Newsletter March 2015

March 2015
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
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Study Links Lead to Schizophrenia
By Rick Nauert PHD,

A new study of the brains of rats exposed to lead suggests the metal may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health researchers found striking similarities in the rat brains to what is known about the brains of human schizophrenia patients.

A description of the study results appear in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

The researchers found that lead had a detrimental effect on cells in three brain areas implicated in schizophrenia: the medial prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the striatum of rats exposed to lead before birth and in the early part of their lives.

Moreover, the density of brain cells declined by approximately one-third – roughly the same percentage decline seen in schizophrenia patients. Read more

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Moldy Homes May Mean More Asthma in Young Kids
By Tara Haelle, HealthDay Reporter

Children appear more likely to develop asthma if their living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms have mold or moisture damage, according to a new study.

Children were most susceptible to developing asthma with mold exposure during their first two years of life, or if they already had allergies. However, mold did not increase children’s risk of developing allergies in the first place.

“The most significant finding was that moisture damage with or without mold in the rooms where children are expected to spend most of their time is associated with increased asthma risk, and it appears to be permanent,” said lead researcher Anne Karvonen, a senior researcher in Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare.

In other words, children’s asthma continued through age 6, and visible mold in children’s bedrooms or living rooms presented the highest risk, she said. Read more

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John’s View

John Barnett, President

March is almost over and it’s been a busy month for the environmental industry.  The IAQA conference and expo was held in Grapevine TX and the EIA National Conference was held in Atlanta GA.  We enjoyed both shows. It was good to see old friends and make new ones.

One very exciting event was the completion of the new and updated Purple Book.  The EPA tasked EIA members with updating the old book (which was/is way out of date).  When the update was complete the EPA was unable to fund the publishing, so EIA took it upon themselves to publish and distribute the book.

Tom Laubenthal and his committee did an outstanding job putting this new book together.  If you are a building owner, manager, or do any environmental work with buildings, you need this book.  They are currently available from the Environmental Information Association ( ).  The price is only $25.00. For additional information on this offer, contact Kelly or Kim at EIA.

QuanTEM will be attending the AIHce in Salt Lake City, UT in June. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you all for your continued support of QuanTEM Laboratories,

John Barnett

City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

By Dane Placko, FOX 32 News Investigative Reporter

A southwest suburban contractor is suing the city of Chicago claiming it hid dangerous asbestos buried under a construction site.

The site is now a police station on the near South Side at 14th and Blue Island.

The 12th District Chicago police station has been open for two years. However, the battle over what was discovered underground will rage on.

“We believe they fraudulently induced Harbour contractors to enter into the contract,” said attorney Charles Lewis.
Lewis represents Harbour contractors of southwest suburban Plainfield, which has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Public Building Commission of Chicago. That agency, which is headed by the mayor and made up of political appointees, is in charge of building and financing new construction for the city of Chicago and Cook County.

In 2010 the Public Building Commission, or “PBC,” awarded Harbour a 20-million dollar contract to build the new police station at 14th and Blue Island, on the site of the old ABLA public housing project.

The PBC said that the site had been inspected by an environmental company and nothing dangerous was found. But soon after construction began, a subcontractor employed by Harbour discovered underground heating pipes wrapped in cancer-causing asbestos running throughout the property.

Those pipes were installed in the 1930s and 40s to provide heat to the public housing buildings.

“You’ve got asbestos that has been dug up that is friable. It’s in the air,” Lewis said. “It creates safety hazards for Harbour’s people and the subcontractor’s people on the job site.”

Harbour alleges the agency instructed the environmental company inspecting the site to not dig test pits in areas where it knew there was asbestos. Read more

Purina Sued for Allegedly Killing Thousands of Dogs With ‘Toxic’ Food

By James Joiner,

Despite years of online allegations that one of the most popular dog food brandshas been poisoning pets, it wasn’t until just weeks ago that the cat was let out of the bag in a court filing. A class action lawsuit was filed that blames the deaths of thousands of dogs on one of Purina’s most popular brands of chow.

Googling Nestle Purina Petcare’s Beneful brand will get you the pet food manufacturer’s website, a Facebook page with over a million likes, and, in stark contrast, a Consumer Affairs page with 708 one-star ratings supported with page after grim page detailing dogs suffering slow, agonizing deaths from mysterious causes.

Internal bleeding. Diarrhea. Seizures. Liver malfunction. It reads like something from a horror movie or a plague documentary, but a suit brought in California federal court by plaintiff Frank Lucido alleges that this is all too real-and too frequent to be a coincidence.

But it all relies upon finding a chemical that may be in the food-and has been a staple in dog food recalls in the past-with an experiment that neither Lucido, his lawyers, or even independent scientists have even begun to conduct.

When these dire accusations first started appearing online years ago, the initial accusation was that one of the additives in the food, propylene glycol, was the culprit.
Jeff Cereghino, one of the attorneys representing Lucido in the action thinks there’s another culprit in the mix, and he’s named it in the lawsuit. They’re called mycotoxins.
Translated directly from the Greek words for “fungus poison,” mycotoxins are, essentially, a toxic byproduct of mold. When it comes to ducking discovery, they’re an especially crafty brand mold byproduct, and one found in all types of grains. Read more

Wausau mulls its options to achieve lead compliance

By Nora G. Hertel, Daily Herald Media

(Photo: frankpeters, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The city is about to hire a new full-time employee to help it get lead levels in its water under control, even though partially replacing old lead pipes might exacerbate the problem and a mistake in the test process means it’s a low-level threat.

“We think one sample was taken at the wrong faucet,” Wausau Utility Resources Manager Deb Geier explained.

More than 10 percent of water samples in routine tests exceeded lead limits, so the state Department of Natural Resources, enforcing federal regulations, ordered the city to replace some pipes and test water in more homes. Lead can cause problems from neurological disorders to birth defects.

The city will likely begin replacing some of its lead service lines, but that’s a solution officials acknowledge can stir up more lead in the system.

“That is a concern that we have seen in the past,” said Steven Elmore, Public Water Supply Section chief for the DNR. “When you replace any part of the line, lead can increase in the drinking water in the house.”Read more

W.Va. Senate unanimously passes asbestos trust claims act

By Chris Dickerson,

The West Virginia Senate on Friday unanimously passed Senate Bill 411, creating the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act.
The bill, which was sponsored by Kanawha County Republican Senator Tom Takubo, establishes legal standards and procedures for the handling of certain asbestos and silica claims. Additionally, the bill establishes medical criteria procedures, statute of limitations standards, and requires disclosure of existing and potential asbestos bankruptcy trust claims.

“As a pulmonary doctor, I’m pleased that the Senate voted today with full bipartisan support to protect funds for West Virginians who are affected by asbestos-related injuries,” Takubo said. “We must ensure funds are healthy five to 10 years from now to help pay for medical bills and family expenses, and this legislation will allow us to do that.”
Last week, a statewide group for trial lawyers called the bill unnecessary and said it only will hurt affected residents.

A legal reform group, however, applauds the measure, saying it would bring needed transparency to the process and create medical criteria for asbestos claimants. Read more

Schools unaware of lead-poisoned kids

By Todd B. Bates, Asbury Park Press

New Jersey’s rules on lead poisoning have some large loopholes.

Health care providers are required to test children 2 and under twice for toxic lead, a potent poison that can cause a lifetime of learning problems. Nonetheless, about 50,000 children were not tested by age 3, according to the latest state annual report. A loophole: Parents can refuse the test for any reason.

Even if elevated lead is found in a child’s blood, the state doesn’t require that schools be notified. That can leave schools in the dark about which students have lead poisoning and may need special education or other services – findings confirmed by an Asbury Park Press survey of 27 school districts, including those with the highest percentages of lead-poisoned children in the state.

Lead poisoning – often arising from exposure to lead paint dust and chips in older homes in urban areas – can cause learning, behavioral and other problems, but is preventable. It can cost more than $12,000 a year for special education per child, according to one study.

Read more

Personal coffee makers potential mold hazards

By Whitney Gryna,

Personal coffeemakers provide a convenient coffee brewing solution for students, but they have an issue everyone should be wary of.
Any time there is constant moisture, there is the potential for mold and mildew to generate,” said Terri Newcom, Purdue Extension director for Tipton County.

“Since mildew and mold can grow on hard plastic surfaces, Keurigs and other types of coffee makers are susceptible,” said Newcom. “Most likely, the first evidence of mold or mildew will be a bitter taste to the coffee.”
A bitter taste to the coffee is not the only side effect that comes with mold exposure. Because all molds, mildews and bacteria pose health hazards, allergies tend to be a negative result as well. Other health hazards can include coughing, congestion, and respiratory infections.

“With respect to any coffee machine, the hazard is consuming mold spores through the coffee (drunk) from the infected pot,” said Newcom. “A person may experience gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea.” Read more

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.

QuanTEM Chronicle Newsletter

Produced & Edited by
Joanna Mueller, Social Media Director

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