

For the past few years, the geologists Brenda Buck and Rodney Metcalf have combed the wild terrain of southern Nevada, analyzing its stony dunes and rocky outcroppings – and to their dismay, tallying mounting evidence of a landscape filled with asbestos.

Asbestos occurs naturally in many parts of the country, mostly in the West but also along some mountain ranges in the East. But in Nevada, the scientists found, natural erosion and commercial development were sending the fibers into the wind.

Worried about the possible health risks, Dr. Buck and Dr. Metcalf, professors of geoscience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, reached out to experts in asbestos-related diseases. With data from Nevada’s cancer registry, an epidemiologist prepared a preliminary report that outlined what she felt was a troubling pattern of mesothelioma – a cancer often related to asbestos exposure – among residents of the affected areas.

But if the scientists expected to be applauded by state officials for their initiative, they were mistaken. Read more

The 3 strangest facts about all that bacteria on the New York City subway

By Erin Brodwin, Business Insider

Thanks to a new study, we now know that we share our commutes with around 600 different species of bacteria” including some that have been linked with everything from food poisoning to meningitis.

Other, far less harmful subway residents include the microbes found in mozzarella cheese and bacteria found in garbanzo beans (the main ingredient in falafel), which reveal a striking pattern of commuting-while-snacking.

While there are questions about whether this kind of DNA fingerprinting yields accurate results, the new study, led by Weill Cornell Medical College geneticist Chris Mason, includes a host of irresistibly fascinating information about the microbes that are sharing your subway ride. Read more

Asbestos interferes with Camden demolitions

By Kevin Shelly, http://www.courierpostonline.com/

Nearly a month ago, Tricon Enterprises began the first phase of Camden’s long-awaited plans to demolish nearly 600 derelict buildings.
Ironically, before beginning with clearing the rubble Friday morning, Tricon workmen put up tape that reads: “DANGER ASBESTOS HAZARD.” The warning tape raises many questions.

 If asbestos was present in the abandoned home, it should have been removed before the demolition.If that had been done, there would be no need for asbestos caution tape, according to a source versed in asbestos removal procedure.

And if removal was not done first, but asbestos was present, then the entire load of construction debris would need to be taken to an authorized landfill, which dramatically increases the price of disposal. Read more

Lead Exposure May Be Bigger Threat to Boys Than Girls

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Hormones may explain why lead exposure is less likely to cause brain damage in girls than in boys, researchers report.

Specifically, the female hormones estrogen and estradiol may help protect against lead’s harmful effects on the frontal areas of the brain, according to the findings published recently in the Journal of Environmental Health.

“The study supports existing research suggesting that estrogen and estradiol in females may act as neuroprotectants against the negative impacts of neurotoxins,” study author Maya Khanna, a psychology professor at Creighton University, said in a university news release.

The study included 40 children. They were between the ages of 3 and 6, and all lived in an area of Omaha considered the largest residential lead clean-up site in the United States. The area has high levels of lead contamination in the soil due to emissions from a lead refinery that operated there for 125 years.

Also, many homes in the area are old and still have lead-based paint.

The researchers found that 23 of the children had elevated blood lead levels. Boys with elevated lead levels scored low on tests of memory, attention and other thinking abilities. Girls with elevated lead levels did not do as poorly on the tests, according to the study. Read more

Robots zapping germs at Baptist Health hospitals

By Ashley Mitchem, http://www.news4jax.com/

Baptist Health Jacksonville has a new high-tech tool in its infection-prevention toolkit: Germ-zapping robots that use ultraviolet light to destroy bacteria, viruses, mold and other pathogens.

The robots are part of a new effort to keep both patients and visitors from catching illnesses they don’t already have.

“It’s an added tool that will cleanse the room, if you will, in terms of reducing infection opportunities,” said Michael Mayo, hospital president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville

Mayo said it’s not a substitute for cleaning the room. It’s just added protection to make the hospital as sanitary as possible.

The robots are sent in to both operating rooms and patient rooms after cleaning crews do their jobs.

“In five minutes we are able to kill things like C-Diff that are very hard to kill that takes bleach 10 minutes to kill and that’s because it’s able to fry the DNA of the bacteria or virus,” said Rachael Sparks, technical director for Xenex Disinfection Services. 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.
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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