Blog Archives

What are VOCs and Why It’s Important to Eliminate Them from Your Home

Posted by MikaB on June 16, 2017

volatile organic compounts

Starting in the 1970s, we began building homes and businesses with greater energy efficiency. While this was good for the environment as a whole because it decreased the use of polluting fossil fuels, in some cases it has led to worse indoor air quality because harmful emissions are trapped inside our well-insulated buildings. One contributor to poor indoor air quality is the prevalence of products containing volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

Defining Volatile Organic Compounds

All substances that contain carbon molecules are organic. Some are volatile in the sense that they easily emit gasses into the air. There are thousands of products that qualify as VOCs. Some of the most common are cleaning products and building materials.

Scientists are just beginning to study these compounds and it is not clear how many of them are dangerous, but some, for example benzene, formaldehyde, toluene and perchloroethylene, are clearly harmful to human health.

What the chemical is, the amount and length of exposure to it, all combine to determine the health danger. Individuals who are chemically sensitive, allergic, or asthmatic will also react stronger than the typical person.

Where Are VOCs Found?

We spend 90% of our time indoors. With so much time spent inside, it follows we should be conscious about what’s in our indoor environment, especially in the spaces we frequent, like our homes, offices, and schools.

Of particular concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases emitted at room temperature as a byproduct of certain materials, many of which are common household items and office supplies. There exist a number of VOCs, with the most-known ones including formaldehyde, pesticides, cleaning supplies, and solvents.

VOCs can have an adverse affect on human health, much like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which are gasses produced by mold. Like with MVOCs, symptoms of overexposure to VOCs can include dizziness, headaches, and/or irritation to the eyes or respiratory system.

However, certain VOCs, like formaldehyde and pesticides, are known carcinogens (i.e. cancer causing). Also, unlike MVOCs, VOCs are industrially produced and are not emitted from living organisms. As such, identifying the source of VOCs and their elimination entails different processes.

Possible Sources of VOCs

There are literally thousands of products that produce VOCs. Common household products include cleaning sprays, paint, finishers, moth balls, bug spray, and air fresheners. Common workplace products include printers, copiers, permanent markers, and adhesives. Even with caps tightened and items put away, VOCs can still escape from bottles and cabinets. Here are some other examples of sources of VOCs:

  • paints
  • varnishes
  • waxes
  • cleaning and disinfecting products
  • air fresheners
  • fuels
  • degreasers
  • glues
  • markers
  • photography chemicals
  • dry cleaning solvents (commercial and home use)
  • carpet, vinyl and composite flooring
  • upholstery and foams

While we can eliminate the source of these VOCs by using these products more responsibly or throwing them away, such is not necessarily the case with building materials. Exposure to VOCs may be of particular concern in newly-constructed or remodeled buildings, as formaldehyde-based resins are commonly used in compressed wood, plywood, paneling, and subflooring. In other words, VOCs may be entirely surrounding you, as they emit from the walls, floors, and furniture of your home or office.

What Can You Do?

ventilation covers

If you suspect you have been affected by the presence of VOCs, or if you would like to limit the amount of VOCs in a new construction project or renovation, consulting a professional is a sure way to identify and mitigate your exposure.

Professionals are well-equipped to identify sources of VOCs, suggest proper venting and other solutions for your particular space, as well as distinguish the presence of VOCs from other possibly harmful air pollutants, like MVOCs.

  • Limit direct exposure: Check the products you buy to reduce that amount of VOC emitting products in your home or business. The less VOCs you live with in the form of building materials, and the less you use in the form of cleaning and craft supplies, the better.
  • Avoid leaks: Some of these chemicals can leak out, at lower levels, when stored. So don’t stockpile solvents, paints or other products. And what you do store, store in a basement or garage where you aren’t exposed every day, all day.
  • Ventilate: Swap out the indoor and outdoor air by opening doors and using fans in doorways and windows.

How Important Is It To Eliminate the Presence of VOCs?

Quite important. Due to their health risks, VOCs are on the radar of various agencies that seek to limit our everyday exposure, like the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Possible Symptoms of Short-Term Exposure

  • eye, skin or respiratory irritation
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • memory or vision difficulties
  • nausea
  • lack of coordination
  • asthma attacks

Possible Long-Term Health Consequences

  • damage to liver, kidneys or central nervous system
  • cancer

Want more information on VOCs? Need a consult on what remedial measures you can take? Contact us at Titan Environmental Services. We’re always happy to lend our expertise and lead our customers towards results-oriented solutions.TYP-CTA-Link-to-Download-Mold-101-Guide

Is Mold Making You Sick? The Top 3 Mold Symptoms to Look For

Posted by MikaB on June 6, 2017

woman with sickness caused by mold

While mold looks unpleasant and you probably don’t want it in your house, is it actually hurting anyone? At Titan Environmental Services, this is one of the most common questions we get asked. The answer is that as some, not all, molds grow, they can create toxic byproducts. These are called mycotoxins, and so far scientists have identified 200 mycotoxins in common molds.

Common Mold Symptoms

Research is ongoing as to the health implications. Meanwhile we do know of three common symptoms associated with mold. If you notice anyone in your home suffering from these symptoms, it’s worth it to have your home checked for mold.

1. Allergic reactions

Some people are allergic to mold. If they are, exposure to it often exacerbates the allergic reaction. If they aren’t allergic to begin with, repeated exposure can sometimes create a sensitivity. If you are allergic to mold, you may experience hay fever like symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or a skin rash.

2. Asthma Attacks

If you have asthma, and you are allergic to mold, it can bring on an asthma attack, from mild to severe. If you notice anyone in your home having worse asthma attacks or experiencing them more often than normal, mold could be the culprit.

3. Irritation of Eyes, Nose & Throat

Mold can irritate the membranes in the eyes, nose, throat or lungs.as well as skin,  or lungs. Anyone can experience this irritation, even those who aren’t allergic to it.

Related Read: Top 3 Kinds of Mold and Where to Find Them in Your Home

Other Irritants That Cause Similar Symptoms

Although these are all associated with mold, other irritants in the home can cause the same symptoms.

  • Dust mites, cockroaches, or other household pests.
  • Bacteria is another possible culprit.  Another source of potential contaminants are Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.
  • VOCs are gases emitted from 1000s of household products such as paints, varnishes, cleaners, solvents, fuels, pesticides, craft products, building supplies and office machines.  Concentrations can be up to ten times higher inside a building, and some of these gasses can have short and long-term health effects.

So is mold making you sick? It might be. If you are experiencing the allergy symptoms listed above, your doctor can conduct tests to see exactly what you are allergic to, mold or something else.mold-101-homeowners-guide-titan-environmental

Is Exposure to Lead Paint Causing Your Children Developmental Issues

Posted by MikaB on August 25, 2015

The answer, in many cases is, YES! If you have young kids, it’s important to find out whether there’s any risk that they might be exposed to lead, especially if you live in an older home.

Long-term exposure to lead, a naturally occurring metal used in everything from construction materials to batteries, can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids. Lead is toxic to all of us, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning — their little, growing bodies make them more predisposed to absorbing and retaining lead.

Each year in the United States 310,000 1- to 5-year-old kids are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms, from headaches and stomach pain to behavioral problems and anemia (not enough healthy red blood cells). Lead can also affect a child’s developing brain.

The good news is that you can protect your family from lead poisoning. Talk to your doctor or contact us about potential lead sources in your house or anywhere your kids spend long periods of time, especially if they are under 3 years of age.

And it’s important for kids to get tested to determine their blood lead levels if they’re at risk of exposure — many people with lead poisoning show only mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all.

Why Is Lead Dangerous?

When the body is exposed to lead — by being inhaled, swallowed, or in a small number of cases, absorbed through the skin — it can act as a poison. Exposure to high lead levels in a short period of time is called acute toxicity. Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity.

Lead is especially dangerous because once it gets into a person’s system, it is distributed throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. And lead can cause harm wherever it settles in the body.

Most lead ends up in the bone, where it causes even more problems. Lead can interfere with the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium that bones need to grow healthy and strong.

Effects of Long-Term Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can lead to a plethora of health problems in kids, including:

  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • poor muscle coordination
  • damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • speech and language problems
  • developmental delay
  • seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

Treatment

Treatment for lead poisoning varies depending on how much lead is in the blood. Small amounts often can be treated rather easily; the most important part of therapy is reduction of lead exposure. Gradually, as the body naturally eliminates the lead, the level of lead in the blood will fall.

All siblings of a child found to have lead poisoning also should be tested. Doctors will report cases of lead poisoning to the public health department.

The Titan Environmental Solution

We here at Titan pride ourselves on ensuring you and your entire family’s safety. Lead remediation is a service we provide all year round to make sure we are available to you when you need our help most. We work mostly within the mid-west region:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin

Here are some helpful links to all of these, and many more, states’ Environmental Health Departments.

Protecting Your Family

Have your kids tested for lead exposure, particularly when they’re between 6 months and 3 years old. Kids this age spend a lot of time on the floor and trying to put things in their mouths.

If you suspect that you might have lead-based paint on your walls, use a wet cloth to wipe windowsills and walls. Watch out for water damage that can make paint peel. Don’t sand or heat lead-based paint because doing so increases the risk that lead will be inhaled. If the paint doesn’t have many chips, a new layer of paint, paneling, or drywall will probably reduce the risk. It’s best to consult a professional, especially because other precautions might be needed to contain the lead in the paint.

The children are our future, so the quicker we can completely eliminate their threat from lead, the brighter our future will be! For more info contact us today for an inspection before you and your family fall victim to this unforgiving poison!

Asbestos And The War On YOUR Lungs!

Posted by MikaB on July 9, 2015

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:

  • lung cancer:
    — mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and
    — asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

 

The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

 

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home

  1. Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.Asbestos in walls
  2. Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
  3. Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  4. Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  5. Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
  6. Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
  7. Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  8. Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  9. Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

How To Manage An Asbestos Problem

If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal.

 

REPAIR usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material.

workers removing asbestos material

 

Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace, and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely.

 

Covering(enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket.

 

With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but it may make later removal of asbestos, if necessary, more difficult and costly.

Asbestos Removal

 Titan Asbestos Removal and Abatement Services

Titan Environmental Services can facilitate a wide range of asbestos abatement and removal services to meet the needs of our clients. Whether the asbestos removal is driven by planned renovation, demolition, restoration, or is needed through rapid response due to a flood, fire, or other emergency, Titan has the solution to the problem and can oversee the project from start to finish.

Our team of experienced independent contractors has the expertise to perform abatement projects ranging from large industrial sites to the smallest of commercial and residential properties.  All asbestos removal projects are conducted in strict accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations. Contact Us today to insure your families safety from the silent dangers of Asbestos.

We serve a large range of mid-west areas such as:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
  • South Dakota
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • Arkansas
  • Minnesota

 

 

Living in a Meth Lab – Meth in Your Own Home, Business, or Car

Posted by MikaB on April 28, 2015

methsd

The methamphetamine (meth)  lab problem is growing. Meth labs, used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine, are discovered in houses, apartments, motel rooms, sheds, or even motor vehicles. Just as of 2014, federal, state and local authorities were involved in the seizure of more than 1,045 labs in Missouri alone, and the number of meth labs seized by law enforcement agencies increases each year.

As the problem grows, and companies work to restrict the products needed to make methamphetamine, the methods and the locations of its production are changing. This adds to the trouble that health and environmental agencies face in monitoring meth related health risks.

big-DinningroomChandelier

Everyone knows that meth is bad for your health. When people make or smoke meth everything around them is coated with a film that contains methamphetamine. When people or pets rub against these contaminated surfaces the meth enters their bodies through their skin and contact from hands to mouth and nose. Babies who crawl on contaminated carpets and furniture are most vulnerable. They naturally get the highest doses. How much third hand meth exposure is too much?

imagesRWU1WLDB

The effects of meth residue transfer on to people through surface contact has been compared to studies that include: ingestion of pesticides that are sprayed on surfaces and absorbed through skin and mouth; level of adverse reactions from methamphetamine for children when used for behavioral issues; pregnant women using methamphetamine for weight control.

Some expert researchers, however, linked meth houses to respiratory, even neurological problems, in children. Research conducted by Mike Van Dyke at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, reveals very high levels of toxic chemicals are produced during meth cooking and hazardous chemical exposures can continue in rooms and buildings for an extended period of time, even if there is no methamphetamine left present in the home.

methlab

Using these studies, proposed residue limits of .05, .1, .5 and 1 micro gram per hundred square centimeters, or the amount of meth residue that on a  surface a little larger than a square yard, were studied to decide if they offered protection for occupants. These also happen to be the lowest levels detected by test kits available to professionals.

Currently, there is no one method for tracking or listing homes that were used as meth labs. MDOH is creating a list of reported addresses. Your local health department can verify if the property in on that list. You should call your local law enforcement agency to confirm that a seizure of chemicals took place on the property, and to get the name of any hazardous materials contractor who may have removed materials. The contractor should have information on what chemicals were present on the property. Additional information may be obtained from your county health department, fire department, or the owner of the property. To find contact info or specific statistics on the states we work with select a state link:

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Exposure to any toxic material isn’t healthy, but in our modern world we are constantly faced with pollution from sources we may not even be aware of. We have come a long way in protecting people from dangerous materials such as lead and asbestos, and mold. Unfortunately, the odds of meth manufacturers and users becoming environmentally responsible and protecting the rest of us from their pollution, are very low.  It’s up to you to decide if the protection offered by laws and regulations is enough to protect you and your family from this danger.

We here at Titan dedicate all of our to time protecting the environment around you and your family. Whether it be the hazardous chemicals from a previous meth lab , lead paint in your home, mold growing silently behind your walls , or asbestos lingering in your home; our goal is to make sure everyone is safe from these silent dangers. Now is the time to take the steps to having a clean worry free home by getting an inspection. From there, if the test result come back positive, schedule an appointment with us and rest easy knowing that Titan Environmental Services will take thorough action to protect your family from anymore potential risk.

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.

Mold-Removal-Remediation-Kahului-Maui-1

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.

toxinscleaners

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.

It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week!

Posted by titanadmin on October 20, 2013

lfk

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.

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.

Banned in Europe, Not in America

Posted by titanadmin on September 25, 2013

chlorine-wash

Hundreds of years ago, Europe began banning known toxins and poisons such as asbestos, lead and other harmful chemicals. These bans were, years later, banned from the US—some taking 100+ years to enact. When government regulations to ban ingredients and chemicals take lengthy amounts of time to conduct study after study, focusing on the economic impact and potential harm to living organisms; American people and other living organisms stand to suffer.

Here is a list of ingredients and chemicals banned in Europe and other countries, yet allowed in the United States of America:

1. Neopesticides—Banned in Europe this year. These are systemic nerve poisons which kills bees and other pollinators. The EPA recently added a new safety standard in which every pesticide company is required to label products containing Neopesticides with EPA regulated labels that state the danger to bees and other pollinators. Doesn’t this sound like the skull and crossbones originally placed on residential lead paint containers? Perhaps the bees are our canary in the mine.

2. Atrazine—Banned in Europe in 2003, Syngenta’s weed killer Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor that, according to UC Berkeley Professor Tyrone Hayes, “chemically castrates and feminizes wildlife and reduces immune function in both wildlife and laboratory rodents.” The chemical has also been found to induce breast and prostate cancer, retard mammary development and induce abortion in lab animals, with studies in humans suggesting similar risks. In the US, Atrazine is widely used and has become a common drinking water contaminant.

3. Arsenic in Chicken, Turkey and Pig Feed—Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen. The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

4. Poultry Litter in Cow Feed—Chicken litter, a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed, is marketed as a cheap feed product for cows. The beef industry likes it because it’s even cheaper than corn and soy, so an estimated 2 BILLION pounds are purchased each year in the US. However, any cow that eats chicken litter may also be consuming various beef products intended for chickens – raising concerns about Mad Cow Disease. In the US, the use of poultry litter in cow feed is unrestricted. Europe banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed in 2001.

5. Chlorine Washes for Poultry Carcasses—The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling out new rules that would permit poultry producers to put all poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals to kill pathogens. We already have a problem with antibiotics causing antibiotic-resistant ”super germs” when used in the animals’ feed, and this could likely make the problem worse. Workers in the plants have also reported health problems from the chemical washes, including asthma and other respiratory problems. In the European Union, the use of chlorine washes is banned, and US poultry that’s been treated with these antimicrobial sprays are prohibited.

 

6. Antibiotics as Growth Promoters on Livestock Farms—Agricultural uses account for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US, so it’s a major source of human antibiotic consumption. Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to humans via meat, and the manure used as crop fertilizer. Feeding livestock continuous, low-dose antibiotics creates antibiotic-resistant diseases. The FDA says it will focus its efforts on voluntary reform in the realm of antimicrobial use, which means the industry would have to decide to stop using low-dose antibiotics in animal feed on their own — a measure they have been vehemently opposed to because the antibiotics make the animals grow faster, which increases their profit margins. In Europe, all antibiotics used in human medicine are banned in agriculture, and no antibiotics can be used for growth-promoting purposes.

 

7. Ractopomine and Other Pharmaceutical Growth Enhancers in Animal Feed—Ractopamine is banned in 160 countries, including Europe, Taiwan and China. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries. Yet, in the United States an estimated 60-80 percent of pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter because it increases protein synthesis–making animals more muscular, increasing food growers’ bottom line. Additionally, up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, and this drug is also known to cause serious disability, including trembling, broken limbs and an inability to walk, in animals. It’s also killed more pigs than any other animal drug on the market. While Europe has remained steadfast on its Ractopamine ban, including refusing imported meat treated with it, the US is actively trying to get other nations to accept imported Ractopamine-treated pork.

 

8. Water Fluoridation—Many do not realize that fluoride is a drug that is available only with a prescription. Yet it’s added to municipal water supplies used by more than 180 million Americans, including infants and the elderly without any attention to personalized dosing or potential interactions. Swallowing fluoride has been shown to cause weakened bones, bone cancer, hyperactivity and/or lethargy, lowered thyroid function, lowered IQ, dementia, kidney issue, arthritis and more, while studies have failed to show benefits for preventing cavities when taken internally. Cities around the US spend millions adding fluoride to communal water supplies each year, yet most European countries do not fluoridate their water.

 

10. Genetically Modified (GM) Foods—The European Union has historically taken a strict, cautious stance regarding GM crops, much to the chagrin of biotech giant Monsanto and in stark contract to the US. For instance, while GM crops are banned in several European countries, and all genetically modified foods and ingredients have to be labeled, the US has recently begun passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion, in addition to the fact that GM ingredients do not have to be labeled.

Virtually all of the claims of benefit of GM crops – increased yields, more food production, controlled pests and weeds, reductions in chemical use in agriculture, drought-tolerant seeds — have not materialized while evidence pointing to their serious risks for human health and the environment continues to grow.

 

Eventually, these products, ingredients and chemicals, which are banned in Europe and other countries, will be banned here in the US. Eventually. But, in the meantime, who pays the price?

References:

EPA: New Pesticide Labels Required on Neonicotinoids

Shape Magazine: 13 Foods Banned in Europe

Mercola: Dangerous Food Practices

Mother Jones: Food Practices Banned in Europe, But Just Fine Here