Blog Archives

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

Posted by Titan on April 28, 2015

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

Lead in the Air You Breathe

Posted by Titan 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.

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New EPA Pesticide Labels

Posted by Titan 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 Titan on September 25, 2013

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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

A Timeline of Lead

Posted by Titan on September 18, 2013

The following timeline is an excerpt from a more extensive list of dates and information.

3000 BCE – First significant mining and refining of metallic lead. 500 BCE-300 AD – Roman lead smelting produces dangerous emissions. 400 BCE – Hippocrates describes lead poisoning.

100 BCE – Greek physicians give clinical description of lead poisoning.

1621 – Lead first mined in North America.

1853 – Tetraethyl lead (TEL) discovered by Carl Jacob Loewig (1803 – 1890), chemistry professor at the University of Zurich.
1887 – US medical authorities diagnose childhood lead poisoning.

1909. France, Belgium and Austria ban white-lead interior paint.

1910Alice Hamilton‘s pioneering study of lead industries for state of Illinois  finds extensive worker poisoning and conditions that would close factories in Europe. Hamilton becomes America’s foremost expert in lead poisoning.

  

1914 – Pediatric lead-paint poisoning death from eating crib paint is described.

  

1916 – Dayton Electric Light Co. (DELCO) president Charles F. Kettering asks researcher Thomas A. Midgley to begin working on problem of engine knock in DELCO electric generators used in rural areas for electric lighting.  Midgley discovers iodine as anti-knock but it’s too expensive.

1924 – Six Standard Oil refinery workers die violently insane following daily  exposure to tetraethyl lead fumes at Bayway Ethyl plant. 

1925 – Criminal charges are dropped against Standard by a New Jersey grand jury investigating the deaths and injuries.

  

1926  – Public Health Committee releases a report that finds “no good grounds” for prohibiting Ethyl gasoline but insists on continued tests.

1942 – GM, Ethyl and Standard Oil gave the Nazis leaded gasoline production technology in return for a patents on synthetic rubber.

1971 – Ethyl Corp. officials claim to be victims of a “witch hunt,” and say environmentalists are using “scare tactics” by blaming lead for the fall of the Roman Empire.

1976 – Preliminary decision in Lead Industries Association v EPA; court says EPA has authority to regulate leaded gasoline.

1977 – Testing by public health scientists shows correlations between high levels of lead in children’s blood and brain damage, hypertention and learning disorders.

1978 – Lead in residential paint is banned.

1981 – Vice President George Bush’s Task Force on Regulatory Relief proposes to relax or eliminate US leaded gas phaseout, despite mounting evidence of serious health problems.

1983 – EPA reports that between 1976 and 1980, amount of lead consumed in gasoline dropped 50 percent and corresponding blood-lead levels dropped 37 percent. The benefits of the lead phaseout exceed its costs by $700 million.

1986 – Primary phaseout of leaded gas in US completed. Study shows health benefit to technology cost ratio at 10:1.
Click here for the full timeline.

Lead Safety and Environmental Regulations Standards

Posted by Titan on August 8, 2013

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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: