Newsletter – July 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories
July 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
Bill would require certified mold technicians
Legal Newsline scores big win for asbestos transparency
Lead pollution beat explorers to South Pole, persists today
Almost Half of CF Patients are Infected with Aspergillus Mold
The Hidden Dangers of Lead in Urban Gardens

Asbestos Spotlight

Natural Asbestos
-By CHRIS GRYGIEL, 
The Associated Press
 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigators prompted by a resident’s concern in late 2012 tested rocks near a housing development in Burlington, Skagit County, and found evidence of naturally occurring asbestos.

Natural asbestos is often found in certain types of rocks and near fault zones. It can be released into the air from the rocks when they are broken or crushed, as often occurs during mining or development.

 

The Washington Department of Natural Resources says naturally occurring asbestos has been found in areas in the northern part of the state, and experts say it occurs throughout the United States.

 

EPA investigators collected samples for testing by breaking off bits of exposed rock with a hammer.

 

In their final report, the investigators said that, given the limited nature of the study at Burlington Hill, they couldn’t say what risks people exposed to the asbestos could face.

 

For that, air samples that measure asbestos concentrations that people could breathe would be needed. But the investigators said, “EPA would caution people to refrain from disturbing the material” where the asbestos was found.Read more

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Whole-Genome Sequencing Expected to Revolutionize Outbreak Investigations
 

For decades, food safety experts have lived with the reality that roughly one-third of foodborne illness outbreak investigations ended without finding the source.

 

But with the wide proliferation of new laboratory technology on the horizon, outbreak investigations could soon become more accurate, more efficient and more complete, according to researchers at Cornell University, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

The new technology is known as rapid whole-genome sequencing, a process of analyzing the complete DNA sequence of organisms, included foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. It’s the same technology used to generate the human genome, but in epidemiology, the process grants investigators the ability to much more precisely identify organisms causing outbreaks, right down to their DNA.

 

By letting investigators identify a bacterium down to the DNA, genome sequencing allows much more certainty when matching clusters of illnesses and narrowing down the list of potential food sources. For example, two people in the same area might both be sick with Salmonella Heidelberg from two different sources, but investigators could only know that the illnesses were unrelated by looking at the bacteria’s DNA. Read more

John’s View
John Barnett, President
WHAT WERE THEY DRINKING?

 

The Board of Directors for the Indoor Air Quality Association, (IAQA) has just agreed to merge the IAQA organization into the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, (ASHRAE).  In the beginning the IAQA organization was dedicated to working with and supporting those IAQ professionals and home inspectors who worked in the field on a daily basis.  This was a great organization for the workers who make up the backbone of our industry.  From all appearances, IAQA was a successful organization with a loyal and growing following.

 

A few years ago someone got the bright idea to sell out to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, (ACCA). The IAQA became the “B…” step-child of that organization.  This collaboration almost destroyed the exhibit hall and apparently caused substantial upheaval among the rank and file.  So now we lose the ACCA and jump into bed with ASHRAE.  ASHRAE is a good organization but will someone please show me the synergy between these two organizations?  Has IAQA been beaten down so much that it can no longer sustain itself as a stand-alone organization?

 

Maybe I’m missing something, but it appears our leaders have lost sight of what made IAQA such a great organization in the first place.  If you have comments concerning this merger I look forward to seeing them.

 

For your consideration, I’ve attached a list of questions and answers concerning the merger, forwarded to me by our 1st Vice President, Eva King.

What does the planned merger with ASHRAE mean tome as an IAQA Member?

-Eva King,PhD

IAQA First Vice President and Transition Team Leader

 

Is IAQA going to be swallowed up in the big ASHRAE organization?

No, that is not the plan in anyway.

Pending a three to six month period of due diligence, IAQA will become a part of the ASHRAE organization. That means that IAQA will operate under ASHRAE’s organizational umbrella,while maintaining its own brand, Board of Directors, budget, etc. IAQA will operate independently within ASHRAE’s organizational structure.

ASHRAE? But we are not engineers!

Similar to IAQA, ASHRAE has a very diverse membership!

The main groups that form the 50,000+ASHRAE membership include consulting engineers, contractors, manufacturers, government/education/healthcare professionals, design build professionals, and architects. In fact, more than 5,000 ASHRAE members classify themselves as contractors and another 7,900 members are classified as manufacturers or manufacturer’s reps.

 

How about MEMBERSHIP? Will I now be an ASHRAE member? How about membership benefits?

ASHRAE and IAQA membership rosters will remain separate.

As a result the merger discussions, however,certain ASHRAE membership benefits may be extended to IAQA members.There may also be discounted rates for those ASHRAE or IAQA members who choose to join the other organization in addition to their primary membership. There are lots of options and opportunities!

 

Will my dues increase? When and how do I pay my dues renewal?

We do not anticipate changes to IAQA dues based on this merger.

You will receive a notification regarding dues renewals and processing once the transition is further along.

And by the way: current individual IAQA and ASHRAE annual dues are very similar. ASHRAE’s current individual dues for full or associate members in North America is $199. More information about ASHRAE membership grades is available at https://www.ashrae.org/membership–conferences/join-now/how-to-join#app.

 

Will the local IAQA and ASHRAE CHAPTERS become one chapter?

ASHRAE has a very robust network of 175 chapters divided among 14 Regions around the world, with some 140 of those chapters in the U.S. You can view the ASHRAE Chapter/Region structure online at https://www.ashrae.org/society-groups/chapters. This will be a great asset to IAQA Chapters in any case; and it is expected that ASHRAE’s Chapters will provide better support to IAQA’s chapters, and vice versa!

As with other items, the way Chapters will be handled is part of the due diligence and discussion between the associations’ leadership over the next several months. So, please bear with us on this journey! The current idea is to assess local chapters individually, and do whatever works best for that particular location. This will includethe opportunity to collaborate

on joint meetings or seminars, host each other’s members, merge, or stay completely separate.

 

Will there be any changes to the 2015 ANNUAL MEETING and IE3 Expo Dallas?

No. The 2015 IAQA Annual Convention and IE3 Expo at the Gaylord Texan Hotel will be held as planned,in collaboration with our previous convention partner ACCA.

Bill would require certified mold technicians

By Ilya Hemlin, http://nj1015.com/

Believe it or not, there aren’t many requirements be a mold remediation technician in New Jersey, but new legislation aims to change that.

“We have people who represent themselves as experts – there’s no training, there’s not certification, there’s not standards,” said Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway), chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

 

Under the bill, the state Department of Community Affairs would establish a certification program for mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers based on information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The bill also requires procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings and school facilities.

 

“Community Affairs would adopt rules and regulations about what training has to be accomplished, and then how it would be certified – probably taking a test and having a license,” Smith said.

 

If passed, the bill would require mold technicians to obtain the necessary certification within three to six months. Read more

Legal Newsline scores big win for asbestos transparency

BY WASHINGTON EXAMINER,http://washingtonexaminer.com/

Garlock Sealing Technologies, founded in 1887, originally produced seals for rods in locomotive steam engines. Over the years, it used asbestos in gaskets and valves. When the age of asbestos lawsuits began, it was deluged with nearly a million claims. Although Garlock defended such cases for years — at times successfully — the company succumbed in 2010 and entered bankruptcy with 100,000 asbestos and 4,000 mesothelioma claims pending.

 

Garlock’s products never represented a high-risk of asbestos exposure, as some others do. George Hodges, the federal judge presiding over the bankruptcy, noted that Garlock products “resulted in a relatively low exposure to asbestos to a limited population and … its legal responsibility for causing mesothelioma is relatively de minimis.”

 

But then, how did Garlock become one of America’s most-sued companies? Thanks to a court ruling last week, the public will see the ugly details. Unscrupulous trial lawyers exploited the asbestos claims system to push Garlock to the edge, all the while hiding that their clients had probably become sick from other sources of asbestos.

 

Then, after winning judgments or settlements from Garlock, they would seek out additional compensation by making claims against those other companies’ asbestos claim funds. These claimants weren’t just double-dipping. On average, the cases scrutinized in this bankruptcy case had dipped into 19 further sources of asbestos cash after their Garlock cases were resolved. It was an especially lucrative scheme for the trial lawyers who collected millions of dollars in hourly fees. Read more

Lead pollution beat explorers to South Pole, persists today

By Justin Broglio, Desert Research Institute

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911. More than 100 years later, an international team of scientists that includes a NASA researcher has proven that air pollution from industrial activities arrived to the planet’s southern pole long before any human.

 

Using data from 16 ice cores collected from widely spaced locations around the Antarctic continent, including the South Pole, a group led by Joe McConnell of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada, created the most accurate and precise reconstruction to date of lead pollution over Earth’s southernmost continent. The new record, described in an article published today in the online edition of the Nature Publishing Group’s journal Scientific Reports, spans a 410-year period from 1600 to 2010.

 

“Our new record shows the dramatic impact of industrial activities such as smelting, mining and fossil fuel burning on even the most remote parts of the world,” McConnell said.

 

“It is very clear that industrial lead contamination was pervasive throughout Antarctica by the late 19th century, more than two decades before the first explorers made it to the South Pole,” he added. “The idea that Amundsen and Scott were traveling over snow that clearly was contaminated by lead from smelting and mining in Australia, and that lead pollution at that time was nearly as high as any time ever since, is surprising to say the least.”

Read more

Almost Half of CF Patients are Infected with Aspergillus Mold

By: Leonor Mateus Ferreira, http://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/

According to a recent study conducted by a medical student from Manchester University in the United Kingdom, approximately 50 percent of cystic fibrosis patients are also infected by theAspergillus fungus, which is caused by an exposure to mold. The research highlights the dangers of mold, and it may help doctors improve diagnosis and treatment for patients with CF.

Researcher Jo Armstead analyzed data from 30 different countries and found that there are over 75,000 people who are both afflicted with CF and who also suffer from an aspergillus fungal infection, with more than half of those patients being over the age of 18. The research was conducted during the summer of 2013, when Armstead was working with Professor Denning, Director of the NHS National Aspergillosis Centre and Professor of Infectious Diseases in Global Health in the Faculty’s Institute of Inflammation and Repair.

 

“The life expectancy of people with CF has been increasing, but aspergillosis has a major negative impact on many,” Professor Denning explained. “By painstakingly crunching the numbers, Jo has helped us better understand the scale of the challenge which will lead to better diagnostics and treatment strategies. There will be many patients who over the coming years will be grateful to Jo and her work.”

 

Aspergillosis causes airway infections, bronchitis, and the ABPA allergy, which starts in childhood and reaches a peak in late teenage years. Treatment involves anti fungal therapy or oral steroids, however, neither treatment has been shown to be very effective, as anti fungal resistance to these treatment types continues to be an issue for clinicians. Read more

The Hidden Dangers of Lead in Urban Gardens

By Karen Pinchin, http://modernfarmer.com/

When Ryan Kuck’s young twins both tested positive for elevated lead levels in their blood he was worried – but not surprised. A longtime urban gardener in Philadelphia, Kuck regularly encounters problems caused by the rampant lead contamination of his city’s soil. But this time, as a parent, it was different.
There’s a problematic disconnect, says Kuck, between his city’s public health community, which considered the issue so urgent it assembled a task force in April 2012 to deal with lead in youths and children, and the gardening community. “There’s this perception that people have been eating this food for decades, so how bad can it really be?”

The answer to that question is potentially very, very bad, according to University of Illinois’ Sam Wortman, a professor in the crop sciences department. But, surprisingly, perhaps not because of the danger to people’s health.

 

“For the longevity of urban agriculture, it’s a public relations disaster in the making,” says Wortman, who co-authored a paper called “Environmental Challenges Threatening the Growth of Urban Agriculture in the United States,” last year. There have been many social studies of urban farms, and many environmental science studies of soil contamination, he says, but not enough scientific work linking the two.

 

Before Hannah Kohrman was an urban farming activist she was an earth science student at Stanford University. As she increasingly became involved in the city’s local food movement, volunteering at San Francisco’s downtown Free Farm, she heard many concerns about lead levels in local produce.

 

“The Free Farm was a downtown lot, about a third of an acre, completely surrounded by roads,” she says. Supervised by Stanford earth scientist C. Page Chamberlain, a founder of the Free Farm and conveniently the co-director of the university’s isotope laboratory, she sampled produce from urban farms, testing various edible parts – root to tip – for lead and cadmium, another heavy metal. 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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