Blog Archives

Asbestos And The War On YOUR Lungs!

Posted by Titan 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

 

 

$1B Lead Paint Case in California

Posted by Titan on October 28, 2013

leadvilliansimages

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

The Government Opens for Business

Posted by Titan 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!

titanRRPtraining-cal

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.

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

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

Hidden Lead, Hidden Dangers

Posted by Titan on September 5, 2013

Where are the regulations? We wear and touch them daily: shoes, purses and wallets. But, do we know what is lurking in the accessories we love?

ht_lead_in_purses_nine_west_lpl_120620_wblog

Nine West said that it had “pulled the product in question from all stores.”

According to an article published last year by NBC, Oakland’s Center for Environmental Health tested hundreds of handbags and wallets from popular Bay Area stores and found lead in purses and wallets sold at one out of four retail stores it visited, ranging from discount retailers to high end department stores.

The consumer group said it tested 300 purses and wallets. CEH found lead in 43 of the products.

While there is no federal standard for how much lead is allowed in these items, hundreds of retailers pledged to limit lead to 300ppm in their products in a 2010 legal agreement with CEH. However, the report found many of them were violating their own standards.

“Lead is notorious because it impacts a child’s brain and they are not able to learn as well as they would have if they hadn’t been exposed to lead,” said Caroline Cox, research director for the Center for Environmental Health.

“All day long you’re carrying your purse, opening it, closing it. Every time you touch it, a small amount of lead gets on your fingers. Imagine yourself eating a potato chip or putting on lip balm, that lead is going into you,” said Cox.

Meanwhile, warning tags are showing up on handbags and sandals in stores in the Bay Area in accordance with Prop 65, the California law that requires businesses to notify customers about “significant chemicals in the products they purchase.”

The labels read, “This product may contain lead, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

So why are these products still being sold? In part because there are no federal guidelines for how much lead is allowed in something like a purse or a shoe.

“Even though the CPSC regulations don’t currently extend to handbags, they probably should,” said toxicologist Dr. Siva Ayyar.

Unfortunately there is no scientific agreement on exactly how much is too much when it comes to lead exposure, and that ingesting lead or breathing in lead dust is thought to be more dangerous than just touching it, but, If you can avoid it you should. There’s no safe exposure level.

Click here to see whether you own a purse with traces of known lead.

The Center for Environmental Health said brightly colored purses made of plastic or vinyl were the most likely to contain lead. It suggested purchasing leather or fabric goods to have a better chance that all you’re carrying is your purse.

 

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.

lipsticklurkinglead

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 Wired.com, 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.

hazcom-symbols

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 www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.