Asbestos forces compound closure

Asbestos

GLEN Aplin bin compound has been forcibly shut after traces of asbestos were uncovered at the facility.

Four samples of suspected Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) were tested and returned a positive result on Monday after the material was detected by a Southern Downs Regional Council officer on Friday.

The facility will be closed for at least two weeks while SDRC takes precautions to remedy the site.

Accredited personnel have been engaged to come in, collect and safely dispose of the material.

Residents who use the compound will be directed to either Stanthorpe or Ballandean for waste disposal while the facility is closed. Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said people had been put at risk by the illegal dumping.

“Incorrectly disposing of asbestos is not only illegal but totally irresponsible. We all know the risks associated with exposure to asbestos,” Cr Dobie said.

“I’d like to remind everyone in the community that asbestos is a hazardous waste and it puts community members, contractors and council officers who use the facility at risk.

“If you are dealing with material which contains asbestos you have a legal responsibility to do the right thing and to dispose of the material properly; to be aware of material which may contain asbestos, how to handle it properly and where and how to dispose of it correctly.

“Some people may simply be unaware of asbestos in or around the home. If you are unsure, take precautions – contact council or someone who specialises in asbestos removal.”

Disposing of asbestos is prohibited at all SDRC waste management facilities, except for Warwick, where asbestos can be disposed of properly by appointment and for a small fee.

Stanthorpe Waste Facility is currently not accepting ACM until a new dedicated disposal bin is installed at the site.

The illegal dumping at Glen Aplin comes just weeks after asbestos containing material was identified at Collegians Junior Rugby League Club in Warwick as a result of illegal dumping at Allora Waste Transfer Facility.

Following on from that discovery, soil testing confirmed the presence of bonded asbestos at five other sites around the Southern Downs.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland confirmed traces had been found at the Collegians club, as well as Warwick Central School.

A WHSQ spokesman said four other sites were located in the Southern Downs, but declined to reveal further details.

Cr Dobie said illegal dumping is not only illegal but comes at a cost to ratepayers.

EARLIER:

THE Glen Aplin bin compound has been closed after traces of asbestos were discovered.

Southern Downs Regional Council say some illegal dumping of asbestos containing material has occurred, forcing them to shut the facility.

Accredited specialists will be brought in to clean up the hazardous material.

The clean up will come at a cost to ratepayers and come as an inconvenience to Glen Aplin residents.

It comes a few weeks after several sites around Warwick and the wider Southern Downs tested positive for small amounts of asbestos debris.

Article Source: https://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/update-asbestos-forces-compound-closure/3524219/

Asbestos found in some crayons, consumer group finds

Parents buying school supplies for grammar schoolers would be wise to avoid Playskool crayons. The brand, sold at Dollar Tree, was found to have trace elements of asbestos.

“The good news is that when we were testing three years ago, all sorts of brands came back with asbestos,” said Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which conducts annual tests of toys and school supplies. “Now it’s just this one.”

Indeed, in tests run in 2015, many major brands, including Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons and Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crayons, contained trace amounts of asbestos fibers — a substance that can cause breathing difficulties and cancer if inhaled. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission acknowledged that it was unclear whether the asbestos trapped in crayon wax posed a danger, it noted that kids sometimes eat crayons and recommended that parents avoid asbestos-containing brands as a precaution. Since then, most brands have revamped their crayon manufacturing process to eliminate even trace elements of asbestos fibers.

However, in tests run this year on green Playskool crayons, U.S. PIRG found tremolite fibers — a type of asbestos. A handful of other products that U.S. PIRG tested also contained dangerous chemicals, according to the organization’s just released back-to-school report.

  • Blue three-ring binders made by Jot and sold at Dollar Tree tested positive for phthalates, a substance linked with asthma, obesity and lower-IQ scores, for instance.
  • Dry erase markers made by Expo and The Board Dudes tested positive for carcinogenic BTEX chemicals, such as benzene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Additionally, two types of children’s water bottles were previously recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for containing lead — Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, sold at Costco and Amazon, and GSI Outdoors Children’s Water Bottles, sold at L.L. Bean. Despite the recall, a CBS New reporter was able to order the Hydro Pro Furry Friends product from Costco online. A Costco spokesman failed to return a reporter’s phone calls.

Retailers and manufacturers of these products said they were scrambling Monday to evaluate the PIRG data, which some said conflicted with their own laboratory tests.

A spokesman for Dollar Tree said all of its children’s products are independently tested and meet all legal and safety standards.

Julie Duffy, a spokeswoman for Hasbro, which owns the Playskool brand, said the company would investigate the US PIRG claims thoroughly, “including working with Leap Year, the licensee of the product.”

“We are aware of a report of trace amounts of asbestos being detected in a small amount of product testing conducted by a private group and are reviewing our own certified lab testing, which to our knowledge, passes all regulatory requirements and had no detectable asbestos,” added a spokesman for LeapYear.  “We will issue a formal statement upon the completion of our review.  Consumer safety is most important to Leap Year and we take these matters very seriously.”

The bright side: The vast majority of products tested by U. S. PIRG this year were found to be devoid of toxic chemicals. U.S. PIRG also tested glue, lunch boxes, spiral notebooks and rulers, as well as multiple other types of crayons and pens. Indeed, Cook-Schultz said the Art and Creative Materials Institute has also begun testing and labeling products and all of the ACMI-labeled items proved safe.

“I think there’s good news here for parents,” said Cook-Schultz. “You can look for these labels and buy safe products.”

— This story has been corrected to exclude Crayola and Rose Art crayons from those found to have trace amounts of asbestos in 2015. Both brands tested negative for asbestos that year.

Asbestos exposure at West Los Angeles apartment complex leaves 15 people displaced

 

Air quality issues of mold and asbestos temporarily closes Indiana Avenue Elementary school, second time this month

Air quality issues of mold and asbestos temporarily closes Indiana Avenue Elementary school, second time this month

Schools Superintendent Robert Zega said school officials are working with environmental consultants to determine the best course of action for remediation after air quality issues of mold and asbestos have resulted in the closure, reopening and again re-closure of the elementary school on Indiana Avenue in the Iselin section of the township.

Students had been attending split sessions at Iselin Middle School since March 5.

 The elementary school reopened on March 19 after test results of mold had been resolved; however, on March 28, the students were back at Iselin Middle School.

“Recent test results have caused us to temporarily close the school, out of an abundance of caution,” Zega said in a statement on March 28. “The health of our students and staff is, and always will be, our top priority. Therefore, the students will be attending Iselin Middle School on split sessions until we are able to re-open. We appreciate the patience of our entire school community throughout this difficult process.”

As of March 29, asbestos was found in a classroom on desks, according to a test report posted on the school district’s website.

School officials did not give a time frame on how long Indiana School will be closed.

On Jan. 27, RAMM Environmental Services, Inc., of Fairlawn, Bergen County, conducted an indoor air/surface quality assessment report for the school’s principal’s office, main office and a classroom, which found levels of mold exceeding outdoor concentrations in the tested areas.

The elementary school was temporarily closed on Feb. 23 and the students were off from school for a week.

On March 1, Zega sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Indiana School to explain the temporary closure of the school and the decision to hold split sessions at Iselin Middle School.

Zega said in the letter Iselin Middle was a reasonable choice because it is relatively close and it has the capacity for the 600 students from School No. 18.

The Woodbridge Township Education Association (WTEA) had McCabe Environmental Services, LLC, of Lyndhurst, Bergen County, collect various types of asbestos samples from within the school.

 Asbestos contamination was found in a debris sample that was collected from atop of a suspended ceiling tile system.

“Based on the data we have collected we can conclude that the locations tested are not considered an asbestos hazard for occupancy at this time,” John H. Chiaviello, vice president at McCabe Environmental Services, said in a letter to Brian Geoffroy, president of the WTEA, on March 16.

However, he said any disturbance of the ceiling system could pose a potential health hazard if the debris is not addressed.

“Based on our observations, there is no evidence of remnant ceiling plaster, fireproofing, pipe or other insulation above the drop ceiling that could be the source of the asbestos detected in the sample,” Chiaviello said. “Since the school is a one-story building, along with recent solar panel modifications to the roof deck, we suspect the source to be the roofing materials that have been disturbed and penetrated through to the ceiling system below.”

Article Source: http://www.centraljersey.com/news/sentinel_edison_metuchen/stories/air-quality-issues-of-mold-and-asbestos-temporarily-closes-indiana/article_9a4cbd57-dd5e-5ed3-af8a-525891765f0f.html

Using Artificial Intelligence to Detect Asbestos

Asbestos

 

Humans cannot see, smell or taste airborne asbestos fibers.

Identifying them through a microscope requires the eye of a trained analyst — but perhaps not for long.

Australian engineer Jordan Gruber is working on technology that can automatically detect asbestos from the air around a worksite.

Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers is the primary cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer.

The past use of asbestos in building materials has led to great suffering among Americans and Australians alike.

Gruber got into robotics so he could work on self-driving cars. But when his brother became an occupational hygienist specializing in asbestos removal and monitoring, Gruber realized the need for technology that can help prevent on-the-job asbestos exposure.

At age 23, Gruber founded Frontier Microscopy.

“My team and I are driven to applying our knowledge to reducing risk to workers and the public,” Gruber told Asbestos.com. “In effect, we are driven to apply artificial intelligence and robotics to save lives.”

A Microscope Called Marvin

Currently, only specialized laboratories can identify asbestos.

A technician typically has to examine a sample through a microscope for 15 minutes and manually document their findings. They risk exposure to asbestos in the process.

Frontier Microscopy is developing a system called Marvin to streamline this process.

Marvin’s robotic microscope takes hundreds of pictures across an air filter sample in seconds. The robot then uploads the pictures to a cloud-based analysis program.

The program’s artificial intelligence searches the sample for toxic asbestos fibers, and Marvin generates a report of its findings.

The whole process takes just two minutes.

Goal Is Preventing Asbestos Exposure

For decades, asbestos dust was rampant in industrial settings such as construction sites, refineries and ships.

This led to high rates of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases among many trade professions.

Today, the use of asbestos is limited in the developed world, but there is still a risk of toxic exposure whenever old buildings are renovated or demolished.

In many developing nations, workers are still routinely exposed to asbestos. Foreign manufacturers use it in various types of insulation and cement.

Gruber believes Frontier Microscopy’s technology could improve workplace safety around the globe by making it fast and easy to detect airborne asbestos fibers.

Marvin would remove the need for a worksite to physically send an air filter sample to a laboratory for testing.

“Our main base of operations is in Australia, where we are validating the technology for laboratory accreditation. We anticipate laboratory trials to be completed in the coming months,” Gruber said. “We are interested in speaking to potential distributors in the U.S. for both Marvin and our Management Suite product, as well as potential laboratory partners for validation purposes.”

Lethal Legacy of Asbestos in Australia

Australia has a long history of asbestos problems, which Gruber is all too familiar with.

“I’ve personally visited Wittenoom in Western Australia, known as the epicenter of asbestos mining in Australia. Soon after the health effects of asbestos became known, Wittenoom was abandoned,” Gruber said. “Thousands of people worked the asbestos mines at Witternoom, with hundreds of deaths linked to asbestos-related diseases as a result.”

The level of asbestos pollution at Wittenoom is comparable to the situation of Libby, Montana.

In Libby, the Zonolite Company and W.R. Grace mined asbestos-contaminated vermiculiteto make into attic insulation.

Zonolite insulation brought the risk of asbestos exposure to homes and businesses across the U.S.

In Australia, though, the Mr. Fluffy company marketed an even deadlier insulation product to homeowners. Called Asbestosfluf, it was essentially just pure asbestos fluffed into a soft, light texture.

Australia and the U.S. continue to struggle with the consequences of the asbestos industry’s past recklessness.

Jordan Gruber and other entrepreneurs are working on ways to create a safer and healthier future for everyone.

Article Source: https://www.asbestos.com/news/2018/02/28/artificial-intelligence-detect-asbestos/