Newsletter – October 2013

QuanTEM Laboratories
October 2013
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
EPA warns modernizing water system may boost levels of lead
Ashland County may consider banning explosives near rocks with asbestos
Mold in food: Here is what you need to know
Colorado waives asbestos cleanup laws for flood recovery
Queens HS tried to ‘cover up’ trailer mold problem
Bacteria, Mold Found In Vacuum Dust
Study finds fault with lead-testing technique
Barbara’s Corner Barbara Holder, Customer Service Manager

Tis’ the season for QuanTem Lab’s holiday hours.

QuanTEM will be closed on

Nov. 28 & 29

QuanTEM will be closed on

Dec.25, 2013

New Years:
QuanTEM wil be closed on

Jan.1, 2014


Have questions or need supplies? Call me:
November 18th -22nd

QuanTEM’s Customer Appreciation Week is on the horizon. Look for more detailed information in the coming weeks and in the meantime mark your calendars for November 18th through the 22nd.

We always have a lot of fun with these events so we hope you will too.

Mold of the Month
Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Perhaps the most useful yeast, having been instrumental to winemaking, baking and brewing since ancient times. It is believed that it was originally isolated from the skin of grapes (one can see the yeast as a component of the thin white film on the skins of some dark-colored fruits such as plums; it exists among the waxes of the cuticle).

It is one of the most intensively studied eukaryoticmodel organisms in molecular and cell biology, much like Escherichia coli as the model bacterium. It is the microorganism behind the most common type of fermentation.

Among other microorganisms, a sample of living S. cerevisiae was included in the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment, which would have completed a three-year interplanetary round-trip in a small capsule aboard the Russian Fobos-Grunt spacecraft, launched in late 2011.

The goal was to test whether selected organisms could survive a few years in deep space by flying them through interplanetary space. The experiment would have tested one aspect of transpermia, the hypothesis that life could survive space travel, if protected inside rocks blasted by impact off one planet to land on another. Fobos-Grunt’s mission ended unsuccessfully however when it failed to escape low Earth orbit. The spacecraft along with its instruments fell into the Pacific Ocean in an uncontrolled re-entry on January 15, 2012. Read More

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National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

It is estimated that 143,000 deaths per year result from lead poisoning and lead paint is a major contributor to this. Even in countries that have banned lead paint decades ago, it continues to be a source of exposure until it is finally stripped and replaced.

We shared some great resources on our social media sites about how you can spread the word about lead poisoning.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to keep up to date on top environmental news.

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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.
John’s Editorial

John Barnett, President
John Barnett, President

As a business owner/manager we have opportunities to be excited about our progress, but on occasion it doesn’t go so well. I would like to share a couple of these situations with you.

Let’s start this out on a high point; I’m excited as this past quarter our customers earned over $12,000 in Customer Rewards. This is $12,000 in credits that will end up back in our customer’s pockets and this makes us all happy. Our Customer Rewards Program has proven very successful over the years. We do this every quarter and it feels good to tell your customer they’ve earned a reward. If this is the kind of thing that interests you, remember you have to be a QuanTEM Client to be eligible for this program. For more information, give us a call.

Now it’s time for me to get up on my soapbox. Every small business in the country has had to learn to balance their checkbooks. We are all aware of the old adage, Cash Is King. When we run out of cash our businesses and the careers of those who work for the company are in jeopardy. If we can learn to balance our checkbooks why can’t we elect government officials who can do the same?

I find it really hard not to blast our federal government for the way they handle themselves. They appear to me to be totally out of control and have forgotten those of us whom they are supposed to be representing. It’s frustrating to watch this train wreck happening. The sad part is that most of the people I’ve talked to think there’s nothing we can do to change the direction they are going.

I believe our country is still strong, but sometimes, just like we do in business, you have to take control.


Have a good day,

John E. Barnett


QuanTEM Laboratories, LLC

EPA warns modernizing water system may boost levels of lead
By Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune

(Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune)

Dangerous levels of lead are turning up in Chicago homes where pipes made of the toxic metal were disturbed by street work or plumbing repairs, according to a new federal study that suggests the city’s aggressive efforts to modernize its water system could inadvertently pose health risks.

The problem starts with lead service lines that Chicago installed across the city until the mid-1980s to connect water mains with homes. Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that spikes of lead can leach into tap water when those pipes are altered by water main replacements, meter installations or street work.

High levels can be found in tap water for years afterward, the EPA study found, raising concerns that other cities with lead pipes could face similar problems.

Most homeowners likely are unaware they could be drinking tainted water. Under federal rules, utilities rarely are required to warn residents that work is being done or tell them they can take steps to reduce their exposure to lead. A potent neurotoxin, lead can damage the brains of young children, lower IQ and trigger learning disabilities, aggression and criminal behavior later in life.

Lead is so hazardous that the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is no safe level of exposure. The metal has been phased out of gasoline, removed from paint and banned in children’s toys. But the widespread use of lead pipes during the last century has left a festering problem nationwide.

“We owe it to people to tell them that their water might not be safe to drink,” said Marc Edwards, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech University who wasn’t involved with the EPA study but has reached similar conclusions in his own research. Read More

Ashland County may consider banning explosives near rocks with asbestos
By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio


The Ashland County Board may consider a ban on explosives that disturb asbestos in rock formations, including at the proposed iron ore mine site.

Ashland County Board Chairman Pete Russo says he’s getting lots of calls from citizens who are worried about asbestos and mesothelioma, a fatal lung cancer caused by airborne asbestos fibers. Recent reports by Northland College geoscience professor Tom Fitz and the Department of Natural Resources have found that asbestos fibers are in at least part of the ore body that Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) hopes to mine.

The DNR says it needs more information before they know if that ore body is dangerous, while Fitz calls the asbestos lethal.

Russo has called a special meeting of the Mining Impact Committee Wednesday, which will hear testimony from Fitz and the DNR. Then, he says, the committee will consider an ordinance which would ban using explosives on asbestos rock. Read More

Mold in food: Here is what you need to know
By Cathy Payne, USA TODAY

You may want to give some items in your fridge the cold shoulder.

The recent recall of Chobani Greek yogurt brought new attention to the issue of mold that develops in food, when it’s harmful and what to do about it. On Sept. 5, the company that makes Chobani yogurt voluntarily recalled containers with the code 16-012 and best-by dates of Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.

The Food and Drug Administration received a total of 170 complaints associated with Chobani yogurt as of Sept. 13. The various issues reported continue to be cramps, nausea, headache and diarrhea. The complaints were submitted by individuals in Arizona, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana and Florida.

“These reports about a product only reflect information as reported and do not represent any conclusion by the FDA about whether the product actually caused the adverse events,” says Tamara Ward, a spokeswoman for the agency. Read More

Colorado waives asbestos cleanup laws for flood recovery, but experts fear safety may be compromised
By Keli Rabon,

Relaxed state requirements for asbestos cleanup and removal have paved the way for a speedier recovery for homeowners and businesses affected by the devastating floods. But cleanup professionals say the trade-off could be putting people at risk.

“You can’t see it, taste it or smell it. There’s no way you’ll know without having a certified person come in and test for it,” says an industrial hygienist and state-certified asbestos inspector whose name we have withheld because he fears retaliation for speaking out.

On average, he says one in three homes in the state contains asbestos, and despite a common misconception that asbestos-containing products are no longer manufactured, the products are often shipped in from Canada and Mexico.

“If you don’t know if a material has asbestos in it, you have to assume the material does, and treat it as an asbestos-containing material until it can be sampled and proven to not have asbestos in it,” the inspector said.

But in flood cleanup guidance released earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said, “To enable timely cleanup of flood debris… the department will temporarily not enforce certain regulatory requirements.”  When it comes to asbestos contamination, the document states that, “If this is not known, the material may be handled as non-asbestos flood debris, and disposed of at a permitted landfill.”

But the asbestos inspector disagreed. Read More

Queens HS tried to ‘cover up’ trailer mold problem
By Susan Edelman,

Outraged parents of kids attending classes in a trailer at a Queens high school charged yesterday that officials are trying to cover up a mold problem by cleaning out the dangerous stuff just days before a promised inspection.

The sheet rock in the trailers was infested with mold, said Gus Prentzas, president of the William Cullen Bryant HS parent association.

“They’re getting rid of the mold before the inspection. Do they think we’re idiots?” Prentzas said.

Construction workers were in the trailers Friday night and Saturday, removing and disposing of mold-infested sheet rock, Prentzas said.

An Education Department spokesman said the work was done as a precaution to prevent mold from forming, insisting workers found no evidence of existing mold in the trailers at the Long Island City school. Read More

Bacteria, Mold Found In Vacuum Dust
Posted by

Think the dust created by your vacuum only contains harmless hair and dust bunnies? A new study suggests more nefarious organisms could be lurking.

The study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that mold and bacteria — with some bacteria even carrying antibiotic resistance genes, as well as the Clostridium botulinum toxin gene — are present in aerosolized vacuum dust. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland, the Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Quebec, and the Universite Laval.

“Human skin and hair have been shown to be strong sources of bacteria in floor dust and air indoors, which can be readily resuspended and inhaled,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Our results show that although vacuum operation is typically brief, vacuum emissions can release appreciable quantities of human-derived bacteria. Such emissions could potentially lead to inhalation of infectious or allergenic aerosols.”

While researchers did not actually show in the study that the bacteria and mold in the vacuum dust caused health problems, they noted it does illustrate the “potential capability of vacuum cleaners to disseminate appreciable quantities of molds and human-associated bacteria indoors and their role as a source of exposure to bioaerosols.” Read More

Study finds fault with lead-testing technique
By Jason Nadboy,

More soil lead contamination exists in Rhode Island than previously recorded by state lead examiners, according to a recent study by University researchers.

The study examined the lead-testing methods of the Rhode Island Department of Health and found previous methods literally did not dig deep enough – only examining surface soil samples when lead may be found deeper in the soil.

One source of lead contamination is paint coating water towers painted decades ago. The paint chips off, falls to the soil and is blown around by the wind.

When one such tower was replaced in 2003, contractors inspecting the site found areas surrounding the tower had soil containing lead by Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management standards, according to the study. Residents nearby were disgusted by the discovery of lead and hired their own contractors to determine just how much of the nearby soil was hazardous, using Rhode Island Department of Health standards instead.

Spurred to action, the state health department requested the Brown University Superfund Research Program look into the department’s standards for examining soil for lead. The researches found because the department only looked at surface soil samples, they missed the presence of lead lurking beneath the top layer and underestimated the level of contamination.

Soil samples from 31 properties were analyzed for lead concentrations. Four locations – comprising 13 percent of properties examined – were labeled “soil lead hazard,” according to the study.

Read More


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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