Why All The Fuss With Asbestos?

asbestos suitWell, the fuss with asbestos all comes down to health risks.  Some of the potential outcomes are very serious – lung cancer, mesothelioma (i.e., cancer of the lining of the chest cavity), and asbestosis (a pulmonary obstructive disease that eventually puts such a strain on the lungs and heart, that the patient dies from cardiac arrest).  The primary route of entry for these extremely small asbestos fibers is inhalation.  Theoretically, these diseases can be caused by one exposure episode.  However, the greater the dose, the greater the disease.  And, finally, the diseases do not show up for ten to thirty years after the exposure.  That is a very long latency period.

There are many misconceptions about asbestos.  First of all, it is not just the ship workers who were exposed to it during World War II.  Second, one does not have to be in a dusty asbestos cloud to experience an exposure resulting in disease.  And, finally, it has not been asbestos testingbanned from all materials in the United States.  It has been banned in five to seven materials and it is still found in building materials being imported today.  It is not always listed on the material, sometimes a label states that a product is non-asbestos when it is not, and sometimes it is labeled as asbestos free, but chrysotile (the most common type) is listed on the ingredients).

The mining of asbestos and manufacture of asbestos containing building materials represents potential exposure to the personnel involved.  And sometimes, the workers bring the fibers home on clothing and shoes to their families.  This reportedly occurred in Libby, Montana where asbestos was mined (www.pbs.org/pov/libbymontana).

So, which materials can contain asbestos?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, www.epa.gov) has a list of building materials suspected of containing asbestos.  It virtually includes everything except glass, metal, and wood.  Asbestos was added to thousands of materials due to its fire resistance, added strength, and chemical resistance.  It is a relatively inexpensive naturally occurring mineral which was added to nearly all building materials, plus brake linings, concrete, cement drinking water pipes, and gaskets.  It was used for fireproofing in schools, hospitals, airports, nursing homes, and other public and private installations and facilities.

asbestos workersFinally, workers who install, remove, or demolish it in buildings are at risk.  That is why EPA requires testing for asbestos before all renovations and demolitions of most buildings before the work is started.  If asbestos is present, certain abatement procedures will be required before the construction or demolition work begins.

But there is no reason to fuss.  Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc. (www.escflorida.com) can help.  We have the credentials and experience to properly complete your Asbestos Survey.  We have accredited Asbestos Surveyors and a Florida Licensed Asbestos Consultant (LAC) on staff.  We are a Florida-licensed Asbestos Business Organization with over thirty years of experience in the asbestos field.  We prepare abatement specifications, monitor abatement projects, and complete air clearance monitoring.  Whatever your asbestos needs are, just call us (800-226-1735 or one of our area office local numbers listed on our home page) or e-mail us (escinc@verizon.net).  Contact us today and get rid of the fuss!

Groundwater Environmental Monitoring

One type of environmental monitoring is groundwater testing.  This sounds simple enough, but exactly what is groundwater testing?  Well, let’s break apart the term.Groundwater Environmental Monitoring

First, groundwater is water that is beneath the surface of the earth, as opposed to surface water which is on the surface of the earth.  Sometimes, it is referred to as well water, the water table, or the aquifer. It is the source of water for springs.

Second, testing takes many forms.  It can be done with the unaided eye, depth measurement tools, electronic meters, or samples analyzed in a laboratory.  Testing done in the groundwater itself or on samples in the field is called in situ testing.

Samples can be collected manually or with automated samplers.  Manually collected samples can be collected with bailers, bladder pumps, centrifugal pumps, or peristaltic pumps directly into laboratory sample bottles.  The contents are then emptied into laboratory sample bottles.

Automated samplers can be programmed to collect samples at select time intervals over an extended period of time.  Separate samples can be collected at each time interval or sample aliquots can be collected at each time interval and then be added to a large sample container to produce a composite sample.

Whether the samples are collected manually or automatically, generally, they are ultimately analyzed in a laboratory.  They can be analyzed for biological, chemical, or physical parameters.  In Florida, the laboratory should or must be accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, NELAP (www.nelac-institute.org) and be certified by the Florida Department of Health (www.floridahealth.gov).  The data will not be accepted by regulatory agencies unless it is generated from one of these laboratories.

Why would you want to test the groundwater?  There are lots of reasons.  One is that you want to be proactive because you truly care or for public relations.  For example, you may want to produce groundwater quality data that show your facility is not polluting the groundwater below or adjacent to your facility.  Another reason may be for a groundwater remediation project, or to meet monitoring requirements under an existing Remedial Action Plan.  Additionally, you may have had a spill or discharge and you are being required or you are volunteering to test the groundwater quality.  In that case, you may need to determine if you have impacted the groundwater or if you have cleaned it up.  Finally, you may be planning to introduce a new operation and need to establish current groundwater quality conditions so that the operation’s impact can be projected.  After the operation is up and running, more testing can be done to determine if your projections were accurate.

If you do end up testing the groundwater, you will want to make sure that it is done properly and that the data are valid and court defensible.  Otherwise, you may end up with credibility problems.  Adverse publicity and scrutiny from the media and environmental watchdog groups is not worth it.  Even if you truly have no impact on the quality of the groundwater, it may be perceived that you do because of faulty data.

This is where Environmental Safety Consultants (www.escflorida.com) can help.  We have the credentials and experience to properly complete your groundwater environmental monitoring.  We are a Florida-licensed Engineering business with environmental scientists, a Professional Engineer (P.E.), and years of experience testing groundwater quality.  We are just a telephone call (800-226-1735) or an e-mail away (escinc@verizon.net).  Contact us today!

 

Soil Environmental Monitoring

One type of environmental monitoring is soil testing.  This sounds simple enough, but exactly what is soil testing?  Well, let’s break apart the term.Soil Environmental Monitoring

First, soil is the upper part of the earth’s crust in which plants can sometimes grow. It may be sandy, loamy, clayey, rocky, shelly, or peat-like.  Sometimes, it is referred to as dirt.  It is what we walk on when we go outside where there is no pavement, decking, pavers, concrete, etcetera.

Second, testing takes many forms.  It can be done with the unaided eye, electronic meters after mixing with water, organic vapor analyzers, or laboratory analysis.  Testing done on the soil samples in the field is called in situ testing.

Samples can be collected manually or with powered equipment.  Manually collected samples can be collected with spoons, augers, or dredges which are then transferred  into bottles in the field for in situ testing or into laboratory sample bottles for analysis at the laboratory.

Powered equipment typically includes split spoon samplers or direct push rigs which collect the soil samples from desired depths.  The soil is then transferred into the field bottles or laboratory sample bottles.  The samples are then either analyzed in the field or at the laboratory.

Whether the samples are collected manually or with powered equipment, generally, they are ultimately analyzed in a laboratory.  They can be analyzed for biological, chemical, or physical parameters.  In Florida, the laboratory should or must be accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, NELAP (www.nelac-institute.org) and be certified by the Florida Department of Health (www.floridahealth.gov).  The data will not be accepted by regulatory agencies unless it is generated from one of these laboratories.

Why would you want to test the soil?  There are lots of reasons.  One is that you want to be proactive because you truly care or for public relations.  For example, you may want to produce soil data that show your facility is not polluting the soil below or adjacent to your facility.  This could be related to the use or storage and handling of solvents, gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, pesticides, heavy metals, dry cleaning fluids, or many other chemicals.  Another reason may be for a soil remediation project, or to meet monitoring requirements under an existing Remedial Action Plan.  Additionally, you may have had a spill, discharge, or leak and you are being required or you are volunteering to test the soil for contamination.  In that case, you may need to determine if you have impacted the soil or if you have cleaned it up.  Finally, you may be planning to introduce a new operation and need to establish current soil conditions so that the operation’s impact can be projected.  After the operation is up and running, more testing can be done to determine if your projections were accurate.

If you do end up testing the soil, you will want to make sure that it is done properly and that the data are valid and court defensible.  Otherwise, you may end up with credibility problems.  Adverse publicity or scrutiny from the media and environmental watchdog groups is not worth it.  Even if you truly have no impact on the quality of the soil, it may be perceived that you do because of faulty data.

This is where Environmental Safety Consultants (www.escflorida.com) can help.  We have the credentials and experience to properly complete your soil environmental monitoring.  We are a Florida-licensed Engineering business with environmental scientists, a Professional Engineer (P.E.), and years of experience testing soil for contamination.  We are just a telephone call (800-226-1735) or an e-mail away (escinc@verizon.net).  Contact us today!