Blog Archives

Lead And Asbestos-Ridden ‘Alcatraz Of The East’ Available For Lease At Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

 By Emily Corwin, http://nhpr.org

Credit rjzii via Flickr Creative Commons

Credit rjzii via Flickr Creative Commons

The US Navy will offer for lease the former Naval Prison on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The Navy has twice before sought private-sector redevelopment of the old Naval Prison, which closed in 1974.  It was built in 1908, and has been called the “Alcatraz of the East.”

The medieval-looking multi-story building is 265,000 square feet and has 11 and a half acres of waterfront land.

The new tenant would be responsible for ensuring structural stability in the now-dilapidated building, and cleaning up hazardous waste, including asbestos and lead paint. Read More

Metal firm owner sentenced for lead exposure failures

By Regional News Network, http://press.hse.gov.uk/regional-contacts/

The owner of a Nottinghamshire alloy firm has been sentenced for failing to protect workers from the risks of lead poisoning after three employees became seriously ill.

They included Brook Northey, 28, of Mansfield, who required specialist treatment at the West Midlands Poisons Unit after working at LDB Light Alloys Ltd, owned by Mansfield businessman Laurence Brown.

He had been working with his two colleagues at the Boughton-based company making lead sheeting from molten lead. His job was to scrape off the solid impurities, or dross, in a crucible containing the molten lead and pour the excess into containers.

Mr Northey was hospitalised for three weeks in May 2011 and continued to receive treatment for over a year. He was also off work for a year and can never work with lead again.

Prior to being diagnosed with lead poisoning he had been admitted to hospital with renal problems.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found conditions at Mr Brown’s company were so bad that a Prohibition Notice was served halting all work with immediate effect.

Nottingham Crown Court heard today (4 February) that extraction systems, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, hygiene and rest facilities were all unsatisfactory, and that no air monitoring or medical surveillance was provided.

HSE also established that lunch breaks were taken in an old, lead-contaminated caravan with no running water. Water was collected in contaminated plastic milk cartons from a contaminated hand washing area in the workshop. Clothes worn for work were not removed before eating and drinking and there was no toilet facility at the factory.

Staff had not been told about the effects of lead or how to recognize the symptoms of over-exposure. Read More

More asbestos found in Rock Island school

Rock Island Clock Tower

Rock Island Clock Tower (Photo credit: wonder_al)

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

 

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

Colorado National Guard Flood Response

Colorado National Guard Flood Response (Photo credit: The National Guard)

 

By Keli Rabon, http://www.thedenverchannel.com

 

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.

 

“Just removing the gross materials doesn’t guarantee that all the asbestos fibers are going to be gone from the structure,” the inspector said.

 

“So there could still be asbestos in the home, even though the materials are taken out?” Call7 Investigator Keli Rabon asked.

 

“Absolutely, because it’s a microscopic fiber,” he said.

 

If inhaled, those microscopic asbestos fibers can cause chronic lung disease or cancer, like mesothelioma. Studies show it can take 20 to 30 years before symptoms appear.

 

“Through this policy, is the state putting people at risk?” Rabon asked.

 

“Absolutely,” the inspector said.

 

“I don’t agree with that at all. The safety of our citizens, first-responders and cleanup crews is our number one priority,” said Will Allison, CDPHE’s Director of Air Pollution Control.  

 

Allison says the safest option is to clean flood debris as quickly as possible.

 

“We’ve seen 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed by the recent flooding, and since that’s not the traditional type of remodel we would see, we recognize that in some stances, traditional regulations, it’s not practical to have them apply,” Allison said.

 

Previous guidance from the state has said, “Buildings of any age, even those newly built, may have asbestos containing material.”

 

Allison admits many people may not know if asbestos is in their home. Read More

 

 

Temple City disposes of more than 700 public documents due to asbestos contamination

By Zen Vuong, http://www.pasadenastarnews.com

The City Council passed a resolution Tuesday declaring seven filing cabinets’ worth of public records “toxic” and had a contractor dispose of the infected files on Wednesday.

The documents were contaminated with asbestos dust or friable asbestos, so safety was a concern, said City Attorney Eric Vail.

“Because paper is porous, there’s no way to save the paper, and they essentially become toxic,” Vail said. “You’d have to have someone in a hazardous material suit scanning the documents (if you want to preserve them). It’s very costly and it’s also very dangerous.”

City staff provided the public with a 36-page list of 759 documents that Alliance Environmental Group, an asbestos removal service, removed from the city’s premises on Wednesday. Documents are listed in categories such as permits, agreements (with companies), city charter, legal and conflict of interest.

The list includes “original certificate from Secretary of State declaring incorporation of the City of Temple City” and “Sunnyslope Water Company versus City of Temple City,” which is categorized under “legal.”

While exposure to tiny, flexible asbestos fibers causes some people to develop health problems, others are unaffected, reported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Health dangers include chronic respiratory disease or lung, stomach and kidney cancers.

The public would misplace their concern if they worried the disposal of public documents dating back to 1964 and extending all the way to December 2012 is questionable, Vail said.

Other lawyers who specialize in public freedom of information rights are skeptical.

“Destroying documents that are less than two years old sounds like it violates the spirit of the public records act,” said Don Zachary, an attorney and adjunct professor at USC. “On its face, it sounds like this municipality is ignoring that reality in an effort to be super safe with regard to the asbestos dust.” Read More

 

New technology tool to help in asbestos battle

By Peter Dinham, http://www.itwire.com

An Australian company has developed what it claims is a pioneering technology platform to help achieve the federal government’s agenda to rid the country of asbestos by 2030.

The company – Octfolio – has just launched its new Asbestos Information Management Software and website – http://www.octfolio.com – which it says is designed to aid in the battle to save lives against deadly asbestos exposure and estimated to save millions of dollars for asbestos stakeholders.

“Ultimately it’s all about an easier and efficient way to track, assess, remove and dispose of asbestos with a goal to saving lives, so we’ve created the Octfolio system to play a pivotal role in helping the Government achieve that outcome for future generations,” says Darren Anderson, Managing Director for the Octfolio company.
“Octfolio has developed the first and only fully integrated tool that will map, classify, quantify and enable the strategic cost effective removal of asbestos from workplaces and homes.

This technology offers everything from online training for asbestos assessors and removalists, and sharing medical research information, to encouraging safe storage and disposal at licensed facilities and even mechanisms for reporting illegal disposal sites.

“Plus there are many more community benefits including accessibility of the project data in situations such as natural disasters and recovery operations, and providing a way for the government and private sector to better inform the public in relation to asbestos and its safe removal.” Read More

 

Asbestos found at site of June 5 collapse

By Bob Warner, http://www.philly.com

Contractors have found remnants of asbestos in the debris of the fatal building collapse at 22d and Market Streets, raising questions about paperwork filed earlier by the building owners to get demolition permits.

The owner of the four-story building that collapsed during demolition June 5, STB Investment Corp., submitted inspection reports to the city in January – before work began – saying there was “no asbestos found” in two adjacent buildings to be torn down.

The asbestos inspections were performed by Kenneth Hudson, whose credentials had been certified by the city. His reports were submitted by Plato Marinakos, a licensed architect functioning as an “expediter” to obtain the necessary permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

City Councilman James F. Kenney has expressed concern about asbestos since the building went down, killing six people in an adjacent Salvation Army thrift shop. Read More

 

Asbestos: the killer we allow to remain with us

English: Photo of Bauer Elementary Miamisburg,...

English: Photo of Bauer Elementary Miamisburg, Ohio. Asbestos Warning! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Larry Graham, http://www.watoday.com.au

Governments, unions and companies were, and remain, culpable for the spread of the killer asbestos – the result of their handiwork is that over 50,000 Australians have died.

Every day in this state another person dies as a result of exposure to this terrible product. There is no safe level of exposure to it and there is no cure for the diseases it causes, but somehow we still allow the killer asbestos to remain with us.

The diseases that asbestos causes are horrible, particularly the effects of mesothelioma, which has been described to me as akin to being slowly strangled to death, or having concrete set in your lungs. The period from exposure to diagnosis can be a very long time but once diagnosed there is no cure and it is a death sentence.

Of the folklore surrounding this killer product, the one that enrages me most is that those in authority were not aware of the dangers.

There have been formal health warnings about the dangers of asbestos since the 19th century but still every day governments and companies continue to use this pathetic defence.  They regularly lose their court cases because it is just not true, has never been true and they know it. Read more

TEM AHERA or NIOSH?

By Jeff Mlekush, QuanTem Labs Vice President

It’s the time of year when a young man’s heart turns to…asbestos sampling. You thought I was going somewhere else with this? Nope. Before the summer rush sets in and you’re running six ways from Sunday, I think a reminder is called for. I want to remind everyone of the AHERA sampling protocol and the difference between the AHERA Method and the NIOSH 7402 Method.

TEMtable

First, which way to go – AHERA or NIOSH? Well, why are you sampling?

The AHERA TEM Air clearance monitoring requires thirteen samples to be collected. Five samples should be collected inside the contained area. Five samples should be collected outside the contained area. Two field blanks should be opened for 30 seconds (one inside containment and one outside containment). One unopened lab blank should be submitted.

Even though thirteen samples are required to be collected and submitted to the TEM laboratory, AHERA allows for a “screening” in which only the five inside samples are analyzed – but you have to collect at least 1200 liters of air for each sample. If you collect less than 1200 liters of air, you are required to have all thirteen samples analyzed. (See 40CFR763, Subpart E, Section IV, Mandatory Interpretation of TEM Results To Determine Completion of Response Action, A. Introduction – if you don’t believe me.)

So, I hope this brief discussion helps. If you have any questions regarding TEM air sampling or other asbestos, lead, or mold sampling give me a call. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find the person for you to talk to.