Newsletter – October 2014

QuanTEM Laboratories
October 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
IAQA Transition by IAQA Immediate Past President, Don Weekes
10 Reasons Why DIY Mold Test Kits Are Not Accurate or Advised
Young Shooters at Risk
Asbestos removal starts at Clovis ‘haunted house’
High Levels of Toxic Mold Found in Herbal Medicines
Winemaker’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos Filter
Turnaround Tracker
QuanTEM’s overall ontime report percentage for September:


Click here for a breakdown by lab
Facebook Feature

An Artist Who Paints Portraits With Mold
By Margaret Rhodes,

Film is an exceedingly delicate material. It’s highly flammable, can’t always go through TSA checkpoints, and, as it turns out, can be easily destroyed by fungus.


A few years ago South Korean artist Seung-Hwan Oh read a BBC article about this fungus problem affecting film archives. He realized they were right: “I noticed that mold on badly stored film can eat away and destroy its contents,” he says. “And then I realized that I may deliver the idea of impermanence of matter applying this natural disaster into my work.”


Put differently, Oh started letting mold grow on his film. Rather than worrying about fungus, he embraced it. Read more


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John’s View

John Barnett, President

Hello and Happy Halloween.


It’s hard to believe 2014 is winding down. I sincerely hope it’s been a good year for you, not only in business, but also personally.  Now things really get busy, one holiday after another and then a new year starts.


For the IAQ industry this has been a VERY interesting year with one of the biggest events being the merger of IAQA with the ASHRAE organization.  Most of you are aware that I’ve been less than supportive of this move and have previously commented on it in this space.  Don Weekes, the Past President of IAQA responded to my comments and we have discussed the matter over the last several weeks.  At my request Don has graciously agreed to pen an article for this publication explaining his take on the merger.

IAQA Transition – The Future is Bright!

IAQA Immediate Past President, Don Weekes

Most of you have heard that IAQA is in the process of a transition with our new partner, ASHRAE.  It has been my honor to serve on the Transition Team on behalf of IAQA along with Don Herrmann, Eva King, and Kent Rawhouser.  John Barnett of QuanTEM Laboratories asked me to write a short article on the transition and what it means to all IAQA members.


It has been a real learning experience for me to see how another professional organization works. ASHRAE’s volunteers and staff have been very helpful in the transition, and I personally look forward to a bright future for IAQA as it partners with ASHRAE.  In this article, I will outline what has already been accomplished, and what remains to be done.


Each Tuesday, the Transition Teams of both IAQA and ASHRAE meet by teleconference with staff to discuss the previous week’s event, and what is planned for the upcoming week. These meetings were critically important in July and August because we had a deadline of August 15th for the transition of the IAQA association management from A&A Communications to ASHRAE. With help from all parties, we met that deadline with little in the way of hitches. For most members, there was a change of street and web addresses and phone numbers that were posted on all appropriate web pages and correspondence. However, there was little else that changed, with the continuation of the great membership service we have all come to expect. I was pleased to note that the IAQA Digest continued each week, and ASHRAE staff was answering the phones and emails from IAQA members in a timely fashion. The transition was as smooth as possible.


For now, ASHRAE staff is providing organizational management for IAQA. This has helped with our planning for the March 2015, Annual IAQA Conference and Expo.  All members will be receiving notifications shortly regarding registration and details on the program. I expect that, under Convention Committee Chair Eva King, we can expect a terrific conference and expo with lots of interesting and exciting presentations. Please plan to attend!


The IAQA and ASHRAE Transition Teams will be meeting in early November to discuss, negotiate, and finalize an agreement between the two organizations. I can say that it is both Teams’ intention that this agreement will be signed as soon as possible so that both organizations can begin to work together on items of common interest. At the meeting, the Teams will discuss the future of IAQA, including the tremendous opportunities for both organizations. As much as IAQA is looking forward to working with ASHRAE, I can assure you that ASHRAE is looking forward to working with the members of IAQA. They are looking forward to tapping into our expertise in indoor air quality, mold, residential buildings, and remediation. With their expertise in mechanical engineering and HVAC systems, this is a great combination for the members of both organizations to learn from each other. This has already begun at some of our Chapters in both organizations where IAQA and ASHRAE members have networked and begun the dialogue.


In my view, this partnership is the best of all outcomes for IAQA. We remain an independent member-based professional organization with the support of another professional organization that has the resources to help IAQA realize all of its potential. I believe that ‘The future is bright’ and the best is yet to come.


Please contact any members of the IAQA Transition Team with any questions or comments that you have. We look forward to hearing from you! Click here for a list of IAQA Officers and Directors.

10 Reasons Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Mold Test Kits Are Not Accurate or Advised

Posted by Shane Hupp,

While it might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests-petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence-to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate. The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.


Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four different brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing the following: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post remediation use.”


Let’s take a closer look at the problems associated with DIY mold test kits… Read more

Young Shooters at Risk

By Christine Willmsen and Lewis Kamb,

The youngsters knew their sport could be dangerous, even deadly.But for the junior team at the Vancouver (Wash.) Rifle and Pistol Club, the peril that emerged from their sport didn’t come from a stray bullet. It came from lead.


In 2010, blood tests revealed that 20 youths had been overexposed to the poisonous metal after shooting in the club’s dirty, poorly ventilated range.


“It was devastating,” said Marc Ueltschi, the junior team coach and a club member. “It scared the life out of me. No one knew anything about lead poisoning and what to fix.”


Vancouver Rifle is just one of several private gun clubs across the United States that have posed health hazards in a sport with growing numbers of youths and women. While those most likely to be poisoned by lead in gun ranges are the workers themselves, The Seattle Times has found dozens of avid shooters overexposed in such states as Washington, Massachusetts and Alaska.


The most vulnerable are children learning to shoot and compete in clubs operated by volunteers who may have little knowledge of the risks of firing lead ammunition. Gunfire can put lead residue in the air, and on the skin and nearby surfaces.


Clubs like Vancouver Rifle are membership-based organizations. With no paid employees, they aren’t governed by workplace-safety laws and aren’t subject to inspections that would identify deficiencies.

In this unregulated world of shooting, it’s nearly impossible to determine how many of the thousands of volunteer-based ranges are contaminated.


While lead poisoning among casual shooters is rare, the risk increases the more they shoot, particularly if it’s in poorly ventilated and maintained ranges. Read More

Asbestos removal starts at Clovis ‘haunted house;’ demolition to follow

By Bonhia Lee,

Motorists driving by Wolfe Manor in Clovis will see some activity at the “haunted house” this week – not the paranormal kind, but enough to stir up some curious spirits.


Asbestos removal in the nearly century-old house, which was once used as a Halloween attraction and featured on a number of ghost investigation television shows, began Monday, paving the way for demolition of the building early next month.


The city of Clovis has forged ahead with plans to clean up the 1.25-acre property, southwest of Sierra Vista Mall on Clovis Avenue, after trying to work with owner Todd Wolfe on giving the house and the land a new life.


“We’ve been working with Mr. Wolfe for at least the last five years to do something with this site,” said John Holt, Clovis assistant city manager. “Ultimately, he was either unwilling or unable to either have investors put money in the project.”


Wolfe, however, is still trying to sell the house and even offers to donate it for free to the right buyer who is willing to move it. If all his efforts fail, he hopes to at least be given some time to salvage anything of historical value from the house so he can sell it later.


“We thought we had more time,” Wolfe said. Read more

High Levels of Toxic Mold Found in Herbal Medicines

By J Baulkman, University Herald Reporter

Botanical medicines such as licorice, Indian rennet and opium poppy could contain dangerous levels of toxic mold.


A new study from researchers at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan found that the medicinal plant market goes untested for health hazards, putting herbal medicines at a higher risk of contamination with toxic mold.


An estimated 64 percent of people use medicinal plants to treat illnesses and relieve pain. The herbal medicine market is worth $60 billion globally, and growing fast. Despite the increasing popularity of herbal medicine, the sale of medicinal plants is mostly unregulated.


“It’s common to use medicinal plants in our country and to buy from local markets and shops,” Samina Ashiq, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement. “There’s a common misconception that just because they’re natural, the plants are safe. We knew from experience that this wasn’t the case, but we wanted to really test it and quantify the contamination.”


For the study, researchers analyzed 30 samples of plants known for their medicinal properties, including licorice, Indian rennet and opium poppy. They found that 90% percent of the samples were contaminated with mold, and the levels exceeded permissible limits in 70 percent of the samples.  Read more

Winemaker’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos Filter

By Alex Strauss,

There is new evidence that some wine-making practices could increase the chance of developing malignant pleural mesothelioma. Italian researchers are reporting the first case of mesothelioma in a person whose only known exposure to asbestos was in the winemaking business.


The man worked for an Italian winemaker from 1960 to 1988. According to the authors of the new report, the winemaker treated the wine for impurities using a filter made of asbestos. As authors Alessandro Nemo and Stefano Silvestri of Florence’s Institute for Study and Prevention of Cancer explain, “The filter was created by dispersing in the wine asbestos fibers followed by diatomite while the wine was circulating several times and clogging a prefilter made of a dense stainless steel net.”


Drs. Nemo and Silvestri report that the asbestos exposure which probably triggered the man’s mesothelioma could have occurred during the mixing of dry chrysotile asbestos fibers into the wine as well as during the filter replacement. The researchers had to estimate the average level of the patient’s exposure and the cumulative dose since winemakers do not typically monitor airborne asbestos fibers.

Read more

QuanTEM Chronicle Newsletter
Produced & Edited by
Joanna Mueller, Social Media Director

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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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