Newsletter – May 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories
May 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
LOWE’s to Pay $18.1 Million Settlement for Environmental Violations
Contractor admits bungling asbestos work
Staten Island elected officials want city to remove mold from abandoned homes
Tacoma firm owners admit fraud in asbestos-removal training
After ‘Cadmium Rice,’ now ‘Lead’ and ‘Arsenic Rice’
Summer TEM Special
Barbara’s Corner

TEM Season is Here!

$39.00 analysis for 24 hr TAT on AHERA TEM samples

When QuanTEM Laboratories started in 1989 we only analyzed TEM air samples. Our name is even based on Transmission Electron Microscopy. We have come a long way since then. Bulk PLM analysis, Chemistry analysis for lead, Micro samples for mold, and in 2013 we expanded into the food industry with QuanTEM Food Safety Lab.

It’s been a wonderful journey with so many great clients that we have come to know. All of us are excited to see where it will go from here. Have a wonderful summer!

Turn-Around Times in April:
Call Me: 1-800-822-1650
Asbestos Spotlight


An amphibole mineral, some forms of anthophyllite are lamellar or fibrous and are classed as asbestos. The name is derived from the Latin word anthophyllum, meaning clove, an allusion to the most common color of the mineral.

It was mined in Finland and also inMatsubase, Japan where a large-scale open-cast asbestos mine and mill was in operation between 1883 and 1970.

In Finland anthophyllite asbestos was mined in two mines, the larger one Paakkila in the Tuusniemi commune started in 1918 and closed in 1975 due to the dust problems. The smaller mine, Maljasalmi in the commune of Outokumpu, was mined from 1944 to 1952. The anthophyllite was used in asbestos cement and for insulation, roofing material etc.


In the UK anthophyllite is most commonly found in composite flooring. Read More

Solvent, paint exposure could be a memory buster

By Judy Mottl,

Extensive exposure to solvents, paints and glue may lead to memory issues later in life, says a new research report, though moderate exposure appears not to have such a damaging effect.


The study released Tuesday evaluated lifetime exposure among 2,143 utility workers in France who spent workdays dealing with petroleum solvents, benzene and chlorinated solvents. Of the group, 26 percent were exposed to benzene, 33 percent to chlorinated solvents and 25 percent to petroleum solvents.


“Our findings are particularly important because exposure to solvents is very common, even in industrialized countries like the United States,” said study author Erika L. Sabbath, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Read More

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John’s View

John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

I’m going to do something a little different this month and recommend a book I think many of you may enjoy. It’s “THIS TOWN – Two Parties and a Funeral” written by Mark Leibovich, which talks about how our congressmen and women conduct themselves in Washington DC. Of course, it is a listed best seller.


Mr. Leibovich is the national political consultant for the New York Times Magazine and has been around Washington for many years and appears to know almost everyone. In fact, that’s what the book is about. He doesn’t discuss political views of the A-Listers, but instead concentrates on their social and political standing in Washington. Are they part of the inner circle? If not, what are they willing to do to get there?


Considerable time is spent discussing our elected, as well as many non-elected officials and how they position themselves to maintain power and be respected for being “in the know.” If you have ever questioned how your money was being spent in Washington, you might want to read this book. My take is that the majority of our elected officials and their staffs suffer from extreme narcissism and their only concern is about what is happening inside of the beltway.


The author addressed almost everyone who has been to Washington in the last twenty years so here’s an opportunity to learn more about your favorite congressman. For the most part he profiles personalities from both sides of the isle without political attachment. My guess is that this book doesn’t reveal anything we don’t already suspect, but I wish I hadn’t read it at tax time. It is well written and an interesting read, just don’t expect to come away with a warm fuzzy feeling.


-John Barnett

TEM Time

I know a lot of you will be doing Clearance Testing on asbestos abatement projects in the coming month, so here is a quick summary chart for your reference. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call. 800-822-1650


LOWE’s to Pay $18.1 Million Settlement for Environmental Violations
Alex Bastian & Maxwell Szabo,

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, along with 31 other California District Attorneys and two city attorneys, announced today that Alameda County Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez has ordered North Carolina-based Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, to pay $18.1 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution.

“The dangers inherent in dumping hazardous waste cannot be understated, it is absolutely essential that we protect our environment for future generations,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Those who would jeopardize our environment are on notice – they will be held liable.”

From 2011 to 2013, district attorney investigators along with investigators from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and environmental regulators statewide, conducted a series of waste inspections of dumpsters belonging to Lowe’s stores. The inspections revealed that Lowe’s was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills throughout California that were not permitted to receive those wastes. The inspections also revealed that at some Lowe’s stores, instead of recycling batteries and compact fluorescent light bulbs that the company had gathered from customers at store recycling kiosks as part of a program to responsibly reduce waste, employees were unlawfully discarding these items directly to the trash. Read More

Contractor admits bungling Kensington Heights asbestos work
By Phil Fairbanks,

During their work at the Kensington Heights housing complex, Ernest Johnson’s employees dumped asbestos down holes cut in the floor.


They also failed to adequately treat the cancer-causing material while it sat waiting for leak-tight containers.


One of the consequences, the former contractor acknowledged Wednesday, was the repeated release of asbestos into the environment around the East Side complex.


Johnson’s admissions Wednesday are part of a plea deal in which he acknowledged his company’s role in bungling the five-year-old clean-up effort of Kensington Heights, a collection of vacant public housing towers.


“There was asbestos left in the buildings,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango.


By pleading guilty to violating the federal Clean Air Act, Johnson became the most important defendant to admit guilt in the case.


His company, Johnson Contracting of Western New York, was accused of orchestrating a scheme designed to cut corners at Kensington Heights and then cover it up. Read More

Staten Island elected officials want city to remove mold from abandoned homes
By Jillian Jorgensen,

With blighted, mold-infested homes still dotting the neighborhoods hit by Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island elected officials are looking again to pass a law allowing the city to enter abandoned homes and remove mold there.”We think we have a bill that navigates that fine line between actually being effective and respecting property rights,” Borough President James Oddo said.


The bill — to be introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting — would create a “Remediation of Unsafe Flooded Homes Program” allowing two city agencies to inspect flood-damaged vacant homes and remove mold or other dangerous conditions inside.


It isn’t the first attempt at allowing the city to remove mold from private homes — as a councilman, Oddo introduced a similar bill in July 2013. But it was met with resistance from the Bloomberg administration, leaving the problem unresolved a year and a half after the storm — a timeline Oddo called “an embarrassment.”


The new bill would task the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Department of Buildings with inspecting vacant homes that show signs of flood damage — and making repairs and remediating mold if the homeowner won’t, passing the cost along to the owner. The city can already perform repairs in homes for other nuisances — such as mice infestation, or when a landlord doesn’t fix the heat. Read More

Tacoma firm owners admit fraud in asbestos-removal training
By Craig Welch, The Seattle Times

The workers sat down in the makeshift classroom, prepared to learn how to safely remove cancer-causing asbestos.

Instead, the instructor turned on a video of the 2004 action flick “Van Helsing.”


The owners of a Tacoma company that was among a mere handful certified by the state to train workers to inspect or handle asbestos pleaded guilty on Friday in Superior Court for faking training programs for years.


It’s just the latest in a string of issues nationwide with companies responsible for dealing with the ubiquitous hazardous substance commonly found in ceilings, siding and insulation.


“We get a lot of calls on individuals who are cutting corners – either from a business or a colleague,” Tyler Amon, special agent in charge with the Environmental Protection Agency’s law-enforcement division in Seattle, said in an interview.


“But what we are focused on is where it’s concentrated in a criminal enterprise.” Read More

After ‘Cadmium Rice,’ now ‘Lead’ and ‘Arsenic Rice’
By Didi Kirsten Tatlow,

Soil in China’s leading rice-producing region shows high levels of heavy metal contamination, in a study that suggests that the proximity of mining and industry to agricultural areas is posing serious threats to the country’s food chain.


In “Cadmium Rice: Heavy metal pollution of China’s rice crops,” researchers for Greenpeace East Asia sampled farmland and uncultivated soil, water and rice grown near a smelter of non-ferrous metals in Hunan Province, China’s top rice producer.


In some locations of the study, the researchers found soil containing cadmium levels more than 200 times the national health standard, adding to a growing body of evidence that parts of the country’s soil are heavily degraded after decades of fast industrialization and high economic growth. All but one of the rice samples exceeded the maximum level of cadmium in rice for human consumption in China. 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.

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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