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Methyl iodide is often used by strawberry farmers and may be toxic.

California’s state officials may have ignored warnings coming from their own scientists when they approved the use of the chemical pesticide methyl iodide, according to a recent article published by California Watch.

The scientists have submitted an official protest, warning that the pesticide – which is often used by strawberry growers – may cause brain damage in developing fetuses.

The decision for approval was not based on the science, they charged. Their recommendation that farm workers should not be exposed to more than a trace amount to the pesticide was dismissed by the state official in charge as “excessive and difficult to enforce,” according to internal documents.

The chemical fumigant methyl iodide was approved in December 2010.

A coalition of environmental and farm-worker groups has sued the state to try to ban the chemical.

As part of the suit, the groups asked the Department of Pesticide Regulation to release documents explaining how the agency decided to approve the chemical.

The plaintiffs wanted to know how the agency had settled on exposure levels more than 100 times higher than what scientists within the agency believed were safe.

Scientists worried that methyl iodide could drift up from strawberry fields and be inhaled by pregnant farm workers or children playing nearby, causing subtle effects such as IQ loss, which might never be detected or traced back to the chemical.

“DPR has no benchmark with which to establish the limits of exposures that could be deemed as ‘safe’ for pregnant women and children living in agricultural communities or attending schools adjacent to fields where methyl iodide will be applied,” one of the experts said.

Keep your indoor air clean and safe

Worried about airborne chemicals at your work or home?

Electrocorp has developed a wide range of industrial air cleaners that remove chemicals, odors, fumes, gases, particles, pathogens and allergens from the ambient air.

The air cleaners remove indoor air pollutants with the deepest beds of activated carbon, HEPA filters and UV germicidal filtration (optional).

Connect with Electrocorp to find out more.

Vapor intrusion can harm people's health.

When a hazardous waste sites are abandoned, they are often called Superfund sites.

“Superfund” is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, which was meant to curb toxic waste dumps.

The fund helps with the remediation of such sites or helps to hold companies and individuals accountable.

The cleanup process of a Superfund site involves a variety of steps, including site assessment, placement on the National Priorities List and the implementation of an appropriate cleanup plan.

The actual process can take many years and is monitored with regular samplings that are taken.

The contamination on those sites can be in the ground, the groundwater and in the air in form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Environmental consultants and authorities often have to deal with soil vapor intrusion near those sites, where VOCs and other toxins enter nearby buildings through cracks and tiny fissures in the foundation.

Contamination can occur in nearby homes as well as businesses.

Is there a Superfund site close to you?

If you want to find out if there is a remediation going on close to where you live, you can check out the official EPA Superfund website.

The website details all the steps that need to be taken to start an official assessment and remediation process in case you are concerned about a possible contamination in your area.

During the Risk Assessment stage, the investigator will examine the possible health risks of the toxins at the site. Each Superfund site is unique in terms of the contaminants present and their potential health effects. Therefore, EPA conducts risk assessments on a site-by- site basis.

Minimize vapor intrusion risks with portable air cleaners

Electrocorp works with environmental consultants, consulting firms, environmental agencies and companies to provide industrial air cleaners that safely remove chemicals, gases, vapors, fumes and odors in indoor environments.

The powerful, portable air filters come equipped with the deepest beds of granular activated carbon on the market and provide a cost-effective indoor air quality solution with proven technologies to help reduce human exposure to contaminants.

Electrocorp’s small footprint, high-performance air filtration systems become efficient mitigation allies for challenging vapor intrusion and soil remediation projects that involve single- or two-family dwellings.

Recommended air filtration systems include:

Contact Electrocorp today for more information; toll-free: 1-866-667-0297.

Chemical pesticides can affect children's health and well-being.

Latino school children were put at risk when California pesticide regulators approved the use of a dangerous pesticide near their schools, the US Environmental Protection Agency said last week.

A civil rights complaint was filed in 1999, alleging that the annual approval of methyl bromide affected the health of the school children nearby.

An AP article said this was the first time the EPA announced this kind of settlement in a civil rights complaint case.

Methyl bromide – which is injected into the soil to kill pests, weeds and diseases before crops are planted – is being phased out by 2015 under international treaty because it depletes the Earth’s ozone layer.

Some farmers continue to use it, because they are granted an exemption by pesticide regulators.

In California, 17.1 million pounds of methyl bromide were applied in 1995, while 5.57 million pounds were applied in 2009, according to state regulators.

As part of the settlement with the EPA, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation has to expand monitoring of methyl bromide air concentrations by adding one monitor in the area of highest risk, a school in Watsonville.

But the measures and the settlement don’t provide any remedy to the parents or children whose civil rights were violated, said Brent Newell, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment who filed the complaint 12 years ago on behalf of parents and children in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Ventura.

“It provides no substantive relief or remedy to the people who were affected,” Newell said. “Those school children have since graduated from high school and the EPA gave them no remedy.”

Source: The Ledger

Remove airborne chemicals indoors quickly and efficiently

RAP Series: Portable, powerful air cleaners.

Electrocorp specializes in the adsorption and removal of airborne chemicals and gases with its industrial air cleaners. The company offers air cleaners for schools and universities and is proud to work with administrators to provide better indoor air quality in their buildings.

The air purification units feature a deep bed of granular activated carbon, HEPA and UV (optional) to remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants – not only chemicals, but also particles, dust, biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, mold mycotoxins and mold spores, allergens and pollen.

Electrocorp offers portable or HVAC-compatible air filtration systems of all kinds and sizes and provides the most relevant filtration media, the largest adsorbent surface area and the most customizable options at the best price.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and suggestions: 1-866-667-0297.

Companies using or making chemicals need to enforce health & safety standards.

A New Jersey chemical and solvent maker was recently cited for 20 safety and health violation at one of its facilities, after OSHA received complaints about strong solvent odors.

The total in proposed penalties is $135,000.

“By disregarding OSHA safety and health standards, this company is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death,” said OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy.

“It is vital that all identified violations be quickly corrected to protect the workers at this facility.”

OSHA inspections of indoor air quality

OSHA takes industrial hygiene samples as part of its compliance monitoring program. Many of these samples are submitted to the Salt Lake Technical Center for analysis.

The sampling results represent personal, area, and bulk samples for various airborne contaminants.

OSHA carries out inspection at companies and businesses to ensure that employees are not overexposed to hazardous substances. Exposure usually occurs by inhalation, contact, or ingestion.

Monitoring air quality can help prevent employees from inhaling hazardous concentrations of airborne chemicals. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for chemicals.

For hazardous chemicals not covered by an OSHA standard, departments should comply with other available recommended exposure limits, for example, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV), or the chemical manufacturer’s recommended limits.

Most of OSHA’s chemical exposure limits are found in the 1910.1000 Air Contaminant Standard. OSHA has also developed several substance-specific standards that regulate exposure to a single chemical.

Other important safety measures include

  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Wearing appropriate gloves when handling chemicals
  • Enforcing good personal hygiene standards
  • Not allowing foods and personal care products in areas where chemicals are used

Sources: SafetyBLR.com, OSHA, HealthFirst

Remove airborne chemicals with industrial air cleaners

Electrocorp specializes in the adsorption of airborne chemicals and features the deepest beds of activated carbon and the largest adsorbent surface areas for that purpose.

The multistage filtration systems also feature enhanced HEPA technology, pre-filters and the option of UV germicidal filtration.

Contact one of Electrocorp’s air quality experts for more information and recommendations based on your specific needs.

Residents are worried about chemical odors coming from the business next door.

We may live in an industrial world, but there is such a thing as too close for comfort.

In Bakersfield, California, the residents of an apartment complex worry about chemical fumes from the industrial tank maker next door drifting over to their apartments.

The company is making above-ground tanks for industrial uses and the residents are most concerned about the irritating odors when their tanks are painted.

The residents have noticed paint droplets on cars and windows and say they worry most about the children living in the apartment complex.

Signs on the outside of Tiger Tanks’ fence warn that cancer causing chemicals are used on the property.

Authorities are investigating the complaints, but couldn’t determine any violations so far.

Source: 23 ABC News

Improving indoor air quality in companies and homes

Air purifiers for the home and office to remove indoor air pollutants.

Electrocorp has designed industrial air cleaners for businesses and companies that are concerned about pollutants such as gaseous contaminants, chemicals, particles, dust and pathogens. The units can be portable or attached to existing ventilation systems.

The air cleaners remove odors and chemicals by drawing the air through a deep bed of granular activated carbon with a large adsorbent surface area and trap particles and pathogens in their pre-filter and HEPA filter.

Electrocorp belongs to AllerAir Industries, the premier manufacturer of air purifiers for homes and offices, offering versatile, portable air purifiers that help provide cleaner air.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and recommendations.

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