Blog Archives

Judge slams NYCHA officials for not showing up to hearing addressing cleanup of toxic mold in public housing

By Greg B. Smith, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

nychaA judge overseeing NYCHA’s flailing efforts to clean up its toxic mold problem ripped into agency officials for being no-shows at a hearing Friday.

A lone NYCHA lawyer showed up, but none of the top brass appeared in Manhattan Federal Court to answer why they’ve failed to live up to a 2013 promise to abate mold in decrepit apartments.

“Why wouldn’t some policy-making, decision-making official of NYCHA be here?” fumed Judge William Pauley. “I can’t believe they have more important things to do.”

In December 2013, NYCHA signed a consent decree, promising to “effectively remediate” mold infestation deemed “simple” within seven days and mold deemed “complex” within 15 days.

Months later, tenants who sued say in one-third of these so-called “remediations,” the mold returns. Lawyers for the tenants also say NYCHA is now interpreting the decree to give themselves more time to fix things. Read more

Google’s Street View cars have been quietly testing air pollution

by  Katie Fehrenbacher,http://fortune.com/

googlemobileWhile Google’s Street View cars have been busy snapping images of roads across the globe, including some of the most remote locations on Earth, a small handful of the smart vehicles have been quietly gathering data on something that’s much harder to see: air pollution.

Three of Google’s Street View cars were equipped with sensors from San Francisco startup Aclima and the roving sensor-laden vehicles spent a month driving around Denver last year, testing the air quality. The cars spent 750 hours on the city’s streets and collected 150 million data points about levels of various air pollutants, many of them caused directly and indirectly by gas-powered cars and fossil fuel-based power plants. The test was done in collaboration with NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A key point of the test was to validate seven-year-old Aclima’s environmental sensor tech, which is a first step for the startup to offer the environmental sensors more widely. The company uses algorithms, big data analytics and machine learning to make its sensor data highly accurate. The company also makes it own hardware and has been developing what it says is the world’s smallest particulate matter sensor in collaboration with the EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Read more

Brain Fog, Weight Gain, Fatigue — the Sneaky Symptoms of Household Mold

By Yahoo Health Editors, https://www.yahoo.com

moldsymptomsWhen you hear the word mold, chances are you think of the fuzzy stuff growing on the leftovers in your fridge, or the shower scum that develops on your bathroom tile when you’ve slacked on cleaning. But the truth is, some mold isn’t just an icky sign of neglect — it can be toxic, even deadly.

Dave Asprey — the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur behind “The Bulletproof Executive” blog and Bulletproof Radio podcast — has released a new documentary calledMoldy, which explores the hidden health dangers associated with mold toxicity. (A screening of the film is available for free now until June 14, and can then be purchased through the documentary’s website as a DVD or digital download).

The documentary is personal to Asprey who suffered from mold toxicity. He says it’s a problem that potentially impacts hundreds of millions of people — even if they don’t know that’s what is making them sick.  Read more

Pet allergies are big business

By Darcy Reynolds, http://www.columbusceo.com/

allergydogIt’s that dreaded season. Allergens are bountiful and wreaking havoc on our eyes, noses and throats. But the allergy suffering isn’t exclusive to humans. The misery many of us have to deal with can extend to our very best friends; our beloved household pets.

Allergic symptoms in dogs and cats can translate into frustration, misery and big business. If you have spent time in the company of a favorite canine and witnessed persistent licking and paw chewing along with incessant scratching, red skin and “hot spots” plus itchy ears and runny eyes, you are likely watching the effect of allergies in action. Cats, too, present allergies in a similar manner along signs such as hair loss, scabs or open sores, excessive scratching and discharge in the ears.

In both people and pets, an allergy is a state of hypersensitivity in which exposure to an allergen induces the body’s immune system to overreact. Gwendolen Lorch, DVM and assistant professor of dermatology at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, believes cases of pet allergies are trending upward, particularly in the Midwest. “Puppies that are bred and raised in Arizona may never present themselves with an allergy. But for areas like Ohio, an average vet practice may treat pet allergies and related ailments in 30-40 percent of all appointments booked,” Lorch says. Read more

Firefighters test positive for toxic mold exposure

By John Dzenitis, http://www.wpbf.com/

firefightersmoldTwo firefighters have tested positive for toxic mold exposure, and the firefighters’ union believes old, run-down fire stations are to blame.

The two firefighters worked at Station No. 7 in Vero Beach and Station No. 10 in Fellsmere. In recent years, O’Connor said the firefighters have been complaining about leaky roofs at their stations, as well as mold and dead rats in the ceiling.

“We became very concerned when a lot of guys were complaining about watery eyes, upper respiratory infections, runny noses,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor claims the county has largely ignored firefighters’ complaints, and not enough money has been allocated to fixing up fire stations with serious health concerns. Read more

DIY home renovations and asbestos – a dangerous mix

Posted by http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/

asbestos-exposureOn the eve of National Asbestos Awareness Day, the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia had warned of a “third wave” of exposure to asbestos, as DIY home renovations spike in popularity.

Friday, 28 November, marked National Asbestos Awareness Day, where groups came together to pay tribute to the thousands of Australians who have died from asbestos-related diseases. However, the day also exists to remind the community of the present threat asbestos poses.

Currently, 600 mesothelioma cases are reported a year, and this is expected to rise to more than 900 cases a year by 2020, with the National Health and Medical Research Council estimating that more than 25,000 Australians will die from mesothelioma over the next 40 years.

“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres,” Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said.

“In the past, the first wave of people affected by asbestos-related diseases were those exposed to fibres in the mining and manufacturing process and their families. Then came the second wave, which were people exposed to fibres from using products in the workplace.

The foundation is warning of a “third wave” of asbestos-related diseases that will include people renovating homes without the proper precautions. Read more

An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings: Toxic Mold

By Sarah Zhang, http://gizmodo.com

Energy-efficient buildings can be wonderful at keeping out drafts and keeping down heating bills. But the same air-tightness, unfortunately, is also perfect for trapping humid air where toxic mold can go to party.

The Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada has been a mold-filled ghost building since 2001, after renovations to the handsome, 87-year-old sandstone building went awry. When the renovated and newly energy-efficient building reopened, according to ClimateWire, judges and attorneys complained of fatigue, irritated lungs, and watery eyes.

Air quality samples pointed the finger at mold growing inside the walls. The cracks and leaks of the pre-renovation building had been a crude form of air-quality control—albeit not very energy efficient. The new airtight building, however, trapped moisture to breed toxic mold. Read More

Upton library gears up to fight mold

By Mike Gleason, http://www.milforddailynews.com

The Upton Town Library is plagued with mold, and officials hope that fixes planned over the next few months will solve the problem.

Library officials were alerted to the problem by bad odors.

“Historically, there has been a problem like this with the library,” Library Trustee Chairman John Robertson Jr. said. “We did feel we eliminated the problems and apparently, over time, we had. It was recently noticed, though, that an odor had returned to the library.”

In May, the library hired Gordon Mycology Laboratory in Littleton to inspect the building. The laboratory’s report, issued in July, detailed what it called “unacceptable” or “abnormal” levels of mold on building materials in the first-floor children’s section and unfinished basement, as well as evidence of rodents nesting in the walls.

“The first floor is not currently providing a healthy environment, particularly for mold-sensitized individuals or those with respiratory conditions or immune system deficiencies,” the report reads. “Ideally, although likely not possible, the library should not be occupied until the mold and moisture problems have been fully resolved.”

The report further recommends that people avoid the basement until the problem is fixed. It does note, however, that air samples from the first floor showed low mold levels consistent with indoor environments. Read More

 

Tips to improve your indoor air quality

Cleaning the air cooler filter at Stacken.

Cleaning the air cooler filter at Stacken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By BPT, http://www.jsonline.com

 

ou pride yourself on keeping a clean home. The laundry is washed, the dishes are dry and the den where the children built their pillow fort has been restored to sanity. You’ve been vigilant about cleaning up the messes you can see, but what about the messes you can’t? What are you doing to improve the air quality in your home?

 

You may not think about the air quality in your home because the problem isn’t visible, but that doesn’t stop dust, dander or chemicals from polluting your air. Everyday living generates up to 40 pounds of dust in a six-room house every year, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association.

 

Taking steps to clean the air in your home will do more than just improve air quality; it will also save you money. Twenty-five to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted because contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work inefficiently, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

If you’re interested in improving the air quality in your home and saving money while you do it, here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction.

 

Read More

 

Indoor air quality: One of the EPA’s top 5 environmental risks to public health

By Michelle Krueger, http://www.nwitimes.com

When it comes to air sealing and ventilating, new residential building codes are now in place to ensure energy efficiency as well as the comfort of the homeowner. In many existing homes, there can be a number of uncontrolled air leaks that add up to the equivalent of leaving a window open 24/7.

While its been reported that air sealing uncontrolled leaks can reduce energy bills anywhere from 10-20 percent or more in some cases, its important to understand a home’s ventilation before undertaking any project. The advice of a certified home contractor may even be needed to avoid creating an unhealthy and potentially-life threatening environment.

With indoor air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, dust mites, pollen, radon, mold, excessive carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and other chemicals identified by the EPA as contributing to poor indoor quality that causes or contributes to health concerns such as asthma, headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue, it’s extremely important to understand the role of proper ventilation or air exchanges. Indoor air is on average two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors and can be up to 100 times more. Read More