October 2013

$1B Lead Paint Case in California

Posted by titanadmin on October 28, 2013

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Sherwin-Williams Co., is one of five paint companies being sued by 10 California cities and counties seeking $1billion to replace or contain lead paint in millions of homes. Defendants also include, DuPont, ConAgra Grocery, NL Industries Inc., and Atlantic Richfield Co.

Joe Cotchett, a lawyer for the cities and counties, told the judge he had met the “substantial and reasonable” standard of proof of lead poisoning to children required for the case to go forward. The key document proving his case came from a 1937 Chicago gathering of staff doctors for each of the paint companies titled “Lead Poisoning, Report of Conference Physicians and Surgeons of Member Companies.” Physicians attending the conference were told not to tell anyone about it, and not to take notes, Cotchett told the judge.

“They knew in the 1930s that lead poisoning of children was happening and they tried to conceal it,” Cotchett said in an interview.

Tony Dias, a lawyer for Sherwin-Williams, said in an interview that the document from the 1937 conference concerns the occupational risks of working with lead, and that it has nothing to do with lead paint.

The defendants argue that each of them have their “own unique facts” and are represented by different lawyers. Sherwin-Williams said in a court filing that the appeals court ruling allowed the case to go forward only as an effort to block future harm, and that the cities and counties “cannot recover money damages or a fund to cover costs of abatement.”

“The alleged wrongful conduct must be connected to the alleged harm today,” a standard which the cities and counties “failed to meet,” Sherwin-Williams said in the filing.

In a 2006 opinion, state appeals-court Judge Nathan Mihara said that while lead paint was banned for use in public buildings in 1978, the companies’ “misrepresentations about the dangers of low-level lead exposure” caused government entities “to fail to make timely efforts to prevent and treat” the problem. Mihara continued, the misrepresentations “increased the cost of treatment for those who had been exposed or continued to be exposed.” It wasn’t until 1998 that studies adequately analyzed the companies’ misrepresentations and proved that low-level lead exposure could cause serious damage to fetuses, children and adults.

The case is California v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 1-00-CV-788657, California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara (San Jose).

These and related lawsuits have been ongoing across the U.S. See more coverage of key decisions in the cases over the years below.

Rode Island

Lead Paint Companies Appeal Rhode Island Decision on Lawsuit Cost

Lead Paint Firms Must Cover Own Costs in Rhode Island Suit

Rhode Island Top Court Overturns Landmark Lead Paint Ruling

Wisconsin

Wis. Jury Rules Lead Paint Industry Not Cause of Boy’s Mental Retardation

Mississippi

Mississippi Familes Lose Suit Against Lead Paint Maker

Missouri

Mo. Supreme Court Rules Against St. Louis in Lead Paint Lawsuit

California

Calif. Court Reinstates Class Action Against Lead Paint Makers

What You Should Know About Mold

Posted by titanadmin on October 23, 2013

Hairy, black mold isn’t just unattractive–it’s unsafe. Whether in your home or place of business, mold could be an issue and your health at stake.

Sure, the idea of throwing a dinner party at your moldy home isn’t an option–who wants to show off their hairy, black regions? But, the risk of grossing out your friends is just superficial. The real concern is the underlying risks you’re taking by living in moldy conditions.

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ARE YOU MOLDY?

A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled–but not always. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow–or it could be dangerously hidden out of site. Often times they produce a musty odor, which may be the first indication of a problem–or when hidden, the first sign is your failing health.

The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth, water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. If you can see or smell mold, you can assume you have a mold problem. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to keep them under control.

The EPA’s: Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

(Sourced from epa.gov)

GOT MOLD? Call Titan Environmental at 816-561-0959 today for a free consultation.

The Smart Shopper’s Guide to Toxins

Posted by titanadmin on October 22, 2013

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Use this guide to avoid some of the most common household and cosmetic toxins. Whether you’re reading this as an industry tradesman or a stay-at-home mom, you are a consumer and should be aware.

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1, 4-dioxane

1, 4-dioxane is a by-product of a chemical process of ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. Readily penetrates the skin.

The U.S. EPA considers this chemical, a probable human carcinogen, and is suspected by the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Also, it is a suspected kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant.

Found in: Shampoos, conditioners, skin care, personal care, laundry detergent, household cleaners.

Avoid: Polyethylene glycol or ‘PEG’, polyoxyethylene, any ingredient with ‘eth’ in the name such as sodium laureth sulphate, ceteareth or oleth.

Nitrosamines

Nitrosamines have been identified as one of the most potent classes of carcinogens, having caused cancer in more than 40 different animal species as well as in humans.

NDELA (nitrosodiethanolamine) is the specific nitrosamine “to which human exposure is the greatest.” Since it occurs in cosmetics and is “absorbed readily through the skin (Carcinogenesis 1985, National Cancer Institute”. Nitrosamines are created when nitrosating agents are combined with amines.

Found in: Cosmetics, skin care, personal care, hair care.

Avoid: MEA (Monoethanolamine), DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)

e.g. Cocamide MEA, DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate, TEA Lauryl Sulfate.

Phthalates

Phthalates have had a lot of buzz in the past few years and more and more people are asking they be removed from products. These toxic chemicals are used as fragrance ingredients; plasticizers; solvents, masking agents; and for perfuming.

The risks: ‘Fragrance’ can contain up to 400 separate ingredients, including tluene and phthalates. Phthalates are an endocrine disruptor that can harm the developing fetus and the male testes. Long-term exposure causes liver and kidney damage. high-level exposure causes irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.

The US EPA found that 100% of perfumes contain toluene, which could cause liver, kidney and brain damage as well as damage to the developing fetus. Synthetic fragrances are known to trigger asthma attacks. Symptoms reported to the FDA from fragrance exposure have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Fragrance is a common skin irritant.

Found in: Air fresheners, cologne, perfumes, cosmetics, hairspray, nail polish paints, plastics, household perfume products, floor polish, window cleaning products, adhesives, toys and shower curtains.

Avoid: Fragrance (Parfum), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Diethyl Phthalate (DEP).

Parabens

Used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries and as a food additive.

The risks: Parabens are hormone disrupters and have been shown t be a reproductive toxin in animal studies. Parabens act as a false estrogen, which leach onto estrogen receptors in the body, and therefore have been detected in breast cancer tumors.

Found in: Deodorants cosmetics, shampoos, moisturizer, shaving gels, make-up and toothpaste, cleaning products and pharmaceuticals.

Avoid: Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl and Butyl Paraben, and Japanese Honeysuckle Extract (Plantservative).

Formaldehyde

Used as: Cosmetic biocides; denaturants; and preservatives.

The risks: Formaldehyde is classified as a Category 2 carcinogen. Low level exposure causes irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause skin and lung allergies. It is also a central nervous system depressant.

Found in: Particle board, pressed wood and other newer construction; detergents, cosmetics, shampoos, bubble baths, hair conditioners, athlete’s foot treatments, skin disinfectants and even mouthwashes!

Avoid: Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (Suttocide), Imidazolidinyl urea (Germall 115), Diazolidinyl urea (Germall II), Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin (Glydant), 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1, 3diol (Bronopol).

Triclosan

The risks: This hormone disruptor accumulates in our bodies and creates bacteria resistance to antibiotics and antibacterial products.

Along with its negative health effects, triclosan also impacts the environment, ending up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is toxic to aquatic life.

Found in: Antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, cosmetics, fabrics and plastics.

Avoid: Triclosan (Microban, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, Biofresh).

You can also look up chemicals on the EPA’s new ChemView, which lets you find chemical safety and regulatory data, and compare chemical use, health and environmental effects. Or, read their blog post about ChemView.

A GOOD RULE OF THUMB: If you cannot pronounce the ingredient, it probably isn’t good for you. Another suggestion: avoid products with more than five ingredients.

Mercury Levels in Fish

Posted by titanadmin on October 21, 2013

Mercury in the fish we like to eat is a big problem in the United States and increasingly around the world.

 

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Mercury itself is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment and in plants and animals. But human industrial activity (such as coal-fired electricity generation, smelting and the incineration of waste) ratchets up the amount of airborne mercury and coal ash, which eventually finds its way into lakes, rivers and the ocean, where it is gobbled up by unsuspecting fish and other marine life (sourced from Scientific American). And, there are studies linking warmer water temperatures to greater levels of mercury in fish.

 

Know which fish are considered low risk, medium risk or high risk in association with Mercury levels:


Low Risk

Arctic Cod

Anchovies

Butterfish

Catfish

Clam

Crabfish/Crayfish

Croaker (Atlantic*)

Flounder*

Haddock (Atlantic*)

Hake

Herring

Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)

Mullet

Oyster

Perch (Ocean)

Plaice

Pollock

Salmon (WILD-fresh or canned)

Sardine

Scallop*

Sole (Pacific)

Squid (Calimari)

Tilapia

Trout (Freshwater)

Whitefish

Whiting

 

 

Medium Risk

Bass (Striped, Black)

Carp

Cod (Alaskan*)

Croaker (white Pacific)

Halibut (Pacific, Atlantic*)

Jacksmelt (Silverside)

Lobster

Mahi Mahi

Monkfish*

Perch (Freshwater)

Sablefish

Skate*

Tuna (Canned Chunk Light, Skipjack*) Weakfish (Sea Trout)

 

High Risk

Bluefish

Grouper*

Mackerel (King, Spanish, Gulf)

Marlin*

Orange Roughy*

Seabass (Chilean*)

Shark*

Swordfish*

Tuna(Canned Albacore, Ahi*, Bigeye*, Yellowfin*)

 

 

 

 

Lately a controversial debate is growing: every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. National Geographic states this is not a concern because the amount is so low. Though many environmentalists state it is enough to raise concern.

 

*Overfished

Mercury Levels Source: Natural Resources Defense Council – nrdc.org

It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week!

Posted by titanadmin on October 20, 2013

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This year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” underscores the importance of the many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead and prevent its serious health effects.

Spread the Word! Visit epa’s website to learn more.

If you live in a pre-1978 home, chances are you have lead. Click here to learn more about how you can protect your family.

According to the World Health Organization, lead poisoning is entirely preventable, yet lead exposure is estimated to account for 0.6% of the global burden of disease, with the highest burden in developing regions. Childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600 000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year. Even though there is wide recognition of this problem and many countries have taken action, exposure to lead, particularly in childhood, remains of key concern to health care providers and public health officials worldwide.

Other Resources

Other federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), plan to conduct various education and awareness events for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. For more information about Lead Poisoning Prevention Week or lead poisoning in general, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1 (800) 424-LEAD.

The Government Opens for Business

Posted by titanadmin on October 17, 2013

When the government shutdown took affect, the EPA was one arm of the government affected and that halt in operations trickled down to Titan Environmental. When the shutdown occurred, we were awaiting our certification renewal to continue teaching the EPA accredited RRP lead safe training course. When that was put on hold, we were unable to teach or even schedule our next class. But, today, the EPA reopened and our application is now being processed.

Stay tuned for upcoming classes. We’ll post soon!

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Did the government shutdown affect your business operations? We’d like to hear from you.

A recent poll, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), reported 65% of the public opposed the EPA being prevented from doing its work.

About 94% of workers at the EPA were sent home during the shutdown, halting enforcement of the law and multiple efforts to write new regulations.

According to the NRDC, there were many ways the government shutdown hurt public health and the environment. Read the article here and tell us what you think.

Lead in the Air You Breathe

Posted by titanadmin on October 10, 2013

Lead was banned twenty years ago in automotive gasoline, yet continues to pollute our air.

Currently, aviation fuel is the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. and will continue to be for the next four years. In June 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the planned phase out of Avgas, leaded gasoline in aviation use for private aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there are approximately 167,000 aircraft in the U.S. and a total of 230,000 worldwide that rely on the current 100 octane, low lead fuel for safe operation.

In 2011, a Duke University study found that kids living within 500 meters of an airport, where leaded Avgas is used, have elevated blood lead levels. The EPA estimates 16 million Americans live close to one of 22,000 airports where leaded Avgas is routinely used-and three million children go to school near these airports. And as Kevin Drum wrote in his Mother Jones piece, even low blood lead levels have bad health and social consequences.

The FAA has asked fuel producers to offer options that would safely allow general aviation aircraft stop using leaded fuel by 2018.

However, according to Kent Misegades, director of the Aviation Fuel Club, there is already a lead-free alternative called Mogas–which can be used in 80% of exisiting piston engine aircraft and has been available since 1982. The remaining 20% of planes can run on Mogas with a modification called Inpulse.

So why the delayed phase out?

Without regulatory pressure, there just isn’t enough incentive to change. Flyunleaded.com publishes a list of airports that supply mogas—a list that includes only 3 percent of all airports in the United States, according to Misegades.

A few environmental groups have taken legal action to speed up Avgas’ phaseout. In 2011, the Center for Environmental Health sued several avgas suppliers under California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to disclose chemicals that can cause cancer or other health problems. “[The aviation industry] realizes the writing is on the wall,” says CEH spokesperson Charles Margulis. “It’s a matter of time.” After petitioning the EPA to study and regulate aircraft lead emissions in 2006, Friends of the Earth also sued the EPA in 2012 for failing to adequately respond to that petition. A few months later, the FAA announced it would work with the EPA to take concrete steps toward implementing unleaded alternatives.

Banning leaded Avgas in aviation use will be a huge step to cleaning our air, protecting our children, and our health. It’s just too bad they expect us to wait four more years. The health effects of lead in automobile gas were known as early as the 1920s, but it took half a century before the EPA eliminated it. Unfortunately, the tetraethyl lead in Avgas has flown under the radar for decades and is still poisoning the air we all breathe.

Want to make a difference? Do something about it–HELP GET THE LEAD OUT! Here are some suggested actions you can take at a local level:

1. Sign a petition.

2. Contact local airports and demand they offer Mogas or another unleaded option.

3. Join the Aviation Fuel Club.

4. Join a local environmental group (or start one) and work together to make a difference.

flyunleaded


New EPA Pesticide Labels

Posted by titanadmin on October 1, 2013

New EPA Regulated Pesticide Labels for Neonicotinoids

To protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present. The EPA is states they are concerned about declines in pollinator health, and are working to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide risks through regulatory actions, voluntary changes to pesticide use by registrants, and research programs aimed at increasing the understanding of factors associated with declining pollinator health.

Neonicotinoids are systemic nerve poisons, which cause death to bees and other pollinators and are linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). They are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. The neonicotinoid class of insecticides has been identified as a leading factor in bee decline. For this reason, environmentalists want the EPA to take these pesticides off the market.

Did you know that products approved for home use in gardens, lawns and on ornamental tress could have one or more poisonous Neonicotinoid? Currently local and national environmental groups have raised awareness and have asked certain big chain home improvement companies to stop selling ingredients, which contain Neonicotinoids.

In March 2012, a study published in Science showed that neonicotinoid pesticide use hinders the growth of bumble bee colonies and reduces the number of new queens by 85%. Bad news for bumble bees.

The EPA is now re-evaluating the risks of neonicotinoids. According to Scott Black, the EPA has stated that the registration review process will take several years. At the earliest , the new verdict for imidacloprid will be in 2016 and 2017 for clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other beneficial species for pollination, the decline of these important species demands swift action.

What you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pets at home:

• Do not use pesticides on your lawn or gardens. There are effective, organic and natural options for your use.

• Eat organic and non-GMO to avoid potential ingestion and to avoid supporting Neonicotinoids.

• Take your shoes off at the door. There are are more than just pesticide dangers you could be tracking in!

• Support pollinators by planting a variety of flowering plants or even hosting your own bee hive.

To learn more about you can protect the pollinators, visit: www.beyondpesticides.org or www.epa.gov.