Blog Archives

Air quality — inside as well as outside — can affect your health

By Deanna Duff, Special to The Herald

Patrick Clifford is a lifelong outdoors enthusiast. However, in 2014 he found himself working hard to catch his breath while laboring outside. The retired Everett Public Schools teacher was diagnosed with a serious pulmonary condition that has reduced his lung capacity to a third.

“I didn’t realize how bad air quality can be until I got sick,” Clifford says.

“Unless you’re sick, you often don’t realize how close to being in trouble you are. Because air is invisible, you think it’s not even there.”

Air quality impacts everyone and overall health. According to Dr. David Russian, pulmonologist with Western Washington Medical Group, oxygen is one of the body’s most basic fuels.

“We can’t live without our lungs. If they are diminished, everything else is, too — our ability to exercise, risk for infections and cardiac health,” Russian says. Read more

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Teens’ vandalism causing mold problems in classrooms

By Dillon Collier, KENS 5

Southwest Independent School District’s Sun Valley Elementary School continues to deal with mold issues weeks after teens vandalized the school and left sinks running for an untold number of days.

“We’ve been remedying the situation. As it’s escalated, we too have escalated our actions,” said Adriana Garcia, PhD., the district’s director of public relations.

A demolition crew remained on site Monday and could be on campus through the start of February, restoring walls damaged by water.

Garcia confirmed two teens were arrested for the vandalism, which took place some time during the Thanksgiving holiday. Garcia declined to release the names of the teens or other details of the investigation because the teens are juveniles and the investigation is ongoing. Read more

 

NY Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Workers and Homeowners Involved in Mold Assessment, Remediation and Abatement

By WorkersCompensation.com 

cuomoGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today was honored by the NYS Laborers and the NYS Pipefitters and Plumbers at their respective events in Warren County. The Governor was presented with the “Champion of Organized Labor” award by the Laborers and the “NY Builder” award by the Pipefitters and Plumbers. These awards come on the heels of the Governor’s presentation of a comprehensive vision to transform LaGuardia airport.

Additionally, the Governor also signed legislation to protect workers who are involved in the cleanup of mold from harm. The law modifies and improves upon a new licensing requirement for contractors and workers engaged in the assessment, remediation and abatement of mold. Read more

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

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

How Germs Might Shape the Future of Architecture

By Vicky Gan, http://www.citylab.com/

We know that buildings can make us sick. Take, for example, cases of lead poisoning, mold exposure, or the aptly named Sick Building Syndrome. But cabiobuildingn they also make us healthier? Scientists are trying to answer that very question, starting with detailed studies of the microbes that populate our homes and offices. The end goal? Using this information to design structures constructed with bodies in mind.

This is a big shift in how we’ve previously conceptualized microbial life. We’ve long treated bacteria as the enemy. But it turns out that few of the germs we’re constantly trying to kill with hand sanitizer actually cause disease—and the more bacteria we have on the whole, the better. In fact, our habit of ultrasterilization appears to be hurting us. A number of recent studies have lent credence to the so-called “hygiene hypothesis,” which attributes the uptick in autoimmune and allergic diseases, including eczema and asthma, to a lack of early childhood exposure to germs. Read more

Is toxic mold the real hidden culprit in haunted houses?

By David Sommerstein, http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/

moldghostsA team of researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., are the North Country’s answer to the “Ghost Hunters.”

They have a hunch that the reason some people see ghosts is not necessarily because a place is haunted. It may be because a haunted house has a lot of mold, and breathing it alters people’s states of mind.

Shane Rogers, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Clarkson, is into paranormal activity and ghosts in general. As a scientist, he studies some icky things, like manure and mold. He put his interest together and developed a hypothesis. Maybe people who see ghosts are actually just breathing in toxic mold? “There are reports of people who have been exposed to mold who have reported things like anxiety and depression.”

Rogers also knows many alleged haunted houses are old and dilapidated and more likely to be infested with mold. He said, “If you’re in a place where you’re exposed to mold, and you’re feeling a little anxious, and you see something strange or you feel something strange, if you’re in an old house that’s a little scarier, you might be more likely to ascribe it to a haunting, whereas in a newer house, perhaps not.” Read more

Teachers, Students Say Jordan Elementary Mold Made Them Ill

By Liz Collin, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/

jordan elementaryHospitalized children, and their parents, say it’s because of what they’re breathing at school.

Halle Wassenberg, 7, spent months seeing different doctors.

“It made me feel yucky,” she told WCCO. “It didn’t feel good at all.”

She’s one of three students in the same classroom to leave Jordan Elementary School this year. Two teachers have also left. They all blame mold for making them sick. The school maintains the building is safe.

But a WCCO Investigation found mold concerns months ago were kept from parents. Read more

QuanTEM takes best costume award at EIA Conference

EIA 2015The Environmental Information Association held its 2015 National Conference and Exhibition last month in Atlanta. The conference hosted it’s second annual SExy Awards to celebrate Superior Exhibitor Booths and Salespeople.

John Barnett and Cristal Veech were in attendance, looking quite dapper in their ‘Gone with the Wind’ inspired outfits which earned the Best Costume award for QuanTEM Labs.

The Environmental Information Association, with its beginnings as the National Asbestos Council, has spent over 30 years at the forefront in providing the environmental industry with the information needed to remain knowledgeable, responsible, and competitive in the environmental health and safety industry.

Next year’s conference will be held March 06, 2016 to March 09, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Window replacement project leads to asbestos contamination at Englewood apartment complex

By Lance Hernandez, http://www.thedenverchannel.com/

windowasbestosDozens of tenants have been forced from their apartments at a complex in Englewood, because of asbestos contamination.

Work crews unknowingly loosened the dangerous fibers when they began replacing windows at the Carmel Park Apartments several weeks ago.

State health officials say the asbestos was in a texture compound on existing drywall, and that some of the drywall had been cut away to remove the old windows and install the new.

They say just a small amount of material was loosened in the affected apartments.

The contamination wasn’t discovered until a repairman, who knew there was asbestos in the popcorn ceiling, told the window installers there “might” be asbestos in the drywall texture.

“They tested it and found asbestos,” said Christopher Dann of the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Apartment management then sent a note to affected tenants asking them to move out temporarily while licensed crews clean up the contamination. Read More