Newsletter – March 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories

March 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
Lawyer admits to doctoring asbestos suits in N.Y.
An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings
Does Lead Poisoning Make You More Likely To Become A Criminal?
Iowa’s asbestos inspectors overloaded
Mold may set off asthma in middle-age
3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean
Barbara’s Corner

Hello spring, I am so very happy to say goodbye to winter!

We are all ready for the busy season to begin and we hope you are too.

I will do all I can to help you with your projects. Let me know if you need any additional supplies or if you have any questions.

For those who need them I have FedEx pre-printed shipping labels that will make shipping samples easier when you’re in the field.

We can do this….together!

Turn-Around Times in February:

Call Me: 1-800-822-1650
Mold Investigator Training Course
Spring 2014
April 9-11, 2014

Metro Technology Centers
Springlake Campus
1900 Springlake Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
  • Indoor Air Quality & Mold
  • Mold 101
  • Investigation Strategies
  • Data Interpretation
  • Report Writing
  • Remediation Considerations
  • Current Industry Trends
  • Industry Guidelines
  • Effects of Exposure
  • Sampling Techniques and Strategies
  • Case Studies & Activities
  • Communication Skills & More

To register contact

Jim Humphrey

Or Call: 800-822-1650
Asbestos Spotlight


The fibrous form of the amphibole riebeckite, found primarily in southern Africa, but also in Australia and Bolivia. Crocidolite is seen under a microscope as a blue fiber.

Often referred to as blue asbestos, it is considered the most hazardous. In 1964 Dr Christopher Wagner discovered an association between blue asbestos and mesothelioma.

Bolivian crocidolite was used in Kent Micronite cigarette filters in the 1950s. Blue asbestos was also formerly used in early gas masks. In the mid 20th Century, asbestos was found to be harmful so production stopped.
Read more


© Raimond Spekking

(via WikimediaCommons)

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John’s View

John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

I have some great news to share this month; Dr. Terry Harrison is back at the helm of our Microbiology and Food Safety Laboratories.

Dr. Harrison worked with us several years ago and helped to open and establish our Micro Lab, as well as writing our original Mold Investigator Training course.   During this time he was rapidly becoming known as one of the most knowledgeable voices in the mold industry.

Dr. Harrison has returned with his commitment to customer service and a willingness to work closely with our clients.  Having been a professor for many years he is an excellent communicator. With his knowledge of microorganisms, Terry is an outstanding source of information in regards to mold and its hazards.

All of us here at QuanTEM are very excited to have Dr. Harrison back on the team.  Don’t hesitate to give him a call if you have a question about mold or bacteria. I promise you, it will be time well spent.

Lawyer admits to doctoring asbestos suits in N.Y. to increase business
By Jessica Beym, South Jersey Times

A former attorney in the Haddonfield office of a firm specializing in toxic tort litigation today admitted that he falsified defendants’ names in more than 100 asbestos suits filed in New York State courts in order to increase business and his standing in the firm, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Arobert C. Tonogbanua, 44, of Sicklerville pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to one count of wire fraud.

Authorities said Tonogbanua admitted that he fraudulently inserted the names of his former law firm’s clients into legitimately filed asbestos suits and charged the clients more than $1 million in attorney’s fees, costs and settlements to defend them.

Tonogbanua admitted that, unbeknownst to anyone else at the firm, he forwarded those fraudulently altered complaints to the firm’s clients, their representatives and insurance companies. Read more 

An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings: Toxic Mold
By Sarah Zhang,

Energy-efficient buildings can be wonderful at keeping out drafts and keeping down heating bills. But the same air-tightness, unfortunately, is also perfect for trapping humid air where toxic mold can go to party.

The Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada has been a mold-filled ghost building since 2001, after renovations to the handsome, 87-year-old sandstone building went awry. When the renovated and newly energy-efficient building reopened, according to ClimateWire, judges and attorneys complained of fatigue, irritated lungs, and watery eyes.

Air quality samples pointed the finger at mold growing inside the walls. The cracks and leaks of the pre-renovation building had been a crude form of air-quality control-albeit not very energy efficient. The new airtight building, however, trapped moisture to breed toxic mold.

The court eventually moved to an office tower downtown, but the mold permanently contaminated its archives. Record requests are a real pain. “Mold still lingers in paper court documents,” Umair Irfan writes in ClimateWire; incredibly, this requires “someone with a respirator to retrieve and scan contaminated files to send to officials as requested.” Read more 

Does Lead Poisoning Make You More Likely To Become A Criminal?
By Lecia Bushak,

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

In the U.S., crime has been reduced significantly in the past several decades. Economists and researchers have hypothesized that this decline in crime is somehow linked to the removal of high lead levels from common things like gasoline or paint, and thus claim that lead poisoning at an early age may be cause for criminal activity later on.

Before Rudy Giuliani became the mayor of New York City in the early 1990s, the Big Apple was known for its high crime rates. Since the 1960s, rape, murder, and robbery rates had ballooned significantly. Giuliani came along with a plan to decrease crime with the “broken windows” theory, and it worked; crime dropped significantly. But it wasn’t just in New York City. Amazingly enough, it was happening all across the States during the last decade of the 20th century.

Why did the homicide rate decrease by over 40 percent by the end of the 1990s? Economists and criminologists have struggled to find a clear cut answer, and perhaps there is none. Some believe it’s because of an increase in police officers; others point to the fact that the number of criminals who are behind bars has risen. However, a fraction of researchers believe that the decline of crime is linked to lead. Read more 

Iowa’s asbestos inspectors overloaded
By Jason Clayworth,

A contractor’s complaint has prompted closer scrutiny of possible asbestos exposure involving workers at a downtown Des Moines renovation project, but an inspector doesn’t even visit hundreds of sites across Iowa each year where workers could face risks from the cancer-causing material.

The routine lack of asbestos-handling inspections at construction sites in Iowa and across the nation represents a widespread failure to protect the public, environmental safety advocates say.

In Iowa, one inspector enforces U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asbestos removal regulations and oversees as many as 4,500 asbestos removal projects each year. Another inspector must try to enforce federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration asbestos regulations.

The fact that Iowa’s inspectors are overworked means owners of unscrupulous companies know they can work in Iowa and probably won’t encounter oversight, said Lynn Pickard, statewide director of training of the Iowa Laborers Education and Training Fund. He emphasized concerns about projects where he believes some companies partake in “rip and skip at night when nobody is around” and incorrectly conduct air monitoring tests. Read more

Mold may set off asthma in middle-age

By Annie Rahilly-Melbourne,

Reducing the presence of mold in the home may reduce asthma in middle-aged adults, according to new research.

In a follow-up of a longitudinal health study conducted in Tasmania, over 5,700 participants completed respiratory and home environment questionnaires and had skin-prick tests for allergies.

The results revealed that recent presence of mold in the home was associated with “non-allergic” asthma in middle age, particularly in men whose risk was about four times that of women. Read more

3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean
By David Malakoff,

3D graphics by Steven van Heuven, courtesy Hein de Baar, Rob Middag, Abigail Noble, and Christian Schlosser

About 1000 meters down in a remote part of the Atlantic Ocean sits an unusual legacy of humanity’s love affair with the automobile. It’s a huge mass of seawater infused with traces of the toxic metal lead, a pollutant once widely emitted by cars burning leaded gasoline. Decades ago, the United States and Europe banned leaded gas and many other uses of the metal, but the pollutant’s fingerprint lingers on-as shown by remarkably detailed new maps released here this week at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting.

The 3D maps and animations are the early results of an unprecedented $300 million international collaboration to document the presence of trace metals and other chemicals in the world’s oceans. The substances, which often occur in minute quantities, can provide important clues to understanding the ocean’s past-such as how seawater masses have moved around over centuries-and its future, such as how climate change might shift key biochemical processes. Over about 30 cruises in the past few years, researchers have collected nearly 30,000 water samples at 787 study sites. Then, using painstaking techniques-including wearing “moon suits” and working in clean rooms to prevent contamination-they’ve measured elements like iron, nickel, and zinc. The effort, known as GEOTRACES, “is a huge improvement over what we were able to do in the past,” says ocean chemist Hein de Baar of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in Texel. 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.

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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