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EPA Proposes Strengthening the Dust-Lead Hazard Standards to Reduce Exposures to Children

On June 22nd, the EPA released a proposal to lower dust-lead hazard standards. Strengthening these standards are an important part of the EPA’s strategy in its efforts to combat childhood lead exposure, which is one of its top priorities.

The current proposed standards would change the allowed dust-lead volumes from 40 µg/ft2 and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2 for floors and window sills, respectively.

Currently, there is no proposed change to the definition of lead-based paint because the EPA does not possess enough information to support a change.

Montana Set to Take Up Deadly Asbestos Cleanup Site

The Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory team, established earlier in the year by the Montana Legislature, met for the first time on Thursday, September 21st. This team, alongside environmental agencies, will work to develop ideas to prevent additional exposure to asbestos from the walls and contaminated soil of the towns of Libby and Troy.

Officials are focusing on keeping residents safe in the long term.

A vermiculite mine that operated for decades outside of Libby is the source of the contaminated material.

Many States, As Well As the Federal Government, Do Not Require Lead Checks for Water

According to a News21 analysis, 44 states do not require schools to check their water for the presence of lead, and the federal government doesn’t, either. Only 6 states require mandatory lead testing: Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

A 1986 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act banned the use of lead pipes for transporting water, as lead was found to leach from them. However, many schools still receive water through these pipes, as Congress did not require schools to replace them.

More Schools With Mold Growth Due to HVAC Problems

A school district in central Pennsylvania recently discovered mold in three of its schools. West Creek Hills Elementary School, East Pennsboro Elementary School, and East Pennsboro High School in the Pennsboro school district were found to have mold a year after the district closed schools and delayed classes last year.

The district is blaming the problem on aging heating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) that do not remove moisture from the air. The district is working with a restoration company to take care of the problem and ensure classes are not delayed again this year.

Plutonium Detected in Air at Washington State Nuclear Site

On June 8th, Washington State’s Department of Health collected air samples containing radioactive plutonium and americium at the Rattlesnake Barricade at the Hanford nuclear site.

These samples were collected at the location where workers enter the secure area of the site, where finding airborne contamination was unexpected.

Asbestos Found in Makeup Product

The Scientific Analytical Institute laboratory in Greensboro, North Carolina discovered the presence of asbestos in a makeup called “Just Shine Shimmer Powder”, sold by Justice. In addition to asbestos, four heavy metals were also found. The lab’s report states that asbestos contaminated talcum powder may have been used while producing the makeup. The product has since been listed as “out of stock” on Justice’s website.

OSHA to Delay Enforcing Crystalline Silica Standard in the Construction Industry

Instead of beginning on June 23rd, 2017, enforcement of OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Standard will now begin on September 23rd, 2017. OSHA determined that, because of the construction standard’s unique requirements, additional guidance is necessary.

The agency expects employers to continue either taking steps to become compliant with the new exposure limit, or implementing dust controls for certain operations, as well as implementing the other requirements.

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