August 2013

Lurking Lead in Lipstick

Posted by Titan on August 29, 2013

What could we possibly have to deal with next? Is it not enough that we are working diligently to safely remove the lead left over from 35+ years ago? But now, it is reported that lipstick of all things is still being manufactured with lead and other toxic metals.


According to a New York Times, blog: Most lipsticks contain at least a trace of lead, researchers have shown. But a new study finds a wide range of brands contain as many as eight other metals, from cadmium to aluminum. Now experts are raising questions about what happens if these metals are swallowed or otherwise absorbed on a daily basis.

Both the F.D.A. and the cosmetics industry insist that the average lead level found, just above 1 parts per million, or p.p.m., poses no real or unusual health risk. “Metals are ubiquitous,” said Linda Loretz, chief toxicologist for the Personal Care Products Council, an industry association. “And this is a very small amount, too small to be a safety issue.”

But lead tends to accumulate in the body, noted Dr. Sean Palfrey, medical director of the lead poisoning prevention program at Boston University Medical Center. The F.D.A. itself sets a 0.1 p.p.m. safety standard for lead in candy intended for young children. “Not to mention that the C.D.C. acknowledged last year that no level of lead is really safe,” Dr. Palfrey said.

In the meantime, it is recommended that consumers take a common-sense approach to cosmetics. For starters, don’t let young children play with lipstick.

“Treat it like something dangerous, because if they eat it we are taking about a comparatively large level of metals going into a small body,” says Dr. Katharine Hammond, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California at Berkeley.

It seems lead is lurking everywhere we turn.




How Did This [Lead] Happen?

Posted by Titan on August 22, 2013

The History of Lead Poisoning in America


It’s said that lead (Pb) has been used for over 3,000 years. Early archeological findings have discovered its use in plates, ceramic coatings, and other often used items. It’s ill health affects were first noted by Plato and Hippocrates and later in scientific research papers across Europe.

In the late 1800’s, it was banned in Europe, yet in America, in the early 1900’s it’s use in residential paint became a popular trend. So much that to this day, according to the CDC, it affects more than 4 Million households. Additionally, this known poison was added to gasoline by Standard Oil and GM in the 1920’s to cure engine knock (even when safe alternative methods had been proven successful).

We know now that leaded fumes, which were released in the air through the engine’s exhaust,  poisoned the air and leeched into the water and soil in every city in America and other countries.

Even before it was approved as an additive to gasoline, scientists, where the leaded gasoline was manufactured, began to literally go crazy and die. Enter the Looney Gas Story:

Men working at Standard Oil’s TEL (tetraethyl lead) plant quickly gave it the “loony gas” tag because anyone who spent much time handling the additive showed stunning signs of mental deterioration, from memory loss to a stumbling loss of coordination to  sudden twitchy bursts of rage. And then in October of 1924, workers in the TEL building began collapsing, going into convulsions, babbling deliriously. By the end of September, 32 of the 49 TEL workers were in the hospital; five of them were dead.

Even when there were more than obvious dangers to its use, Standard Oil’s spoke person, Frank Howard, assured it was completely safe. They did such a good job in their PR coverup, they tricked the government into believing it was harmless. Twenty years later, that same Standard Oil spoke’s person, would be forced to step down form his his position for collaborating with Nazi Germany–yet kept his position at Ethyl, continuing to manufacture leaded gasoline. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that leaded gasoline was banned.

According to, by the time it was banned in 1986, according to some estimates, so much lead had been deposited into soils, streets, building surfaces, that an estimated 68 million children would register toxic levels of lead absorption and some 5,000 American adults would die annually of lead-induced heart disease. As lead affects cognitive function, some neuroscientists also suggested that chronic lead exposure resulted in a measurable drop in IQ scores during the leaded gas era. And more recently, of course, researchers had suggested that TEL exposure and resulting nervous system damage may have contributed to violent crime rates in the 20th century.

Residential lead-based paint was banned in late 1978. Since then government agencies have developed protocols, rules and regulations to safely remove this very toxic and neurologically damaging element from homes and buildings alike.

However, lead is still used in both gasoline and paint. The gasoline in propeller planes is leaded-gasoline. What happens to the exhaust which exits into the air above cities nationwide? Why is this gasoline additive still allowed? Additionally, commercial lead paint has high concentrations of lead. That yellow stripe down the road and in the parking lot is full of lead paint. Let’s hope you always take your shoes off at the door.

Where else is lead lurking? Check out this list of leaded hazards.

The US Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard is going global—are you ready?

Posted by Titan on August 15, 2013

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s revised 2012 federal regulations are aligning with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The new system is being implemented throughout the world by countries including Canada, the European Union, China, Australia, and Japan.


What This Means. For starters, you’ll begin seeing new container labels for hazardous chemicals and new Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), which were formally known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

As part of the transition, OSHA has mandated training for all employees who may be exposed to hazardous materials by December 1, 2013. The training must cover the new GHS labels, pictograms, and SDSs. According to OSHA representatives, the training is needed early in the transition process because workers are beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace.

This training will include GHS-compliant labels and the nine international Hazard Communication Pictograms. The training must also describe GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets, including:

  • The type of information found in each of the 16 sections
  • How the information on the SDS is related to that on the container labels
  • How an employee should use the SDSs and container labels
  • A general explanation of how the elements work together on a label

The new rules must be fully implemented by June 2016.

 Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard

  • Hazard classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.
  • Safety Data Sheets: The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.
  • Information and training: To facilitate understanding of the new system, the new standard requires that workers be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data sheet format, in addition to the current training requirements.

Protection to the Worker. The revised rules will standardize the information available to employees about the dangerous substances that they may encounter in their workplace. OSHA estimates that the revised HazCom standard will prevent 43 fatalities and 585 illnesses annually.

Additional information can be found at


Lead Safety and Environmental Regulations Standards

Posted by Titan on August 8, 2013

OSHA’s standard for protecting workers from lead (29 CFR 1926.62) celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
Titan acknowledges the NEED to be up-to-date on the many environmental regulations and the standards that keep workers and building occupants safe. The links provided below, offer quick reference to helpful information to keep you up-to-date:

Environmental Asthma Triggers

Posted by Titan on August 6, 2013

Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. When American’s spend up to 90% of their time indoors, it’s no wonder asthma is on the rise.

If you have asthma, you may react to just one trigger or you may find that several things act as triggers.


Common Asthma Triggers:

Secondhand Smoke– This asthma trigger contains more than 4,000 substances, including several compounds that cause cancer. Children’s developing bodies make them more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke and, due to their small size, they breathe more rapidly than adults, thereby taking in more secondhand smoke.
Dust Mites– Found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and fabric and fabric-covered items. Body parts and droppings from these tiny bugs can trigger asthma. Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.
Molds– For people sensitive to molds, inhaling mold spores can trigger an asthma attack. Found almost anywhere when moisture is present, these tiny spores reproduce quickly and can live on plant and animal matter as well.
Cockroaches and Pests– Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins found in cockroach feces and saliva can also trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.
Pets– Proteins in your pet’s skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair can trigger asthma. A safe measure is to keep pets out of the sleeping areas, off of upholstered furniture, carpets and away from stuffed toys; as well as keeping the pets outdoors as much as possible and isolating sensitive individuals from the pet as much as possible.
Nitrogen Dioxide– This odorless gas can come from anything that burns fuel such as gas, kerosene and wood. Smoke from your stove or fireplace can trigger asthma. Exposure to low levels of NO2 may cause increased bronchial reactivity and make young children more susceptible to respiratory infections as well.
Chemical Irritants– Cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners may trigger asthma. Green cleaning is a safe alternative!
Outdoor Air Pollution– Small particles and ground level ozone from car exhaust, smoke, road dust and factory emissions; as well as pollen can trigger asthma.
Wood Smoke– Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles that can trigger asthma. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.

Be sure to work with a doctor to identify triggers and develop a treatment plan that includes ways to reduce exposures to your asthma triggers. But, as a precautionary step, always maintain a clean indoor environment and do your best to avoid common asthma triggers.

Do you know your RRP?

Posted by Titan on August 2, 2013

When you’re not up-to-date on RRP you stand to be severely penalized.

Recently, a KC company agreed to pay more than $65,000 in penalties for not following lead-safe work practices as required by the RRP rule. These violations included failure to properly post signs, failure to close all doors and windows as required, failure to cover the ground as required, and failure to clean properly.


The Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is a part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The rule requires each person or firm hired to perform a renovation to be certified and to use specific work practices to minimize lead-based paint hazards for workers and occupants.  Under the RRP rule, general contractors can be held liable for regulated renovation work that subcontractors perform for the company. This includes record-keeping as well.

Don’t be next on the EPA’s compliance offender list.  Get up-to-date on your RRP with Titan Environmental.  Our next EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) training course is:

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Seats are limited and class is only offered once a month!


Energy Upgrades for the Home and EPA’s Protocol to Protect Health

Posted by Titan on August 1, 2013

According to the EPA, there is a set of best practices when it comes to improving indoor air quality in conjunction with energy upgrades in a home.


This isn’t new information, but it isn’t old news either. In fact, we’re recapping nearly two-year old information:

In November 2011, the EPA came out with the new guidance to help ensure home energy upgrades would protect the health of Americans while saving energy and money.

While home energy upgrades make a home more comfortable and affordable, there are an abundance of benefits all around—improving quality of life for occupants, protecting the environment, and sustaining American jobs.

However, if the appropriate home assessment is not made before the work begins or the work isn’t performed properly, the home energy upgrade activities might negatively affect indoor air quality.

The EPA’s Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades focus primarily on the health and safety of the building occupants. The document identifies priority indoor environmental issues and includes Assessment Protocols to evaluate existing problems. Minimum Actions to be taken during home energy upgrade activities, and Expanded Actions, which provide opportunities to promote improved occupant health through home energy upgrades.

Titan recommends work done in pre-1978 homes and buildings, be performed by an EPA certified Lead-Safe Firm or by home energy upgrade workers who have sufficient resources and are properly certified to work with lead paint.