Newsletter – November 2013

QuanTEM Laboratories
November 2013
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
More asbestos found in Rock Island school
Bacteria may allow animals to send messages
Mold can cause symptoms that mimic Parkinson’s
Millions of U.S. and Canadian workers may be exposed to lead
Contractor finds asbestos while repairing bridge
New antifungal composition effectively inhibits a wide variety of fungi
Toxic soil found next to Providence park
Factory planned on South Side raises pollution fears
Barbara’s Corner

Happy Thanksgiving!This time of year can drive everyone crazy!

A hundred places to go, a hundred things to buy,
and a hundred packages to send.

During this busy delivery season please remember to properly seal all environmental samples in individual bags and choose the correct size box for what you are mailing.

Also, if you happen to accidently put a Christmas jewelry gift in a
package coming our way, I will definitely try to get it back to
you…..seriously I will try….

Just a reminder of our holiday schedule:

QuanTEM will be closed
November 28 & 29 for Thanksgiving

Dec. 25 for Christmas

Jan. 1, 2014 for New Years Day

Questions?

Call Me: 1-800-822-1650

Mold of the Month

Add a description
Penicillium roqueforti

A common saprotrophic fungus from the family Trichocomaceae. Widespread in nature, it can be isolated from soil, decaying organic matter, and plants. The major industrial use of this fungus is the production of blue cheeses, flavouring agents, antifungals, polysaccharides, proteases and other enzymes.

As this fungus does not form visible fruiting bodies, descriptions are based on macromorphological characteristics of fungal colonies growing on various standard agar media, and on microscopic characteristics.

P. roqueforti is known to be one of the most common spoilage molds of silage.It is also one of several different molds that can spoil bread. Read More

More asbestos found in Rock Island school

By Tara Becker, http://qctimes.com

An additional 10,000-square-feet of asbestos discovered on the second floor of the former Audubon Elementary School in Rock Island will cost $57,000 to remove, a spokeswoman for the Rock Island-Milan School District said Monday.

Holly Sparkman said the removal may add only a day or two to the asbestos abatement process, with demolition scheduled to begin the first week in December.

The school board will vote on the additional work and cost during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Administration Center, 2101 6th Ave.

Valley Construction of Rock Island began removing asbestos from the building Nov. 7 to prepare the building to be demolished.

Sparkman said the construction crew recently discovered that tiles on the ceiling of the second-floor had layers of mastic glue, a heavy-duty adhesive primarily made out of asbestos. Read More

Bacteria May Allow Animals to Send Quick, Voluminous Messages

By Layne Cameron & Kevin Theis, http://msutoday.msu.edu

In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan State University researcher shows that the detailed scent posts of hyenas are, in part, products of symbiotic bacteria, microbes that have a mutually beneficial relationship with their hosts.

“When hyenas leave paste deposits on grass, the sour-smelling signals relay reams of information for other animals to read,” said Kevin Theis, the paper’s lead author and MSU postdoctoral researcher. “Hyenas can leave a quick, detailed message and go. It’s like a bulletin board of who’s around and how they’re doing.”

Interestingly, it’s the bacteria in pastes – more diverse than scientists had imagined – that appear to be doing the yeoman’s job of sending these messages.

“Scent posts are bulletin boards, pastes are business cards, and bacteria are the ink, shaped into letters and words that provide information about the paster to the boards’ visitors,” Theis said. “Without the ink, there is potentially just a board of blank uninformative cards.”Read More

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Our thoughts are with those impacted by the recent Midwestern tornadoes

John’s View

John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

The Holiday Season is upon us and it’s that time of year when we great each other with sayings like “Happy Thanksgiving”, “Merry Christmas,” or the non-offensive, “Happy Holidays”. However, what we say isn’t nearly as important as the fact that we make the effort to acknowledge the presence of those we meet and wish them the best.

It’s also the time of year when the Staff here at QuanTEM like to thank our customers for their loyalty and continuing support. November 18th though the 22nd we celebrated QuanTEM Laboratories’ Customer Appreciation Week. This year we selected daily winners drawn from the orders received each day and then an overall winner for the week, again drawn from the samples received. But that was just the beginning.

We are sending Thank You cards to our existing customers which include a sticker of the QuanTEM Bear. We ask that you place that sticker in what you perceive to be the best location, take a picture of it and return it to us by December 31, 2013. The staff will choose the best/most creative pictures and that client will win the Grand Prize. Watch your mail and have some fun with this, I promise the prize is worth the effort. Just as a reminder; the winning picture will be posted on the web so you may want to use some discretion when deciding what to send.

Here’s wishing you, your family, and staff the very best Thanksgiving!

John E. Barnett

President

QuanTEM Laboratories, LLC

Rutgers researchers: Mold can cause symptoms that mimic Parkinson’s  

By Kathleen O’Brien, http://www.nj.com/starledger/

Rutgers fungus expert Joan Bennett had always been a skeptic of “sick building syndrome” – the notion the air in a building can be so toxic it makes people sick.

Then the home she owned in New Orleans was flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While others would mourn their losses, Bennett got busy taking swabs of mold, intent on studying them back in New Jersey, where she and her husband had temporarily relocated.

In collecting them, however, she said she immediately felt ill, despite wearing gloves, a mask and protective gear. The dizziness, headaches and nausea she experienced made her open to the possibility that small amounts of mold can harm people.

“The odor just made me feel horrible, and I thought, ‘Aha!’ Maybe there’s something in these gasses,” said Bennett, now a professor of plant biology and pathology at Rutgers. “I became a convert.”

From that research came today’s announcement she and her colleagues had located a chemical emitted by mold that gives fruit flies the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The Rutgers study exposed fruit flies to various chemicals emitted by molds. One particular mold – dubbed “mushroom alcohol” by the Japanese scientist who isolated it in the 1930s – had an immediate impact on the fruit flies, said Arati Inamdar, the researcher at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

The fruit flies displayed tremors, a slow gait, with postural imbalance and problems with locomotion – all consistent with the signs of Parkinson’s disease. “You can see all this on these flies that were exposed to this chemical,” she said.

Further study showed the toxic chemical is able to block two important genes that regulate dopamine – the chemical that allows nerve cells to communicate.

That finding gives doctors and pharmaceutical companies a roadmap for developing medicine to protect them. Read More

Millions of U.S. and Canadian Workers May be Exposed to Lead by Using Shop Towels

By Rachel Gross, schwartzmsl.com

A peer-reviewed study conducted by Gradient, a nationally recognized environmental and risk sciences consulting firm, shows that U.S. and Canadian manufacturing workers who use laundered shop towels may be exposed to lead and other metals. The analysis, “Evaluation of Potential Exposure to Metals in Laundered Shop Towels,” was published in the October issue of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment.

Workers cannot see, smell, or feel heavy metal residue on laundered shop towels, so the risk is not apparent to the many workers who use the towels to wipe parts, spills, and their hands.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 12 million Americans, or nine percent of the workforce, are employed directly in manufacturing. In Canada, more than one million people work in manufacturing.

“The study adds to the growing body of data on potential health risks associated with using laundered shop towels in the workplace,” said Barbara Beck, Ph.D., DABT, FATS, and Principal at Gradient. “We continue to find a range of heavy metals on commercially laundered towels. Of particular interest is that exposures to lead may exceed certain health-based limits. Much as bacteria and viruses can spread through touch and be ingested, heavy metals on shop towels may also be transferred through touch to workers’ mouths and be swallowed.” Read More

Contractor finds asbestos while repairing bridge

By Patricia Mazzei, http://www.miamiherald.com

The Bear Cut Bridge, with its westbound lanes closed, shown in January.
Walter Michot / Miami Herald

A contractor repairing the bridge that connects Virginia Key to Key Biscayne has found asbestos on a tube containing electrical wiring for street lights – an unforeseen condition that could delay the project’s completion.

Kiewit Infrastructure found the asbestos when it demolished a portion of the Bear Cut Bridge’s roadway in August, according to a memo Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent county commissioners Friday. The company has been removing and disposing of the tainted material.

The extra work could push back the repairs by several weeks, according to the memo. Kiewit has claimed a 36-day delay, though the county is still negotiating that number.

As part of bonds scheduled for commission approval in December, $750,000 in funding would be set aside to handle the asbestos. The final costs of the fix are still being negotiated. Read More

New antifungal composition effectively inhibits a wide variety of fungi

Provided by Asociación RUVID, AlphaGalileo

In order to overcome resistance to antifungal variety of pathogenic fungi and yeast, researchers from the University of Alicante have developed a novel and efficient antifungal composition with pharmacological applications in agriculture and food industry, among others.

The composition, developed and patented by the UA Research Group in Plant Pathology, is based on the combined use of chitosan, or chitosan oligosaccharides (COS), antifungal agents and additives that synergistically affect the growth of a variety of pathogenic fungi.

“Chitosan is a non-toxic biopolymer, biocompatible and naturally degradable, with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties obtained from chitin, the main constituent of hard body parts of invertebrates, such as the shells of shrimp, lobsters, crabs, and other marine crustaceans, and is part of the fungal cell wall”, as explained by lecturer Luis Vicente López Llorca, Director of the UA Research Group in Plant Pathology and head of the research work.

“Because many fungal pathogens develop resistance to prolonged treatment with antifungal drugs, it is desirable to find alternatives for their control in medical, agricultural and those applications in which the fungi cause damage. In clinics, pathogenic fungi resistant to antifungal drugs are a major cause of mortality in patients. Chitosan and the antifungal additives, some based on the identification of molecular targets of chitosan, contribute to produce a novel alternative to control fungal diseases and in particular antifungal resistant strains” López Llorca said. Read More

Toxic soil found next to Providence park
By,  Walt Buteau, http://www.wpri.com/

Lead in Soil
Photo via EPA.gov

The Department of Environmental Management ordered a Providence LLC to remove soil from land next to a park on Valley Street after a DEM inspection found the soil ‘contains hazardous substances’ including lead and arsenic.

Documents show the soil was hauled from a piece of property that was purchased with a $620,000 taxpayer funded loan from the embattled Providence Economic Development Partnership.

In the letter, the company was told the contaminated soil “shall be taken offsite for disposal at a facility that is licensed to receive contaminated soil”.

In December, an eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous, told Target 12 he saw “6 hours of digging” at the Valley Street location on November 27. He reported seeing dozens of loads of soil hauled away and dumped in the wooded area that abuts Donigian Park and playground. That wooded area is part of the 5 acre 100 Amherst Street lot.

The DEM confirmed last December that the agency was investigating a complaint that soil was removed from  181 Valley Street. A clean up plan for the property indicates the soil contains “arsenic, lead, poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbon and total petroleum hydrocarbons”. Read More

Factory planned on South Side raises pollution fears

By Spencer Hunt, http://www.dispatch.com

A glass-recycling factory planned for the South Side has renewed many neighbors’ fears of pollution.

Phoenix-based Closed Loop Glass Solutions plans to build a new type of furnace and recycling system that promises to remove lead from old glass television tubes without sending the toxic metal into the air.

Closed Loop must emit less than 1 pound of lead per year, according to a permit approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We will be way under that in terms of our operations,” said Brent Benham, the company’s chief financial officer.

That promise has done little to mollify some South Side residents who say the area already is dominated by heavy industry.

“We don’t want to see a company that is in any way going to be emitting lead into the community,” said Eileen Neale, a member of the Alum Crest Acres Civic Community group and the Far South Columbus Area Commission. “We’re absolutely inundated with those kinds of facilities.” 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.
Disclaimer:

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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