Blog Archives

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.

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.

flyunleaded


The Link Between Lead and Crime

Posted by Titan on September 12, 2013

America experienced a massive increase in levels of violent crime, ranging from 1960, to its peak in 1990, then steadily declining. Though many theories are in place to explain this peak and decline in crime, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones has provided compelling evidence and statistics; all of which points to one simple idea: violent crime rose as a result of lead poisoning because of leaded gasoline.

ThePBEffect

The chemistry and neuroscience of lead gives us good reason to believe the connection. Decades of research has shown that lead poisoning causes significant and probably irreversible damage to the brain. Not only does lead degrade cognitive abilities and lower intelligence, it also degrades a person’s ability to make decisions by damaging areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, impulse control, attention, verbal reasoning, and mental flexibility.

It is scientifically noted that children exposed to high levels of lead in early childhood are more likely to have lower IQs, higher levels of aggression, and lower impulse-control.  All those factors point to crime when children reach their teens if not earlier.

Between 1976 and 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency required oil companies to phase out leaded gasoline. In 1978, lead in residential paint was banned (though most pre-1978 buildings still have lead paint, which children can absorb).

Tests have shown that the amount of lead in Americans’ blood fell by four-fifths between 1975 and 1991. A 2007 study by the economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes contended that the reduction in gasoline lead produced more than half of the decline in violent crime during the 1990s in the U.S. and might bring about greater declines in the future. Another economist, Rick Nevin, has made the same argument for other nations.  He collected lead data and crime data for Australia and found a close match; same for Canada, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand and West Germany.

As Drum reports in his article, leaded gasoline, though totally banned, still lurks and still has adverse affects on our children. The fact of the matter is that the leaded gasoline fumes settled into soil, especially in heavy traffic areas. And, the issue we’re faced with is that lead in soil doesn’t stay in the soil. Every summer, like clockwork, as the weather dries up, all that lead gets kicked back into the atmosphere in a process called resuspension.

And just like gasoline lead, a lot of that lead in old housing is still around. Lead paint chips flaking and old windows whose friction surfaces generate lots of dust as they’re opened and closed.

Drum’s conclusion is that solving our lead problem will do more than any prison could do to reduce our crime problem—it would produce smarter, better-adjusted kids in the bargain.

Cleaning up the rest of the lead that remains in our environment could turn out to be the cheapest, most effective crime prevention tool we have. And we could start doing it tomorrow.

Lead Safety and Environmental Regulations Standards

Posted by Titan on August 8, 2013

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

Environmental Asthma Triggers

Posted by Titan on August 6, 2013

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

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

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnfVYHpzBqY]

Common Asthma Triggers:

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

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

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

Posted by Titan on August 1, 2013

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

EPA_Protocols_healthenergy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toxins in Your Toolbox

Posted by Titan on June 22, 2013

Image

According to the CDC, children of lead-exposed workers were 6 times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels (BLL). The study concluded that 1 in 4 children of lead-exposed workers had elevated BLL.Ways to reduce your family’s exposure to lead, asbestos and other harmful toxins from your workplace:

* When possible, wear protective suits and footwear.
* Wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, smoking or applying cosmetics.
* Vacuum your clothes with a HEPA vacuum before eating and before driving in your family vehicle.
* Don’t wear your work shoes in your family vehicle and never at home. Changing clothes before driving your family vehicle is a good idea too.* Always have a change of clothes and never wash your work clothes with your family’s clothes. Change in a clean area. Bag your clothes.* Shower before returning home if possible. Or as soon as you get home … but before hugging your family.