Newsletter – Septemeber 2014


QuanTEM Laboratories
September 2014
QuanTEM Chronicle
An Informative Newsletter for Environmental Professionals
In This Issue
Asbestos confirmed in material found near holiday villas
6 things to know about white mold
African Lead Mine Poisons Children
Wine Cellar Mold
Asbestos May Trigger Pulmonary Fibrosis
Woman finds mold in apartment, alleges cover-up
Cows killed after contracting lead poisoning on gun club land
The Lead Hazard In Schools That Won’t Go Away
Monthly Musing
“Fear is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.”
Asbestos Spotlight

There are several types of asbestos and some constitute more of a danger to health than others. The different types include amosite (brown), crocidolite (blue) and tremolite (which can be one of several colours).


Some types are known to be more dangerous than others as well. Blue and brown asbestos are generally considered to be the most dangerous of all. Another type called chrysotile, which is white, is the least dangerous to those handling it.


However, all types of asbestos should be handled properly and with the utmost care.

The biggest danger posed by asbestos comes from the fibres. These are breathed in and while the body is fairly good at removing many of them, it is rarely able to remove them all. People used to work with asbestos without protection, in the days when no such protection was thought to be needed. Over years they breathed in many particles of asbestos and this led to more of those particles becoming trapped in the lungs.


This is why many people who develop asbestos related diseases do not do so until a long time after they were exposed to it. Read more

QuanTEM Employment Opportunities 
We’re hiring! 

Click the links below for more information:



Sales & Marketing

Microbiology Analyst

Microbiology Technical Manager
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our profile on LinkedIn

Visit our blog

Earn rewards when you shop with QuanTEM
You already know that QuanTEM sells supplies for all of your environmental testing needs, but did you also know that your supply purchases count towards your Customer Rewards Bonusat the end of each quarter?
Order today to watch your bonus grow.
Mold Alert Testing Supplies
Order Supplies
QuanTEM Food Safety Laboratories
Visit Our Food Testing Lab
Monthly Food Safety News


Fecal matter, mold and more found on Foster Farms chickens

By Kimberly Kindy,

A New York-based consumer advocacy group posted more than 300 pages of USDA reports on their Web site Thursday that show widespread health and safety violations at Foster Farms plants across the nation, including mold growth, fecal contamination and cockroaches.


The Natural Resources Defense Council reviewed the Department of Agriculture reports and identified more than 200 violations at the two Foster Farms plants in California that the National Centers for Disease Control linked to an antibiotic-resistent outbreak of salmonella that has sickened at least 634 people, the records show.


Jonathan Kaplan, director of NRDC’s food and agriculture program, said the group was most surprised that the rate of violations for fecal contamination – a common source of samonella – remained at almost the same levels at the two California plants, even after USDA had stepped up enforcement and oversight.


The group also identified nearly 500 additional violations found by Department of Agriculture inspectors at nearly a dozen other Foster Farms plants across the nation, records show. NRDC requested the “non-compliance” reports through the Freedom of Information Act, for violations found between September 2013 and March.


The outbreak lasted for more than 15 months, and CDC did not declare it to be over until late July.

Read more

John’s View

John Barnett, President

The question was “WHAT WERE THEY DRINKING?” 


I asked this question a couple months ago, but there is still no answer yet.  In the interim I’ve received some additional information concerning the IAQA – ASHRAE merger.  I’m sorry to say that most of it has been somewhat vague and pretty much follows the written Q&A put out by the IAQA Board.


I tuned into the IAQ Radio broadcast with ASHRAE President Thomas Phoenix and IAQA President Kent Rawhouser, hoping to learn more details.  The show was informative and the questions raised were good, but the answers didn’t seem to add much in the way of details.  It wasn’t that Tom and Kent were trying to be vague or withhold information; I just don’t think they have the answers at this point.


It used to be that you did your due diligence prior to signing a contract, but apparently times have changed.  As I see it, we have ceased being a small fish in a big pond (ACCA) only to become a minnow in the ocean (ASHRAE). I guess we just have to wait and see how it turns out.  I really hope I’m wrong. There are a lot of good people in the IAQA and they deserve to have an organization which puts them first and is supportive of their efforts so they can focus on doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.


I want to thank “Radio Joe” and “The Z-Man” for their efforts in sorting out this situation.  If you missed the show, they were kind enough to let me include a link for your reference.


I welcome any comments you may have,



John Barnett

IAQ Radio – Episode 337
 Blockbuster Merger of  ASHRAE & IAQA
IAQA’s President Kent Rawhouser and ASHRAE’s President Tom Phoenix take questions on the ASHRAE/IAQA merger. Hosted by Joe “Radio Joe” Hughes and “The Z-Man” Cliff Zlotnik.

Rottnest Island: Asbestos confirmed in material found near holiday villas
By Nicolas Perpitch,

The Rottnest Island Authority has confirmed material found on the holiday island is white asbestos.

It said it was of very low risk, but the Australian Medical Association said that response was not good enough and all asbestos should be removed from the island’s accommodation.


Perth man Donovan Pryor last week alerted the authority to the substance, which he found outside bungalows in the Bathurst area, north of Thomson Bay. The authority fenced off the area and sent samples to the mainland for testing.


It now says it has been advised the substance was white asbestos.

It said the material was intact and non-friable, and in this condition, it was of very low risk to anyone staying in the units or passing by.

Acting chief executive Greg Ellson said Rottnest is safe for visitors.Read more

6 things to know about white mold
By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University

White mold, also referred to as Sclerotinia Stem Rot is caused by the fungus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and it is favored by cool damp conditions.  Remember those morning fogs this summer and the fact that you hardly used your air conditioner?  Perfect conditions for infection.  This fungus forms hard black irregular shaped bodies called sclerotia.
They are actually a mass of hyphae and if you break them open they will be pink inside.  They can be mistaken for mice or rat droppings as well. When the conditions are cool and the canopy is closed, this fungus produces a very small mushroom. This usually occurs during flowering and the spores then land on the dead flowers. This provides a perfect point of entry. This fungus produces oxalic acid – which degrades the tissue as it colonizes the plant.  The infections that you see now occurred 2 to 4 weeks ago.  Symptoms from the road will look like standing plants with a gray-green appearance.  Eventually these plants will lodge.  Once the leaves fall off – the plants will stand back up to some extent. Read more

African Lead Mine Poisons Children
By Ben Barber,

From the screaming children being tested for lead in this African city, to the clouds of toxic dust blown across soccer fields, streets and courtyards, this is one of the world’s worst lead poisoning epidemics.

The lowest blood lead levels in nearly 300 children we tested in July were around 35 micrograms per deciliter — six times above the acceptable level in the United States.


Many children tested above the limit of the electronic lead-testing machine we brought from the United States. These children should be treated in a hospital. But in Kabwe, toxic pollution has been a hidden legacy of mining and smelting lead.


This is not a story of numbers. It is a story of reduced intellect, neurological damage, inability to learn, stomach ailments and other problems.


“This is a public health crisis,” said Professor Jack Caravanos of the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York, who led an investigating team in July that tested children’s blood and soil levels in Kabwe.


In crowded local clinics packed with anxious mothers and screaming children, his team found lead levels as much as 10 times above what is permissible in the United States.


“These are extraordinarily high levels not seen anywhere in the U.S. — this poses an immediate threat to child health,” said Caravanos, whose team was organized by the New York-based environmental group Blacksmith Institute, also known as Pure Earth.


“This is not fenced off — it is right in front of their house where they play every day.” Read more

Wine Cellar Mold
By Cathy Huyghe, Contributor

North of Madrid, and south of Bilbao, is a wine region called Rioja.


Haro is one of the main towns of Rioja. Historically, several major wineries were established and oriented around its railroad station and tracks. Materials in. Wine out.


One of those wineries, since 1879, has been called Cune.
Behind Cune’s gates, its buildings radiate off exterior courtyards. Some of those buildings are large, open storage rooms full of cultural and artistic significance.


Additional storage areas on Cune’s property are, of course, filled with wine. Wine that’s inside French, American, and Hungarian casks and barrels. Wine that’s inside large concrete tanks. And wine that’s inside bottles.
Many of those bottles are housed in the caves, well below ground level. These caves are alleyways of storage niches containing bottles from more than 130 years of the winery’s history. They call it a “cemetery.” To me it is more like catacombs, or perhaps a suspension bridge on a micro scale: the solid structure of the bottles lay like so many pylons side by side, spindly cables of mold dangling from one to another.


The mold also covers the walls of the cave. It’s penicillin, I’m told. It grows – thrives, in fact – in the conditions of this cool, damp underground that measure 12 degrees Centigrade and 100% humidity.

The mold is also a function of time. Read more

Asbestos May Trigger Pulmonary Fibrosis
By Jim Kling,

Some cases of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) may be due to environmental or occupational exposure to asbestos, according to a new analysis of mortality data in England and Wales. This suggests that patients with known asbestos exposure, currently excluded from treatment with new IPF drugs, may need to be considered candidates for these drugs, report researchers.


“IPF and asbestos can be quite difficult to untangle,” said presenter Carl Reynolds, MBBS, MSc, an honorary fellow at Imperial College London. “You have the same pattern of usual interstitial pneumonitis seen radiologically in both conditions.”


Asbestos could theoretically cause symptoms similar to IPF, but the relationship is unproven. “Some have argued for it,” Dr. Reynolds told Medscape Medical News here at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2014, “but nobody has really gone any farther to show that maybe a proportion of IPF is due to asbestosis.”


To test the idea, Dr. Reynolds and his colleagues used data from the Office of National Statistics to look at associations between IPF, asbestosis, and mesothelioma mortality in England and Wales between 1974 and 2012. Read more

Woman finds mold in Chandler apartment, alleges cover-up
By Rebecca Thomas,

For a Chandler woman, a leaky roof revealed an even bigger problem, one she said put her family’s health in danger.


“I woke up in the morning and my ceiling was gaping open,” Jessica Ford said.


She said water began gushing into her apartment during Monday’s storm. Ford immediately called the management office at Laguna Village, near Arizona Avenue and Elliott Road and maintenance crews brought over an industrial fan to dry things out.


“They plugged it into this outlet while my wall was still damp,” Ford said about the counterproductive measure, since her ceiling was still leaking.

There was obvious water damage to her daughter’s room, with water pockets bulging from the ceiling.


Ford said a maintenance worker cut the ceiling open on Wednesday and what she saw shocked her.


“Mold, tons of black mold,” she said.


Again, Ford called management to report the problem and got a voicemail Thursday addressing the issue.


“That drywall has a colored backing on the back of it and that is what the discolored spots are,” said a woman who identified herself as Andrea and said she works with Laguna Village’s corporate office. “It’s actually not mold and there’s no mold that’s been seen.”


Not convinced, Ford took a sample of the sheet rock and gave it to a friend who is a biology professor. He looked at it under a microscope and said he found very high concentrations of Stachybotrys Chartarum.

It’s a black mold known to cause respiratory problems, especially in people who have asthma, like Ford’s 6-year-old daughter. Read more

Cows killed after contracting lead poisoning on gun club land
By Kirsty Macnicol, Fiordland Advocate

About 100 Southland dairy cows have died or been destroyed after contracting lead poisoning from grazing on a gun club property.


The Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed this week it was alerted by a Southland veterinary practice on July 23 of dairy cattle dying from lead poisoning on a Southland farm. The cattle had been grazing fodder beet grown on leased land owned by the Nightcaps Clay Target Club at Wreys Bush.


“Approximately 20 affected cattle, from a mob of about 100 cows, died or were euthanised at that time, the farmer subsequently chose to humanely slaughter the remaining cattle. Some of the cattle were pregnant,” MPI said in a statement issued to the Fiordland Advocate.


Environment Southland worked with the MPI and the farmer to offer advice on various disposal methods for the cows.


“The decision by the owner to bury them in an offal hole was not Environment Southland’s preferred choice, however, at the time it did meet the rules under the Solid Waste Management Plan as a permitted activity. New rules that came into effect on1 September 2014 would have tightened the requirements in this situation. Staff provided best practice advice for the disposal,” the statement says.


Environment Southland will also assess the risks of discharge to water.

Read more

The Lead Hazard In Schools That Won’t Go Away
By Lynne Peeples,

As students return to the classroom this fall, experts and advocates are warning of the overlooked health hazard plaguing daycares, preschools and elementary schools across the country.


Lead has been a popular paint additive for centuries. It speeds up drying and increases durability, as its makers once boasted in their marketing materials. But as a judge ruled in a high-profile case in California last December, lead paint manufacturers spent much of the 1900s deceiving the public with another claim: That their product was safe, even for young children, despite a long history of evidence suggesting otherwise. Ben Franklin wrote of lead’s “mischievous” effects in 1786, and one lead-paint maker admitted in aninternal company memo in 1900 that “any paint is poisonous in proportion to the percentage of lead contained in it.”


The science remains clear that anyone can be affected by lead exposure, and that children under the age of 6 face the greatest risk. And as lead exposure is linked to a growing list of health conditions, researchers are finding that it takes less and less lead to put one at risk.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: