Newsletter – June 2013

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QuanTEM Laboratories
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
June, 2013
In This Issue
Is lead exposure behind cities’ schizophrenia problem?
Many unaware that basic homeowner insurance skips mold
Attack of the killer bacteria
Move over, styrofoam; the fungi are here
Asbestos: the killer we allow to remain with us
Rensselaer site’s asbestos work probed
Lead-Tainted ginger found In California
Spring cleanup can increase lead exposure in home
Barbara’s Corner
Barbara Holder, Customer Service Manager
In our line of work, summer weekends are for someone else! QuanTEM Labs is here to help you deal with that.


When you find yourself in need of a weekend analysis, give us a call as soon as you can to schedule the project. Our on-call analyst will come in and read your rush samples and fax or call you with the results.


Samples sent on Saturday need to be addressed to our local Fed-Ex location:

4220 N. Santa Fe Ave.

OKC, OK 73105

The address is written at the bottom of every QuanTEM Chain of Custody for your convenience.


Be sure to mark your package

Hold for Saturday Pickup” so we can get your samples on Saturday, otherwise it stays in their trailer for Monday distribution.

QuanTEM Labs will always be there for you so you can be there for your clients.We’ve got your back.

Mold of the Month
Trichoderma harzianum

Trichoderma is a genus of fungi that is present in all soils, where they are the most prevalent culturable fungi.

Cultures are typically fast growing and colonies are transparent at first on media such as cornmeal dextrose agar (CMD) or white on richer media such as potato dextrose agar (PDA).

Mycelium are not typically obvious on CMD, conidia typically form within one week in compact or loose tufts in shades of green or yellow or less frequently white. A yellow pigment may be secreted into the agar, especially on PDA. Some species produce a characteristic sweet or ‘coconut’ odor. Read More

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John’s Rant
John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

Hello everyone,


I would like to take a minute to thank everyone who contacted us with concerns as to our wellbeing after the slew of tornados we’ve experienced lately. We did have one analyst who lost her home but thanks to an upstanding insurance company she and her husband have closed on a new house they had been considering and now they have a vacant lot for sale. If you know anyone who wants a lot in tornado alley, I’m sure they’ll be happy to help.


I would like to send a special thanks to Peter Frasca and the staff of EMSL for their support to those in need here in the Oklahoma City area.


It always amazes me that in a time of real need, real people stand up and pitch in. We have witnessed people come in from all over the country, at their own expense, to help those in need dig out and start rebuilding their lives. Friends who experienced damage from these storms have told us of the large numbers of workers who have been showing up to help. It does make you reconsider how you think of your fellow man.


Thanks again for all of your support.


John E. Barnett


QuanTEM Laboratories

Ask the Analyst – Top ten reasons for choosing a lab
Jeff Mlekush, Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Mlekush,
Vice President

Well, maybe not top ten, but how about your top three reasons to choose a lab. Through talking with people in the environmental industry for decades now, recurring themes become apparent in the requirements environmental professionals expect of their laboratory: Quality, Integrity, and Timeliness.


First and foremost, you should expect that your laboratory hold quality as its highest standard. Quality should be pervasive throughout the organization and should be apparent as soon as the phone is answered at the lab. After all, customer service is the most important reason to provide quality work – a quality lab will remember that you’re the customer and will address you on a personal basis. Maybe I’m old fashioned but when I call a lab, I want to hear “Hello” from a human voice, not “Press 1 for English.”


To most of our customers accreditation is vital. Your lab should have some sort of independent organization (i.e. AIHA, NVLAP, A2LA) reviewing quality systems, personnel qualifications, and instrument requirements. Quality laboratories will spend the money (accreditations are expensive) to prove to you that they provide legally defensible data.


Your lab should also show integrity. Good laboratories will be honest with you on all subjects from pricing to whether or not the lab can even perform the analysis you request. Don’t get mad at your lab if they tell you they can’t analyze the 5000 samples you want to send them by the end of the following day; they are just being honest in what they can provide. Good labs will keep your project information confidential and not answer questions from anyone outside your company without your authorization. Sometimes your lab will be the bearer of bad news. That is, they will give you results that are unexpected. Again, don’t get mad. Just ask questions. You should question your laboratory if something seems strange in the results. No lab is perfect and good ones will investigate your questions to determine if there was a problem in the processing of your samples. And, if there was a problem, they will make it right.


One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is that their lab doesn’t get results to them on time. Your laboratory should be in contact with you if there is a problem meeting your requested turnaround time – before the due date! Another one I hear quite a bit is that you will call your lab looking for results that were due two days ago, the lab will tell you the results are almost ready, and you still don’t get results for two more days. This will not happen at QuanTEM Laboratories. QuanTEM may be the only laboratory in the country that tracks turnaround times. Now, QuanTEM is not perfect, but for the first five months of 2013 we were 98.7% on time.


If you want to see the Turnaround Time report, give Barbara or John a call at 1-800-822-1650. They’ll be glad to share our findings with you because when you deal with QuanTEM Laboratories, you’re dealing with the best. Remember our tagline?   Fast- Accurate-Professional.

Is lead exposure behind cities’ schizophrenia problem?
By Sydney Brownstone,

In New York City, like in many other major metropolises, schizophrenia is a disease that can be more visible than most. In 1999, after a schizophrenic off his meds pushed a woman into the path of an oncoming N train, New York State even came up with a law to make the mentally ill seek compulsory treatment. Kendra’s Law, named after the woman who died on the tracks, sought to prevent violence by pushing schizophrenics with a potential for self-harm or violence into psychiatric care.

But for decades, researchers have been struggling with a bigger question about the nature of the relationship between schizophrenia and cities–and why, for example, growing up in a city makes you more vulnerable to developing schizophrenia as an adult.


A landmark study from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and published last week in Schizophrenia Bulletin may shed new light on that connection–for the first time, animal models show that lead, along with other environmental toxins, could be a major contribution to the link. Read More

Poll: Many unaware that basic homeowner insurance skips mold, quakes

By Walter Hamilton,


Many Americans are confused about the basic elements of homeowner insurance policies, according to a new study.


More than four in 10 people wrongly think that the policies cover mold damage and 73% don’t realize that the policies do cover personal items that are stolen from a car, according to the poll by


Perhaps most dangerous for anyone in California, 51% are unaware that earthquake coverage is not covered by standard homeowner policies, the study found. Read More

Attack of the killer bacteria: superbugs, prepare to die!
By Charles Choi,

Predatory bacteria that devour microbes could help kill potentially lethal drug-resistant germs when antibiotics fail, researchers say.

Scientists are hunting for ways to overcome drug-resistant bacteria, such as viruses known as bacteriophages, which infect and kill only bacteria. Now investigators suggest predatory bacteria that eat other bacteria may serve as vital allies, too. Read More

Move over, styrofoam; the fungi are here
A wine shipping unit made of mycelium grown within a mold. Via Ecovative Design.By Daniel Mathews,


In the entire tiny-house movement, one tiny house stands out: it sounds the kookiest, but is the most likely to transform your world some day. Called the Mushroom Tiny House, it’s now growing in the upstate New York plant of Ecovative Design. (Rhymes with “innovative,” not with “evocative.”)


Ecovative is culturing fungi. On purpose. Mixed with moist ground-up corn stalks or other agricultural waste that serves as its food, this fungal mycelium takes just a few days to fill the space, at which point it will be dried out and killed. It will provide fire-resistant, vapor-permeable insulation, while also being so strong, and adhering to the wood so firmly, that no studs are needed.


(What is mycelium? It’s the “body” of a mushroom fungus, living year-round in the soil or other substrate, whereas the mushroom itself is just a temporary spore-disseminating organ. Mycelium comprises miles and miles of fast-growing, tiny, tangled, fibrous tubes each just one cell thick.) Read More

Asbestos: the killer we allow to remain with us

By Larry Graham,

Governments, unions and companies were, and remain, culpable for the spread of the killer asbestos – the result of their handiwork is that over 50,000 Australians have died.

Every day in this state another person dies as a result of exposure to this terrible product. There is no safe level of exposure to it and there is no cure for the diseases it causes, but somehow we still allow the killer asbestos to remain with us.


The diseases that asbestos causes are horrible, particularly the effects of mesothelioma, which has been described to me as akin to being slowly strangled to death, or having concrete set in your lungs. The period from exposure to diagnosis can be a very long time but once diagnosed there is no cure and it is a death sentence.


Of the folklore surrounding this killer product, the one that enrages me most is that those in authority were not aware of the dangers. Read More


Rensselaer site’s asbestos work probed

By Kenneth Crowe,


A federal grand jury in Syracuse is investigating asbestos projects tied to the Hilton Center, an industrial park that was raided Wednesday by state and federal environmental agencies.


The grand jury is looking into at least five years of “asbestos related projects,” according to a May 23 federal subpoena obtained by the Times Union.


The subpoena seeks “any and all documents pertaining to any renovation, demolition or any other project, to include asbestos related projects, filed” by Arthur Hilton, Hilton Management LLC or PRO Manufacturing Co. Read More

Lead-tainted ginger found in California Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods
By Chris Weller,

The state attorney general of California has accused Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and ten other California grocery stores of selling ginger and plum candies with dangerously high levels of lead.

Amid the recent fervor regarding GMO-based foods, this case punctuates the growing importance of food labeling, especially as it pertains to children and pregnant women, who face a greater risk of lead poisoning.


While Lynda Gledhill, the attorney general’s press secretary, said the lead levels were sporadic – “meaning it wasn’t something that was naturally occurring” – the nature of this case poses the greatest threat, because pregnant women often enjoy ginger candy during their pregnancy and children are, no doubt, notorious candy eaters. Read More

2013 Summer TEM Ad

Spring cleanup can increase lead exposure in home
By Terry Gibb, Michigan State University Extension


Many homes have one or more sources of lead contamination. Lead exposure can have health and environmental effects on humans and pets. Lead is a soft metal used in many products, including ceramics, printer’s ink, children’s toys, paint, solder, lead crystal, water pipes and gasoline. For many years, it was commonly used in these products. Lead can last for hundreds of years in the environment and never break down into a harmless substance.


In homes, the most common source of lead is from “paint dust” in older homes. While lead was banned in paints in 1978, 74 percent of homes built prior to 1980 may have high levels of lead paint. This is the most common source of exposure for children. They don’t eat peeling paint chips, instead they play in areas where deteriorating paint has produced paint dust. Most of this dust can be found near areas exposed to moisture, such as around doors, windows and exterior walls. If paint is intact (no chipping, peeling or chalking), then exposure is greatly reduced. Chalking that causes paint dust also comes from weathering or when surfaces rub or scrape together as in the case of door and window sills. Read More

Environmental Community – Taking precautions in the wake of natural disasters
Joanna Mueller
Joanna Mueller, Social Media Director

If you’ve kept up with any news in the past month you may have heard a little something about a few F5 tornadoes that made their way through Oklahoma. We all made it out okay, but the storms hit pretty close to home (and right through it) for some of us. Needless to say, the state has some rebuilding to do now that the winds have died down, but as with any natural disaster of this magnitude there will likely be some long-term health concerns for those living in the affected areas.


The EPA estimates that up to 35 million homes, schools and businesses still contain asbestos contaminated materials. Nearly 80 million U.S. homes were built and painted before lead paint was banned in 1978. Now all those potentially contaminated debris need to be cleaned-up and cleared-out so people can get on with their lives.


The Center for Disease Control website gives some good basic safety practices for cleanup, including information on preventing and removing mold from affected areas. In general, remember to wear protective clothing, rubber gloves and respirators when working in potentially contaminated areas after a disaster.


We might not be able to prevent tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods, but we can all endeavor to be as safe as possible in the aftermath. Thanks for reading!

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.

Any publication included in this News Letter and/or opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of QuanTEM Laboratories, LLC but remain solely those of the author(s). Such publications have been included only for ease of reference and academic purposes.

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