California Mobile Home Park Shuts Down Due to Asbestos

Journey’s End Mobile Home Park will remain closed at least until Wednesday pending laboratory test results of materials found last week in the fire-ravaged community that may contain asbestos, officials said Sunday at a community meeting.

The park, located on Mendocino Avenue just north of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, was shut down by city officials Friday morning following consultations with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials who are leading a countywide cleanup of household hazardous waste in the wake of fires that destroyed more than 5,000 Sonoma County homes.

The wind-driven Tubbs fire, which raced from Calistoga into Santa Rosa on Oct. 8, incinerated about 140 of the park’s 160 homes, fire officials said last week.

Materials that may contain asbestos were found by EPA crews at 25 sites in Journey’s End, Tom Dunkelman, an on-scene coordinator for the federal agency, told a crowd of about 200 people at the Steele Lane Community Center.

“We don’t know for sure if these materials are asbestos-containing or not,” he said.

The entire park was closed due to concern about public health, said Paul Lowenthal, the city’s assistant fire marshal.

 “It was for your protection,” he told the estimated crowd of about 200.

It’s unknown how extensive the asbestos contamination in Journey’s End may be or how long it could take the clean it up, he said.

The “best-case scenario,” Lowenthal said, is the asbestos is limited to “isolated areas” that can be cleaned quickly, but there are concerns it “could be scattered throughout the mobile home park.”

Test results won’t be known until at least Wednesday, he said, and the Fire Department has determined Journey’s End is currently “an unhealthy place to be.”

Journey’s End had been reopened to residents Oct. 20.

Inhaling high levels of asbestos is known to cause lung damage, including cancer, Sonoma County Health Officer Karen Milman told the crowd.

“It’s definitely a toxin,” she said, noting that most harm is related to prolonged exposure but short-term contact with asbestos is also a concern.

Asbestos is found in construction materials including roofing, pipes and pipe wrapping, floor tile, shingles and attic insulation, according to an EPA bulletin made available at the meeting. EPA crews found no “obvious asbestos” in Coffey Park, where fire leveled more than 1,000 homes in a neighborhood across Highway 101 from Journey’s End, Dunkelman said.

Several residents whose mobile homes survived the fire questioned why they are off-limits.

“Why can’t I go in there and get my belongings?” asked Michele Trammell, a 12-year resident of Journey’s End.

EPA is checking other mobile home parks around the county, but Journey’s End is the only one where possible asbestos has been found, Dunkelman said, adding the trailer park setting is risky because homes are close together.

In an interview after the meeting, Trammell said, “I don’t really care about asbestos. I want to go home and get my stuff.”

Steven Morrow, a resident for two years, asked during the meeting if Journey’s End would be condemned by the city.

“It’s a community, it’s a home. I love these people,” he said.

Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said the mobile home park will remain “unless the owner decides to do otherwise.”

Louise Smith, an octogenarian who said she is park’s longest-tenured resident at 37 years, said she’s unsure if she wants to return but wasn’t impressed with the asbestos issue.

“I think it’s a bunch of bull— if you ask me,” she said after the meeting.

Article Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/7604053-181/journeys-end-mobile-home-park?artslide=0

Former workers exposed to asbestos urged to sue Japanese government to claim damages

The labor ministry said Monday it will encourage individual former asbestos plant workers who suffered mesothelioma or other health damage, and relatives of such workers who have died, to file damages lawsuits against the government.

The ministry decided to make the unusual move because such lawsuits need to be settled before the government pays damages to the victims.

There are 2,314 workers exposed to asbestos who are believed eligible to receive damages but who have not yet filed lawsuits against the government, according to the ministry. The ministry plans first to send related leaflets to 756 whose names and addresses are known.

In October 2014, the Supreme Court for the first time found the government responsible for asbestos pollution affecting plant workers in Osaka Prefecture, ruling that it was illegal for the government to neglect to oblige asbestos plant operators to install exhaust air ducts.

Following the ruling, the ministry decided to pay damages, under certain conditions, after settling lawsuits with victims.

As of the end of last month, a total of some ¥2.1 billion had been paid to 236 plaintiffs, while 197 others were in the process of claiming ¥1.5 billion.

Article Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/02/national/crime-legal/former-workers-exposed-asbestos-urged-sue-japanese-government-claim-damages/#.WdcJr1uCzIV

Asbestos found in makeup at Justice tween retail store, report says

GREENSBORO, N.C.
A popular retail chain targeted at tween girls may have a dangerous substance in its makeup.

According to an investigation from WTVD, “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice Stores contain four heavy metals and asbestos.

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WTVD worked with Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Sean Fitzgerald, the institute’s director of research and analytical services, said that there were tremolite asbestos fibers found in the makeup.

“Fibers like this get into your breathing zone, and when you inhale, these fibers can get into the lung and go to the very bottom of the lung and that is exactly where you have the greatest likelihood of asbestos to cause disease,” Fitzgerald said. “Children should not be allowed to breathe it. If a 10-year-old inhaled this fiber today, when he’s 50 years old, it’s still there.”

According to Fitzgerald, the talc in the makeup was contaminated with asbestos.

Talc is a mineral that is a common ingredient in makeup. Fitzgerald said it “forms in the earth with other minerals and some of those minerals are asbestos.”

Although both asbestos and talc are naturally occurring, the Food and Drug Administration says that asbestos is a “known carcinogen.”

“For this reason, FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos,” the organization’s website said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it can take 20 years after asbestos exposure for malignant mesothelioma to form.

Teen Vogue reported that the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” is no longer for sale on the Justice website, but it has not appeared on the site’s recalls section. A link to the product on the website contains the title, “do not sell.” Justice issued the following statement to WTVD in response to the investigation:

“Justice is committed to the safety and integrity of our products. Upon receiving the inquiry from WTVD, we immediately began an independent investigation. We cannot speculate regarding the matter until we have more information. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped the sale of this product while we investigate.”

Article Source: http://www.ajc.com/news/national/asbestos-found-makeup-justice-tween-retail-store-report-says/teIbfN5pAqPQc92939zQLJ/

Asbestos found in makeup at Justice tween retail store, report says

A popular retail chain targeted at tween girls may have a dangerous substance in its makeup.

According to an investigation from WTVD, “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice Stores contain four heavy metals and asbestos.

WTVD worked with Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Sean Fitzgerald, the institute’s director of research and analytical services, said that there were tremolite asbestos fibers found in the makeup.

“Fibers like this get into your breathing zone, and when you inhale, these fibers can get into the lung and go to the very bottom of the lung and that is exactly where you have the greatest likelihood of asbestos to cause disease,” Fitzgerald said. “Children should not be allowed to breathe it. If a 10-year-old inhaled this fiber today, when he’s 50 years old, it’s still there.”

According to Fitzgerald, the talc in the makeup was contaminated with asbestos.

Talc is a mineral that is a common ingredient in makeup. Fitzgerald said it “forms in the earth with other minerals and some of those minerals are asbestos.”

Although both asbestos and talc are naturally occurring, the Food and Drug Administration says that asbestos is a “known carcinogen.”

“For this reason, FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos,” the organization’s website said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it can take 20 years after asbestos exposure for malignant mesothelioma to form.

Teen Vogue reported that the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” is no longer for sale on the Justice website, but it has not appeared on the site’s recalls section. A link to the product on the website contains the title, “do not sell.” Justice issued the following statement to WTVD in response to the investigation:

“Justice is committed to the safety and integrity of our products. Upon receiving the inquiry from WTVD, we immediately began an independent investigation. We cannot speculate regarding the matter until we have more information. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped the sale of this product while we investigate.”

Asbestos in New Building Materials: A School Case Study

Not unlike other jurisdictions in the United States, schools in the State of Maryland are essentially run as county-wide districts. In 2010, after years in the planning stages, a growing suburban county was finally constructing eight new elementary schools. The district had suffered over the last two decades through the expense and delays of
asbestos remediation and control. Accordingly, they had adopted a proactive approach to any new renovation or construction activity. Their program covered a wide range of 29CFR1910 & 1926 (OSHA) issues to protect school employees and contractors, as well as 40CFR763 (EPA/AHERA) issues in a comprehensive O&M plan.

Part of this proactive approach required construction contractors to have their materials approved as asbestos-fre before incorporating them into the building. Usually, this meant that the architectural and engineering
contractors would have to pre-screen the materials through the manufacturer; a quick scan of a material’s ingredients listed on an MSDS would usually suffice. In addition, some sort of certification letter or document
from construction purchaser or manufacturer was required before a building material was approved.

Back to Basics, Asbestos 101:

Obviously, thousands of building materials might be involved in a large school structure. Asbestos was intentionally formulated into thousands of such products over the last few generations due to its unique properties. As the unintended consequences of asbestos in these materials became known, and especially after billions of litigation
dollars and tragic deaths resulted, the purposeful use of asbestos as an additive in materials diminished significantly. For older buildings that contain these asbestos-laden products, regulators have strict systems to control their release and removal. Again, this study looks at the new construction dilemma.

Asbestos minerals are still mined throughout the world for their use in products. In 2009, the United States imported 1500 metric tons of these minerals. Worldwide production increased over 2 million metric tons in 2009 after a several-year decline. The primary exporters of Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and China have a long, profitable history of asbestos mining. The health consequences of asbestos are coming to light despite some attempts to soften the news of exposure and disease. These minerals, like many similar base and raw materials, are heterogeneous in composition and require several degrees of processing before being pure enough to meet standards of grade required for material formulations.

The gypsum mineral used in sheetrock/drywall products may have other calcium-based minerals like limestone associated with the deposit that is sometimes separated and sometimes not separated out of the manufacturing
process. This is often true for dolomite – a calcium/magnesium based- mineral used in hundreds of products. Yet dolomite can have asbestos “contamination.” That is to say, the geologic, geothermal, and chemical processes involved in the creation of dolomite also produce a close cousin: tremolite. Asbestiform tremolite is a regulated hazardous mineral by US EPA. These minerals occur in populations that may have a distribution of both non-regulated, non-asbestiform tremolite, and the asbestiform and regulated variety.

Now, About That School…

In 2010, iATL was contracted by an environmental engineering consultant firm in Maryland to provide testing of materials before inclusion into the construction process. Many times, the building materials were just assumed to be non-asbestos-containing material (ACM) and were incorporated into the structure. With the school’s and construction
stakeholders’ fingers crossed, nearly all the materials were found to be as advertised — non-ACM…nearly. Out of hundreds of new floor tiles, particular batches of a range of pink to purple pastel colored tiles repeatedly tested as trace and <1% by volume of tremolite asbestos by the US EPA 600 R93/116 Method for Determination of Asbestos in Bulk  building Materials. The testing used the prescribed Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) technique. Two tile samples of a particular hue had PLM analytical results ranging from slightly under to slightly over the 1% magic threshold value. A disclaimer required by US EPA on such flooring material reports indicated the recommendation of a more advanced testing technique employing Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) by the ELAP 198.4 analytical method.

The former method used the analytical technique of PLM to look at optical properties (several) that must be evident before qualifying the suspect fibers as regulated asbestos mineral. The quantification of the fibers is a whole other matter not discussed here. The latter method (TEM by ELAP 198.4) utilized the principles of gravimetric reduction (weighing sub-samples before and after thermally removing organic binders and acid washing interfering carbonates away) to leave only inorganic (usually mineral) residue. The residue revealed a population of mostly non-asbestiform and unregulated tremolite.

Another Approach:

By itself, the non-regulated fraction represented about 1-3% of the total make-up of those suspect floor tile samples. Interestingly enough, the product’s raw material MSDS revealed dolomite and “1% tremolite.” There was also a smaller population in this subset of truly asbestiform, and therefore regulated, tremolite asbestos. The population was calculated to range from <0.1 — 0.8%… close to the threshold.

We reported that the analytical techniques and methods requested were up against their own inherent limits. There are more sophisticated techniques outlined in US EPA 600 R93/116 Appendix C (??) to establish a fibrosity index of the suspect building material. This high level analysis would determine conclusively whether or not the samples were ACM. The environmental consultant and the school agreed with this approach. To prevent
any bias or systematic error, it was further recommended that the samples be sent to Dr. Eric Chatfield, a widely recognized international expert in asbestos laboratory
investigations.

At this stage, the floor tile manufacturer and associated sub-contractors, raw material/mineral suppliers, and their testing laboratory were informed of the situation. Construction that involved floor tile installation was immediately stopped. All parties gathered to discuss the laboratory findings, to have the efficacy of the analytical methods demonstrated, and to discuss the strategy outlined.

Definition Dilemma:

The stakeholders that gathered shared only one thing in common – a few newly manufactured floor tile samples were causing problems with their plans. The parties also shared a common theme we have observed over the last
28 years – there are various definitions of asbestos. Seen graphically below, these similar yet disparate definitions of asbestos do not clarify — they cloud the efforts of all involved to be ‘on the same page.’ This is used for better or worse in asbestos litigation. Rigorous Results:

It was agreed upon that the factors outlined above were “in play” and that our abundant and robust analyses, based upon strict analytical protocols, were, in fact, correct. Dr. Chatfield’s results were presented (see graphic summation of one such sample below) and accepted by all parties. These, too, concluded that the floor tiles were under the 1% threshold for tremolite asbestos.