Blog Archives

Wausau mulls its options to achieve lead compliance

By Nora G. Hertel, Daily Herald Media

pipesThe city is about to hire a new full-time employee to help it get lead levels in its water under control, even though partially replacing old lead pipes might exacerbate the problem and a mistake in the test process means it’s a low-level threat.

“We stubbed our toe,” said Interim Public Works and Utilities Director Joe Gehin.

“We think one sample was taken at the wrong faucet,” Wausau Utility Resources Manager Deb Geier explained.

More than 10 percent of water samples in routine tests exceeded lead limits, so the state Department of Natural Resources, enforcing federal regulations, ordered the city to replace some pipes and test water in more homes. Lead can cause problems from neurological disorders to birth defects.

Wausau now is seeking homeowners with lead pipes to help test out of some of the requirements. Residents can call the water utility to learn whether their pipes are made of lead. The testing will not cost property owners directly, but it will cost the city between $75 and $100 per test. 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

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

 

Magellan gets U.S. approval for lead poisoning test

By John Larrabee, http://www.bizjournals.com

More children will likely be tested for lead poisoning, thanks to a new clinical testing system recently developed by Magellan Diagnostics Inc., a life science company based in Billerica, Mass.

The new LeadCare Ultra Systems can test six blood samples at a time, and up to 90 in an hour.

The new LeadCare Ultra Systems can test six blood samples at a time, and up to 90 in an hour.

The company announced Monday they have received FDA approval to market the new device, dubbed LeadCare Ultra. According to company president Amy Winslow, it will make testing easier and less expensive, and could be in hospital laboratories as early as next month, she added.

“We believe there are a lot of children who should be lead tested, but aren’t,” Winslow said. “This will help people get the testing they need.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half a million children in the U.S. have elevated blood lead levels, which can impair cognition, reduce IQ, and cause attention-deficit disorder. A blood test is the only way to identify an exposed child.

Magellan Diagnostics first developed the testing technology in the ’90s, for use in a portable device they also manufacture. The new LeadCare Ultra Systems makes laboratory testing more efficient. Until now, technicians tested samples one at a time; with the new device they can test six at a time, and up to 90 in an hour.

“It’s based on an electro-chemical technique we’ve used with our portable system since the 2005,” Winslow said. “It’s called anodic stripping voltammetry. A testing strip with a gold cathodic is inserted into an analyzer. By using an electric impulse, lead is collected on the gold. By rapidly switching the current from negative to positive, you can collect and measure the lead.” 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.